Well I should begin by saying that due to the fact that my mom had all of her (6) children at least one-two weeks overdue, I was assuming that this my first baby would be as overdue! Thus, despite being very close to my guess date I had no anxiety about wanting our little one to hurry up and be born, but instead was finding it quite easy to be “lovingly patient” as I had heard every day on the Hypnobabies tracks! My husband and I live in Australia, despite being from Canada/USA and thus were super excited to welcome my mom and little sister to Melbourne when I was 39 weeks 3 days. On the night of 39 weeks 5 days, we went to one of my husband’s basketball games which was very intense. I was experiencing super strong braxton hicks throughout the game, but attributed it to the intensity of the game! I had been having lots of braxton hicks anyhow since about 36 weeks, and so thought nothing of it.
I woke up at 5:00 am on the dot the next day with pressure waves that felt slightly different to the braxton hicks, as they wrapped around my back. Immediately upon awakening I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep through these ones, so I told my husband that I couldn’t sleep and was going to have a cup of tea (I didn’t want to raise a false alarm!). I got up and lay on my left side on the couch with my tea. I read through some birth stories and watched my favorite birth videos on YouTube. I also talked to our little girl and told her that if she wanted to be born today it was ok, that she was very safe and we were going to be a good team. I started to time the pressure waves and they were 5-8 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. I practiced my finger drop, as well as listened to the deepening hypnosis CD and the hypnotic childbirth 1 and 2 CDs. This continued until about 8:30. During that time I also had a shower, and watched the most gorgeous sunrise reveal a beautiful clear blue sky. I knew it was a perfect day for a birthday!
I woke up my husband at 8:30, telling him that he probably wasn’t playing his final basketball game that day, because we might be meeting our baby. Then I told him to keep sleeping as I was doing fine J A few minutes later he emerged, commenting that it was a little hard to go back to sleep after something like that! We called my mom and told her that my husband would come get her and my little sister, but of course not to get their hopes up; it might not be the real thing! However, at this point I preferred to move through my pressure waves and was listening to the birthing day affirmations, switching with easy first stage, pressure waves were staying consistent and some were lasting up to 55 seconds.
At about 10:00 I started to make brownies to bring to our midwives but I never got to frosting them because I quickly lost all interest in my brownie project and really could care less! Also, around this time I lost part of my mucous plug. Things seemed more and more real!
Things continued like this until 3:00 pm. Pressure waves got longer and more intense. Never at any point did they feel unmanageable, and I felt totally peaceful and safe. My dearest husband was just THERE for anything. I was very active, moving from the fit ball, to all fours, to swaying in his arms, to standing and rocking. I had placed myself in center very early in the day though. It seemed like no time at all until my pressure waves were consistently 3 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute, and I think it was at this point that I started sighing through them very lightly. We decided to call the birth center and give them a heads up that we may be in within the next hour or so, and they were shocked by how calm both my husband and I were considering how close together the pressure waves were!
Things started changing. I was feeling a lot of pressure in my bottom and I was also starting to feel tired. We decided I’d try lying on my side while my husband got together our last minute things. Lying down didn’t feel very good, and the pressure was continuing. So, we decided to go, it was close to 3:00 pm. I felt totally calm, and while intense the pressure waves felt totally manageable, and I think it was because I was so trusting of my body’s ability to do what it knew how to do. I felt no concern to evaluate what I was experiencing, or control it. Also, I found myself smiling after every wave, I felt so hopeful!
Even though we live a 5 minute drive from the hospital I had a pressure wave in the car and another in the parking lot! Amazingly, we were still calm entering the birth center and the midwives seemed surprised. They have a policy of not checking progress for a while, so I didn’t need to worry about that, and they just got us settled into a room. Things get a little fuzzy here. I was still totally active: standing, on the ball, or on all fours. I felt immense pressure in my bottom and kept trying to go the bathroom. You would have thought I’d figure out there was nothing there! I remember feeling that this wasn’t really very fun anymore and that I was very tired. Later my mom told me that she knew things were getting serious, as pressure waves were about 2 minutes apart and 90 seconds long. I hadn’t stopped moving the entire birthing time, so my husband and mom strongly encouraged me to lie down. Laying there on my left side I went through what I now know was transformation. I was shaking almost uncontrollably; my husband was using the peace cue and stroking my head lightly while my mom was applying a gloriously warm rice pack to my back. I counted backwards from ten in my head over and over, as well as visualized myself in a boat with no oars riding the waves up and down. I was still only lightly sighing through the pressure waves and felt calm.
