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Archive for the ‘Hospital’ Category

Our third son and first hypno-baby was born on November 17.  I’ve been wanting to share our birth story with the group ever since, but I had no idea how long it would take me to finish writing it now that we have a newborn, a two-year-old, and a not-quite-four-year-old!  Anyway, I finally finished it…only two months later!  I remember our Hypnobabies instructor joking that hypno-birthing videos weren’t very exciting to watch, and when I go back and read my story it really doesn’t make for very interesting reading...the birth was so easy and uneventful.  :) So here goes.

A little background…  Our oldest son, Ian, was breech and was born by planned c-section. Then with our second son, Malcolm, I had a VBAC, but two aspects of the birth were not as I had envisioned: I was induced with pitocin as well as AROM, and I chose to have an epidural. I went into Malcolm’s birth intending to attempt as natural a birth as possible, but we didn’t do anything specific to prepare for that–we just reviewed our materials from the hospital childbirth class we took when we were expecting Ian, and we practiced some breathing, and I did take prenatal yoga classes, which were wonderful. At five centimeters, however, I was unwilling to continue coping with the pressure waves and chose to have an epidural. I was thrilled with the result, of course–Malcolm and I were healthy and safe, and I got to have the VBAC that I so desperately wanted. But I knew that I still wanted a natural birth experience with our next baby, and I knew that I would need more intense preparation to achieve that goal.

So, when I became pregnant this time we decided to take a group Hynobabies course to prepare for the birth. We really couldn’t afford to pay a babysitter for six consecutive Friday evenings in addition to the course fee, so my husband Bill only attended one of the classes with me. Even though I went to the classes by myself, Bill was very much a committed Hypnobabies birth partner. He kept up with all the reading and read scripts to me every other night. And I was extremely faithful to the the Hypnobabies homework schedule–I listened to my Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations every day without fail, I always listened to a hypnosis CD on the nights we weren’t doing scripts, and I practiced my finger drop/eyes open childbirth hypnosis techniques several times a day throughout. It wasn’t easy to find time to practice and be a stay-at-home mom to two little ones, but I made myself find the time–I really wanted to prepare for the best possible birth experience. I had also been using my finger drop technique to switch off during Braxton Hicks pressure waves for the last few weeks. We had arranged childcare so that Bill could attend the class six birth rehearsal on November 19, but I felt confident that I had enough tools to be ready even if the baby came before the birth rehearsal.

On the evening of November 16, Bill and I read a script together and spent some time talking about which Hypnobabies cues and verbal prompts I thought I would find most useful. I also did a fear clearing session that night to release a nagging worry that I would be too tired to birth naturally. I had been sleeping terribly for several weeks, no more than an hour at a time before I woke up for any number of reasons–because I was uncomfortable or because a child needed me or because my mind was racing. I was really concerned that I was not going to have the energy to make it through my birthing time without resorting to medication to manage the discomfort, especially if my birthing time ran long. I had done two previous fear clearing sessions, one to address concerns about high blood sugar and another to deal with almost obsessive worries about fetal positioning, and I was amazed at the way they really did help me release those fears. After listening to the fear clearing CD that third time, I felt much more relaxed and confident about my ability to summon the strength to birth naturally regardless of how tired I might feel when my birthing time began.
Anyway, between that last fear clearing session, my Hypnobabies rap session with Bill, and having checked off almost everything on our baby to-do list, I felt peaceful and ready, both practically and mentally.

I slept particularly badly that night. I lay awake for hours thinking, and noticing an unusual amount of pressure on my cervix. I had an indistinct sense that something felt different, but I just lay there waiting to fall back to sleep. I finally drifted off for a while, and then at 6:20 I opened my eyes and felt a trickle of fluid. I knew at once that I had not urinated and was pretty sure my water had broken. So I went to the bathroom to put on a pad and went back to bed and told Bill that I had some news and thought my water just broke. He said “O. M. G.,” which I thought was hilarious because it was totally unlike him. I lay there enjoying the surreal moment and waiting to see if I would continue leaking, and sure enough, about 10 minutes later I felt a huge gush of fluid, and less than a minute after that, another. There was no question: my water had broken, and we would soon be meeting our little boy or girl.

I called my parents and gave them the news; my dad was coming to watch the kids during my birthing time, and we had asked my mom (a natural childbirth advocate and veteran herself) to attend the birth in a doula capacity. I knew it could be a long while before my pressure waves started, but since my parents were coming from over an hour away I thought it would be a good idea to give them a heads up. They said they would get ready and head over to our house soon, and I told them not to rush and that I would call them back when I started having pressure waves.

Well, my pressure waves started about an hour after my water broke; I called my parents back and told them I thought they needed to head in our direction and they said they would get on the road as soon as they could. I started using my lightswitch as soon as the pressure waves started–sitting down and switching off during the pressure waves, and then switching back to center so I could move around. They were pretty irregular, maybe every three to five minutes apart, but sometimes farther apart than that, fairly short but also fairly strong. I noticed right away that they were coming on very strong and peaking immediately, and then tapering off slowly, and not lasting very long. This would be the pattern right up until transformation.

It was a very busy morning. I took a nice long shower, tidied up the house, did some laundry, called Ian’s preschool to tell them he wouldn’t be in, baked some brownies for the nurses (which we forgot to bring to the hospital), and brewed a strong infusion of red raspberry leaf tea. Eventually I checked in with my doctor’s office. When I had visualized my birthing time I always saw myself staying at home as long as I could, but when the time came I felt very aware of the fact that I was a VBAC and I wanted to stay in touch with my doctor. The nurse told me to come into the office at 11:00 a.m. (which was the soonest we could get there since my parents weren’t there yet) and they’d see where I was and probably send me over to the hospital. We continued making our last-minute preparations and packed the car. I had intended to start listening to Hypnobabies  CDs as soon as my birthing time began, but I found that what I really wanted to do during these first few hours was just putter around the house and play with the kids–so that’s what I did. I listened to music, too, and the Ipod shuffle was spinning some particularly good tunes that morning, which I took as the first of many signs that the day was somehow blessed or charmed.

My parents arrived around 10:30 and we headed over to my OB’s office; my mom stayed at the house and we said we’d call her when we were on our way to the hospital and would meet her there. At the OB’s office they got us back to a room and my primary doctor, Dr. F, came in to do an exam. She said there was no need to use litmus paper to confirm that my water had broken because fluid was gushing all over the exam table–she actually said “we may need a bucket here.” She did an exam and said I was three to four centimeters dilated and about 50% effaced, and that the baby was at -1 station. All very encouraging news. When we first arrived she was talking about doing a non-stress test before we headed over to the hospital, but after the exam she said that wasn’t necessary because she could feel the baby bopping around in there while she did the exam and could tell he or she was doing great.

I was pleased to learn that Dr. F was on call until 1:00 p.m. the next day, so, unless my birthing time ran quite a bit longer, she would likely be there to attend the birth. I was starving–I had eaten a bowl of cheerios and a banana for breakfast but that had long since worn off–so Dr. F said to go get some lunch and then head over to the hospital. Bill asked at this point about requesting a natural childbirth-friendly nurse at the hospital, and Dr. F said she would call ahead and tell them we were on our way and also request that we be paired with a nurse who enjoyed working with NCB couples. I had not written out a birth plan, but Dr. F and I had discussed the few items that were most important to me: a saline lock instead of an IV, intermittent fetal monitoring, delayed cord-clamping, and the fact that I would be using Hypnobabies and wanted a natural birth. She typed up notes in my chart about my wishes with respect to those items, “to plant the seed,” she said, so that the nurses and OB on call would know what we wanted. That being said, I was still glad that she was the doctor on call because it meant we wouldn’t have to negotiate the specifics again with a different doctor. It was another fortuitous circumstance.

We went to Bruegger’s Bagels to get some lunch, and on the way I listened to the Birthing Day Affirmations CD and kept switching off during pressure waves. The nice people at Bruegger’s actually gave us our lunches for free when they learned I was in the process of having a baby (I drew some attention to myself my putting my head down on the counter during a pressure wave); I had sausage, egg and cheese on an everything bagel. From there we drove over to Women’s and walked from the parking lot to maternity admissions. I was already noticing that my pressure waves really picked up in frequency and strength when I walked; we had to stop a couple of times so I could lean on Bill during pressure waves.

I finished listening to the Birthing Day Affirmations in the waiting room, and my mom met us there. We walked back to our room and met our first nurse, Kim, and got settled. I put on the old flannel shirt I brought to wear instead of a hospital gown, and it felt wonderful to wear my own clothes. Kim had apparently gotten the memo about the IV and the monitoring, because we never had to say anything to her about either. She sent for someone to come in to start a saline lock and she said we’d just get a quick strip on the monitor and then I could be off the monitor for an hour. The nurse got the saline lock in on the first try–so much better than with my second child, when it took two nurses and four tries to get an IV started. Again, fortuitous.

