I love this birth story and how it clearly shows how the way we view birth can have a profound influence on how we EXPERIENCE birth. Amazing story-
I'm so excited to share this part of my journey! My first birth was just the birth that I had wanted and envisioned. Completely natural, no medications, no I.V., not one intervention. I thank my amazing husband, our wonderful doula, and our kind, knowledgeable midwife for this amazing experience.
I'll begin with Hypnobabies . . . please understand that Hypnobabies became an integral part of my pregnancy, birth and life, so you'll see it a lot in here.
In my 29th week of pregnancy, I took my first Hypnobabies class. I remember calling Kelly, our teacher and getting signed up, I wasn't sure it would work out, because classes were starting in just a few days, and it was the last opportunity I would have, but after Rachel (my midwife) had recommended Hypnobabies, of course (I spend a significant amount of time researching nearly everything), I had been googling away and I was REALLY interested. The stars aligned, and I was able to make it to the first class. I had called Kelly the day of and asked if Travis was supposed to join us. She emphatically told me yes! I guess it was pregnancy brain, but for some reason, I wasn't sure.
I got the beginning CD's the day before class began, so I only had time to listen to one of them. The special place CD. I remember this vividly. When I sat down on the couch, and listened to Kerry's (the creator of Hypnobabies) voice, I started crying. I cried the entire way though the session. I sobbed. It was so strange. It must have been a release of all the tension and anxiety I had felt throughout pregnancy . . . that I didn't even know I was feeling.
The night of our first class, Travis and I headed out to Rexburg, in the sun of the evening. Classes were at Kelly's house, and I'll admit, I was a little nervous. This was a whole new experience for me! In meeting Kelly, all of my fears were washed away, she was kind, and knowledgeable, light-hearted and warm. There were 3 other families also taking the class. I quickly found that Hypnobabies was much more than self hypnosis for childbirth, it was actually a class! There was a wealth of information, and lots of homework! After receiving our work books, and going through the materials for the first lesson, we had our first hypnosis session. This was a session that Dads also did with us. On the way home, Travis told me this was the perfect fit for me, and that it was going to work so well! This was so encouraging! My husband was in full support, and truly, without him, it would have been a struggle.
I started listening to the tracks and doing my studies. I absolutely LOVED the pregnancy affirmations every day. I would listen each day as I was getting ready, what a great way to start my day. I also really loved my time in hypnosis, I was so calm and relaxed. It was a great time for Travis and I to bond, and really prepare for our baby. I, being my typical over-achiever self completely embraced the studies. We would all laugh in class, because I was the mom who brought her own little sticky tabs and highlighters. You should see my work book. I think I'm leaving those stickies in there as long as I can. It's so funny.
Hypnobabies is also more than just hypnosis. It was an eye opener. It was a confidence builder.
On Thursday, November 11, 2010 I had my weekly appointment with our midwife. We saw Helene, and I declined any internal exams. I didn't want any pressure or anxiety. I was also planning on being at least a week past due, (my estimated due date was November 18, 2010) so I wasn't really even thinking about going into labor. Kelly, our doula, had asked me if I would be comfortable with her taking a day trip on Friday, the 12th and I said yes. I really didn't feel like this baby was ready to be earthside. I just felt pregnant, and normal. Travis and I ate lunch and went back work. I had a stack of work, and a nagging feeling that I should get my files in order. Thursday came and went, uneventfully.
On Friday, November 12, 2010 I woke up, and felt just the same as I had all of the other days. Kelly was on her day trip, and life was good. I got ready, went into the office about 10:30 am (ish) and went to work. I did notice that I had started to lose my mucous plug, but I still didn't think anything of it. I knew this could happen days or weeks before the birth. I made phone calls, and in the afternoon, I FINALLY took the time to get my files in order. I made a calendar with notes, and phone numbers, marked the significant dates and added all of my notes. I prepared for a showing that I had scheduled on Sunday, the 14th. I got a text message from my amazing friend, Cindy, asking if I felt like I was going to have my baby. I told her no, and that I didn't think it would be any time in the near future. At about 4:30 in the afternoon, I was feeling sort of tired, and I had a backache. I left the office, and went to the shop to tell Travis that I was headed home to put my feet up. I was getting pretty crabby, and I don't remember exactly what I did say to him other than "I'm going to sit down, my back hurts, and I'm not standing here to talk to you anymore!"
Travis came home and made dinner, spaghetti. We ate, and sat down to watch a movie. My backache persisted, off and on, so I heated up my bucky (buckwheat heating pad) and settled down for the movie. I started to pay attention to the backache, and looking at the clock. During the movie, it would come and go every 6 to 7 minutes or so. After the movie, I told Travis, and we called the midwife, Rachel about 11:00 and told her that I thought I might be having early birthing waves (contractions). I explained to her that it was only in my back, and that Travis couldn't feel any tightening in my belly. She said it was certainly "suspicious" and that we should keep an eye on it, calling her if there were any changes. We decided to head to bed, and try to sleep, if this was "it" we wanted to be rested.
