When Jacqueline (Jaq) Tuttle was pregnant with her first child, Rinoa, her plan was to have a water birth. “It just wasn’t in the cards.” Two years later, back at Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s Birthplace for her second birth, Jaq once again planned for a water birth.
Like Coming Home
The first thought she had when she came through the doors of the Birthplace was “It’s like coming home. It’s so loving here.” One of the many reasons Jaq chose the Birthplace at Baystate Franklin Medical Center was “because they really trust birthers and they encourage you to advocate for yourself.”
Managing Labor Pain
One of the other reasons Jaq chose the Birthplace was because “they give you a ‘buffet’ of options allowing you to stack interventions,” different methods of managing labor and birth. She had looked into other area hospitals but felt “very few places allow you to birth in the tub and use multiple interventions while in the tub.”
To Jaq “this is a sign that they have trust in the tub and are expecting things to go right.”
Jaq and her husband, John, along with Certified Nurse Midwife, Elizabeth (Liza) Ramlow, and doula, Michelle L’Esperance, CPM, used a variety of interventions to manage her labor and delivery.
Along with her support team, Jaq also practiced hypnobirthing for keeping her back labor pains at bay.
Through each birthing wave, Jaq’s doula helped her visualize the top of each crest and then the falling off, telling her “these are getting stronger because your baby is getting ready to meet you.”
This visualization helped Jaq frame, in her mind, the progress of her baby’s birth.
Birthing in the Tub
The time finally came when Liza suggested that Jaq get into the tub.
Jaq describes the experience: “The tub felt amazing! Getting in the tub helps to ’lighten the load,’ making you feel more buoyant. It is easier to shift and move your body around than it would be if you were in a bed. I was in the tub for 4 hours and at 9 centimeters dilated I was able to get on my hands and knees comfortably. When I needed to rest it was easier in the tub versus being in a bed.”
At this point, Jaq was getting tired and her back hurt a lot. Being in the tub really helped Jaq up front, but it was not helpful for her back labor and she knew she needed something.
“For people with back labor it feels like a plane crashing or fireworks exploding into your back.” She was very familiar with back labor as she had it during the birth of her first daughter, Rinoa.
Sterile Water Papule Injections
An intervention option for back labor (a term used to describe intense lower back pain during labor caused by the baby’s head pressing on the lower back) offered at Baystate Franklin’s Birthplace is sterile water papule injections, an effective method for relieving the back pain in labor. These are a very simple, safe procedure involving a small amount of sterile water injected under the skin on the lower back (sacrum).
The injections cause a brief but intense stinging that, after the stinging wears off, brings relief from the back labor pains. This intervention has no side effects or risks, and relieves lower back pain for up to 85% of women for up to two hours. The injections relieved the pressure for Jaq, and she was able to get a break between birthing waves (contractions). She began pushing to deliver her beautiful little girl, Ada.
Worth the Drive
“Both births were beautiful, wonderful and supported at the Baystate Franklin Birthplace, but my water birth felt so good. I don’t know how to tell you how much I appreciate all that they did. I tell all of my pregnant friends it’s worth the drive. If you can make it, go to the Birthplace. I have friends who are from Northampton and are trying to decide. I tell them there is only one place I would ever recommend and that’s the Birthplace. When you walk in the door you know that the staff truly loves each other, they support each other, they’re happy to be there and it’s not just another day to them. It’s a really beautiful space that doesn’t get enough love from the Valley.”
Jaq was so inspired by her experience that she has since trained as a birth doula and has supported multiple families in central and western Mass since 2018.
As a birth doula, Jaq has witnessed births at surrounding hospitals as far as Worcester and says “there is no place like the Birthplace at Baystate Franklin.”
Learn more about The Birthplace at Baystate Franklin Medical Center