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Archive for October, 2009

Here is a link to a blog, where the mom posted her daughter’s birth story.  She was going for a VBAC and ended up with a repeat cesarean.  But it was a positive birth experience and mom was truly supported in HER desires.  Which makes for a positive birth in my book!

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Inspirational VBAC video! To inspire all moms who are planning for their VBAC!

My Journey to a VBAC from Lindsey Meehleis on Vimeo.

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5. Avoid giving birth on the back and follow the body’s urges to push - lead author Joyce DiFranco, RN, BSN, LCCE, FACCE

We teach about many different positions moms can push in.  Upright is better, because it opens the pelvis more and gravity can also assist in the baby descending.

We also teach about mother directed pushing.  Purple pushing (yelling 1, 2, 3, 4…) is not a necessary thing for un-medicated moms.  It is better for mom to follow her body and push in a way that feels best for her!

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Abbey Baca HCHI

Abbey Baca
505-323-5614
abbey@yourjoyfulbirthing.com
http://www.yourjoyfulbirthing.com/

My goal is to help moms get the birth they want and deserve. I love teaching Hypnobabies classes and would be honored to assist you on this wonderful journey. I live in Albuquerque and am in my last year of my masters of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. For me, teaching Hypnobabies reinforces the power of the mind/body connection. Its amazing to watch it in action. I would love to tell you more, visit my website for upcoming events or give me a call.

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I found out I was pregnant with Cooper, Son #3!  I didn’t want to have a replay of Jack and Riley’s birth and ended up at a free standing Birth Center.  The pregnancy was full of apprehension at first with me on Progesterone so I wouldn’t miscarry.  I had terrible morning sickness, but otherwise, it was an uneventful pregnancy.  My Midwife suggested I take Fish Oil, which wasn’t suggested to me with my other two births.  At 39 weeks 5 days, I went into labor with Cooper.  It started with the Midwife stripping my membranes and later that afternoon, my labor was off and running.  I was feeling really good for being in birthing time and this time, I used techniques from the HypnoBabies home study course.  This course was much more comprehensive than HypnoBirthing IMO.  I kept track of my pressure waves on the computer, but didn’t even really feel like labor other than a few squeezes here and there.  At 6p we packed our bags and dropped the boys off at their friends house for the night.  We made it to the birth center around 8p and my contractions stopped!  As usual.  Rich ran to get me a sandwich and after he got back, and I ate, I started feeling something.  Around 9p, pressure waves started up again with gusto and I felt great through them up until about 7cm.  My Midwife checked me and told me my cervix was swelling because I felt the incredible need to push, but I shouldn’t because I’m not totally dilated.  I was so upset.  I thought my cervix was going to burst and I couldn’t stop needing to push.  I couldn’t breathe through them and felt so defeated.  She got this worried look on her face and that worried me.  Then she asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said yes because I thought I was going to explode or die or something.  The EMT’s get there and the one guy was such a jerk.  I got really annoyed with him and wanted to kick him (honestly, I can’t remember now what he said, but I remember my anger!) and that is where Rich said the cervix dilated.  I thought it was the bumpy ride to the hospital, but anyway…I’m in the hallway and I thought that I must have a hemorrhoid about to burst because something was coming out of my bottom and I was totally freaked out.  It wasn’t a hemorrhoid.  It was Cooper’s head crowning.  I got into the hospital room when I realized that I had in fact dilated and I was pushing a baby out at that moment.  The nurses were so busy and thankfully my Midwife caught him just in time.  The Doctor wasn’t even in the room yet.  So a 5 1/2 hour labor with a crazy ambulance ride and there I was in a crappy hospital yet again.  This was very close to my ideal birth (no meds, no tears, no interventions except for the membrane stripping,) but not quite.

Cooper was 11 months old when I found out I was pregnant again.

Anyway, I was so apprehensive of giving birth again.  It just seemed too tedious to even think about.  Part of me wanted a C-section and knocked out to just get the labor over with.  Part of me still wanted to try for my ideal birth.  I had lost confidence in myself along the way.  My friend talked me into a homebirth.  She made so much sense to me that day and I decided to just go for it and not analyze it anymore.

I met a few Midwives and settled on one that seemed to fit.  She had almost 20 years experience and her Birthday was the same as Coopers, so it felt serendipitous as Jack (my oldest Son) would say.  The pregnancy was so beyond uneventful.  Very little morning sickness, in fact, I didn’t even notice the pregnancy much until the end.  This baby was a week late!

On the 27th of August, I woke up, nursed Cooper and felt a gush down below.  Well, I didn’t really leak much the rest of the day, except maybe some bloody show and mucus.  I walked, I ate, I napped, I nursed and my pressure waves never really got going.  I had some really strong ones, but nothing that would keep up at the same level.  My Midwife was so easy going and said that I wasn’t on a time limit.  I just had to keep anything out of the Yoni and all was fine with her.  She came over around 7p or so and hung out for several hours.  My friend Michele came over too and we went on a walk.  Around 10p, I was tired and my pressure waves all but disappeared.  I felt so deflated and told everyone they can go home, false alarm.  They all left around 11p or so and I went to bed wondering when this show would get on the road.  The show got on the road around 1:30a when I woke up to a very sharp pressure wave that left me stinging and shivering.  I ran to the shower to see if that would chill it out so I could get back to sleep and I had three more in succession.  I knew this was it and called out to my husband who didn’t hear me.  I then started calling him every bad name I could think of because he wouldn’t wake up!  Finally, he heard me and rushed in and I told him to call the Midwife back.

