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Brief background: 1st c-section for twin boys – scheduled due to baby positioning; 2nd c-section for youngest boy – scheduled due to my own misunderstanding of VBAC risks; successful VBA2C at 41 weeks, 1 day on 9/20/11 using the Hypnobabies home-study course for Persephone Maria …
As the days after her “due date” kept passing by with no sign of baby Persephone making her debut, I thought about buying the Hypnobabies mp3 track called, “Come OUT, Baby.” I was hesitant to spend over $10 on something that may or may not work when I may or may not actually need it. I mean, she has to come out eventually, right? What’s the rush? There wasn’t a rush, really, but we were all so ready for her to join us that I decided to go ahead and get it after she decided not to show up over the weekend. So, on Sunday evening, I listened to it in the kitchen after dinner.
I woke up in the middle of the night, around 1:30 a.m., with a warm gush of fluid. I got up and went to the bathroom, leaking the whole way, underwear and legs soaked. It seemed like I peed in the toilet and then didn’t notice any more trickling fluid. I smelled the wet spots on the sheets to see if it smelled like urine, and there were some parts that did, so I resigned myself to having wet the bed like a potty-training toddler. Maybe Persephone was moving lower and caused my bladder to explode or something, even though I’d emptied my bladder around 11:30 when we went to bed.
I tried to lie back down, but I noticed there were some pressure waves coming. They actually seemed to be in a pattern of some sort, something I might be able to time. I had about four before I decided I could not get back to sleep. I got up and did some dishes and made the big boys’ lunches for the next day in case labor started by morning. Of course, the pressure waves died down by the time this was all done, so I went back to sleep.
Monday seemed like it might get exciting as I noticed globs of mucous plug coming out whenever I’d use the restroom. But, no excitement in the very important aspect of pressure waves was to be found. I’d contract randomly throughout the day, usually when I was sitting down or resting in some way. I took Xander to our usual Monday playgroup. We ate lunch afterwards and went to Costco to get some things we needed (eggs, fruit, etc.)…just in case. I will say that I did notice small gushes of fluid throughout the day; I just needed to keep myself in denial, I suppose, to avoid any panicking over prolonged broken water.
Monday evening didn’t get much more interesting other than some traces of blood in the mucous. Surely, things should be starting up very soon. I decided when we went to bed that I would put my Easy First Stage, the first of the two Hypnobabies birthing day tracks, on repeat along with the Birthing Day Affirmations all night to see if it could help get the random, sporadic pressure waves to settle in a pattern and eventually intensify.
Within a couple hours of going to bed, I was noticing the pressure waves becoming more regular and more intense. I don’t think I ever really slept that night. I would relax in bed, lying on my left side and using my Hypnobabies techniques through some pressure waves, get up to go to the bathroom, check my temperature, and then just did that again and again and again. I remember going into the kitchen around 5 a.m. to get something to eat because I was super hungry, and I remember saying to myself how much fun (being completely sincere) this was as I strolled back down the hallway to return to the bed.
My husband woke up around 7:30 in the morning. He had forgotten to set his alarm for work and was about to call to tell them he couldn’t come in when I told him he couldn’t go to work. He asked if I was serious, and I told him I was absolutely serious; the baby was coming today. He made the call and went to the living room, and I decided to move into the living room, too.
I rested on the couch, relaxing through my pressure waves and using my hypnosis, finally able to see that they were coming about every 4-5 minutes and were lasting approximately 45-60 seconds each. My husband got breakfast ready for everyone (but me; I was no longer interested in food) and got the boys’ lunches ready and sent them off to school, being sure to explain to them that they would probably have to go to the neighbor’s house when they got off the bus because we’d be at the hospital.
Within 30 minutes of them leaving to catch the bus, I told my husband we should probably leave for the hospital soon. The pressure waves were feeling more intense and maybe getting a little bit closer together. He went through my packing list and got things together and put in the car. Then, he got Xander ready to take to the neighbor’s house so we could drive to the hospital. Just as we were all set to go, I said I needed to go to the bathroom. I don’t know what exactly happened in that short timeframe, but we didn’t get to leave for over an hour later.
I left the bathroom and went back to my place on the couch. I was now humming, maybe moaning, along with breathing my relaxation into my pressure waves. They seemed to be right on top of each other. I couldn’t get more than 30 seconds in between, so I couldn’t get myself to walk down the stairs to the car. Since I was doing hypnosis as well, my husband couldn’t really talk to me. I mean, he could, and I’d hear him, but I wasn’t able to respond.
He decided to take Xander to the neighbor’s house himself. When he came back, he called his mom. I heard him sound a little anxious about not being in the car and on the way to the hospital. I was feeling a bit anxious about this myself. As much as I would have loved to have a homebirth, I didn’t want an unassisted homebirth, especially when that isn’t what I planned, so I’d have no clue what to be looking for in the way of complications. Something about this sent me back to a more conscious level, and I was able to move off the couch and make an effort towards walking to the stairs after making one last trip to the toilet and finding a massive bloody show.
