On Tuesday, May 13th, I went for my 41 week check-up. 20 minutes of fetal monitoring showed the baby was doing very well, and that I was aving some pws (I had no idea). I had used the 20 min to get into hypnosis, since I figured the doc would want to do an internal exam. I was right, but she mentioned the “i” word even before checking me. At this hospital, they like to induce at 41 weeks and 4 or 5 days. But since that was a weekend, she wanted me to come in on Friday if the baby hadn’t been born yet. Her internal exam determined that my cervix was dilated 1/2cm and “wasn’t favorable,” though the baby’s head was far down.
Now I should mention that doctors here (Estonia, in northern Europe) really only deal with high-risk and overdue situations. I had only been seeing my midwife until this point, and my pregnancy had gone extremely smoothly. Naturally, I wanted to avoid inducing if at all possible. I asked the doctor to write down the name of the tablets (Cytotec) they use for inducing, and I’m so glad I did. I looked it up first thing once I got home from the appointment and decided that if they did induce me, it would NOT be with Cytotec. Also, the idea that I’d induce on Friday so they could have a nice weekend is crazy.
I wasn’t at all worried about being “overdue,” but I was worried about not having the birthing experience I desired. So, that day I went for a walk or two, had lots of raspberry leaf tea, spent some time on mybirthing ball, and tried nipple stimulation with my manual breast pump (15 minutes on each side, twice, with a 30 min break between). I also made an appointment with an acupuncturist for the following morning. Then I took a nap, and when I woke up I could feel that my stomach was getting hard all over now and then.
I assumed these were the pressure waves everyone talks about (I hadn’t had any Braxton-Hicks). They were really sporadic, and I didn’t feel anything more than a tightening. I then took a trip to the bathroom and there it was the mucus plug. I didn’t take either of these two occurrences as evidence that I was actually entering my birthing time, as I know some women have these “symptoms” for days or weeks before giving birth.
The pressure waves continued on and off for the rest of the day and night. They didn’t get stronger, so I didn’t take them too seriously or time them. DH and I are night-owls and we went to bed around 1am. I don’t remember if I slept at all, but by 2am the pressure waves had gotten stronger and I wasn’t able to sleep. I got out of bed and spent about an hour on the birthing ball in the living room, while listening to Hypnotic Childbirth 1 and 2. At 3am, I woke my husband so he could time the pressure waves. At that point, they were lasting close to a minute each time and were 3 or so minutes apart, but they still weren’t entirely regular. I thought I was in my early birthing time still and that the baby would be born sometime in the evening (judging from all the birth stories I’ve read and how long first births often take). Around 4:30, DH called the midwife. She didn’t believe I was as far along as I actually was, and she said that maybe we’d meet at the hospital around 8am (and to call her again if things got more intense).
DH had arranged a huge stack of pillows from the sofa on the bed so that I could lean over them and rock back and forth during the pressure waves. He was really awesome with the hypnosis cues and definitely kept me grounded. Still, I was so shocked to be in my birthing time all of a sudden that I wasn’t able to get into hypnosis as I had intended. It was some time between 5 and 6 that I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I had been so anti-epidural throughout the pregnancy. The thought that I had many, many more hours of this was not a pleasant one. The waves in all of my birthing muscles I could handle and I don’t even remember feeling much there; it was the entirely unexpected and intense feelings in my thighs that made me think I might throw in the towel. But, once again, DH was encouraging me that I was doing really great and that my body knew what to do.
DH was saying very encouraging things all along and got the shower going for me. The hot water felt sooooooo great during the pressure waves. Everything was getting more intense and the waves were closer together. DH called the midwife again at 6 saying that he thought we should head to the hospital. He wasn’t timing the waves still, but we think they were around 2 minutes apart and lasting at least a minute (consistently). Except for the calls to the midwife (at 4:30 and 6), we entirely lost track of time. The plan all along had been to walk to the hospital (we live very close), but we never expected things to progress so quickly. DH called his brother for a ride (we don’t have a car). I was frustrated because I hadn’t finished all of my packing preparations (I couldn’t find my ponytail holder!) and I didn’t really want my BIL to see me in my birthing time. After gathering our things, we went downstairs to catch our ride, but he hadn’t arrived yet.
I didn’t want to wait, so I began to walk towards the hospital. I had to pause every few minutes to deal with a pressure wave, but I found the cool morning air really refreshing. DH caught up with me after a few minutes (he really wanted to wait for the ride) and we were about a third of the way to the hospital when my BIL picked us up. We arrived at the hospital, walked in the door, and down to the floor I went. I just HAD to be on my hands and knees during waves. DH went to the registration desk and they were asking, “So, where is she?” I was still in the hall on the floor. I got up when I was able. There was another couple that arrived just before us, but the woman didn’t look like she was even in her birthing time, so they had to wait. I had a few more waves in the registration office (on the floor, again), and because it was obvious that I was so far along, they decided to forgo the usual steps and get me to a room right away. Fortunately, the room with the birthing tub was free. I remember feeling annoyed that it wasn’t already filled with water when we walked in!
Our midwife arrived and wanted to monitor the pws and do a quick internal exam. She had to wait a bit because she wanted to check between waves, and they were coming so close together. I was 7cm. I got into the tub and things relaxed a bit. The pws stopped for a few minutes, but then picked up with greater intensity. I was feeling pushy, and the midwife removed the monitor straps. It was at this point that I needed to be frequently reminded to relax and breathe. The perineal massage didn’t feel anything like what I was feeling then. After about 20 minutes of pushing (and an hour after arriving at the hospital), at 8:15am on May 14th, Massimo Eli was born underwater.Once his head was out, I was expecting his body to just slip out like I’ve read about, but the rest of his body was almost as tough.
Turns out that he had a hand on his cheek and his chest and head measured the same. DH caught and pulled him out of the water. After their initial eye contact, our son turned his head and looked at me. DH placed him on my chest. I don’t remember him crying, and he was alert and calm. The midwife and DH helped me out of the tub and to the bed. After waiting for the cord to stop pulsing, cutting the cord, birthing the placenta, and getting one stitch, my husband and I spent the next 45 minutes alone with our baby. Then they did all the usual stuff, and we discovered that he was 7lbs 11oz and just over 20 inches.
Our midwife commented on what a beautiful birth it was and that I obviously had educated myself well. We spent one night in the hospital and then walked home the next day.While I wasn’t able to get into deep hypnosis, Hypnobabies definitely worked for me. I didn’t feel a thing until I was quite far along AND was able to give birth to my son without drugs (and without seriously wanting any) AND had such a fast birthing time (about 6 hours in all). I also credit Hypnobabies for having such a positive impact on my pregnancy and during these post-natal weeks. He’s eating really, really well and is already over 11 pounds. Everyone comments on what a calm baby we have, plus my body has recovered super-quickly. Also, I have felt so incredibly empowered by my birthing experience.” I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do!
Originally posted on October 16, 2008