I have always been one of those women who has felt very connected to her body, and to the underlying nature of being a woman; therefore, pregnancy and birth to me have always felt like what we are naturally built for. I think it’s important to preface this post with that, as I truly do feel that it’s this underlying faith and belief in what my body can do that led to the two lovely homebirthing outcomes that I’ve experienced with my two girls.
Due to how I feel about womanhood, it has always baffled me that birth is seen as a medical event if the mother has had a healthy pregnancy. Home birth was the way for millennia and really only moved into hospitals to make it easier for the doctors, not for the mothers. When I became pregnant, I searched out midwives who would birth my child at home. I had heard about hypnobirthing from a friend, so my husband and I signed up for a hypnobirthing course. That really helped my husband feel part of the birthing experience. As part of the hypnobirthing course, we watched a video compilation of natural births around the world, and a lot of them were in water. It looked much more peaceful for both the mother and child, so we decided to rent a birthing pool.
With our first, we set it up in the living room in front of the fire, as that was the room that I was most comfortable in. In hindsight, the kitchen (where we put it with our second) would have made more sense logistically. In the living room, we had to cover the whole room in drop sheets to protect the rug from the water, whereas the hardwood floors in the kitchen didn’t need any protection. You also need to be close to a water source, so really if your kitchen is big enough, it’s definitely the easiest place to set up the pool. We went for the “Birth Pool in a Box” (BPIB) option, and my only comment on this would be to pick the larger size if you’re a taller/larger woman as I am. We went for the smaller one (as that was the one that our doula had available) and it was a tight fit! It would have been nicer to be able to stretch out. What I ended up doing was getting in and out more than I did in Canada (we had a larger one the first time around).
When it comes to the logistics of renting a birthing pool, I definitely have a few pointers. Firstly, order one ahead of time and blow it up ahead of time. The healthy birthing window is anywhere between 37-42 weeks, so have it blown up by 37 weeks, and just tuck it out of the way in your garage or spare bedroom. You don’t want to be stressing about blowing it up when you go into labour. Secondly, do a test run of filling the pool so that you know how long it takes and so that you feel comfortable with the kitchen sink to hose connectors. Most of them take between 1-2 hours to fill, so as long as you feel quite connected to your body and recognize the signs of early labour, you should have plenty of time to fill the pool. The pool covers that come with the BPIB keep the heat in really well. This was always my concern, as both of my labours were 12 hours in length. I was worried that the water would go cold, but just keep it covered and it should be fine. Both of my pools were filled 12-15 hours before I actually gave birth in the pools and the water temperature was fine both times. If it goes a bit cool, your doula or midwife or husband can add a kettle of hot water to warm it up for you. My friend who had a 28 hour home birth had to do this quite a few times! Many of the birthing pool kits will come with a thermometer and you can therefore make sure that the temperature isn’t dropping too quickly.
Other than that, the only last point that I would make is to have faith in your body. If you have had a healthy pregnancy and you are healthy and your baby is healthy, then your chance of needing unforeseen medical intervention is very slim. Of course there are medical scenarios that would make a homebirth unlikely (such as a low lying placenta) but your midwives and doctors will know about this ahead of time from your scans. Very few healthy pregnancies suddenly require medical intervention without the midwives or doctors having some warning signs beforehand. Plus you always have your midwives there with you, but trust in your body as it naturally knows what to do!