On January 30th, I went to work and for the first time in a couple of months I was actually given something to do. I was thrilled. So, I worked all day and had things partially finished when it was time for me to go home. I stopped by my supervisor’s office to tell him where I was leaving things because he was concerned I wouldn’t be back. I laughed and said, of course I’ll be here tomorrow, but here’s where I left things. Turns out he was right and I was wrong, but I wouldn’t realize that for almost 12 more hours.
So, our evening was normal. We had dinner and Tom and I got our girls down to bed. I did my usual bedtime ritual of putting on my iPod and listening to my scripts and affirmations at bedtime. I even did my usual false start trips to the bathroom, in center for practice, once my scripts started. Then I fell asleep very easily. Much easier than I had in many weeks.
At 3 AM, I woke up experiencing a much stronger pressure wave than I had so far in this pregnancy. I thought wow that one was pretty serious and then I realized I needed to use the bathroom, so I got up and did that. I came back to bed got comfy and had another pressure wave. I checked the clock it was 3:05. I thought, hmm, 5 minutes since the last one I wonder if this is it. At 3:10, I had another one and using the rudimentary timing that I could do with a digital alarm clock I figured that the waves were approximately a minute long. Since, this was my third baby and baby number two came fairly quickly my doula and I had discussed that I should probably be headed to the hospital when the waves were 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute, for an hour. So, I watched the clock for another 15 minutes and continued in that same pattern so I finally woke up Tom. I told him that I thought today would be a good day to have a baby, and after a second where he registered what I was saying he jumped up and started putting on clothes and making phone calls. In the meantime, I put on my Birthing Day affirmations and got dressed.
My sister got to our house around 4 AM. We told her that our older daughter, Laura usually got on the school bus at 8:10, however if she couldn’t bring herself to go to school we were fine with her skipping school. We also said that if the girls wanted to, we would call them when the actual birth was imminent and they were welcome to see their sibling being born. My sister was really excited at the prospect, especially since I witnessed her second birth so it was returning the favor, so to speak.
Since, my mind had really accepted that my pressure waves would only be felt as pressure and tightening, I didn’t feel the need to actually switch off yet. And, since my husband is unable to drive due to his poor vision I felt confident driving the 15 minutes to the hospital. The waves were still of about the same intensity and it seemed like it would work out just fine for me to drive. Plus, it eliminated the need for waking anyone else up and waiting for them to get to our house. Our doula would be meeting us at the hospital.
I pulled onto the highway and had another wave that was easy and I felt even more confident that this would work out just fine. I had one more pressure wave on the highway. And then a third right as I pulled into the “In Labor” parking space at the hospital. We waited for that wave to be over before getting out of the car, then we walked to the elevator to go into the building.
We got to the maternity floor and found that the receptionist was there. We had dealt with her the Sunday before when a gas bubble was causing me a great deal of discomfort and we wanted to be checked out. Anyhow, she got our information and called down to labor and delivery. They said that they would put me into an actual L&D room under observation rather than sending me to triage and they would switch my status if it was clear that I was having the baby today. They asked if I wanted a wheelchair, but I declined as I was still just experiencing pressure and tightening.
We got to the room and I realized that it was the same L&D room where my first hypnobaby was born. I thought that was a good omen and mentioned it to Tom. There were two nurses waiting for us when we got there (apparently, it was a fairly slow night). I got undressed and put on the hospital gown and pulled out my iPod to listen to the Easy First Stage script. My husband filled the nurses in on our birth plan (we forgot the cookies at home) and explained about the hypnosis. The nurses were incredibly respectful of our wishes and would wait for me to open my eyes before talking to me or touching me in any way. They administered the hep-lock and then asked if I wanted to be checked. I consented and they found me to be 6 cm, 90% effaced and the baby was at 0 station. I was pleasantly surprised since it had been so easy up until this point. On Sunday, I had been 3 cm and here I had progressed another 3 with very little effort on my part.
In between my waves, I’m chatting and cracking jokes with my husband and my doula who had arrived by now. I decide that laying in bed isn’t that great and I thought I would take advantage of the freedom of movement the intermittant monitoring and Hep-lock rather than IV afforded me, besides I had practiced lots of center switch for this and I intended to use it. I paced around the room a bit. For several waves I did a little slow dancing with my husband supporting me.
