Anyone wanted waterbirth but couldn't have one? What happened?

(41 Posts)
BraveLilBear Thu 07-Feb-13 15:57:49

I am a very long way away from B-Day as I'm just 16 weeks, but thought I'd ask this now as it's been bugging me for a while.

I really like the idea of a waterbirth - to me it makes total sense as a natural way of controlling pain, achieving relaxation (as much as possible) and reducing damage.

But I am also painfully aware that my chances of getting a waterbirth appear to be slim at best. There are 20 labour rooms at the only - and evidently incredibly busy - maternity unit near to me (next nearest are 35 and 50 miles away since closure of MLU), yet the ward has just one pool available for waterbirths.

This suggests I'll have a 1:20 chance of getting a waterbirth, unless I have one at home. Unfortunately, OH has ruled this out because of the mess.

So I was wondering, if you wanted a waterbirth but couldn't have one, how did you manage on dry land? How common is it to not get a hoped-for waterbirth?

atrcts Thu 07-Feb-13 16:42:16

I wanted a waterbirth for the same reason as you - seemed a logical and comfortable way to relax as much as possible! I didn't have a birth plan because I didn't want to have any hard and fast ideas about childbirth, I just asked for it on the day because it appealed to me.

However I was not able to because my waters were broken by the midwives and immediately there was an awful lot of meconium. They said this shows the baby is distressed and needs monitoring, so I was strapped to electrical equipment and not safe to go near water.

I had heard rumours that the water pools are limited and so if they're already in use, then you can't use it anyway. So it seems to be pot-luck as to whether there is a queue.

I also had a friend who was in the water pool very early on, when she was barely 4cm dilated, and it set the labour back to 2cm dilated for hours, and she had to abort and I think she might have even been induced if my memory serves me well. So nice though the idea is, I think it's probably sensible to try and hold the idea lightly with an open hand, so you're not too upset if for any reason it doesn't go as you'd hoped. Same with all aspects of giving birth really!

wouldyoupleasemove Thu 07-Feb-13 17:12:49

Two water births here. One in a MLu
, one at home two weeks ago. Chose the home birth because there was absolutely no chance of me doing a natural labour without the pool. Borrowed pool and bought a single use liner. Absolutely no mess, DH just pumped the pool and chucked the liner away in a bag midwives bought. Would highly recommend

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Thu 07-Feb-13 17:17:57

I don't have an answer to your question but I would like to say that there isno mess with a HB. A home water birth is even better. If you deliver the placenta in the pool there is even less of a chance of mess.

PickleSarnie Thu 07-Feb-13 17:46:23

I agree with iliketomovrit . There's no mess with a homebirth. The Midwives cleaned everything away. They even unpacked our ocado delivery that ee ddidn't get a chance to cancel.

Unfortunately, homebirth don't guarantee a pool either. My son arrived on the living room floor before DH was able to fill the pool up.

bumpybecky Thu 07-Feb-13 17:58:06

how much mess is he expecting?!

I planned 4 home water births. The first we ended up transferring to hospital as there was meconium in the waters. The other 3 were all at home.

For #2 and 3 I delivered the placenta in the pool, there was absolutely no mess outside it. The water in the pool afterwards was a bit murky (blood, bits of vermix) but drained away fine. The liner did need cleaning afterwards. You can get disposable liners to use to avoid that.

For #4 I had the placenta out of the pool in a bucket afterwards. The pool water looked no different to before the birth. The midwives took the placenta away and cleaned the bucket.

BraveLilBear Thu 07-Feb-13 18:00:08

Thanks everyone - trying not to fixate on the idea, but it just seems so darn logical. I'm not a full-on vulcan, but I'm a pretty logical kinda gal!

My OH is very squeamish - can't tolerate other people's sick or blood and so him pumping out a blood-y pool would be out of the question plus he raised the very valid point of 'where do you pump it? Doesn't seem very hygeinic'...

ginmakesitallok Thu 07-Feb-13 18:05:47

I was all set to have one in the dmu. Went in around 2 o'clock, had a look in the pool room, got sent home add too early. Went back around 6, in assessment room till just before 8, when mW examined me I was 9cm, too late for the pool.... Had did at 8.45

BraveLilBear Thu 07-Feb-13 18:05:47

x-post Becky - our baby won't be his first and he was present at his son's birth 11 years ago. No idea about the details but he seems horrified by the idea of any blood (in water or not) in the house.

We live 5 minutes normal drive to hospital (less with blue light) so if I can convince him that a) it would be safe at home and b) it wouldn't look like something out of Psycho/Cabin in the Woods/Texas Chainsaw (delete as applicable) there is an outside chance he may reconsider.

He, however, seems to think that a 1:20 chance is fair odds!

