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Archive for May, 2012

My baby girl was born on Monday night 3/12/12 at 7lb2oz. I still can’t believe what an incredible experience we had! One minute, no one thought I was in labor and 45 minutes later, we met our beautiful baby girl!

My last baby’s birth was long and included a lot of back pain. Each contraction felt like a matter of survival and I felt panicked and crazy out of control. This time, I wanted a different experience so I started the Hypnobabies home study course early in my pregnancy but at first I did not practice much or take it very seriously. Then I watched a bunch of Hypnobabies birth videos and became very inspired! I listened to my tracks often, especially in the middle of the night when I had pregnancy-induced insomnia and couldn’t sleep anyway. And I did a thorough reading of all the materials to make sure I had it all covered.

On March 12, I was 10 days past my due date and feeling discouraged that my birthing time hadn’t started yet. At 10am, I went in for NST/AFI testing and the amniotic fluid level was very low (5) so they wanted to induce that day. Then suddenly the baby’s heartbeat decelerated… several people rushed in with a wheelchair and whisked me off to a birth room. I was very upset and tried to wrap my mind around what was happening. It turned out that the decelerated heartbeat may have been a fluke because it didn’t happen again. Though I understood it was for the baby’s safety, I didn’t want to be medically induced. I had wanted it to happen spontaneously. I felt that I was quickly losing out on the birth that I had hoped for and envisioned.

Things were moving much too fast and I asked for time to process. I called my parents and had them bring my bags. I took a shower, discussed induction options with my husband, called my doula, and listened to my Hypnobabies birthing day track. After listening to Hypnobabies, I was so relaxed and in a really good mental space. I was going to meet my baby soon! We decided to move forward with pitocin since they assured me it could be regulated in tiny doses, very slowly.

At 2:30 they started administering pitocin at 1mL per hour. At that point I was 3cm dilated. I knew it would take at least a couple hours or more for the pitocin to kick in. The nurses and midwife checked in periodically to monitor the pressure waves. They didn’t feel any different from Braxton Hicks, just more frequent. After waiting around for awhile, my husband and I decided to watch a movie to pass the time.

About an hour into the movie, I needed to start focusing on the pressure waves, closing my eyes and going into hypnosis. I was really enjoying the pressure waves. They felt like more tightening and more importantly, they felt productive! I imagined and felt my cervix opening and getting soft. The nurse kept coming to check if the pressure waves were feeling “crampy” yet and I kept saying “no, absolutely not.”

Around 7:15pm, the midwife came in to check on my progress. I said I guessed I thought they were feeling a little “crampy”. But I was still lying in the bed watching the movie and breathing through them easily. Each time I had a pressure wave, I would close my eyes and go into hypnosis very easily. I really wanted and *needed* to go to into hypnosis. If I didn’t, the pressure waves were much more intense and not as comfortable. Each time I had a wave, the midwife would stop talking and wait for me to finish and open my eyes again. At that point, they were coming every 3 minutes and lasting 60 to 90 seconds. I said, “Wow isn’t that a lot, kind of close together?” The midwife said “Yes, but until you tell us they are intense, then they don’t really count. They have to be pretty uncomfortable to really work!” I remember thinking: “No! Bubble of peace!! I deserve an easy, comfortable birthing time!!” (an oft-repeated mantra of Hypnobabies) She wrote in the chart: Not in labor.

At 7:30pm I called my doula and said it’s probably a good time to head over, but that she didn’t have to rush (ha!).

After the midwife and nurse left the room, we turned the movie off and I lay on my side and started focusing more deeply on each pressure wave. Soon I needed to “ahhh” through each one. In hindsight this must have been the transition stage but I was still lying very comfortably on my side. I listened to the Easy First Stage Hypnobabies track and focused very deeply. The pressure waves began getting very intense but completely manageable as long as I was deeply relaxed and using Hypnobabies tools. I was hanging on every word of Hypnobabies, imagining my cervix opening and thinking “peace peace peace.” After intense peaks with each pressure wave, soon enough they would end and I would feel relaxed and completely fine. The waves were feeling very low at this point but I still didn’t think I was as far along as I was.

