Just wondering if any of you moms had births at home with your first babies, and if so, did you have a waterbirth?
I had intended on delivering at our nearby midwifery center, but because of their affiliation with a hospital, they require 20 min. of initial fetal monitoring, no videotaping during delivery, and NO waterbirths for first-time moms. Per the midwife at the center, the reason for the prohibition of waterbirths for primigravids was "First-time moms push for an average of 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and we can't sit up to our armpits in water waiting for that long." She is otherwise an extremely kind woman, and honestly, I can understand her point.
Now, I may get into the heat of labor and decide that I can't stand the mere sight of water, but I still just want to have that CHOICE. Therefore, I'm thinking of a homebirth now. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Wow, that is unfortunate. I had a birthing center birth for my first but I wanted a homebirth. I didn't plan on a water birth, but I ended up doing almost all my pushing (well over 2 hours) in the water. I don't really understand the midwife saying what she said as it's not like they are in there the entire time you are pushing. They periodically checked me and monitored the baby but they weren't sitting there with their arms in the water the whole time. I ended up getting out when the baby was crowning so I could get some more help (I had a very very long labor and was extremely exhausted by the end). But a water birth would have been just fine with me.

My birthing center was freestanding and definitely didn't require any initial monitoring, videotaping was allowed (though I didn't have any) and of course I could have had a water birth if I wanted one.

This time around I'm having a homebirth. I have a tub rented. I don't know if I will have a water birth or not. I plan to just go with the flow. I know I want to at least be able to labor in the water as it was relaxing for me and if I end up staying in it, then great! If not, that's fine too.

If you are fine with a homebirth then I say go for it! I wish my first had been a homebirth. We only did the birthing center as our insurance would cover a birthing center but not a homebirth. It's the same this time, but we're just paying for it ourselves. My birthing center experience was great, but it was over an hour away and the drive home sucked. I'm looking forward to being at home and staying at home this time around.

Good luck!
I am a first time mom who had my precious girl Emerson at home. We did not end up using the tub because we couldn't get the hose to connect correctly (should have had that taken care of before hand), but it didn't matter because I pushed Emerson out in only 11 minutes. My midwife did let me have the option of the tub though if it would have worked out and I would have enjoyed it I'm sure. The baby's heartbeat was monitored periodically throughout the labor with a hand held unit. You should do a homebirth, you will enjoy your experience so much more if you have the choice to do what you want! It's all about you and trust me, I will have all of my babies at home and after only having my baby for 5 months, I am so ready to do another home birth because it was so awesome. You will not regret spending your labor and first moments with your baby in your own environment whether you end up using a tub or not.
Let us know what you decide, I hope it all goes well for you.
I can't even imagine that the midwife said you coudn't birth in water as a first time mom, because she can't sit up to her armpits in water. That is a bit peculiar! As for filming, I've heard at some hospitals that you couldn't video until after the birth was over, for 'liability' reasons, but you'd think that at a birth center they'd be different. It sounds a bit like the birth center is almost more just a name than a reality. I'd go for the home birth! It took me three babies, before becoming educated enough (and frustrated enough at the medical model) to have a home birth. Then I didn't have water until my 5th! I would have done them all in water if I had it to do over again! I say go for it! Of course, if you decide at the moment that the water isn't for you, then at least it is YOUR choice, not because of some silly regulation or provider preference. Good luck!
Yes, the first word that came to mind for me was "medwife"...
Yikes! If you have a home birth, will you be using the same midwife? Personally, that attitude would send up a red flag to me about what kind of care the mw was willing to give me during my labor.

Also, there is no reason that the mw would need to have her arms in the water the entire time. IMO, that's rather ridiculous.

I've never heard of a policy against water birth for first-time moms, but the mws in our area are all LMs who have no hospital affiliation, so maybe that's why.


I had my first in a birth center, but it may as well have been a homebirth (it was a free-standing birth center, with no hospital attachment or affiliation; it was basically like having a hombirth in someone else's home). We had a water birth, there was no continuous monitoring (doppler between contractions, but only because I was ready to push before we even got there; I had a very quick labor, and my son was born a half an hour after we got to the BC), and we were encouraged to videotape and take lots of pictures.

