Legacy in the News: Legacy Good Samaritan Welcomes First Waterbirth Baby

The Oregonian, KEX -1190AM

March 1, 2014

From a large, blue inflatable tub in the middle of a hospital room, Amanda O'Rourke, 28, squeezed her husband Vince's hand, hard. It was her second child at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center, but the first in the recently opened water birth center.

The hospital's Family Birth Center began offering the aquatic alternative -- described as "a calm and serene environment, but with the safety of being down the hall from skilled Certified Nurse-Midwives, nurses and physicians" – on Feb. 18. The two water birth suites look just like regular delivery rooms, save for the tub in the corner of each.

O'Rourke gave birth to her first child at Legacy Good Samaritan with an epidural. Labor took 26 hours, and she needed months to heal. For her second child, she knew she wanted something different.

O'Rourke had heard of the benefits of water birth from friends, who talked of less pain, less trauma and easier healing after delivery. So when she saw a flier in the elevator of Northwest Women's Clinic in early February advertising the new center, she expressed her interest to certified nurse midwife Lydia Hammond.

"Labor and birth is an empowering thing," Hammond said. "Moms should have that control."

When her water broke at 4 a.m. on Feb. 26 she became the hospital's first water birth patient.

On the day of O'Rourke's delivery, Hammond and Rhonda Chick, another Northwest Women's Clinic midwife, stayed in the delivery room for all five hours of her labor, stepping out occasionally to input notes or attend to other patients. Barb Morris, a registered nurse at Good Samaritan made routine ultrasound checks. O'Rourke's husband and sister-in-law stayed close for moral support and water duty — using pails to remove and make room for warmer water in the tub.

A team of seven people, including registered nurses and nurse midwives, were on hand for the actual birth. Half an hour later, newborn Wyatt Donovan O'Rourke rested on a warming bed and O'Rourke was helped out of the tub and into her own bed. At eight pounds and nine ounces, Wyatt O'Rourke was the biggest baby born that day at the hospital.

Less than 48 hours after the delivery, O'Rourke's husband Vince has already seen a noticeable difference between this birth and his wife's first.

"I see her recovery is a lot quicker already," he said. "She's already back in regular jeans again and feeling a lot better."

O'Rourke agreed.

"The warm water and being under the water with the buoyancy was a huge relief," O'Rourke said. "It cut the pain more than in half while I was laboring."

To view photos of Amanda's waterbirth, click here.