Then the details got hazy on me.  We went down to the main floor where I got my water and brought my pillows down and got ready for the Midwife to arrive.  When she got there we greeted and laughed about the birthing time and I had several more pressure waves that caused me to really pause.  I had on my HypnoBabies MP3 tracks and tried to relax and get into the groove.  We went down into our finished basement because the pressure waves were pretty close together and I just wanted to be where I knew I would land.  I held my husband a lot during the pressure waves and relaxed and gave in to the sensations.  My verbal relaxation cue was the word “peace” but at some point the word wasn’t helping.  I remembered that in the book, “Spiritual Midwifery” Ina May Gaskin, the worlds leading Midwife said that saying the word “love” completely relaxes the vaginal sphincter and opens you up.  So I started a mantra “I love you, I love you, I love you…”to my Husband.  It felt so good to say and to give to him during this process and at some point I started saying it to Gryffin.  I told him how much I loved him and wanted to meet him.  The contractions never did get too close together and I had some rest time between them the entire labor.  My Midwife never checked my cervix for dilation and I just labored for awhile wondering if I was in active labor yet.  Several hours later I asked my MW if I was in active labor and she laughed.  At some point I asked to get in the tub and spent several hours in water.  A few times I got out to shower for a change of scenery and to see if that would help feel better, but it honestly was so intense, there was no letting up.  I just had to get through it.  There was about 40 minutes of what must have been transition where I started shouting that I was done and that it could stop and I just wanted to escape the sensations.  It’s incredibly powerful and overwhelming.  Finally, there was what must have been a 5 minute lull and I crashed with my head back on the tub and napped.  I woke up to a crazy popping sensation and it was then that I knew my water had officially and totally broke.  It wasn’t too long before I started feeling the need to push, but it wasn’t overpowering.  It was manageable.  I got nervous and asked my MW to check me and she refused.  She kept telling me that I was doing great and to trust myself.  That was the best gift she could have given me.  I started pushing, but he was so far up still.  I wanted to see how much farther I had to go and felt for his head.  I felt that he had hair and it was wet.  I got so excited to know that he was coming.  It took about 30 minutes of pushing to crowning.  The last two births, I barely pushed when I was finally given the approval before they shot out of me.  Gryffin was tough though.  I was very tired pushing him out and every time I felt him slip back in, I would get so put out.  I really wanted him out bad at this point.  Once I pushed his head out, my MW had to help maneuver his shoulder and I felt his last kicks as he did his final descent.  Immediately I felt like an empty, but very much relieved vessel.  I was on all fours and had to step over his cord and grabbed him tight.  I had just a skid mark, so no stitches for me again!

It was so empowering and amazing and magical and I was on such a high afterwards.  Every woman has her story, whether it be adoption or labor or deciding not to have children and travel instead.  My life has been full of exciting wonderful stories, but nothing feels as though it defines me like laboring with Gryffin.

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I do talk of p**n from past experiences, and some intensity when I hit transition.
Here’s my story..

………………………

Birth Story.

You would think as a second time mom I’d know when I was in labor, but these birthing waves were deceiving.  Maybe it was the hypnosis, maybe it was all the books I read on how the uterus works, maybe it’s me being more in tune with my body and not afraid, but something about these birthing waves were so beyond different than what I remember with my first. All I remember with my first (14 years ago) was burning, stinging and pinching intense cramping and pain, being in labor for 30 hours, experiencing hemorrhaging and fetal distress (almost leading to a c-section) from hyper stimulation due to too much pitocin.
This time I wanted things to be different. I hired a Hypno-Doula and bought the home study course of Hypnobabies. I was very faithful on my studies and listening to my tracks. I had no idea what I was in for and how wonderful it would really work for me and my baby.

The Day Before – I had been having Braxton Hicks for over 2 weeks now and on Thursday, August 20th around noon.  Some of them were starting to have a warming sensation to them that wrapped around my waste and into my back.  I timed the waves and they ranged between 8 and 45 min apart, so from what I learned, these were not the real thing.

I was still having waves when I got home Thursday evening, some with warming sensation, some without.
DF and I went for a walk, I drank plenty of water on the way and the waves stopped by time I got home.
I had a few more waves from the time I got home till the time I went to bed but nothing worth noting, they were very sporadic.

4:00 am – I felt warming birthing waves when I’d get up to go to the bathroom, I believe one at midnight, one at 1:30 am, then at 4 am, I woke and felt a very nice warming wave that lasted what felt like a few minutes, I laid there enjoying the feeling before I got out of bed to go potty.  I was starving so decided to stay up and go make something to eat.  I went down stairs and made some cream-o-wheat, toast and a glass of milk, I pulled out my iPod and was timing my waves while I made and ate breakfast, they ranged between 8 and 14 min apart and they felt so good. They weren’t your usual Braxton Hicks where the uterus just tightens; these had such a wonderful sensation to them. (Which I’ll describe later).

I took a nap after eating, and then got up about 6:30am to shower and get ready for work. They were still coming but were very comfortable and enjoyable. The warm water in the shower seamed to subside any feeling I was having with the birthing waves and the waves slowed down, I thought it was just more practice waves and not active labor.

7:20 am – I sent DF off to work and my 14 year old DS got up to see how I was feeling. I smiled through any waves I had because I didn’t want him freaking out and stressing me out. He had no idea I was still having them.

I also called the hospital and told them I think I’m in labor and may be in  later today and wanted a laboring room (that they designed for Natural Birthing Mothers) with the jetted hot tub. They said they would try to reserve it for me, that at that point there was one available. They also told me (when I told them my waves were 8-14 min apart) that it was a good idea to go to work and come in when the waves were 5 min apart, lasting 1 min for 1 hour (the 511 rule)

8:00 am – When I showed up to work, the temp girl who is covering my position while I’m on leave showed up and was surprised I was there another day (I was now 5 days past my EDD). She said “I thought for sure you were in labor yesterday”. I told her “I actually think I may be in labor right now”. She got excited and we opened Contraction Master on the internet and started timing them. They were now 4 and 5 min apart – but only lasted about 30 seconds.  So I didn’t think much about how close they were together, especially since they felt so amazing.