On November 13, 2010 I had a hard time sleeping, my backaches just weren't easing up. At about 2:00 am I got out of bed, grabbed my Hypnobabies bag and took it into the bathroom. I started filling the tub, and I would lean with my head on the counter and sway each time I would feel a birthing wave. When the tub was full, I put on my headphones and started listening to my birthing time affirmations, then my deepening track. I'm pretty sure I actually fell asleep in the tub. If I didn't sleep, I was pretty darn close to a sleeping state. After a little while, I needed to get out of the tub, I called to Travis, because I was pretty sure I would need help getting out of the tub. Before I could get out, I calmly told Travis that I was going to get sick. Sure enough, I threw up that spaghetti that I had eaten a few hours before. I then climbed out of the tub, and laid on the bed, asking for a back rub.
So that you understand what my birthing waves were, now is probably a good time to mention the fact that I experienced "back labor". I really don't remember a tightening in my belly, ever. My birthing waves came from my back and stayed in my back. It was like a cramp in my back that would come on in a rush, then move through my lower back, into my pelvis and move back into my low back before leaving. Rachel and Kelly hypothesized (after baby was born) that my back labor might have been because my height (I'm somewhat, ok, really petite). We really don't know. I also really didn't have any experience with this, or really know what it was. I had this intensity in my back for the duration of my birthing time.
I moved down into the living room, about 3:30 am. I remember going to the bathroom, and telling Travis that I was really losing my mucous plug. It wasn't, I would later realize that was my bloody show . . . I had no idea. I decided that laying on the concrete floor in the bathroom felt nice, to that's where I laid for a little while, then I felt cold, and moved back into the living room. At this point we were both sure that baby would be here in the somewhat near future. At this time, my birthing waves were about 4 to 5 minutes apart. I mentioned calling Kelly, but I really hadn't seemed to progress much, so we decided to wait. I would walk around the living room for a little while, then lay down in the family room. Our dachshund was with me the entire time. She would not leave my side. When I was in the bathroom, she was standing guard by the door. When I was on the couch, she was on the couch. She was a huge source of comfort and support.
Between 4:30 and 5:00 am we decided to call Kelly. My birthing waves were coming at 3 to 4 minutes apart. Travis talked to Kelly, then said he needed to run into town, he had left his computer on and needed to shut things down at the shop, making sure it would be good for a few days absence. He made a nest of pillows for me on the couch, and I laid face down in it I listened to my birthing day affirmations, and my Easy Birthing track. I really started relaxing. I honestly am not sure how long it took Travis to get home. I really didn't pay attention to time. Kelly called and said she was on her way, at about 5:30 to 6:00 am. At that time, I was really starting progress with birthing waves about 2 to 3 minutes apart. Travis told her that we would likely be heading to the hospital when she got to our house, so we decided she would meet us at the hospital (we lived nearly an hour away from Kelly and our hospital). Travis started packing up between the birthing waves, and it took us a little longer than we expected to get out of the house. He would run up the stairs when a wave ended, grab stuff, take it to the car, and then help me through my next wave. He would help my putting pressure on my forehead or my shoulder and provide relaxation cues. When we finally got into the car, and left for the hospital, it was about 7:30 am.
Travis started making phone calls (Rachel the midwife being the first), and I listened to my Hypnobabies. I also remember telling him to call my friend Penny, because I had planned on going shopping with her that day at 11:00. The car ride was probably the most uncomfortable part of the birthing time. I was unable to move in ways that felt good, and being confined in the car, with the pressure on my pelvis took extra concentration to relax. During the car ride, when he could, Travis would put his hand on my forehead and help me breathe through the birthing wave.
We got to the hospital at about 9:00 am. Travis walked into the hospital to get me checked in (I had already gone in and given all of my information, he just needed to do the official check-in). Kelly came right out to the car, at a moment when I felt like I might lose it. My Hypnobabies track had just ended. Being alone was scary, even if it was literally for a few seconds. Kelly put her hand on my shoulder and gave me some relaxation cues, I felt myself instantly melting. The nurses came out and after the birthing wave, I got into the wheelchair. As they were taking me up in the elevator (Travis was still upstairs and Kelly was parking our car), one of the nurses said I should be taken to triage (I'm guessing because I was so relaxed and quiet).
The other nurse said I was beyond that point, and that they would just give me a room. When I got into the room, I got onto the bed and felt sick. The nurse held out my little bowl - the one that had come from my house with me. I had carried it all over the house before we left, (a talisman, if you will) which I proceeded to miss and gracefully projectile vomit all over the floor. During this time, (I think it might have been transformation) my hips would shake. I wasn't in pain, I was just shaking. Kelly would apply pressure to my hips and that would help me stop shaking. I was still being touched and given the relaxation cues, so I was really focusing on simply relaxing. I honestly don't know a whole lot about what was happening around me.