At one point my husband said he was going to the bathroom and I shrugged and said OK. Then I suddenly felt the unmistakable urge to push. A mixture between needing to poop and something much, much stronger. I fumbled around trying to find the call button and yelled “I feel pushy!!!” The midwife and nurses came rushing in and Brian came out of the bathroom, with a look on his face like “what the heck is going on?” I was dilated to 9cm and already crowning!

I was still lying on my side letting my body do the pushing. The CD player was broken but thankfully I had the Hypnobabies Pushing track on my iPhone. I heard some of it, though not much. But just enough to help me feel incredibly reassured and comforted like she knew exactly what I needed to hear. I was quiet except for moaning “Ahhh” with each push. Occasionally I smiled at my husband between pushes.

8:18pm — after about 4 or 5 pushes, she was born in the caul (very rare and lucky!) with both hands up by her face! I pulled her up onto my chest and saw her beautiful face! I could not believe she was out! And I didn’t have any perineal tearing despite how fast it went. I exclaimed, “Wow, that was awesome! So *not* hard! I feel like I could get up and run down the hallway!”

Unfortunately, my doula walked in five minutes after the baby was born! I was clearly not aware of where I was in the birth process and hadn’t given her enough time!

Everyone was shocked how quickly it happened! The midwife said in 15 years she had never seen anything like it. She said she enjoyed seeing someone use self-hypnosis tools so effectively. And she had only seen 5 babies born in the caul! It is considered a sign of good luck. And she was born in 2012, the year of the dragon, which is also good luck! We also discovered a true knot in her cord. It was a loose knot, but nonetheless we are so amazed at our lucky little miracle who came out with both fists in the air!

