I love how her birthing time slowed down on the hour long car ride to the hospital.

Writing a birth story is always bittersweet for me: I love to tell about my amazing, life-changing experiences, but it seems that by putting it in writing the beautiful, magical event is truly over. This was my 6th (and last) baby, and my first using hypnosis. The other births had been unmedicated, but each was longer than the last and the birthing time of my 5th baby had been somewhat traumatic. I started Hypnobabies at home around 32 weeks and was very faithful with listening to the tracks, as well as my fingerdrops. I really loved the affirmations!

I was due on June 12th. On the 9th I had a couple hours of somewhat regular contractions that reminded me exactly how labor feels. I went to the midwife on the 10th and had my one vaginal exam of the entire pregnancy. I was 1.5 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and very soft. Baby was ballotable, or not engaged at all. I was excited to lose my mucus plug on the 11th and 12th and felt like thing were starting to happen! Of course, another week went by without any noticeable change and I tried not to let myself think that I would never go into labor.

Saturday the 19th I took my kids to the library and while there kept getting sharp groin cramps that I was unable to stand through. I soon realized that these cramps were coming along with contractions! When I got home I tried to get the baby into a better position by leaning over the birth ball. It must have helped because while the mild contractions continued, the groin cramping stopped. I timed the contractions at about 10 minutes apart for about five hours. Even though they were mild, they were tiring and I started to get discouraged. I decided that I was in prodromal labor, and that these contractions were preparing my body and moving my baby into a good position. That night I had just enough contractions to keep me out on the couch, unable to sleep well. Around midnight I put on Easy First Stage, and that relaxed me enough to sleep for awhile. I didn’t watch the clock, but I’d guess that the contractions were only coming every 20 or 30 minutes, but gaining in intensity.

Sunday the 20th I was happy to have the occasional contraction as an excuse not to go to church. I’d been overdue the previous Sunday and had had my limit of people wondering when I was going to pop. Throughout the morning and early afternoon my contractions were very infrequent.
Around 3 o’clock I noticed the contractions picking up in frequency, although the intensity remained fairly low. I timed them using Contractionmaster.com for an hour or so and found that they moved from 10 minutes apart to roughly 5 minutes apart. We decided to call our babysitter, my mom, who would have to drive an hour to reach our house. We would then have an hour drive to reach the hospital, so I didn’t want to delay too long. By the time Mom arrived at 5:20 or so, the contractions were still around 5 minutes apart, occasionally 3 minutes, and a few took a lot of concentration to manage. I would switch to “off” on the birth ball for each one, thinking “Open.” We rounded up our things, wedging the birth ball into the trunk because I knew I would want it, and we were off!

The hour drive to the hospital passed very quickly for me (remember the suggestion that 20 minutes would feel like 5? It really did!) My contractions actually slowed down to about 10 minutes apart, and I figured we had a long time to go before the birth. I kept my switch off and listened to Easy First Stage, occasionally going to center to talk to my husband. I had two very intense contractions where I needed him to squeeze my hand- hard. This helped to somehow lessen my perception of the intensity in my abdomen.

We arrived at the hospital around 6:30 pm. As soon as we got out of the car my contractions started to come every two minutes. I had one on the way up to the doors, and several while my husband was filling out paperwork in admitting. These were extremely intense, being felt all over my back and thighs. My husband did the “double hip squeeze” for me, which eased the intensity.

We got out of admitting and met my midwife, who had just arrived and was carrying her dinner. I had a very intense contraction and I bent over while my husband did the hip squeeze. I was thinking that the hip squeeze wasn’t going to cut it much longer. We walked a bit further and I bent over for another contraction. When I pushed just a tiny bit to relieve the pressure my water broke with a pop and the baby descended rapidly. I said, “The baby is coming!” and held my hand capped over the birth canal, as if to hold him in. A nurse tried to get me to sit in a wheel chair, but I said, “I can’t- I’ll sit on his head!” Somehow my midwife and husband each took one of my arms and hauled me to my birthing room.

I saw a bed prepared with chux pads so I took off my pants and underwear and climbed on. Once there, I threw off my shirt and bra and hunkered down in a really low hands-and-knees position. Someone wanted to take my blood pressure, but there was no time. I pushed a little with the next contraction, I think, and felt him descend even more. I reached my middle finger into the birth canal and felt his head about 2 inches in. It was such a neat feeling! My midwife, redundantly, did an internal exam and pronounced me complete. On the next contraction I pushed very strongly and his head came out. I couldn’t believe it! I gave another long push and he was born at 6:44! I was just in complete amazement at how fast it had all happened, how actually very easy it had been. So overjoyed at not once being strapped to the monitors! I kind of kept waiting to “wake up!”

I stayed in my position while they suctioned the baby and his cord was cut (which had already stopped pulsating.) Then I sat back and they handed my wonderfully peaceful little boy to me. My perineum was completely intact and my blood pressure remained perfect (hypotension has always been a huge post-birth issue for me.) Since I have a history of bleeding, and my uterus was a little boggy, I readily consented to two bags of IV fluid with Pitocin.

Joziah James was 7 pounds .5 ounce and 19.5 inches long. He has been the most peaceful little Hypnobaby, hardly crying at all. He just squeaks to make his needs known!