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Archive for the ‘VBAC’ Category

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

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

My hba2c birth story

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

4/2008: (DS2) Repeat c/s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I was told 19 years ago that I could never have a vaginal birth. This was told to me when I was pregnant with my first child by my doctor. Everyone told me I was just too little and I was just not made to birth a baby. She was a c-section and I had 3 more c-sections after that. Laboring with all of them. One, failure to wait. Two, frank breech. Three, breech. Four, because I didn’t know any different. I knew in my heart I could be normal. I believed this. I just needed someone to believe in me.
I was pregnant with my fifth child. There was only one physician said he would let me try. That’s all I needed to hear. I even scared the midwives and they wouldn’t take me. I finally was going to have a vaginal birth. Well, shortly after that I was devastated to find out I had suffered a miscarriage.
After I got the o.k. we tried again. After trying for one month we were pregnant. I did every thing I could to stay and keep healthy. I took my vitamins, ate healthy, walked 3-5 miles a day and started to see my chiropractor. I also started with Hypnobabies at 13 weeks. (I listened while sleeping at night & used the VBAC cd) Nothing and no one was going to stop me. Thanks to Hypnobabies and my big ‘bubble of peace’ I fought everyone off including my husband.
Here’s my story:
The baby was very low and had been for a couple of weeks. I knew she was going to come early. I didn’t think it would be quite this early though. It was September 5 and I was 36 weeks and 5 days. I woke up at 7:00 a.m. with my water broken. Not a gush, but not a trickle either. I hadn’t had any pressure waves yet. I knew if this was like my last birth they would start soon, even though the last one was a planned section. I woke up my DH and told him today is the day.
At 8:15 my DH called my mom and told her she would need to come and take our DD soon. She is just shy of her third b-day.  We got the kids off to school. Of course, they all wanted to stay home. I started to pack up my things.
9:30 My pressure waves were barely starting.
9:45 They had picked up enough to start timing them. They were 9-10 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long. I couldn’t feel anything except for tightening. No pain yet. At this point I was getting the car seat put together. I also spent a few minutes cleaning the kitchen.
At 10 a.m. I called my doula to give her heads up. I told her I thought it might be a while so don’t be in any big rush. I was just getting started. She said it was funny I called because she was just thinking of me and how I was. I finished up the kitchen.
10:30 a.m. I went up stairs to get the rest of my things together. I started to time my pressure waves again. To my surprise they were 2 minutes apart 45 seconds long. I knew they were a little closer. I didn’t they were that close because I had NO pain! I called my doula back to let her know. We talked about what I should do, wait it out, her come over, or go to the hospital. I didn’t want to go to soon so I decided to stay at home. Since I wasn’t in any pain I didn’t think she needed to come yet. I went on and put in my birthing day affirmations.
11:30 My mom came over to see how I was doing. She couldn’t believe I was in labor. Finally, I had to ask her to leave so I could stay focused (all she wanted to do was talk). Still no pain, only pressure.
12:00 Mom left. I got in the shower. My pressure waves are 2 minutes apart and 45 seconds long.
12:20 I got out of the shower and laid down. I put in easy first stage. At this point my two year old kept hitting the cd player and turning it off. I told my DH since I couldn’t stay focused because of DD to call my doula and mom and tell them to come. My pressure waves seemed to slow down but were more in tense.
12:25 My doula and mom were called.
12:30 My mom came.  I called my doula and told her I was sweating and shaking. I had also gone to the bathroom and there was bright red blood in the toilet. She was still surprised to see how calm and in control I was. She knew because of my symptoms I was in transformation. We both agreed to meet at the hospital. I didn’t want to get there to early but now I thought I wish we had left sooner. No pain, only tightening.
1:00 We were off to the hospital. I still wasn’t in pain but the pressure waves were very intense. My DH was going 55 mph I told him he might want to go a little faster. That was a very long half hour drive.
1:30 We get to the hospital not before DH tries to go to the doctors office first. I get out of the car with no shoes on. We get buzzed in and I have a pressure wave at the door and this LOUD buzzer goes off. My ipod couldn’t drown this out. With the help of Hypnobabies and my doula I make it through. I opt out of using the wheelchair and choose to walk to triage. They ask me to pee in a cup and put on a gown I decline both and ask if they can just get me to a room.
Of course, they have to check me here first. I think they all about fell on the floor when they found out I just had an anterior lip and was +1. That got them moving a little faster.
The rest of  this I am blurry on times. I remember getting to LDR and my doula tells my DH that I was pushing. I didn’t even know I was until she pointed it out. I was vocalizing at this point. Things were so intense I don’t know what I would of done without Hypnobabies or my doula.
The next thing I knew this doctor walks in that wasn’t my OB. My OB catches his own. I ask who he was. He was filling in for my OB. This was not in my plans. From the start he was rude and wanted to intervene in every way he could. My BOP was tested tremendously. I fought him for two hours. Love that BOP.
The hospital was NOT Hypnobabies or naturally birth friendly at all. He said I should be glad he was there because no one else would take me after so many c-sections. He asked if I wanted him to leave. I said yes, then he wouldn’t go! He said no one else would take as a patient. Whatever!
He also kept saying he was only giving me 15 more minutes then he was using forceps or the vacuum, this would speed things up and ease up any pain. One of the nurses said he had somewhere to be. They turned the lights on, I was center stage for people to came watch, I was told I was only thinking about me not my baby because I wouldn’t use interventions, and they told me as the baby was crowning that if I didn’t use an internal monitor I would have a dead baby! Her strip was fine. He just wanted to be in control.
I still say my BOP protected me, if only my DH knew how to use it. I was doing MUCH better than him. Also, I did get to reach down and touch my babies head, that was AWESOME!
3:28 My baby was born. The mean doctor did two episiotomies without consent! As he was sewing me up from my 2nd degree laceration when my doctor walks in. He drove in from two hours away driving 80-100 mph to catch the baby only to miss it by 10 minutes at the most. The mean doctor was giving my doctor some big spiel about how I had ruptured and I needed an IV. Yes, I won with the IV and hep-lock, I didn’t have one. I even got to wear my own clothes-no gown. I think the way I was all over the bed it would have been the way.
So, my doctor checked me and said ‘no, I hadn’t ruptured and there was no need for it’. I think he was really bummed he missed it.
I had done it. A 100% natural VBA4C. No meds at all. This gives me the courage to do it again!
In the end, it was a very bittersweet day. It was a year ago today that I found out that I had miscarried. And today I was blessed with a perfect baby girl and a natural vaginal birth that everyone doubted I could have. God is good!
Stats:
Miley Reyce
5 lbs. 13 ozs.
19″ long
Apgars: 9 and 9. Pretty good considering ‘I was self centered and the jerk was threatening me with the internal monitor with the baby not doing well’.
4 hour pain free labor-2 hours of BOP pushing. Thank You Hypnobabies!
I couldn’t have done it without my doctor, Hypnobabies, my chiropractor,and my doula.

