The Unassisted Home Waterbirth of Nikolai Francis
By Kasie, USA
I knew I would be meeting my baby that day around 6:30 a.m. That's when the contractions started coming regularly. It was still early labor, so I was able to get Gabriel and Joseph off to school, and finish up some things around the house. I put in a load of laundry, and swept the floor. Once the boys left for school, around 8:00, Stephen and I got in the shower and I started to have more intense contractions, but still not too bad. We had been planning on going grocery shopping that day, and I briefly contemplated going along, since I'm kind of particular about certain things that I like to buy, but I quickly thought better of it. The contractions were coming faster, every 6-7 minutes, and stronger. This was around 9:30. Stephen, Bobby, and Persephone left for the store at that point. I did the dishes, because I knew that would be the last thing I would want to think about once he was here!
The birth pool was already inflated, so when I was done with the dishes, I started filling it. The water felt amazing! The hardest part was having to get out of the pool and walk to the kitchen to shut the water off when it went cold. I was on my hands and knees to keep my belly underwater, since it hadn't filled enough yet. I was having intense contractions at that point, breathing and moaning through them. Stephen and the kids got home around 10:30, and he was back and forth between checking on me, getting the kids settled, and putting groceries away. Once we had hot water again, he finished filling the pool. I lost track of time around then.
I stayed in the pool for awhile, and started to feel the urge to push. It wasn't constant, so I just went with it, and did what my body was telling me to. I reached in and felt my bag of water bulging, and the baby's head. What an awesome feeling! I continued to push when I felt like it, but after awhile of the baby not coming down at all, I was getting frustrated, and hot from being in the water. Stephen spread some blankets on the bed, opened the window, and helped me out of the pool. The cool air felt good, and I continued to moan through the contractions, pushing when I felt like it, and taking full advantage of the rest in between. In those few short minutes in between contractions, I felt like I was in another world, totally removed from everything around me.
I had expected my water to break on its own, but it hadn't, and it didn't feel like I was making any progress bringing him down. On top of that, I was experiencing very intense back labor, which led me to think that he was posterior (face-up), with the hardest part of his head pressing against my spine. I told Stephen if he did nothing else, I needed him to lay into my lower back, to put all of his weight into it. I told him not to worry about hurting me. The counter pressure was the only thing that brought any relief. I started to get cold then, so I climbed back into the pool. I alternated between moaning and being completely silent with each contraction.
I felt my water bulging again, but couldn't feel the baby's head anymore, so we decided to break it on our own. Stephen sterilized a pair of fingernail clippers and tried to do it himself, but said he couldn't feel what he was doing. I took the clippers, reached inside, pricked the sac, and immediately felt the fluid rushing out. I was on my hands and knees, so I asked Stephen if it was dirty or not, and he said no. All of a sudden, I felt a massive urge to push, and went with it. In between urges, I'm telling Stephen to get the video and digital cameras ready. I remember saying “He's coming, he's coming”. and Stephen asking me if he was crowning yet. I was still on my hands and knees, but flipped over when I felt his head crowning. I eased his head out, and what a wonderful feeling! Once his head was born (he was face down, so he must have turned in the birth canal), I checked for a cord around his neck, but there was none. I was just in awe as I held his head in my hands. He was between worlds. His shoulders came in another few pushes, and his body just slid out. There was no pain in the actual pushing, crowning, and birth of his body. It felt good and such a relief!
I brought him up to my chest, and just wept. I'm crying as I type this. As much as I planned and hoped for a wonderful birth experience, I could never have imagined something so beautiful. There are no words to do it justice. I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life, hold it close to my heart, and be forever thankful that I was able to bring my son into the world in such a peaceful, gentle way.