Becky is a 22-year old woman in her first pregnancy. She'd had no problems and at her 36 week appointment, she discussed her birth plan and told her doctor that she wanted a water birth at the local birth center.
Becky's birth story: By the time I was two days overdue I was having irregular contractions. I'd had a bloody show and had a backache. The next day I woke at 6:30 am with regular contractions. I coped using breathing techniques, stayed active, and used a birthing ball. When my contractions were every 5 minutes and lasting a minute, I called the birth center since I felt I needed to use the pool. They said they would get it ready.
At 11:35 am, my partner and I reached the center and met the doctor. She felt my contractions, listened to the baby's heartbeat and did a vaginal examination. She said I was in established labor since I was 5 cm dilated, my cervix was 50 percent effaced, and the head was descending. In the pool, I was able to move around and change position. The warm water eased my backache and contractions. I felt calmer and started to relax. I found kneeling in the water and rocking my pelvis back and forth and from side to side helpful. My partner supported me and periodically the doctor listened to my baby's heart rate.
At 3:20 pm, my contractions were every 1 to 2 minutes and very strong. The doctor and my partner reassured me and I managed to focus. I began to feel the urge to bear down. At 3:50 pm, my baby's head was born and a couple of minutes later I pushed my baby out into the water. The doctor gently lifted my baby up to me and we stayed in the water a few moments. I got out to deliver the placenta, which I did without drugs. At 4:20 pm my placenta was delivered and I didn't need stitches.
The doctor's comments: Becky found the warm water helped her deal with contractions, and she stayed calm. She tried different positions and the water kept her buoyant. She and her partner were focused. Her labor progressed well and was just under 10 hours. It was wonderful to observe.