Karli’s Hypnobabies Birth Center Almost Waterbirth
“I’m feeling pushy! I need to get back in the tub!” He hurried over to me to help, but my body started pushing, and there was no going anywhere! I stood up (I did NOT want my baby born in a toilet!) and leaned against my husband and began moaning and even roaring a little. Tucker tried gently moving toward the tub, but I said, “No, don’t pull me!” He responded, “Ok, what should I do?” I blurted out “Catch him!” just in time. “What?! Catch him?!” Surprised it was happening so quickly, Tucker immediately ducked down and gently supported baby’s head and caught the rest of his body as it slid out at 4:49AM, just as the midwives came bustling in, having heard me from the lobby.”
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This pregnancy has been a whirlwind from the start. Once again unplanned, I struggled for a lot of the pregnancy doubting my abilities to actually parent four kids. I started listening to Fear Clearing (Hypnobabies track for releasing fear) and Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations nearly as soon as I found out I was pregnant because I knew I wanted to be in the right mindset to enjoy this as much as I could and welcome this baby with joy and gratitude. And though I’d had 3 positive hospital births, I really wanted to get away from all the protocols and have a birthing experience that was truly mine, so I researched and found a wonderful birth center with a team of midwives who offer hospital birth, birth center, and home birth. I chose the birth center because I felt like my home was a bit too chaotic to have the peaceful experience I wanted.
After 3 “early” and precipitous births, I really wanted to be prepared for another “early” arrival without getting my hopes up. I was constantly reminding myself that this was “a new pregnancy and a new baby, unique unto itself.” Easier said than done!
Monday, March 1st, I had consistent waves (Hypnobabies term for contractions) all day. I even timed some of them. But even though they were consistent, they never got strong enough to warrant a trip to the birth center. However, the following morning, I had quite a lot of bloody show, and at my midwife appointment, they said they hoped to see me back that night or the next day. Already a week past when my last 2 were born (at 37w+2 and 37w+1), I was thrilled to be done. However, waves slowed down and for the next several days, there was very little happening despite me going on long walks and doing the Miles Circuit each night. Saturday marked the longest I’d ever been pregnant, at 38w+4 back in 2014, and I legitimately cried the next day when there was still nothing happening.
The next few days were a jumble of emotions as I tried to maintain patience, knowing this little boy would come when he was ready, and being grateful for the extra time I had with my 3 kids, especially soaking up my toddler’s last days as the baby of the family. But I also just really wanted him out. Sleep is already a struggle for me – add in an unstable pelvis from severe symphysis-pubis dysfunction and illiosacral joint dysfunction and getting up to pee 4 times a night, and I was not having fun. Not to mention, this was my heaviest pregnancy, and that just really made things difficult.
Wednesday, March 10th, I woke up with some good, crampy, though inconsistent waves. I cooked my eggs with a tsp of castor oil (I’d heard so many horror stories of using castor oil but also knew so many people had good experiences with it so I used much less than the suggested dosage, figuring that at the very least, it would act as a mild laxative, which I needed since baby’s head was so low and blocking everything). I was walking and swaying and using my exercise ball and did the Miles Circuit to try to get things going. At lunch, I added a teensy bit more castor oil to a fruit cup, and again right before dinner. I’m not sure if any of that made a difference, but that night, when we started our family movie night at 7, I could tell my waves started building a little and getting more consistent. There were even a few that I had to switch to Off for, and each time, my husband would whisper, “Relaaaax (Hypnobabies cue to deepen hypnosis). Great job staying loose. You’re doing awesome.” I was afraid to get my hopes up, but after we put the kids to bed, Tucker told me he really thought this was it. However, by 10:30, things were slowing down – still happening, just less consistent, so I told my mom we were going to sleep.
At 2:26 AM on the 11th, I woke up to pee and felt a little disappointed that waves had stopped building, though I had a good wave right after I peed. I waited to see if anything else would happen, and when it didn’t, I went back to bed. I was only lying down for a few minutes, though, when I felt a gush. I immediately turned on my lamp, startling Tucker, and told him my water broke. I hobbled back to the bathroom, where I was startled to find a lot of blood. In the past, everything has been clear when my water breaks, but this seemed to be straight blood and lots of it. I was pretty scared and told Tucker to call the midwife immediately. She asked if baby was still moving (he was) and told me they’d meet me at the birth center in 30 minutes and that the blood was probably just a sign that things were changing quickly, though I was skeptical. In the meantime, Tucker called my mom to come be with the kids, and she was there in seriously like less than 10 minutes. He got the car all packed and the car seat moved while I cleaned up and breathed through the waves.
