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After 18 months of trying to conceive our third child, including two losses and a diagnosis of ovarian cysts, we concluded that a third baby wasn’t meant to be and stopped trying. Less than a month after giving away all of our baby gear, we found out I was pregnant.
I delivered my oldest kids in the hospital, with an epidural both times. Both of those deliveries were textbook, no complications, but I really wanted to try to have this baby without an epidural. I ordered the Hypnobabies materials and hired a doula. I listened to the HB tracks almost every night starting at around 26 weeks. Once I got to the maintenance phase, I mostly listened while I slept. I never practiced the finger-drop technique. My husband read the birth partner’s guide, but didn’t do anything else and we didn’t plan for him to be an active birth partner—that’s why we had a doula. My doula was great. She wasn’t trained in HB, but had seen several HB births and was very supportive.
My water broke on May 8th (39w0d) at about 9:30pm. Patrick and I scurried around a little frantically at first until we realized nothing was really happening, so we didn’t need to be in a hurry. We called my parents to get them en route from their home three hours away. I also called the nurse and my doula, Hannah, but because I wasn’t having any P Ws, I told the nurse I wasn’t coming in right away and told Hannah to stay at home until I called her back.
We packed our bags and I laid down to listen to my Easy First Stage track. I listened to the whole thing, but still no P Ws. At about midnight, I got out of bed and watched TV while leaning over my exercise ball. My parents arrived at 1am. We visited for a little while and then went to bed at 1:30. At about 1:45, I had another big gush of water, and that’s when things got interesting.
I put on my Easy First Stage track on repeat and kept it on until we got to the hospital room. My P Ws started within about 10 minutes and were pretty erratic and hard to time, but each one was more intense than the last. I called Hannah at 3am and asked her to come over. At this point, the P Ws were getting more intense, but were so manageable that I tidied up the bathroom after we got off the phone because I expected to be spending a good bit of time in there over the next few hours.
In the 20 minutes it took Hannah to get to our house, the waves got much more intense, but were totally manageable. During a wave, I’d kneel over our couch and say, “peace” over and over. When the wave ended, I’d lay on the floor and rest. I didn’t conscientiously use my light switch. Hannah said that as soon as she saw me, she knew I was deep in my birthing time.
At 4am, Hannah said it was time to wake up Patrick and get to the hospital. He sprung into action and we were pulling out of the driveway at 4:22. It was about a 20 minute drive to the hospital.
Patrick said later that he was trying to time my waves and was thinking to himself, “Shouldn’t there be a gap between them?” I said “peace” or “oh” through the waves. Patrick loves to tell people that I didn’t sound very peaceful when I was growling “peace, peace.” But it worked like a charm. It gave me something to focus on.
At Hannah’s suggestion, we parked in the parking lot and walked to the hospital instead of Patrick dropping me off at the entrance. Patrick went ahead of us to tell them we were there. It took Hannah and me 20 minutes to walk the short walk from the car because I kept stopping to lean on something and work through a wave. But in between waves, I was totally relaxed and we’d make good progress toward the hospital.
Once in the hospital, I stopped to go to the bathroom. I leaned over the grab bar when a wave came and I felt my body pushing. It was the most incredible feeling. I couldn’t have stopped it if I’d wanted to.
We left the bathroom and headed toward the elevators. We were intercepted by a couple of nurses. One of them was holding the elevator door open and I grumbled, “Why isn’t the car moving?” and she said the other nurse was coming with a wheelchair because it was a long walk and she didn’t think I’d make it. Wow! Really?
The wheelchair arrived and I didn’t think I’d be able to sit in it, but when the nurse was running down the hall with me, I was glad for the ride.
We rolled into the room and Patrick was gone because he was out looking for me, but he came back right away.
I laid across the bed, still oh-ing and peace-ing through the waves, when the nurse came over with the consent form and a pen. I thought she must be crazy! I started thinking of the speech I had planned for why I wasn’t going to consent in advance to all of the possible procedures, then I thought to myself, “If I ignore her, she’ll go away.” And she did! I heard Patrick answering all her questions. He could have consented to giving our baby to Rumpelstiltskin. It wouldn’t have mattered.
I thought I needed to go to the bathroom again, so Hannah and I went in together. I couldn’t sit on the toilet so I leaned forward, hands-on-knees. And then I felt myself push again. I shouted, “The baby’s coming now! The baby’s coming now! I’m not kidding! The baby’s coming now!” Patrick said the nurses looked at each other like, “We’ve heard that before.” As I was shouting, I felt myself push twice and my baby’s head came out while I was standing in the bathroom. Hannah put her hand on his head and opened the bathroom door. A very surprised nurse shouted, “Get Dr. Nash! Run!” and put her arm around me and helped me to the bed. I laid down on my side and the rest of the baby just slide right out.
I felt intense pressure as he was born, but no pain and no ring of fire.
Our son Wesley was born on Mother’s Day at 5:17am (about 3.5 hours after the second gush of water, less than an hour after we left our house and after being in the room only about 10 minutes).
No one said, “It’s a boy!” We found out his gender when one of the nurses used a male pronoun.
The HB suggestion that every 20 minutes would feel like 5 minutes really worked on me. Even though I know the times in this story are right, it’s hard for me to believe it was over 2 hours from the time I called Hannah to the time Wesley was born. It seems much shorter.
HB really, really worked for me. If we were having more kids, I would definitely do it again. My only suggestion for the program is that it focus more on the after-birth procedures. Birthing the placenta and having my 2nd degree tear sown up were the worst parts by far and once the excitement of the birth was over, I couldn’t really get back into the HB zone to deal with the pain.