I’m waiting for the 511 rule (Birthing waves 5 minutes apart lasting one min each for 1 hour)

We continued to time them, meanwhile I called my Doula and asked her what she thought. She told me it sounds promising and when I have to start focusing through them and peoples voices started to irritate me, it’s time to call her to come over. Well in all honesty – I was already there, but still not being convinced I was in active labor because I didn’t have the 511 rule nor did I have any pain with these waves, I blew it off for a little while longer.

9:45 am – I started to feel in the way at work because I did have to focus through them and was irritated at people’s voices and their presence. Not because of any discomfort, but because the waves were becoming very consuming of my body and thoughts. I decided to listen to ME and not the 511 rule. Told my temp and the accounting gal I work close with that I think this is it and I’m going home.

How my birthing waves were feeling: Now I know why they call them “waves”.

At this point I was totally loving my birthing waves and was becoming very convinced that this was it despite the 511 rule, my body told me this was it. The waves were so awesome. They started like a tingling warm sensation at my vaginal opening, and like an ocean wave, the sensation moved its way up from the opening, flooding my whole vagina – cervix and moved its way up every crevice of my uterus – working its way rapidly to the top of my uterus – then giving a amazingly powerful expansion push feeling – then retractiog as I felt the wave leave the top of my uterus, move its way back down through the cervix, the vaginal opening and then it was gone. All I could see in my mind was the ocean, the waves moving in, crashing down and retracting back into the ocean.

10:10 am – I grab my belongings – send an e-mail to everyone at work saying “Bye for now everyone : I’m going to go have a baby” and I dashed out the door before anyone could see me. I just wanted to be left alone.

10:15am – I’m driving home and called DF’s cell phone, DS answered and said “DF ain’t too bright is he” I said “Oh shit, I’m coming home because I’m in labor and he left his phone home didn’t he” DS said “I’ll call him at work and tell him to get home”.  I focused on getting home, pulling over with each birthing wave. Which I made it in 2 waves time.

10:25 am – When I get home, I go upstairs, take off my clothes except my bra and underwear, crawl in bed and call my doula. I was emotional as I asked “When do I get you?” she sweetly said “I’m going to drop my baby off at the sitter and I’m on my way”.

DF came home and I told him to grab the laptop to time my waves, they were becoming very intense at this point and I knew I could use assistance to get though them. I plugged in my Hypnobabies from my iPod and was staying focused, The waves at this point were about  1min 30 Seconds apart, but still only lasting 30 seconds, again I forgot to just listen to my body and got confused with the duration of each wave, not being convinced I was as far along in my labor as I was.

DF was amazing, I was most comfortable in doggie style with DF straddling my butt putting his knees on my hips and squeezing really hard while rubbing down on my back. I was Ahhhhh’ing through each pressure wave and each Ahhhhh was getting louder and louder as the waves became more and more intense.
At this point, I’d feel the waves rise up into my uterus, up past my uterus into my chest, then I’d feel the expansion pressure push, then it go back down.
I was hungry so DF got me some grapes to eat between waves.

11:00 am – When my Doula showed up, she observed how DF and I were working together to get me through each pressure wave, after a few waves and seeing how they were getting closer and closer together with more intensity, she told DF “We better get her to the hospital NOW”. DF and DS ran off and started packing up the 4-runner while my Doula assisted me through my waves.

She asked me if I wanted anything – to go potty? (which I was going potty almost every other birthing wave) a drink? I looked her dead in the eye and said “I’m starving! – can I have a Village Inn Skillet?” she laughed and then helped me through another birthing wave.

At this point my waves were felt like they were crashing in on top of each other. I had read birthing stories where waves were on top of each other and when the woman got to the hospital, they were only dilated to a 2, so I thought this too was a fluke and I still had hours to go.

My Doula convinces me that we really needed to go to the hospital and tells me to get something on (I guess they thought it wasn’t a good idea for me to go to this hospital in my bra and underwear). I dash between waves to get myself prepared, wash my face (quickly with water to get my eye makeup off) throw on some maternity pajamas, my flip flops, and make it out to the car (in-between waves).

While DF and DS were gathering things into the 4 Runner, my Doula did a dilation check by measuring the purple line on my bottom end and guessed me to be about a 5 or 6.  I was excited to hear that number and was curious how accurate her measurement was.

The 4 Runner was loaded, DS was in the back seat behind me, camera in bag – all my laboring tools (ball – music – music player – birthing skirt – all my hospital Hypnobabies notes for the nurses – notes for the door that we are doing natural childbirth – food for the wait – energy drinks – Doula in vehicle behind us with tens machine, birthing chair, nd all the good stuff to help me through one birthing wave at a time.

11:25 am – I took a couple pictures of me in the vehicle (I want my memories of this day) and I would Ahhhhhh loudly though each wave. DS was so supportive as he rubbed my shoulders and neck – giving me my peace queue’s (Relaaaaax….. Peeeeaaaaac) and I kept repeating in my head “Peaaaace” and “Saaaafe”.

I was in love with my experience so far.

We reach the freeway entrance and as we are turning to get on the freeway – I then a very powerful birthing wave that extended beyond my uterus and stomach – it reached the top of my chest – into my kneck and down the back of my legs, I arched back really hard (Uncontrollably: more on this later) and I felt a big ~POP~ and felt a ~Gush~ “OH SHIT MY WATER JUST BROKE!!” I shout! (Giggling inside, and I think I even giggled out loud a little – because I really wanted to experience my water breaking on its own).
After my water broke, the most intense waves hit rising higher and farther up and out of my body.

