After listening to Grace’s story, a whole new birthing world suddenly opened up right before my mommy eyes.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear of the words: water birth, is this hilarious (and of course with a dose of exaggeration) barely 2-minute scene from Jennifer Lopez’s movie called, “The Back-up Plan,” which I really, really love watching.
Grace and I have known each other through our mommy group, The Mommy Avenue.
Grace bounces on a birth ball
- Name/Nickname: Grace Gan
- Baby’s Nickname & Birth Details: Rinoa/Rina, 6.3lbs, 19in, 9.9 APGAR
- Attending Physician’s Name / Contact Details:
Dr. Karen Ty-Torredes (O.B.) 789-7700 / Dr. Jocelyn Bondoc (Pediatrics) 0917-7036612
- Hospital: St. Lukes Medical Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
- Date: July 30, 2013
* Grace is their 4th successful water birthing account
We’ve been seeing each other every time she opens her home to our group for a play date. We were also the first ones who heard the happy news that she’s pregnant with baby #2, and she’s strongly considering going through water birthing.
This is the first time that I’ve heard of a water birth story that is from a friend, or at least someone that I personally know. I find it very interesting and I thought, it might also interest my readers, or could help someone who’s googling the keywords, “Water Birth in the Philippines” right now if she will to pursue it or not. It could also help raise awareness to other families, or soon-to-be-moms that there is another natural birthing option such as this that they could consider. I hope I am able to serve these purposes through this post, of course with the help and support of Grace.
Why Choose Water Birth?
Grace’s actual birthing tub at St. Lukes Medical Center, Global City
This was the very first question I threw on Grace in the presence of today’s popular birthing options such as epidural vaginal, Cesarean, and Lamaze. I started to wonder of its benefits, or advantages, if any.
“Ever since my first pregnancy, I really wanted a water birth but back then, there’s no water birth in St. Luke’s yet. So I chose to have Lamaze instead. This time around, after conceiving our 2nd child. I knew that water birth in St. Luke’s is already operating and I was so excited,” Grace openly shared.
What are Water Birth’s Advantages & Benefits?
- Facilitates mobility and enables the mother to assume any position, which is comfortable for labor and birth.
- Speeds up labor.
- Reduces blood pressure.
- Gives mother more feelings of control.
- Provides significant pain relief.
- Promotes relaxation.
- Conserves her energy.
- Reduces the need for drugs and interventions.
- Gives mother a private protected space.
- Reduces perineal trauma and eliminates episiotomies.
- Reduces cesarean section rates.
- Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby.
When she finally decided to go for water birth, she stressed the great importance of preparing for it mentally.
“I read a lot of natural birth books, joined groups like “Natural Unmedicated Childbirth”, and read a lot of other mom’s stories. Also, I need to keep healthy in order to pursue my water birth. If your pregnancy is complicated, there’s a tendency you can’t have water birth.”
This great mental preparation through reading books and surrounding herself with people who really understood water birth was all about, gave her the confidence she needs for the big day. These things made her believe in herself that she could do water birth!
Where To Do Water Birth in the Philippines?
Now let’s talk about the hospital who made water birth possible for her here in the Philippines, St. Lukes Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. How did she find out about them?
Grace poses with her firstborn daughter, Gel
“I searched through the internet if there’s any hospital here in Manila that accommodates water birth, and then I read that St. Lukes Global is offering it. I was the first patient of my O.B. who delivered in a water birth. She’s actually the 2nd O.B. I visited. I interviewed her on our first appointment and she matched what I want for my water birth, so I chose her.”
I also learned from my interview with Grace that unlike the other birthing options, surprisingly, we don’t really need anything big in water birthing.
Grace Gan: “You just need to prepare yourself mentally and focus yourself during the whole process. Oh, drinking water is important during labor, because I didn’t have any IVs.”
How Much is Water Birth?
Knowing all these important information and practical water birthing tips, I know you’re dying to know the big question: COST!
Don’t worry because I also asked Grace the same question. For her, the cost is reasonable.
“It’s almost the same as having a regular delivery. Less cost for medicines (i.e. epidural, needles, IVs, etc.), and no more anesthesiologist’s fee.”
Grace smiles in-between contractions
Water Birth: The Big Day
Grace and her husband, Richard, were watching a movie when her water bag broke. However, Grace hasn’t felt any contractions yet. Despite this, they still decided to head on to the hospital since she was already in active labor stage, and the water was still clear.