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Kerry -  I want to thank you so much for developing Hypnobabies.  I loved every part of it and am so happy that I discovered it during my second pregnancy (wish I had known about it earlier!)  Now that my beautiful baby boy, Hudson, is a month old I wanted to share his birth story with you.
My first son’s birth had been a rough – his birthing time was about 21 hours and it was a painful birth.  My husband and doula were amazing, but my OB was not very natural birth supportive and I felt overwhelmed trying to navigate everything I was feeling at the time.  This time around I felt like I had an amazing tool that not only had a positive impact on Hudson’s birth, but a positive impact on me throughout pregnancy.
A week before my guess date (Valentine’s Day!)  I woke up around 5:30 having pressure waves about 4-5 min. apart and lasting about 45 sec each–although some of them were shorter.  I had been having pressure waves on and off for the past week so I wasn’t sure if it was really “the day.”  I lay in bed timing the waves for a little bit and then called Jeff, my husband, since he was two and a half hours away for work.  I let him know that he should come up, but told him to take his time since I figured (based on my first son’s birth) we were in for a long day.
Next I called my doula and found out that she was at another birth; amazingly I didn’t panic about this, thinking that by the time I needed her she would be on her way.  When I called my midwife she told me I should probably head over to the hospital soon, but judging from my voice she didn’t think I should rush over immediately.  My doula had said the same thing – that it sounded like I had a while to go.
I listened to my birth day affirmations track, ate some toast with jam, and took a nice relaxing shower. My mom was over, the plan was for her to watch Gavin, my two year old, while we went to the hospital.  I could tell she wanted to push for me to go to the hospital as soon as possible, but she let me do my thing. I give her a lot of credit for that! When she had me she barely made it to the hospital and she kept thinking the same would happen to me. The waves were gaining in intensity, but they were not overwhelming and I continued to easily handle them.  We made arrangements to drop Gavin off at a friend’s house and got in the car.  I had my headphones on the whole time – mainly listening to the affirmations and creating anesthesia tracks.
On the way to the hospital the waves started getting much stronger and I started vomiting (thank God I had something to catch it in so it didn’t get all over my mom’s car!) – That’s when I started realizing that I was further along then I had originally thought.  I couldn’t wait to get to the hospital so I could get in the tub.  I had planned on spending much of my birthing time in the water and hoped for a water birth.
Right when I walked in the hospital lobby I had a huge wave and dropped to all fours—that position just felt right and helped me get through that wave.  Everyone in the lobby surrounded me and kept asking if I was ok and trying to get me up, I was just holding up my hand saying, “give me one second I’m fine – just about to have a baby.”  When I got up they had a wheelchair and wheeled me right up to the room – I could hardly sit on that chair just wanted to get in the room and be by myself.
The nurses were great – they left me alone at first.  They started filling up the tub and I just sat in the bathroom in the dark to gather my thoughts and be alone for a few minutes.
My doctor came in the room to check me, and I was positive she was going to say I was only 3 cm and she says “yes, you are at 8.”  I must have asked her to repeat that two more times, I was in shock. Whenever I did my Visuaizing Your Birth CD during my pregnancy I had always imagined getting to the hospital at 7 or 8 cm.  But, consciously I never really thought it could really happen! I didn’t even have time to get in the tub.  Ten minutes later it was time to push.  At first I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the fact that it was already time; my husband wasn’t even there yet!  I knew he was going to miss the birth, but Hudson was ready to come.  During Gavin’s birth I had pushed for over two hours; Hudson came in about 5 pushes.  I remember my mom holding my leg during one of the first pushes with this huge smile on her face, “I can see his head!”  My mom was such an amazing support (even after my water broke all over her feet!) especially since she had not planned on being there. But, I can’t imagine Hudson’s birth having happened without her.
Actually being able to feel the urge to push this time was amazing– everything actually made sense.  After having an epidural the first time I felt like I never understood how to push.  But this time my body told me what to do.  We didn’t have time to put on the Pushing Baby Out track and I never went over the Hypnobabies cues with my mom, but I had the cues in my head and just kept trying to go back to them.  Everything went so fast; I can’t even explain the wondrous sensations I felt physically and mentally feeling Hudson be born.  His face was all bruised and blue at first, but soon he started making his first sounds and looking all around with his big brown eyes.  Hudson was born at 8:53 a.m. A little under 3 ½ hours from when I woke up and less than an hour from arriving at the hospital!  What a difference from twenty-one hours the first time! About 20 min. later my husband walked in the room and did a complete double take seeing his baby boy already here!
I think I must have been having birthing waves in my sleep that night and just slept through them.  I credit Hypnobabies with the fact that I was so relaxed when I woke up; I know that it helped my body to relax and work quickly. I was so confident in myself this time.

Hudson was a healthy 9 lbs, 1oz!  A big baby born naturally :)

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Here is a link to a local new story about two amazing doctors in our little state! I just delivered my 2nd VBAC baby with them on the 24th. They have extremely low cesarean rates, and high VBAC rates. Also, when a cesarean is truly necessary, it is now the birthing culture at this hospital for moms to have immediate skin-to-skin contact with minimal separation, birth visualization through maternal propping, a calm environment with no extraneous noise or unrelated conversation by the medical staff, delayed cord clamping, presence of multiple support staff for mom and her birth partner, and breastfeeding in the operating room, if the mom desires! AND…these docs support Natural low/no intervention birth. They’ve supported several of my Hypnomoms!

Here’s a link to the story.

http://www2.turnto10.com/lifestyles/2012/mar/07/health-check-gentle-cesarean-ar-957137/

It also aired yesterday in Boston, Louisville, Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami and San Francisco. I hope you’ll share it with any moms who may be facing a necessary cesarean and all care providers! If moms know it’s a possibility, they’ll start asking for it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for mom’s who NEED a cesarean, that this would just be the standard of care in the OR… “the norm”? I wish this was an option for my first daughter, I think it would have made my experience and postpartum period so very very different!

