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The Hypnobabies Birth Story of Ethan Andrew Meissner

The Hypnobabies Birth Story of Ethan Andrew Meissner 

“I started talking to him, calling him by name, saying, “Ethan, come on baby, I’m so excited to meet you!” “Come on baby, I love you so much.” My voice was calm and warm but also very deep into my soul – it was a very powerful experience to talk to him while I pushed him out.”

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During my last trimester, we’d talked about gentle induction methods to try to help baby come out sooner. I was struggling to walk and had been since around 23 weeks, and I had two toddlers at home to keep up with. We had planned a home birth this time, and having been induced for my other two children, I was really looking forward to spontaneous start of my birthing time. We talked to the midwife about her preferred induction methods and did research to determine how we felt about them. She uses Cytotec along with a Foley catheter to dilate the cervix and encourage waves to start. We determined that we were uncomfortable with Cytotec and would not use it at all, but a Foley might be ok if my Bishop’s score were favorable enough.

At my 38 week appointment my blood pressure suddenly became elevated and would not come down. I did have a history of preeclampsia, onset suddenly at 38 weeks and severe within 24 hours, so together as a team, my midwife, husband, and myself all agreed that we should probably have a baby that day. I was disappointed to not be able to experience a spontaneous birthing time, but with first-hand experience of what elevated BP during birthing time at a hospital looked like, I wanted to try to still have a home birth if at all possible and unfortunately my midwife wouldn’t have been comfortable keeping me as a patient with BPs falling between 149/97 and 164/104.

At 4:30 in the afternoon my cervix was at a 3 cm dilation, 50% effaced, soft and lined up nicely and baby was at -2 station. When the midwife inserted the Foley, it thinned to 90% and I was confident that the Foley alone would be all my body needed to start my birthing time. Waves started as soon as she checked my cervix (they always did), but remained comfortable and did not affect my ability to get the kids ready to go. We gathered the things needed to take the kids to the sitter and then came back to wait for the midwife and photographer who all agreed to meet back at the house at 6:30.

At 6:30, when we all got back to the house, my midwife checked urine for protein. There was only trace, which was comforting since trace is very common in late pregnancy and we felt confident that my BP was not causing additional issues yet. I hadn’t felt like eating since the Foley was placed, so I didn’t. While the team set up the pool in my bedroom and got everything ready, I sat at the end of my bed with my feet on the footboard and felt the waves. I was talking and happy; I played my Birthing Day Affirmations in the background on repeat. If I couldn’t talk through a wave, I would just shut off my mental light-switch and close my eyes through it, listening to my affirmations. My birth partner came and placed his hand on my shoulder, giving me my Relax Cue to help me remember and connect.

At 8:30 the midwife checked my cervix to see how the Foley was doing and it fell out. I was dilated 7cm. We were happy with the progress and took Cytotec off the table to just let my body continue to progress naturally. Once the Foley was out, the waves spaced out. We figured baby just hadn’t reconnected with the cervix after removing the Foley, so we tried to intensify waves and help him move into position. I pumped between waves, stood for a while, and did Abdominal Lift and Tucks with and without assistance from my birth partner.

At 9:45, I still felt like baby wasn’t engaged, so I asked my midwife to break my water. I had hoped that this would bring the waves closer to his body and help him move down onto the cervix so that it could dilate and he could be born. When we broke my water, the fluid was clear and there was a ton of it! I laughed as more and more just kept coming. During waves at this point I liked to curl around my belly in a seated squat position at the foot of my bed, and then between I would change positions to try to eek more fluid out. It seemed like things picked up nicely after my water was broken. The waves intensified and got closer together. I was still managing well, turning off through waves and just enjoying my birthing time.

I was pretty excited to have made it to a 7 without any sign that I would have back pressure since with my other two children I hadn’t gotten that far without it moving to my back. At 11pm I moved to the birthing pool. Our hot water ran out fairly quickly, so the midwifery team boiled pots of water in the kitchen downstairs to bring them to the pool to supplement and keep it warm. I still felt peaceful and calm, talking between pressure waves and feeling like things were moving along. 

