A second time mom chooses a waterbirth in a hospital with her husband, 2 1/2 year old daughter, mother, and her doula helping.

Mom relaxes comfortably in her family room while her doula provides some lower back massage.

The soon-to-be big sister slow dances with mommy.

Grandma holds mom's hand. She is excited that, even though she has several grandchildren (and even a couple of great grandchildren), she is about to see her first birth ever! Grandma's birth was while under twilight sleep...so this is an entirely new experience for her.

Mom experiments with different positions to see what feels best to her.

An excited dad begins to take things out to the car in anticipation of leaving for the hospital.

It's time! The doula helps mom to her car.

Mom is still smiling as she climbs into the car. She has been laughing throughout the labor at home (although working hard at relaxing during the contractions).

As soon as mom gets to the hospital, she gets back into her own nightgown and gets her first internal. Everyone holds their breath...how far has she gotten? SEVEN!! Seven centimeters! Mom is doing great...

Mom immediately climbs into the bathtub and the smile returns. Mom is encouraged, and the water is helping a lot.

The birth pool is assembled. The big sister plays around the tub while it's filling.

Meanwhile, mom relaxes comfortably in the tub. The only light is a "touchlight" in the corner that creates the light of a single candle.

Unable to find the doppler, the nurse tries to use a fetoscope for the first time. Mom, being a midwife herself, chuckles at the idea of someone who's never used a fetoscope before trying it for the first time on someone in labor. The nurse is unsuccessful and leaves to hunt more for the doppler.

The doppler is found..and mom smiles as the sound of her baby's heartbeat echoes in the bathroom.

Mom gets out to go potty. While on the potty, there's a little "sploosh" that mom thinks was her forewaters. Another internal is performed...mom is progressing and it won't be long now. The bulging back of water has indeed ruptured.

Daddy cuddles with his first born.

A few more contractions on the toilet make them feel better. Her doula doesn't leave her side.

Mom gets the urge to push and is checked and found to be fully dilated! She IMMEDIATELY gets into the birth pool, and by the time she sits down the baby is fully crowned. Mom relaxes, waiting for the next contraction.

Mom reaches down for her baby as the contraction begins to build.

As the baby's body begins to slip out, the midwife gently says, "Open your eyes..." her doula says, "look down..." Mom and dad's face says it all.

The baby is pulled immediately up by mom. She is overwhelmed.

Baby is returned to the water to keep it warm. It is then that dad makes the announcement, "It's a girl!" Everyone is thrilled, including big sister who's watching everything...

The baby girl floats in the water...but seems to prefer to be on her mommy.

Daddy holds his daughter's hand while mom holds onto her tightly.

A small flow of blood indicates the placenta's separation from the uterine wall. Mom easily delivers the placenta into the water.

The happy family.

The family finally climbs out of the tub, and baby gets her first meal....and boy was she hungry! Latched immediately like a pro...

After she eats, she is taken to the warmer. Her temperature is taken...

...eye ointment is administered and vitamin K given.

The big moment....this 37 weeker is weighed. 5 pounds 8.9 ounces! A petite little girl...but still a full 3.5 ounces bigger than her sister was.

Footprints are added to the babybook.

The maternal side of the placenta.

The midwife displays the membranes and where the baby lived for 9 months.

The "tree of life"...the fetal side of the placenta. The "root" that sustains the baby throughout gestation. A beautiful sight.

This smiling little girl is only 3 minutes old, still covered liberally with vernix and comforted in her mother's arms.


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