Butter Rum Cartoon

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Our third son, Andy, was to be born underwater in our Everett apartment. We rented an inflatable, birthing tub and, when the due date came, set it up in the dining room in place of the table. After some study and video watching, we were convinced that water-birth was the way to go. The water is maintained at body temperature, and so serves as a relaxing hot tub for the mother. And the baby then moves from a little womb into a very large "womb," still breathing through the umbilical cord like scuba equipment, with no danger of drowning, until the parents lift the child to the surface to breathe air and be cuddled. Surely this idea seemed better than our difficult births in the birth clinic and hospital. And at home, there wouldn't be the constant monitoring that interrupted Micki's concentration and meditation. The midwife agreed to the water-birth and was to come when we called her.

On that special morning in 1989, Micki got up to make breakfast. It wasn't long before she suggested I begin filling the tub. We had had false labors before, and were usually later than the due date, and so I hesitated, not wanting to go through all that work of filling the tub and heating the water for nothing. But of course I did as she suggested, just in case. Suddenly, while mixing waffle batter, Micki dropped down onto her hands and knees in the kitchen and stayed in that position for a few minutes. I telephoned the midwife and she was then on her way. Then Micki stood back up and continued making waffles. Soon she was down again with another contraction, then up again, making waffles. We ate waffles while Micki was in labor. For each contraction, now coming often, she got down on her hands and knees.

Even before the birthing tub was completely full, she said, "I'd better get in."

"But it's not full yet," I complained. Nevertheless, she undressed and got in.

When I was finished filling the tub around Micki and adjusting the temperature, someone knocked on the door. It was Micki's friend, Pam, bringing over her video camera for us to borrow for when the baby is born, not realizing she was walking right into the birth. And the midwife hadn't arrived! The phone rang; the midwife was held up in traffic and would be there as soon as possible. Pam was a nervous wreck. She had watched Samuel's birth in the hospital, but now we were on our own. Micki, though, was very calm. The midwife called again to try to give support and instructions over the phone, and Pam wound up as the frantic go-between, with a receiver in one hand and camcorder in the other.

I asked Pam if she would mind if I undressed and got in the tub with Micki. That was fine with her. So soon both Micki and I sat nude in our temporary hot tub. Within minutes, there was an odd, shocked expression on Micki's face as she looked at me. The water had become murky with blood and I couldn't see anything through it. I reached down and felt a little baby, swimming across the bottom of the tub, and I lifted our new son to the surface. After Micki's trying labors in the clinic and hospital, this was unbelievable! Our other sons ran over to see their little brother, and Pam was busy videotaping when the midwife and her assistant hurried in. They were in time to help with the placenta coming out, to check and weigh the baby, and to sew up Micki. She had torn a little, as was usual.

While the midwives were dressing up the baby and resting on the couch, Micki was already up and about, and offered them cherry cheesecake, which they passed up. This was our easiest birth with the shortest labor, and we were sold on water-births at home.

Time went on and three more children were born to us--all daughters--giving us three sons and three daughters in that order. All three daughters were born at home, underwater. All three can honestly say, "I was born in the kitchen." By the time our youngest child was born, we felt pretty confident in home births, and didn't hire any outside help. I was the midwife. On the day of the birth, we took our new baby to the supermarket and weighed her on the vegetable scale. Our doctor had given Micki prenatal checkups, and the day after she gave birth, he checked the baby's health and stitched up Micki, who went through the procedure without anesthetic of any kind. Our doctor could only shake his head at Micki and be amazed.

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  1. I am in awe of your family. I wish I could have experienced a water birth with our now 2 month old son, but we rent and they said no way could I have a home birth. (If I didn't love our place so much, I would have went ahead with it.) Kudos to you and your family for being so open-minded!

  2. It makes me mad to think some landlords can be so close-minded and dictatorial to try to invade your privacy and even control your own child-bearing!
    When Andy was born, they were in the process of shingling the roof of our apartment building, and I even called the management to tell them we were having a home birth and didn't want to be bothered by the noise. I don't remember if they heeded our request, but I also don't remember any noise during the labor and birth.

  3. They call birth tubs 'the midwife's epidural' for a reason. (-:

    Anyone considering waterbirth might find the waterbirth.org site helpful.

  4. Dale, I just found your site via facebook - your youtube video about breastfeeding in public is about to go viral amongst the lactivists I think. :)

    What a lovely post. I posted my water birth story up on my old blog: http://dinnae.blogspot.ca/2011/01/riley-morgans-birth-story.html

    And obviously "anonymous" has been fear-mongered well. As the medical INDUSTRY intended.

    Thanks so much! :)

  5. This story is beautiful. Your family is beautiful. I can only see a picture of a beautiful moment being captured with that camera. Way to go!

  6. Water birthing is great! I did not invite the whole family into the tub afterward, though. As a matter of fact, I GOT OUT rather quickly because, well, I am a bit squeamish (okay a LOT squeamish)- lol! To each their own. You have to do what is right for your family and yourself. To the people who are posting that it is gross, please keep in mind that you may have your babies as you choose, and no one should judge you for it either.