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My 40 week visit with my midwife was on Thursday 9-24, at 40 weeks 4 days. We were doing bloodwork and a 24 hour protein as I had had continued high BP since 32 weeks and we wanted to rule out pre-eclampsia. I had my midwife check me and asked her to do a membrane sweep if she could. It’s not something I normally would have asked for but with my BP so high and the potential to risk out if I was indeed pre-eclamptic and our home induction methods failed, I felt it was worth it. Initially I was found to be 1.5 CM and 90% effaced. When she went to do a stretch and sweep, a small thin band of cervix let loose and I was suddenly 4CM. She said she thought it would stay at 4CM since it stretched on it’s own. She also moved my cervix over so it was completely midline and not slightly off to the side as it had been. This wasn’t a fun feeling, let me just say.

Later that night, I was crampy and was getting brown mucus on the TP but thought nothing of it because I’d had a pretty good exam and figured it was all from that. I got brown on the TP all night and most of the morning. I was feeling a lot of braxton hicks with no real timing to them so I thought nothing of it… Another day, another chiro visit, etc.

That morning, I piled the kids into the van and went to the chiropractor. She assured me my pelvis and hips had spread nicely and everything was even. I asked her to work on the acupressure points for me again (she had done so Monday and Wednesday) as I’d had contractions after she did it Monday and I was willing to take all the help I could get. I left the chiropractor at 11am, the whole time having what I thought were braxton hicks (I’d been having them all morning). I stopped by Popeyes for lunch and noticed while sitting in the drive thru line that the braxton hicks were timeable… Every 5 min, lasting nearly a min! I didn’t want to get too excited because they didn’t feel ‘real’… They really felt like BH!!

 

I came home and unloaded the food and settled the kiddos in… Scott noticed me looking at the clock and pausing and asked me what was wrong … I originally said ‘nothing’ because I didn’t want to get him into birthing gear and have it not be time…. He said ‘no, that’s the contraction timing face’ or something along those lines. I said yes and of course got questioned with ‘how long, how far apart, you should call Joey’… I didn’t want to call her yet… It’d only been an hour and I wasn’t sure it was labor… They were just braxton hicks with cervical pressure (which I’d been having since 30 weeks).

 

I went to lay down in the bedroom after eating, talking with a good friend on the phone who was sort of timing my contractions for me and making me laugh (OUCH) through them. I called my midwife at nearly 3pm, when the contractions had moved into a more steady 2-3 min apart pattern. She said it was a good thing I was in labor because my labs weren’t good and she was actually going to call me and suggest I start some cohoshes and try to move baby along.

 

She suggested I get in the shower and start the cohoshes around 5-6 if things seemed to peter off… I debated starting the cohosh before getting in the shower but I’m very glad I didn’t… The shower intensified things greatly. I tried bouncing on the ball but it made things intense in a way I couldn’t manage so I stopped… In hindsight, it probably would have sped my labor up had I continued to bounce on the ball but I was not able to manage the contractions that way and a manageable labor was more important to me than a fast one.

 

My friend Micah got here around 7 or so and we went for a walk around the neighborhood. I talked to the midwife again, let her know things had intensified and she said she was going to go home and put her kids to bed and then head up. Around 8:30/9pm I called her back because I was getting to the ‘unable to talk during’ contractions and I really wanted to get in the birth pool. She was concerned the water would stall my labor but said to get in and if I felt labor stalling to get back out. The water, just like the shower, intensified things but it was very manageable. Hydrotherapy really works!

 

My contractions spaced a bit and did take a weird pattern but were lasting 2 plus min so I continued to stay in the pool and work through each contraction as it came. My husband was very aware of how I wanted to birth and lit several candles and kept the room dark and quiet. I laughed., joked and talked through much of my labor… sipping on lemonaid viatmin water and trying to eat watermelon between contractions.

 

I started to get a little panicky just after 11pm.. I blurted out ‘Joey isn’t going to make it’ which freaked my husband out. I then started to feel the urge to push… Micah said ‘you don’t sound like women do when they get the urge to push’ and as soon as she finished that statement, I let out a huge pushy grunt that was completely beyond my control. Micah called Joey for an ETA and let her know that I was getting pushy. They were still 30 min away so Micah cut the legs off her yoga pants to turn them into shorts, in case she needed to jump in and help me birth the baby.

 

The midwife, doula/birth assistant in training and the birth assistant walked in the door at 11:30, moments after my bag of waters exploded. It was like a torpedo through the water, it broke with such gusto. I looked back at Micah and Scott and asked ‘what the heck was that?!’…  They came in, started to get set up and kind of watched and waited a bit. I felt more urges to push and so I asked for a cervical check because my fear was that I would not be far enough dilated for pushing and I didn’t want to push against an undilated cervix.

 

With Bella, I felt the urge to push at 6CM and was told not to push, to fight it. There was no fighting this but I wanted to be sure, for my own peace of mind. I was found to be complete with baby at 0 station…. I settled into a semi-recline position, balanced on my husbands legs. It took me a bit to get the hang of pushing and how it felt… It was an incredibly intense, uncontrollable feeling I was unprepared for and I think I was afraid. My coping mechanism during pushing was saying I couldn’t do it, lol. Picture a hugely pregnant woman saying loudly ‘I can’t do this!’ as she’s pushing along with her body. It was a bit comical, I’m sure.

 

I remember telling DH it was his turn to push for a while and he responded with ‘OK, I’ll do the next one’… to which I whacked him (playfully) upside the head. The doula and birth assistant were wonderful during this time, giving me sips of drink and putting cool rags on my head. During the pushing stage, Scott, who had been up since 11pm Thursday night (it was now midnight Friday night/Saturday morning) started to have a panic attack. I kept telling him to get out of the pool before he passed out but he wouldn’t get out. The doula fed him some gatorade and wiped his face down with a cool rag and gave him an ice pack to cool down. He worked through it because he knew he couldn’t leave me… He knew I needed him that much. He put forth a lot of effort physically to help me through pushing.

