I had my first natural water birth in 2015 with my oldest boy, Mbusizwe, at Genesis Maternity Clinic. We loved the service and bedside manner of the staff and midwives and knew we would definitely be back for the birth of our second son, Mziwanda. My first labour was long and exhausting, with active labour going on for 24 hours, so I was hoping for a quicker and easier delivery this time around. Being a new mom back then, I just rode the wave and tried to stay positive while sleeping through contractions over two days, however this time I was determined to have a shorter birth where I felt more in control of the progression. Here’s how we managed to have a natural vaginal water birth once more.
This pregnancy wasn’t the easiest, with two hospital stays for preterm labour scares due to an irritable uterus causing contractions at week 28 and 32. So I was on bed rest at home until 37 weeks. I decided to start on dates then and had my first cup of raspberry leaf tea on Sunday, the day I hit 38 weeks and after walking up a storm at Clicks Curls. (I’ll share more about what dates and raspberry leaf tea do on my ‘birth preparation’ post). I started getting cramps the next day on Monday, which I thought would go away until I started timing them.
I alerted my awesome midwife, Lilo Mthembu of ‘Ten ‘n Ten birthing Care’ and she asked us to come in when there were 4 contractions in 10min. I laboured at home alone from 11am until around 4pm, when I let hubby know its time to head home from work. He arrived shortly thereafter and so did my mom so she could watch our oldest, and off we headed to the clinic around 6pm. I was 7cm when I arrived and had lost my mucus plug & a little water breaking, but the baby was still high up and not engaged. I eventually got to 10cm after labouring for a few hours but he was still high up. We walked a bit, did some sitting on the toilet, a few squats during contractions and a bit of pushing in attempts to get him to descend. It ended up with my cervix being swollen and blocking the baby, so she gave me meds to soften it and increase the strength of the contractions thereafter. I got a drip and got into the water for pain management until I felt my body involuntarily start ‘pushing’ baby down, known as “The Fetal Ejection Reflex.”
We went at it for a while until I felt the ‘ring of fire’ and knew the baby was coming. Eventually, the head was out as my midwife scrambled to put gloves on (I’m a silent pusher, not a screamer, so she was busy checking on the drip when everything happened so quickly lol). We could see his little head out in through the water and with one final push he slid out into the world. Mzi came out weighing 2.9kg at 11:15 pm on October 7th. It definitely wasn’t the pain-free supernatural water birth I hoped for because it hurt quite a bit, but I’m glad we stuck it through because we were ready to call the gynae at midnight for an emergency caesarian. God is good 👏🏼
I got a few stitches in the same place as my previous one, but we’re healing well and happy to have a healthy, happy baby. I really wouldn’t have been able to have another natural water birth without the never-ending support of my husband (despite me almost tearing his shirts in the height of the pain), the patience and professionalism of my rockstar Midwife Lilo and my sister Tudu snapping away pictures that we can cherish for a lifetime. All in all, we need to remember that we’re stronger than we know and with a good team and a great support system, we can do anything. If you’re considering midwife-led natural water birth and a birthing centre instead of a hospital, then definitely give Lilo and Genesis a shout. Mwah!