Rachel’s Intense Hypnobabies Birth Center Birth
“I remember thinking, “This is the best moment of my life.” I needed the rest, and no one was trying to push me into more active/productive pushing. I felt like this was incredibly considerate, and respectful of everyone. I occasionally thought about how I’d eventually have to get more active to push baby out, but I set the thought aside. I simply chose to soak in every minute of rest I could. “Rest and be thankful,” I reminded myself.”
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Crosby was born 7/6/19 at 7:14 am. His birth was my second Hypnobabies birth experience 💞 Lumen’s birth was slow and steady. Even though it was quite long (24 hours!) it was always very manageable, and a beautifully comfortable Hypnobabies experience. Crosby’s entrance to the world was a bit different.
Friday morning (7/5) I noticed some spotting, and steady pressure waves (Hypnobabies word for contractions). They were easy, but not going away so I was hopeful that this little guy would join us soon. My Dad and stepmom arrived around 11 that morning- it was the first day within a weeks’ time frame that they could be here, offering support with our daughter. It was perfect timing and I’m thankful for that! I spent the whole day at home with my husband, 4-year-old daughter and my parents just coasting along. It was a nice time.
For most the afternoon my waves were 6 minutes apart, but very manageable. Things picked up in intensity around 10 or 11 that night. I had listened to tracks through the day and was using my tools, but when things shifted, I dedicated my full focus to listening to tracks, and just relaxing through the waves. At 1 am I knew things were strong and steady enough that it was a good time to head to the birth center. I also knew if I waited any longer, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere. The birth center was 30 minutes away. Between packing up, arriving, getting checked, getting the IV (I was GBS+ so I chose to accept antibiotics) I knew we needed to go.
We got there around 2 am and our doula, Mandy, arrived 30 minutes after. I was 5cm and 90% effaced so I had a while to go but felt good about it. I laid down to listen to another Hypnobabies track, but I was starting to feel a lot of my pressure waves in my back. I felt a decent amount in my back with my daughter Lumen, but this was significantly stronger. I decided I wanted to be upright and moving in order to help baby along and knew lunges might help baby find a better position. I spent the next hour leaning into my husband, going limp and swaying my hips during waves. In between waves I would use a step for alternating lunges. My doula, Mandy, was amazing during this time. She would massage my back and legs with every wave, encouraging me to stay loose and really let Kyle carry my weight. Kyle would just hold me and talk me through each wave, using Hypnobabies cues and language.
Sometime later I tried getting in the tub for a while, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I was there too long and started to lose my focus. Despite being quite uncomfortable, I was able to continue using my Peace cue (Hypnobabies cue for instant physical comfort), and “ahh” breathing to avoid tightening up. Every wave I would relax my hands, shoulders, and face while telling myself, “Open, open, open.” Though my birthing time (Hypnobabies word for labor) was proving more uncomfortable than expected I felt a sense of commitment to moving my body, staying physically relaxed, and supporting the birthing process as much as I could.
It was clear the tub wasn’t working for me, so we moved to the bed and I got on my hands and knees to relieve some pressure in my back. My team placed a heating pad on my back which brought me some comfort. During each wave my doula would alternate between the double hip squeeze and offering massage through the heating pad. My husband guided my breathing and encouraged me to use my Peace cue. He would also use the Relax cue (Hypnobabies cue to deepen hypnosis) on my shoulder to help me avoid tensing up.
*BOP* (Bubble of Peace)
Kyle talked to me so much and would help me stay loose through those waves. My doula would wipe my face and neck with a cool rag, also massaging my back through a heating pad. It was all so helpful, but not enough to diminish what was going on in my back. I got lost in transformation (Hypnobabies word for transition) towards the end and became emotional. I told my team I was getting overwhelmed and was so tired. They encouraged me. I dreamed of transferring, of the panic button that is the epidural, but I felt myself starting to push. I knew I was in no place to do anything but keep going. It wasn’t a confident thought, it was just the facts, and I resigned myself to what was happening. I continuously reminded myself that each wave would only peak for a moment.
Even now, I look back and have no idea how I kept on. I really attribute this to my birth team and my body’s unwillingness to yield. Having had a natural birth before, and having attended many births as a doula, I knew all I could do was flow along. Mandy and Kyle asked how they could bring my Hypnobabies practice into this challenging time, and I whimpered, “There’s nothing to do. I’m here, I’m in it. That’s all there is.” Soon after I had a really strong wave and as it peaked, I told them “I can’t, please, I can’t!” and with the next wave I pleaded for them to help me in some way. I can honestly say this wasn’t due to discomfort in my pelvis, cervix, birth canal or belly. It was 100% because my back couldn’t take it anymore. My midwife offered me sterile water injections. This is 4 injections placed on 4 nerves near the sacrum. The good thing is it brought those sensations from unbearable down to really intense- I’d say a 10% improvement. Though I was lost in my birth for a moment, this was really only about 15 or 20 minutes of my experience, and the peak of transformation.