Amanda Santo, BS, MM, CLC, CIBYF, HCHI,
Easy, Gentle, Natural Birthing
www.oceanstatehypnobabies.com

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I never got around to actively posting here, but I derived a lot of inspiration
from other people stories. So here’s mine, in the hope that someone else will
benefit from reading it. :)

Note: one of the things that drew me to Hypnobabies was my conviction that if I
could stay relaxed, my birthing muscles wouldn’t be working as hard to allow
baby to be born. In my mind, this basically negated any “risk” to the vba2c that
I had my heart set on.

My hba2c birth story

2/2000: (DS1) Interventions leading to fetal distress and emergency c-section

4/2008: (DS2) Repeat c/s

Third baby “due” 3/3/12. We’d decided early on on a vba2c. Though the midwife at
Kaiser said I was an ideal candidate, she also advised I would have to get
doctor consent down the road and then again at the hospital. Since I understood
the risks this wouldn’t be a problem.

I went to an ICAN meeting in October and was totally shocked to hear how many of
the women had opted to have their vbac at home. So I started researching the
safety of home birth, which I had never considered an option for me. Happily, it
turns out there is quite a good community of home birth midwives in San Diego.

Amazingly my hubby got on board quickly and we were interviewing midwives
shortly after! We both felt most comfortable with the ladies at the Center for
Natural Birth.

At my 37 week appointment, I had my first internal exam revealing that my cervix
was very posterior. Fingertip dilated and still thick but soft. I took from this
that the Braxton Hicks, which had become more and more frequent, weren’t doing
much.
That week though I started having a persistent backache and these practice waves
became stronger and more frequent. Thursday night, 37+5 they went thru the night
until 5AM. It was a sleepless night as I sorted thru what all I had to do if
this was really it. As of the next night I started taking Benadryl to sleep thru
these practice runs.

Monday night 38+2 the practice waves seemed like a little more than BH. I woke
up on Tuesday 2/21 still having BH but less intense again. At my appt that
morning I asked to be checked. My cervix was now anterior but still only a
fingertip. I was 30% effaced. My take home message was that something had to
really pick up if I was going to get anywhere and I could just ignore all these
practice waves. So I did. All day.

We went to dinner at a friend’s house that evening. As we departed at 7:30 I was
a little uncomfortable and knew I wanted to get DS2 put to bed ASAP so I could
relax. Thankfully he was totally cooperative and I left his room at 8.

My sister texted to ask if I was still baking and I answered “oh yes” at 8:02.

In my bedroom I leaned over the bed and swayed thru my next pressure waves.
These were different but not at all painful and I still felt they were an
extension of my intensifying BH. DH came up at 8:30 and asked how I was doing.
We hung out and chatted for a while before migrating back downstairs at 9pm. It
was at that time that I thought maybe I should time a few of the pressure waves.
They were 3 min apart, lasting just over a minute and they’d been going on for
an hour already. I told DH I thought I was in early labor and may have the baby
tomorrow. I asked him to call my mom and let her know she should come sleep here
in case things picked up over night. I also asked him to fire up the jacuzzi. He
called mom at 9:30 and she said she’d be here in two hours.

I texted my midwife, Heather. She said to get in the hot tub for an hour and if
they went away and I could sleep, great. If they intensify or my water breaks,
call her back.

I texted my sister at 9:29 to say “hmm maybe not”. It seemed clear that baby was
finished baking.

DH went upstairs to blow up the birth tub and make up our bed and I went out to
the jacuzzi and started listening to the Hypnobabies track “easy first stage”.   I was calm and confident and
under control. I thought I’d want the jets on my back but sitting wasn’t
comfortable so I was leaning over the concrete on a towel with my head on my
folded arms. I focused on staying relaxed through each pressure wave.

