Nicole’s Hypnobabies VBAC Induction
“This next moment is one I will never forget. My midwife checked me while Josh and my nurse stood by my side. The midwife and my nurse (Devyn) looked at each other almost mischievously and the midwife quietly said, “She’s there. She’s fully dilated. She’s 10 cm.”
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My first son’s birth was very different from what I imagined/planned for. I took a home study, natural birthing course focused on avoiding the “cascade of interventions” and ended up with each and every intervention due to PROM and drops in baby’s HR. I did however love my care providers and felt like they treated every decision with love and respect. My first son (Connor) was born via somewhat emergency c-section after a 26 hour long birthing time.
As my pregnancy with my second son progressed, I knew I needed something to help get me excited about birth again. In a way I was dreading it and more fearful than I had expected to be. A close friend of mine had used Hypnobabies for her first child’s homebirth and she suggested I try it out.
I really loved it immediately and although I didn’t practice daily until closer towards the end of my pregnancy, the program as a whole put me in a great place mentally for my birthing time (Hypnobabies word for labor) I also should mention that I fell asleep close to 100% of the time listening to my tracks before bed.
I knew I wanted a VBAC and thankfully my hospital/midwife group is the most supportive in our area by far, so I didn’t have to look elsewhere for good care.
I had an induction scheduled for 41 weeks and this was where most of my fear hid. Connor’s birth eventually required Pitocin and I was so worried that many of the same things would happen during this birthing time. Pregnancy affirmations, Fear Clearing (Hypnobabies track to release fear), and daily talks with my Hypnobabies friend helped a lot as this date approached.
My 40th week of pregnancy I decided to take a small dose of castor oil (per a recommendation from one of the midwives). It didn’t make me poop but it did cause practice waves (Hypnobabies term for contractions) to come somewhat regularly that evening (about 3-5 minute apart). I didn’t use any more castor oil but that week I focused on lots of pumping, the miles circuit, sex (not easy), yoga, and the Come Out Baby Track (Hypnobabies track to encourage baby to be born) on repeat. I went to work on Thursday (40 + 3) excited that I had been having lots of practice waves but very restless for the real thing to start.
I called out of work on Friday because I wanted to focus entirely on my body’s attempts at starting my birthing time naturally. Friday felt and looked a lot like the days before it.
Finally, on Saturday (40 + 5) things felt a little different. I woke up with gentle but consistent waves and started losing bits of mucus plug. After hours of gentle waves and many trips to the bathroom to poop I finally accepted that this could actually be the real thing. I went about my day mostly as usual and sometime around noon I went to the bedroom for yoga, another round of the miles circuit, and to listen to a few Hypnobabies tracks.
At some point during all of this there was finally a subtle change in the intensity of my waves. I stayed in bed for a few more minutes and then got up to pee. Mid pee I felt a small pop and a bit of extra liquid came out. I immediately had a feeling my water had broken a bit (the same thing had happened with my first birth) so I changed my pad, took a deep breath, and headed back out to see what my husband (Josh) and Connor were up to.
Waves continued on and off the rest of the afternoon and I mentally confirmed that my waters had broken as I continued to drip clear fluid. I texted my sister (Kayla) to let her know that we would definitely need her to head over to the house with bags packed tonight.
The next few hours were relatively calm, but I was nervous. Things were feeling eerily similar to the birthing time I was trying to avoid, and my waves were spacing out a bit (likely due to my nerves). I finally separated myself again to start listening to my Birthing Day Affirmations. I spent about an hour on my birthing ball listening to affirmations and timing waves. This was definitely a highlight of my birthing time for me. The affirmations were exactly what I needed.
Kayla eventually came over and soon after that her fiancé́ (Griffin)showed up with pizza. I stepped outside to call the hospital (just to make sure we should come in tonight) while Josh put Connor to sleep. Connor didn’t want to tell anyone goodnight which in hindsight I’m grateful for because I would have cried and probably worried him a bit.
We left for the hospital around 9 o clock and I played my affirmations out loud and tried to breathe through my nerves. Once we got to the hospital, I started to feel better. It was so calm and quiet as we walked from the parking garage to the hospital entrance. Waves were gradually getting more intense but still spaced anywhere from 3-7 minutes apart.
Triage was a pretty smooth experience overall. I didn’t even attempt to get into hypnosis since there were so many questions and things going on. After some time, they confirmed that my waters had broken and my first check in almost 2 weeks said I was 3 cm, 90% effaced, and at -2 station. Time to get a room! I requested wireless monitoring and for a room with a tub and they were happy to make it happen.
Once we got into our room there were lots more questions, but I put my headphones on and pressed play on Easy First Stage (Hypnobabies main birthing day track) during each wave. The nurse also noticed my oil diffuser and encouraged us to get it started. After what felt like 10,000 years we were finally left alone.