At 11:30 my midwife checked my blood pressure and it was 119/71, which breathed this calm vibe through the house – I hadn’t been thinking about it but it was nice to know that 1. My midwife was thinking about my BP so we didn’t have to, and 2. My BP was nice and low and was not a cause for concern even during my active first stage. While in the pool, we talked about how it was looking like baby wanted to keep us guessing on his birthday – would he come before or after midnight? We all felt he would be born soon and that it could happen on either day. At midnight, while in the pool, my midwife suggested that I try pumping for 20 minutes straight, even through waves {Editor’s note: This is not normally recommended}, to move things along and I did. At 12:30 I got out of the pool to go to the bathroom and was just really tired.

My midwife checked my cervix and I was still 7cm. The team encouraged me to nap if I wanted to, so I tried to get comfortable and rest. By 1am the waves were picking up a bit and I was no longer comfortable in bed, so I chose to get back into the pool. Back in the water the second time, my waves were 2-4 minutes apart. I managed the pressure by moving the water on my belly, leaning over the side of the pool and swaying my hips back and forth, and sitting on my knees and swishing the water with my hands. My midwife rested on the floor by the birth pool while everyone else was sleeping, talking to me and timing my waves for me when I asked. I felt confident that my birthing waves were strong and that my birthing time had not stalled, but something didn’t feel quite right either. I had started to feel some pressure, but not in my bottom – it was all on my pubic bone.

Baby’s bum felt high to me. At 1:30am my midwife and I agreed that baby needed to move. It became clear that he was not positioned correctly or he would have come already. She told me about the Miles Circuit, used to get baby’s head to move down through rotation, and we started that at 1:37. My midwife left to get some rest and her assistant stayed with me for the circuit. The first position was laying on my left side in bed, tipping almost onto my belly with my right knee to the bed almost like a kickstand. Something definitely shifted during this position as the waves spaced out a lot (only 4 waves over the course of 45 minutes), but moved into my back. I asked my midwife’s assistant to provide counter pressure on my hips and it took us a few waves to figure out what worked for me.

The waves were powerful and I found counter pressure on my sacrum to be most comforting. At around 2:30 we moved on to the next position which was simply upright with a leg up in some way. I first tried the toilet with one leg up on a stool. As soon as I was upright, the waves became longer, stronger, and closer together. I needed a good amount of counter pressure on my hips, so my birth partner came into the bathroom with me and provided pressure on my sacrum while I squeezed my hips together with my hands through each wave. My bum bones were getting uncomfortable on the toilet seat, so I tried standing with a foot up on a stool. After 2 waves standing I knew it wasn’t working for me, so we set up a chair for me to sit on. The chair was facing away from the bed with a pillow and a chux pad on the seat and a pillow on the back. I sat facing the bed (and the back of the chair). I focused and tried to relax through the back pressure and the team all took turns pressing very firmly on my sacrum. I still put my own hands on my hips and squeezed as well.

At 3:36am my midwife came back and took over for Amanda. I expressed interest in trying some other positions as long as she could follow me to provide that counter pressure. She followed me through trying leaning on the bed, back in the chair, back onto the toilet, and on all fours. My midwife checked my cervix, which had not changed in dilation, however we knew baby had moved some because of the back pressure and intensity. She did a modified Walcher’s maneuver to rotate baby further and open up the pelvis. My pelvis was over the edge of the bed with my legs hanging unsupported while she put direct pressure on my hips. This was challenging for me because of the mobility issues I’d had throughout my third trimester, so I used my Peace and Relax cues to remain calm through three waves so that she could complete the maneuver and hopefully move baby into a better position.

