Nurse-Midwife Shirley M. writes:

My favorite waterbirth story is the one that almost wasn't. Myİpatient "Ally" and her husband "John" were planning a waterbirth. At theİtime I was working at a hospital in Chicago. I live in Oak Park which is the first suburb west of theİcity and Ally and John live in a very far northern suburb near theİWisconsin border many miles away.

It was Thanksgiving day and the couple had come to Chicago to a fancy hotel to spend the holiday with friendsİand for a final amorous weekend in the city before the baby arrived. Ally was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. She and her husband spent their final amorousİmoments together and within seconds of their pleasure, pop! Her bag broke.İShe called me, I left my Thanksgiving celebration and we all met atİthe hospital. Our hospital-approved protocols required that Ally be 37İweeks before delivery in water was allowed. Ally and John, not thinkingİthat they would be having a baby for at least 3 weeks, left an essential pieceİof equipment, the hose, at home over 40 miles away.

Initially we were allİdisappointed that our planned waterbirth seemed to be going down the drain.İBut before giving up all hope, I called my backup MD, who was very supportiveİof our plans, and he agreed to let Ally labor in water and if the birth tookİplace around midnight, she could then deliver there. Now we only had oneİproblem - a hose to fill the tub. I called my husband and heİagreed to try to find us a hose. After 7 trips to various stores open on Thanksgiving Day he could find no hose. It was a very quietİThanksgiving night in what is normally a very busy birthing centerİso the nurses formed a bucket brigade and filled the tub for Ally andİJohn.

Ally tolerated the labor quite well in the tub and and 11:30 PMİbegan spontaneously pushing. Happily, baby M was born at 12:05 AM in water,İat 37 weeks gestation. The excited father announced immediately that the babyİwas a boy and we all remarked at how beautiful he was. I waited about 10 minutesİfor Ally to relax with the baby. She then left the tub, the placenta wasİdelivered, and the parents continued to spend some very special quiet timeİwith the baby. About 30-45 minutes after the birth the nurse asked if sheİcould take the baby to do an initial assessment. Upon bringing baby M toİthe crib she said "I thought you said this baby was a boy, this baby is aİgirl. John, in his excitement, had mistaken the cord for a penis. Allyİbeamed, "Oh, I'm so happy, I got every thing I wanted, a baby girl and a waterbirth."