Lincoln’s Birthing with Hypnobabies
“My pressure waves became stronger and more intense and I welcomed it excitedly and confidently because it meant my uterus and cervix were preparing for the arrival of the baby. John helped by using cues like ‘Release’, ‘Open’ and being very attentive.”
Hypnobabies® – Natural Childbirth at its best!
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I started doing Hypnobabies when I was about 25 weeks pregnant (home study course). For some reason childbirth was always very frightening to me (the fear was present before my maternity class in nursing school, afterwards it was just intensified incredibly :/). The thought of birthing a baby provoked panic attacks and thoughts about not having kids at all, adopting, or the also scary option of a C-section.
I tried to reason away my fears that many women go through it and have been for thousands of years, but that doesn’t always work with anxiety. My desire to have a baby ended up overcoming the fear enough to make the decision to go for it. After almost 2 years of struggling with infertility (a moderate case of PCOS- helped by a lot of natural remedies I found researching) we became pregnant :). The pregnancy was very smooth and beautiful (in part due to hypnobabies, in part due to my efforts to focus on my mindset).
Towards the end of my pregnancy I had already benefited so much from Hypnobabies that I decided it was well worth the money- just to help me obtain confidence and relaxation during a time in my life when I thought it would be impossible. I prepared to birth with no epidural, but reminded myself that every birth is different- if I changed my mind during my birthing time it would not mean that I am any weaker or less of a person- just a different birthing experience. I wasn’t sure what to do about a birth plan since I had decided on waiting to see, but Hypnobabies recommends having your birth preferences written down and giving it to all of the doctors and nurses.
I talked with Dr. Chen about it and she had never heard of hypnosis for birthing before, but she said she will listen to my wishes and instruct the nurses to do the same. She advised me not to come with a set birth plan in writing, but to verbalize my wishes to her and she will do all in her power to make sure I have the birth I want while keeping me and baby safe. I was a little nervous about how that would actually work, but I trusted her and discussed my wishes (I didn’t want to be asked about ‘pain’, I didn’t want to be asked if I wanted any pain medications or an epidural, etc.)
October 7, 2016
Around 4 am I started waking up with pressure waves that were more intense than the Braxton-Hicks I had been having for a few weeks. I tried to go back to sleep. I was unable to sleep due to the intensity, so I listened to a hypnosis track. When the hypno-anesthesia didn’t work in the way I thought it would, I started getting very nervous. I took a warm shower and practiced some Hypnobabies techniques while in the shower, which helped. I started timing the pressure waves and tried to eat breakfast (I was unable to eat much because I was feeling nauseous). I called out of work and called my doctor by 8 am with pressure waves coming every 5 minutes. Dr. Chen told me I should head to the hospital because the baby would be late pre-term, my GBS culture hadn’t come back yet (so they would treat it as positive-meaning I needed IV antibiotics) and they want to keep an eye on the baby’s heart.
I was hesitant to rush to the hospital because I wanted to stay in the comfort of my home as long as safely possible to continue my hypnosis. I tried to eat some more, listened to a Fear Clearing track as well as the Birthing Day hypnosis while my husband John watered the plants 🙂 haha and went to the store to get some coffee & remaining goodies for the nurse goody bags. The Fear Clearing was so helpful for me during this time, it helped me relax and find my confidence. We packed our hospital bags and called an Uber. I was starting to get distracted by anxiety about the birth and thoughts questioning whether I was really beginning my birthing time or overreacting. John was so reassuring and helpful during this time, encouraging me to listen to my Hypnobabies and cracking jokes to make me laugh :). There was traffic on the way to the hospital and it was a rough bumpy ride, but I felt very confident and at-ease listening to my Fear Clearing track.
We got to the hospital and to screening. It was a little discouraging because they didn’t take me seriously at first. I heard a nurse telling another nurse “A first time 36 weeker with contractions and no rupture of membranes- we are not looking for an admit here” in a tone that made me feel like I shouldn’t be there at all. A physician’s assistant examined me and I was 2-3 cm. She told me that she would call Dr. Chen, but usually they send first timers home at this dilation because it can take so long to progress. I started feeling a little more discouraged- would I have to go all the way back home to Queens just to then come back into Manhattan later? If so, why did I make the trip now?
THANKFULLY Dr. Chen told her to go ahead and admit me. The PA wanted to augment my labor, but Dr. Chen advised her of my ‘alternative’ birthing wishes and asked her to let me choose if I wanted to walk around for another couple of hours before the official admit, or be admitted now. I opted to walk around and try to encourage my body to keep at it :). John walked through the halls with me, helped me with my various positions suggested by Hypnobabies (squatting, standing, kneeling). During the two hours they did need to monitor the baby for 20 minutes each hour, so during that time I sat in the lotus position and listened to a hypnosis session. I felt confident, calm and ready during this time.
