Our second son, Harvey “Boone” was born on August 22, weighing in at 10lbs and measuring 24″, a beautiful healthy boy born at home in the water. I’ve not posted often, but have enjoyed all the birth stories and practiced hypnobabies semi-faithfully (listened to tracks according to schedule, did all the reading, but was pretty lazy about practicing and did not work w/my husband on it at all) since about 21 weeks, so thought I’d share my story, it may be long!

My first son was born in the hospital after I naively allowed induction at 41 wks basically due to my own apathy about the importance of how a baby comes into the world and the OBs recommendation – I assume as my family has a history of big babies, but really we were both quite healthy and there was no GOOD reason for it. I planned on going w/out the epidural but that plan changed quickly after contractions set in so I had nubain and the epidural and delivered my 9lb 8oz boy after approx 6 hours of labor I didn’t really feel. I tore badly and nursing was a nightmare and I resolved to not visit the hospital again with my next pregnancy.

Fear of tearing again and many recommendations from natural birthing forums led me to Hypnobabies. As I mentioned above I was faithful about some parts and not so faithful about other parts but in general really enjoyed the positivity and confidence boost I gained from listening to the affirmations, and the self hypnosis helped me be calm through some crazy work hours in my third trimester. I felt like it was helping but was fairly skeptical as to how “painless” my birth would actually be.

I came to my hometown in CA on the first day of August, my guess date was August 13th and I wanted to settle in with  my 3 year old before that day rolled around. When I got here the adjustment for my son was more than I had expected and I really didn’t get to do my HB practice as much as I’d expected, but I got in some tracks here and there. the 13th came and went with only some mild practice waves, which was still exciting as I hadn’t had any before in the pregnancy. I was feeling great and doing lots of walking and enjoying the beach and reuniting with old friends, so I was OK with going late.  A full week later though and I began to get nervous as things got more tricky with my husband getting work off to come and be with us and I was nervous about him missing out on the labor. Also I felt bigger by the day and started to have some shivers thinking about delivering baby shamu naturally 😉 In the end, my husband got time off from Thursday the 20th til Thursday the 27th and that was that, if I went later I’d just have to call when the time came and hope he could make the 7 hour drive in time.

We (my husband, me, my parents, midwife, other family members and friends) came to the consensus that Saturday the 22nd would be a perfect birthing day for me and winked at our Thursday appt as we decided to reunite on Saturday to welcome the baby. Friday me,  my husband and son had a GORGEOUS day on the coast, went for a long walk down to the beach, to the toy store where my son got some beautiful blocks, to the seafood restaurant for some food I was craving, home for a relaxing evening. I scanned the HB binder to see what track it was I wasn’t supposed to listen to til after 40 wks and decided that was the one to listen to that night – the birthing day affirmations. Well, by the time it was done I was having some more practice contractions that carried a hint of period-like cramping, but no biggie at all.

I went to bed about 9pm and slept pretty well, but woke up at 12:30a with more distinct cramping that kept me awake and drove me to fix some RRL tea and call the midwife who was encouraged but told me to try to get some sleep and see how things went. I did and slept fitfully til 4:30 at which time I felt that there were definitely contractions that I could time at this point and I woke my husband to go get the computer so I could time them at contraction master. They were about  5min apart and lasting just over a minute – I timed four of them and my water broke all over the bed. I was pretty shocked and hollered at DH to fill the tub and get me the phone – I called the midwive and then there was flurry of activity as lights were thrown on, my son woken up, grandma and grandpa woken up and I headed for the bathroom as contractions intensified.

It gets a tad blurry here, I know I had a BM and was very happy that I would not be pooping during labor, I remember clinging to DH and starting to get pissy when he would touch me wrong (“don’t RUB my back!  PUSH on it) I had him lifting my belly a la “back labor no more” which helped a lot. I had some contractions on the toilet and some leaning on the wall and some on all fours. The midwife arrived and the pool was filled and I remember wanting nothing more than to get in it, though I’d never felt strongly about it before – I think I just didn’t want to support my own weight anymore.

I got in and started to feel the panic set in – I can’t say I was in hypnosis at this point, I’d listened to a fear release and again to the birthing day affirmations after my first call to the midwife, but no finger drop or anything like that. Anyway the distinct thought that I could not do this went through my head and out my lips though everybody says it didn’t sound like i believed it at all. I was saying “AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH” over and over and over to get me through contractions, as well as squeezing DHs hand and biting the side of the pool.

I despaired that I was losing my cool so EARLY in labor as I’d only had my water break just about an hour ago! But all of a sudden my body tensed and bore down – I could not believe it but I was PUSHING! Things changed drastically as far as my outlook – I was almost there! I couldn’t believe it and I just went with it, going slow as directed by my wonderful midwife and my son was delivered peacefully (aside from some very primal sounding grunts on my part) into the water at 6:21am on the day we had designated two days earlier as his ideal birthday!

I had a 2nd degree tear which was completely painless when it happened and just a pinch here and there to have repaired and has barely slowed me down. I also lost a lot of blood when I delivered the placenta and got shocky for a bit but recovered extremely well and all in all the experience was beautiful and peaceful and not nearly as uncomfortable as my hospital birth with my first son.

As far as HB goes, I have to say I was not sure how I felt about it at first. I felt like I did experience a good amount of p**n after my water broke and that perhaps painless childbirth is a cruel thing to suggest as being possible.

(Note from Sheridan ****Hypnobabies doesn’t say birth will be painless.  While some moms do have a completely comfortable birthing experience, that isn’t the main goal. )

Looking back on it though, it has dawned on me that I would in no way describe anything leading up to that point as p**nful. And that was a good 8.5 hours of labor I was in – I would love to know how far dilated I was when my water broke, that would be a good indication of how well HB worked for me – had I been checking into a hospital they probably would not have believed I was in labor, but in reality I was probably at a very advanced stage of labor!

So I really didn’t get myself in hypnosis during that time b/c I didn’t know that he would be coming so soon – my time line in my head figured I’d be delivering later on that afternoon or evening. But he came just about and hour and twenty minutes later, so I really have to say that HB was a resounding success for me and had I been less skeptical I probably would have realized that those kind of crampy waved were true labor and that I should have been working on a deepening track or something. As it is, I really do not regret the time I spent in p**n as it has given me a certain degree of awe at what I can do and how well I did and I can now say I have truly EXPERIENCED the wonder of a natural birth.

I will always highly recommend Hypnobabies and do credit it with the speed and my amazing experience and the confidence I had throughout this whole time, even some complications following delivery, that everything was fine and me and my baby were healthy and allowed me to welcome and embrace my waves. My midwife also noted later that during pushing my butt was completely relaxed and loose, something I was surprised to find out and totally credit to Hypnobabies as I do faintly remember telling myself that the baby was pushing anesthesia ahead of it and mentally telling myself to “release”.