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Awesome 2nd birth in the hospital - go Hypnobabies!!

This was my second experience with Hypnobabies (Home Study). The first was a wonderful hospital birth that started 8 days past my EDD. I never dilated and was admitted to the hospital before my labor started to have cervadil administered in hopes that it would dilate me. It did and, 19 hours after we entered the hospital, I was at 3cm and allowed to labor as I wished until my son was born – which happened another 13 hours after that. Point is – I had all the time in the world to get deep in hypnosis before my labor even began. We never timed contractions, never experienced the natural start of labor. I had a lot of concerns the second time around about how I would know that labor had begun. Everyone said “Oh, you’ll remember the pain” but I never felt any pain the first time so that didn’t help. My other concern was that my first birth ended with almost 2 hours of pushing and then an episiotomy. My feeling was that I became impatient in transition and started pushing too early. I also felt like I never really understood how to push. This time, my goal was to stay relaxed when I felt it was time to push and wait until my body started pushing on its own. I wasn’t sure I would be able to stand it, but it was my goal.

My due date came and I was at home, finishing up things for work and planning to make some food to freeze for once the baby was here. Throughout the day, no matter what position or surface I sat on, when I stood up I had this really odd, uncomfortable feeling in my pelvis – like the baby was really low and there was just a bundle of limbs in there. Once I was standing up I could walk or dance it off after a few minutes. Around 3pm I was explaining this to my husband on the phone. As the conversation went on I noticed that, although I’d been standing the whole time, the feeling had twice come and gone – almost like a wave. It occurred to me that maybe this was the start of something and I should start looking at the clock. My Husband suggested that I look at my Hypnobabies book to remind myself of what to do in early labor. I did that, took a shower and then started timing. They were coming regularly but not lasting more than 30 seconds. I called the doula and she thought it could be early labor but that we should wait and see. I called my doctor to give her a heads up and laid down for a nap, listening to birthing day affirmations.

As the night moved on, the waves became stronger and more regular and I was going limp and loose with each one. I was able to read my toddler son a few books in my bed while my husband made dinner. I explained to my son that I would have to put my head down occasionally and that when I did it wasn’t anything to worry about. That went fine. I sat with them during dinner after making myself some toast and a smoothie. Each time a pressure wave came I simply put my head down wherever I was and relaxed through it. After my son went to bed, I tasked my husband with completing the cooking projects I had started that day (I didn’t want the food to go to waste but, in retrospect, I probably should have let him rest instead!) I was trying to listen to Hypnobabies tracks and simultaneously time waves with a phone app which felt very distracting. I was afraid I was not getting “into the groove” enough - like I should be in some state of bliss by now. Around 1am, I notice that it’s been an hour of 1 min waves, 10 minutes apart. My doc said I should call her when I’d reached that pattern. I decide to wait and see how the next few go and then call the doctor. On the next one, my water breaks. I calmly get changed and call my doctor, who tells me we need to come in to the hospital. I call the doula and wake up my husband who makes all the other calls to arrange for care for our son. At this point, the pressure waves start coming fast and furious. I am relieved when the Doula arrives and I can stop timing. I put on my headphones and focus on my Hypnobabies tracks. Pressure waves are intense but with each one I lie down on my side, turn my switch off with the release cue and go completely limp. I remember being frustrated that I wasn’t totally “blissed out” like I was in my first birthing time but that I knew how important it was to choose to use my tools with every wave and here I was automatically doing it and that was a good thing. Out the door of our apartment and down the hall - the waves seemed to come every minute. I stopped twice on the way to the elevator, once in the elevator, once in the lobby and once on the sidewalk before I got in the car. “So, this is the other way to do it”, I said out loud. In the car, I put on headphones again and started the script over. The waves must have slowed – I only had two on the 10 minute ride and they were awful but not in a painful way. I was just so uncomfortable sitting up and I was becoming car sick as well.