 

Then I sat in bed and Kim hooked me up to the monitor. The pressure waves immediately slowed down when I sat down in the bed–I think I only had two or three in about 20 minutes on the monitor, and they were noticeably less intense. I also learned quickly that changing positions or sitting on the birthing ball wasn’t really an option while on the monitor because it kept slipping off and losing the baby’s heartbeat and having to be readjusted. I was pretty frustrated about this inability to move while on the monitor, and we were all concerned that the pressure waves would slow so much that they would want to augment with pitocin. But the minute I got off the monitor and started walking around again the pressure waves picked right up again. I’m really glad that I insisted on intermittent monitoring, because walking was key to keeping my pressure waves coming.

I spent the afternoon walking the halls and rocking on the birthing ball, and I listened to the Deepening CD once. Around 4:00 Dr. F checked in with us and I decided to let her do an exam to check my progress. I was four to five centimeters dilated and about 80% effaced, which she said was good progress. She said we could augment with pitocin to speed things up, but she also said she knew we didn’t want to do that, and that since baby and I were both doing fine we would just keep doing what we were doing.  At that point my pressure waves were still pretty irregular and not lasting very long, and they were still following the same pattern: they’d come on very strong and then slowly peter out. I had some jello, and then some chicken broth, and I drank a ton of water and used the bathroom a lot. I was really very comfortable–talking with Bill and Mom, and laughing and smiling a lot between pressure waves.  We had been listening to the Hypnobabies relaxation music all afternoon but it got a little boring after a while. For some reason I had always envisioned myself listening to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd during this birthing time, so we listened to that, and it was, just as I thought it would be, perfect for the moment.

I lost track of time eventually–I was really not aware of what time it was at all throughout most of the afternoon. But at some point, things began to change. My pressure waves became stronger and longer, and I started feeling sick. I never did throw up, but I felt pretty nauseated for a while. I became conscious of the fact that I needed something more, so I listed to Deepening again. While I was listening to that CD, the pressure waves became much more intense, and I had to really focus on relaxing deeply with each one–trying to become limp and loose with every pressure wave. By the time the CD was over the pressure waves were coming very fast–one right on top of the next. I started to feel alternately hot and cold, throwing off my shirt one minute and shivering the next minute. At this time I started to find it very useful–necessary even–to vocalize during the pressure waves. I’d repeat either “Peace” or “Open” over and over throughout the pressure waves–and that felt good.

There was a shift change at some point during this time, and our new nurse, Lauren, came on. I was unaware of this exchange, but apparently when she came in the room and saw that I was doing deep, HB-style breathing, she tried to instruct me to breathe differently–”he he hooo”–and Mom and Bill had to explain to her that I was using hypnosis and that this breathing was key to deep relaxation. Anyway, she caught on fast and was soon using the “relax” cue just as readily as Mom and Bill were. During this time, by the way, either Bill or Mom always had a hand on my shoulder and kept using the “Relax” and “Release” cues, and I think they continued reminding me how well I was doing and that each wave was opening my cervix and bringing me closer to meeting our baby. But honestly I was so inwardly focused at this point that I was aware of very little that was said to me or that was going on around me–I was working hard to maintain control. The pressure waves were very intense, and I do believe at one point I actually said “I can’t do this.” I don’t think I really believed that, but in any event things were moving so fast by then that I didn’t have time to dwell on that despair. I also remember feeling distressed because Lauren couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor (which she was just holding up to my belly instead of strapping me into it or requiring me to stay in one position). She was very calm and assured me that everything was fine, that the baby was just so low in my pelvis that she was having trouble locating the heartbeat.

Around this time I started feeling like I really needed to push. Lauren said she would check me just to see where we were. I was aware that everything I had been experiencing–the nausea, the temperature changes, the shaking–were classic signs of transformation, so I was hopeful that good progress had been made, but I don’t think anyone expected to hear that I was at nine-and-a-half centimeters, with just a little lip of cervix left. That was music to my ears and really banished the brief moment of despair I felt earlier, since I knew now that we were getting really close. The urge to push intensified, and I started bearing down with the pressure waves.  I think it was then that she called Dr. F to come in.

 

Things were happening so fast at this point and I could barely move–I remember needing help to change positions. Dr. F came in and started suiting up and getting out the big spotlight and Lauren was preparing the bassinet for the baby, but I still didn’t know how close we were until someone wheeled over the mirror and I looked and saw a huge bulge where the baby’s head was, and a bit of wrinkled head starting to emerge. I pushed once or twice on my hands and knees, and then a couple of times side-lying, and eventually I got into the sitting C position, with Bill and the nurse holding my legs. I definitely lost track of my Hypnobabies training during the second stage. I forgot to put on the “Pushing Baby Out” track, and I consciously gave in to the coached pushing– I wanted that baby out and I knew we were only a few pushes away. I groaned and grunted and screamed like a crazy person, but not necessarily because it hurt that much.  The noises came completely naturally with the effort of pushing. As the baby crowned it became apparent that baby’s hand was up next to his or her face–so the head and hand came out together!

 

I pushed for what they later told me was a total of eight minutes, and our baby was born at 9:02 p.m. I looked down and made the announcement myself: “It’s a boy.” We named him William, and he was perfect. I was wearing nothing but my bra at this point, and Dr. F put him on my chest immediately. She waited several minutes for the cord to stop pulsing and then let Bill cut the cord. At some point obviously I birthed the placenta–no cord traction or pushing on my belly–all I remember was being asked to give one more push. I was just too enthralled to notice much more than the beautiful baby on my chest. Will screamed bloody murder and was beet red–very different from Malcolm, who, though perfectly healthy, was very quiet and a purplish-pale color. Will was robust and healthy–his Apgar scores were 9 and 9.  They left him with me for a good hour, and we nursed and got to know each other for a while before they weighed him–7 pounds 6 ounces, 20 inches long. Then Bill finally got to hold him before they took him to to the nursery.

It’s been almost two months since Will was born, and I still feel euphoric every time I think about his birth.  We have had three very different birth experiences, each one wonderful in its own way, but this one was really, truly amazing. I am so glad I chose Hypnobabies–I really believe that it allowed me to have the beautiful natural birth I had always dreamed of.  I can’t say that it was a completely comfortable birth, but it was really close.  And anyway, I never expected a 100% discomfort-free birth.  What I expected was that I would have a beautiful, mostly comfortable, natural birth, and that is exactly what happened.

 

The Hypnobabies relaxation tools–my lightswitch, the hypno-anesthesia, the cues, the CDs–were indispensable and I definitely did use them, but I think the “re-programming” was the most valuable part of the program for me (and the most enjoyable–I loved the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations). Hypnobabies helped me train my mind to believe that pregnancy and birth are natural and normal, to release fear of the unknown, and to trust my body’s ability to do what it was perfectly designed to do. I went from hoping for a natural birth to knowing I would have one. So to all the Hypno-mamas out there–best of luck to you. Hypnobabies works–all you have to do is let it work. :)

Thanks to Sarah from the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group for allowing us to share her story!

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I have loved reading the birth stories of other Hypnomoms as I prepared for the birth of my daughter, Miranda, who arrived January 9th.  Thanks to everyone on this list who posted questions, encouragement and birth stories.  At last, it is my turn to share my Hypnobabies birth story.

She was born at 39 weeks, 5 days on a Sunday night during a snowstorm.  For the previous two nights I felt what I thought were PW’s in the evening but they always stopped when I laid down for bed at night.  So, on Sunday when I felt the sensations again, I did not think it was my birthing time yet and just continued cleaning up the dinner dishes.  However, the waves continued to come so around 7 PM I started timing them with an app on my iPad.   I laid down to turn my lightswitch off and immediately moved to center position so that I could track the waves.

I handled them beautifully for the first hour and a half—while listening to Birthing Day Affirmations I played with my son, folded laundry, sat on my birth ball and rocked side to side, and logged each PW into my iPad.   I also used the “open, open, open” cue a lot.

There was no consistency to the length or interval between waves so I assumed I had a long way to go even though they were getting stronger. I contacted my doula at 7:40 PM and she said to keep watching them until they were consistently one minute in length.  I didn’t call the doctor yet. I switched to Easy First Stage when they got stronger.

Around 8:30 I couldn’t play with my son any longer—all I wanted to do was lay on the bed in the dark.   I also longed for the support of my doula—my DH did not learn any of the Hypnobabies cues and I wanted some help from someone who knew how to help me stay relaxed.

Since things were happening so fast, we couldn’t wait for my mom to come get my 3 year-old son.  All three of us got in the car and stopped to pick up our doula on the way to the hospital because of the snowstorm.  (My husband had to put my son’s boots and coat on since I was focusing only on myself by that time.  I was so calm during my early PW’s that I had gathered and laid out all of my son’s winter gear–which my husband never would have found since it was scattered all over the place!)

We must have left our apartment around 9:30 or so.  I couldn’t walk to the car without stopping for each PW—I would get down on my hands and knees and sway with the wave, I also used “open, open, open” and “peace” cues.  I was so proud of myself for handling it on my own and knowing to just do whatever my body needed to get through the wave.   My doula called my doctor in the car and she said she was on her way.

It was a tough ride to the hospital because the waves were so strong and I was kind of scrunched up in the front seat in an uncomfortable position.  My water broke in the car and then again in the wheelchair they used to bring me inside.  My doula escorted me to a delivery room and protected me from questions and monitoring devices while I finished getting through a PW.

Then, she helped me into a gown and as I sat on the bed I told them the baby was about to come out.  They didn’t believe me and my doula had to literally show them that the baby’s head was crowning.  (Afterwards, one of the nurses said “you were so calm!”).   Obviously, my doctor was not going to make it in time due to the weather and the speed of my birthing.

A second year resident ended up catching the baby.  The pressure was incredibly strong, but I was OK.  I felt each part of her come out of me and it truly was like she was sliding out.  The entire time I knew I was safe and had no fears.  Positive thoughts were in my mind, even at the most intense moments I could hear positive messages comforting me and giving me everything I needed to deliver my baby.  My doula was amazing—there was no time for scripts but she helped me with the peace cue and also encouraged me to blow out during the strongest pressure waves so that I wouldn’t have the baby in the car.  She was born at 10:01 PM, just five minutes after we arrived at the hospital.

Another awesome thing was that I was able to say everything I wanted when I got to the hospital.  I told them I only wanted a hep-lock and not IV fluids; I told them I wanted to wear my hospital gown open in the front so that I could hold the baby right away when she was born on my bare abdomen.  The number one thing I wanted, if nothing else, was to hold her immediately, and I was able to express that and it happened!

It was the most incredible feeling and I have Kerry  and Hypnobabies to thank for this most precious moment.

Miranda breastfed within 20 minutes or so and did it twice on both breasts before we left the delivery room.  It was magical.  Thank you Hypnobabies for a beautiful birth!

Thanks to Kate, a mom from the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group for sharing her story with us!

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Summary of my fast easy birth:

I have to start out by saying I feel elated! Giving birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life :o) I can honestly write a birth story without mentioning a lot of pain, because I didn’t feel much discomfort. My labor was fast, easy and enjoyable. I used Hypnobabies to prepare for labor. It’s medical grade hypnosis for childbirth.

Sunday night I made spicy eggplant Parmesan to try and jump-start labor. It worked and my water broke at 11:45PM that night! 15 mins later contractions were 3 mins apart. I labored at home for the next 5 hrs. Around 5am Todd and I left for the hospital. We arrived at labor and delivery and I pushed for 55 mins. At  6:55AM Grayson was born!

Early Labor at Home:

Contractions came on so fast after my water broke. I thought I’d be able to sleep for a few hours; instead Todd did the sleeping for the both of us. I labored downstairs for 2 1/2 hrs on my own.

I had a funny conversation with my sister over the phone in early labor. She asked if I’d wanted my Doula to be at home with me during these strong, early contractions and I said no. I was spending most of my time in the bathroom. I didn’t care that I spent hundreds of dollars for the Doula service; I did not want an audience in the bathroom!

As labor progressed I felt most comfortable on all fours in the family room and was handling labor really well using my hypnosis queues. The one thing that was really bothering me was my feet, they were freezing! It was cold downstairs! Contractions were coming closer together and I couldn’t stand up to get a sweater or socks. I was amazed how immobile I became in such a short time.

Todd woke up to my hollering for socks and half asleep ran downstairs to help. He got one long black sock on my foot when another contraction hit. I had a feeling things were progressing fast. I told him to start packing the van, call the Doula and get my Binsi skirt. The Binsi skirt is an article of clothing that’s hospital friendly and easy to labor in. It’s comfy and a lot prettier than the hospital gowns. I wanted to look good while in labor lol.

As he raced around the house collecting our bags, the most intense pressure wave hit and I felt this incredible urge to push. I lost my hypnosis focus and screamed. My body took over and I began involuntarily pushing with all my strength. I yelled, “We waited too long, I’m pushing, I can’t move!” I continued to push and feel panicked. Interestingly the more scared I got the more discomfort I felt.  Todd rushed to my side and calmly said “relax” placing his hand on my shoulder. This put me back into a calm state of mind and I could handle the pressure waves again. Todd then instructed that I had to get up. We attempted shoes until I started to push again and Todd said, “Screw the shoes!” we forced myself onto my feet and hurried to the minivan.

Drive to the Hospital:

On our way to the hospital, I continued to handle the contractions really well with Todd’s help. He’d repeat my hypnosis queues and labor was surprisingly tolerable. Pressure waves felt like a stomach ache.

I remember a car slowing us down. It wouldn’t let us pass. I could sense Todd’s panic and I remember saying, “Todd it’s ok, this is only labor, we’ll be ok”. I was thinking my recent Google search would come in handy on how to deliver a baby in the car. Looking back I’m amazed how calm I was! I definitely feel Hypnobabies had something to do with it.

While we drove to the hospital, each pressure wave made water gush out of me, soaking my Binsi skirt! I was a mess, dripping wet, shoeless, with one black sock on and freezing by the time I got to the hospital. The skirt was quickly dumped into the corner of the hospital room. I could care less on how I looked. The hospital gown was a welcomed comfort because it was dry! My entire body continued shaking. I thought I was still cold but the shaking was from all the hormones. I was in transition.

Hospital:

Once I was situated on the bed in my dry hospital gown, the Midwife checked me and I was already 9 cm!  I felt so much relief and excitement.  Nurses came in and set up the baby warmer. I couldn’t believe how wonderfully fast everything was happening. They didn’t even give me an IV or heplock.

After hearing how far along I was, Todd was smiling ear to ear. I was beaming and he said, “Great job honey, we’re going to have our baby soon!”

I was relieved to see my Doula (Annette) show up in the nick of time. The Midwife gave me the ok to continue pushing. I kept raising my shoulders up to my ears with each contraction and Annette would remind me to relax them. This made the contraction even more powerful and effective. We played the Hypnobabies scripts out loud on my iPod and everyone in the room listened. Annette said, “You’re so calm and controlled”. It was great hearing how well I was doing. The Midwife said, “You look like you had an epidural”.

The Doula was incredible. She not only is a Doula but a Hypnobabies instructor. Annette was very familiar with all the hypnotic queues and easily made any pressure I felt, melt away by pushing on my hips and reminding me to use my Hypnosis techniques. She gave great tips on effective breathing and pushing; I can’t stress how awesome it was to have her there.

Sweet moments, it was so helpful hearing Todd say that we’re going to be great parents and I am going to be an incredible Mom. Todd was so helpful and read me positive affirmations between pushes. I was scared I was going to have a huge baby. Todd would repeat that this baby is the perfect size for my body and the contractions are giving him a warm hug.

I remember how funny it was that pressure waves spaced out to 7 or 8 mins apart. While waiting for a pressure wave everyone would just sit there and relax. I even told my body “Ok I’m ready for another pressure wave?!” I thought how bizarre this all is, so relaxed and quiet.

My hair done up in a mess, teeth not brushed, I had envisioned that I’d be laboring for hours at home. I thought I’d get a shower in and brush my teeth before heading to the hospital. How wrong I was! While laboring at the hospital I asked for mints. The nurse thought that was funny and assured me I didn’t have morning breath. I wasn’t convinced and ate mints between contractions.

I rested my eyes between pushes and sometimes talked. My way of dealing with the pressure wave was to just breath through it. Before the final few pushes, it was mostly peaceful and calm.

The baby started crowning and I reached down with my hand and felt the top of my baby’s head. I remember saying, “wow it feels squishy” and everyone laughed.
To help prevent tears, the midwife placed warm washcloths on me and I was surprised to feel nothing. She also did some perineal massage, using baby shampoo. Todd helped by applying the shampoo to her gloves. That entire area was numb! With another strong pressure wave I pushed baby out. I felt a warm, slippery, wet, 7lb 8oz body pulled out of me and placed on my tummy. Grayson was wiggling around and screaming! Todd cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and Grayson scooted up my stomach, past my chest and started to latch onto my chin lol! I couldn’t stop laughing, I felt amazing!
Nurses were all impressed and continued to tell me how great of a job I did. Shortly everyone left and Todd, Grayson and I were alone. For the next hour and half, I held Grayson skin-to-skin and nursed. We ordered a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast while streaming music from my iPad. It was a really sweet moment in time. We spent one night at the hospital and went home the next day.

Todd and I are ecstatic on how well everything went. Grayson is an adorable sweet baby and is bringing us so much joy! We can’t stop staring at him and loving every second of being his Momma and Daddy. :o)

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Bridget Amber was born on July 7th at 3:13 am, weighing 9lb 13oz, 20.5 inches long.  The birth was completely natural, intervention and medication-free, in a hospital with a CNM.  Bridget is my fourth baby, my first hypnobaby.

Here are some details.  At my first prenatal visit, at around week 10, the midwife informed me I would not be permitted to birth under water this time, due to my history of big babies.  Inside a felt like launching an arguement against this ban because I really like birthing in water and I felt like I’ve already proved myself with my last under water birth of a surprisingly heavy baby at 11lb 5oz.  “It went smoothly, so why the ban”, I wanted to argue.  I decided it’s way too early in this pregnancy to get vocal about how I wanted to birth.  So much could happen still before the birth that could sway the midwives decision.  I decided to hold my tongue.  But this “ban” is what made me interested in hypnosis.

Fast forward to weeks 35 and on.  I began having PW intense enough to really slow me down.  I was still working full-time and doubted that I’d be able to finish working through week 38 as I had planned.  The mornings were always when I felt normal, but after 3 or 4 pm, I struggled to keep appearing unaffected by the cramps, pinching down there, short breath, and general squeezing sensation.  At 38 weeks my cervix was 3.5 cm open and 50% thinned.  The result of these early and annoying PWs.  During this time I was totally useless at home in the evenings.  Trouble moving around to cook and bathe and put the three young ones to bed.  Finally I finished my last day of work and I could just wait.  I waited and waited, very much expected the baby to come any day.  This was my mindset every day for a week and a half.  My guess date was July 8th (but my midwives had it documented as June 29 based on early US).  These were some of the slowest days of my life.  I felt like I was living in limbo.  These are the days when artificial induction, something I’m strongly opposed to, becomes tempting.  But thanks to Hypnobabies I had confidence to just keep waiting.

During the waiting week-and-a-half, my PW established a pattern of coming on at 4:30pm, still random and just annoying.  Every day, though, they subsided while I slept and I felt normal again in the mornings.  Also during this time I had copious amounts of mucus discharge.  It didn’t look like a mucus plug (brownish, old-looking mucus).  Also, toward the end of my waiting week-and-a-half, my stools were a lot looser than ever during pregnancy.  I took these as signs that I was getting ever closer.

Then one night I awoke at 12:38 to a PW that got my attention.  It was pretty powerful AND it didn’t follow my regular pattern of subsiding after going to sleep.  I lay awake and felt two more after a half-an-hour.  At 1:10 am I woke my husband to say, “You need to go get a cab.”  Then I called my midwife.  I felt like I had to defend my case for “now” being the time to go to the hospital.  What do I say, “I’ve had 3 PWs  in the last 1/2 hour?”  Most midwives would say go back to bed.

I reminded my midwife how fast my last two birthing times were (under an hour each) and how this activity was not my pattern.  She agreed to meet me there.  I then called our au pair, who lives in our basement, to tell her we’re going to the hospital.  She’d be in charge of the kids in the morning when they woke-up.  I packed a bag and sat on my birthing ball while my husband lined up a cab.  We left the house at 1:45am.  I remember a PW hit while getting into the cab.  I had to pause for this to pass.  Another PW hit while at a red light on Michigan Ave.  Somehow, we hit all red lights going up Michigan Ave. through downtown Chicago in the middle of the night!  We get to the hospital… PW hits while getting out of the cab.  A hospital employee sees me and gets a wheelchair for me.  So nice of her since she was off and heading home.  We arrive to the hospital at about 2am.

In triage I sit and wait for the nurses to ready a triage room.  No other patients are around.  This is a busy downtown Chicago woman’s hospital that delivers an average of 30 babies a day!  The nurse motions me into a room.  I have to stop to lean against the doorway through another PW.  The nurses are patient.  After giving a urine sample and changing into a gown, I get in bed and get an internal.  They’re used to screening woman who 1/3 of the time get sent home because it’s too early.  They declare me 7cm open and 100% effaced.  They role my bed toward the elevator to admit me to L&D.

A nurse asks me how I’d like to deliver.  Under water, I say.  She tells me the tub was recently used and there’s no time to clean it.  Unfortunately I will not be getting a water birth.   I’m admitted at 2:15am.  In the L&D room, I at first sit in bed and chat with my widwife between waves.  Eventually I ask for a birthing ball.  I sit on the ball with my head rested on the elevated bed and a couple pillows.

Eventually I’m needed so much concentration for these PW, I’ve tuned out my environment.  Then I feel super hot.  I recognize this from my last birth.  I know I’m getting close.  The involuntary vocalizations start.  The “cave woman grunting.”  “Lower the bed.” I manage to say.  Now I climb into bed on my knees leaning forward on pillows propped over the elevated head of the bed.  This position is  close to the hands and knees position I had visualized birthing in.    In this position is where the vocalizations escalate and so does the intensity of the PWs.  I involuntarily push.  I’m totally concentrating on relaxing and following my body’s urges.  During the pushing stage, my midwife asks for permission to break the bulging bag of water to avoid the mess of an explosion.  I agreed to it.  In a matter of minutes the baby is out.

She was born at 3:13am, only an hour after being admitted.  The baby’s nurse asked permission for the eye ointment and the vit D shot.  I consented.  I liked how she asked first.  These treatments as well as other aspects of the baby’s exam were done while I held her.  So nice to see these changes in the hospital treatment vs. separating baby and mom for these treatments and not even including mom in the decisions.  I’m also so pleased with my midwife for being so ‘hands-off.’  She allowed me to do it my way and in my time.  I’d like to have the tub to deliver in, but since it wasn’t available at the moment I needed it, I could handle that news since I’d been preparing for a dry birth from the start anyway.  If I wasn’t prepared mentally, that would have made it harder to accept.

I benefited from the readings and the affirmations from Hypnobabies and the boost to my confidence the overall program gives.  I think the positive mental perspective alone are beneficial, since the physical feelings of PWs and birthing are so welcomed, nothing I couldn’t deal with.  Never did I feel fear or panic as some describe, just empowered and a sense of marvel at the whole process.  The female body is a masterpiece!

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Saturday April 23rd after our 40W+ doctor’s visit where we got to know her heart beat was strong, amniotic fluid ok, that she was still super low in my pelvis (as she had been for several weeks already) and that some braxton hicks were going on (though most times I wouldn’t notice them), we had lunch in the neighborhood with an insurance lady to discuss Leona’s future insurance plan. During lunch I suddenly noticed I was having noticeable PWs, and after timing them for half an hour they were consistently around 3-4 min apart. By this time I was done dessert, and mentioned to Judge that perhaps we should wrap things up and get going, just in case (shocked looks on both Judge and insurance lady’s faces).

I got up to use the restroom – and the PWs slowed apart to about 6-7 min as they had been during the monitoring at the doctor’s office. We decided to head back to the birthing center anyhow, as the doctor had asked us to go do a penicillin skin test (I was GBS positive and would need antibiotics during labor for the safety of Leona). [Turned out I was a bit allergic~ Never knew before]. And then we headed home.

There was no further birthing-time action that afternoon, evening, night, or next morning, so we decided to go mountain cruising. ‘Just in case’ we kicked into gear we did the cruising in the car (which, by the way, is not even a fraction as wonderful as scooter cruising – but still invigorating and refreshing to see all the lush greenness). During the drive home I felt some kicks towards the left-front of my stomach and I was worried she had moved further around (she had previously been left posterior forever, then the day before switched to right posterior).

We ended up going to bed a bit late – 12:30am (so technically April 25th), and I decided to do two hypnobabies tracks – two I had been doing regularly for a while: ‘Baby come OUT’ and ‘Visualize your birth’. In the visualization track I always envisioned the birthing time to start at night, with a lot of dilating PWs going on during my sleep, and waking up around 5am or so and then us heading out around 6am, arriving at the birthing center at 6 or so cm dilated (but not having any internal exams done), would walk along the stone path with stone-wall waterfall and gazebo with Judge and when a PW occurred would ‘slow dance’ through it with him, after a while would head in and jump in the tub, and a total of 4 hours after arriving (so that the antibiotics could kick in) Leona would be born.

During the ‘baby come OUT’ track we are asked to feel that baby is ready to be born. During the previous couple weeks of doing the track I had never really felt this one fully, but that night I truly felt it.

So, at around 2am I finally went to sleep for reals. 3am I woke up because of PWs that were giving me discomfort in my back. After a couple of these that were not so far apart I decided to get up and go downstairs to track them on the computer. After about 45 min they were consistently about 7 min apart, and the intensity was strong all along. I texted my doula [BOP] “Pressure waves every 7 min or so, the kind I have to concentrate for. Powerful back cramping…kind of toe curling.” [END BOP]. She called me a bit later and asked if we wanted to head up to the birthing center to beat morning traffic. I thought that sounded like a good idea, and woke Judge up.

We were in the car around 4:20 am, and the PWs got closer together (around 4-5 min apart) during the 40 min drive – where we got to enjoy the sky-lightening that comes with day-break.

When we arrived at the birth center around 5 am I was first monitored (flat on back with bands around belly). PWs were not as strong for most of them except one which felt like the ones I’d been having up until then – and that was off the chart (the chart only goes up to 100…). I also ended up having an internal exam as it was a choice between that and more frequent ‘band’ monitoring. Using Hypnobabies skills the internal wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Pleasantly surprised. Also measured at 3 cm dilation – not the 6 I had visualized, but enough that they felt I was in my birthing time and let me check in.

Then a marathon of PWs started, where the majority of them were off-the-charters and other than powerful cramping in my back (not the sacrum area but rather in a band between the top of my hip-bones) I didn’t feel any discomfort. The back cramping kind of immobilized me though, and instead of being able to walk around and change positions a lot I was on the birthing ball, with Angie (my doula) providing counter pressure on my back and Judge helping me with my hypnobabies’ cues, and them switching places once in a while. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a fully supported position so wasn’t able to go into full relaxation, which I believe would have helped. In any event, without Angie, Judge and Hypnobabies I believe I would have quickly lost it.

After a couple of hours of these powerful PWs I felt like I wanted to get in the tub. The birthing center has a rule you have to be 4 cm dilated to get in, so we did another internal and I was sure I’d be at 6 cm by then. [BOP] But alas, I was still at 3! This is why internals can be bad…quite disheartening. [END BOP] A while later we did another one and I was finally at 4 cm, and so they took 10 min to sterilize the tub, and then we had to monitor Leona’s heartbeat through PWs to ensure it didn’t dip. Unfortunately it did dip a few times (though I’m not sure if it was because I moved or whatnot) and so there was no tub action for me. Instead Angie took out her TENS machine and hooked me up to that to help with the back-pressure.

At one point I threw up and when got back on the birth-ball had the shakes. Judge was super worried, and asked if this was normal, and I told him if we were lucky this was me going through transformation and things would get busy soon and baby girl would be born. Angie said she had been thinking the same thing. But alas, the nurse came in and we asked her to do an internal (I think we asked for one – a lot of things are fuzzy for me) and I was only at 5 cm. Hrm.

It went on like this for a long time. With just Angie and Judge and I as I had requested limited coming and goings and so the nurses would only come in to check Leona’s heart-beat once in a while – sometimes hooked up kind, sometimes with a hand-held doppler. At one point my doctor came in to check on me, and we did an ultrasound and found that Leona had moved back to left posterior. Somehow this knowledge helped with the back cramping (shows a lot of it is in our heads~~) but didn’t eliminate it.

Finally at one point when I was 7 cm dilated I decided to lay propped on the the bed as Angie said she thought I was far enough along that Leona wouldn’t slip to anterior. This allowed me to finally use the ‘release’ cue and go fully and deeply into relaxation, hypnosis and hypnoanesthesia. It helped immensely with reducing the power of the back cramping that was still there – but I still needed Judge or Angie, as I needed one of my legs propped up as I had it bent in order to be in a better birthing position.

Throughout the birthing process I went through three ‘transformations’ – vomiting and the shakes – but didn’t mind them as I knew they were helping me dilate.

Then, finally, I was in the last few cm of dilation. By this time it must have been around 7 pm or so. Having only had 1 hour sleep the night before, off the chart PWs for about 16 hours, no food, and most of my liquids coming up again, one can safely say I was exhausted. Judge no less so, as he had only eaten a small thing, and had stood by my side the whole time very worried about me – and Angie as exhausted as well as she had not left my side either. So I got into a self-supported position on the bed, Judge lay down on the couch, and Angie rested a bit while keeping a watchful eye on me, and Judge and I both napped. I actually woke up during most of the powerful PWs but was so peaceful that Angie thought I slept through them all.

When I got ‘stuck’ at 9.5 cm, I decided to have the nurse manually rupture my membranes to see if we could finish this journey up sooner rather than later. When the nurse came in to check my dilation, I think she must have touched the amniotic sack and intentionally or accidentally ruptured the membranes as she had said she was first going to just check, but in any event my waters finally broke. This may have been around 9 pm.
Up until this point I had had “Easy first stage” playing out loud almost the whole time. Both Angie and Judge got a bit hypnotized/sleepy because of it (the birthing room lighting was low and comfortable as well) ;P  Once I was at 10 cm I put on the pushing baby out track.

I had planned to just ‘breath’ Leona down and out, but I got powerful bearing down urges, and so – well, still breathed her down, but also pushed with my breaths, kneeling on the floor supporting myself on the bed and tub, using the positions I had learned helped relax the perinium and lower muscles the most (learned from the Pink Kit – quite interesting information in there!). There was no discomfort or pain, just a lot of effort.

For the bearing down two nurses joined my little team, and they would check her progress once in a while, as well as often check her heart-rate. When she had about 3 cm to go I got on the toilet to work through some PWs, and I felt her head with my fingers. I couldn’t believe it was my little baby!

Finally it was time to call in my doctor for the catching of the bebe. I removed the gown as I felt it was just in the way, and found the best position was kneeling on the floor on both knees, supporting myself on the bed (so I was still as vertical as possible) [later Angie asked the doctor if she had assisted in this type of birthing position before - she had never]. I decided this had gone on long enough and it was time for Leona to come out, so I pushed both during the bearing down PWs and between them. My doctor tried to help a couple times (stretch my perinium or something) and I quickly told her ‘no’ and she thankfully backed off. Angie kept encouraging me with my progress (‘silver dollar’, egg sized – shown with fingers) but I was instead rather “what? that’s it!?” :P

Finally I felt if I just pushed a few more times strongly she’d come out, so I did. There was a bit of stinging, but nothing terrible, and suddenly out she slipped. It was 11:01pm and she later measured at 3400g and 51cm long.

The nurses passed her through my legs so I could hold her, and then I was to climb back on the bed to birth the placenta. A nurse held Leona so I could climb up, but wasn’t used to the umbilical cord still being uncut so I had to quickly remind her that Leona was still attached to me and couldn’t move that far away from me! She then slowed her movement so I could catch up, and once I was on the bed Leona was placed on my chest.

The doctor then started to make like she was going to help with my placenta, so I reminded her that I wanted it to come out naturally. After Leona was suctioned more thoroughly she started the breast-crawl as I birthed the placenta.

Throughout the 20 hours of labor I have to admit there were a few times where I felt it was just taking too long. I was too exhausted. Not to a point I wanted to give up, but frustrated and perhaps on the verge of break-down.   I know Judge was worried and thinking I was in a lot of p**n sometimes as I would become a little stressed when I felt a PW starting, needing them to help me through it using the cues. Without them (and Hypnobabies) I know I would not have been able to handle it, but with them it was just strong, manageable discomfort.

So though the birth did not go exactly as planned – I consider it to have been the right birth for us.

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My wife asked me to write this so that more prospective fathers could look at Hypnobabies from a kindred point of view. I hope this helps in your decision-making process. You can contact me by leaving a comment on this post if you have any questions.

The Origin

My wife had our first son the standard way, lying in a hospital bed with an epidural, as expected. We’d attended and paid close attention during birthing class, and even memorized and rehearsed the breathing exercises. That was a fortunate decision on our part, as the epidural didn’t work. Those breathing exercises provided the only slim relief during the very long process. Throw in a large regimen of pitocin, serious back labor, and many many hours of misery and you have our wonderful baby boy exiting his wrecked mother after 34 hours. Clearly, medicine was not the way forward. We decided to find a structured alternative to what was both expensive and miserably ineffective.

The Decision

My wife is a researcher tried and true, and after weighing all the options she could find, we came down to Bradley versus Hypnobabies. My mother had seven kids using Bradley, so we didn’t doubt its efficacy. However, the schedule for the instruction programs available were probably the primary thing pushing us towards the latter, as my wife worked an odd schedule. How fortunate. Hypnobabies is designed based on clinically-developed therapeutic methods for people with allergies to anesthesia, and the program in general seem quite well presented and structured. So we ordered the packet.

The Preparations

The course was remarkably straightforward, with reading assignments for both mom and me. While I procrastinated both due to some skepticism and a lingering aversion to homework (what, I’m an Engineer, I’ve done my time), it really was a quick read. We slowly worked hypnosis rehearsals into her daily schedule and also before bed for both of us. We learned that even if you don’t hypnotize yourself like me, lying in bed with the CDs playing knocked me right out. Do figure out how to play the tracks singly, otherwise you’ll be waking up every thirty minutes. Over time I really began to appreciate the calming effects it was having on my wife, both in general and when I read the scripts for her. She even tried to hypnotize me and several other family members. I’m glad that it worked better on her than others, but I kept my faith in her.

The Version

Our daughter decided that she wasn’t about to turn head down in the last month before birth, and we decided that she was wrong. The obstetrician recommended an “external version” in which he would basically crank on that belly until baby flipped, a procedure normally done with an epidural due to the significant pain involved. The very experienced and skilled doctor was skeptical of this hypnosis mumbo-jumbo, but recognized that an epidural was just a waste of good drugs and tubing on my wife. He brought all the student nurses he could find so that they could see both this somewhat rare procedure and whether Hypnobabies was worth its weight.

  1.   This procedure was ridiculous to watch and left my wife with one very beaten-up belly
  2.   She was perfectly calm and comfortable the whole time
  3.   The medical staff was dumbfounded. I’m not exaggerating. Our doctor was sold on Hypnobabies.

The Baby

Our daughter came on her own time, which was clearly foreshadowing, but regardless we spent the first nine hours of birthing waves at home, doing a lot of walking. Since my wife is very short-waisted, I would apply pressure to the top of her tailbone/hips if the intensity was significant. Learn how to do this.

Once the timing got down to below five minutes, we headed to the hospital so that we could walk around some more for three hours waiting for a room with a tub. The ONLY time there was any pain is when the hospital insisted that she lie on her back for fetal monitoring. Learn how to say “no” to this, make them do it in a comfortable position for MOM, not the tech.

I held a briefing for the staff that was to be assigned to us, describing our comfort management plan. “Oh, she’s the hypnosis lady… I heard about her!” That was nice to hear.

Once in the room we spent a while on the birthing ball, about 90 minutes in the tub, and then the OB showed up for a pelvic. To our surprise, it was time to push!

20 minutes or so later, the water finally broke and out came baby with a lot of noise from mom’s super-omming but again, no pain. Again, a very impressed medical staff and a healthy baby after a mere 16 hours of basically completely comfortable labor.

The Recovery

What recovery? My wife was up moving about on her own, packing up to move to an overnight room within 30 minutes. She had basically no ill effects that a few ibuprofen couldn’t handle. Bring your own, as it is far cheaper.

Lessons Learned

  1. There is no reason to be skeptical or daunted. This program is very straightforward but genuinely rooted in sound practice.
  2. Be a man and take charge of the room. Mom has her business, everything else needs to revolve around her plan, and that’s your job. Keep the negativity out of the room, keep the noise out of the room, keep the lights low.
  3. Eat ahead of time. Mom can do the same. The only reason they push that fasting nonsense is in preparation for general anesthesia during surgery, and even that is a ridiculously small risk. But seriously: eat.
  4. Learn about back-labor relief if your wife is short waisted. Do it.
  5. Really learn and memorize your cues for her. Let everyone know that they don’t need to assume that she’s in pain, because she’ll tell you if she is. Noise does not equal pain.
  6. Bring your own ibuprofen.
  7. Have some way of playing the birthing day tracks on hand… speakers are good but an iPod in a ziploc baggie is as well.
  8. Be prepared to be amazed.

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I decided to use Hypnobabies because I knew I wanted as LITTLE medical intervention as possible.

I gave birth to my 1st child 6/30/08, after only 9 hrs birthing time !  I was completely FEAR FREE !  We got into our hospital room (after triage) at around 5:15 am and Owen was born at 7:53 am.  Our 1st nurse even stayed past her shift to see Owen’s birth (nurses don’t get to witness natural births that often……..not to mention a quiet/PEACEFUL hypnobirth).

I only pushed for about 10 minutes.  As soon as I was cleaned up I was up going to the restroom.  Nobody could believe how quickly I was up & moving around, I felt fantastic.

The hospital staff fully supported our Hypnobabies birth.  Each nurse whispered and none of the staff spoke to me (after the initial questions upon admittance).  Our doula (and Hypnobabies instructor) was a true BLESSING, her support was priceless.

Our Dr. was supportive from the beginning of my OB visits.  She stayed by our side (although she didn’t have to wait long), applied hot packs to my perineum, spoke in a very quite/re-assuring voice etc.

AMAZING   AMAZING   AMAZING  experience.

I would NOT CHANGE A SINGLE THING !

Debbie

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Here is a great birth story, where mom shares how Hypnobabies and her hypno-doula helped her achieve a wonderful birth.

On the day I went into labor, I was so surprised at how well Hypnobabies worked for me. I didn’t even believe I was in labor because my birthing waves felt so wonderful and amazing. Nothing like I remembered feeling 14 years ago with my first.

Click here to read the rest.

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My husband and I decided to try Hypnobabies because I had two tramatic births previously. We started the classes and I wasn’t sure if it would work for me. My first birth was terrible and during my second my blood pressure dropped which almost caused an emergency c-section. Very unstable to say the least.

After we finished the classes and we started the ‘maintenence’ portion of the program, I didn’t have much time to do the hypnosis with two kids and home schooling. I did listen to the cd’s every night and while napping.

My birthing time started around 4:30 on a Saturday evening. By 6:00 I was soaking in a hot tub, feeling very relaxed and secure. I kept listening to Early First Stage the whole time. I never got tired of it. I found the most comfortable postition was to be on all fours rocking back and forth. I never experienced pain, only pressure. It was wonderful to be at home for all of this.

We left for the hospital around 7:30. I had to go to Triage first and be checked. The midwife wasn’t available for about an hour! When she finally made it in to check me, she said she didn’t want to disturb me because I looked to relaxed and focused. Of course, she did and I was dilated to 9.

Cage was born within 15 minutes of her checking me. They took me straight to delivery and I started moving him out. It took a total of 8 minutes! He weighed 8lbs 5ozs and was 21 inches long. My husband was right there the whole time protecting me and our special place. We also had a Hypnobabies doula that was awesome.

This way far the best birthing experience I have ever had!!

Wishing you mothers to be all the best! Melanie

written and shared with permission from a mom from the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group.

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This pregnancy:

When I fell pregnant this time (I am now 41 years old), I had planned on birthing the exact same way as the last two. I never considered doing it any other way. There were two problems however. The first was that we had moved to a new area and even if we hadn’t, our doctor had suffered a very bad injury and had brain damage, so wasn’t practicing anymore. The second was that our health fund put us on the wrong plan 2 years earlier without our knowledge (they made the mistake but we had no proof of that as so much time had passed) so that meant I couldn’t claim for a private hospital and obgyn. I could have gone to a private hospital but it would have cost us thousands, even more if there was a problem after the birth. I now had to go to a free public hospital. They don’t do early epidurals/inductions there!

So now I was faced with having my 5th baby, probably a very quick delivery, with no hope of pain relief until probably too late.

What to do?

I went googling desperately for ways to deal with childbirth naturally and at first found the Marie Mongan HypnoBirthing book on Amazon. I bought that book and felt that yes, I could do this, but that there was not enough info in the book without having to do a class and also the CD that came with the book was insufficient for what I wanted.

I then found Hypnobabies and liked what I read about it. I ordered the homestudy as there are no classes yet in Australia.

I got the course at around 28 weeks I think and started working through it, but as I am so lazy getting started with things and also as I was homeschooling our other 4 kids and didn’t have much “me” time, I found I wasn’t able to get much done at all.

I picked up doing the course again at around 34 weeks. I fell asleep during every single track! I felt like I was such a bad student but I kept on,listening to something every day and night.  I don’t know what I was taking in but it must have worked!

One thing I did for my “bubble of peace” was that I told no one besides my husband, mother and children that I was doing Hypnobabies. I didn’t want to deal with the negativity and with other people’s opinions. I also didn’t want to have to admit later that it didn’t work, just in case it didn’t! I didn’t want to look silly as my friends and family know I like my drugs when giving birth! 

Wednesday 29th October:

I was 2 days past my guess date. I had another appointment with the midwives at the hospital. I’d seen the obgyn’s there a couple of times, but I much preferred the midwives. They were lovely (and more gentle) and would sit with me and answer questions for over an hour. The doctors would just do my checks and usher me out asap.

This time I’d made up my birth plan and took it with me. The midwife I saw thought that was wonderful and fully supported my wishes for a waterbirth, drug free, no interventions,even though I didn’t think I could actually go through with it. She made a note of it on my file on her computer so whoever was working when my birthing time started would know what I wanted and didn’t want.

I’d asked what would happen if I didn’t give birth by the following Wednesday appointment. She said I would then go on visits every few days, so no worry about having to be induced. That was good.

Monday 3rd November:

I was 41 weeks pregnant.My husband George had taken me for a few walks, but tonight he decided we needed a longer one. We must have walked almost 1 mile (approx. 2Km) which doesn’t sound like much, but I had been feeling ligament strain for months,actually since I was 10 weeks pregnant this time and I felt so heavy and uncomfortable, walking wasn’t easy.

I had also been having Braxton Hicks for several weeks on and off, so all the time we were walking, I didn’t worry too much about the mild pressure waves I was feeling.

We got back home and put our younger kids to bed. My mother had arrived 1 week before I was due so she could help and also so she wouldn’t miss the birth, so by now, she’d been staying with us for almost 2 weeks.

I got online later that evening and used the Contraction Master website to time my pressure waves. They were coming every 3 – 4 mins, at 1 min long, which should have alerted me that something was happening, but they were so very mild, I didn’t worry about them much at all. As I had been sitting at the computer and the pressure waves were continuing for around 3 hours, I decided that if I got up and walked around and they kept going that this was it. I got up and got ready for bed and they stopped abruptly. I went to bed and slept pressure wave free all night (except for toilet visits of course).

Tuesday 4th November:

I woke up around 6am and went to the toilet. I noticed slight spotting,very light blood. Some time later there was a bit of mucous in the blood. I had heard that some women have their show days if not weeks before, so again, I didn’t worry too much about it but kept an eye on it.

I began having mild Braxton Hicks again all day. They kept going so I had my mother time them. They were around 15 – 20 mins apart, so no big deal still.

We took the 4 kids to the park and the local shopping centre after lunch. All the while I was still having Braxton Hicks (or so I thought).

I had Mum time them while at the park. It was at this time that I began using my lightswitch and putting myself into center in between pressure waves. They were strong enough that I had to stop and concentrate and breathe through them, but as I hadn’t really experienced this before (my first was a very early epidural too), I didn’t know just how much more intense they would have to get until I knew this was “it”.

While at the park, I put my ipod headphones on and started listening to my Birthing Day Affirmations CD.I listened to this all afternoon until evening.

A friend called me while I was at the park on my mobile phone and I told her I was counting pressure waves. She kept talking to me for a while. That was interesting trying to talk and needing to switch “off”!

We went home and got the kids showered early and had an early dinner “just in case”. I couldn’t eat anything but had a sandwich a couple of hours later. My husband is a crane driver and could be working in any part of Sydney any given day. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to call him from work as he might not have made it there on time. I hoped that our baby would arrive during the evening when he was at home.

When my husband got home from work that evening, I breathed a sigh of relief as things seemed to be getting closer. At around 7pm, my pressure waves were coming anywhere between 6 mins and 10 mins apart. Still nothing I couldn’t handle. I stayed in center the whole time and switched off when I felt a wave coming while I was watching TV. I was beginning to think it was just more Braxton Hicks as they were nothing like I’d thought they’d be.

I told my husband to go to bed at 9pm in case we had to wake him up later on. He starts work very early and had already been up since 4:30am. He ended up going to bed at 10pm after getting his clothes ready. He was fairly certain this was it even if I wasn’t.

I got back online at 10pm and did some banking and also read some birth stories on the Hypnobabies yahoo group. All the while I was still timing pressure waves on the Contraction Master website (Mum was also timing them on paper). They were coming regularly now at 10 mins apart. So much for my fast 2 hour birth that I’d envisioned! Still, I could handle these slow steady pressure waves and maybe that’s what my body needed to get me through. Short fast and hard might have scared me! Lol. At this time, I started listening to Easy First Stage on my ipod.

Mum was starting to get concerned and wanted me to call the hospital. I didn’t want to as if they said to come on in and things didn’t progress, I didn’t want them to suggest being induced. I decided to wait until my pressure waves got closer together,although I knew I was taking a chance being my 5th pregnancy that I might end up giving birth at home or in the car.

At 11pm, I had some pressure waves only 5 – 6 mins apart,lasting up to 1.5 mins long, some even over 2 mins long, so I decided to call the hospital. The midwife I spoke to, Alexis, was very calm and said I could come in if I wanted to. It was up to me.

I decided that as the pressure waves were getting stronger, I should probably make a move to get there soon as I didn’t know how I would travel and stay in hypnosis if they got too much stronger.

I woke up my husband and he very calmly sprang into action. Mum and George packed the car while I stayed on the lounge staying in “off” and “center”. Our eldest Tiffany was to come to the birth too and she was getting very excited. We got our neighbour on standby to babysit and off we went.

As soon as I got in the car (it was now 11:45pm), I had a pressure wave that was very strong. The drive to the hospital was interesting.I still had my ipod on Easy First Stage and was able to go to center and talk to my husband and daughter (Mum was following in her car) in between pressure waves. I had 4 more on the way, 5 mins apart. It’s only a 20 min drive to our local hospital. I had a travel neck pillow that I’d been using while doing Hypnobabies so I took that with me in the car and leaned up against the window using my finger drop. I started to find that annoying so just said “release” to go from center back to off. That worked just fine.

Wednesday 5th November:

We pulled up in the Emergency bay parking area at the hospital just after midnight and I had another pressure wave, much stronger this time but still manageable. No pain, just pressure and a feeling like very strong menstrual cramps. I walked into Emergency with Tiffany and all the bags,CD player and my neck pillow and very big body pillow! George went to park the car.

Tiffany wanted to get me a wheelchair but I didn’t think I could sit down as I could feel Jack’s head very low. I ended up sitting in one anyway and leaning over on one side. Tiff wheeled me through Emergency and around to the lift (elevator). We knew we could just go right on through without telling anyone in Emergency (thank goodness. I didn’t need that hold up). I was a bit concerned for George as he hadn’t been to the maternity unit through Emergency before but he’s a big boy and he had no trouble finding us.

I kept staying in “off”the whole time I was being wheeled by Tiffany to maternity, up in the lift to the next floor. When the doors of the lift opened, most of the lights were off. We couldn’t find anyone at all. Tiff wheeled me into maternity. No one was around. She started to wheel me into the delivery rooms but all was quiet and no one was there. Oh dear! I actually found that funny at the time.

I told Tiff to leave me at the lift so Dad could find me and told her to go into the delivery rooms as the most lights were on in there. She came back when I was back in “off” and I felt her wheel me through the doors and into a room. I heard water running and thought, gosh, they’re filling up the bath! They DID listen to my birth plan!

I finished a pressure wave and opened my eyes, back in center” and saw that I was in the delivery room I wanted to be in, the one with the big spa bath. I had been told that there were only 2 midwives who worked at that hospital who were accredited to do waterbirths and that if when I got there, there was not an accredited waterbirth midwife working at that time, I wouldn’t be able to have a water birth. That did concern me but I thought “just try and get me out of the water!” I didn’t need to ask Alexis if she could do waterbirths. I just knew all was fine as she was busily filling up the bath and leaving me to my hypnosis. I told her we had a sign to put on the door but Alexis said there was no need to use it as no one else would be coming in.

George arrived soon after and he told me to get comfortable. I left my clothes on but took off my long pants and climbed up on the bed while the bath was still filling. I still had my ipod going on Easy First Stage. I found by now I had to breathe quite deeply to get through the pressure waves.

George went and got me a warmed up blanket, but I was already hot so told him “just one”. He’d come back with an armful of them! Alexis used the hand held external monitor to check Jack’s heart rate. All was fine. She checked my blood pressure. It was fine. I did notice she waited until a pressure wave was over before asking me to do anything and was asking me very quietly. At this time, George told her to speak only to him and to please do it outside. She agreed no problem.

Mum arrived not long after George. She began timing pressure waves again, I suppose just for something to do as I didn’t need anything at that point. I had already discussed on the phone with Alexis that if things stalled, I could go back home, so I wasn’t bothered if things progressed or not. I was very calm.

I told George to go to the father’s room and find a couch to lie down on. He didn’t need to be told twice!He was only up the hall a little bit so not far away if I needed him. I had packed his swimmers and had already told him that if I needed him to, he WOULD be getting in the water!

Once the water was ready, I changed into a singlet top (for modesty as Tiff was going to video) and nothing else and got into the tub. The water was very warm which was necessary for the baby. I wriggled around trying to find a comfortable spot. I had visions of myself birthing in the water while squatting, but it really wasn’t deep enough and it felt awkward so I ended up laying on my back, floating a bit as it was fairly deep anyway.

I stayed like that for the next hour and a half, breathing through pressure waves. The only way Mum knew I was having one was that my breathing got heavier. I made no sound except when I came back to center in between if I wanted a sip of water.

George came back in at some point. I didn’t notice at first. Alexis checked Jack’s heart rate with an external monitor a few times. At no point did she try to get me out of the water to do anything else. She did ask me to float my belly up out of the water to check his heart rate which was okay. Later on, she got her underwater one. Why she didn’t have that ready from the start I’ll never know.

Tiffany was videoing at this time. I thought I’d feel self-conscious, but I didn’t care at all. I still hadn’t moved.

At around 2:30am, I decided that things had progressed to the point where I needed to know where I was at. I hadn’t had any internal exams my entire pregnancy, which was unusual in my experience, so my very first internal exam showed that I was at 8cm already. Okay, I thought… I can do this!

Just after that, I started to feel like I couldn’t do this anymore. I knew this must be transition. Funny how you can go from yes I can to um I don’t think I can so fast! I felt very slight chattering in my teeth, nothing like I was expecting and I got even hotter, but that was it. Nothing terrible like I thought it would be.

I then sunk back in the water too deep during a pressure wave and blew up my ipod that was high up on my shoulder! It crackled in my ear and went dead. Oh no!!! I came out of hypnosis and tried to get back in but it didn’t work. I think I would have been okay if Mum had been able to get the tape deck working right away but for whatever reason, it took what seemed like ages. Then when she did get it going, it wasn’t very loud. It was 3am by this time and I guess they didn’t want to disturb anyone else in the hospital. She told me this later and asked my why I didn’t say I couldn’t hear it. I wasn’t thinking about that, I just tried to get though each pressure wave.

George came and sat by the tub and held my hand. Alexis, George and Mum took turns wiping a cold cloth on my face which was lovely. I think it was Mum who tried putting her hand on my head and saying “relax” but I brushed her away. Whoever it belonged to, the hand was too hot.

I remember saying “I hate Medibank Private” (the health fund that mucked us up) and everyone laughed.

I started making these moaning sounds. I was determined not to make any noise and keep calm, but it just didn’t happen. I’d heard women describe the sounds as primal. That’s what they were. I was louder than my Polish background loud husband for once! Lol

I felt a bit pushy and felt some liquid squish out of me a few times during the one pressure wave. I told Alexis that I thought my waters had broken but it wasn’t all that much. She said it was either urine or water in front of baby’s head as it was too clear.

Then I started to really think I couldn’t do it. I’d never pushed a baby out without drugs before and I had no idea what to expect. I said I needed drugs, anything… what could I have? Alexis said no, you need to push. Yikes!

I was still lying in the bath on my back and knew that if I got up into a squat it would be easier, but I just couldn’t make myself move. I guess I was trying to stay “off” and simply lost my focus as I could have just gone into center had I been thinking straight. I ended up doing the purple pushing and making quite a lot of noise and felt like I was getting nowhere. I said a few times, it’s not coming out! I can’t do this! Negativity… I tried not to do that but couldn’t help myself.

George was a wonderful coach, telling me to relax, even though I did feel like telling him to get in and give it a try! He then told me to put one leg up on the side of the bath and Alexis held my other leg. He said I wasn’t opening up my pelvis enough and that the baby couldn’t move down… clever thing that he is!

Alexis said my bag of water was right there and was holding things up and did she want me to break them? I agreed and with the next pressure wave, she broke my water. I didn’t feel a thing.

No sooner had I opened up my pelvis and had my waters broken than Alexis told me to feel for my baby’s head. Jack’s head was just inside and felt all wrinkly. That gave me all the motivation I needed and I began bearing down hard.

I still couldn’t hear the Pushing Baby Out CD on the tape deck, but once or twice I heard a couple of encouraging words like powerful, strong or something like that. I then had the song “I am woman hear me roar” running through my head and felt empowered. LOL

It only took about two more pushes until his head was out. There was just a lot of pressure. I was worrying over nothing! On the video, you can see him moving and wriggling trying to help me get himself out. It is such a wonderful thing to see. I could even feel Jack pushing with his feet to try and get out. I pushed with the next pressure wave and he came out up to his chest and had the cord around his neck. Not choking him but up over one shoulder, around his neck and back down again. Alexis removed the cord and then I pushed a bit more of him out.

I stopped pushing and wondered why Alexis didn’t pick Jack up right away. George said his legs were still inside! Lol. I thought I’d pushed him right out and didn’t even realise there was still some of him inside me. I gave one more gentle push and he floated out into the water all by himself. Alexis picked him up gently and gave him to me right away onto my chest. Bliss!! My vision was to pick him up from a squatting position myself but that didn’t happen. No matter. I’ll try that next time. I was still ecstatic with how I birthed him.

At no time did anyone try to pull him out. Jack and I did that all by ourselves. He got the nickname “banana boy” from Tiffany as he looked like a bendy banana swimming out of me apparently!

I had no drugs, not even a panadol. I pushed for only 28 mins.

Jack Elijah was born at 3:33am on Nov 5th, weighing 8 pounds 14 ounces (4030 grams), 54cm long and 37.5cm head. He passed all his tests too.

I was left in the bath to cuddle Jack for a while. I tried to breastfeed him right away but he wasn’t interested. We did cuddle skin on skin and it was wonderful. I thought I’d be a blubbering mess, but I was just so chuffed at myself for having done it drug free! (When I watched the video later, I cried). I said “Thank you Jesus!” and still can’t truly believe that I did something that had previously terrified me and it was actually what I would call easy! I don’t know what I was so fussed about all these years.

George cut the cord soon after and Jack was free!

In my birth plan, I had also requested that I not be given any artificial hormones to birth the placenta, which was apparently routine and they gave you that just before birthing baby. I’d also said absolutely no IV unless medically necessary in an emergency, so I had no needles at all during the birth either. Alexis wanted me to have a routine IV when I arrived at the hospital just in case, especially as this was my 5thbirth, but I said the needle in my hand restricted my movement so I declined unless absolutely necessary. She agreed.

Alexis reminded me that I’d need to birth the placenta, not that I needed it as pressure waves began again after about 10 mins. I asked her whether I could birth that in the bath or if I needed to get out. She said she would prefer me to get out as she needed to make sure she got it all and that she could pull on the cord to help. I said no I’d try it myself. Alexis then said I could push it out on the toilet. I told her I’d do that.

She put a pan in the toilet bowl and George helped me out. He made a nice little pathway out of towels so I could climb out of the spa, down the couple of steps and onto the toilet and that I wouldn’t slip over.

I sat on the toilet while Jack was being weighed and in only one push, pushed the placenta out by myself taking Alexis by surprise! She wasn’t expecting that and said it was the very first time she’d had a mother push the placenta out without help! Go me!! Lol

After that, I got wrapped up in warm blankets and climbed up on the bed. Alexis asked if she could check me for tears at which point I said there was no need as I hadn’t torn since Tiffany, but I let her anyway and sure enough, no tears at all.

My recovery has been good.  The bleeding is lighter too than it’s been in the past.

I was taken to the ward later that morning and the new midwives I met when I said I’d had a waterbirth said “oh you’re the one!”. Apparently it doesn’t happen too often at that hospital but things are changing.

We were sent home the next night. Gone are the days where you could stay in for 5 or 6 days like I did with Tiffany! That’s a good reason to birth at home… no packing and moving around with a 1 day old baby.

My entire pregnancy and birthing time, I only had 2 internals, one at 8cm and the other when Alexis broke my water. Plus I only had 2 needles. One blood test at 20 weeks and the other the day after I birthed Jack to check my white blood count as it was low. I only had the one ultrasound at 20 weeks also. Talk about minimum interventions!

I had earlier been concerned that my husband wouldn’t be quiet enough to allow me to stay in hypnosis, but when it came down to it, he was such a fabulous support person. He spoke quietly and softly and kept me relaxed and focused as much as possible. He also helped to keep me comfortable. At first after the birth, I felt that I hadn’t done it “right” as I’d started saying I couldn’t do it, but realised soon after that everything I went through was perfectly normal. George I know is proud of me too as he tells everyone I did it drug free in the water, like I just ran a marathon and came first!

Next time (and they’re just might be a next time now) I’m fairly certain I will get a midwife and a birthing pool at home. That way I can have the hypnosis on CD as loud as I want and not have the bother of having to move and travel to the hospital.

I know for a fact that it would have been a lot harder for me to go through this without Hypnobabies. I know I would have panicked and asked for drugs a lot sooner and would have been given them. I also know that I would still have felt like I was missing out on something that I’m now so very happy to have experienced!

Cheers,

from one very happy Hypnobaby Mummy! Kathy 

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