Braylen was born under water.
And when Braylen’s grandmother – Robin Taylor, nurse manager at the hospital – pulled him from the warm water and handed him to his proud mother, he didn’t wail or scream.
He simply stared into his mother’s eyes.
“It’s this peaceful moment that just makes me cry,” said Karen Shields, a certified nurse midwife. “When you bring the baby up [from the water], the baby just looks around. It’s not this big shock to come out. It’s dark and quiet. It’s a moment that’s really nice. I love it.” Braylen’s mother, Mallory, chose to have a waterbirth.
As she stepped into the tub of warm water, the lights were dim, the room was quiet, and her support people surrounded her. A CD was playing her favorite, soft music.
“I thought it would be more relaxing,” said Mallory, of Alloway Township.
And it was.
Mallory’s mom, Robin, is the nurse manager at the hospital in Elmer. Good friends with Shields – Mallory’s midwife – she mentioned the idea of a waterbirth to her daughter when she first became pregnant.
“She said, ‘OK, I’ll do that.’ Mallory also did HypnoBirthing to ease her pain,” Robin recalled. “She never took anything for the pain, and there wasn’t a peep out of her the whole time.” Mallory was in labor for 10 hours. She was in the birthing tub for only 10 minutes. “Karen checked her and she broke her water. And then Mallory said she felt like pushing,” Robin said. So into the tub she went.
“They filled the tub up with warm water, and I put my head on a beach ball,” Mallory said. “I just thought being in the water would be so much better than sitting on a bed.”
Braylen must’ve thought so, too. His mom only pushed for 10 minutes – it’s not unusual for a woman to push for over an hour, Robin said – and out hecame, under water. The baby doesn’t stay under the water for long, Shields said, usually about five to 10 seconds, just long enough “to unfold,” to open his eyes and spread his arms a little, and then, “I bring them up.”
“It’s good for the baby and it’s so good for the mom. It’s so relaxing. It really helps everybody … it’s so peaceful and gentle,” Shields said.
It was definitely a good experience, said Robin, first-time grandmother to newborn Braylen. “My God. It was phenomenal,” she said. And new mom Mallory agreed. “I would definitely do it again,” Mallory said. “For me, it was just more soothing.”