Elizabeth’s Easier, Comfortable Hypnobabies Birth
“My husband, who hadn’t read any of the scripts or used the cues with me during my comfortable Hypnobabies birthing time (he had offered, but I kept saying that’s not what I wanted), turned to me and said, “Huh, I guess you didn’t really use Hypnobabies.” I just laughed and told him that I had been listening to the tracks the whole time and explained to him all the techniques I had been using. His response was, “Wow! Okay, yeah, we’re using Hypnobabies every time from now on!””
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Prior to this birth, I had two difficult and completely opposite non-Hypnobabies birthing times (Hypnobabies term for labor) with my girls that caused me to become extremely discouraged in my ability to handle the intensity of birthing time. With my first birth, I felt so unprepared for the pressure waves (Hypnobabies term for contractions) that I ended up opting to have an epidural at only 3cm dilated because I had been struggling through waves for over 24 hours and had lost faith that I would be able to handle any additional waves. With my second birth, that first experience was in the front of my mind. After about 2 hours of thinking that my birthing time had begun, I decided that I wanted to get to the hospital. At this point, everything moved extremely quickly, and my baby girl was born less than an hour later. This time, I had no medication at all, but I truly struggled with not being able to maintain any level of relaxation in my body, causing the discomfort and intensity to be more pronounced. Again, I left the experience feeling that I just personally didn’t handle birth well and that there was nothing I could do about it.
Then, enter Hypnobabies! I am a naturally more skeptical person, so when a friend first recommended Hypnobabies during my second pregnancy, I just kind of politely nodded and never looked into it. After my second difficult birthing experience, I figured I would try anything. I bought the program at about 6 weeks along, and I immediately began listening to the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations. I cannot emphasize enough how much this track helped re-frame my mindset about birth. Every time I had a negative thought about pregnancy and childbirth, I could hear Kerry’s voice in my head challenging those thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. The one that stuck with me the most (and that I heard in my head the most often) was the one emphasizing that this is a NEW birth. I kept focusing on the fact that this birth was going to be unique and that it would be a positive, comfortable Hypnobabies birth experience.
The third trimester of this pregnancy was more challenging than with my other two, and I felt so ready for my baby boy to just be born. My 4-year-old was my cheerleader, constantly reminding me that “Baby Davey will be born when he is READY, mommy!” On Friday, I started to get a bit anxious about having my parents arrive in time to watch my two girls when my birthing time began as there was quite a bit of snow in the forecast. They came up to spend the weekend, all of us hoping baby boy would arrive while my parents were in town. At 40 weeks and 4 days, I had some continuous discharge that my midwife thought might be a slow leak of my water. With bags packed and excited to meet our baby, my husband and I went to the hospital . . . only to find out that my water had not broken and to be sent back home. I was so disappointed and exhausted when I got home that I ended up just taking a nap for the rest of the afternoon.
That night, while watching the Super Bowl with my husband and my parents, I had some more intense pressure waves. I had been having intense pressure waves in the evening for a few weeks, so I did not have any expectation that this would be my birthing time. However, I popped my headphones in and listened to my Birthing Day Affirmations just in case that night was the night. I was needing to turn my light switch completely off during waves and breathe through them, but it was not noticeably different than my practice waves had been, so I honestly didn’t think anything of it. At half time, my parents went back to their hotel, and I decided to go to bed.
Once I was in bed, the pressure waves started to be more frequent (but still no more intense), so I decided to begin timing them. They were consistently about 1 minute long but about 10 minutes apart, so I didn’t think much of it and was able to fall asleep while listening to the affirmations. About every 10 minutes, I would wake up to a wave, breathe through it, and then fall back to sleep. After an hour, I realized the regularity of the waves and decided that I would switch over to the Easy First Stage track (Hypnobabies main birthing time track) (since my second came so quickly, I wanted to be sure I had that track playing). I texted my husband that he might want to come upstairs and get some rest as I thought my birthing time may have begun (he stayed downstairs to finish watching the game).
For the next 3 hours, I comfortably lay in bed, listening to Easy First Stage. It was truly easy! I was having a comfortable Hypnobabies birth. I felt the pressure waves, but I breathed through them and focused on Kerry’s voice. Every time a pressure wave ended, I would check how long it had been and be truly shocked that they had lasted over a minute. At this time, my confidence was beginning to rise, and it was the first time that I thought, “Hey, maybe I actually can do this!”. At midnight, I noticed that I was unintentionally vocalizing during waves, which honestly felt so good! I was fairly confident that it was truly my birthing time, so I had my husband call my mom to come back over to sleep in our guest room so that we could leave for the hospital whenever we wanted to. Then, I rested and rode the waves for the next two hours.
