Bridget Amber was born on July 7th at 3:13 am, weighing 9lb 13oz, 20.5 inches long. The birth was completely natural, intervention and medication-free, in a hospital with a CNM. Bridget is my fourth baby, my first hypnobaby.
Here are some details. At my first prenatal visit, at around week 10, the midwife informed me I would not be permitted to birth under water this time, due to my history of big babies. Inside a felt like launching an arguement against this ban because I really like birthing in water and I felt like I’ve already proved myself with my last under water birth of a surprisingly heavy baby at 11lb 5oz. “It went smoothly, so why the ban”, I wanted to argue. I decided it’s way too early in this pregnancy to get vocal about how I wanted to birth. So much could happen still before the birth that could sway the midwives decision. I decided to hold my tongue. But this “ban” is what made me interested in hypnosis.
Fast forward to weeks 35 and on. I began having PW intense enough to really slow me down. I was still working full-time and doubted that I’d be able to finish working through week 38 as I had planned. The mornings were always when I felt normal, but after 3 or 4 pm, I struggled to keep appearing unaffected by the cramps, pinching down there, short breath, and general squeezing sensation. At 38 weeks my cervix was 3.5 cm open and 50% thinned. The result of these early and annoying PWs. During this time I was totally useless at home in the evenings. Trouble moving around to cook and bathe and put the three young ones to bed. Finally I finished my last day of work and I could just wait. I waited and waited, very much expected the baby to come any day. This was my mindset every day for a week and a half. My guess date was July 8th (but my midwives had it documented as June 29 based on early US). These were some of the slowest days of my life. I felt like I was living in limbo. These are the days when artificial induction, something I’m strongly opposed to, becomes tempting. But thanks to Hypnobabies I had confidence to just keep waiting.
During the waiting week-and-a-half, my PW established a pattern of coming on at 4:30pm, still random and just annoying. Every day, though, they subsided while I slept and I felt normal again in the mornings. Also during this time I had copious amounts of mucus discharge. It didn’t look like a mucus plug (brownish, old-looking mucus). Also, toward the end of my waiting week-and-a-half, my stools were a lot looser than ever during pregnancy. I took these as signs that I was getting ever closer.
Then one night I awoke at 12:38 to a PW that got my attention. It was pretty powerful AND it didn’t follow my regular pattern of subsiding after going to sleep. I lay awake and felt two more after a half-an-hour. At 1:10 am I woke my husband to say, “You need to go get a cab.” Then I called my midwife. I felt like I had to defend my case for “now” being the time to go to the hospital. What do I say, “I’ve had 3 PWs in the last 1/2 hour?” Most midwives would say go back to bed.
I reminded my midwife how fast my last two birthing times were (under an hour each) and how this activity was not my pattern. She agreed to meet me there. I then called our au pair, who lives in our basement, to tell her we’re going to the hospital. She’d be in charge of the kids in the morning when they woke-up. I packed a bag and sat on my birthing ball while my husband lined up a cab. We left the house at 1:45am. I remember a PW hit while getting into the cab. I had to pause for this to pass. Another PW hit while at a red light on Michigan Ave. Somehow, we hit all red lights going up Michigan Ave. through downtown Chicago in the middle of the night! We get to the hospital… PW hits while getting out of the cab. A hospital employee sees me and gets a wheelchair for me. So nice of her since she was off and heading home. We arrive to the hospital at about 2am.
In triage I sit and wait for the nurses to ready a triage room. No other patients are around. This is a busy downtown Chicago woman’s hospital that delivers an average of 30 babies a day! The nurse motions me into a room. I have to stop to lean against the doorway through another PW. The nurses are patient. After giving a urine sample and changing into a gown, I get in bed and get an internal. They’re used to screening woman who 1/3 of the time get sent home because it’s too early. They declare me 7cm open and 100% effaced. They role my bed toward the elevator to admit me to L&D.
A nurse asks me how I’d like to deliver. Under water, I say. She tells me the tub was recently used and there’s no time to clean it. Unfortunately I will not be getting a water birth. I’m admitted at 2:15am. In the L&D room, I at first sit in bed and chat with my widwife between waves. Eventually I ask for a birthing ball. I sit on the ball with my head rested on the elevated bed and a couple pillows.
Eventually I’m needed so much concentration for these PW, I’ve tuned out my environment. Then I feel super hot. I recognize this from my last birth. I know I’m getting close. The involuntary vocalizations start. The “cave woman grunting.” “Lower the bed.” I manage to say. Now I climb into bed on my knees leaning forward on pillows propped over the elevated head of the bed. This position is close to the hands and knees position I had visualized birthing in. In this position is where the vocalizations escalate and so does the intensity of the PWs. I involuntarily push. I’m totally concentrating on relaxing and following my body’s urges. During the pushing stage, my midwife asks for permission to break the bulging bag of water to avoid the mess of an explosion. I agreed to it. In a matter of minutes the baby is out.
She was born at 3:13am, only an hour after being admitted. The baby’s nurse asked permission for the eye ointment and the vit D shot. I consented. I liked how she asked first. These treatments as well as other aspects of the baby’s exam were done while I held her. So nice to see these changes in the hospital treatment vs. separating baby and mom for these treatments and not even including mom in the decisions. I’m also so pleased with my midwife for being so ‘hands-off.’ She allowed me to do it my way and in my time. I’d like to have the tub to deliver in, but since it wasn’t available at the moment I needed it, I could handle that news since I’d been preparing for a dry birth from the start anyway. If I wasn’t prepared mentally, that would have made it harder to accept.
I benefited from the readings and the affirmations from Hypnobabies and the boost to my confidence the overall program gives. I think the positive mental perspective alone are beneficial, since the physical feelings of PWs and birthing are so welcomed, nothing I couldn’t deal with. Never did I feel fear or panic as some describe, just empowered and a sense of marvel at the whole process. The female body is a masterpiece!