Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waterbirth Video of Plus-Sized Mom

A (plus-sized) reader of my blog sent me the link to the video of her recent waterbirth.  This seems like the perfect complement to last week's post about a new waterbirth study, plus it's a lovely, cheery story for Christmas week. 

Not only is this awesome because it's waterbirth─ the coolest thing ever! ─ but it's waterbirth in a woman of size, something some care providers and some facilities do not "permit."  (Actually, women of size are the perfect candidates for waterbirth, since it can help us be more mobile in labor and pushing.)

But this mom didn't let rules against waterbirth in women of size stop her ─ she found a place and a provider that was amenable to waterbirth for her, regardless of size. 

This was her fifth child.  She had had vaginal births with all her prior children in the hospital, but with some significant interventions (forceps, big episiotomy, a near c-section with the fourth one because she wasn't progressing fast enough for them...even after 3 prior vaginal births!).  She was determined to change things for the next baby. 

She had a boy, 9 lbs. 12 ozs., 22.5 inches long, a size many doctors would freak out over (and some would mandate a c-section for) ─ but she had him naturally and easily with the mobility that the water offered. 

Here are her words about her story (slightly edited):
I avoided seeking out a midwife for my previous births because of size issues, but I went for it and called tons of midwives, wearing my heart on my sleeve as I brought up the issue of weight. I found a wonderful midwife, had a healthy pregnancy and had my baby at home in the water.
I am still on cloud nine. It was one of the most amazing accomplishments of my life. 
I want to help as many moms as possible develop the courage for the birth they want. Waterbirth, long sigh, was so wonderful. Compared to straps around my tummy that didn't fit, cutting into my skin (literally) at the hospital on a bed I could barely move in....
I want to help any mom of any size to achieve the birth she wants - I didn't have that courage for my other births and its a big regret. This was my fifth birth and first home/waterbirth.
My first son was a hospital birth with a very 'old school' obstetrician. I was induced. He only saw me in labor to break my water and he barely darkened the doorway when I started pushing. He mostly waited in the hallway. The nurse finally called him over because she felt my pushes were inadequate - he almost immediately said we needed forceps. My son was born via forceps with a very intense episiotomy.
The next three births followed, with some changes - new doctors, new hospitals, more interventions that I felt weren't needed. My fourth birth they 'threatened' a c-section because I was not progressing to their liking. I didn't get said c-section but I was left very frightened by the threats. I told my husband before I was even home that if we were blessed with another baby I was not going to any hospital. 
I had to face my fears of finding a midwife who would accept me even though I am a plus size mom. I called many midwives before I even knew if I wanted to get pregnant again. I felt so strongly about a homebirth that if it was not an option, it would have affected my choice to even get pregnant again. I found a wonderful Midwife...and I achieved the birth I knew I wanted. My homebirth healed many disappointments from the past. And I was so much more comfortable than I was with any pain-relieving techniques offered at the hospital.
Even though my body may not be [what] want many women would want, I LOVE my body. It brings me so much joy. With my body I shared love with my husband, grew a healthy baby and birthed him naturally in the safety of my home. That is indescribable joy.
Here is the video of her birth:

*Reposted with permission from


Peachy T said...

So Gorgeous! I believe birth is meant to be manageable. Women have been squeezing out babies ever since.. well.. humans have existed! lol.
beautiful video, and a beautiful Family! Brightest blessings!

Shoshanna said...

That video is awesome. I'm a fat lady, and really want to have a home birth in water when my husband and I decide to have babies. Unfortunately, my husband is kind of a nervous person, and worries about me laboring outside of a hospital. I've tried to find studies for him to read, but he has yet to be convinced. He agrees that if I can avoid going to a hospital, that's much better. But he worries about emergencies. Any advice for quelling his fears?

Sarah said...

This was great. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Tilly Cat & Pip-Squeak said...

Wonderful video... I've had two wonderful drug free waterbirths as a fat lady (BMI round about 40...) Both babies were just shy of 9 lbs. I plan to have one next time if I'm lucky enough to have another baby, and my BMI is currently 47. I urge all big ladies to not be scared off the birth they want!

Oh, and an uplifting anecdote... When I told my GP today that we're planning to start trying for another baby, she smiled and prescribed some Folic Acid for me... Not the slightest comment about my weight! (I love her!)

Janie said...

Thanks again for putting up my video!

to Shoshie,
My husband was a bit nervous too - another slight reason why I didn't try sooner.
But two things helped.
Him meeting with my midwife and knowing that there would be emergency supplies on hand, like oxygen and pitocin and there would be two midwives one for me and one for the baby in case something went wrong.

And the other thing that helped was knowing that "decision to incision" time at the hospital was about the same as our transport time to the hospital - so if things were indicating a c-section we could call 911 and alert the hospital to be ready for me.

I had a list of phone numbers for emergency babysitters and two hospitals on our fridge :)
Luckily we never needed them.

Sarah Stogryn said...


A few resources to consider in helping your husband learn the benefits of homebirth:

Business of Being Born - watch it together!

"The Father's Homebirth Handbook" by Leah Hazard

I'm not sure where in the world you are located, but if you have a national, state/provincial, or local midwifery organization they will have all sorts of information available for you. (Like this study of homebirth safety in Ontario Canada:

Sarah Stogryn CD(DONA)

Anonymous said...

very wonderful, i nearly teared up. I've had 2 at home 2nd was a home birth. My 1st homebirth, I was 350 lb, no water and it was rough on the ol hands and knees. But the baby was over 10lb and it was unassisted. Never let anyone tell you what you can or can not did well.

Anonymous said...

That was amazing! I am also a big lady and I had a home water birth in december with a midwife. I DID NOT have gestational diabetes but my son was 11lb 4oz and 22.5in. Size, of mom or baby, does not matter!

TC said...

I'm a "plus sized" momma too but honestly I've even considered my weight an issue when it comes to birth. I've had 7 healthy pregnancies and 5 glorious homebirths. I've never had an issue with size acceptance or a MW not wanting to attend me but then again I birth like a skinny lady I guess (fast births ranging from 1 hr. to 5 hrs. total)

Anonymous said...

This is just what I needed to see when I needed to see it! I am almost 36 weeks pregnant planning a home waterbirth. Its really nice to see a video of someone who looks like me going through this and making it look beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Awesome video - I'm glad she shared it with us. Brought back memories of my last birth - I couldn't stand the water near transition so had to get out but I did most of the early labor in the pool. I bet her children will always remember how their baby brother entered the world.

kadisha13 said...

Just came across this website via "The Fat Nutritionist" and love this home birth story. I started my pregnancy with a BMI of 35 and luckily had midwives and a doula and a fit husband who never once mentioned my weight. I had a beautiful home water birth also and was amazed at what a difference the water and a supportive team made.