Katherine gave birth to Conor in November 2018. Here she shares her experience of having a water birth at Jessie McPherson Private, with Obstetrician Dr Saul Cohen.
I enjoyed a relatively smooth pregnancy, going into labour at 38+5 weeks.
At around 37 weeks I spent some time at the Pregnancy Assessment Unit (PAU), I’d become concerned about the baby’s movements. I was very well looked after by the midwives at the PAU, they checked the baby’s heartbeat and monitored the movements for a while, thankfully the baby was fine.
Choosing an Obstetrician
I was keen to find an obstetrician that was supportive of a low-intervention approach and who would empower me to maintain control over giving birth.
After researching obstetricians I decided on Dr Saul Cohen. Dr Cohen’s philosophy aligned with what I was looking for.
“My philosophy is that pregnancy and birth are natural processes, and should be left as such, unless necessary for the benefit of mother or baby. Natural birth is best facilitated by education and choice. I encourage all my women to attend pregnancy and birth classes. Working collaboratively with like-minded midwives further promotes natural birth.” Dr Saul Cohen, Obstetrician.
When I met with Dr Cohen I was so pleased to find that he was kind, gentle and understanding of my concerns. I was also delighted to discover that he supports water births.
Choosing Jessie McPherson Private
The most important thing to me was having lots of options for how I could labour and birth. Jessie McPherson Private gave me the most options, including a water birth. I was surprised to find out that many other private hospitals could not offer a water birth experience.
I also felt more comfortable and confident with the paediatric care available at Jessie McPherson given that Monash Children’s Hospital NICU is only a short walk away from the Jessie Maternity ward.
On Monday, 12 November 2018, I woke up at 4am with stomach cramps. I was 38+5 weeks, and I was very excited that I was soon going to meet our baby! I distracted myself until my partner Brent woke up at around 7am, at this point the contractions were quite painful.
We called the Pregnancy Assessment Unit who advised us to call back when the contractions were 60 seconds apart and it was difficult to talk through them.
We passed the time with a walk and to progress the contractions. I was becoming more uncomfortable and decided to spend some time in our spa to see if it would help. I laboured in the spa for several hours, floating in the water really helped.
By early afternoon the contractions were only lasting around 45 seconds but I was in more pain. We spoke to the PAU again, they said we should come in. It was a good thing that we did, as by the time we got to the hospital I couldn’t walk or talk.
I was relieved to be at the hospital and greeted by a lovely midwife who called Dr Cohen. The baby and I were monitored for around an hour to ensure it was safe for me to get in the bath. I was pleased that Dr Cohen and the midwives confirmed I could go for it!
I spent the next few hours labouring in the bath, the midwives supporting me were fantastic. They talked me through the tough contractions and guided my breathing. I found that being in the water was calming and helped with the pain.
By 6pm Dr Cohen cam in, I was so happy to see him! He assessed me and confirmed it was time to push. With amazing support from the midwives and Dr Cohen , Conor was born at 6:48pm under water!
I’ll always remember the moment Conor was placed on my chest, I felt in complete shock but so relieved to have my baby safely in my arms.
Dr Cohen kindly offered to take some photos during the birth. I really appreciated the thought as those photos are so special, and we wouldn’t have thought to take them at the time.
I loved my water birth experience at Jessie McPherson Private, the birth was a really calm, beautiful experience.
Brent and I really enjoyed our stay at Jessie McPherson Private. We had a private room and the midwives were lovely, especially during the night when I needed help with breastfeeding.
There was a good balance between offering lots of support when we needed, but also giving us privacy and the opportunity to care for Conor independently.
The first time I changed Conor’s nappy on my own I accidentally put it on backwards, of course it just happened to be when Dr Cohen was visiting us, I was so embarrassed!
The care we received was fantastic, everyone was so supportive. Upon discharge we felt well equipped to care for Conor due to the time the midwives spent with us.
Find out more about Jessie McPherson Private, including our water birth facilities, by booking on our next Maternity Information Evening. Dr Saul Cohen will be presenting at our May 1 event.