After thirty minutes I texted DH to say I needed more towels. And Heather. He
came out with towels and said she’d be here in an hour. During the next thirty
minutes I was having a harder time keeping my focus. I was making trips to the
restroom, hence the more towels. I also felt that my pressure waves were easier
to handle if I bore down just a tiny bit. I thought “open open open” and could
actually feel my cervix opening. A lot it seemed. But that didn’t seem possible.
Then I started shivering. It was maybe 50 degrees outside and half my torso was
out of the tub so that seemed reasonable. The track ended and I went inside.

In the bathroom, I peeled off my bikini and marveled at the frayed strings and
the worn fabric. I knew I needed a new one for this summer. But the places this
one had been: Hawaii for our honeymoon, Israel: the med sea, caked in mud at the
dead sea. And now at our baby’s birth. I dropped it into the shower and put my
comfy yoga pants and sweat jacket back on.

Upstairs I was so grateful to find that DH had already made up the bed and I put
the same Hypnobabies track into the cd player and lay on my left side, hoping to
regain my focus. DH asked if he should fill the birth tub now but I wanted to
wait until Heather said if I’d made any progress.

I don’t know how long this went on. Maybe 20-30 minutes. It still felt good to
bear down slightly with each wave. Until my water broke. That broke my
concentration as I recalled hearing how this would make my contractions so much
more intense. I was worried I’d only be at 4cm with hours of intense
contractions ahead. So I told DH I needed the tub.

11:30. My mom arrived and told me Heather was in the driveway. I told each of
them as they came in that my water had broken. Heather started setting up her
tools and I made my way to the bathroom. I didn’t like laboring there and came
back to the bed quickly.

The pressure waves were much more intense now. Heather said she needed to check
me as soon as I had a break between waves. I wasn’t getting breaks often or for
long at this point.
“I’m afraid you’ll tell me I’m at a 2!”
“Your water probably wouldn’t have broken yet if you were,” she replied.
I was having another intense wave.
She said, “Don’t fight it. It’s your baby.” And at that, I could feel myself
pushing. It felt better if I did.
“But did you check?” I asked.
“I didn’t have to. Your baby is right there.”
I pushed through two waves on the bed and Heather said if I wanted to deliver in
the tub I needed to get in. Now.
“I can’t”
“Ok. But your baby is coming now. “

As soon as that pressure wave eased up I got up to go to the tub. Apparently
everyone had accepted that I “couldn’t” as this was met with a mad dash to
support me so I wouldn’t fall. I didn’t feel unsteady…

I put my foot in and worried it was too warm. I was reassured it was perfect. My
mom tested it with her elbow and said my feet are probably just cold. I got down
on my knees and bent forward into the same position I’d assumed outside with my
arms on the side of the tub. In the water I finally got a break between my waves
and felt I was able to get a little bit of a grip. I was vocalizing with the
next one and I heard Heather telling me “Low. Go low. Raspberries”. Raspberries
didn’t work for me. But going lower actually made it more comfortable and since
comfortable seemed to go hand in hand with effective for me so far I was
reassured. When that one ended I could feel something hanging out of me. Heather
said, “It’s part of your membranes. If it was a head you’d know it.”

I had a break again before the next pushing wave. This time it was the head (and
I didn’t know it). Heather said, “Stop. Do. Not. Push. Listen to me!” [She told
me later the cord was draped over baby, like a necklace.] I stopped and then she
said go ahead. I’m not even sure I was having a pressure wave at that point. And she
said, “Lift your left leg and I’ll bring the cord around.” I looked down. Baby
was out. And he had a penis. Of course he did. In that moment he couldn’t have
been any other way. This was the little boy that had cruised around with me for
the last almost 9 months. “It’s our M—-,” I said to DH.

Then I recalled I should lift my leg and she wound the cord around in front of
me. I pulled him out of the water and to my chest. In the air he cried for a
moment and then was so peaceful. I sat down and held him on my chest for the
longest time as he looked around, calm and content. I couldn’t believe we
actually did it, quickly and comfortably. Our M—- was here and it was really
true: he knew how and when to be born.