I then came to the realization that I was experiencing all of the tightening sensation in my back. I laid down on the bed for a little while and had either Tom or Linsey (our doula) apply some counter pressure on my sacrum. Then, we put the birth ball up on the bed and continued with more massage of my sacrum. I’m less chatty between waves and tend to just relax, but I’m still only experiencing things as pressure and tightening.
Around 6 AM, the nurses come in and want to monitor the baby a little but more. I didn’t want to be reclined on the bed during this so I stood next to the bed. Unfortunately, the telemetry unit was not charged so I was on a short leash. The baby’s heart rate was detected quite low on my belly and my doula actually had to hold the monitor in place. Fortunately, it was only for about 10 minutes then I was free to move as I wanted.
At this point, I’m feeling lots of low pressure. I sometimes feel like I need to use the bathroom, but my trips in there are fruitless. I start using a squatting position where Tom supports my weight while seated and I switch off during the waves. I think we only did this about two or three times before I acknowledge that I’m feeling pushy. It took me by surprise because my waves were never very close together. I really think that much of this was because I had been concerned about transformation since that was a difficult time for me with my daughter Leah’s birth so I had done many fear releases about it during my practice. So, now I was rewarded with essentially no transformation.
At 6:45, Tom asked the nurses to come in because I was feeling pushy and he called my sister to let them know it was time to come. They asked if they could check me and said I was about 9.5 cm, basically just the smallest rim that would probably go away once my water finally broke. I put on the Pushing the Baby Out script and relax on the bed. They get out the squat bar and we find ourselves with new nurses as the shift changes. If anything, the new nurses were even better than the first ones. One is a 30 year veteran who was very excited to witness only her second hypnosis birth. The other was a nursing student.
Because the rest of me was so relaxed you could see my body respond to the new pushing sensations automatically. I was very intense but not uncomfortable or scary. At one point, the baby makes a huge movement which we assume is to get into a less posterior position in preparation for birth.
I start using the squat bar and start pushing in earnest. When everyone realizes this is what is going on they page my doctor. I wasn’t the least bit concerned that he wasn’t there because I knew that if the baby came easily anyone of a number of people in the room could catch. It wasn’t until my doctor got there that I felt at all that I needed to wait for him. I remember looking at him getting on his gear thinking hurry up and break my water so we can get this show on the road. Once he breaks the sac, he tells me to just let him know what I needed him to do. I experience some discomfort at this point as I adjust to sensing the waves without the water to cushion it. I start vocalizing. I push through a few waves and feel some burning and stretching as the baby crowns. The nurse is monitoring the baby between waves and there are a few decelerations so they have my breathe deeply and give me some oxygen. My legs are really shaky so I quit squatting and Tom and Linsey help pull my legs back as I push.
At 7:36, our baby boy emerges. I look down and see him. And I instantly feel a huge sense of accomplishment. They place him on my body and I just gaze at him in awe. My daughters came into the room the instant he was born. They had been in the hallway unsure if they should come in due to my vocalizing. Everyone agreed that had the gotten there just 15 minuets earlier they would have witnessed the gearing up and it wouldn’t have been at all scary. Anyway, Laura, who is 6 was immediately smitten with her little brother and watched everything the nurses did with great interest. Leah, who is 4, just smiled at her brother once her father picked her up.
Seth did not nurse right away but rather just licked my nipple. I started to lose more blood than they would like and since he was more interested in looking around than nursing they got to use the Hep-lock and give me some pitocin. They observe him and clean him up under the watchful eye of big sister Laura. When I get him back just after 8:00 he latches on well and nurses in earnest. They postponed almost all the rest of the newborn procedures until almost 9:00. So it wasn’t until then that we knew he was our smallest baby at 7 lbs 3 oz.
It was a glorious birth and my nurse couldn’t stop talking about it. She got the nurse manager for L&D so excited about it that she came to visit me the next day. I showed her all the Hypnobabies materials and we talked about the program and my birth for quite some time. She encouraged me to consider becoming an instructor and asked if I would be willing to talk about my experience with their new natural childbirth class. I was so pleased that they were as receptive to Hypnobabies as they were. It was such a great way to end my wonderful birth experience. I feel like I made a real impact and that I can help others learn what childbirth can be.
Originally posted February 19, 2008