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Gwendolen Eve was born in February 11 days past her EDD. She weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce, and I think she was 20 inches long. She was born with dark hair that has since lightened somewhat, and she has deep blue eyes that everyone comments on, they’re so beautiful. She has long toes and a long torso and chubby cheeks. She’s a beautiful baby, and she was very kind to me in the womb.
My first baby, born in September of 2005, was a very good, typical hospital birth. Great doctor, no effacement before labor started, relatively easy labor that was a full 24 hours from first menstral-like cramp to birth, epidural at 8 cm, no complications. I wish every medicated birth went as smoothly as that one did. I wanted to go natural, but I realized I didn’t have the tools to manage it just yet.
My second baby was a hypnobaby. I had effaced and was at 3 cm two weeks before he was born, then I had an accidental home birth. That birth story is on the Hypnobabies website. Look for August’s birth. Basically, it was just 2 hours long, intense, comfortable, and exhiliarating. I wanted any future births of mine to go just like that one did, and I fully expected them to.
Of course, life changes. When I got pregnant with baby #3, I was in a different state far away from all of my family, and my husband was a student in the Navy.
For no good reason, I had a lot of anxiety throughout this pregnancy. I kept worrying that there would be something wrong with the baby. I was scared of giving birth in the car during a snowstorm, I worried that my husband wouldn’t be there because I’d give birth before he came home from school at the Navy base, I worried about not having support, I worried about toxic-whatever it is that my baby could get because we adopted a stray cat in November, etc.
Just a few weeks before my baby was born, I had my husband, Danel, give me a blessing. In it, I was told 1) that my baby loves me, 2) every birth is different and 3) that Heavenly Father is pleased with how much I appreciate motherhood and how much I’ve worked on bringing my child into the world with peace and safety. Though that blessing didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear (I wanted a “your child is healthy and will be born alive and well”), I treasure hearing how much my unborn child loves me. That blessing put the rest of my pregnancy in perspective. Up until the day she decided to come, there were important things I needed to do, such as making sure all 3 carseats could fit in our little sedan, cleaning and organizing the house, setting up the cosleeper and baby clothes, making sure I had batteries for the walkman, making sure I *had* a walkman, etc. I think that is why Gwen waited so long to come; she was giving me the time I needed to get everything done. In the meantime, it was very easy to feel Gwen move because she was posterior. I think that because she was posterior, it was easy to feel her move without her having to punch and kick at my innards, and so in that way she never hurt me, and I was constantly reassured that she was doing just fine. She was so very kind to me.
My mother-in-law came to visit 5 days after my EDD. She was staying for a week. We had all thought that my baby would be born by then. My mother-in-law was a wonderful help, but as each day passed, she worried more and more that she’d have to leave without holding her newest grandchild. I wasn’t effacing or anything to indicate that I’d be going into labor anytime soon. I listened to the Easy First Stage track several times and occationally went on a walk, but I really didn’t do much to jump-start birthing time. I really wanted my baby to come, but I also wanted her to pick her own birthday. It wasn’t easy trying to find the right balance, especially not when I had so little energy, anyway.
My birthing time started Sunday morning. Any little birthing wave I felt, I felt it in my back. They were uncomfortable, but I went through all 3 hours of church (from 11:00 to 2:00) without anyone knowing I was having them. I had always wanted to do that, labor through church and no one notice.
Both to and from church, I had to drive. Danel was in the back seat with the other two kids because he was the only grown-up who fit, while my MIL sat next to me in front. I was pretty distracted on the way home, but I had angels watching over me, and we somehow got home safely.
I didn’t tell anyone I was having pressure waves until I got home, and even then I only told Danel in the privacy of our bedroom. I timed the pressure waves, but they were pretty irregular. I hopped into the bath in hopes that I’d be more comfortable, but I wasn’t. Our bath was just too shallow. I had three quick, strong pressure waves once I stepped out of the bath.