I was really Ahhhhhh’ing though them at this point, matching the sound level of each Ahhh to the level of the waves. My Ahhhhh’s would start out small and grow in intensity, then retract the same way my waves did.

I couldn’t open my eyes much, once in a while I’d open one eye to see where we were at on the freeway (I noticed traffic was terrible – lanes were closed and DF almost missed out exit – he was a little panicked at this point) and DS was still rubbing my shoulders and giving my peace queue’s.

I realize with how intense and fast these waves were, we needed to prep ahead of time. and that I would not be able to walk into the hospital. We needed help.
(I’m amazed at how not once did a desire  for relief ever entered my mind, I was only focused on my natural birthing)

11:45am – I got DF on my cell phone with the hospital and told him to tell them to have a wheel chair out front waiting for us. then I get DS on the phone with the hospital and told him to ask for Labor and Delivery – tell them I’m on my way and to have a labor room ready with a jetted hot tub (I wanted to labor in that jetted tub dang it!!).  You know, for when the really big painful contractions hit! (LOL)

Both DF and DS had a shaky voice and freaking out on the phone trying to spit out my requests. (I found myself giggle again – sorry, couldn’t help it).

11:50 am – We arrive at the hospital and there is no wheel chair. DS ran in the hospital and grabbed one (they said “we got one but didn’t see you out front- pft ::eye roll::: we said we were almost there, not that we were there). I grab my depends diaper, turn it inside out and sit on it in the wheel chair. My pajama bottoms were soaked. (and so was the seat of our 4-Runner)

The hospital guy (no idea who he was) saw my state of labor and began to ~rush~ (I can’t say he panicked but I felt he realized how urgent it was) I’m totally focusing in my hypnosis, eyes closed, totally limp and lazy and moaning through each wave. He rushes me in through the lobby to the elevator, and through this all, I had to peak one eye open to see the looks on people’s faces as they saw something you usually only see in the movies. A woman about to deliver her baby NOW and got a kick out of the expressions they got as they hurried out of the way. (Haaaay, it’s my experience, I wanted to see and enjoy all of it. :::wink::)

They rush me to the 4th floor, all the security doors are open and nurses from all directions came rushing to my attention. They get me to a L&D room and I ask my doula (through my moaning and limp relaxation) “Is this a room with the jetted tub?” I heard her ask and they said it was.

DS stayed in the waiting room, not realizing he wouldn’t be there for long.

11:55am-12:00pm- The nurses had the bed set up for me to be monitored, I looked at my Doula and said “Do they know I’m going natural” – My Doula told her I was going natural and the nurse said  “okay but we need to monitor you and the baby for about 20 min” (lol, I was about that far away from delivering)

At this point things really started to become a blur.

If you’ve learned about the stages of labor, there is the stage of Transition, and I’m not sure what point I hit Transition, but I believed I was in it now. I was Ahhhhh’ing as loud as anyone could as my birthing waves were so intense with pressure, I’m sure my wonderful Ahhhhh’ing sounded like to anyone else who didn’t know better like an Aaaaaaaaah! But it was an Ahhhh and my Ahhhh’s were such a release. I also never knew what Hypnobabies meant by “Pressure Waves” until these last few moments.
I thought a “Pressure Wave” was just another term for “Contraction” without using the word “Contraction” to eliminate the fear that is attached to the word Contraction.
Nope, I was wrong. I now know what a Pressure Wave is.

If I could say anything about my Birthing Experience, that is I totally fell into the category of many women who go natural and when they hit Transition. I was NOT an exception to that rule.

I had read about Transition, prepared for it, and prepared DF for it. I explained to him one night that that’s why I want a Doula, because she KNOWS BETTER and knows what we are in for, that most women (or many – guess I can’t speak for most) hit a point of

1- Doubting and maybe even regretting her decision to go natural.
2- Feeling like every organ in her body is going to explode
3- Getting really scared
4- Panicking
5- Begging for relief.
6- Feeling fear
7- Not being able to find a single comfortable position
8- Throwing up.
9- Getting the shakes
10- Becoming beyond vulnerable and accepting anything the nurse offers for relief, no matter how much she may not want it in her sane mind.
11- Losing her mind.

I explained that that’s why I needed my Doula to get me through one more wave, to not buy into my pleas, to believe in me when I can’t, and to be my mind when I lose mine.

Yep, I hit all of them but the throwing up part. I only profusely gagged like a dog that’s choking on a bone, but mostly because I inhaled my hair.

Everything was wonderful – until I was experiencing what I thought was for sure ~Transition~, and even then I was doing okay until an inexperienced nurse checked my dilation from behind (I was on my side and wouldn’t move) and said I was at a 4plus and +2 station (I had no idea +2 was excellent, all I knew is a 4cm dilation ~in my mind at that point~ meant 6 more hours of THIS. And that if THIS is NOT transition then I won’t be able to handle transition because I can’t handle THIS for much longer.

I lost my mind (check) and began to panic (check)

The calm voice inside the hysterical woman

At this point I became a two part being, my body being one part, and a calm woman inside me being the other part.

I couldn’t believe I was only dilated to a 4, I was really hoping for a 6 or better. I lost my mind and my grace. I began begging for some relief and screaming for “Something”.

I did NOT want an epidural, but I couldn’t think of what it was they could give me to help take the edge off.  I had read about it and knew there was something out there, but my mind was gone so I kept saying “Isn’t there something you can give me? I need SOMETHING”, I would not use the E word. The calm women inside me said “Please don’t offer me an epi, I don’t want an epi, I want my natural child birth, I’ll resort to a drug or gas first, but an epi very very last”.

My Doula kept working me through each wave – which there was only seconds between wave peaks – As I begged for something.

I hear a very faint and nervous “do – – you – – – -want an epidural?”

