Krysti’s Hypnobabies Hospital VBAC Induction
“I was honestly so surprised that it was already time to push! My husband cued up the Pushing Baby Out track (Hypnobabies track just for pushing) and my midwife put my phone next to me so I could hear it better (we had brought a blue tooth speaker but at that point there was no extra brain power to think of getting my phone connected to a different speaker).”
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Rhys is my third child. I actually used Hypnobabies to prepare for my first two children’s births, but my first baby was breech and after an attempted ECV that didn’t work we moved on to a planned c-section. That was a little disappointing, but my recovery went well, and we made the best of it. For my second I did a VBAC and used Hypnobabies casually in preparation and during my birthing time (Hypnobabies term for labor) (I didn’t follow the directions for study at all, so the results weren’t as powerful as they could’ve been). I waited until I went into my birthing time naturally and he was born at 41+3 days naturally after a very long time of birthing waves at home (34 hours) and 7 hours birthing time at the hospital. I only used my finger drop technique (Hypnobabies tool to enter hypnosis) during my birthing time with him, and didn’t listen to any birthing day tracks or anything, so didn’t get the full benefits that I could have otherwise. My main regrets with his birth was I was too tired by the end to truly enjoy the moments right after he was born, and I went along with coached purple pushing.
My pregnancy with Rhys went very well, and this time I took my Hypnobabies study very seriously. Joining the support group on Facebook helped, and also reading almost every single birth story on the Hypnobabies website. As I got closer to my guess date (Hypnobabies term for due date), I was getting more and more excited to give birth. In early March as the novel coronavirus became more of a worry in the US, I switched my care from a hospital-based midwife group to a birth center midwife, in hopes of avoiding germs at the hospital. That choice made sense for me up until 41 weeks when my blood pressure began to be elevated from my normal range.
With me being 40 years old, my pregnancy going over due by over a week, doing a VBAC, and having borderline high blood pressure, I decided it would be safer for my baby and me to switch back to my hospital-based midwives. I did a non-stress test, and ultrasound checking my amniotic fluid levels with my hospital midwives on Thursday April 2nd at 41 weeks and they said everything looked great with my baby and fluid levels, and said that I was 1.5 cm dilated and 70% effaced with baby in a great LOA position for birthing. They offered to induce me then and there by breaking my water, but I wasn’t ready to give up my goal of going into my birthing time naturally yet. After a weekend of long walks, squatting, nipple stimulation and sex, I still had zero signs of starting my birthing time, and I was getting very emotionally discouraged about it. I also felt that it would be good timing for Rhys to be born soon. So, on Sunday April 5th I called the on-call midwife and asked to be induced as soon as possible. She set it up for the next morning, Monday the 6th, at 6:30 am, which was 41 weeks and 4 days.
My husband and I took my kids to his sister’s house to spend the night, since we had such an early morning coming up, and we tried to get a good night sleep before our big induction day. I had a hard time getting to sleep and then I woke up very early feeling emotional about my change of plans. I listened to Fear Clearing (Hypnobabies track to release any fear) and got on the Hypnobabies website to read some positive induction birth stories, just so I could fill my mind with all the positive possibilities with an induction. I then ate a good breakfast and we headed to the hospital.
After getting checked in at the hospital, getting a hep-lock put in my arm, and settled into our room, the midwife on call that day, Jen, checked my dilation (I was curious where I was starting after my weekend of walking so I asked to know) I was 3 cm, which was encouraging, since it was progress from the check 4 days before. She then broke my water at about 8 am. I used my “Release” cue (Hypnobabies cue to instantly enter hypnosis) to be relaxed and directed my hypno-anesthesia toward my cervix to be more comfortable while she was doing this. She said I had an unusually strong bag of waters, so no wonder it hadn’t broken on its own yet. Also, the waters were stained with meconium, but she said not to worry about it, most babies don’t have an issue because of it, but she would have a respiratory team ready just in case.
I was a little worried about the meconium stained waters, so my husband and I said a prayer for our baby together, and then started walking the halls for a while to help get my birthing waves going. They were coming every 2-4 minutes and were pretty comfortable, and I kept doing different things to help my birthing time progress. I did squats in front of a CUB inflatable birthing stool, all fours position resting on the CUB and sitting on my birthing ball while resting my shoulders on a CUB on the bed, and of course brisk walks around the halls. I was listening to my Easy First Stage (Hypnobabies main birthing time track) track to help me be in hypnosis early, and during my waves I really focused on relaxing and allowing them to bring my baby closer to me. Jen gave my husband and I space to work together through my waves. He was an awesome birth partner, offering me water and snacks, and giving me my Release, Relax and Peace cues when I needed them. She said we seemed like we were a great team with our birthing, and I was an exceptionally low maintenance mom, which I took as a compliment and proof that my Hypnobabies tools were working well.
She was checking my cervix every hour or so and I was dilating about a cm more each time, which I felt great about. At about 11 am I asked if I could get in the tub because I felt like things were getting more intense. She checked me and said I was still at a 5 so I better not get in the tub because that would slow things down. She set me up with a peanut ball laying on my side on the bed and said that could help things continue to progress. I ended up falling asleep and had a nice little nap. She came back in maybe thirty minutes later and said my pressure waves were spacing out and that she thought it would be a good time to start Pitocin to help keep things moving along. I agreed to that plan. She explained that with a VBAC we’d be starting the Pitocin at a 1 and then increasing by increments of two.