 

As the baby crowned, I reached down and felt the head… I rubbed the head, touching the soft hair. It was inspiring for me to know that yes, this baby is right there and no one is going to take it from me like they did with Bella! As we waited for his shoulders to be born, my midwife checked to make sure the cord wasn’t wrapped around his neck. I pushed out his shoulders.   My midwife said ‘Felicia, reach down and pull out your baby’ and I tried but couldn’t reach around my still huge belly to get him. I kind of panicked because I couldn’t reach the baby. My husband lifted me up more so I could reach and my midwife helped guide him to my chest. The most euphoric feeling is catching your own baby… I think especially in a VBAC or in my case, a VBAMC.

He didn’t cry, in fact his eyes were closed. It kind of scared me that he wasn’t OK but he was pinking up so they assured me he was fine. I counted his toes and fingers and checked to see what we had been blessed with… A boy! A bit surprised as I had felt girl for a while, up until the end. I called my mom at 12:45, just 15 min after he was born, while we were still sitting in the birth pool. She came right over and was a bit upset I didn’t call. I meant to call after my water broke but I was so far into laborland that I thought it but didn’t speak it. I woke Caleb when I yelled during my final push and so he came in to meet the baby… He was a little shy at first with so many people there but he warmed up quickly to his new baby brother.

Shortly after, we cut the cord and I got out of the pool to deliver the placenta. I did bleed a lot and needed a shot of pitocin. The baby was weighed and measured. 8lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long… with a 14 1/4 inch head…  They really wanted me to go to the bathroom but I couldn’t…. It took me a bit to convince them I’d be OK even though I hadn’t pee’d for them.

I snuggled up into my bed with my new baby on my chest and just nursed him all night… Caleb came charging in the bedroom around 6am wanting to see the baby… Bella trailed behind him and saw the baby, gave him a kiss and then ran away to play. I felt bruised and sore but it was an amazing feeling knowing that it was all worth pushing that baby out, in my home, in my bedroom, the way I wanted it.

Jameson was born via VBA2C at home on September 25th, 2010. He came 5 days after his due date and the day we found out I did have pre-eclampsia. He was my largest baby at 8lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long and 14 1/4 inch head.

 

So many people told me I couldn’t have a baby vaginally, that I was crazy stupid to even attempt to do it at home.. And that I was nuts for wanting to go natural. My birth was amazing, nearly pain-free aside from pushing (which I believe is because I was unprepared for how it would feel)  I wouldn’t change a thing. I was incredibly well supported by my husband and my friend Micah as well as my birth team…

And that’s the story of my amazing, empowering HBA2C…

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My baby girl was born March 5 at 11:26pm in a natural, drug-free VBAC!

 

After dropping my son off at Montessori on Wednesday, I went walking at the mall with another Montessori mom. Just as we were finishing, I got a message that Ian was sick so I went to pick him up early. He had a gastrointestinal thing happening and slept most of the afternoon.

 

I went to the chiropractor for my final planned adjustment at 3:00pm and then I started feeling badly, like I was getting what my son had. All through the night, I had a kind of crampy feeling and had to go to the bathroom a lot,–every hour. The next day, my son was better, but I just wanted to lay around. I still had some crampy gastrointestinal feelings and they got worse over the day.

 

My husband decided to come to Erie, PA from DC that night instead of Friday night as planned since I wasn’t feeling well and thought something might be happening. He left DC at 4pm for the 7 hour drive to Erie. But, by about 5:45pm, I told my mom that I thought something was happening. She told me to time the “happenings” and they were three minutes apart. We decided to jump in the car and head to Pittsburgh (2 hours away). Unfortunately, my husband did not have a cell phone with him so we couldn’t contact him.

 

I laid in the back of the van on the floor and listened to my Hypnobabies. I called my doula and midwife, but my midwife didn’t call back. I called again and the nurses answered because he had left his phone at the hospital, but they said he was on his way to the hospital to pick up his phone. I told them to tell him I was coming.

 

We arrived at the hospital at 8:45pm or so. I was put in a triage room and checked a little after 9pm and was 8cm dialated!

 

We moved to a Labor and Delivery Room and I labored mostly on my hands and knees. I can’t imagine laboring or pushing on my back. My doula applied counterpressure and massage to my back and both she and my midwife offered encouragement through the tough contractions. I went to the bathroom and wanted to get in the shower, but my midwife wanted to check me first and then get the baby back on the monitor before I got in the shower. My water broke as he checked me. it was clear and warm and all over the bathroom floor. I was complete.

No time for the shower, we went back to the bed and waited for the pushing urge. I put on the Hypnobabies Pushing Baby Out track and I started pushing. I  pushed for about 20 minutes and she was born. I did not feel a ring of fire. I did have a second degree tear, but I didn’t feel it happen. I did mother-directed pushing and I pushed my placenta out by myself as well, without pitocin or traction. Hypnobabies definitely helped with the pushing. The nurses wanted to know what I was listening to on my ipod.

Everyone was impressed with how well I handled the contractions and that I went drug-free. The Hypnobabies did not make things pain-free, but did help keep me focused, to get through one contraction at a time. I was pain-free for quite a long time, though because I didn’t realize I was in labor.

 

Everything went perfectly, except that my husband missed the birth. He got to Erie at 11:00pm and was sent to Pittsburgh  (2 hours away) by my dad and brother. He arrived at the hospital at 12:50pm just in time for everything to be cleaned up and for him to meet our baby girl.

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I wrote this for broad consumption so I used colloquial terms, not Hypnobabies terms. I plan on sharing this story  far and wide as I advocate for the safety and beauty of natural VBAC deliveries.

This is a very long story, not because a lot happened, but because I experienced a lot while it was happening.

I want to note that I do not mention God in the course of this telling, not because He was absent from the event, but because His presence permeated the event. Conception is a prayer. Birth is a prayer. The closeness of my relationship with my husband is a prayer. I tend to pray physically and emotionally rather than verbally, so when I speak of calming, of embracing the power within myself, it is all rooted in my connection with God. I believe that God was and is present in all, and so I chose not to be redundant in the telling of this story.

