Birthing Pool removed from the RotundaI read on a number of Internet forums this week that the very expensive birthing pool has been removed from the Rotunda hospital. I haven’t been able to find anything official on it though – according to the Rotunda website, there is a birthing pool in one of the delivery rooms. So there’s no mention there of it being removed.
But whether it has been removed or not, does it matter? It’s not like it was being used! Such a waste!
I had my son in the Rotunda back in 2009 and during my prenatal visits, and in my antenatal classes I asked about the pool. I was told that it wasn’t available for use, and no further explanation was given. I’m sorry now that I didn’t push the issue more. During my time in the hospital, I never even saw the pool. And tonight, writing this post, I couldn’t find any photos of it online. (The only one I could find was the birthing pool in CUMH. I couldn’t resist including it – doesn’t it look amazing? Who wouldn’t want to labour in that?!)
Occasionally, I’ve heard theories from other mothers that the pool hasn’t been used since the tragic death of a baby in Cavan some years ago during a waterbirth. I can understand why that would make people extremely cautious about facilitating water births in other hospitals. God knows, that’s not something any of us would like to see again.
But regardless of whether or not women are permitted to give birth in water in Irish hospitals, I would like to know why we are not permitted to at least labour in pools like this? Pools that were installed at great expense to the Irish taxpayer I might add. Is it that we are not trusted to abide by hospital policy and get out of the water when it comes time to push?! If so, then I resent being treated like a child. I am an adult woman, and if the policy is to get out of the water for the pushing stage, and I agreed to the policy, then I would abide by it.
And it’s not as though other alternatives are freely available to us. I know that during my antenatal class, when I asked about the pool, I was reassured that even though the pool itself was not available, baths and showers were available for anyone who wanted to experience the benefits of warm water during labour.
But on the night I went into labour, when I arrived at the delivery suite at 5am, I asked if I could have a bath, only to be told that the bath was located by the pre-labour ward, and there were girls down there trying to sleep. If I had a bath, I’d disturb them, so it really wasn’t a good idea. Over the course of the next hour, my midwife asked me several times if I wanted to know about pain relief options – but she meant options involving drugs. Not lovely warm water!
As it was, I was lucky that the rest of my labour went well, and my birth story is a positive one. But I would have preferred to labour in water in the hospital if the option had been available to me. While I was at home, during the early stages of labour, I sat in a hot bath, and it was wonderful. It just doesn’t make any sense to me that a natural form of pain relief such as this is not being offered by default to labouring women, in the way that pain-relieving drugs were offered to me.
What do you think? Was labouring in water an option for you? Would you have liked to labour in water? If it is true that the birthing pool has been removed from the Rotunda, how do you feel about that news?