Wonderful Wednesday:  Waterbirthing Tilly

Tilly's father David holding a newborn Tilly. David is a white man with brown hair and glasses and Tilly is wearing a white garment. There is a red wall behind them with a mirror which reflects David.By Aquabirths’ Owner and passionate waterbirth and birth activist Ruth Weston

I woke to mild but real contractions. I was going to birth the baby today. It was clear as soon as I started moving around that she was  not going to hang about. I rang the midwife about 7am and it was Madge, community  midwife for my previous baby and we were  both delighted.

My two older children were despatched to the caring hands of a friend.  I was then in the living room and the contractions were sharp and angry. I put on punk music and was dancing round the room shouting f*f*f* – something I would never do!  I turned to my husband, David, and shouted at him for having the easy part, telling him that it was alright for him. I was so angry! My hubby smiled, this had happened before; he knew labour was cracking on.

The homeopath arrived and gave me a remedy. Between that, and releasing all that emotion, the contractions changed, the sharpness had gone and they were easier. The music changed.

Midwife Madge arrived about 9am. I felt that I wanted to go into the pool which was waiting for me upstairs. But I was uncertain, should I? “Go!” they said. So I scarpered upstairs between contractions, chased  by everyone else, and dived into the pool. “Ahhhh!” It was bliss. It was bliss. I wanted big band and blues music now, swinging my hips and groovin’ in the water. And singing along. Indeed everyone sang along and there was quite a choir: The second midwife had turned up with a colleague who wanted to observe a waterbirth and a student who had never seen a  birth before! I was worried that because the contractions were  now so easy that there was something wrong, I was reassured that the contractions were strong. All was well, so I carried on groovin’.

Then quite suddenly everything changed again. I needed quiet. I wanted the music turned off and the chatter stopped. It was close to birth now, it felt really sacred and I felt inside I was treading on holy ground. My homeopath started reading the prayer on the wall by the pool.

But then a little while later (I have no idea of timing) I sat back on my heels, turned to Madge and said “I could have had this baby a few contractions ago but I don’t like this last bit. It hurts.” I can’t remember what Madge said, something about babies have to be born, and that it does hurt but it passes, seeing baby and that everyone wanted the baby out because we wanted lunch! My homeopath meanwhile had dived for her kit and gave me a remedy! And then I simply birthed the baby. And it did hurt and I roared! But it did not hurt as much as I had dreaded. Two contractions and she was there. There was a moment of chaos as I had wanted to lift the baby out of the water and someone else had whipped her out quickly and I was roaring “Where’s my baby! Give me my baby!” And turning around and around getting the cord tangled. And baby was crying because I was crying and there was water and towel and people everywhere! Apparently the student was crying and getting hugs too.

This picture is taken after I birthed the placenta and was being cleaned up. It is my favourite photo! And this lovely baby Mathilda Ruth Melangell is 21 today!

As a postscript. If anyone wants to know why I am so passionate about birth and so angry at some of the culture and practices going on – here is the reason. No woman or baby should be robbed of the opportunity  of this wonderful, wonderful, life-changing experience.

March 31st, 2021