First, I have outlined some of the events that took place before labor started:

Starting after week 20 when I’ve had an ultrasound to confirm a happy, healthy resident within my womb, I begin the Hypnobabies Home Study course. I am a firm believer in the power of a positive attitude, and that our state of mind has more to do with our physical well-being than we tend to give it credit for. While practicing the Hypnobabies course, almost without fail I slip into deep hypnosis and experience what is termed “hypnotic amnesia.” This means that I remember starting the session, going into the relaxed state, then can’t remember anything else until I spring awake to the sound of the instructor counting upwards from one to three. I have listened to each track while making myself stay conscious, so I know I wasn’t receiving any hypnotic suggestions that were out of line – to the contrary, it all made a great deal of logical sense to me.

Oct 11th: I arrive at my 36 week appointment. I have scheduled this appointment with an OB rather than my midwife because hospital policy requires two prenatal visits with an OB for mothers seeking a VBAC. The OB discovers that my baby has flipped to a breech presentation, which is the reason I had a C-Section with my first child. I leave the office feeling very upset but trying hard to remain positive about the baby flipping back head-down. I schedule a version (where the OB manipulates the baby from the outside to flip back head-down) for the next day.

Oct 12th: I’ve downloaded the Hypnobabies track for flipping a breech baby and listened to it once at home. I go in for my version and bring my iPod with the track loaded on it. As they are doing the non-stress-test for the baby before the version, I listen to the track a second time and slip into deep hypnosis. I wake up as the instructor counts from one to three, and within five minutes the OB arrives to begin the version. The entire process takes maybe a minute and, quite honestly, tickles. Women often speak of how painful a version is, but it was not in the -least- bit painful. The OB and nurse comment about how great my relaxation technique is.

Nov. 10th: I see my midwife, who informs me that I’ll need to make an appointment with the OB to discuss induction options in case I am still pregnant by the following monday. I’d like to note here that I had an amazing midwife for my prenatal care – very hands-off, very relaxed about the fact that I was a VBAC patient, and very encouraging that I could have the delivery I was hoping for. I chose the practice and the hospital based on their fabulous VBAC success rate and their low-intervention approach. However, I was going to be 41 weeks pregnant and they do have policy tied up in liability that would require they suggest induction after a certain point. I knew I had the right as a patient to refuse, but I also knew as a mother that I had to weigh risk and reward and make some tough decisions if my labor didn’t begin naturally.

And so begins the story…

I left the midwife’s office feeling frustrated. I knew that in order for labor to begin and succeed naturally, I needed to have some alone time with my baby to come to peace with a great many fears I was experiencing. My dear friends who were going to watch Morgan for us at the time of actual labor agreed to watch her for me that day, since they’d had a premonition that things would begin for me that day – I called them as they were walking to the phone to call me. Right before going to see my friends I spoke to the mother of another friend – the mother is a hypnotherapist and had guided her own daughter through a hypnobirth. She gave me a beautiful pep talk that really set the tone for my attitude the rest of that day.

I dropped Morgan off with our friends, then went straight to my chiropractor for an adjustment and another very good pep-talk. She had me speak out loud to my baby and ask him if he was ready to be born. I could feel that he was, and that it was definitely my fears that were keeping him inside. I knew that I needed to release those fears before anything productive could happen, so after leaving the chiropractor I called my husband and asked him to come home and spend the evening with me so we could both center and ready ourselves for the arrival of our new family member.

Over the course of the evening we discussed quite a bit about fear, and how it can impede success. As absolutely geeky as this sounds, I asked Chris if he had the Litany Against Fear from Dune memorized, because I might want – or need – him to recite it to me to help put me in the right frame of mind while laboring. Of course, he rattled it off without a moment’s hesitation –  I love my husband :).

I personally find this litany to be very powerful:

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing……Only I will remain.”

I firmly believe that fear stops progress in many ways. We build mental and emotional blocks, which can in turn become physical blocks. Fear can and does stop labor. It isn’t anything mystical – it is a natural safeguard against danger. When women were birthing in caves with wolves howling at the door, they needed a way to protect their offspring. If labor had begun and the wolves crept too close, a women had to be able to flee to safer ground to complete the delivery of her child out of harm’s way. It just makes sense. It happens to other species in the animal kingdom. It is how we survive. This, along with the anatomical structures within the muscles of the uterus, is something I learned about through the Hypnobabies Home Study Course. That is another reason I really loved the course – it wasn’t just about state of mind, it was very educational and taught me a lot about my body that I didn’t know before.

The difference for women today is that the wolves at the door are mostly of our own making and in our own heads. Escaping a fear that is born from within takes a little more mental control and faith. I needed to spiritually ground myself that night with my husband by my side in order to believe that I was truly safe and could deliver our baby into the world.

Our friends were kind enough to keep Morgan over night, and Chris and I had a close and beautiful evening together. The next morning I was awakened at 3 a.m. by a rather strong contraction. I got up and went to sit by the computer with my timer. I had a couple at 12-15 minutes apart, but nothing exciting. Eventually I found myself wandering to YouTube. There I searched for Hypnobabies Birth and found this beautiful video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlG1j2lNm6A). It apparently inspired me, because minutes after I finished watching it my contractions began to get closer together, until they were between 5-7 minutes apart. I timed them for about an hour, then decided to go back to bed to see if they persisted. They did, and I continued timing as long as I could. I dozed off between a couple, but would be wakened by the intensity, which I saw as a good sign.

After three hours of this, I decided to wake up Chris and let him know. I called the hospital to see if they wanted me to come in yet (yes, 5-7 isn’t very close, but I’d been sternly reminded time and again that for a VBAC they wanted me in sooner than with a “normal” labor, so anything strong and persistent under 10 minutes apart I was advised to call). The nurse on the phone’s response was, “Oh, we don’t like having VBAC moms laboring like that at home! You need to come in now!” So, we did.

On the drive to the hospital I kept worrying that I would get to the hospital and everything would stop. I didn’t want to be one of those that they “sent home.” After all, I’d been having contractions off and on since 36 weeks – I’d waited until they were intense enough to wake me from a deep sleep and close enough that the nurse on the phone wanted me at the hospital.

Well, to keep this portion of the story short: I was sent home. As soon as I walked into the triage room they went from 5-7 minutes to a half hour apart. I was only slightly more dilated than I’d been the day before. Nothing worth staying for.

Upon leaving the hospital, it dawned on me that the triage room was my last point of fear. That is where I’d been when they informed me that Morgan was breech and where the OB had so callously delivered the verdict of “You just bought yourself a C-Section.” (Yes, those were her exact words.) I needed to ball up that memory of triage and throw it away. It had nothing to do with the present.