It was such a relief to be out of the car at the hospital. I stop for a wave on the steps out front. The poor doula winds up carrying a ton of bags and coats and stuff while my husband tries to find parking for the car. Another wave comes as we pass through the lobby, and I dive into a large padded chair. I consider whether or not I want to lie on one of their couches for a while and get “more deeply into hypnosis” in preparation for whatever craziness is about to come in triage. The look on our doula’s face is a cross between “please don’t make me put down all these bags and pick them back up again” and “please don’t birth this baby in the lobby”. She sweetly suggests that we make our way to L&D and I comply.

Registration is crazy. They want us to fill out some truly ridiculous forms. I have a pressure wave and don’t know where to put myself so I can go limp. They are getting so intense that I feel like I absolutely must be on my side to relax (I’m also feeling pretty car sick) and there’s just nowhere to go. I want to lie down on the floor and wind up kneeling on the floor with my upper body collapsed on the chair. I hear someone behind me say my name and I don’t move, just ask “who is that?” and it’s my OB! I pick up my head and introduce the OB and Doula and put my head back down. She asks how far apart my contractions are and I point to the Doula who says “3 minutes apart” and my OB, very pleased, says “oh wonderful – I could have told my Husband to wait outside. We’ll be done in no time. I’ll meet you inside.” I find this very encouraging.

Inside is madness. They want me to pee in a cup before I can go to triage. Really? I do it. We stay so calm and positive! Triage is ok except that I REALLY want to be on my side and it’s so hard on the tiny chair/table. I insist on going on my side during each wave. I won’t answer questions during a wave. Most people seem to be okay with it. The doula needs to tell one or two that I’m using hypnosis and cannot talk during a wave. I don’t hear any objections. One woman tells me that she’s going to have to ask me a bunch of questions and I tell her not to ask me any questions about pain and I think she says “Well, I will” in kind of a dismissive/patronizing tone but I don’t care – it bounces off my BOP. My doc comes in and checks me and I am 5.5/6cm dilated and completely effaced! I am thrilled. They tell me that I need to get on my back after the next wave so they can check the fluids. I hadn’t even thought of fluids in light of my water breaking 90 minutes ago and it makes me vaguely nervous for a second (I don’t want to be “on the clock” for low fluids) but then I hear the tech say “oh she has lots of fluids” and point out several significant pockets to my OB. My OB says that we should go get settled in a room and “do our little thing” (she’s very pro-hypnobabies but this is how she always refers to it) and let her know when we need her.

I cannot wait to get on a bed and lie on my side. I CANNOT WAIT. I don’t even remember the walk down the hallway, I just remember climbing into the bed. There was a whirlwind of stuff happening - gown going on (Pretty Pushers again!), speakers being set up, birth ball blowing up, hep lock going in, monitors, etc. I just laid there and let them move me around, going completely limp with each pressure wave. My Doula handed out the birth preferences. People came in to ask the same admitting questions 3 times but I just let my husband and Doula deal with that. My Doula told a resident that I was doing hypnosis and the resident kept asking her about what herbs she was going to give me and to make sure we told them before I took any herbs. The Doula kept saying I wasn’t planning on taking any herbs but the resident didn’t seem to buy it. It was kind of funny.