Transformation finally ended, and I laid on my side with the peanut ball between my legs. This was the best time of my whole birthing. I laid there for an hour, maybe an hour and a half. The waves spaced out and I would doze in between waves. I held my doula’s hands for leverage and would push gently once or twice at the start of waves and then ride out the rest of the wave and the sensations in my back. Kyle would massage my back through the heating pad with each one. My midwife would rub my leg for comfort. During Lumen’s birth I didn’t want anyone touching me, but this…the love kindness and support I felt during this time meant so much to me. Other than when I would push a bit, it was totally silent in the room. You could have heard a pin drop. The silence brought me such a sense of calm.
I remember thinking, “This is the best moment of my life.” I needed the rest, and no one was trying to push me into more active/productive pushing. I felt like this was incredibly considerate, and respectful of everyone. I occasionally thought about how I’d eventually have to get more active to push baby out, but I set the thought aside. I simply chose to soak in every minute of rest I could. “Rest and be thankful,” I reminded myself.
I told my midwife “This is all I have to give right now.” She was understanding and told me that was just fine. I was resting so well and pushing so gently I didn’t feel I was accomplishing anything during this peaceful time. Then, very suddenly, I pushed, and my waters exploded. They burst with such force the whole room heard it.
With the next pushing wave, baby was in my birth canal and I was shocked by the sensation, and abrupt sense of fullness. With each wave I would push 2 or 3 times. Every push he seemed to come down a great deal. I could feel how fast he was coming. I asked my midwife if he was crowning, and she told me she could see the top of his head and gestured with her hand. “That’s not enough!” I declared. Haha!
Right before he crowned, I told my doula, “He’s in my vagina, I’m not ready!” She told me that was okay, and that I was safe. Everyone cheered that baby was coming, and I couldn’t have been less impressed. I looked to Kyle, and he had tears in his eyes. He told me I was so close, and to keep going. I trust him more than I can say, and in that moment, he gave me such strength. I pushed with the next wave, and our baby’s head was born. The relief was beautiful, and instantaneous. Pushing his shoulders and body out was much easier and happened with the next pressure wave.
From my waters breaking to him being born was 5 or 6 pressure waves. It was fast, and intense. I was completely taken aback that I had made such progress while resting. I felt unprepared for crowning because prior to my waters breaking everything was completely quiet, peaceful and slow.
Our baby boy was passed up to me and I held him close. It was a weird time for me when he arrived. I was checking him out, and happy to be holding him but I was also in a state of disbelief for some time. I couldn’t comprehend the speed of him being born, the intense journey we had been on, or that it was (mostly) over.
He was absolutely covered in vernix. It looked like he needed to be peeled! Because he came so fast through my birth canal his head had very little molding and was quite round. He looked so much smaller than Lumen to me, but he wasn’t at all. In fact, both Crosby and Lumen weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. Crosby gave us a few cries, but then settled quickly. He made the best little sounds and began rooting around. He latched easier, and faster than any baby I’ve ever seen. He nursed for some time which seemed to make a big difference in my placenta detaching and my immediate bleeding.
To the mama’s out there who are studying and practicing Hypnobabies right now, please know your body is a miracle and even with this more challenging experience I can tell you there were only short moments when I felt lost or overcome in my birthing time. Even though I didn’t have the completely comfortable experience I had with Lumen, my Hypnobabies tools helped me so much. I was able to allow my birthing to happen and didn’t fight the experience I was having. I was able to keep my body relaxed and use my voice which I’m positive made my experience as comfortable as it possible could have been. I easily followed my body through pushing and went with what felt right to me.
Also, during my pregnancy I switched care providers, and took finding a doula very seriously. I knew what I wanted from my birth team and they made all the difference in the world. Hypnobabies helped me find my voice. Years ago, this program taught me to advocate for myself and to never be afraid to ask questions or walk away from a situation that doesn’t support my or my baby’s highest good. I am so proud of the choices I made for myself and little Crosby.
To the mama’s who have had their babies and their birthing didn’t go as peacefully or as comfortably as they would have liked please take this away from my story: Every. Birth. Is. Different. As a mother of 3 I can tell you this is a fact. As a doula I have never done my job the same way twice. If you decide to have more children, dedicate your heart to creating your birth experience, just as you did before. Let go of fear because it won’t serve you, and your next journey will be its own. 💙