Which brings me to another relevant movie quote. This is the exchange between Simba and Rafiki from The Lion King. Rafiki has just hit Simba on the head with his walking stick:

Simba: What was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.
Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Yes, the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you either run from it, or learn from it.

My body was still running from the past. I needed to let that part of it go, and hold on to the lessons learned. I’d already acted on everything I’d learned from that experience – that I needed to be my own advocate, that I needed to listen closely to my body, and that I needed to be prepared to accept whatever may happen that was outside of my control. I hadn’t made my first child flip breech. I hadn’t made my water break before discovering this. I hadn’t chosen to go into labor on the night that the one OB in town who I didn’t trust was on-call. I had done the best I could in the situation at that time, and my beautiful baby girl was born to the world. That was then. This was now. I needed to separate the two events once and for all.

We went to see our friends who were caring for our daughter. When I exited the car at their house my contractions began again (right in the driveway!). They returned to the 7-10 minute range while we were there, because my body knew it was safe. Eventually we decided to go home so we could rest. We brought my daughter home with us because we missed her and wanted to have the evening with her, knowing that within the next 48 hours the baby would be here for sure.

We had a nice evening together. Chris did his best to keep Morgan from bothering me as I was having more and more intense contractions, so I could be left to center and calm myself, but quite honestly one of the most beautiful moments of the entire night happened while Morgan was with me. One of the physical and verbal cues taught in the Hypnobabies course to put the mother into a relaxed state is to have the birthing partner say the word “Peace” and place their hand on the mother’s shoulder.  In my case, I chose the physical cue of having Chris put his hand on top of my head – it’s a gesture he’s done from the beginning of our relationship to help put me into a calmer state of mind. Since Morgan wanted to cuddle with me in bed while I was trying to relax myself, I decided that she could help. I explained that when I asked her to, I needed her to put her hand on my head and say “Peace” because it made Mommy feel good. And she did, gently and proudly. It was really special to have with me and helping in her own small way to bring her baby brother into the world.

At around 7pm, we got Morgan into her jammies and put her to bed. We both read to her and tucked her in for the night. She was exhausted from all the fun she’d had with our friends and fell right to sleep.

Soon after putting Morgan to bed, I had two things happen that lead me to believe the show was very much on the road. Yuck warning: I lost my mucous plug and had quite a bit of bloody show, and my intestines decided to empty themselves. At that time my contractions had gotten close enough that they were erring on the side of 5 minutes, though with breaks as long as 7 minutes. I called the hospital again to check in, and this time the person who answered the phone was very nonchalant about it, even though I was a VBAC patient. She advised me to just labor at home as long as I was comfortable. I didn’t particularly want to go hang out at the hospital again, so I gladly followed her advice.

By about 8 my contractions were still floating between 5-7 minutes apart, but were intensified. I was having “back labor” (I guess – my lower back was hurting with each contraction), but I discovered that if I applied pressure to the two points above my hip bones in my lower back, it was like an “off” switch for the pain. At this point I didn’t feel the “pain” was really all that bad, and found it easy to manage using the pressure points and hot baths/showers.

At this time I also stumbled upon a really, really funny website – damnyouautocorrect.com. I could not keep from laughing out loud – really, really out loud – and kept reading through all the contractions because a friend of mine had advised that laughter, especially mouth-wide-open laughter, is good for dilating the cervix (that whole mind/body connection). I probably read the site off and on from 8 to 9. At one point Chris even came running into the bedroom to check on me because I was laughing so hard he thought I was sobbing.

Around 8:30 my friend who is a doula stopped by to check on us. She wasn’t able to be my doula for the birth due to some prior obligations but was nice enough to check in. Apparently the Hypnobabies calming and relaxing techniques were working because she took one look at me and said, “Oh, you’re nowhere near having this baby! You probably won’t need to go anywhere until tomorrow morning.” And after a visit of about ten minutes she left, with the promise to come check by again the next morning.

At around 9 I crawled into bed to rest for a bit and asked Chris to come be with me. I put on the Hypnobabies “Easy First Stages” track and we listened to that as the contractions got more and more intense. After listening to the track, we got back up and seriously discussed getting a hotel room in Waconia so we’d be closer to the hospital when the “real” deal started. It was about 9:30 when Chris began looking for a hotel room.

It was while Chris was in the living room on the phone with the hotel that I, alone in the bedroom, started having what seemed to be a never-ending contraction. It started, got very strong, then abated for maybe half a minute before intensifying again. I waited for it to end, then realized that it wasn’t one long contraction after all – my contractions had just suddenly jumped from 5-7 minutes apart to 30 seconds – 1 minute apart. I walked out to the living room just as Chris hung up with the hotel and informed him that we weren’t staying at the hotel after all, and we needed go NOW. (Note: the hotel was kind enough to refund our stay – it helped that we called them at 3am with a squawking newborn in the background!)

I called the downstairs neighbor who was kind enough to agree to stay at our place for the night so our friends (who only had one car, and that car was out for the evening) could come pick Morgan up in the morning. Chris ran to pull the carseat from the car and bring it inside, and I did my best to keep my wits about me as the contractions came rolling one on top of the other. In a flash of inspiration I grabbed the baby’s ring sling, wrapped it around my back and under my belly, and used it to apply pressure to my back whenever a contraction hit. That made things more tolerable. Chris calmly escorted me to the car and we got underway.

Now, between when the contractions made their magical jump and when we got to the car, I was not using any “calming” techniques. I was in, “Get the hell out of the house and to the hospital quickly!” mode. I was scared, anxious, and hurting. I was so oblivious to anything but “get to the car” that I was even groaning loudly through contractions in the elevator, not caring who might be there when the door opened (and generally I try to behave with some decorum in public areas!). When we got to the car, I called the hospital one more time, let them know what was going on and got instructions on what to do when we arrived (it was some time between 10 and 10:15 when we hit the road, so we had to enter the hospital through the Emergency Room). With that last “must-do” task out of the way, I figured it was time to start focusing on calming myself.

I found my iPod and put on my soothing music and just… relaxed. I don’t recall doing anything consciously, it just happened. I attribute that to the self-hypnosis training – all the tools I needed were in place, and I didn’t have to work for any of it. The music I selected was from a CD I’d owned since college (which, for some perspective, was over ten years ago). It’s the CD I listened to whenever I needed to zen myself into a state of peace for writing (which was my profession prior to motherhood). It was also the album that I added to my HypnoBabies playlists on my iPod – I’d listen to whatever track was relevant for the day, then the music would play. That way the music was closely tied to the hypnosis training.