I felt so terribly disappointed that that was the nurse’s first offer, and my heart sunk because I couldn’t speak what I really wanted to say, I said “Yes”. And started to cry.

My Doula kept telling me “Julie – just give me one more wave before you make that decision” I kept begging Please, give me something – just something, hoping another offer would be given. No other option was coming my way. I was feeling devastated, I knew better, but I was only to a 4 – but convinced I was in Transition, I didn’t know what to think and I was scared.

My Doula, through much persistence, talked the nurse into letting her take me to the bathroom. The nurse, irritated, finally agreed and said “If you have to poop, don’t go – it would be the baby”. (I knew that)

The seconds I had between the most intense part of a wave, I jump out of bed, rush to the bathroom and start to pee as I had another wave – Ahhhhhhing though it while I wrapped my arms around my Doula and buried my face in her neck and shoulder and she held keep me from falling off the toilet.

She told me to look in her eye and she asked “Are you sure this is what you want” I had the hardest time looking in her eyes and lying as I told her “yes – I need something” ( I was an idiot who knew no other words other than “I need something”)

She got me off the toilet and on the way back to the bed I said “I know what you’re trying to do, I’m just afraid it’s not going to work” (Meaning I knew she was stalling any epidural, which I was so grateful for, but I was afraid I still had hours to go before I was complete) She knew at that point that I was still in my mind somewhere and still wanted my natural childbirth, she became more determined to help me achieve my dream birth. I climbed back in bed on my side, another wave hit, I started yelling out my symptoms of transition, “I’m shaking!” “I’m going to throw up!” “I can’t get comfortable!” in the hopes someone would recognize that I was in transition and not just dilated to a 4+.

In my squirming to find any position comfortable, I ended up in doggie position – it felt so good to be there.  As another pressure wave hit, I squatted into a yoga childs pose and bared down, I had to push – but thinking I was only at a 4cm, I didn’t say anything to the nurses, I just pushed and it felt so good, I could feel his head and body moving down with each push, and despite what I may have looked or sounded like on that table, the calm women inside of me was in bliss as I saw in my mind my baby move down.  At this point, the second part of my being moved in with my baby, I was with him now helping him down the birth canal, loving him and cradling him all the way.
My Doula whispered to me “If you need to push, go ahead and push” which I replied “I have been”.

The nurse kept trying to get a heart beat on the monitor and was having no luck, she was beginning to panic, but I knew our baby boy was okay, when the waves were in their fall, I’d feel movements from my baby, (yes, I paid attention and they can move while in labor) as if to say “I’m doing okay mom”. It was so amazing and I was not scared for him.

I looked down as I pushed and saw fluid gushing out of me. I’d get back up as the wave rose and fell – taking over my body. I was totally losing control of my body.

I studied and read how our bodies know how to give birth, but I had no idea (even close) what that meant until I experienced how true that statement is. It’s not like and instinct I had – and I had a choice to either listen or decline. Nature’s powers took over like something I had never experienced before, I felt frightened to surrender to my body because I had no idea what it’s capabilities were, how far it would go, and at one point, I actually wondered if this is what it felt to die. My body was not my own anymore and I was just witnessing what my body was doing. Little did I know – surrendering was going to be the best thing I could do for myself.

———————–
Meanwhile a military style nurse was yelling “Julie – we cannot give you an epidural if you are moving like this – you need to calm down!” I screamed “Then I can’t have an epidural”, someone mentioned “Give her Fentenal to take the edge off so we can give her the epidural”

My mind screamed “YES!!! THAT’S IT! THEY SAID THE “SOMETHING” THAT I WANT!”

The nurse trying to get a needle in my arm was a nervous wreck, shaking and dropping things while I held out my arm as steady as I could for her to insert the needle. She got it in and the Fentenal was administered, that’s all I wanted….for now – hoping I could make it with just that until I was complete.

———————–

The pressure waves would flood every organ, bone and fiber of my being – it felt like everything was going to explode as organ inside my body helped PUUUUSH this baby down and out. These awesome powerful waves would rise up to my head and extend out beyond my body – making me arch (still very loudly Ahhhhhhhhhhh’ing though each wave) then collapse and curl me up and PUUUUUSSSSHHH so unbelievably hard. I finally screamed “The baby is coming!!! I HAVE TO PUUUUSH!!”. The anesthesiologist was just coming in the room, the nurse told him “Let me check her first”, I was laying on my side and she checked me from behind, I was praying for better news when I heard her say to the anesthesiologist “Oop! never mind! It’s too late! She’s complete!” (YESSS!) I was so happy at this point, I couldn’t believe I went from a 4 to complete in less than 20 minutes. I rolled on my back and I became totally calm again, the waves were crashing down on me, and they would arch me back then curl me forward over and over again as if I was a rag doll in an ocean.

My Dr. Came running in the room in her high heels and hot pink mini skirt. She had no time to change if she was going to catch my baby. I was laying semi sideways hanging off the bed. One nurse grabbed my right leg and my Doula grabbed my left (DF was playing with my hair and just trying not to freak out.)

Little Miss Military nurse got in my face and started yelling at me “Julie! You have to calm down and put your chin to your chest and push to the count of ten!” – at that moment, something very protective inside me was released and I turned into the exorcist on her ass, It was like all labor waves stopped, my eyes turned red, smoke came from my ears and the most devilish voice came out of me as I said “My body is NOT Fu**ing READY YET! BACK OFF!!” (lol – I remember how afraid I was that the staff would bully me around and I’d be too vulnerable to defend myself.). Her eyes widened and I’m not sure, but I think she went back to the nurses’ station, either that or she just decided to blend with the rest of the crowd. I went back into my trance of letting my body take over and me just surrendering to what it had to do. It was kind of frightening yet exciting to surrender to my body. I had no idea how far it would go – or what the next thing would feel like that I would have no control over to either stop (if pain) or help things along. There truly was a feeling of powerlessness in this process for me, but I knew the only way to get my baby out was to let go.

