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A Miraculous Moment



Broderick Winter’s first baby photos capture an amazing moment.

Just seconds after his birth, he opens his eyes wide, gazing at his mother through the clear water of a birthing pool.

Those few seconds, and nearly every other minute of his delivery through waterbirth, was exactly what his parents Gavin and Jessica Winter had hoped for.

“It was amazing,” says Jessica. “He just looked up at us and it was so beautiful and so natural.”

Making a choice

The Pipestone couple heard about waterbirth during CenteringPregnancy® sessions, a pre-natal program that combines one-on-one prenatal care with group education and support. Jessica, a pharmacist, did some research and decided that this new option would fit her plans for a low-intervention, unhurried labor and birth.

The first-time mom had been present in the birthing room during other relatives’ labor and deliveries and the experience helped her decide what she wanted and didn’t want when she gave birth. Her husband Gavin had been present at the birth of his son five years earlier, which had been a cesarean section delivery, quite different from the natural childbirth he and Jessica hoped for.

“There isn’t a wrong or a right way for a baby to come into the world, but you have choices,” says Gavin, lifting three-month-old Broderick to his face with a grin as his wife clicks on a display of photos from the baby’s birth. “Having done this a different way, there was definitely a whole different vibe to it.”

When Jessica went into labor, they traveled to Sioux Falls to be evaluated by a Sanford Certified Nurse Midwife. After a couple of days of contractions that weren’t quite close enough to start her labor, they finally got the go-ahead that it was time to give birth. They went to a labor and delivery room with a specially designed inflatable pool of warm water.

A calming experience

Throughout her labor, Jessica could move around, sit and kneel in the shoulder-deep pool. In photos taken during her birth, she leans over the cushioned side of the pool with a serene look on her face while her husband rubs her shoulders or holds her hands. It was amazing the way the water helped ease the pain of her contractions, she said. “The only time I got really cranky was when I got out of the pool,” she says.

Research has shown that laboring and delivering babies in water has benefits for both mother and baby. The water has been found to lower blood pressure, make contractions more efficient and help women produce more pain-inhibiting endorphins.

Babies born underwater tend to have more oxygen and less stress during birth. The environment they’re being born into is similar to what they experienced in the amniotic sac. Since they’re still receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord, there is no need to rush them to the surface to breathe.

Seeing the miracle

When it was time to deliver Broderick, Gavin stood at his wife’s head giving her support and encouragement. They had planned to have him reach into the pool to be the first to hold the new baby, but their plans changed when it was time to push, they said.

“I knew I didn’t want to do this without him there with me, giving me that support,” Jessica says, smiling at her husband.

Certified Nurse Midwife Brenna Tate lifted the new baby out of the water, putting him on Jessica’s chest. For a few minutes, the whole world stopped for the new parents, they said.

“It so peaceful and so quiet,” says Gavin. “All I remember is hearing the gentle lapping of the water and seeing this miracle happen.”

Since Broderick’s birth, the Winters have shared their story and photos of his waterbirth with family and friends. They’re happy to help others learn a little bit more about the incredible experience they had.

“It was exactly as we planned,” says Jessica. “I couldn’t have asked for a better birth.”

Posted Date: September 2012

A Miraculous Moment

Broderick Winter’s first look at his mother and father was through the warm, calm water of a birthing pool. Read about how waterbirth gave their family the perfect birth experience.