It was truly amazing how quickly I found peace and centering on the drive to the hospital. When a contraction came along, I would apply pressure to my back, then let it roll through me. I found myself chanting “open, open, open…” – again, not a conscious decision, it just felt like the right thing to do, and it helped bring me to a more relaxed state.

After a good long drive through deer-infested wilderness (it’s about 30-45 minutes to the hospital from our apartment, depending on traffic and lights, through some beautiful countryside. A little part of my brain was actually set aside for looking out for deer – I have better night vision than my husband and the last thing I wanted to do was hit a deer on the way to the hospital! Funny how our minds work sometimes…), we arrived. I was wheeled up to the labor and delivery floor and put straight into triage. They hooked me up to the monitors and went to get the midwife. Chris supported me again through the wave of contractions. When the midwife checked me, I was dilated between a four and five. This was just after 11p.m.

Another side note here: the midwife on call that night was the other midwife (there are two at this practice) and, strangely enough, the very first time I saw her, I had a premonition that she would be the one to deliver my baby. I even told a friend about it at the time. I loved my prenatal midwife, and I loved the midwife who delivered my baby – both women are outstanding at what they do and I would recommend them to anyone!

Back to the story…

We were moved to our birthing suite. This whole time I’d kept my iPod going with an ear bud in one ear so I could hear my music but still interact with the hospital staff. The nurse was fabulous (I want to keep her forever!) and would acknowledge when I was having a contraction and sit quietly until it passed. Chris was also incredibly amazing through all of those contractions – without fail he was on the spot to apply pressure with one hand and place his other hand on top of my head, saying the “peace” cue along with other soothing words. There were many times when I would be so overwhelmed with love for him by the end of the contraction that I’d curl up against him or lean over for a kiss. The bond between us at those times was indescribably strong.

We hooked my iPod up to the docking station (our room had a built-in docking station with surround sound, so very nice!) and turned the lights down way low. It was incredibly relaxing and very calming to have the music play throughout the room – I think it really set the tone for everyone. The nurse and midwife both noted several times throughout the evening that we were doing an amazing job working together, and that my relaxation technique was really good. Again, I know that half the credit goes to my husband and how in-tune he is with my needs. I am a very, very lucky woman!

One of the first things the midwife did was to break my water and hook me up with internal monitors. Because I was a VBAC patient, this was required, and quite honestly I’d take internal monitors over external any day. I hate the feeling of anything strapped on my belly – I could hardly even stand pants or skirts with maternity panels because the pressure on my belly was annoying.

I’m not sure what time it was when she broke my water. For the next hour or so, the only way I marked time was by the music that was playing. I believe we listened through the playlist at least once and had started it over again before things once again changed up. There were times during this phase when – quite honestly – I had contractions that made me giggle. I’m not sure what it was, but they really did kind of tickle.

By the time it was nearing 1 a.m., the contractions I’d been having that compelled me to chant, “Open, open, open…” had changed to a chant of “Down, down, down…” I could feel the urge to push down and out, but until the midwife gave me the green light, I didn’t want to give in to the urges. This was the one time when things got really intense again – not painful, just intense. This is one of the least flattering descriptions, but one that will likely be universally understood: when I was fighting against the “push out” contractions, it felt very much like that body-wracking shakes you get from violent diarrhea. I had just gotten onto the birthing ball to try leaning forward against the bed and rocking my hips when these began. The midwife came back in and asked me what the contractions felt like. I described it to her, and she said it was time to do another check. This time when she checked, I was fully dilated and ready to push. It was just after 1 a.m.

Some of you may notice that something is missing in this narrative: transition. Having just read up on transition, I believe that the few minutes (really, it didn’t seem like a very long time) where I was having those body-wracking shakes might have been transition, but it wasn’t horrible at all. Like I said, it just made me shake more. It didn’t hurt. I can say that with absolute honesty. And once I was given the go-ahead to give into those urges and push, the shaking stopped.

In 99% of life you will NOT hear me use this phrase, but when it comes to laboring, I just have to say: ignorance is bliss. My contractions were not timed. I was not on the clock. I wasn’t told what “stage” I was going through. My midwife and my nurse simply said “let your body do what it knows to do” and that was it. THAT helped so much! Had I been told, “Those contractions are 90 seconds apart..” I would have been feeling every moment that passed. I was not placed under a microscope – rather, it felt very much like the tide washing in, rolling over me and through me, a completely natural occurrence that was nudging me toward the horizon of my child’s birth. Though I glanced at the clock a handful of times, no one ever called out the hour. It was a timeless transformation from mother to mother and child.

As I started pushing, I tried leaning backward against the back of the bed. It worked alright for a while, but it wasn’t quite right. I tried a couple different positions before we decided that – based on my pelvic shape and what felt good – I should lay completely flat on my back with my knees by my ears (well, not literally – I’m not that bendy!). The midwife agreed that it was a very counter-intuitive position, but that with how things we working for me, it might be our best option. And, quite honestly, it was by far the most comfortable position for me.

The pushing portion of labor went very smoothly. I don’t know how else to describe it. When I felt the urge to push, I’d push. Neither the nurse nor the midwife ever told me to hold my breath or started counting to ten for me. They encouraged me to breathe through the pushing but to keep my muscles engaged. At this point the little voice in my head kept repeating, “I’m a belly dancer! I can totally do this!” The big, masculine voice outside of my head was also saying beautiful, encouraging things to me the whole time. They had turned on the “spot light” (like the light at the dentist’s office, but shining elsewhere) and had told me to imagine pushing the baby in that direction.
I did request the mirror while pushing knowing that I’m the kind of person who performs better when I can see results taking place. I will admit that I didn’t have any starry, “Wow, that’s really my baby!” euphoria. I did have a, “Wow, that’s him” moment, but after that I went back into the mindset of, “I have a task to finish.” Well, watching the progress did help quite a bit. When I reached the point where I was crowning, I recall thinking, “Is this it? That’s not really so bad…” Again – I attribute that mainly to the fact that I wasn’t afraid. I had also been coaching myself that I wasn’t going to experience the “ring of fire” sensation because I’m a fire performer and I know how to deal with fire. Totally a mind-game, but it appears to have worked! Oh, and I was completely lax about “preparing” my perineum for birth, but the midwife did apply oil while I was pushing. I kept cracking up the nurse because I am very, very ticklish, and every time the midwife would put more oil on, I’d giggle. I’m assuming they don’t get many people giggling during labor.

