“Walking into a hospital, you are setting yourself up for the doctor’s birth plan, not your own,” says Shelby. And that is why she wanted her second birth experience to be different. When Shelby realized she was pregnant with her second child, she began researching natural childbirth. After reading numerous testimonials on a natural mothering site, she knew she wanted a water birth.
On December 8, 2010 Shelby’s baby was getting ready to come into the world. But there was no panic, no rush, no preparation for a hospital stay. “I wasn’t even at home for the first part of my labor. When I arrived home, I was already 7 centimeters dilated,” she says. During that time, someone took a picture of Shelby laboring on a birthing ball with a big grin, holding up 7 fingers. “I felt so comfortable, being able to do whatever I wanted to do.”
As her labor quickly progressed, Shelby’s physical and emotional feelings grew intense and everyone knew the baby would be here soon. As Shelby labored in the tub, her husband, her midwife Kim, and her birth assistant consistently encouraged her, especially during the “intense pressure” of her baby quickly moving down and out. “I honestly don’t even remember pushing because of how fast he moved down,” Shelby says of her surprisingly quick labor.
When Ryan Michael II, 8 pounds and 10 ounces, came out, Shelby experienced amazing relief. “I was glad it was over and he was in my arms.”
Looking back on her labor and birth, Shelby says it was a great experience and she is very pleased with her choice to waterbirth. “Unless something is medically wrong, I would never go back to the hospital for another birth again.”