Tag Archives: water birth

First antenatal class

Both Rod and I had been working late, so when we raced into the hospital just in time for the 7.30 start of our first antenatal class we weren’t exactly “in the zone”. Plus I’d cooked sausages while sending my last emails and was suddenly aware that I smelled like a burger van.
We had no idea what to expect. We sat meekly alongside 12 or so other couples and stared at the diagram of a non-pregnant human body – so that’s what I used to look like.
The midwife grinned at us, introduced herself and suggested we all do the same. Everyone was married, everyone was having their first baby and everyone was due within a month of each other… I instantly felt like we belonged. Two husbands were missing due to car trouble (a loose handbrake and a flat tire) so when it came to us I joked that Rod was in the car game if anyone needed a hand. One of the women was having twins (so that’s why my belly seemed so small!) and the lady on my right shared my due date, so all in all I’d say the ice was broken pretty quickly.
The first class focused on our bodies and our pain relief options. The diagram we’d been staring at was flipped to show a pregnant body… Jeez, where did my intestines go? “This is why you’re all probably guzzling Gaviscon” the midwife joked and there were several nods and smiles round the room. And that wee black blob right under the baby’s head is my bladder? “Yup, that’s why you’re in the loo constantly!” It’s always nice to be reassured that your symptoms are totally normal.
When it came to birth plans I was the only one who raised my hand when she asked about water births. She was really supportive and explained exactly how it would work, including the fact I could effectively deliver my own baby by grasping him/her under the arms and pulling him/her to the surface. I loved this idea! She said that Rod could even be in there with me – “Great! I’ll bring my mask and snorkel!” he piped up. Everyone laughed but then there were a few murmurs and I wondered if some other mums were beginning to consider the idea.
At the end of the class we were offered additional breast-feeding and physio classes so I signed up for both. A few others did too, so I’m looking forward to getting to know them. Isn’t the NHS a wonderful thing?

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In praise of the bathtub

I hope this is what's waiting when I die

When it comes to life’s little disappointments, a tepid bath is up there with soggy chips and films whose trailers steal the best scenes.

A roasting hot, bubbly, candlelit bath, with chilled out tunes playing in the background – now that is my idea of heaven. That moment of leaning back in the only-just-bearable heat, resting my head on the rim and closing my eyes as I exhale every last bubble of air in my lungs – it’s magical! There is no other way to relax as instantly and completely.

Now that I’m 31 weeks pregnant, I’m appreciating this zen-like experience on a whole new level. I felt actual joy the first time I realised that the upside of having the heating on almost constantly was instant baths. Usually I’d have to decide an hour in advance when I wanted to soak so that there’d be enough hot water in the tank. One of my friends bought me The Sanctuary’s Mum-To-Be range for Christmas, which includes bath salts, so I have been generously sprinkling them and indulging in a bath nearly every night. It’s actually getting to the stage where I look forward to seeing my tub more than my husband at the end of a day’s work!

The funny thing is, now that I’ve fully appreciated how much this small experience enhances my life, I’m completely reconsidering my view of a water birth. My sister-in-law has done it twice and swears by it, while I’ve always shied away from the mere thought. All that gunk floating in there with you? But if the key to a good labour is remaining calm and breathing deeply – well, I’ve just argued that very point.

I’d be very interested to know if anyone’s had a water birth and if it is, in fact, just as soothing as a bubblebath?

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