Meg’s Hypnobabies Hospital Induction

newborn baby swaddled with a hat on.

Meg’s Hypnobabies Hospital Induction

“In all, I went from 5 cm dilated to holding a baby in just 40 short minutes. I birthed my sweet girl on her due date, in one big push. She weighed a perfect 7 lbs 1oz, she has a head of fuzzy strawberry hair.”

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We agreed to meet at the hospital at 5 pm on Wednesday for an induction. I was full term, my blood pressure was creeping up, as was my anxiety. We live 45 min away from the hospital and the entire pregnancy I worried about getting my three sons to my moms and then to the hospital in a timely manner. Now that I was full term, the reality of my fear began setting in. I was doing Hypnobabies to manage my birthing time (Hypnobabies term for labor), and I found myself doing the Fear Clearing track (Hypnobabies special track for releasing fear) regularly, always worried about an unplanned car birth or an unplanned homebirth.

As much as I didn’t want an induction and preferred to let my body do its thing naturally, the past week of prodromal waves (Hypnobabies term for contractions) and a good Bishop Score gave me the confidence that an induction would work. So, on Wednesday, my husband Dan went to work, and I took it easy. I did a little self-care by doing my hair and painting my nails, trying to enjoy a little “me time”. I double checked the birth bag, packed food for the boys to take to my moms and snacks for us to take to the hospital.

Dan got home early, showered and we drove to drop the kids off. I wasn’t feeling too anxious at that point, but just a little nervous. We hugged the boys and left to get something to eat and enjoyed some Chilis car side to go. We popped by my provider’s office to grab the birthing stool to bring with us and went on a mini hunt for a specific gum I wanted (winner Rite Aid). We got a text from my doctor that there wasn’t yet a bed for us, so we had to wait until 7pm to come in. Dan and I went to a local park and wandered around, then went to the waterfront and walked around some more. I found myself thinking about how I wanted to remember every detail, my last moments of ever being pregnant.

We got to the hospital and checked in, I listened to my Birthing Day Affirmations. I was brought to a room and settled in, bloodwork was drawn, consents were signed, and we were ready to go. I was surprised by how quickly the anesthesiologist came into the room. He reviewed my health history, looked at my teeth, explained how things would work if I needed to have a c-section and made me sign consents. I told him I was planning an unmedicated birth, and as he left, I joked “no offense, but I hope to not see you again!” He didn’t seem to find me that funny. Dan quickly went to work setting up our room, I had brought battery candles and birthing affirmations to hang up, and lavender room spray. We might be in the hospital, but I didn’t want it to feel clinical.

When the nurse and my doctor came back in the room, they remarked about how relaxing it seemed. The doctor brought in Cervadil and placed it at 8:15, and we were on our way. At that point we were mostly just hanging out, we texted Sigrid (my doula and one of my best friends) about an hour later that she could come anytime but that it might be boring. I dozed on and off the first few hours listening to Fear Clearing, Deepening Your Hypnosis (Hypnobabies track that deepens the level of hypnosis) and eventually Easy First Stage (Hypnobabies main birthing day tracks) on repeat and when Sigrid got there we chatted a bit and caught up, like old friends do when they haven’t seen each other recently.

I definitely wasn’t in hypnosis, but since I was feeling only mild pressure waves at this point, I wasn’t too worried. We decided to all close our eyes for a little bit while we could, and I zoned in a strange state of deep hypnosis / sleep. At about 1 am I texted Dan that the waves were getting stronger (I didn’t want to wake my sleeping doula!) From there, things began to get intense. I was very aware of keeping my bladder empty to help things progress, but regardless of that it felt like I was needing to go constantly. The nurse came in a few times around here to get me to move around, since the baby was having a few decels with my birthing waves, but nothing too worrisome. With my son’s birth, Dan and I quickly got into a good rhythm to manage my pressure waves. I felt like this time, I just couldn’t get comfortable and I couldn’t figure out how to manage things. I tried laying down, I tried draping myself along the birth ball, standing and rocking with Dan, sitting on the “throne” (a favorite place to be with my other births!), nothing I did seemed to be comfortable.

Each pressure wave I chanted to myself “Open” and “Peace” (Hypnobabies cue for instant physical comfort) and tried so hard to keep my hands and jaw relaxed. I also was experiencing a ton of muscle soreness, all focused in my butt – standing and walking was so uncomfortable! Sigrid helped me try a couple Spinning Babies positions and used her rebozo to try to help loosen my muscles which all helped, albeit briefly. I finally found a position sitting on the bed meant for the birthing partner that felt good, and I went through some waves there and felt okay.

