Simon’s Hypnobabies Birth
“I decided right then that it was most important for me to stay relaxed, loose, and limp, even if that meant lying down during this stage. I would listen to my body and just relax and listen to my tracks.”
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The morning of Simon’s birth I was in somewhat of a panic. I woke up at 6 a.m. to some pressure. Honestly nothing greater in intensity than I had been feeling over the previous week or two, but of course I had a major anxiety attack. My midwife was only going to be out of town one day all month and it was that day. I just KNEW he would come that day. (I really had no idea, but my overanxious 40+ week pregnant brain was in high gear. “All this preparation and she’s going to miss his birth!” “How am I going to do this without her?” “I’m going to be all ALONE!” Pregnancy hormones are just lovely aren’t they?)
My poor husband. I was a bag of emotions, most of them exaggerated and irrational. But despite my craziness we managed to have a lovely morning. We took Charlotte to a nearby park and chatted and watched her play all morning. I was still having frequent pressure waves but I never felt like they were worth timing or keeping track of.
We went home for lunch. James and Charlotte ate and I laid down in our bedroom and listened to some Hypnobabies tracks. If this was the day, I wanted to be sure to be as relaxed and calm as possible. I listened for a while and then got up had some lunch myself. James and I hung out for a while and then Charlotte woke up from her nap. I had mostly decided that it must not be time yet. So we decided to clean up the house a bit while Charlotte drew in the playroom with her new crayons.
But as I moved around, the pressure started coming back. So at about 2:30 that afternoon I went back into the bedroom to listen to more Hypnobabies tracks. I darkened the room, listened to one track and then got up to move around. I struggled to stay focused while up and moving. Just as I had anticipated, I really felt more comfortable and able to use my Hypnobabies techniques while lying down, so that I could stay completely loose and limp through the pressure waves.
I started to get a bit anxious. I knew if this was my birthing time that it was best if I could walk around or at least stay upright to encourage the baby to move downward. But I didn’t feel comfortable that way. I sent a nervous message to a Hypnobabies instructor who had helped me during my pregnancy and continued listening – this time the “birth guide – easy first stage” track, which I started around 3:30. I worked to just stay relaxed as I listened, doing the best I could to keep my anxiety about birthing positions at bay.
At around 4:20 I beckoned for James and Charlotte. I was feeling excited that it may actually be “time” and wanted to see them. I got up and again felt less comfortable than I did just lying and relaxing. I assured James that it wasn’t close enough yet to call in reinforcements (care for Charlotte), but I decided that it was time to get more active and try some different positions. I spent some time on the birthing ball in an attempt to be more upright as I relaxed.
I couldn’t get comfortable so about ten minutes later I beckoned James again to bring me a blanket (my DIY bolster). I tried a couple more positions, trying to get comfortable. During this time I wasn’t able to stay in my hypnosis and a pressure wave came. I wouldn’t say it was painful, but it was the most uncomfortable wave up to that point, particularly because I tensed up.
I decided right then that it was most important for me to stay relaxed, loose, and limp, even if that meant lying down during this stage. I would listen to my body and just relax and listen to my tracks. This was at 4:40 and when we decided to go ahead and call someone to come and get Charlotte so James could be focused on me. I laid back down to relax and listen, James got Charlotte packed up and sent off to my parents.
Just a short while later, just a few minutes after 5 o’clock, I called James in again. Based on my experiences with movement over the past couple of hours and my decision to labor lying down, I decided it would be best to make the transition to the birthcare center at that time rather than later. I was going to have to get up and get in the car to go at some point, and to be honest, at this point, I figured that the transition to the center would intensify things too greatly for me and that I would need to get an epidural once we got there. I didn’t want that to be too late in labor and for me to be stressed during pushing and as he was born.
So James packed up the car and left me to get prepared to leave. I had studied what to do when it was time to make the transition, so I listened to the early stages track up until it was time to leave, staying loose and limp the entire time. When it was time to go (6:15 p.m.), I waited for a pressure wave to pass and I shut my mental light switch off, then placed it in the center position so I could move. I got up slowly, while still listening to my track, and walked to the car. I got one pressure wave during that time, at which point I went loose and hung onto James.
I closed my eyes, turned up my Hypnobabies track, and relaxed in the car the whole way to the birthcare center. To my surprise, I was able to stay loose, focused and pain-free all the way to the birthcare center. Even as we pulled in I mentioned to James that it may not even be time yet.