At around 2:45 am, I realized that the waves had been 5 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute for over an hour. Again, I was shocked! My husband had been peacefully sleeping beside me the whole time, and I had just been comfortably listening to the tracks. I wasn’t even consciously aware of employing any specific cue words, I was just breathing the way I always did through tracks and following the lead of Kerry’s voice. I decided that I wanted to see if I could get things moving along, so I woke my husband up and asked him to time my waves while I took a shower with the hypnosis music playing in the background and my husband reading cues to me. In the shower, my waves stayed about 5 minutes apart but decreased in both intensity and length. This was discouraging as, in my mind, it meant that I was actually not very far along (similar to my first birthing time). After about 15 minutes, I decided to get back in bed and sleep. My body, however, had other plans. Immediately when I laid back down, the waves were back up to their previous intensity, spacing, and length. At that time, I decided to call my midwife.
I was able to easily and calmly talk with my midwife between waves (which, again, I thought meant I couldn’t possibly be far along). I emphasized to her that I did not want to be sent home, so I only wanted to come in if she truly thought I would be admitted. I told her that I wanted to get to the hospital earlier than in my previous birthing time to give me the ability to really settle and ease into birthing at the hospital. Compared to my second birth, I was sure I was not yet that far along. She gave me the option to come right in or to wait 20-30 minutes and then call back and discuss any changes. I opted for the latter as, again, I did not want to be sent home for being too early in my birthing time. I decided to walk around my downstairs and see whether things picked up or slowed down while my husband finished grabbing anything we would need for the hospital. Initially, the waves shortened and decreased in intensity, but they were soon back up to their previous level. I decided it was time to go in and just prayed that I was far enough along to be admitted.
The car ride was amazing; such an opposite experience from my second birthing. I listened to Easy First Stage in center for the whole ride, and just like it says in the Birthing Day Affirmations, 20 minutes truly only felt like 5. I was surprised when we were at the hospital as the ride had been so easy and comfortable. Because it was 4 am, we needed to go through a different entrance at our hospital, but there was some confusion with the woman who was supposed to escort us up to our birthing room, and we ended up waiting for her for about 30 minutes. At this point, I was strongly vocalizing during the waves, but vocalizing was giving me strength, and made it feel so much easier. Again, I was still able to easily talk between waves, which made me think I wasn’t very far along (remember, in my mind, I just “didn’t handle birth well”).
Finally, we were escorted up to triage, and I was able to see our wonderful midwife and the nurse who would be with us during my birthing time. I consented to a cervix check at this point because I honestly thought I may not be far enough along to be admitted. Everyone else was unsure as well, and since I didn’t think I was anywhere near to having this baby, I wasn’t going to advocate that I should be admitted. However, when my midwife checked me, I was already in transformation (Hypnobabies term for transition)! I was so thrown by this that I started to get some anxiety. I was worried that this would be like my second birth, difficult and intense because I had gotten to the hospital so late. Again, though, I could hear the affirmations in my mind and it really helped to calm me.
We were immediately brought up to our birthing room, and both the nurse and my midwife kept complimenting me on how well I was keeping my whole body relaxed during waves. I kept waiting for the discomfort I had felt with the waves of my previous birth to come back, but they didn’t. I am so grateful for my comfortable Hypnobabies birth. Sure, I felt discomfort, but it was so manageable. Vocalizing through them was giving me strength, I was keeping every muscle in my body so relaxed, and I just kept thinking how each wave was a big hug that was bringing me closer to meeting my baby!
Suddenly, my vocalizations changed, and my midwife said, “I know that sound! Are you feeling pushy?” My answer was no, but I have never felt pushy with any baby (including this one), so I just assumed my body knew what it was doing. During the next wave, my water broke with a big pop, and during the wave after that, I was vocalizing in that same “pushy” way.
The baby felt lower (something I hadn’t felt with my second, but I was so relaxed and in tune with my body, that I was able to recognize it). When my midwife checked me, she said the baby was low enough to push! She offered to move my cervix out of the way so that I could begin pushing immediately, and she estimated that baby would be born in 10-15 minutes. This was when things got the most difficult for me (not in terms of discomfort, but just in terms of flashing back to previous births and beginning to lose confidence in myself), but everything went by so quickly and two pushes later, baby boy was doing skin-to-skin! He was 8lbs 15oz and 22 inches long.
My husband, who hadn’t read any of the scripts or used the cues with me during my birthing time (he had offered, but I kept saying that’s not what I wanted), turned to me and said, “Huh, I guess you didn’t really use Hypnobabies.” I just laughed and told him that I had been listening to the tracks the whole time and explained to him all the techniques I had been using. His response was, “Wow! Okay, yeah, we’re using Hypnobabies every time from now on!” I cannot emphasize enough the change that this entire program brought to both my pregnancy and birthing time. When we were reading through the Birth Partner Guide, there is a part that reminds birth partners that Hypnobabies moms may not realize how far along they are. I literally laughed while we read that and said, “Okay, maybe some women won’t realize it, but not me. We will know exactly when I need to go to the hospital!” And yet there I was, not sure if I would even be admitted when I was in transformation because of my comfortable Hypnobabies birth! I no longer feel like I just “can’t handle birth”. I KNOW I can! My body was made to do this, and now I have the proof for myself.
Love reading birth stories? Here is another wonderful hospital birth: https://www.hypnobabies.com/kashas-awesome-hypnobabies-hospital-birth/