In Your Language

Friday, March 14, 2014

From Water to Water at Fort Wainwright, AK

Here is a Vimeo Video on a Water birth
The Birth of Cody Taylor

 ARTICLE: Bassett (hospital)makes a splash with water birthing opportunities

Disclaimer: This post is about images, video and articles based on water-birth and laboring women. I will also tastefully share my "take" on the subject. If this content makes you uncomfortable, please pick a different post from my blog here.

[This article is relevant to me because my husband is associated with the US Air Force as a civilian (full-time work) and as Air National Guard (part-time service) member. He was active duty in his original association with the military. Next year he'll be deployed as a civilian to South Korea. I've also had two birth experiences: one with medication and one as pictured above as a planned waterbirth. I had a doula for my first birth and I still keep in touch. The Midwife was helpful but less hands-on with this second time around.]

 According to the article: "Currently Fort Wainwright, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Fort Hood, Texas are the only Army medical centers that offer water birth programs." Mountain Midwifery in Englewood, CO is the only free-standing birthing center in Colorado at this time. They are the facility that handled my recent pregnancy. These days caesarian sections are more and more prevalent and are considered less for emergency and more for swiftness and timing.

The American Pregnancy Organization's article  says that water-birth and "conventional" births have similar mortality rates meaning that water-birth is at least as safe as our hospital births with interventions. They also mention many benefits for the mother and a few benefits for the baby. But what they don't emphasize is the huge benefit of the absence of drugs.

I liken having medication during labor to being intoxicated. Many doctors would admonish a pregnant lady for drinking during pregnancy; but somehow it's okay to be hopped up on medication when the baby is about to be born? I personally had the epidural the first time around and I seriously felt similar to being drunk. I talked all goofy and didn't make sense.

Like the featured water-birthing mom, Katherine Armon shared in the article, I had a great experience in the water. It didn't help reduce pain as much as it made it easier to endure the intense pain. The water also helped the contractions be more efficient. Knowing I was going to get in the birth-tub, from the beginning of my labor I trained my brain and body to work together and to not resist what was naturally going on in my body. I framed it that my body was making the sensations and that I was in harmony with strength of the sensations. I was firm in telling myself that I wasn't a victim of the sensations but the creator of them.

With that frame of mind, I experienced labor from 2am and it ended at 5:47am (less than 4 hours, with 20 minutes in the tub) on my birthday. I used the pain for good. I wasn't empowered; I felt powerful. I felt in harmony with my core being and all the women before me and "modern medicine."  I felt so connected with Gabriel being born on the day I was born on. It was a mystery to me how water could make the difference between an 18 hour labor and a 4 hour labor. The only thing I missed the second time around was the hand-on care of the doula which I relished the first time around.

{About 5 mos old}
As you can see in my personal picture of my son, Gabriel, he still loves the water. I believe it is because he was born in the water and it feels very comfortable to him. My daughter, in contrast, is eight years old and recently got over having water over her face. Now  she perserverates on the sensation of water being in her ears. Bath-time was a nightmare for us as she was growing up; not so anymore with Gabriel. Many times, we will make it a family affair with him. He gets excited when he hears the water turn on.
So I hope that with more news exposure and personal blogs written about the natural business of bringing babies into the world under water, people can make more informed choices and not just go with what is "trending." I hate to relate natural birth with the word "empowered" because it, to me, insinuates that we don't have intrinsic power or wisdom. I'd go with the phrase "water birth activates our hibernating power." I hope that more military hospitals and civilian hospitals incorporate this avenue of birth. 

I envision becoming a doula when I'm a widow. Perhaps I feel that strongly about it because I was separated/abandoned from my mother and didn't have a mother with me during my pregnancies that I want to minister to other expecting mothers. I'll leave you with a question: how are you going to activate your hibernating power today and into the future? Sending God's blessings and love to you~

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