All of a sudden I had huge amounts of rest time in between the pressure waves. I just kept my eyes closed and enjoyed my husband stroking my head and my mom rubbing my back. A little while later there was this “oh my goodness” physical push that had nothing to do with my mind and everything to do with my body just doing its thing. That involuntarily pushing continued for 3 more pressure waves, and when the midwife finally arrived, my water burst with what felt like a tremendous force. She quickly scurried out of the room to get the warm things for the baby (EXCLAMATION POINTS WENT OFF IN MY HEAD WHEN I HEARD THAT!), and when she came back asked if I’d like to move to a different position. We moved me to a kneeling position, leaning over the back of the bed. I will admit, at this point I felt a little panicky…and I expressed verbally that I felt frightened. I think saying it out loud allowed me to address that I felt afraid and then perhaps move forward from the fear. I was consistently reminding myself that the more relaxed I remained the easier it would be for my body to work. I was amazed how easy it was to convince myself to relax.
Pushing was not hard for me at all, in the sense that it came very naturally to me and my body was working so powerfully. Also, I had so effectively breathed our baby down through the pressure waves that I really only started pushing involuntarily when her head was literally right there. I will never forget how happy I felt when someone said, “Your baby has hair!” At the same time, I totally underestimated how hard work it was! I was sooo sweaty hot, and I kept asking if I was doing anything. Everyone kept saying, “oh yes, you are doing something!” My husband was there, kissing my head, holding my hand, and just being someone to look at when I was feeling overwhelmed. He was an incredible rock.
The midwife (who was applying wonderful hot compresses!) said that in a few minutes she’d let me know to switch to short breath pushes. However, I got it in my mind that I was all in and bore down powerfully. Out SHOT her head. The moment her head popped out was probably the most vocal I got because I was so shocked! I gave a little yell. Then, before I knew it her shoulders were out and then her body…and all I had to do was breath. In that moment, I forgot everything and immediately just wanted to hold our baby. I don’t remember, but apparently I was saying, “Hi baby, I’m your mama, I’m your mama!” Those were the words I’d uttered to her so many times as I practiced Hypnobabies and met her in our special safe place. It was perfect, I cannot describe the relief. I was bloody, exposed, sweaty, flabby…and I didn’t care! I was in my husbands arms and my arms cradled our baby. Everything else was forgotten.
Firstly, the last 3 or so weeks of my pregnancy I’d visualized my birth and in it I awoke with pressure waves early in the morning so that I could labor in the quiet and dark for a while, arrived at the birth center 7 or 8 centimeters dilated, and had our baby before 8 pm. In real life, I awoke at 5:00 am with pressure waves, labored at home for ten hours, arriving at the birth center only three hours before our baby was born. I never had a single internal exam because I progressed so steadily and our baby was right there when my body started pushing. I only pushed for 45 minutes. By 8 pm I had birthed our beautiful baby and was enjoying a glass of champagne! It was simply incredible.
Secondly: I took the posterior challenge very seriously and spent weeks ensuring that our little one was anterior. This meant hardly ever reclining and lots of hands and knees time but it was SO WORTH IT!
Thirdly, the biggest thing Hypnobabies gave me was the mental conditioning to allow my body to do what it knew how to do and to be unafraid. Moreover, it taught me how to relax so effectively, and direct that relaxation through breathing, that I almost didn’t need to actively use the tools as it came naturally to me after so many months of practice. I fully believe that my body worked so efficiently because I knew how to take my mind out of the process and surrender control through relaxation.
I am looking forward to using Hypnobabies if we are so blessed to have more than one child! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday for our sweet Liliana.