I loved seeing my Dr. there, she was so calm and she calmed me, every time I’d have a wave that would arch me back then curl me up and I’d push, she’d just say “Your doing amazing Julie, fantastic, I see his head” I felt so powerful.

I loved pushing, nothing felt better than to push, when I pushed it was just right and everything was okay, I couldn’t wait for the next push. I had already agreed in a previous prenatal appointment with my Dr. that I would not push to the count of 10, but that I wanted to just let my body tell me when and how hard I need to push. (again, not aware that it was not a decision I had to comply to my body – I was in standby mode watching my body do it’s amazing thing – pushing was totally effortless – I’d imagine like having a seizure – there is nothing you need to do to have your body shake, you just relax and it will shake for you ).

I began to feel the “Ring of Fire” as his head started to crown and for a split moment I felt anxious at how intense this was going to be, but it only lasted a second, I was loving my experience, I wished I had a video camera on me for this part, I felt so calm yet anxiously excited because I was about to meet my baby. My body then started doing something quite surprising to me, it didn’t push hard through the crowning and head moving through, it instead started pulsating – giving small yet quick pushes as it moved my baby’s head through, almost as if it knew to take it easy so I wouldn’t tear, and it felt so good, then I heard “The head is out”, I reached between my legs and felt his head, that was such a rush, my baby was right there.

12:37pm – On the next wave I pushed, I could feel his shoulders moving through then pop out along with his body quickly sliding out behind, I had never felt anything more awesome in my entire LIFE than my baby moving through me and truly feeling me give birth to him. “He’s Out!!”. The moment I heard and felt he was out, I ripped of anything that was on my chest so the Dr could put him on my chest, but they immediately took warming station to monitor him, they said he’s not crying and is really grunty, he swallowed a bunch of amniotic fluid and they just want to make sure he’s okay.

I was disappointed at this point because I knew the reason he was not crying was because of the shot of Fentenal, the Dr told me that they normally would never give a shot of Fentenal that close to delivery but they too thought I was only dilated to a four and though I had a while to go. They brought him over to me to get a peak and he was pink, beautiful and perfect. I was sobbing at this point.  They took him off to the NICU for monitoring, I told DF to go be with him, to not let him be alone with a bunch of strangers. DF went to the waiting room and told DS that the baby is here, DS asked if he could go with, DF asked the staff if he could, which the staff just told DF to fill out a form to have DS go to the NICU with DF.

The Dr’s had to stick a tube down Baby’s throat and suck some fluid out, DF was an emotional mess. But the Neonatal Dr. told DF “He’s fine, you can take him to his momma now”.

The Dr. told me I had a small tear – she stitched it up and I joked around at how I was at work this morning, had a baby on my lunch break and could make it back to work by 1:00 .

Next thing I knew, DF and DS were walking in the room with my baby and finally got to be with my family.

I got a hold of my new baby and tried nursing, which he didn’t take to at first, I think it’s because his belly was already full and he was groggy from the Fentenal.

I surprisingly have had no swelling of the ankles, and the Dr told me when she examined my girl parts on Sunday before my release that there was hardly any swelling and you could hardly tell I had just had a baby.

I have felt so wonderful, my recovery has been awesome. I have showered every day, curled my hair and put on makeup, done laundry, cleaned the house, and just don’t feel a need for any help other than I’m loving all the dinners our neighbors are bringing over so that we can just adjust to baby and enjoy our new lives.

I still crack up at how I didn’t get to use one single item we brought to the hospital for my labor, not even the jetted tub I was so hell bent on getting. But I love my birthing experience, the only thing I would change is how I doubted myself, especially the transition phase, that made me cave and get the Fentenal which caused my baby to have to be taken to the NICU. But it was all in all a perfect, fabulous experience that I’m very pleased with. I believe that Hypnobabies – and reporgraming the way I see labor and delivery – is the whole reason I was able to have a fast, easy, comfortable birthing.

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Empowering birth for 2nd time mom.  She wasn’t completely comfortable throughout the birth, but her Hypnobabies helped her have the natural birth she wanted.

I got a lot out of reading all of the birth stories of other mothers using Hypnobabies, and am happy to be able to share my own successful experience. I did not have a painless childbirth (so you might want to turn on the BOP here), but Hypnobabies allowed me to feel in control, keep a positive attitude, and ultimately to have the natural birth I really wanted. I’m still kind of in shock about how amazing the experience was, and that I really did it!

To provide some context, this was my second baby. The first, three years ago, was a less-than-ideal hospital birth. My water broke before labor began, and pretty intensive induction had to happen to get things going. This led to the classic cascade of interventions, and I only narrowly avoided a c-section. The worst of the interventions was the narcotics that I took, since they didn’t seem to help with the pain, but made me so out of it that I couldn’t communicate and felt out of control and isolated. I really wanted to avoid narcotics this time around, along with all of the other things (epidural, episiotomy, vacuum extraction, etc.).

This time around, I started hypnobabies at 28 weeks, and was very diligent about doing the scripts, affirmations, and daily finger-drop practices. During the maintenance phase, I slacked off on the daily affirmations, since I found them kind of annoying. My spouse (Michael) and I joked a lot about the bubble of peace since we were a little embarrassed about the new-agey-ness of using hypnosis, but we got over it eventually.

To get to the birth: I had been having practice pressure waves for weeks, some of which would get fairly regular and intense and lead me to think I was moving into active labor. So by the time I got to 41 weeks, I was getting pretty tired and frustrated with myself. At my 39 week appointment, my OB told me that he was going on a spur-of-the-moment two week trip to France on the day after my guess date. I hadn’t seen anyone in his large practice except for him, but he assured me that everyone was great. I had to take several very deep breaths at this news! I ended up having a doctor who I’d never seen before deliver Daphne, but since we were forewarned, Michael was ready to be assertive with our wishes.

