Monday, July 5, 2010

Natural Birth Series: Water Birth

Kathleen's Story: Water Birth

I share my story not to beat up on OBs, hospitals or decisions that anyone has made (I TOTALLY respect the choices that moms out there have made). I want women to know that there are other options that most women (sadly) don’t know about. I think its one of the most important healthcare and women's rights issues today!

 I was pretty far along when I switched to a midwife & home birth plan!

In Sept 2008, I had my 1st baby at a very young 37 years old! It was a successful home, water birth with a midwife Marilee Pinkleton and doula Wendy Wright. They were WONDERFUL! Now, before you get the wrong idea and think we are way out there, we are a normal, professional, educated couple. After much research, this is what we decided to do. I love to share.

In the beginning, we started going to a midwife/obgyn collaborative practice. Everything was fine, but I started to feel like there was a better practice out there with more personalized care. I wanted more personal care. As we worked thought the twelve week Bradley Method classes (WHICH I LOVED) we began to learn about obgyns, hospitals, and the "procedures" that we would be exposed to within the traditional hospital setting. I had wanted a home birth, but my hubby was not keen on the idea. We learned more and more about the interventions and then toured the hospital. The last straw was when the Dr. visited us for about six mins and w her hand on the door, said, "Are there any more questions?”  We didn’t even know her after many visits.

The more we learned, for example, that the laboring woman's body releases certain hormones when comfortable, which move labor along quickly and different hormones when she is scared or in an unfamiliar setting, which can stop/slow down the labor, the more we started considering an alternative birth scenario. Then we toured the hospital and questioned our guide, we were told, “Wanting your birth your way is nice, but we have a set protocol around here.” We realized that for us, we wanted to be in charge of this event, but if we went to a hospital, it was likely that they would be in control and turn it into a medical procedure. We discussed with the hospital personnel the fact that we did not want a fetal heart monitor, which is rarely medically necessary and can actually slow labor down because the laboring woman is confined to the bed. We know the best thing to do between contractions in early labor is to walk around. However, they informed us that there were certain things that are standard and must be followed.

Women have been having babies for millions of years without the help of the medical community (except for emergencies) until the last two generations, when the medical community turned giving birth into a medical event. Pregnancy is not a medical event-it's an athletic event. I kept thinking that if I could conquer the Marine Corps Marathon, I could have a baby.

We found Marilee and from the very beginning, she was so different. She came to our home, for starters, and the visits were 1-1.5 hours. We immediately created a bond with her. Marilee was well informed, always taught us something new, and is a very loving and respectful person!

Wendy has had (I believe) two 9 lbs VBACs water births and I have a ton of respect for her. I figured I wanted someone like that at my birth (if she can do it, so can I......although mine was only 7lbs 11oz)! Both shared my values regarding organic, sustainable natural living. There was just a personal bond between Marilee and Wendy and me, my hubby and my mother in-law (who came to several of the appointments and the actual birth and was in tears often saying, "This is so different and beautiful compared to what I experienced at my birth).

We decided to give birth at home in safe, comfortable surroundings including all the germs that she was already immune to via me. For us, this was the right way: relaxed in our home with dimmed lights and candles. It was perfect. Adam, my husband, was the only one there with me mostly, by choice. We labored together with him talking me through each wave of the contractions. Remember, each contraction only last about a minute or so. The midwives and Adam's mother didn't join until the last 30 minutes after I had gotten into the tub (the best thing in the world)! Of course, we were ready to go to the hospital if anything happened and are glad that there are facilities to help sick babies and people.

I felt and feel very confident that I could trust them w our baby's life! I am an attorney and my husband is in finance and we are pretty skeptical and meticulous people. Marilee came through for us with a both successful pregnancy and birth and I credit her for that!  We will use her for all our babies (we are already trying). Our insurance is Guardian and it was all reimbursed, except for our deductible. We had to pay in advance, but it was SO SO worth it!

I want to suggest Bradley classes vs. other methods of birth prep as only Bradley really brings in the husband as an active, necessary support roll. Depending on where you live, Julie Miamone was our Bradley teacher and was great! You can contact Marilee at and

Let me know if you have any questions. I loved my water birth and HIGHLY suggest it if you have not had one. We were safe and relaxed in our own home, with our own germs, on our own terms. Women are made for birth and it’sa beautiful thing! 

Do you have a Dr? We have an AWESOME family Dr who sees my husband, my 20 month old, and me Katharine Grace.  

Dr. Kim

I highly recommend them. I would be happy to answer any questions that you have. Each pregnancy and birth is so personal and unique and I am not criticizing any choices or decisions parents make. I just wanted to tell you about my birth experience. It was beautiful, peaceful, and safe and brought my husband and me so close with a special bond! 

Warm regards,

Kathleen, 38
Falls Church, VA

Watch my birth (in private of course): Make sure to have the speakers on! I promise its not gory... :-)


Here’s a great resource. It’s a group to join and to get information on midwives, doulas, and homebirth:
Go to      
Search on         novahomebirth

Here is the trailer to Pregnant in America

Watch the movie! So worth it!

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