She was confident about each tool we were using and our ability to get him to move, and I never felt like she didn’t think we could do it. This was very important for my emotional well-being as I knew I could do it too, even though this maneuver was very challenging for me. At 4:54, after the Walcher’s, I again tried the toilet and chair to manage the back pressure. During this time my legs started shaking strongly during each wave as well. Everyone agreed that I was for sure finally in Transformation. I felt nauseous and asked for some peppermint oil on a washcloth. I also took a Zofran.

In each position I chose, my legs bounced wildly up and down while someone pressed very firmly on my sacrum and I squeezed my hips during waves. At 5:42am my midwife asked if she could check my cervix to see where we were at. I still felt his bottom was high, but I felt like I was surely in transformation and that my waves were plenty strong enough to bring him here. My cervix was now at 8.5cm, fully effaced, and baby was still at a -1 station. We were finally seeing cervical change after 9 hours at 7 cm! My midwife felt strongly that intervention was needed to help baby finish his descent. She physically nudged his head during a wave to encourage it to rotate into a better position. I was shaking, but I felt a huge difference right away. I moved to the toilet but I felt too much pressure in my bottom so I didn’t want to stay there. I tried the chair again, starting to moan and sing my “birth song.” After one wave on the chair I quickly got into the water. I got to my knees and immediately felt pressure in my bottom. I knew he was finally where he needed to be and it was time to meet my baby! I said aloud I was pretty sure I needed to go to the bathroom again and everyone together said, “that’s your baby; push out your baby!”

Within minutes I pushed his head down the canal and felt with my hand a huge expansion of the tissues all around my vaginal opening. I could feel that he was right there and crowning! I started talking to him, calling him by name, saying, “Ethan, come on baby, I’m so excited to meet you!” “Come on baby, I love you so much.” My voice was calm and warm but also very deep into my soul – it was a very powerful experience to talk to him while I pushed him out. At 5:55 I pushed out his head, supporting the back of his head with my hands in the water underneath me, and then pushed out his shoulders. I could hear my birth partner behind me lightly crying with pride as I talked to and pushed out our sweet son. Once he was free, I quickly and calmly lifted him up onto my chest and settled into a seated position at the side of the pool with my birth partner at my back.

We cried as we met and admired our little guy. His skin was covered in a thick layer of vernix. I dipped a towel into the water and put it over his back, clearing some vernix from his eyes so that he could open them. My midwife was prepared to step in if needed, but the little guy had Apgars of 10 at both 1 minute and 10 minutes, so everyone just let us stay there in the water together. He had a full head of dark hair and a dent about an inch from his forehead where he’d been stuck on my pubic bone for so long. The folds of his neck, armpits, thighs, and knees were all particularly white and thick. At 6:20 we all talked about the cord and cut it. My birth partner took our baby and I got into my own cozy bed. I watched my husband bond with his son while my midwife did a minor repair and I used my Peace cue to remain calm and brave as I’m not a fan of needles.

At 6:35 the placenta was born and we all took some time to look at it and talk about how cool it was. Baby breastfed for about an hour, skin to skin, and then my midwife and husband took him to weigh and measure him. He weighed 7 pounds, 8.5 ounces and was 21 inches long. I put him in a little cloth diaper and then showered, feeling stable and healthy. My midwife checked my BP which was already back in normal territory at 125/86. The team left at 8 and we spent a few hours bonding with our little guy before our other two children came to meet him. Words are totally inadequate in trying to describe how it felt to bring my own baby straight from the womb into my arms as his mother – both my husband and I are just so amazed at the powerful emotions we felt in that moment.

I’m so grateful for my birth partner’s support and participation as we prepared for and experienced our third Hypnobabies birth. I’m grateful for a patient and skilled midwife who was willing and able to work with my body and my baby to help him into position so that he could be born without unnecessary surgery. I never felt like I had to fight to have a voice. I really do think that knowing my voice mattered and being in my own home with people I trusted made a huge difference in my ability to stay in hypnosis and mange my comfort level during my birthing time.

 

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