Once he crowned I believe it took one more good push and he came all the way out. His left hand was tucked up by his face – I remember that. And I remember thinking, “Damn.. that’s a lot of baby!” (He was 9 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 inches long.) They placed him right up on my chest, just like I had wanted. I just remember feeling how warm and close he was. I looked at Chris and saw the joy beaming from his eyes. There was one itsy bitsy tear at the corner of his eye, and for Chris, that’s a lot. This is quite honestly the part of the delivery that is the most blurry – I remember everything in a haze, but mostly just remember how incredible it felt to be holding my baby. He was born at 1:41 a.m. – a mere four hours after the “OMG it’s time!” contractions started at home.

The midwife let the cord finish pulsing before she clamped it and let Chris cut it. The placenta delivered very soon after and everything was fine. Upon inspection it was found that I had one tiny nick on the inside, so she put in a single suture and that’s all I needed.

And that, more or less, is how Jameson came into the world. I was allowed to get up out of the bed after an hour and had no trouble at all walking. It felt good to have control of my body through the whole process, to feel and move my limbs as my body directed. Was it entirely pain-free? Not entirely – not until I got centered and was able to relax was I able to roll with the punches, so to speak. Was it painful? When taking that word to mean “full of pain,” then: No. I can say that for sure. Uncomfortable, odd, different – but certainly not agonizing! It was totally doable, incredibly empowering, and a truly beautiful experience.

There is no reason why a healthy mother giving birth to a healthy baby shouldn’t be able to have a successful VBAC, and even a beautiful natural VBAC should she so choose. Preparing to give birth helped me finish healing the emotional scars of the C-Section. Giving birth opened me to a whole new side of myself and helped me access wisdom, insight, and power that I never knew I had.

I would like to thank the staff of Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, MN, for the amazing experience, the grace and the respect shown toward my body and its natural abilities.

Please feel free to share this story far and wide.

Theresa M., Plymouth, MN
Age 30
C-Section performed 01 Jan 08, girl, 7 lbs 4 oz, 18″, 9/9 APGAR
VBAC delivery 12 Nov 10, boy, 9 lbs, 4 oz, 20″, 9/9 APGAR

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Let me just say that I am very proud of this birth.  It was at a free-standing birth center with midwives and my hypnosis helped tremendously!

Eli was born at 6:53 am on July 9th, a day after our 10th wedding anniversary! He was 6lbs 8 oz upon arrival. I am writing this up now, only 2 days after birth because I won’t be able to take naps during the day until I do! My mind simply keeps playing over the events that I don’t want to forget. This birth was done with Hypnobabies hypnosis and was absolutely perfect.

My birthing time started the morning of July 8th and pressure waves were about 5 to 7 minutes apart from the very beginning. My mom came over that morning as she and dad are up visiting for about a month. My ‘guess’ date was July 21st, by the way! All morning, I walked, squatted, laid on the couch, and tried to stay as active as possible. I really wanted to walk outside but it was in the low nineties and the humidity was very high. I ended up just staying inside with our swamp-cooled air.

To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had worked towards this natural birth since the moment we found out we were pregnant. I figured out pretty quickly that if I wanted a completely natural birth I would have to step away from the OB/hospital birth that we initially were signed up for and go with a midwife/free-standing birth center birth and I’m glad that we did. Just to give a little background, my first birth was by C-section and even though at the time I was happy with it, after doing more research I believe my section might have been avoided by doing more walking/activity during labor. My 2nd child was a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and again, at the time I was thrilled with the outcome but the recovery was made difficult by the epidural/pitocin/episiotomy/vacuum extraction train that I boarded. Just recovering from the episiotomy took a full year!

So as I was laboring at home and looking forward to my 3rd birth, I knew what I was avoiding. I knew there was a small chance of transfer to a hospital from the birthing clinic but accepted that that might happen and that it would be because of a true emergency. So, midway through the day I started listening to my hypnosis tapes and one of the suggestions was inhaling relaxation and exhaling peace – I took this and modified it a bit. I would inhale and upon exhaling I would use my peace cue and breathe ‘peeaacce’ through the first part of my exhale and ‘open-open-open-open’ through the last part of my exhale. It allowed me to focus my anesthesia going to my middle and also to visualize my cervix opening. I believe this, along with the abdominal breathing was critical to the superb birth experience that I ended up having. It produced supreme relaxation. (As an aside, I read up on abdominal breathing because exhaling to the count of 8 had always given me trouble. So what I did was inhale first into my abdomen, and then fill up my lungs. My exhale would push the air first out of my lungs and then out of my abdomen. This gave me more to focus on instead of just the counting in to 4 and out to 8.)

By evening my pressure waves were more intense but I was staying nicely on top of them and was feeling very relaxed. I was listening to my ‘easy first stage’ CD and my ‘deepening’ but at times also just using my peace/open exhaling to relax through them. We started watching the DaVinci Code as mom had never seen it. I watched through about half and then went up to bed to try to rest. At some point I had a PW that took me by surprise and was a bit difficult to get through and because I wasn’t able to feel high enough to see how much I was dilated I decided to go down around midnight and let mom and Noel know that we needed to leave for the birth center.

We arrived at about 1am and upon stepping into the building I immediately had to squat next to the couch and go through a PW. The midwives were there and everyone stood back respectfully and let me do what I needed to do. I believe at this point I wasn’t yet actually saying my peace/open exhale out loud. I was more whispering it to myself. We got set up in their largest birth suite and I proceeded to squat, lay on the bed, toilet sit, and do a variety of positions that I hoped would get him moving down. Danny, the lead midwife checked me and I was 4cm and she suggested we wait a bit before getting into the tub. So after a couple of hours I was checked again and was 5cm and then got into the tub. Holly, the student midwife would come every half hour and check on the heart beat and his heart rate was always wonderful which was a relief. My husband was timing my PWs and at this point they were a little over a minute long and about 2 minutes apart.  The water felt great with the first PW but after that they must have heated up because the relief soon left me. I started moaning my peace/open chant out loud and kept on top of the PWs for awhile. The pretty LED colored water helped, too! lol After a bit, probably around 4am, I decided to get out as I was getting too warm and though I was doing great relaxing through the first and last part of the pressure waves, I started loosing my concentration during the peak and would tense up my body. I decided a change of position might help.