Missingthemincepies Thu 07-Feb-13 19:54:12

Wanted water birth and got room with a pool, unfortunately pushing when pool was only half full! Quick first delivery and all ok so not disappointed. But will still try for one again this time.

Floweryhat Thu 07-Feb-13 19:56:47

I wanted one for dc1, but no such luck in hospital. With dcs 2, 3 and 4 I had home water births. Bliss. I wouldn't entertain the notion with dc1, as I felt it wouldn't be as safe, and hospital was the norm. I wish I had taken the time to do more research and actually looked at the evidence. The three home births were vastly better for me and the babies than the hospital one. All were normal low risk pregnancies.

Floweryhat Thu 07-Feb-13 19:57:39

Ps, one pool birth had v bloody water, the other two no blood visible.

Floweryhat Thu 07-Feb-13 19:58:49

No mess for home births. The midwives put down disposable absorbent things, and clean it all up and take it away grin

iwillsleepagainsomeday Thu 07-Feb-13 20:03:54

Didnt get one as all went too quick. Pool was still filling up when dc3 was born.

Dorisday13 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:18:15

No mess at my home birth and guaranteed pool

I had the same issues as you but I got lucky and just as I got in the pool My waters broke with meconium in them.
DD got distressed and I had to get out and have vontouse.
I was so disapointed but by that point I just wanted my baby. You will just want your baby too OP grin

mummybare Thu 07-Feb-13 20:36:14

Your DH doesn't get to decide this - YOU are the one pushing a human out of your body, you decide how and where that happens. No matter what you decide, you being comfortable with the circumstances/environment will likely lead to better outcomes, so it's worth putting your foot down if you feel strongly.

If he is more concerned about his own squeamishness than your comfort and your wishes, it might be worth thinking about whether DH is the best person to have as a birth partner. It may well be that he is, but it doesn't have to follow that it has to be him just because you're married if his presence would stress both of you out!

I wanted a water birth and couldn't have one as our local hospital also only has one and it was in use. I would definitely consider a home birth if and when I have another.

emsyj Thu 07-Feb-13 20:40:38

I wanted a pool birth but ended up with crash section with DD1 (and was 9cm on admission anyway, so wouldn't have had time to get a pool filled for delivery even if I hadn't been whisked to theatre) - second time around (just on Tuesday this week smile) I borrowed a birth pool from the home birth team but didn't bother with it, I wanted to be upright and mobile and the pool just wasn't what I wanted in the end. You never know how you'll feel once you're in labour so what you love the idea of now might end up not what you want at the time.

My home birth was unplanned (pool was intended for use during labour pre-transfer to hospital for delivery) and it was quite messy (sorry) - but only because we weren't prepared for it. The midwives had pads etc which they took away, they also disposed of the placenta (and my washing up bowl, which I deposited the placenta into from a very glamorous standing position blush) but there was blood all over a lot of towels and we've had to bin the living room rug (hard floor underneath thankfully). BUT this would all have been 101% avoidable if we'd been prepared for a planned birth at home.

CitizenOscar Fri 08-Feb-13 19:55:18

I was booked into MLU but when I arrived to deliver, they were full so had to deliver in the consultant led suite. It was absolutely fine! I gave birth on all fours, on a mat on the floor. The CD player didn't work either, so no music, but it really was fine.

I hadn't had my heart set on a waterbirth but I'd have liked to have tried. Can't have one this time because am "high risk" due to haemorrhage last time.

I had decided to be as open minded as possible about the birth process & I think that helped when things didn't go as I'd have chosen.

BraveLilBear Mon 11-Feb-13 10:35:31

Thank god for that open mind CitizenOscar! Think that will be my approach. It'll have to be!

Tho I think OH is finally understanding that 1:20 is very low odds for pool availability opportunity as he's been making comments over the weekend that suggest that it is somewhat harsh to not have the choice when everything you read says 'waterbirth is best for pain relief and tear-reduction' etc. I might yet talk him round!

Snowydrift Mon 11-Feb-13 10:48:02

I had one with DC1 and wanted one with DC2. There was a pool available but not enough time to fill it. I ended up giving birth sitting up on the bed, almost wasn't time to get me on the bed!

megandraper Mon 11-Feb-13 10:57:07

I wanted one with DC1 - there was a new pool built and ready at the hospital but the midwives hadn't all done their training so it wasn't open - so I had a (straightforward) hospital birth.

2 years later with DC2, I thought that was my chance - but when we came in, the pool was in use and he came very quickly so no time.

2 years later, with DC3 I decided to have a home waterbirth to be sure of it. Got pool, all the equipment etc. etc. Then DC3 arrived 4 weeks early, so the midwives said I had to go into hospital.