The birth center was only 12 minutes away, and I used that time to start my Easy First Stage (Hypnobabies main birthing day track) birthing day tracks and get into a good hypnosis. I was able to comfortably switch to Center, and we got to the birth center right as the midwives pulled up as well around 3:15 AM. We went into a small exam room where my midwife waited for a pause between waves to check me. All she said was “Making good progress, let’s get you into the room!” (When I asked at my 1-week appointment, she told me I was dilated to a 6.)
I changed into a swim top while my midwife started filling the tub, and Tucker taped up our Hypnobabies signs and turned on some twinkle lights. We kept all the other lights off except the bathroom light, and as soon as I could (around 3:45), I climbed into the tub. It felt sooooo good, and I was so excited to finally have this water birth I’d always wanted! After a quick check of baby’s heart rate, the midwife quietly exited and told us they’d be right outside if we needed anything. While I was lying there, Tucker joked, “Geez, is this a birth center or a spa?!” He was so right, though! The atmosphere was so peaceful and calming, SO much different than the hospital, where I had my last 3 babies. At some point (probably 4:15ish), the birth assistant came in to add more hot water to the tub, check baby’s heart rate again, and bring me some juice. I remember also commenting on how nice it was to have a bit of a break between each wave to talk or reposition or get a drink – with my other births, the waves seemed to be on top of each other, so I just kept my eyes closed and stayed in the zone.
This time, I liked being able to interact with Tucker more and communicate what I needed and enjoy our time together. He responded saying that he doubted those breaks would continue much longer, but he was wrong! Not long after, I switched from a reclined position to leaning over the side of the tub. I couldn’t figure out what felt best and was starting to feel restless. Suddenly, I had to poop. I knew that this is usually a sign of being ready to push since the sensations are similar, but I could tell this was an actual bowel movement, so I got myself out of the tub and over to the toilet. As soon as I finished, though, my body gave a very strong push, and I panicked a little. I told my husband, “I’m feeling pushy! I need to get back in the tub!” He hurried over to me to help, but my body started pushing, and there was no going anywhere! I stood up (I did NOT want my baby born in a toilet!) and leaned against my husband and began moaning and even roaring a little. Tucker tried gently moving toward the tub, but I said, “No, don’t pull me!” He responded, “Ok, what should I do?” I blurted out “Catch him!” just in time. “What?! Catch him?!” Surprised it was happening so quickly, Tucker immediately ducked down and gently supported baby’s head and caught the rest of his body as it slid out at 4:49AM, just as the midwives came bustling in, having heard me from the lobby. Two of the women supported my weight so my husband could stand up (I was still leaning on him) while one got a chucks pad under me. I took our baby from my husband, and with the support of everyone, made it over to the bed. According to my husband, it was less than 2 minutes from me getting out of the tub to baby being in his arms.
Everyone, myself included, expected there to be some pretty serious tearing from how fast he came, but there was nothing! I was so relieved, though admittedly a tad disappointed that my dream water birth evaded me once again! They checked our vitals and my bleeding, and everything looked good! With baby snuggled against my chest, I soon birthed the placenta, and we placed it in a bowl so my husband could hold him while we waited for the cord to turn white, and then Tucker cut it. While Tucker did skin-to-skin and Face Timed our kids, one of the midwives helped me shower and got me all snuggled into the bed, and then they left the 3 of us alone for almost 2 full hours to just nap and enjoy skin-to-skin.
Around 7:00, a midwife came in with a huge breakfast tray with oatmeal and honey, nuts and berries, juice, milk, fruits, hard-boiled eggs, crackers with meat and cheese, sparkling waters, and yogurt! I felt so spoiled! At this point, we did the Vitamin K shot. They checked our vitals again and then let us continue resting. Just before 9, they assessed us one more time and sent us home! I normally get a huge burger after giving birth, but since it was still morning, we stopped at Kneaders for breakfast sandwiches instead.
When we pulled into our garage, Tucker had me and the baby stay in the car while he went inside to settle the kids and explain the “rules” – like “no jumping on Mom.” He soon came and got us, and the kids each got to take turns holding their new brother.
We spent the rest of the day resting while family took care of the other kids, and around 10 the next morning, one of the midwives came for a home visit to check vitals again, do the newborn screening, and deliver a little care package. Later that week, the birth center even sent a meal from a local meal delivery service. I felt so cared for!
On our way home from the birth center, my husband said, “You know, at first, I was pretty skeptical of the whole birth center thing. But it just felt so…classic.” When I asked him to explain, he said, “It was women who know what they’re doing helping other women do what they were made to do, you know? Like that’s just the way it was always meant to be.”
I loved that. He’s so right, and I feel like Hypnobabies just goes right along with that, encouraging and empowering women to do something they are divinely created to do!
HERE is another great birth center story!