Something changed at that point, I have no idea what time it was, but I was just so exhausted I felt myself breaking down and wanting to cry after each wave. I remember thinking about the Hypnobabies affirmation “As each pressure wave ends, I smile and feel very happy” and feeling like I was doing something wrong because I wasn’t happy. I was tired, and I was uncomfortable, and I just wanted to press pause and take a twenty-minute nap. I put all my energy and focus on trying to stay as physically relaxed as I could through the waves. It was around this time that the nurses came in to set up the room for birthing. I broke down at one point, feeling so disappointed saying “They think I’m further along than I am, I’m not that far. I still have so much to go”. Something about them setting things up just made me feel so inadequate, like I wasn’t doing enough to get my baby out.

We moved positions again and again, tried different things and nothing felt comfortable. I did briefly find that leaning against the sink in the bathroom was just the right height to be comfortable, but it was too bright in there to mentally get where I needed to be. It was around this time that I thought about getting in the tub, I thought it would be a huge waste to fill it if I was close to Transformation (Hypnobabies term for transition), but at the same time if I had a lot of time to go I wanted to try something different.

So, at 4:20 am my doctor came in and checked me and removed the Cervadil. She said I was 5cm dilated, fully effaced and that baby was very low, at a 0 station. I remember Sigrid seemed so happy and said “Fully effaced! That’s amazing! Your cervix is as thin as a sheet of paper!!” But my brain focused on the fact that I was at 5cm. I know we don’t “birth by numbers” and that my “cervix isn’t a crystal ball”, but I thought about how much more intense it was likely to get before it was time. I thought about my son’s birth again, how at 5 cm I still had 5 hours of hard work ahead of me. I felt so discouraged, there was no way I could do this.

Sigrid began filling the tub for me and moved some of my candles into the bathroom. I cried on Dan’s shoulder, and managed a few more pressure waves without finding a comfortable position. I tried to use the bathroom again and found myself once again leaning on the sink as I went through another wave, someone had moved my phone into the bathroom so my Hypnobabies track was playing in the background. At this moment, I looked at Dan and said “I don’t know if I can do this. If the tub doesn’t help, I might ask for the epidural. I am just so uncomfortable”. I was so mad at myself for thinking and feeling that way, but I just didn’t think I had hours left in me. I got in the tub which initially felt nice but as soon as a pressure wave started, I was moving all around trying to find a comfortable position. Sigrid suggested I move to my hands and knees to see if that would help, and I went through another uncomfortable wave that way.

I don’t know what changed, but after just two pressure waves in the tub I had to get out. I wanted to be on the toilet, I thought I had to pee again. I moved so quick Dan (or was it Sigrid?) asked what happened and I said “nothing”. I couldn’t explain what changed, I just had to be out of the water. I sat on the toilet and had this weird feeling, I looked at Dan and said, “I think I might need to push”. I don’t remember this, but at this point he left the room to get someone and I was alone in the bathroom, I pushed ever so gently, thinking I might just have to have a bowel movement, but it was enough for me to think “No, I just want to push for real”. I checked myself and felt something, although it still seemed very high up and I wasn’t actually sure what I was feeling. My doctor came in and asked if I wanted her to check me, or if I wanted to push. “I don’t know” I whined, feeling frustrated at that moment that anyone wanted me to make any decisions at all. I told her I thought I might feel her head, but I wasn’t sure, she asked if it was hard or soft and I said hard.

My body was giving me a break, I didn’t have any pressure waves through this time. The birthing stool was brought into the bathroom, and my doctor asked if I could move to it, teasing me that it would be much harder for her to catch the baby in the toilet. I moved to the birthing stool and began to trepidatiously push. “My water!” I gasped as my fluid released, someone called out the time “4:59!”. At that point I couldn’t stop the pushing and I felt the fullness as she came down “Ow!” I cried out as I pushed, it was so intense and so fast. Someone suggested I slowly breath her down, and I heard my doctor say, “her head is out!”. I cried out “I want her all out!” and I felt her body slide and flop out of me. “5:00!”

My doctor encouraged me to take my baby, and I said no, and told her I needed a minute. My eyes were closed, and I slowed my breathing. I then took my baby, and finally looked at her, she was perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, and definitely a girl. I moved to the bed and she immediately began rooting, I laughed at how easy she began nursing. I birthed my placenta and discovered that I only had a small mucosal tear, no stitches were required. We introduced her to the room – Ophelia was here. I looked at Dan and teased him that it was his turn to call the doctor – I love my daughter but “I never want to do that again!”

In all, I went from 5 cm dilated to holding a baby in just 40 short minutes. I birthed my sweet girl on her due date, in one big push. She weighed a perfect 7 lbs 1oz, she has a head of fuzzy strawberry hair. I look back and know now that that moment I thought I needed an epidural I was actually probably in transformation. That my refusing to take the baby was me needing my “pause”. I didn’t stay in hypnosis the whole time, but it was there, and it helped me when I needed it. I never had time to put on the Pushing Baby Out track (Hypnobabies track for pushing) but in the end my body did know just what to do, I just had to let it do it.