Story told by Sarah Aitken
A water birth really appealed because I just felt good in the water. I felt chilled, it felt like the natural element that I wanted to be in. When I was able to get in the water I was more relaxed and it just kept going like that.
The water is 37 degrees, it’s body temperature, so it’s delightful.
It was quite early in the morning so it was nice and warm to be in there. You can lean back, you can be on an angle, which is really nice when you’re pregnant. I was relaxed, I was lying back in the water. I was submerged up to my armpits and I was holding on to the big, soft sides of the pool.
It’s still a painful labour, you still feel the contractions but it just takes the edge off.
I get asked a lot, ‘Isn’t it messy, having a home water birth? But being in the water is actually a really clean way to birth. You hop out and you’re clean, it’s like you’ve had a bath.
In Alice Springs we have Midwifery Group Practice, so if you want a home water birth you need to go through those guys and if you’re still low risk towards the end then you can hire a birth pool from Birth and Beyond. So you have to get the okay from the midwife first, you can’t just go and hire the birth pool.
We had to hide it in our bedroom because our then two year old daughter would have thought it was just the best thing.
I actually laboured through the night so part way through I woke my partner up when the contractions started getting stronger and he blew up the pool. You have to spend a bit of time blowing it up. We had a lino floor surface so it wasn’t too bad but we did put some tarps and towels around so it wasn’t too slippery.
Then you have to fill it up and it has to be 37 degrees. That’s a bit tricky. We had a hose coming through from the outside tap into the living room and another hose from the hot water system. Some people use kettles. And then while you’re in it there’s not really anything else to do. The midwives are monitoring you and the baby and the water temperature.”
The Alice Birth Project is written and produced by Nicole Lee.
Proudly supported by the Alice Springs Town Council, Birth and Beyond, the Community Broadcasting Foundation.