Candace’s Fearless, Empowering Hypnobabies Birth

Candace’s Fearless, Empowering Hypnobabies Birth

“I calmly said “neither, I’m in my birthing time (Hypnobabies term for labor).” They didn’t seem to believe me since I wasn’t screaming or yelling or really seem to be in any discomfort whatsoever. I went to triage and my doctor came to check my cervix, and everyone in the room was shocked to learn that I was 8.5 cm dilated already!”

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I’m a first-time mom. In doing my research during pregnancy, my eyes were opened to America’s overmedicalized birth culture, and I decided to minimize medical interventions as much as possible during my birthing (while still giving birth at a hospital). My husband and I took a virtual 6-week Hypnobabies course starting at 28 weeks with Hypnobabies Instructor Tamara Srdanović of Hypnobabies NYC  and we really enjoyed it. Aside from the knowledge about the birthing process from a physical perspective, the most important thing I got from the course was that I shouldn’t fear birth. Fear and negativity would create pain, and whether or not I had fear was 100% within my control.

Around 37 weeks, I started to get REALLY sick of being pregnant. To make matters worse, I had four or five “false alarms” — measurable/trackable waves in regular intervals that would taper off after 6-8 hours. Also happening around my 40th week was the fact that my ObGyn was urging us to induce Miles given his 96th percentile weight based on our third trimester ultrasounds. This is where some fear and doubt started to creep in…I knew from the Hypnobabies course that these ultrasounds could be very inaccurate but I also didn’t want to put my baby at risk for some of the things that could happen given his size. My husband and I scheduled an induction preemptively for 9/28 but could cancel at any time.

I woke up on the morning of Saturday 9/26 at 4:30 AM feeling cramp-like sensations every ten minutes or so. These cramps felt familiar (like menstrual cramps) but also different from the “tightening” practice waves I had been having. When I went to the bathroom, I saw that I had the tiniest bit of pink mucus and knew my cervix was changing. When I saw it, I beamed — I knew in my heart that it was finally time to meet my son.

I realized my waves (Hypnobabies term for contractions) were getting closer together and more intense around 6 AM, so I sat on my birthing ball in the dark living room and listened to the Birthing Day Affirmations track. This quiet moment to myself prepared me for the day ahead. While repeating the affirmations, I reminded myself that my body was made to do what it was about to do, and that today I would experience the greatest joy of my life. I thanked my body for growing Miles and keeping him safe and secure in our journey together.

The waves got even more intense, so I started “Easy First Stage” (Hypnobabies main birthing day track) to get in hypnosis. My husband rubbed my back and hips during the waves while I breathed and hummed and whispered “Peace” (Hypnobabies cue for instant physical comfort). I decided to stand up and walk around during the waves while in center switch (Hypnobabies tool for eyes-open hypnosis), which made them easy to manage.

At about 10 AM we were thinking seriously about when we would head over to the hospital because the waves were less than 5 min apart. I sat down to use the bathroom as we were preparing to leave and immediately felt myself about to throw up. Not sure how many times I actually puked, but I knew intuitively that my body was emptying itself in order to focus on the birthing process, which encouraged me. Before we left, I took one last look at our apartment knowing that God willing, when we returned, we would have our little baby with us.

In the car, I dealt with the waves by deeply breathing with my eyes closed. When we arrived at the hospital, the front desk asked if we were checking in for an induction or C-section. I calmly said “neither, I’m in my birthing time (Hypnobabies term for labor).” They didn’t seem to believe me since I wasn’t screaming or yelling or really seem to be in any discomfort whatsoever. I went to triage and my doctor came to check my cervix, and everyone in the room was shocked to learn that I was 8.5 cm dilated already! My water bag was intact, but I insisted I did NOT want it to be broken. I knew after that the waves would only get more intense, and I felt I was doing a good job dealing with them as they were coming.

After spending about an hour in triage we were admitted and moved to the maternity ward around noon.

At this point my waves were roughly 2 minutes apart (I think? I really had no concept of time at this point). I was given an IV for saline (I pushed back on this because I thought why couldn’t I just drink water? but we decided to get it just in case other medications were needed intravenously/urgently) and was hooked up to the fetal heart monitor which was SUPER uncomfortable and kept needing to be adjusted in order to pick up Miles’s heartbeat. My waves were now at the point where I couldn’t really talk through them — I had to focus all my energy on just breathing and humming and quietly whispering “Peace.” During one particular wave, I felt the need to squat on the toilet. While there I had a wave that seemed to go on and on for at least two minutes straight. I got back on the hospital bed, had another wave, felt my body start to involuntarily push, and my water bag burst (a better description would be “exploded”) like a water balloon, lol. My doctor checked my cervix again and I was fully dilated, and Miles’s head was very low. More nurses came in to set up the room for the birth.

The pushing stage was 100% involuntary — I just let my body do its thing. I was making very primal guttural noises and I really couldn’t control how loud I was (and didn’t care). We put on the “Pushing Baby Out” track (Hypnobabies track just for pushing) on my phone and sat my phone right on my shoulder so I could hear it. My husband rubbed my forehead and said “Peace”. I can’t say I was in true “pain” — there was an incredible amount of pressure, but I did not fear the sensations. After maybe 2 or 3 waves with involuntary pushes, Miles’s head was out, and after one last push (this was the only one where I “helped” my body push), his body came out and he was officially born at 2:11 PM on his guess date (Hypnobabies term for due date), three hours after arriving at the hospital, 9 lbs 6 oz! Some of the nurses gasped at his size — one yelled out “whoa he’s a toddler!”

Miles was immediately put on my chest for skin to skin, and we delayed the cord cutting/eye ointment.

I couldn’t believe what my body had just done, and it was surreal to see him for the first time. He was beautiful…with a little button nose and curly black hair.

I could not have had the empowering and fearless birthing time that I had without Hypnobabies. I stayed in “center switch” the entire time and was extremely calm and focused and could still communicate with everyone around me. I’m so grateful to this program for giving me the birth experience I wished for.

Pics: me flashing the peace sign at 10 cm dilated, and a pic of my son Miles!