Another pressure wave hit about half way down the stairs; I stopped at the door and squatted down to the floor, leaning back into my husband’s arms. We made it out the door; another pressure wave came as we reached the end of the walkway. I dealt with this one by having one foot up on the walkway and the other on the driveway. He helped me into the car, and we were on our way to the hospital.
We get to the hospital, and I ask him to get a wheelchair for me. I needed to continue my relaxation, and that did not involve walking through the parking lot, into the hospital, onto the elevator, or down the hallways. I needed to breathe my calming thoughts: peace (for my mental anesthesia); I am comfortable and relaxed; my baby will be in my arms soon. He eventually returns with a wheelchair, and we make our way into the hospital.
My poor husband has been so left out of the events of the past 12 hours that he has no clue how to answer the questions he’s bombarded with…When did they start? How far apart are they? How long are they lasting? I hear it all, and I answer when I am not in the midst of a pressure wave, but I feel so sorry for him trying to deal with them. They get me into a triage room and ask for a urine sample. I try my best to get one, but I just can’t reach far enough with the pressure waves coming to get anything useful.
I go to the hospital bed and resume my left-side-lying position. The doctor comes in; he’s the same doctor that conducted the VBAC consultation class that I thought was so wonderful and positive towards VBACs. His tune wasn’t so positive now. He was trying to talk to me about my last appointment and being 41 weeks with a history of two c-sections and not having any cervical progress last time and what the midwife said. All I could think to answer was that she’d said we’d be fine waiting until 42 weeks; in my head, I’m wondering why the hell any of that stuff matters when I’m laying here in obvious birthing time right now. (After hearing my husband describe my birth, I guess it may not have been so obvious.)
Next thing I know, I feel my body pushing. I find my voice long enough to say I am feeling pushy. Doctor checks me and announces that I’m feeling pushy because I’m completely dilated and ready to push my baby out. There is a lot of movement in the room, people telling me not to push until we switch rooms, and just a lot of commotion that seemed to be completely separate from my calm and peaceful state at the time.
We get into a very bright room, and I am eventually instructed to take two deep breaths and then hold my breath to push for a count of ten with my next pressure wave. I think it took another two pressure waves for my body to allow me to attempt this. In the meantime, my husband puts on the Pushing Baby Out Hypnobabies track to have playing in the background.
My first pushing attempts were too gentle for what they wanted. I told them to “just leave me alone, please.” That was countered with some unnecessarily rude replies about whether or not I wanted to have my baby and that I needed to push. I stayed relaxed as I focused on the Hypnobabies voice in the background, the one that was (maybe not explicitly) telling me my body would do what it needed to do at the right time.
As far as I’m concerned, this whole labor has been gentle enough for my body to handle, and I’m going to continue to allow my body to dictate when it’s time to use proper force and when it’s best to be gentle. The time to push comes quickly, and Persephone was born with maybe a total of six or seven pushes through three or four pressure waves. There was a minor second degree tear that was stitched up with just a couple stitches. Baby was given to me, and we cuddled as the doctors and nurses did their cleanup.
Everything about this experience has been completely amazing for me. It is so much different to be able to move freely and without pain after having my baby. Although getting to the hospital so late meant that some of the things on my birthplan didn’t go as I’d hoped (heplock instead of saline IV, mother-directed pushing, delayed cord clamping – to name a few), I am certain that it needed to go this way to have the birth I wanted.
Even the nurse said that was absolutely the best way to do it, coming in ready to push, to avoid having to deal with all the monitoring and scrutiny that would have come from spending more of my labor time in the hospital. I had always intended to labor at home a long time (longer than the 5-1-1 rule, i.e. 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for more than an hour), but I’d figured we’d get to the hospital around 7-8 cm dilated and be there for a few hours; I never thought I’d show up and then have a baby in my arms less than 45 minutes later. It was a very peaceful labor.
I didn’t do anything I thought I would, though, like use my birthing ball (though it was a lifesaver during pregnancy) or alternate birthing positions (I even pushed while lying on my left side) or lighting candles or using the river stream mp3 to relate to my special, safe place…but it was absolutely perfect anyhow.
I would whole-heartedly endorse using Hypnobabies for a really great natural birth, and my husband said he would have to as well after seeing how well I handled the entire birth and how great I’ve felt since. He was rather skeptical about how well it was really going to work and even said afterwards that he kept thinking I was going to end up one of those angry, screaming women for trying to give birth without pain medicine.
We are all doing really well. I feel great, and Persephone hasn’t made life anything but more wonderful thus far. It is great to feel like my family is finally complete and looking forward to our future.