Published on February 15, 2022

Expectant mom chooses water birth to experience natural childbirth

Shelby Hallblade After having an epidural with her first son in 2019, Shelby Hallblade, Carver, knew she wanted to try a more natural approach the second time around. “When I had an epidural with my first born, Silas, I didn’t know there was another way,” Shelby said. This time she wanted to be more educated about her options. A co-worker recommended Leah Schroeder, nurse midwife, Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics.

“Leah spent 30 minutes with me at my first appointment. Not only did she answer my questions, but she asked me questions and challenged me to think about things that I hadn't even considered. I learned that I could do things naturally and that pain was not to be feared, but could be managed. Leah educated me and advocated for natural childbirth. She listened to me and respected my wishes,” Shelby said.

Choosing a natural childbirth in a hospital setting

Planning a birth at Ridgeview’s Birthing Center gave Shelby and her husband, Kyle, the option of the natural birth they had envisioned, while providing comfort in knowing they had full access to the resources and services Ridgeview offers including a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), if needed.

“In childbirth, things can sometimes go wrong. It is good to have someone there if you need it. I felt comfortable at Ridgeview, like being at a hotel or home. It was very nice without the hospital feeling,” Shelby said. The nurturing and inviting birthing suites feature large jetted tubs to allow for water births aided by certified nurse midwives. A water birth was appealing to Shelby to help her relax and manage pain during the birth process.

Blessed with a sign of good luck—rare en caul birth

After laboring at home for two hours, Shelby was eight centimeters dilated when she arrived at Ridgeview on March 19, 2021. Schroeder was waiting for her upon arrival.

Schroeder helped Shelby into the tub, guided her breathing between contractions and worked through various techniques to help Shelby manage her pain. “Leah was with me the whole time—from the time I arrived at the hospital until delivery and after—supporting me through each contraction.”

Baby Sawyer was born just 45 minutes after the Hallblades arrived at the hospital and was born en caul. An en caul birth is a rare occurrence where the baby is born inside an intact amniotic sac, occurring in one to two percent of vaginal births, which is less than 1 in 80,000 births. In many cultures, an en caul birth is seen as a sign of good luck. It was good luck sign to the Hallblades, as they were blessed with a healthy newborn following the natural birth they had envisioned.

Managing the pain of childbirth naturally

Shelby Hallblade Water Birth

“Leah helped me feel more in tune with my body and helped me understand and allow things to happen naturally. I was able to feel everything, and I learned how to work through it.” Shelby said. Some of the techniques that helped Shelby manage the pain of childbirth naturally were:
+ Developing a calming music playlist that played on the speakers in the birthing suite
+ Diffusing essential oils
+ Hearing positive affirmations & bible verses that Shelby had on notecards
+ Creating a calming atmosphere

Shelby noticed immediately how much easier the recovery was for her second birth compared to her first, something she credits to the water birth.

Using a nurse midwife—pregnancy, birth, post-partum and beyond

Shelby was impressed with how everyone at Ridgeview respected her wishes for a natural birth, and that Schroeder was with her for the entire journey—pregnancy, birth, post-partum support and beyond. Shelby continues to see Schroeder as her primary care provider. She sees Schroeder and the team at Western OB/GYN for everything from annual physicals and screenings, to natural family planning and has already referred many friends as patients to the practice.

Take a virtual tour of Ridgeview’s Birthing Center and learn more about the providers at Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics.