Thanks to Monica for sharing her story!
Okay, so I know that Juneau is now three months old, and who writes a birth story when three months have already passed? The problem is that I have been trying to figure out how to put into words what an amazing experience Juneau’s birth was, and I feel like no matter what words I choose, I won’t be able to do it justice. But I figure, if I don’t write it down now, it may never get written. So, here I go….
Where do I begin? We found out we were expecting in late August 2011. Juneau is our second child. We had our son, Phoenix, in May 2010. In preparing for Phoenix’s arrival, I studied the hypnobabies program. It was great in helping me to relax and enjoy the pregnancy. I think that with the aspects of being a first time mom and not being sure of what it would be like to actually give birth, I wasn’t 100% confident in what I was doing and was very willing to defer to the medical professionals in terms of what needed to be done. This led to a cascade of interventions that led to me giving birth to Phoenix in the operating room, completely numb from the neck down, unable to feel or see anything. After he was born, I was so shaky from the medication that I couldn’t hold him and then he was taken for his newborn cares to the nursery and away from us for a few hours. All of these things really traumatized me and I knew that I did not want a repeat of that experience.
With this pregnancy, I was determined to have a natural birth. I studied the hypnobabies program again and armed myself with as much knowledge and support as I could. We decided to hire a doula to help us achieve our desired birth experience and I am so glad I did. Mandy was our doula and she was phenomenal. We met with her several times before Juneau’s birth and she helped me to work through the issues that I had after Phoenix’s birth and let those go and realize that this was a new birth and a new baby. She helped me to gain confidence in myself and the fact that I could have a natural birth. The hypnobabies program again helped me to focus myself and relax during the later stages of pregnancy. I read up on different natural birth books and websites. I read as many natural birth stories as I could gaining inspiration and motivation from the fact that all of these women had been able to do it. I knew that I could do it too.
On one of Mandy’s visits, we practiced different positions to help ease the discomfort of pressure waves. This made me excited to be able to put into practice all of the different tools and in a way I couldn’t wait to use them. Little did I know that practicing them would be about all I would get to do. My due date was May 2nd and I knew from the start that I would most likely go past that. Everyone around me was saying they were sure I would have an April baby, but I remained calm in the fact that my baby would come when she was ready (and it would most likely be after May 2nd). This helped me not to feel pressured or anxious when May 2nd came and went. We went for our weekly doctor’s appointment that day just to be sure that baby was doing okay. On the ultrasound we confirmed she was a girl (thank goodness otherwise her pink room would’ve needed a quick paint job) and they guesstimated she was 6lbs 13oz. Fluid levels looked okay and I was contracting when they hooked me up to the monitory. The doctor never pressured me for induction but said that if she didn’t arrive on her own, he didn’t feel comfortable with me going more than two weeks over. Even though he talked about it, I was never phased because I knew that she would come when the time was right.
I was hoping for a Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) baby and the fact that there was a supermoon that night was inspiration. May 5th came and went and still no baby. Early the morning of May 6th, things started happening…I felt more intense pressure waves that were gaining strength and not going away with a drink of water or resting. I felt so excited and sure that today was the day. I kept in touch with Mandy through the early morning hours (sorry for the 3AM texts, Mandy!) and waited to see what happened. It was cute, because I woke Nevada up and he wanted to know right away if we had to go to the hospital. It wasn’t anywhere near that point yet, but it was nice he was so concerned.
By mid-morning the pressure waves were continuing and some were coming as close as every 6 minutes. I didn’t know how things were going to progress so I asked Mandy to come over, just in case. Grandma had come to pick up Phoenix earlier in the day. Once Mandy got here, things started to slow down and they weren’t as regular. I would still have to concentrate on them, but it wasn’t anything that was unbearable. Mandy was calm and supportive, never second guessing what I was feeling. By about 5:30, things had pretty much fizzled out and I was disappointed. Having never experienced my body begin the birthing time on its own, I felt kind of defeated. Again, Mandy was reassuring saying that my body was definitely working and just preparing for baby.
The next few days passed without incident. There were pressure waves here and there, but nothing too serious and while I was anxious for her arrival, and for people to stop checking into see how I was doing and if the baby was here yet, I was still at peace with knowing she would come when she was ready. I had been sleeping on the couch for the last few weeks of pregnancy because it was where I could get the most comfortable and most nights I stayed up watching tv because sleep wasn’t easy to come by. On May 9th, Nevada sat up watching tv with me for a little bit and headed up to bed around 10:30. I was still awake watching American Pickers when I felt a strong pressure wave. Hmmm…that felt a little bit different than before. I figured I would just lay there and see what happened and if any more pressure waves wanted to make their appearance. That was around 10:45 or 11. Sure enough, another one came along not too long after. I had to close my eyes and focus on my hypnosis to feel comfortable during it. I didn’t want to jump the gun, so I continued to lay there and see what would happen. Around 11:30, I thought this is the real deal and I started timing the pressure waves. They were between 6-8 minutes apart and definitely intense. Around midnight, I headed upstairs to get Nevada up. This time he could tell things were more serious and he asked if he should call his mom to come and watch Phoenix. I told him to do that and call Mandy. I tried to talk to Mandy but the pressure waves were intense enough that I didn’t want to do that, so Nevada talked to her instead. She suggested I get into the shower to see if the waves would continue or if they would fizzle out. So around 12:20 I got into the shower. The pressure waves continued and seemed like they were coming faster. The warm water felt good on my stomach, but it was hard to stand in the shower without holding on to something. After I got out of the shower, it was difficult to get dressed, but with Nevada’s help I managed, having to stop every few minutes to work through the pressure waves.
By the time I got downstairs, Nevada’s mom was there. Mandy was on her way, but figured it would take her about an hour from the time we first called her at 12:15ish. Nevada’s stomach was upset so he was looking for some Pepto and talking to his mom about where it could be. At this point pressure waves were coming every 2-4 minutes and were super intense. I told him to forget about the Pepto and that we needed to get going to the hospital. I made it into the minivan and put my ipod in with hypnobabies playing. Nevada called Mandy and told her there was a change of plans and we were headed to the hospital. She would head there too. We also called the hospital to let them know we were on the way and found out that the one doctor from the practice that I didn’t care for was going to be delivering babies that night. I took in the information and then let my concerns about it go. She was going to be there to catch my baby and that was it, the rest of it I was going to be in charge of.
I listened to hypnobabies the entire car ride and did a lot of deep breathing and was starting to make some low noises to help get through the pressure waves. What seemed like the longest 15 minutes passed before we made it to the hospital. Nevada dropped me off at the entrance and I stood holding onto one of the posts for support. He zipped in the parking garage to park the car and didn’t even have time to grab the bags. We figured if we needed something, he would have time to run back out. It was then that I saw Mandy running across the parking lot too. My entire team was in place…it was time to have a baby!
I tried walking to the entrance, but that wasn’t going to happen so Nevada ran and got a wheelchair for me. I was still doing lots of breathing and low moaning and working through the pressure waves which felt like they were right on top of each other. Nevada started to wheel me through the lobby and took me to the green elevators. At this point I was with it enough to tell him he was at the wrong ones and had to go to the blue elevators. I remembered from our tour 2 Blue. We zipped around and got to the right elevators and headed up.
Arriving at L&D makes me laugh when I think about it. We pulled up and of course they started asking me questions. I was able to answer some between pressure waves. “What are you here for?” Umm…I was thinking I really wanted to eat some good hospital food…I’m having a BABY!!! Mandy crouched next to me and kept reminding me to breathe and to lower the sounds I was making to help keep in control. Nevada helped by answering some of the questions and they took me to a triage room. Things were super intense at that point and I just kept on focusing to get from one pressure wave to the next. They told me to get undressed and I’m still not sure how I managed to get my clothes off and get up on the bed, but I did. They checked me and said I was 8 cm. Thank God! Things were so intense that had I been at a 4, it would’ve been hard. While there, the nurses were asking if I wanted an epidural and I was confident in my decision to tell them no. After I was checked, they took me over to the L&D side of the wing (I guess now they believed me that I was having a baby?).