The next 8 hours were a haze of waves, sleep coming in quick drifts, and quiet. I continued to play Easy First Stage through my headphones on and off but also found that I didn’t like “getting too far away from Josh.” It already felt like I left him completely during each wave and at times the hypnosis track made me feel even further away. Sometimes I just needed the silence of the room and his hand to squeeze.
I spent almost 3 1/2 hours in the tub which gave me an important opportunity to rest my legs and continue to “float” through each wave as it came.
I also spent a lot of time on the birthing ball but eventually started falling asleep between waves (we had been awake for almost 24 hours at this point) and each time I jerked awake I found myself getting upset and frustrated. Laps around the dark room, pausing for waves, listening to my track. It was somehow both an impossibly long and short night but eventually the sun peeked through our window and a new midwife and nurse came on shift.
My night shift midwife did check me one time around 3 AM and informed me I was 5cm dilated – I cannot remember effacement or position. It was a little tough to hear that I hadn’t progressed further but I had progressed some and I tried hard to remember that “we don’t birth by numbers.”
By the time shift change was over I was in a very emotional, vulnerable place. All of my fears from Connor’s birth were shining into my cracks and I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The new midwife showed up about an hour later and she was very straight forward. She wanted my waves to be closer together for how long I had been in my birthing time and for how long my waters had been broken. Her two suggestions were 1) insert a catheter that measures exactly how strong each wave is so she can decide if they’re where they need to be or 2) start Pitocin right away. She suggested that even with Pitocin intervention, I would likely still be in my active birthing time for 6-8 more hours plus pushing.
I broke. I broke apart between waves and couldn’t pick the pieces up. This was almost EXACTLY what happened during my birthing time with Connor, down to the sleepless first night of waves. To say my birthing team was supportive and gentle and loving is an understatement. They listened. They calmed me. They told me I was doing so, so well and that this was a different birth entirely.
We decided to go with the catheter to see what was going on. The check and insertion were very difficult but over fairly quickly.
The worst part was then hearing the midwife tell the nurse that I was only 4 cm dilated. Somehow 1 cm LESS than when I had last been checked. Despite 6 hours of very difficult waves. It took about 10 minutes of monitoring to confirm what the midwife had suspected. My waves were not strong enough yet to bring our baby out as quickly as they wanted to. I was also not where I needed to be physically to continue down this path for 6-8 more hours with Pitocin.
Through shakes and more tears, I consented to an epidural and was once again reminded by everyone that this was a new baby and a new birth. All would be well. And all WAS well. I encountered more kindness from the anesthesiologist, continued kindness from my nurse and midwife and of course from Josh. The epidural placement was easy, and I was very quickly able to relax. I could still move my legs enough to help adjust my position in the bed and I could feel every wave – just as a warm pressure versus a searing pain.
Almost immediately after my epidural was placed during Connors birth, his HR dropped so I waited with my breath held. The HR drop never came though. Not one-hour in. Two hours in. Three. I was comfortable and resting. I was breathing with each wave. I was finally able to put “Easy First Stage” back on with confidence and float, smile, and focus on each and every sensation. It was beautiful.
4-5 hours later my nurse asked what kind of pressure I was feeling. I told her I could feel pressure with every wave and that I was really enjoying it because it felt like positive progress. She decided to have the midwife check me.
This next moment is one I will never forget. My midwife checked me while Josh and my nurse stood by my side. The midwife and my nurse (Devyn) looked at each other almost mischievously and the midwife quietly said, “She’s there. She’s fully dilated. She’s 10 cm.” I couldn’t believe it. My nurse cried. I cried. Josh was in shock. It had been the most comfortable and peaceful 4 hours yet!
They asked if I wanted to try some practice pushes and I laughed and said “of course!” After a few pushes they told me I was directing my strength exactly where I needed to and that they wanted to set the room up for the real thing.
I didn’t put the pushing track on because I was really enjoying the vibe just as it was. They had me work with my waves which I could still feel, and I was so happy to be able to feel exactly where to direct my pushes and effort. Between pushes I reminded Josh to take pictures of “the graphic stuff,” and everyone laughed and then offered me a mirror. They brought a mirror in and seeing the progress myself was incredible.
The midwife had me slow and pause some pushes and after 27 minutes he was out!
His cord was wrapped pretty tightly around his neck (JUST LIKE CONNOR) and he was a little “floppy” when he first came out. He quickly woke up and turned a gorgeous pink, letting out his first cry a minute or so after. My placenta was birthed easily, and the midwife spent some time repairing my 2nd degree tear.
Avery Moss was born after a 25-hour birthing time weighing 8 lbs 11 oz and measuring 22 inches long (MUCH bigger than he brother). Overall I am absolutely thrilled with how his birthing time turned out. Although I was in and out of hypnosis quite a bit throughout, there were some very important moments that were heavily influenced by the calm the Hypnobabies tracks provided. I am so proud of myself and very grateful to the Hypnobabies program as well as my birthing team. 🧡