We were settled at last. My Doula was giving me excellent counter pressure on my lower back and my husband had his hand on my forehead for each wave with the release or relax cue. I just focused on going limp, keeping my hands and face relaxed and thinking “open, open, open.” I think I even said “open” out loud a few times. I feel like it wasn’t long before I was vocalizing with each wave and I realized that I could actually feel things happening in my back – I could feel my baby moving lower and lower. I started to shiver uncontrollably and I thought about asking if I was in transition but didn’t because I just knew that I was. On the next pressure wave my body started to push on its own. It was so incredible! I focused on staying limp and “watching” what my body was doing so I could better understand what pushing was. I was getting it! It was different than I had thought it would be and my body was showing me how. I was in awe of the process. I heard my Doula say something like “Her body is starting to push and I can see him moving down – I can SEE it in her belly and feel it in her back. I think we should get the doctor.” All that confirmation felt great to hear out of the mouth of someone I trusted. I don’t remember but was told that the doctor came in and saw me totally relaxed between waves and was like, “there’s nothing going on here” and the Doula asked her to please wait. When she saw the next wave and my body pushing she was right on board with the Doula. Things progressed from there, getting more intense. The Doula had to remind me to breathe a lot so I tried focusing on breathing the baby out – channeling the vocalizing into air. They started breaking down the bed and had me move to my back for pushing. My husband put on the “push baby out” track. It was so tough not to get a little anxious here with all that happened last time. It was such a different scene though. There were just 5 of us – the Doctor, the Nurse, the Doula, my Husband and me. The Nurse was giving really clear, helpful instructions on how to hold my legs, how to push, etc. And I understood the pushing so much better from what my body had shown me earlier. At some point the baby’s heart rate dipped so they gave me an oxygen mask which I really liked. I remember opening my eyes and looking at my husband and doula, each holding on to one of my legs and cheering me on emphatically. I thought about last time and the 20+”just one more push” cheers and wondered if I could trust them. I made a conscious choice to believe them. The heart rate must have continued to dip because the doc said that we had to make this happen quickly and did I want to push the baby out or do the episiotomy and get the baby out immediately. I think I pushed twice more and his head was out. Twice more for the shoulders and, at 4:14am he was out! I only pushed for 10 minutes. It was less than 2 hours earlier that we’d arrived at the hospital. I’m not sure we were in the delivery room for much more than 90 minutes and here was my little baby boy, already nestled on my chest. Unbelievable.

I did tear and I tried to use my Hypnobabies to help with the stitching process but it was hard to focus on anything but my son. At the time, I felt conflicted about how Hypnobabies had worked this time. I could not believe how fast it had all happened and I was sure that the ability to go limp and loose through each pressure wave had a lot to do with that. And I hadn’t felt any pain – it was intense, but it wasn’t pain. Still, I seemed to keep focusing on how I never got into that blissed out state that I did in my first birth. Two hours later the nurse in Maternity was getting me settled. She pointed to a row of sad and happy faces on a whiteboard by my bed and asked me to rate my current pain level on a scale of one to ten and I was simply baffled by the question. “What do you mean?” I kept saying. I just couldn’t understand what pain she was talking about – it was seriously as if my brain didn’t know what the word “pain” meant. “I have some discomfort from the stitches and the labor. But it’s not pain. What’s discomfort? A ‘2’?”

The next day I got a roommate who came to the hospital at 3cm, got an epidural at 5cm and after a number of hours of pushing unsuccessfully her doctor suggested they pull her off the epidural so she could better feel what her body was doing. I asked her to compare how it felt with and without the epidural. Without the epidural it sounded like every negative description I’ve heard about a “contraction”. (I won’t waste your BOP, you know what I’m talking about.) WITH the epidural, she described EXACTLY what I felt the night before: Intense pressure and the crazy feeling of something being inside of you and moving out. My birthing using Hypnoanesthesia felt the same for me as how she described birth feeling WITH medically administered anesthesia. Fascinating! I pushed the baby’s head out on my own this time but I never felt a “ring of fire.” And, just like the first time, I didn’t ever think about the possibility of using anything but my Hypnobabies tools. I think I WAS “in the zone” in the delivery room. Really, I think I was in the zone the whole time – it was just a FAST and intense process this time and so it was different. In hindsight, Hypnobabies worked perfectly! My Hypnoanesthesia was completely effective and I was able to stay calm, relaxed and focused for my entire birthing time. I am so happy to have been able to use the program for both of my births and will continue to tell everyone I can about how amazing it is. Thanks Hypnobabies!
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