Once in the L&D room, I was checked again and found to be 10cm and complete. Mandy and Nevada were by my side with water and helping me with peace cues and touching my shoulder which I later found out really helped me relax. In the moment, I wasn’t realizing it but Mandy said when she would do that, she could visibly see me relax into the pressure waves. Once the doctor came into the room, she was getting ready to break my water. Mandy noticed what was happening and asked me if I consented to it. I said no, and the doctor stopped. I think it made her a little bit mad because it was 2 something in the morning and she probably wanted to get this show over, but it was my baby and we were going to have it my way. As I worked through the pressure waves, I had my eyes closed most of the time to help me keep my focus, but I did open them at one point and saw the doctor kind of statnding at the end of the bed with her arms crossed looking at me frustrated. Too bad, this was my birthing experience.
After just a few minutes, I started to feel like I wanted to push. This was intense pressure. Not pain, but pressure. According to Mandy’s notes it was around 2:25 that I told them I wanted to push. The pushing phase is kind of a blur. I know that was pushing for a few minutes when my water broke. While pushing, I still had my eyes closed and I know there was a time or two when I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. The nurses and Mandy and Nevada all cheered me on. Then all of sudden the pressure changed and I could feel Juneau moving down and out. I never experienced a ring of fire as they call it but just a lot of pressure. Finally I heard someone say the head was out, and I gave another push to get the rest of her out. They had to remind me to open my eyes so I could see my baby girl. She was immediately put on my chest and I looked down in wonder at the little miracle that had just been inside of me. Juneau was born at 2:50AM, approximately 1 hour after arriving at the hospital. She weighed 6lbs 3oz and was 20 inches long. She had a full head of hair and the most perfectly shaped head. (At the pediatrician’s office they asked if she was a c-section baby because her head was so round). It was love at first sight.
When the doctor was stitching things up, she was going to give me a shot of Pitocin. Mandy again asked me if I consented to it and I asked the doctor if I needed it. Her response was well, we routinely give Pitocin after birth. I again asked her if I needed it and if I didn’t, I wasn’t going to consent to it. So, guess what, no Pitocin! It was amazing how powerful it felt to take my healthcare into my hands.
After Juneau’s birth, we told the nursing staff that we wanted all of her newborn cares to take place in the room. So she was bathed, monitored and taken care of where we could see what was going on and only after we had been able to cuddle for a significant amount of time. It was fantastic never having her leave our side. Such a different experience than the first time around.
After I was stitched up, I was up and walking around within about 20-30 minutes and surprisingly felt great. We transferred to our postpartum room and as opposed to the first time around, I could walk and move and had no issues. When the nurses came in and asked what I wanted for pain management, I told them that I felt okay and I would let them know if that changed. So after Juneau’s arrival I didn’t have ANY pain medication-not even tylenol or advil. I just felt like I didn’t need it. Things were a little bit sore, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I felt like SuperWoman! I think the nurses thought I was crazy because they never had moms who didn’t need pain meds.
The adrenaline from the experience still gets me today when I think about it. When discussing with my doctor my desire to have a natural birth, his advice had been to stay at home as long as possible and come to the hospital when you are ready to push. I didn’t think that I would actually do that, but sure enough, I came in at an 8, progressed to a 10 within about 10 minutes and was ready to push baby out within about an hour of arriving at the hospital. I couldn’t have imagined a better scenario.
I credit the awesome experience to my Hypnobabies hypnosis studies, my awesome doula, and my ever supportive and loving hubby.