I started having more regular pressure waves (or “tummy squeezes” as we referred to them with our toddler nearby the whole time) around 4:30 in the afternoon on the 17th of September, but I could tell it was very early on if it was the real thing at all. When visualizing my ideal birth as part of the practice, I had always visualized early labor happening during the nighttime, and doing it all by myself. I think that because I am a night owl, I really wanted the peace of being by myself during the night, and that’s exactly how it worked out. I went to bed that night as usual but woke up around 2am not able to sleep through the waves. I tried going into the “off” position while lying in bed, but found it too difficult (and, frankly, painful) to lie still through a wave. This made me discouraged about all the hypnosis practice I’d done, but I just decided to try all of the other tools before giving up. I got up then and started puttering around the house a bit, timed some waves, and then decided to make some cookies for the hospital staff just in case. Cookie baking is an ideal activity during early labor, it turns out, since you can go slowly and because it’s such a comfortingly familiar activity (at least for me). I did continue to time waves at this point, and they were pretty consistently 8 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. During each wave I would lean my forehead against the wall, say “peace” to myself, and pictured my cervix opening. It sounds cheesy, but it really helped keep the focus on what the waves were accomplishing, and made me feel good about each one instead of thinking of it as some kind of ordeal to get through. Others have described them as pressure moving up the uterus, or around the back. For me, I didn’t notice any pressure at all. Instead, all of the sensation was concentrated in my cervix, and it was almost exactly as if I was way overdoing it on a stretching exercise. I tried “painting” on my anesthesia, but it didn’t fully take care of the pain.

When my three-year-old and spouse woke up, I got dressed and we did our usual morning routine. He took her to school with her sleep-over kit since I was pretty sure this was it and that my friend would be picking her up from school that day. She was very excited and kept rubbing my back and saying “peace” during each wave, which was so sweet (but frankly, I wanted her out of there as soon as possible!). After she left, the waves continued at the same pace (6 min or so) but got more and more intense. I got through some in the cat position (on all fours); another handy position was standing in a doorway so that I could press the wall against my lower back. The most annoying thing was that the baby was so low that I had to pee after every single wave! My husband is really supportive, but I found myself still wanting to be by myself, and feeling the littlest bit self-conscious about having him there watching me through each wave. So I suggested that he go ahead and attend his theater rehearsal that morning, since it’s only a 10-minute drive away. I read a little bit in between waves, listened to “easy first stage” (which was great, except for during pressure waves I found it very annoying that the script was telling me that they didn’t hurt!). He was hesitant, but he went! I finally called him about 1pm and told him that I wanted him home again, but that I also really wanted a strawberry lemonade and to stop and get one (this is weird, since I don’t usually drink or even particularly like these!). At this point the baby felt really low, and one of the only positions that was comfortable was on my birth ball (which I hadn’t previously found to be comfortable at all).

When he got home with the amazingly tasty lemonade, we timed some more waves and found that they were about 4 minutes apart. Now I was really moaning through each one, and hanging on Michael, which felt good. I was really worried about showing up too early at the hospital, but started thinking that it was probably time to go.

I waited until a wave had passed while Michael loaded the car, then we shot out the door. Our small community hospital is only 10 minutes away, and I hoped to get there with only one pressure wave in the car. I turned on the “easy first stage” script, which really helped me feel calm and in control (one line that kept repeating itself in my head was “I am safe and my baby is safe.”). The one pressure wave was managed and we arrived at the hospital. I told Michael to leave the hospital bag in the car, since I was still worried that I’d get sent home (note: don’t do this! Take it with you, since you won’t want your support person to leave for an instant!). We made it inside after a few more waves (I had my ipod on the whole time and would just stop and hang on Michael), and I let Michael figure out where we were supposed to go. I had to take the headphones off to answer a few questions once we got to labor and delivery, and they sent me to the bathroom to change. I got into a triage room and the nurse came in and set me up on the monitor and checked me out. She quickly told me that I was staying, since I was 7 centimeters and she could barely measure because the baby’s head was in the way! I was elated! At this point (or maybe sometime before), I entered transition, and since I was hooked up to the monitor, I couldn’t use the positions that I wanted. The room seemed unbearably hot (it was…it’s an old facility and the AC couldn’t keep up with the central valley heat). Michael just held my hand and kept saying “relax” and “you’re doing a great job” with every wave, and began blowing on my face during each wave. It felt wonderful, both because it was cool and because it smelled pleasantly and familiarly of old coffee, just like always!

Somehow everything he did was exactly what I needed, and despite feeling like it was nearly unbearable, there was also a calm voice in the back of my head the whole time, telling me that this was transition, that everything was going as it should, etc. Several times I felt like saying “I can’t do this anymore,” but instead I found myself saying “I can do this” out loud. The calm voice inside my head kept repeating things from the scripts, too, like “relax your jaw, keep your bottom limp and loose,” etc. With this self-coaching, I was able to fully relax in between waves, which I think really helped. The nurse was gone much of the time (it turns out that there was a rush at the time we came in).