So after getting out of the tub, I tried laying on the bed for awhile. I listened to my hypnobabies a bit more and didn’t want to stay in one position too long and so I tried some toilet sitting while hanging from my moms shoulders. This position was really effective with allowing me to relax my abdominal muscles upon inhalation. As I would inhale into my abdomen I would allow my muscles to just droop forward and down and it felt really good! I managed a couple that way before they again got the best of me and I decided I wanted back in the tub. My husband was putting some more hot water into the tub but as I was going from toilet to tub I ended up making a beeline for the bed. I got on my side and heard Kerry’s voice say “and your pressure waves are SO comfortable”. I was in the grip of a tough one and I yanked the earbuds out of my ears and tossed the mp3 player on the table and yelled “they are NOT comfortable!”. I laugh now about this. Mom told me later she thought that might have been when I entered transition. Anyway, then I had a pressure wave that was WAY different from the others. It felt like it just kind of took over my body and I didn’t like it one bit. I was laying on my side when I felt something pop down through against my perineum. I told mom I felt something so she went and grabbed the midwives. Holly, the student midwife came in first and she looked and said “uhhh, Danny?” Mom said she looked like she didn’t quite know what she was seeing. Turns out it was the intact water sac just inside of me! Mom later said that she thought Danny and Holly were surprised that I was moving along so fast. With the next PW, it popped out of me, still intact and it broke on its own a couple seconds later. She then was able to check me and said I was at 10cm.

Up until hearing that it was the amniotic sac they saw and that I was at a 10, incredibly, I didn’t realize that these new tough PWs were pushing PWs.  I just thought they were a new plateau I had arrived at and that I had several more hours to labor through. This was only around 6:45am and at 4am I had been only 5 centimeters!

So I had another PW while side-lying on the bed and Danny said she saw his head just inside my perineum. I remember thinking, ‘that was fast!’ because it can take a LONG time sometimes for the head to descend from cervix to perineum and with me it happened with one involuntary push! Yay! I reached down and felt his head there but I told Danny I did not want to deliver in a side-lying position, even though it’s really a great position for preventing tears. I felt horribly out of control.  She said, ‘well move fast’ and I got down and used the birthing stool that we had discussed as a possibility. (The other high possibility was a water birth, but that wasn’t going to happen at this point – the water was too cold). Once on the birthing stool, I felt SO much more in control of my PWs. In fact, I barely felt them. I did feel the so called ‘ring of fire’ but looking back it wasn’t that bad. (I had entirely forgotten about the pushing baby out track by this point!)

[Editor's note: Oh, I wish someone at the birth had remembered to play the "Pushing Baby Out" track on the "Birth Guide" CD out loud for this mom to hear while she was pushing. It would have helped beautifully to remind her of the "Peace" cue for instant physical comfort and she would have heard hypnosis suggestions like, "anesthesia flows out ahead of your baby, soothing and numbing everything in your bottom as it goes", and "more powerful natural anesthesia with every breath you exhale now", "Peace...and powerful anesthesia now", etc.]

I pushed twice on the birthing stool, once to get his head about 1/3rd out, at which point I reached down to feel it again (very wrinkly), and the next push had his head out. His shoulders rotated nicely and he just came down and out really fast into the midwifes arms. His cord was short so I couldn’t pull him up too high, so I held him more in my lap while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. It didn’t take too long as I had already started some separation bleeding. Danny said that I delivered him over an intact perineum but I did have a skid mark.  Almost two weeks later it is feeling almost completely healed. Noel cut the cord and that was that!

My almost 6-year-old daughter McKenna was at the birth, but as we arrived at 1am at the birth center, she slept in one of the other suites while I did most of my laboring. My mom brought her in when I was pushing a bit on the bed. She and I had talked about birth and had watched a few videos so she was prepared for blood and yelling or possibly none of that. When I was on the birth stool, she was on the floor on a pillow kind of turned away but when the midwife said ‘here comes the head!’ she popped right up and got in there to see. I remember hearing her say a very enthusiastic “WOW” when he came out. I’m glad she was present. I’m hoping it will create a very special bond between them. She watched his first bath and loves holding and kissing him. Danny cleaned off the blood, but left the vernix so he’s kept his sweet baby smell for a few days.

So overall, excellent! I am very happy with how everything went and if this wasn’t my 3rd child, I’d be chomping at the bit to do it again. Amazing experience! I credit the hypnosis for keeping me positive and calm during the pregnancy and giving me great cues to help me focus through my pressure waves. I am thankful for how well the abdominal breathing worked. The midwives at The Baby Place were so kind and respectful and let me lead the show. I am still on a baby high right now! Thank you, thank you!!

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What Ifs? Come True!

A woman on one of the message boards was struggling to keep her confidence up as her birth drew closer.  She was planning her second VBAC, first unmedicated birth using Hypnobabies.  She kept talking about all the possible problems and reasons she should agree to an induction or “just go for the drugs” or even a repeat c-section.  She was fighting off her OB’s induction suggestions (for a VBAC!?!), despite being 5 cm dilated at 38 weeks, and 7 cm dilated at her 39 week appointment!  Some of us encouraged her to think about more positive “What ifs…?” and she later posted this, which I thought deserved to be shared:

“What if my water breaks on it’s own and I get to feel the joy that I’m going into labor in my natural surroundings?  What if I get to celebrate the start of “Birth Day” with my SO and children, in our home…with excitement knowing LO is soon to come?  What if I get the NCB nurse of my dreams and she is soothing and wonderful?  What if my mom sees just how strong of a woman I really am?  What if I amaze DBF and he actually feels emotions and lets them show?  What if I have people respect me and my birth time enough to listen to me calmly and openly, and treat me like they are lucky to be in attendance?  What if I get to feel and see my baby come out?  What if I get to feel him against my skin before he’s cleaned up and dressed? What if I get to hold and nurse him right away?  What if I am healed from past abuses by birthing my child?  What if I feel so emotionally charged that baby blues are non existent? What if I have the birth of my dreams and am forever changed for the better?  What if there is a renewed sense of appreciation for my older children and they feel more love from me?  What if everything goes right?”

This morning she sent me a message (and a similar one to the board) that said simply.  “My ‘What ifs’ came true.”

That is a good days work right there.  Thank you, Kerry, for all you’ve done and all you do!

-Susan

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