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Thanks to Jennie for sharing her story!
I had had a few “practice waves” over a couple days, but nothing strong or regular. They were mostly the kind of thing I wouldn’t even notice if I weren’t expecting the kid to make an appearance at any moment.
On Sept. 21 I woke up around 5 am and got up to go to the bathroom and get some water. I got back into bed but couldn’t fall asleep again. About half an hour later, I had a fairly strong birthing wave but didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later I had another. I decided if I had one more I’d get up and start timing them since I wasn’t getting back to sleep anyway.
A few minutes later, there was another one. I couldn’t go into the living room since my mom was sleeping out there, so I took my exercise ball and my phone into the bathroom and bounced/rolled a bit while timing waves and Facebooking.
The waves were consistently five minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds. Although they were fairly strong, they weren’t yet to the point that I needed to use my hypnosis techniques.
Steve got up around 5:45 and I told him he might need to call Lindsey and Carole (our midwife and doula) soon. Around that time Anna woke up and wanted me to snuggle. I tried to get her to snuggle with Steve instead, but she insisted on me. I snuggled with her for a few minutes, then bribed her with the promise of peanut butter crackers if she went to snuggle with Grannie instead.
It became clear that this was the real deal, so I decided to draw a bath and told Steve to call Lindsey and Carole. I also told him to set up the birthing pool on the patio as we had planned, weather permitting. It was early in the morning and still chilly, but I figured it might be warm enough by the time we needed it, plus we have a propane heater we could turn on if necessary.
While my bath water was running I decided to get the bed ready for later, too. I took the covers off, put a shower curtain down, and put another sheet on top. Keep in mind this is a king-size bed pushed up against a wall and a twin-size bed, so it’s a major PITA to make it even under normal circumstances, much less during one’s birthing time. I wanted to feel useful, though.
I got in the tub and listened to some of my Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” track and to the Beatles’ “Let it Be” a few times. (“Let it Be” had sort of become my mantra during the pregnancy, and it seemed like a nice accompaniment to the whole idea of just relaxing and letting go.)
After a little while in the tub I got restless and decided to get out.
I walked out to the living room and had the first wave that made me need to stop what I was doing and focus. A few minutes later, Carole, our doula, arrived.
I went out back to see what the temperature was like. Steve had turned on the heater, so even though it was still a bit cool, the patio felt quite nice. With our fountain running, birds flying around our bird feeders, and fog in the background, it felt extremely peaceful, so I decided to stay out there.
Carole and I talked (pausing for waves) while Steve finished setting things up. By this point I had grown tired of “Let it Be,” but didn’t feel like listening to a hypnosis track, so I was listening to my Beatles mix. I wanted to keep things upbeat and fun.
Our midwife Lindsey and her assistant Courtney arrived and got some other things set up, then they went into the living room to hang out so I wouldn’t feel “watched.”
My waves started getting longer and a little more intense, so I told Steve it was probably time to finish filling the pool. (Which was very easy, by the way, as Steve had run a hose directly from our tankless water heater.)
Even after the pool was filled, I didn’t get in right away because things were going so well on land and I didn’t want to mess up a good thing.
Then my waves started getting shorter but closer together and much more intense, so I figured it was time to get in the pool. It was so nice to sit in the warm water and watch scrub jays and hummingbirds flying around the feeders! I told Steve we’re getting a hot tub for the patio.
Steve, Carole, and I hung out for a while, with Lindsey and Courtney coming out occasionally to check on me.
Probably about half an hour after getting in the tub (though my concept of time is hazy at this point) my birthing waves started to get very intense. Carole helped me relax my shoulders and gave me hypnosis cues. Lindsey and Courtney came out for good, so between that and my strengthened waves, I knew we were getting close.
I also got EXTREMELY hot, which happened just before my other two kids were born. I had Steve turn down the heater, and Carole put cold washcloths on my neck and forehead.
I had several very long, very close, very intense waves, and I knew (and hoped!) I’d need to start pushing soon.
With Elias, pushing was very easy but took a long time, probably because I was in the standard “stranded beetle” position. With Anna, pushing was easy and very fast (and stealth!). A few gentle pushes and she came right out.
I assumed pushing would be similar to Anna’s birth, where my body just took over, pushed, rested, push, push, rested, then she was out.
This time I did feel my body start to push (obviously) but there was no resting! As soon as I started to push, I needed the kid OUT!
I pushed a few times and was sure the kid was stuck. So I just kept pushing until I felt crowning. Another push and the head was out. Two more and the shoulders were out. One more for the body. If I had to guess, the whole thing took a minute.
Lindsey told me to get my baby (after each of my births I had to be reminded by someone to look at/get my baby). I looked down and saw this little creature floating in the water, reached in, and picked it up. Carole announced the time of birth as 10:03 am, 4.5 hours after my birthing time began.
Steve looked and announced that it was a boy. I had been a bit unsure about our choice of boy’s name, but this kid was definitely an Oliver.
We covered the baby with a blanket to keep him warm, and the kids came out to see their new brother. We hung out for a few minutes, then I wanted to get out of the pool before I delivered the placenta.
It was surprisingly easy to walk through the house and into the bedroom with an umbilical cord and baby still attached to me.
We settled into bed and Lindsey checked me for tears. I needed stitches with the other kids, and they were a bit smaller and had come out much more slowly. I was sure I’d need a ton of stitches–but no! Not one! I was pretty happy about that!
Oliver started nursing and Steve made some calls to let people know about the birth. Carole and Lindsey thought the baby would be over 9 pounds, but when we weighed him he was “only” 8 lbs, 6 oz. I think his big round head and chubby cheeks made him look bigger than he really is.
The kids came in and held their new brother and we made some more calls/texts. Lindsey and Courtney finished up some other things, then they and Carole left right around noon. It was very nice spending the rest of the day relaxing with my family at home rather than being continually poked and prodded by hospital personnel.
Thanks in large part to Hypnobabies, Oliver’s birth was just as easy and peaceful as the other two. Other than one grunt while I was pushing out Oliver, I didn’t make (nor feel the need to make) a single peep during any of the births. I definitely recommend the program to any pregnant women!
My wonderful husband and birth team also deserve tremendous credit for being so calm and supportive. I couldn’t have done it without them!