My second would have been a water birth at home, but our thermometer wasn't working, and since he came even faster than his brother did, we didn't have time to get a working thermometer!
I just had my first baby at home 3 weeks ago. I had full intention of a water birth in our soaking tub in our master bathroom. While I did labor quite a while in the bath, next time I would rent a birth tub. Our bath wasn't deep enough to cover me, so I ended up feeling cold, which did not help the situation. I got out right as I was starting to really get the urge to push. I ended up delivering on our bed. I pushed for two hours, which is right in your midwife's time frame. But even while I was in the tub, my midwife did heart rate monitoring with a hand held doppler every 15 minutes or so, but was on the other side of the bathroom the rest of the time. No where near having her "armpits in the water". Honestly, if you were to be laboring in a tub, you probably would not want your midwife in your face the whole time like that, anyway. If it were me, I would definitely go with a homebirth. One of the amazing things about it is that you get to call all the shots. No mandatory monitoring, videotape til your heart is content (and you will want it on film if you have a video camera), all the tub time you can handle, and no one to push you around. If you have the option, go for it!
Katie, you may consider a compromise coming from an experienced dutch midwife. To avoid discussions about waterbath's, you could suggest to remain standing upright on the dry floor with rather stretched hip joints during the pushing stage. Due to gravity forces, there is no real need to push actively, you don't get tired and most likely you'll birth your baby within about 43 minutes. If and when your midwife lets you adopt instinctive natural behaviour by preventing disturbing unnessary interventions, you'll most likely end up squatting during the last 10 minutes. The squatting position can easily be taken up with the aid of a heel support, a pair of roomy pumps with heels of say 4 centimeters. Be sure to take up relaxing positions in between contractions during the squatting phase. You should either kneel forward leaning on an upside down baby tub if you are tall. When built rather short, you'll prefer to lean backward when relaxing from squatting. You'll be such a proud and strong woman after such a birth and you are in command all the time.
Thank you so much for all of the advice...it feels so edifying to hear your experiences and to feel your encouragement! This forum has been such an empowering resource for me.
I'm still in the process of deciding where I should birth (and I have plenty of time!), and I need to engage my husband in the decision-making, obviously ;-). Insurance is always an issue, of course (no coverage for HB), but I think the cost would be more than worth it in the long run!
Thanks again!
Katie--This is YOUR birth! What I wish for you is to find a midwife who supports you and your decisions wherever you birth your baby.

Although I got out of the water just before delivering my first child (homebirth), I spent much of my labour in the birthing pool and cannot imagine my labour without it! It's hard to articulate how much the buoyancy of the water helped with my contractions.

Yes, it's hard to know what you will want in your labour but having choices is liberating.

Blessings to you and your upcoming birth!
Ewww. I thought "med-wife" myself.

I have learned that there are some CNMs who are OB-wannabes...they want things done timely and they want them highly monitored. I went through this with my recent birth, actually, though it wasn't my first birth. It was, however, my first midwife experience. I had a CNM that delivered in a hospital. She did/said some things that totally caught me off-guard. One time, I asked about the benefits of babies delivering en caul (in the sac) and she said it was "terribly yucky." That threw me off a little. Then, I mentioned how I was hoping he didn't come late and she said that she'd induce if I wanted to. Elective induction, regardless of cervical readiness, is something I don't support. The fact that she DID support it pushed me away. I ended up finding a homebirthing midwife at 37 wks and having a blissful delivery at home.

First of all...they aren't in there "up to their armpits" for that long. YOU are in the tub and, trust me, you'll know when the baby is coming. Plus, they can just look at you and see whether or not the head is coming out. Sheesh. I think that comment was highly obnoxious. I would have taken away from that a sense that she found birth to cramp her style a bit.

I would recommend that you consider a home birth. But, keep in mind your proximity to a hospital, just in case. I fyou are in the boonies (i.e., more than 30 minutes away from a hospital), then I would second guess a home birth, but that is just me.
I don't know if it's too late to respond.... but I'm going to anyway! I pushed for 20 minutes with my first.... with an epidural, in the hospital, slightly reclined. There are two birth centers near me, and they both allow water births for first time moms. I hope you get the birth you want, and if you've already had your baby, I hope it was all you had hoped for!
Katie, if you have already had your baby then congrats! If you are still considering a home birth, then you should probably consider changing midwives too. I had my second child at home with a midwife. He was born in a birthing tub in our back yard in CA in 1994. Although he was my second son, he was 2 1/2 lbs bigger than my first and the labor was longer and harder. Number of births does not necessarily indicate how easy a delivery will be.
My midwife was the most amazing lady. She monitored me (mostly by touching my baby's head) and was there for me the whole time. She got in the tub with me. She even stripped down like me. My husband was in the tub behind me, supporting me like a chair so I was able to squat. My midwife never made me feel it was my job to wonder if she was comfortable. Are we aksed to take care of caregivers and wonder about their needs if we are a patient in any other situation? She was trilled to be there and to witness another birth and she had been to over 1000.
A CNM may be a the insurance covered compromise but it cannot replace the passion and compassion of a true midwife. Unfortunately she passed away from breast cancer a few years later. I would clone her for every woman considering a home birth if I could.

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