Not that we could have done it without DH, who was a rock throughout. He took
care of everything so that I could focus on letting M—- be born.

M—- D– was born at 12:07AM on 2/22/12 weighing 6lbs 7.6oz and 19.5″ long. He
completes our family in a way that was both immediately clear and impossible to
explain. But I do think a part of it was having this opportunity to experience
natural birth with him. He will forever be my partner in what was a life
altering and healing experience.

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Most people do not know how long we waited for your arrival, but it was much longer than the standard nine months. After an ectopic pregnancy in 2005, I was left with only one uterine tube, which could have led to fertility issues. But we were expecting Autumn within a few months, so it did not seem to be impacting us. In 2009, I found out I was pregnant just a few months after we had decided we wanted another child. I was delighted, but a few days later found out that I was again having an ectopic pregnancy that had to be ended with Methotrexate. I was devastated and my sadness was compounded by the news that future pregnancies would likely end the same way. The doctor told me that my remaining tube was probably blocked and if we wanted another child our only option was in vitro fertilization. We do not have private insurance and since IVF was financially impossible, I gave up hope of a third child and decided to go back to school.
Dear Lola, imagine my surprise (and fear) that Friday nearly three years later, when looking at my calendar, I realized that I was “late.” Imagine my delight (and terror) when the second pink line appeared after I peed on “the stick”. I kept you, my delicious secret, for about a week, before telling your dad. And we waited another month, until we could see you growing safely in my uterus via ultrasound, until we told Mimi and Pap (then the rest of the world on Facebook.)
So you are very special to us: A wish granted unexpectedly and a joy unlooked for.
After an uneventful, complication-free, healthy pregnancy I headed into the weekend before I reached 37 weeks with the expectation of at least another week or two of pregnancy. In retrospect, I did a lot of nesting that weekend. I bought several last-minute baby items, paid all our bills, filed papers, made a to-do list and a number of appointments.
On Monday, April 30 I woke at 4 a.m. with a dreadful feeling about my appointment with the backup obstetricians that I had scheduled for May 1. The head doctor had called me several time the week before, wanting me to come in a sign yet another liability waiver for my homebirth plans. It was starting to wear on me and I was concerned about what awaited me at the clinic. I woke up Hal and cried to him because I felt that I was being sucked into the hospital agenda, that I would not go into my birthing time naturally or would go beyond 42 weeks. He calmed me down and I slept for several hours, missing my usual 6 a.m. 3-mile walk.
The girls and I enjoyed our first day off from homeschooling. We shopped at the Girl Scout Council store and bought some books for next year and patches. The security guard teased me about when my baby was coming and I wanted to have a Braxton Hicks in front of him to really scare him, but instead we smiles and went on our way. Our next stop was Trader Joe’s for our weekly groceries. I noticed that I was having fairly frequent practice waves and so I used my “Peace” Hypnobabies cue as I drove. Once at TJs, I was having to go to the bathroom with nearly every wave. So we finished shopping fast and I decided to skip my planned stop at Whole Food and ask my mom to pick up the gluten-free pizza crusts instead. I wanted to get home to eat, cook dinner and relax in case “this was it.”
After cooking, I had a sudden burst of energy, so I decided to channel it into my usual walk. The girls went with me for awhile, but mostly I was on my own, listening to my Hypnobabies Pregnancy Affirmations. A neighbor who recently had a baby, teased me about trying to get the baby out. At this point, I was still in denial that the baby could be coming sooner than later.
By the time I got home, Hal was there with the girls and we sat down to eat dinner together. I did not have much of an appetite for the stew and sitting on the hard kitchen chair was not comfortable. During dinner, I started using my lightswitch actively, even though I thought I was still have practice waves. I figured that if they turned real that I would be very relaxed from practicing and if they stopped, I would have gotten a lot of practice.