James got us checked in while I just sat in the lobby – eyes closed – and focused on my staying loose, listening to my track. We got transitioned to a room at 6:40 p.m. To be honest, I think as relaxed as I was the staff figured I wasn’t far enough along to be admitted. James was great about getting the staff informed of our wishes – particularly for a quiet, dark room and minimal interruptions. As we got checked in they spoke mostly with him, so that I could focus. It was 20 minutes until shift change, so they told me the night nurse would be in after a bit.
I got settled on the bed and relaxed and continued listening. Had I let it take over, my conscious mind would have been jumping up and down that I made it all the way to the hospital bed and continued to stay relaxed and pain-free. I did have a tiny bit of fear that this wasn’t for real, or that I was too early in labor to be admitted and they would send me home, which would mean another two transitions (home and back) that I may not be able to stay relaxed through.
But then, ten minutes later (6:50 p.m.), I felt a very sudden urge to push. A nurse was in the room so I told her that I needed to push. Seconds later my water broke – a HUGE gush everywhere. James said it was insane to watch. It felt really cool too. Pressure all of a sudden and then – GUSH! – a huge release.
I was really focused and in my own world at this point. I don’t remember much because I kept my eyes closed and just focused on staying loose and limp and relaxed. But James tells me that within seconds of my water breaking there were 8 people in the room scurrying around getting things ready. Someone checked me and I was already EIGHT centimeters dilated! They had planned to call the on-call doctor since my midwife was gone, but I guess that doctor was further from the birthcare center than another in the practice so they sent her instead.
At this point, James said he was in disbelief. Both he and I had somewhat assumed that Hypnobabies might not work and that I would end up wanting an epidural. Neither of us really said it, but we both kind of figured. But even with those doubts, it was working. I had made it through early stages of labor, my water breaking, and we were in the birthcare center, about to have a baby, with NO pain. I could honestly barely feel when I was having contractions.
The next bit was very fuzzy for me. I listened to my tracks. My midwife called my cell phone at 7:15 asking if I had gone into labor today (LOL!). She was headed back into town. She drove right to the birthcare center. I’m not sure what time she got there but I know she was there before it was time to push. Yay!
The nurse monitored Simon’s heart rate intermittently. I remember hearing her concern a few times, as well as the midwife’s. She would ask me to adjust my position a bit because “he isn’t liking that position.” James could tell they were a bit concerned about his heart rate and position, though no one ever got panicky. I remained calm and focused the entire time.
Somewhere in there I got a return message from the Hypnobabies instructor who I had messaged earlier. Well, I know she sent the message at 6:20 and that I read it before he was born, but I’m not exactly sure when I saw it. It was exactly what I had been doing and exactly what I needed to hear: “Listen to your easy first stage track and listen to your body – even if it doesn’t feel like you think it should. It doesn’t have to feel or look a certain way – it’s your birth and you can use your tools however you’d like.”
I didn’t look at the clock, but probably around 8:15 I started pushing. The staff (and my husband) were in disbelief because the nurse would have to feel my belly and tell me when I was having a pressure wave (contraction) because I didn’t know. (James said when I told the nurse I didn’t know when I was having contractions all the doctors gave each other puzzled looks, lol.) I pushed with my contractions and in a couple of different positions (not by my choice, but Simon’s heart rate wasn’t great so they had me adjust to stabilize it).
I remember feeling like my pushes weren’t doing anything. I was ready to meet him. I was getting impatient. Everyone assured me that they were, in fact, working and that he was coming soon.
Not to get too detailed, but I remember feeling him crowning. In that moment, I remembered the phrase “ring of fire” (Google it). And in that moment, it was like an out-of-body experience. I had such mental control (though really it was because I let go of any control) and I just felt. I felt that ring. I remember thinking, this is so cool. I can feel this. But it doesn’t hurt. I was so happy. He was almost here.
It was getting to where my midwife advised me not to push too hard. To push slowly and with ease. And amazingly, I did. I had such control. It was so amazing. Calm and peaceful and gentle. He was born at 8:44 p.m. (and I didn’t tear!) and he was beautiful.
He barely cried. I held him close for over an hour. I nursed him. I chatted with the staff about the birth. They were all stunned. The doctors told the residents that they wouldn’t see many like this. They couldn’t believe the amount of control I had during my waves (contractions) and as I was pushing. Additionally, he had been sideways in the birth canal. Apparently that was probably why his heart rate wasn’t stable. The staff said he probably would have come even faster had he not been turned sideways.
I was so very thankful for a painless and peaceful birthing experience. But mostly, at that point, I was overwhelmed with joy and love for our new baby boy.