I think I was not destined to have a waterbirth...

Emsyboo Mon 11-Feb-13 14:41:10

Always wanted a water birth but with DS was induced with bleeding so they wouldn't let me next week I find out if I get a c section or normal delivery but consultant thinks due to circumstances a water birth is unlikely -sobs
I had a bath when was being induced it really helped the pain but only where bump was in the water had a bit in the top very painful while the rest was nice lol if you can try for a water birth - I was ok as got high on gas and air but given the choice would have a water birth

GreenOlives Mon 11-Feb-13 18:55:25

My labour ward only has one pool too so I was fairly convinced that it would be in use when I was in labour - but you have to remember that not all women want a water birth so the chances of it being free are far greater than you think. As it happened when I was in labour with DS the pool was just being cleaned after the prev lady so I went in the bath while I was waiting. I got into the pool at 6cm and laboured in there until fully dilated and pushing. Unfortunately things went a little belly up and I had to come out and ended up on a drip with a forceps delivery but Im still glad I was able to labour in the water and am desparately hoping I can do the same this time round! (currently 38+1)

openerofjars Mon 11-Feb-13 19:07:02

Now look. Until he has a vagina that a baby will come out of, he has no sensible views on the matter. Silly man.

I had a go in the water with DS in hospital (but had to get out to have him by ventouse) but had DD in water at home. The MWs cleared up and it was awesome! I got to hold my baby girl straight away in the pool and it was such a calm experience. I swear this is why she is less of a stress monkey than her big brother! An hour or so afterwards I was tucked up in my own bed, too.

Just check you have a strong enough floor for the pool - the weight is equivalent to 12 adults all standing on that bit of floor. Put cheap shower curtains down and you're in business.

PS I had a white sofa at the time which didn't get a single bloodstain on it even though that was where I delivered the placenta. Home birth midwives are awesome at the cleanup (and you get 1-1 care throughout labour and 2-1 at the delivery, often much better than you get in hospital).

ThreeWheelsGood Mon 11-Feb-13 21:26:35

Your odds are better than 1:20... anything remotely high risk rules out a water birth so not all women will be allowed to use the pool, then not all women who can want to. I live in a busy area, was convinced I wouldn't get the pool but I did! It was wonderful, definitely go for it if you can.

I wanted a pool, but had an induction as DD was really late. With the benefit of hindsight I actually wanted a day at a spa rather than giving birth.

AmandaCooper Mon 11-Feb-13 23:20:22

We went on a stork walk at the weekend and the pool room was the only room not in use. As others have said not everyone is able or wants to use the pool, so your odds are much better than 1 in 20.

Jojobump1986 Tue 12-Feb-13 09:04:38

If you do end up planning a home birth you can get really cheap plastic dust sheets from B&Q. They're designed for painting but put one of those down with an old sheet or a few towels & the whole lot can be scooped up & thrown away afterward! I had a small hemorrhage after having DS on our bed but thanks to DH & the midwives shoving the plastic underneath me there was just a tiny smudge of blood on the bed. I've had worse from heavy period leakage! DH just popped the sheet in the wash & everything was spotless by the time we got home from the hospital. It's really not all that messy when you're prepared!
Oh, & I was planning on labouring in the bath & getting out when I wanted to push. The unused bath was still sitting there when DH got back from the hospital! I also planned on giving birth in the study, not the bedroom, but once I was comfy on the bed there was no way anyone could've persuaded me to move for anything less than a medical emergency! My friend planned on having a hospital birth but had him at home instead because it was a very fast labour. Even if you don't plan for a homebirth it might be wise to have a few basics, just incase! wink

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 12-Feb-13 09:14:30

I really wanted a water birth with ds1, which was 10 years ago - they said there might be a pool, I think, but it was beingused when I got there. I had a bath instead but tbh I got in and out again in about 10 minutes, it was hopeless - I felt less in control in the water and not remotely comfortable.

I also tried a bath with ds2 (at home) but that was the same - still hurt but with the added complication of water, and slipperyness, and being on my back. Maybe that was it, in most pools you can be upright/leaning forward.

Good luck, I hope you get to try it. a friend had a pool at home but the labour was too quick and it wasn't nearly full by the time he was born.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 12-Feb-13 09:16:15

Jojo - I laid down plastic sheets etc downstairs with ds2, and then went up to use the loo and never came back down - he was born on my bedroom floor! Blood everywhere, the MWs did their best but I could still see the stain so the first thing I did when I could get up was scrub the carpet grin

Best laid plans and all that. It did come out though.