Finally, I felt like laying down, so I relaxed on the couch while Hal took care of the girls’ bedtime routine. They asked me to join them in Madeline’s room for bedtime stories, but I could not find a comfortable position to sit in, so I ended up wandering around her room impatiently until it was time to turn the lights off.
I brought down the big laundry basket of baby clothes and homebirth supplies. Hal looked surprised, but I insisted that it did not mean a thing- I was 37 weeks and felt it was important to have them out now. He suggested that I lay on the couch and relax and time some pressure waves while he worked on his final paper for his degree. It was due on Friday and both of us thought he had time to finish it before the baby would be here. But when I timed four waves, I found that they were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds. Hal exclaimed, “This baby is coming, isn’t it?!?” I smiled and said I still was not sure. But he was.
When I headed into bed, I decided to call Ellen and give her a heads up. I also emailed my doula who was still in California for her Hypnobabies training. I slept very deeply, listening to the Deepening track, alternated with other ones, like Fear Clearing and Special Place. Using my lightswitch and peace cues all day made it easy to sleep through this early part of birth.
I alternated between the birth ball and sleeping in bed. Hal feverishly worked on his paper. Around 10 or 11 p.m. I decided we should call Ellen. I was afraid of having the baby too fast and my waves were becoming much more intense. I made Hal go to bed in case I needed him later in the night, I did not want him up all night working on his paper and without energy to support me. When Ellen arrived at 12:45 a.m. she offered to check me, but I declined. I had not lost much mucous plus and was worried that meant I was not dilating. She assured me that many women have babies without ever seeing their plug, which made me feel better. I decided to go back to sleep after a snack and a tour of our house. She offered me something to help me sleep, but I did not want to be groggy if the baby was born in the middle of the night. Ellen slept on our couch and I alternated between sleep, birth ball and eating chicken soup on the toilet. All the while, I was listening to my Hypnobabies CDs and using my finger drop to stay totally comfortable through each pressure wave.
At 6:45 a.m. I asked Ellen to check me, as my pressure waves were still not lasting over a minute consistently and we knew we needed them to grow in intensity to bring the baby. At first, she thought I was not dilated at all, but quickly realized that what she thought was the other side of my closed cervix was really my extremely bulgy bag of water hanging out of a very stretchy 5 cm dilated cervix.
The girls got up as usual at 8:30 a.m. and were very excited to know that the baby was probably coming today. Hal made us all breakfast and I ended up sleeping until 9 a.m. Love that Hypnobabies!
Ellen thought that we should take a walk, so Hal and I went around a nearby street with a nice big uphill. We walked and talked. It was such a lovely day. Whenever I had a wave, I would lean on Hal and he would tell me to “relax” and “let go”. I started feeling double-peaking waves and I think I may have entered transformation at this point. But it did not matter. I trusted totally in Hal’s support and with each wave, I would imagine myself floating on a wave, in my special place. The water was my anesthesia and as the wave peaked in my uterus, I would envision the wave peaking and carrying me to shore. This visualization along with Hal’s voice giving me cues was so powerful that the sensations literally faded away and became exquisitely intense rather than uncomfortable.
We came home and I napped again, listening to Hypnobabies CDs. The waves were feeling much more intense and it was harder to find comfortable positions to rest in. I was really just listening, deeply relaxed and getting up to use the toilet in between nearly every one. I was still worried that I was not losing much mucous plug and concerned that the baby was still in the left occiput transverse and was getting stuck on my pelvis. I was feeling each pressure wave, first in my abdomen, then again radiating through my pelvis into my birth canal. It was more intense than I remember feeling during either of my previous births.
At 11 a.m. we decided to go for another walk, even though my waves were extremely intense. They were nearly constant, only 30-60 seconds rest and lasting well over a minute and a half. It took us at least an hour and a half, maybe longer to walk around the same street that it usually took us 10 minutes to go around. People stopped us occasionally to ask if our baby was coming. I would take a few small steps (all I could manage at this time) and I would have another wave while leaning on my husband and having him give me verbal cues for anesthesia.