The oddest, and in retrospect the coolest, thing about transition was the calming “safe place” images that would flash into my mind during and between waves. I’d come up with a pretty generic safe place that never felt particularly meaningful when I was doing the scripts. When things really got going, though, my subconscious dredged up three or four images that I would never have thought of. For instance, I kept picturing my grandma’s pink and lavender floral bathroom that we used to lock ourselves in as kids and pretend was our own glamorous home, or a pond that I once went swimming in when I was 19 and visiting France. That strawberry lemonade kept reappearing, too, and every time I thought “wow, that was such a great drink!” The other strange thing that happened was that I realized that I could stay on top of each wave by singing (I know that others have reported this, but I am emphatically NOT a singer!). It wasn’t really singing, it was more a high-pitched “woo-hoo-woo-wooooooo” with some scales thrown in for good measure. Michael started giggling when I let loose with this, and kept saying, “it’s so cute!” At the time, I really didn’t like him laughing at me, but I certainly understand it now! The nurse asked Michael if we’d been doing some kind of Lamaze training, and he just said no (he didn’t mention hypnobabies, unfortunately), and she said, “well, you’re certainly doing something right!” She offered me something for pain, and it didn’t even cross my mind to say yes, and she didn’t ask again.

My water broke during a wave while the nurse was gone, and it was all I could do to say “Water broke! Water broke!” to her when she came back in, and then I had to resume my creepy singing. The pressure at this point, instead of feeling relieved, felt even more intense, and I thought, “I wonder if this is that pushing urge people were talking about.” Just as soon as I thought that, the singing abruptly changed to a low-pitched “Urgggggg” sort of sound, and I told the nurse I felt like pushing. She ran off and got another nurse, and there was some debate about whether to try to get me to a delivery room or to try to set up the triage area (probably about 12×12 feet in area) for the delivery. The other nurse said, “let’s go,” and they started pushing the bed out of the room. I felt great at this point; it was kind of cool to have a physical change of scene to mark the transition to the second stage of labor. However, the delivery room was kind of a shock. There was the usual bed, and then these two gigantic lights like what the dentist has, only larger. I think I said something about being at the dentist, and Michael laughed. It wasn’t very peaceful, but nothing seemed to matter anymore, as I was pretty deep inside myself. I somehow got onto the table (there was no discussion at all of alternative pushing positions, but at that point I didn’t care and just needed to push). I started to push and a new nurse, who was the only one I didn’t really like, told me sternly not to – right!

The doctor, who I’d never met, showed up then and introduced himself (although he never introduced or mentioned the two residents who were with him, which was weird). At this point it gets just a little blurry, although I remember the (nice) nurse telling Michael “your wife is awesome!” which made me feel great! The nurses and doctors started coaching me on pushing, holding my breath to counts of 10. I kind of feebly said that my body wanted to do little pushes, but nobody paid any attention (Michael says he didn’t hear me, so maybe I imagined saying something assertive!). The doctor was really great about coaching me on how to push (and to stop making noise and channel that energy), and at one point he stopped and said, “but what do I know? You’ve actually done this before, and I haven’t!” That also made me really like him!

I’m not sure how long I pushed, but there were what seemed like nice long breaks in between each session to rest. It was kind of awkward from my perspective, since I was lying there completely calmly, legs spread wide open with a bunch of people staring at my hoo-ha with nothing much to do. At one point, one nurse asked another if she’d gotten her flu shot yet, and I was reminded once again of being at the dentist and having the hygienist chat with the dentist over my gaping mouth. Basically, it was kind of surreal! The pushing itself didn’t hurt but was very intense and hard work. Finally everyone was cheering at the end of a count of 10, and he said that the baby had made it under the bone. I geared up for one more go, and one of the nurses said, “look at all that hair!”

Then I really gave it everything I had, and as the baby crowned I heard myself start screaming in a really loud and scary way, totally disproportionate to the pain I felt…it was weird how out of my control my voice was! I heard the doctor say “I’m just going to make some room here” and then felt him make an incision, which I was so disappointed about (although I was beyond worrying about much at this point!). They also put a catheter in at this point to drain my bladder and make more room, which I barely felt at all. With the next push, the baby’s head was born, and I could see her little face. I felt such enormous relief once her head was born, but I also felt that I didn’t have any energy left for the rest of her body! Luckily the shoulders and the rest of her came out almost without my trying, and there she was! The placenta followed soon after, and actually felt kind of good to deliver. The nurses whisked her off to be toweled off, and I heard the nurses exchanging guesses about the weight (one nurse said, “she’s at least an 8-pounder,” which amazed me, and the other nurse said, “we’ve got a shorty here,” which disappointed my basketball-loving husband!), but they quickly brought her back to me and put her on my chest. It was 4:30pm, just about two hours after arriving at the hospital. I couldn’t see her face much, since it was up so high on my chest, but she was incredibly calm and alert, and just looked all around. She looked like a baby from a movie, all plump and pink (she weighed almost 8.5 pounds!) I offered her a breast, and she did some nuzzling and licking, and just a little bit of nursing right away. It was so sweet! Michael gave me a big kiss, and we just looked and looked at her. Or at least, I tried to focus on her, because meanwhile the doctor and the two residents were working on stitching up the tear that I had gotten despite the episiotomy. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t pleasant, and my legs were so tired that they started shaking and I felt like I just could stay in that position any longer. And the doctor was patiently explaining the procedure to the residents, and one of them was manning the needle and thread, and was being (it seemed to me), incredibly slow about it.

I can’t say that the whole experience was pleasant, or that I even ever want to do it again, but at the same time it was incredibly powerful, and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I still am kind of on an endorphin high from the experience, over a week later, and feel like there isn’t much I can’t do! It was so much better being part of the experience instead of feeling so isolated and removed from what was happening to me like I was with my first birth. I also feel like I sort of undid the anger and disappointment that I still felt about that first birth by being so successful with this one – I’m sure there are lots of other reasons for this, but I can’t help but think that my lack of baby blues this time around have something to do with the Hypnobabies (I cried uncontrollably for days after my first baby was born). The Hypnobabies training didn’t work in the way that I expected it to, but it definitely worked!

The other big help was reading all of the other birth stories on the site, which made me so sure of myself and where I was in the process – I could almost hear reassuring lines from other moms’ stories in my head at different points of labor!

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