Purplecatti Sat 16-Feb-13 19:46:29

I desperately wanted a water birth at home, but I had to be shipped into hospital to be monitored due to my waters being almost pure meconium.
The mw was really nice about it and held the monitor to me in order to prevent me being on my back. I had really bad hip pain and couldn't stand being on my back. She also got me bean bags and things to lean on without me asking which was kind of her. She was just sorry I'd ended up in hospital and wanted me to be as comfy as possible.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, I had to have a clip on my baby's head but it meant I could kneel, stand etc.
The worst part was my baby got stuck and I ended up crouching to get her out which was agony in my back and hips, more so than the labour but it worked and I was only like that for 10 15 minutes max.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 19:57:00

I wanted a w birth, went into establised labour - someone was in pool, then it was free, they filled it up and I literally couldnt get to it, I was in too much pain to move an inch; so that was that.

Then I had a meeting a few years later to discuss subsequent birth with MW and she kept saying " Women really dont understand what an amazing pain reliver water is"

I said three time - I tried to get into the water, I am a beliver but I couldnt physically get to it!

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sat 16-Feb-13 22:44:58

I wanted one with dc1. Unfortunately I discovered whilst in the bath during labour that water did nothing for me.
Made the mistake of getting in the bath with dc2, and has to be assisted out as I hated being in water again didnt help the pain
Am currently 25wks pg, and have no plans to even get in any water this time around.
Just so you know that not all of the 20 (from the1in20) will want the pool.

Rockchick1984 Sun 17-Feb-13 10:19:08

I desperately wanted a water birth with DS, only one pool at my local hospital but was told by midwife that it was hardly ever used so should be no problem if that was what I wanted.

Typically, it was in use when I went into labour! I managed fine though without it, had back to back labour with DS and he got stuck so very long time to push him out. Still did it with no pain relief and no intervention, which was what I'd hoped for.

Expecting DC2 at the moment, hoping for a home water birth this time.

lillyains Sun 17-Feb-13 22:13:04

I wanted a water birth but couldn't have one because I had the drip to induce labour and was kept on the monitors!
I just kept my options open and tried not to have my heart set on anything because baby may ultimately decide to throw your desired birth plan out the window!
A lot of the delivery suites had baths in them where I was so you could have a nice bath!
I just focused on what I was there to do and kept thinking it doesn't matter how I have baby as long as he arrives safe and well!
Hope that helps!
From these comments you may even be able to persuade DP to re consider the HB

BraveLilBear Mon 18-Feb-13 14:33:53

Glad to know that not everyone is a waterbaby, that's for sure (no pun intended)!

Also good to know that it's not the end of the world either. Not that I thought it would be, but I imagine that being quite a challenge to get my head round if in pain as I'm stubborn at the best of times wink

Not sure I'll be able to win DP round, he's also very worried about problems and is totally unconvinced that problems are very quickly picked up by midwives at home. He has had a bad experience previously (past relationship) which may be hindering his usual open-mindedness. May try and get him to a mw appt as time moves on to see if that might change his stance...

Floweryhat Mon 18-Feb-13 17:47:14

At home you get one midwife to yourself for most of labour, and two for the birth. In hosp, 'your' midwife might be looking after 3 other mums too. It's a no brainer that at home problems are picked up rapidly. Even if you're on a trace with a machine constantly monitoring you in hosp, that doesn't actually achieve anything except when a professional comes and looks at the printout.

CuppaSarah Tue 19-Feb-13 21:02:26

Like you I really wanted a water birth. But by the time I went into labour, all thoughts of my birth plan went totally out the window. I have no clue if the birth pool was even free or not. In the end I had a few mild complications and wouldn't have been allowed in the water either way, but still. While it's worth having an idea what you want for the birth, don't be too surprised or worried if you don't even consider it when the time comes.
I can honestly say I have NO regrets to how my labour and birth went. It was a really calm, magical experience. I'm glad I had set idea of what I wanted beforehand though, it helped me visualize what would happen even if it couldn't have been further from the reality. Plan for what you want, but don't pressure yourself, what feels right on the day is right.

Teladi Tue 19-Feb-13 21:07:01

I wanted a waterbirth but when I got into the midwives unit, it became clear that I was pre-eclamptic, cue a hustle down to labour ward.

member Tue 19-Feb-13 21:36:36

No pool in the consultant-lead unit I had dd1 in (was sent there because MLU thought I may be haemorrhaging in labour-I wasn't)

Dd 2, had no strong feelings beforehand but had found bath at home helped with pain so decided to go for it. Pool was available & filled in plenty of time. Unfortunately, my contractions slowed right down in the pool which I don't think would have been a problem in itself as dd wasn't distressed, but I was in pain constantly(not just during contractions) because of her back to back presentation & struggling to cope. It was suggested that I come out to see if contractions picked up again, which they did. Labour basically progressed much more quickly out of the pool, so I stayed out.

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