We got home and I decided that after that walk, I deserved to finally get into the birth pool. It felt heavenly. I leaned into the side, listening to Easy First Stage and holding on to the handles. The girls brought me a posy of wildflowers and I looked at it. They poured warm water on my low back, which helped me focus. I talked to you, our baby, telling you that I was ready for you to be born.
After an hour, I got out to use the toilet and asked Ellen to check me again. I was 8-9 cm, but the baby was still high because of my incredibly resiliant, bulgy bag of water. She declined to rupture it, due to the risk of cord prolapse, but encouraged me to do it myself. But I just was not able to get the power I needed with each wave to push yet. And I was starting to feel a little grumpy and impatient.
Ellen asked me to get out of the tub and do squats or walk our stairs. The squats did not feel like they did much. But the stairs… oh my… walking the stairs was perhaps the single most intense experience so far. I did it once and began to cry for Hal, my rock who kept me in hypnosis and helped me focus on maintaining my anesthesia. He did two more rounds with me as I cried and swore like a sailor. Ellen took the girls into their bedrooms to explain what I was doing and that I was okay. They are so sensitive to my feelings and I did not want them to feel scared. After the third time, I refused to go further and decided to sit on the toilet.
I began to have a pressure wave and in that moment, I decided that I was going to push the heck out of it, whether I felt like it or not… I did not care. I let out the loudest sound Hal has ever heard me make. A roar, while I pushed as hard as I could and broke my bag of water. There was so much fluid that it splashed out of the toilet and all over the bathroom.
Upon the bag breaking, I immediately felt you move through my cervix into my birth canal. Ellen came running with Chux pads, intending me to birth in the bathroom. Hal knew I would be sad if I did not make it to the pool. He looked me in the eyes as asked, “Are you ready? We are going to walk to the pool. It isn’t far.” I did not think I would make it, but I did. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. Later, Hal told me that he had planned to carry me down the hall to the pool, if I had refused to walk.
Once in the pool, I freaked out because the urge to push was so intense, but Ellen simply reminded me to reach down and feel your head to center myself. I did that and instantly, instinctively, I remembered to push between waves and said “Peace” to myself as I eased your head out. I called out for help as I felt your shoulders emerge, one at a time and then your body as I knelt in the pool. I sat back, brought you up to my belly. You were blue at first, as waterborn babies are, but your heart rate was strong and you were quietly alert, looking at me, your dad and your sisters, who were present for the whole thing.
I reached down to check and found you were a girl! Madeline was crying in joy and I started crying, mostly because I was happy to finally be finished.
We got out of the tub and snuggled together on the bed. It was so amazing to go from having a baby to resting in my own bed at home. It felt so right and wonderful. You recovered from birth quickly, pinking up with the help of a little oxygen and massage and you started nursing immediately. Your sisters will never forget watching their baby sister enter the world. I feel so lucky that we all were able to have this experience together as a family. Your dad’s support created a level of trust between us that will never go away.
Initially, I felt like I had really let go of my hypnosis towards the end. That I should have worked harder to stay comfortable… then I realized that there was no way that I could have spent over three hours (or more, who knows!) at 8-9 cm with a bulgy bag of fluid in transformation if I had not been using my hypnosis. The intensity that I experienced was only matched by the power of my mind to stay in control and working towards the goal of giving birth. I also initially felt caught off guard by the length of time I was birthing because it was so much longer than Autumn’s birth. However, when doing the “Visualize Your Birth” script, I always imagined my birth starting at night, going through the morning and you being born in the late afternoon. This was exactly what happened! I just had not imagined the intensity of the experience. Having gone through it, with only my husband’s support, I feel stronger as a person, wife and mother.

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