Do I need a birth pool?

If you enter into a homesteading circle these days, it’s almost a rite of passage to get goats, for one reason or another. Have you noticed this trend? It is still very rare to keep a diary ewe, but I find that they are much more enjoyable creatures (not to mention the milk is exponentially better than both cow and goat!)...yet don't have the same hip reputation.

I realized recently that something similar happened around 2006 when I first heard of a childhood friend having a water birth. She gushed on and on about how amazing her water birth was, and next thing you knew, water birth had become the expected standard home birth practice. So much so, that if you say that you're having a home birth, one might automatically ask when and where you're setting up the pool. 
"What pool?"
When I was pregnant with my first, I was glad that our house had a large, deep tub—just in case I wanted to birth there. I spent transition dozing in the water, but with that first urge to push, I needed OUT. My body needed to breathe, needed spaciousness of area. While that birth was definitely not instinct-led, I remember that was the one part I received authority of. I hopped out of my own will--not because my midwife told me to. The rest of the story I still grieve a little, how I allowed my midwife and her team to be the directors, how I ended up pushing while lying on my back. Unfathomably difficult, excruciating, long. I am grateful for the deliverance of my daughter, but her birth initiated me into the reality that *expectations and knowledge are often the source of our problems*.

In every following birth, I received the gift of allowing the process to work, as Abba sent out His Word for my body and baby. Water has always played a part around transition, whether in a shower or bath, but never in birth.

I’m not here to say there is anything wrong with water birth. I’ve never read a story in ancient texts of any of YHVH’s people birthing in water, so it is interesting to me that there has been some connections to The Nations (Gentiles: Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks...) There was a lot of reverence of water, and rituals for their fish gods such as Dagon. Having no idea if this practice had anything to do with these gods, I won’t say that’s the reason Egyptian and Greek women may have birthed in water…it may have been purely for comfort.

However…the obstetrician who initiated such a wave of popularity in the Western world more recently, surmises that the reason it is so comforting and wonderful has to do with “our aquatic beginnings”, identifying him as a person who clearly does not know YHVH, and puts confidence in stories like evolution. Additionally, he speaks of it in terms of “reducing the need for” medications in labor and birth. This kind of perspective comes from the flawed concept that a woman’s body doesn’t have the capacity to bear up to the challenge of labor without some kind of arbitrary addition. In his experience as an OB, I suspect that undisturbed birth was a rare thing, and water birth had to be more peaceful than what he was used to seeing, while still a far cry from the original design.

After having a few precipitous labors, I know the intensity of these things and YES—immersing really does help! But as for allowing the stretching of the perineum…anyone ever found sex in the shower to be comfortable? Water is DRY when it comes to “down there”! Neither of my fast, big boys that I birthed in one or two crazy FER contractions tore my perineum or labia, (which had been covered in olive oil pre-crowning).

A couple thoughts I’ve had while wondering about the water birth trend:

The smell of my newborn is intoxicating. It’s what bonding hormones utilize for the establishment of the motherbaby unit, for successful breastfeeding and lifetime bond. This is why I don’t bathe my newborn until at least 8 days, and then, only in herbal tea. I am in no hurry to remove it, diffuse the sacred rawness of birth, or to confuse my baby about who’s who.

Another consideration that I have had, as my instincts (with all four instinctual/physiological births) have been to get out of the water before the water breaks, is that the microbiome of the mother’s birth canal inoculates the infant with their first population of beneficial bacteria. As I’ve seen water birth photos, the mixture of (sometimes chlorinated) water and poop, etc which creates a murky mixture, does not appeal to me for birthing my baby into, aside from the fact that the viscosity and concentration are very different from what would naturally *flow outward* with the baby during birth.

Again, I’m not speaking *against* water birth, but I wanted to share a different perspective for those who have received a glowing recommendation and are feeling a burden to buy, prepare and fill a birth pool for their birth. My precipitous labors would never have allowed for this, but if I had tried to when I realized I was in labor, it would have added an element of stress to my being that is unhelpful for labor. It is a Good Thing to realize and be willing let go of what is merely a burdensome “good idea”, creating drama and a sense of need for excess due to a cultural expectation or trend. It's okay if it's not a Good Thing for you.

If it is a Good Thing, you'll know it. You will receive it. We can't demand or take Good Things. Abba knows all that you need and He will bless those who seek His Word in all things.