My 7 week son was born in the hospital birthing pool (8lb 4oz) and the birth went smoothly with no pain relief required (I believe that the Marie Mongan Hypnobirthing course I went on made a huge difference to my approach). I wore a long t -shirt with buttons down the front for skin to skin contact immediately after delivery. Have been told that my delivery was quick for a first baby. Would def recommend- maybe you could go take a look at the one in your hospital?
I had a waterbirth at home with my little girl & as I've only had one baby so far I have nothing to compare it with. I had a relatively long labour (27 hours) but will say the pool definitely eased the pain. I was only allowed to get in when I was 4cm dilated. Spent most of the time in the pool, occasionally getting out when the midwife wanted me to move around or go to the toilet. My waters wouldn't break so even though I was 10cm dilated for a while, nothing was happening so they got me out the pool, broke my waters & the baby was born 40 minutes later. The pushing part was easy as pie! I actually didn't consciously push because I was worried I was going to poo in the water. I just let my muscles push her down the birth canal. I gave one tiny little push at the end & unfortunately tore (it was a 2nd degree tear) but otherwise she slipped out really easily. Unfortunately, the placenta wouldn't deliver afterwards so I had to be transferred to hospital but I would definitely do a water birth again.
DS born in a pool. Best pain relief EVER! Felt calmer in the water and able to move as I wanted nice and easily. Room quiet but two midwives there and DH so felt well supported. Just remember getting and and breathing out a slow "ahhhhhh" of relief. Midwife said everyone does that. DD. wanted home water birth. She had other ideas!