“I told my mom that I might give birth that day and she told me to go to the hospital immediately, because 2nd babies usually delivers faster. Well, not for me! We went to the hospital at 4AM and gave birth to Rinoa at 5:35PM!”
Grace confesses that it was indeed a long wait for her. She walked the hallway, bounced on a birth ball, jumped up and down, and did squats. She stalled at 4cm for a long time, but when her contractions picked up, that’s when all the things got faster.
Her husband also played a very loving role in her water birth. “My husband helped me deal with every contractions. He did some massage / counter pressure on my back while having contractions and it helped a lot.”
Grace: “Went in the tub when the contractions got so intense.”
Grace tries to cope up with contractions
Best Water Birthing Advice
A strong water birth support system is vital.
“My husband is really supportive especially if it’s all natural. We really don’t like medicines and interventions, so he supported me all the way. My mom was a different story. At first she didn’t agree. Maybe because it was all new to her and never heard of it. She told me that it might be dangerous. I explained to her that it is safe. Water birth has been around for years. It’s just not a normal practice here in our country. In the end, I convinced her,” she wholeheartedly shares.
Grace’s family welcomes a new member, Rinoa
Grace is glad that her attending water birth OB-GYNE, Dr. Karen Ty-Torredes, was on board on her birth plan. It might have taken her 16 hours just for the first stage of labor, but when the second stage came in, it was only for 1 and a half hours.
Recovery was much easier with water birth.
“I think I didn’t even need a recovery stage. I breastfed Rinoa right away. I also got up and went to the bathroom immediately.”
Water Birthing Aftermath
“My first words were “Oh my! You’re so tiny!” and I was smiling. It was like falling in love all over again.”
On Recommending Water Birth
I also asked Grace if she’d recommend water birth to other moms. Without batting an eyelash she said:
“Definitely! As a mom, you’ll only give birth once in a lifetime. Having to go through natural childbirth is one of the best experiences I had in my life. I know lots of moms have traumatic birth experiences, but that’s because they’re lack of knowledge and medical interventions are always given to them. For me, giving birth is not one kind of sickness. So why all the medical interventions? It should be natural. Medicines should only be given if it’s really needed or necessary.”
Gel looks at her new baby sister
More Water Birthing Advices
Grace listed down some more important advices she could share with other moms who want to undergo water birth:
- Prepare yourself mentally.
- Read a lot of unmedicated stories from the other moms.
- Read natural unmedicated birth books.
- People who surround you should support you all the way.
- Before the big day, your mind should be set that you really don’t want/need pain reliever. If you’re open to it, you’ll definitely beg for it.
- Giving birth shouldn’t be scary. You wouldn’t be if you’re prepared enough.
The Most Important Lesson on Water Birth
“The most important thing I’ve learned about giving birth not only in a water birth, is that giving birth is a natural process. Our body was designed to deliver a child in a way it was intended to be. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a “big baby” and I don’t believe to some who says “you’re baby is too big for your birth canal”. I know a lot of women from a group who’s petite and less than 5’2 in height who gave birth to a 9-11lb baby naturally! Women’s body is such a miracle. Yes, of course I would do water birth over and over again if I could.”
Grace wrote me again shortly after sharing these thoughts with us, sharing a behavioral discover she noticed on her almost 2-month-old baby Rinoa.
“Rinoa really likes the water! I think I can attribute this calmness to our water birthing experience. Hindi ako napupuyat sa kanya. After feed, tulog lang agad.” — Grace
She told me that she noticed Rinoa as a very calm baby. She seldom cries, only if she’s hungry, has a soiled nappy, or needs to be burped. During her first bath, she did not even cry, unlike with Gel, her firstborn, who cries really loud during bath time when they were about the same age.
I hope Grace Gan’s story also opened your mommy eyes about water birthing. In my case, all my inhibitions and intimidations on this birth plan were all washed away. For me, she’s one brave, wise woman who knows and does what’s best for her and her family.
If you’re considering to go on water birth, I hope Grace story inspired you and gave you confidence to believe in yourself, and that you can also make it through like her. If you’ve got questions about water birthing that you’d also like to ask her, feel free to leave them at the comment box below.
What do you think of Grace’s water birth story? ❤