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First a bit of background. This is my 2nd birth, my first was 2.5yrs ago at a very conventional hospital that had a 98% epidural rate! This was ok with me though since I knew no other way to manage the pain. I was induced with pitocin due to pregnancy induced hypertension, had an epidural, and pushed for 1.5 hrs. Ended up with at 3rd to 4th degree tear and a beautiful 8lb 7oz boy.
Fast forward to present, we are now living in a new state and we have a very natural birth friendly hospital that I also work at has a L&D nurse. And of course, I found and studied HypnoBabies ☺
It all started on the evening of November 27, 2009 when I was 38w6d pregnant. Hubbie was at the airport dropping off my brother for his flight home and had taken our 2.5yr old along for the ride. My blood pressure was pretty high that day and I was getting bad headaches and felt pretty lousy. I had been diagnosed with gestational hypertension the two weeks prior and was going to be induced in four days. I was lying down in bed and got up to go to the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet I suddenly felt this strong downward pressure. It didn’t hurt and I chalked it up to the baby moving around. When I stood up from the toilet there was a big splash as my water broke all over the floor. At first I thought it was pee although that really didn’t make sense. The water was clear though so I realized what had happened. I immediately started crying. This was the absolute worst time for this to happen since we were without anyone to take care of our toddler for the next 24hrs (my brother was already on the plane heading home at this point). I cleaned up the floor and continued to gush fluid but wasn’t having any contractions. I called DH and left a message on his phone and called my sister and sobbed since I was so stressed-out. DH called me back and confirmed that my brother was on the plane and we couldn’t get him back so he was coming home and that he would figure out what to do with our son. DH’s calm demeanor made me feel so much better!
Meanwhile I called my OB to tell her my water had broken. She said to come to the hospital in the morning if nothing happened overnight or if the contractions started and were 5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute for 1 hour to come in then. At this point I wasn’t having any contractions so I just assumed we would be going in, in the morning. I decided to do a fear release which really got me calmed down. I realized I had nothing packed and started getting a bag together for the hospital. I started feeling menstrual-like cramps but they weren’t painful at all. DH came home and had figured out a plan for our son and took him over to a neighbors house for the night. I was so relived that my son was happy and being well taken care of.
The menstrual like cramps continued until about 9pm when they started feeling more like a squeezing sensation. They still were not painful at all but I decided to get comfortable and start listening to the scripts so that I would be ready. I got on my birthing ball upstairs in my bedroom and leaned on the bed listening to my scripts. I became really focused and completely lost track of time. The contractions were close together, every 2-3min, but only lasted around 30 seconds. At some point I started moaning through them but I wasn’t in pain, the moaning just gave me something else to focus on. When DH came back from dropping my son off he sat beside me, timing the waves and offering support.
Around 11:15 pm I decided to try some new positions since I had been on the birthing ball for so long. This is where I lost my focus. I had been so comfortable on the ball and I should have just stayed there but I remembered reading that you should move around so I did. Listen to your instincts! Anyways, I tried getting on all fours but I couldn’t tolerate it for a minute. DH ran me a bath and as soon as I got in I couldn’t handle it and I got out. I was having trouble re-gaining my focus and the contractions had become very strong and were now 2-3min apart lasting for 1min each. In retrospect I’m not sure if things suddenly ramped up or I just came out of hypnosis. At any rate, I decided that I had, had enough and that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t find a comfortable position or get back in the groove and just felt desperate and wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural! DH calmly said he believed I could do it without and was I sure I wanted to go? I figured I was around 4cm and had a long ways to go and was done. How wrong I was! So off we went to the hospital.
We had a 30min ride to the hospital and at first I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to sit in the car but somehow I was able to and off we went. Once I was in the car I was able to regain my focus and listened to the scripts again. Even though the contractions were incredibly intense and powerful I felt less desperate and more able to cope. The contractions were incredibly close together. I would have one very strong one then it would fade into a mild one then accelerate into a moderate one. After that I would get 30 sec were all sensation was completely gone and then it would start up all over again.
DH drove fast and told me later that he was timing all of the waves and realized that I was a lot closer to having Liam then I thought! When we got to the hospital DH jumped out to get me a wheelchair and a nurse from the ER came out to help. As I got out of the car I felt the most unbelievable urge to push. Really it wasn’t even an urge – my body was pushing whether I liked it or not! The nurse made a joke about me wearing earphones and I remember thinking it was pretty funny but I couldn’t respond – I was busy!
DH raced me up to labor and delivery (where I work) and I was so happy to see some friendly familiar faces. One look at me and they knew things were moving fast! I remember saying “I feel like I need to push but it seems too soon!” One of the nurses checked me and I was fully dilated and Liam was +2 station. It was 12:30am, just 3.5hrs since the contractions started.
At first my nurses thought they could get the med-lock in (IV) but quickly realized it was going to be too hard so they decided to forget it. They were having a hard time getting Liam’s heart rate and my OB had not arrived yet. All the while my body was pushing but I wasn’t putting any extra effort into it. The pushing actually felt great and was much more comfortable than the squeezing of the contractions.
15min later my OB arrived. By this time my nurses had found Liam’s heart rate and it was lower than it should be. He didn’t seem to be tolerating the contractions well. My nurse looked at me and said “The baby’s heart rate is dropping. You need to really push.” At this point I started pushing hard with the contractions and it felt great! I was really worried about this part but it wasn’t painful like I thought it would be. I could feel Liam’s head moving down and out. It was great to feel that feedback instead of the numbness from the epidural where it was so hard to tell what I was doing.
I pushed for about 15min all together and then Liam was out! Turns out he had the cord around his neck twice and that is why his heart rate was dropping. As soon as my OB looped it off his started crying and pinked up. He was put on my chest skin-to-skin and dried off. I felt so wonderful. I did it!
In retrospect, I realized that when I had felt like I couldn’t handle the contractions anymore I was actually in transition. I had read so many stories where this was the case but for some reason I didn’t think that this pertained to me! I must have been around 9cm when we got in the car to head to the hospital. I am very glad that I listened to my intuition that is was time to go! When I was preparing for the birth I had done a lot of visualization on how I wanted my birthing time to go. I saw myself spending most of my labor on my birthing ball and then labor would be very quick and that I would get to the hospital towards the very end of my labor. Visualization is a powerful tool! In the end I got exactly what I wanted, a natural, medication-free hypnobirth without even an IV. And now our little Liam is here!