Hypnobabies is FANTASTIC!!! Warning — this story is long, because my labor was loooong! (also use your BOP because mom did experience some discomfort after 40 hours of comfortable birthing time)
Contractions began on a Friday night, when I was 36w3d, at 2am and were strong enough to wake me up. They were 5 minutes apart. At 3am, I woke my husband up. Neither of us slept much after that. At 7am, I called the doula, and she suggested that I eat, drink, and rest because it was probably false labor. By 9am, the contractions slowed down, and didn’t pick up again until 5pm.I managed the contractions and took a bath at around 9:30pm, and started listening to the Birthing Day Affirmations. At 10:30pm, my contractions were very strong and painful, and had moved to my back. I got out of the bath and a couple of minutes later, they were about 2 minutes apart, very painful, and I thought I was going to vomit. I wasn’t getting a break between them. I called the doula to come over, and the babysitter. I also called the hospital to say I’d probably be going in soon. The doula arrived at around 11pm and we decided I’d stay home a while longer and see what happened. I continued to listen to the Birthing Day Affirmations while the doula and my husband helped me manage the contractions with the “Relax” cues and rubbing my back. I said “Peace” through every single one. the doula checked me and said I was less than halfway dilated. I took some Benadryl so that I could sleep, but I was still having very strong contractions 2 to 5 minutes apart. I continued to listen to Birthing Day Affirmations, while trying to picture my cervix opening.
The on-call OB called me back at 6am Saturday morning and mentioned that since the baby was a bit early, I might want to consider going in and getting checked. I thought about it and decided it was a good idea. I was contracting enough to know that this was real labor. The doula mentioned that the hospital could at least give me some temporary pain medication so that I could sleep a little. I started getting concerned about the baby and loved the thought of sleeping, so I decided it was time to go to the hospital. I was dehydrated and hadn’t eaten anything since dinnertime, except for a few spoonfuls of yogurt, so I knew I’d want an IV.
I arrived at the hospital at 7am and was hooked up to an IV and the monitors. I was checked by a resident and was only 1cm dilated. The IV didn’t slow or stop the contractions at all. My contractions were still strong and steady, but my husband and the doula did an incredible job helping me manage, still using Hypnobabies cues while I listened to Easy First Stage. I was able to shift the sensation from pain to pressure, and retained that shift for nearly all of my labor. My husband held his hand on my shoulder firmly and said “Relax,” occasionally also saying “ten times deeper” if it seemed like a particularly strong contraction. Someone rubbed my lower back through all contractions, too. That helped immensely.
Since I was early, the hospital had a policy of not doing anything to augment labor. This was a blessing in disguise, because I didn’t have to fight off any interventions! That had been my biggest fear. They still weren’t “committed to labor” until I showed signs of actually being in labor – meaning that my cervix was changing. An hour later, I had dilated to 2cm, so that that point I was officially in labor and got moved to an L&D room. I asked for Nubain so that I could sleep for a while. It was wonderful to sleep! And, my contractions held steady! I was worried that the Nubain would slow them down. After an hour or two of sleeping, I started feeling the contractions again. I didn’t need to wake my husband for a while because I was able to handle them by saying “Peace”… but eventually I needed his help again.
It was a very long and slow labor. My contractions were always 2 to 5 minutes apart, getting stronger, and radiating from my back. I changed positions a few times, walked the hallway, etc. I loved having my IV pole to lean against during contractions in the hallway. I found it soothing for some reason. I made an “Ohhhhhhhh ahhhhhhh” sound for the second half of labor contractions, along with “Peace” when I was able to say it. Sometimes I couldn’t, and relied on my husband to say it for me. His “Relax” cue was magical. I was also able to turn my switch to “off” a few times and have it work instantly in the middle of a tough contraction – and the pain disappeared on cue. That didn’t always work, but I was amazed when it did!
By 10pm, I was exhausted, and decided that if I was 6cm or less, I wanted an epidural just so I could sleep. I was checked and was only 5cm. By 11pm, I knew that the epidural wasn’t working and that I was in the worst pain of my life! It wasn’t contractions, it was ongoing, unrelenting pain. No middle hump, no wave… I wasn’t able to get back into the Hypnobabies groove. They talked about replacing my epidural, but I was begging to be knocked out and given a c-section. My husband knew I didn’t really want that, so we asked about other options. At 12:07am, they checked me and broke my water with my permission. I was still 5cm dilated. A few minutes later, I felt like I was having a bowel movement and pushed with all my strength… knowing that I shouldn’t push. They talked about involuntary pushing and checked me again. I was 10cm and ready to push!! They quickly got everything set up while I continued pushing. It happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to switch to the Hypnobabies pushing track. I pushed three times initially once I was “allowed” to push, screaming at the top of my lungs. They asked me to wait so that they could catch up, because they could see the baby – he was right there! They told me to only push during contractions, and to channel the energy down instead of screaming. My husband was great at trying to keep me focused and I tried very hard not to scream. I pushed three more times during the next contraction and felt the ring of fire. I think there was only one more push and I felt relief – Caleb was born at 12:34am! They put him on my belly and I got to hold him while they checked him out. He was so small and purple. I loved it.
I felt the placenta squishily plop out a few minutes later. Then I felt them stitching me up (2nd degree tear on both sides)– the epidural still hadn’t taken. They asked me if I wanted to wait for a new epidural or let them go ahead. I wanted it over with so I told them to go ahead. It was quite painful and I had to make sure I didn’t squeeze Caleb too hard, and that I didn’t scream too loud. I tried singing and humming to him to take my mind off the surgery, and of course, Hypnobabies. They eventually used a local anesthetic and it was better after that. It didn’t seem to take too long. I still can’t believe I got stitched up without pain relief! And I couldn’t believe that I’d pushed him out, had a VBAC, and labored without pain relief. 46 hours of labor, including a very intense 27 minutes. Thanks to my husband, the doula, Hypnobabies, all the nurses, the doctors, everyone. We did it!