By dinnertime, my dear MIL could tell I was in labor. I’m sure it was unmistakable when I laid my forehead on my arm on the table and stopped talking for the duration of the wave. I’m glad my MIL was right there: we didn’t have to worry about transporting my other two children, or calling in a babysitter. At about 6 or so, I had Danel and a friend of the family give me another blessing (in which I was told, again, that every birth is different), and then Danel and I went to the hospital. The waves were still irregular, but I felt that it was time to go, so we did.
It was eitehr snowing or raining when we got outside. We brought a large blanket, a pillow, the walkman, and a few other things. On the way to the hospital, I piled the blanket and pillow on me, and leaned on them. I continually turned my switch to Off and I used the Peace cue. I couldn’t get as comfortable as I had during August’s birth, though, because it was all back labor. By the time I was in the hospital and admitted, I was starting to feel pretty discouraged.
I got the heplock pin (and came to detest the thing), got monitored the required amount of time, got checked (I was at about a 6) and got an unpleasant surprise: apparently, it was indeed hospital policy that once a woman is in active labor, that she be continually monitored. Thanks to the fact that my preference sheet that was with my profile specifically requested for natural-childbirth-friendly nurses as well as intermittent monitoring, the nurse I got decided to do things this way: leave me free to move as I need, and every 10 minutes put a dopplar thing on my tummy to measure things for a full minute. I will forever love those nurses for giving me the freedom I needed to handle the pressure waves the way I needed to, while still technically “continually monitoring” me.
I changed position between almost every birth wave. I was on the birthing ball, I was on the toilet, I was standing up, I was laying down, I was on all fours. I also constantly listened to the Easy First Stage track, used the Peace cue and the Off cue, and had Danel push on my back with every wave. I just couldn’t get comfortable the way I was comfortable with August’s birth. After I was at the hospital for another hour and got measured again and was still at a 6, I felt discouraged. I worried that this could go on for a long, long time, and I feared that I would just give up. I had Danel give me one more blessing, this one for courage, and then I went back to giving birth. After that blessing, the waves became more intense, but I no longer worried about the hours ahead of me. Instead, I continually focused on what I needed to do next. The more intense they got, the more primal I became, more focused on “now”. I got more verbal, too. I eventually did settle on the all-fours position on the bed, with a warm, wet rag pressed hard onto my back. The batteries in my walkman ran out, but I was so focused and I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer, so I just took the headphones off.
Then I realized that I was pushing with the waves. I waited through anotehr wave, just to be sure, then had Danel call a nurse, and she checked me. I was complete. She called for the doctor (who had arrived at the hospital early because of the storm and because he knew I had fast births), but it was too late. The urge to push through the next two waves was too much. I was completely primal, and pushing with power, and I wasn’t going to hold back to wait for anybody. I felt the nurses hands on my bottom, and looking back I’m sure that they were just giving my bottom support, but at the time I felt that they were pushing my baby’s head back in, and I told them not to, and with roars of power I pushed her out right then and there. The nurse and Danel caught her (the OB wasn’t going to let Danel catch her) and announced that she was a girl. Poor dutiful doctor arrived in time to help deliver the placenta and stitch me up.
She was such an unhappy baby, but she nursed all right. After she was in my arms for a while, she settled down. We all loved her.
Later that day, my MIL got to hold her granddaughter, the only grandbaby she got to hold “fresh from the oven.” Two days later, she had to fly back home.
The next day, my son’s birthday, I felt good enough that I went home.
Though this birth wasn’t as comfortable as August’s birth was, I consider the Hypnobabies program a success here. The cues gave me something to actively do during the pressure waves, the Easy First Stage track reminded me to be thankful for my nurses and for their concern for me, the Fear Release sessions helped me deal with my fears before the birth, I connected with my baby, and the birth preferences sheet helped the hospital cooperate with me so that I could have the best birth possible. I would definite recommend this program to anyone, and I plan on using it again in the future. I do wonder if the Peace cues would’ve been more successful if I didn’t have “back labor is difficult even for hypnomoms” running through my head, but oh well. I’ll work on getting that out of me. I look forward to an even better experience next time.
(Some moms do fine with back labor with Hypnobabies, so this is something this mom had in her own mind.)