So, we started at a 1 and my waves started coming more regularly again. My husband was hungry for lunch, so he ran downstairs while I listened to Easy First Stage and managed on my own. It was going well, and I called my mom to say hi. She answered, “Is the baby here?!” which made my call for support feel a little anticlimactic, but I gave her an update on what was going on, and then got back to focusing through my pressure waves. My husband got back from his hospital cafeteria lunch break and then we walked the halls some more. After that the midwife increased my Pitocin to 3 and the waves started getting more intense. I slow danced through some of them with my husband and then also did more squatting through them, since I felt like that position really got the most progress for me.
Then my midwife increased the Pitocin to 5. I reallllly had to focus and say “Peeeeace” and “Relaaaaax” through the waves then. I asked to go in the tub and my midwife checked me first. I was at a 6 cm, so I was good to get in the tub. The tub was pretty narrow and not very deep, so it didn’t end up being as comforting as I was hoping. I lasted maybe 6 pressure waves in there, making low “Ahhhhhhs” through the waves and my midwife called in “Are you feeling pushy?” I said, “No, I don’t think so.” But then after another pressure wave or two it suddenly hit me that I did feel pushy. As I got out of the tub my legs were shaking and when a pressure wave would hit, I had to use all my focus to manage through it.
My midwife and the nurse hurried in and helped me out of the bathroom and onto the bed. It seemed like a long way to get to the bed suddenly! The midwife announced that I could go ahead and start pushing. I was really worried about pushing because she had just checked me before the bathtub and said I was at a 6 (and that was less than 10 minutes ago!), and she hadn’t checked me again. I said, “I’m scared to push! I might hurt myself if I’m not fully dilated!” She said, “You’re complete, just pay attention to your body and push when you feel like pushing.” They also turned off the Pitocin at that point. She tried to get me to do side lying position, but that felt horrible and I decided to kneel at the head of the bed and lean my arms over the back of the bed.
The pressure was so intense, and it took me a few minutes to accept that it really was time to push. I was honestly so surprised that it was already time to push! My husband cued up the Pushing Baby Out track (Hypnobabies track just for pushing) and my midwife put my phone next to me so I could hear it better (we had brought a blue tooth speaker but at that point there was no extra brain power to think of getting my phone connected to a different speaker). I was trying to keep my tones low, my body as relaxed as possible and push when I could face the pressure. I’ll admit the pressure was the most intense thing I had ever experienced. At first, I said, “This [is very uncomfortable]!!!” and “I can’t do this!” and my midwife, nurse and husband were saying, “You can do this! You are strong! You got this!” I then got braver, started making lower “Ahhhh” sounds and putting effort into pushing. I felt something rock hard working its way down my birth canal. Just out of curiosity I reached down and felt what was going on at my vagina and felt a soft squishy scalp coming out!
I was so amazed it was already happening. My midwife said to give it some oomph and really push. Every time I pushed harder I felt like I was going to poop, so I’d back off, but since he wasn’t being born yet I decided that I was going to have to push so hard that I might poop. Sure enough, after I accepted possibility and pushed with no reservations, his head was out. Then my midwife asked me to flip around to side lying and push with all my might because she was worried, he would get his shoulders stuck. I did and in order to push harder I roared “PUUUUUSSHH! PUUUUUUUUUUUSH!” because that’s the only thing I could think of to muster more strength.
Then he was out and on my chest. He didn’t cry at first and a lot of people were rubbing him with towels, and I was talking to him and encouraging him. Right when he started crying on his own my midwife had just clamped his cord, so it was too late to do delayed cord clamping then. Which I was disappointed about, but oh well. They cut his cord (because my husband didn’t want to) and got him crying really well over at the baby station next to my bed (where everyone was exclaiming, “He’s so big he looks like a toddler!”) and brought him back very quickly. At that point he latched right onto my breast and started nursing like a champ! I was so happy to have skin to skin time with him and feel so energized and excited for our bonding time together. Then they had my husband hold him while I got rinsed off in the bathroom because he had pooped all over me right when he was born, which if he hadn’t they thought he would’ve weighed a full 10 lbs.! As it was, he weighed 9 lbs. 13 oz, and was 22.5 inches long! And his head was in the 99.6 percentile! I only got a small 1st degree tear.
I am so proud that I was able to “Accept the path that my birthing time takes for me and my baby” and roll with my induction. It really went so well, and I am so happy that my healthy baby is here and I’m not having a never-ending pregnancy anymore. From breaking my water at around 8:00 am to Rhys being born at 3:42 pm, my birthing time was 7 hrs. 42 minutes, I was on Pitocin for about 3 hrs. and 15 minutes, and my total pushing time was about 20 minutes. I did it all with no pain medication and choosing to use my Hypnobabies tools the entire time. I’m so happy I invested my time into a program that helped me have a positive, calm pregnancy and prepared me so well for a great birthing time. Thank you Hypnobabies!