Cody Bear’s guess date was 1/22/10, and the week before, I had started to slow down on my walks, felt Braxton Hicks more often, and slept a lot more. He felt really low and big inside me. On Wednesday the 20th I woke up feeling mild menstrual type cramps off and on from 3am to 6am. I had a doctor appointment that day at 11am so I told her how I had been feeling and she said it was possible signs of labor but she wasn’t sure. I had an internal exam and she said I was 1cm dilated and that his head was very low. From everything I’ve read and heard, a baby can stay like this for days, even weeks, so I wasn’t convinced he would show up any time soon.
I went and got my hair done, and came home around 4:30 pm to walk my dogs. That evening Aaron asked me what I wanted for dinner and I was dying for the biggest, spiciest burrito so that’s what he brought me. I ate the whole thing in about 2 minutes! At about 9pm I asked him to read me “Visualize Your Birth”, which was a good one to start with since it’s so long. With him reading it slower than it is on the CD, it took almost 50 minutes, and the next thing I knew it was 10pm. We went to bed but I was having trouble sleeping.
I decided to go into the living room and listen to “Fear Clearing” because I had a feeling that the time was getting close. I had to pee constantly and the menstrual feelings were getting stronger. I had no idea these were pressure waves, as they didn’t hurt at all! I did feel some intensity but never thought that’s all it would be. By midnight I felt nauseous and threw up that amazing burrito, which made me sad.
I noticed some tightness in my back so I decided to text our doula, Kim. She suggested taking a shower, which was amazing! I stood in “downward dog” with my hands on the bench in our shower for 45 minutes and that felt great. When I got out, I felt my teeth chattering a little and a little shaky, so I decided to wake Aaron up. At that point I got out the birth ball and he continued to read from his “Birth Partner’s Guide”. We tried to time the pressure waves but I really couldn’t tell when they were ending, as they faded out so slowly and I was trying to stay in hypnosis.
During my birthing time, I never felt like I was in a deep state of hypnosis like when we practiced. During a pressure wave I found it more comfortable to get on my knees and lean on the couch or birth ball but I never felt completely limp, I wanted to rock a little or move around. I was concerned that I wasn’t focusing enough, but then I realized that I was doing fine and didn’t need to worry, I could just trust that it was working, even if it was different than I had expected it to be.
By 3:45am I noticed my mucus plug when I went to the bathroom, it was clear but then a little blood came out. I sent a text to our doula again and she said she’d start heading our way. By 4:30am, my water broke! It surprised me, but I still felt pretty calm because I had read that it could still be a while before anything happens. However, when my next pressure wave came, I felt a really strong urge to push. It really overwhelmed me because I didn’t realize I was that close! We tried to get organized as fast as possible, but it still took a while to get everything in the car, dogs fed, etc. and it was pouring rain. Kim said she’d meet us at the hospital at that point.
We got to Hoag at about 5:30am and I found it easy to walk in and get to the 5th floor. I kept my headphones on and listened to the “Affirmations” track, which was really helpful. When we got to the front desk, the girl saw me and said “Oh she’s doing Hypnobabies!”. I was so happy to hear that they were familiar with this. As we walked to our room I noticed another Hypnobabies sign on a birthing room door. Once in our room, there were 5 or 6 nurses fussing over me, which didn’t bother me the way I had once thought it might. They were all so nice and working quickly. I did allow them to give me a heparin lock, as my OB had asked me to allow it when we went over my birth plan a few weeks prior. Once nurse checked me and even though our birth plan had said “Please don’t inform me of my progress”, she announced “You’re at 8cm!”. I was happy to hear this.
At that point Aaron and Kim put on the Affirmations for me to hear out loud but I found it pretty distracting. They changed it to Relaxation Music and that was better for me. I was informed that my OB would not be able to make it in time and that another doctor would be available shortly. They checked me again and I was at 10cm already, so they had me start pushing to see how close he was. I didn’t feel any pain at all, just lots of intense pressure that I wanted to push out. They did give me oxygen because I was getting a little out of breath, I think because I was on my back with my feet up. But the position didn’t bother me at all, it felt fine at that point, but I wouldn’t have liked it if I hadn’t been ready to push.
The next pressure wave that came on found me pushing and I couldn’t control it. I felt amazed that my body just kind of took over and knew what to do! It was an incredible feeling. The nurse however, tried to push my knees together and she said, “You have to wait for the doctor!” I felt Kim rush to my side and push my knees back open. She told me if I had to it was ok. I think my eyes must have bugged out of my head because the nurse ran to the door and called for someone to get the doctor. He finally came in to the room, took a seat, and in a few big pushes I felt the baby arrive! It was 7:14am.
I did have a small tear and had to get a few stitches, but other than that, it was very easy, and dare I say it…even fun! It was intense but what an amazing experience! I found myself laughing a few times with the nurses. When they told me he weighed 8lbs, 9oz and was 22 inches long, I was amazed! My OB had thought he was about 7 ½ lbs.
The staff was so great about letting us have our time with Cody. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and they gave us 3 hours before they gave him eye ointment and his vitamin K shot. I did allow them to give me pitocin after the placenta came out, as the doctor thought it would help the uterus contract and our doula said it was common and if I wanted to it would be fine. I looked at my deflated stomach and said “OK give it to me”.
I am definitely not any kind of super woman when it comes to pain. I stubbed my toe badly a few years ago and that was SO painful for days. Giving birth was NOT painful! It’s not something I would compare to being hurt, like I often hear so many people do. I knew in my heart that the love and connection between me and my baby was so deep and there was no reason either of us would harm the other in this process. And I was right!
We are so grateful for the Hypnobabies program! It was wonderful to have such a relaxed and happy birthing time, and I never once would have considered any of it to be painful or require medication. I am glad I felt so prepared for all the details of the birth as well.