After two hours, the PA came back and I was 4 cm, so the admission process began. The nurse that had been caring for me in the screening area (not the one that made the comment, a different one) was so interested in Hypnobabies and encouraging which was a nice change from some of the attitudes I had gotten earlier. They started IV fluids (and antibiotics since my GBS culture wasn’t back yet) and once the ABX drip was finished (during it John turned on General Hospital 🙂 :P) John and I went walking again :). During the next 3 hours I continued walking, kneeling, standing, squatting and listening to various hypnosis sessions- usually Fear Clearing and Deepening (some of my favorites).
My pressure waves became stronger and more intense and I welcomed it excitedly and confidently because it meant my uterus and cervix were preparing for the arrival of the baby. John helped by using cues like ‘Release’, ‘Open’ and being very attentive. My sister, Rebekah came to the hospital and the three of us excitedly and nervously awaited the coming of the baby (John and Rebekah designed a survey guessing the sex, weight, birth time of the baby while I did a hypnosis session). At this point I started vomiting with some of the pressure waves (and that continued until just before I birthed Lincoln), but it actually felt very good and didn’t bother me at all. I continued with listening to ‘Deepening’. Rebekah was amazed that during the hypnosis she could see on the monitor when the pressure waves were coming and how long they were lasting, but she said I looked so relaxed you wouldn’t be able to tell without the monitor :).
At about 6:30 Dr. Chen came in and checked me. I was 6 cm which was a little upsetting to me because I had hoped to be a little further along at this point. She asked if I wanted her to rupture the membranes and I decided yes. It was not painful at all and immediately went to 6.5 cm. After this my birthing time became a little more difficult because they didn’t want me up and walking around (because of the fluid leakage and they really wanted the baby monitored and I was okay with that) and the pressure waves became stronger. I was still able to listen to hypnosis sessions and John did a couple with me which was helpful and reminded me that the wonderfully strong pressure waves would help bring the baby into my arms.
After about 2 hours I felt very hot. John brought me some frozen jello and would hold it on my face/neck during the pressure waves. Rebekah’s boyfriend Ryan came to the hospital and brought Christmas lights 🙂 They hung them up in the room and it gave the room such a comforting aura- it was so serene and beautiful! At this point I believe I was starting the transformation phase and I was starting to become distracted by my fears and anxieties. The pressure waves were incredibly strong and closer together. Dr. Chen checked me and I was at 8 cm.
My RN was very encouraging- I didn’t see her very often, but every time she came in to adjust the monitors she had something encouraging to say to me. I was very thankful that Dr. Chen made sure all of my wishes were adhered to and that the nursing staff was told about me using hypnosis for birthing- not one person asked me about pain and I was never offered pain medication or an epidural :). The rest of the transformation phase is sort of a blur to me. I was so hot and had a difficult time feeling confident in myself. John and Rebekah were an incredible birthing team, especially during this time. One of them was always by my side, they filled gloves with ice and put it on my neck/head to cool me off, John massaged my back, they held my head up when it was feeling heavy, gave me their hands for squeezing, they breathed with me, gave me hypnosis cues, reminded me that the baby was getting closer and never stopped encouraging me. John made a calming playlist (mostly Copeland IXORA album <3) and played it while reading me the hypnosis. At the very end I got to a point where I couldn’t keep my eyes open or hold my head up in between pressure waves and they would take turns holding it up. I still tear up thinking about it- we birthed Lincoln together, truly.
The pressure intensified and I had a strong urge to push, this was about 10:45 pm. Dr. Chen checked me and I was 9.5 cm. They started preparing the room and Dr. Chen instructed me on how to push (for pushing I opted to go with the way Dr. Chen advised in the typical hospital birthing position because it was actually very comfortable for me). Pushing was such a relief! Rebekah and John continued to be incredible – encouraging me and gently correcting me when I forgot what to do. Rebekah helped me breathe effectively by comparing it to how I would breathe when swimming- an analogy that both helped me breathe and brought me comfort since swimming is my happy place. I pushed for a total of about 10 minutes and the feeling of that final push bringing her here was AMAZING. I couldn’t believe it. My energy and comfort was INSTANTLY restored, it was such an incredible feeling. The nurse placed her on my chest and the three of us were amazed at all that just happened. My heart was so full.