Paola's Waterbirth Story

I've always desired to deliver my babies in water, ever since I was a child. I cannot even recollect why. Where does this strong desire comes from? Maybe I saw something on TV, or simply because of my passion for water.

Water, especially the sea, has always been my miracle recipe to relax and forget the anxieties of the world. Even in winter, I used to go windsurfing and swimming in the Adriatic sea, along the coast of Italy, whenever I needed to calm down. So I've always imagined myself delivering my baby in a huge transparent pool. At age 34 I finally found the time, the frame of mind and the right man to plan for a baby.

I spent most of my maternity leave looking for a place not far from home in Geneva, Switzerland, where I could deliver my baby Alberto in water. I finally found the ideal place: a very good hospital in the vicinity of Lausanne. The basin was not the large transparent pool of my dreams, but a traditional tub, maybe a bit larger, with handles to grip onto and warm water. I was not allowed to go into the water until dilation started.

Going from 0 to 2 cms dilation was the most painful and lenghty part of my labour, because I wasn't in the water. It took me one and a half days of false labour. When I finally got into water, I relaxed immediately. With Vivaldi's music in the background and my husband holding my hands, I was the happiest woman in labour on earth. Pain suddenly disappeared. I felt in total control of my contractions, which had magically become regular and long enough to be effective. In one hour I reached 6 cms dilation. The doctor, who had almost lost any hope of letting me deliver in water because he thought it would take too long for me to dilate, was called urgently to break my waters. By the time he came, 5 minutes later, I was already at 8 cms. Alberto came out almost instantly thereafter.

All the medical staff and my husband were moved by the sight of this relaxed smiling baby who was staring at them from underwater, his eyes wide open. He was left for one minute in this position underwater and then he was slow taken out and put between my breasts. He closed his eyes and started breathing on his own - with the cord still attached.

Those were the most wonderful 5 minutes of my life. He only started crying 20 minutes later when the nurses put his first clothing on him. He has been a wonderful baby ever since. He has always slept and eaten well, with record growth rates. At 3 months he started Aquababy classes and by 5 months he could swim and dive. He still likes water very much, especially the sea. He walked at 10 months and at 15 months he understands 3 languages and says quite a few words in all of them. I'm sure he (and I) both had the right start, in water.

-- Paola