The lights were turned down low, and I was hooked up to the monitor for a few minutes, to check the heartbeat of the baby, and all was good. Rachel then asked if she could check my dilation, and I said yes. I was dilated to 7 cm. During the entire process, all of the nurses, and especially Rachel (who was already familiar with Hypnobabies techniques) were completely respectful of me when I had a birthing wave and turned my switch off, they would wait. It was never as if I were inconveniencing anyone. Rachel asked if I wanted to get into the tub, and I thought that would feel good, so I said yes.
Rachel also had to help another mom who was giving birth. She went to check on the other mom, and fill the tub. When she came back, she told me the tub was ready, I was waiting for a birthing wave to end, but then I had the urge to push. I started pushing from my right side. My hip started hurting, so I moved onto my hands and knees. I tried to use the birthing ball, but it didn't feel comfortable. Kelly then raised the bed so I could rest my head on it. Both Travis and Kelly were so supportive! Kelly would heat up the bucky and Travis would provide relaxation cues.
When I started pushing, I actually felt better! I wasn't in pain, I wasn't even uncomfortable. I think it took me a few tries to figure it out. I felt like I was working hard, like a workout. I stayed this way for several pushes and with the encouragement of Kelly and Rachel, I made great progress. I think it was really helpful during this time that I only received encouragement, no specific direction on pushing. No counting to 10, no screaming or frantic yelling like you see in the movies. I was asked if I wanted the mirror to see, and I said yes, so that was brought into the room.
I don't know if this is in my head, or if I said anything out loud, but I remember feeling loud during my pushes and apologizing for being loud. Travis later told me that I wasn't loud at all. I started feeling tired, so I wanted to lie on my left side. I only pushed a few more times, and baby was almost here. Rachel was in the other room at the time, and Kelly and the nurse (I think her name was Jessica) agreed that we needed Rachel in the room. Travis said it would likely be two more pushes. He was so encouraging! I remember smiling at him, and feeling so excited. I also remember thinking "Shouldn't I be feeling the "ring of fire" or something painful now?" It was not painful. I thought to my Hypnobabies training, and thought about the "flood" of hypno-anesthesia that I should imagine, but either I didn't need it or I had already programmed my subconscious mind to focus the hypno-anesthesia there. I didn't feel pain. Not at all. No joke.
I started pushing and Rachel ran into the room. The baby was crowning and she threw on her gown, asking me to stop pushing me if I could. I could not. Rachel literally caught our baby with her bare hands, it was so fast! There was no time to position the mirror, no time to "get ready", it was just like "Poof" he was here! I had a slight "moment of weakness" when I pushed the shoulders out. She asked for one more push, and I said I couldn't (because I was tired, not in pain) but it really wasn't difficult. At 10:10 am our sweet little boy was born. I had been in the hospital for right around an hour. I had started pushing about 30 minutes prior. I didn't know any of the times, I was told all of this later, because I was so focused on the birth, I really didn't pay attention to much more than me and baby. We also hadn't named him yet, that happened as we were leaving the hospital.
From this moment on, it seems as though time passed very quickly. Baby was put right onto my chest, I remember saying "Happy Birthday Baby!" When it stopped pulsing, Travis cut the cord. Baby was a little blue, so the nurses held some oxygen near his nose, and he nursed right away. A few minutes later, the placenta was born, and we got a chance to look at the amazing organ my body created to feed and grow our baby. After nursing and snuggling, our nurse took Baby to the other side of the room to do measurements, and his initial checkup. He weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces, and was 19 inches long. He was not crying, he was not distressed. He was right there with Mom and Dad, and he was happy. He was never left alone. We declined most of the newborn treatments (eye ointment, Hep B vaccine, and bath). Kelly rubbed my feet. My poor swollen feet. It was heavenly! Our son was given back to me immediately, and we snuggled. It was absolutely wonderful and amazing.
My birth changed my life. It changed me in a way that I never imagined . . . I'm stronger, more knowledgeable, and more of an advocate of informed health care than I thought I'd ever be! This amazing experience has changed me for the better. In my first experience as a mom, I know I did the best thing for my baby and for me. I had a birth the way that it was supposed to be, natural, joyous and calm. For that I'm thankful.
- As a side note: When I went back to see Rachel for my post pregnancy checkup (on my due date), she told me that she delivered 4 babies the weekend my baby was born. None of those moms had an epidural! Hooray for saying "no" to intervention!- One more note: We found out later in the night (when we bumped into them at the hospital) that the other mom having her baby, was another "Hypnomom" from our class! We were "due" a day apart, and we ended up having our babies 30 minutes apart. I think this is just so cool!