Archive for the ‘Birth Story – VBAC’ Category

During my last pregnancy I really enjoyed reading positive birth experiences so now I want to share mine.

I have given birth twice before, if you call having a baby cut out of your stomach “giving birth”. I don’t want to go into details about my negative experiences so I’ll summarize to give you an idea of where I was coming from. During my first birth I was progressing surprisingly fast for a first time until a nurse accidentally hurt me badly and caused my body to go into shock which slowed my labor to an almost stop. After many, many hours of labor the doctors refused to wait any more (I was 9cm at this point), even though my baby’s heart showed no sign of distress, and I  received a very traumatic Cesarean. Second birth was a forced c-section because the baby came about 6 weeks early and I was 4 hours from my hospital, the one I ended up at wouldn’t allow me to have a VBAC (I threatened to give birth in the parking lot if they wouldn’t let me just push him out but I wasn’t able to waddle out there. lol.)  Both babies were perfectly health though!

Both times everyone told me “Just be thankful you have a healthy baby.” Of course I was dearly thankful for a healthy baby (I love my two little boys with all my heart) but I could have and should have been able to deliver them in a healthy way.

I was very discouraged, especially since I had planned a natural birth with both of my pregnancies. So when I became pregnant with baby #3 (another precious boy) I did extensive research and became determined to do hypnobabies, I started the course very early in my pregnancy, ate super healthy and after much prayer my husband and I felt very confident in giving birth at home. The midwife we chose had a lot of experience and also happened to be a good friend that lived only a block away.
Hypnobabies was such a HUGE help in being able to overcome my fears and as my birthing time approached I grew more and more confident in my ability to ease my baby into this world. I had many people who told us things like: “Since this is your first vaginal birth it will be a long, hard labor and many hours of pushing.” “Having it natural is great but it should be at a hospital since its a VBAC.” etc etc. Not to mention the “Your crazy!” comments from random people. But it didn’t matter what they said we were confident and knew what was right for us.

At 3:33 pm on Feb 8th, not long after my husband got home from work, I began getting mild pressure waves. I knew they were simply practice waves since I had been getting a lot of them this week but as we gathered in the kitchen to eat a late lunch the waves were getting progressively stronger and I found it easier to rest my head on the table through each one. My husband knew it was ‘that’ time but I still wasn’t convinced. It must have concerned my precious 4 year old because he reached over occasionally and tenderly rubbed my hand to offer his comfort.
My husband finally convinced me to call the midwife. She brought over her equipment and my husband filled up the birthing pool while she checked me at 4:30. I was completely effaced but only dilated to about a 4 1/2. She offered to stay but voiced her desire to return home and shower first. The kids had now gone with the babysitter so I thought it would be nice to just enjoy this time with my husband and I encouraged her to go. Not long after my midwife left I made a trip to the restroom and found it difficult to get comfortable then on my return I spotted the birthing pool. The warm water was so inviting and instead of changing into the birthing skirt and swim top I had planned on wearing, I lost any sense of modesty and stripped completely then sank into the water. It was so soothing!

The pressure waves were rapidly becoming a LOT of pressure and at one point the fear of this lasting for hours caused me to tense up and I lost my focus but my sweet husband brought me back and I can testify that relaxing makes a HUGE difference! Then for the first time I actually tuned into the hypnobabies cd that was playing in the background and it eased things up too. I tried the belly lift technique (from the book: Back labor no more) through a few of my waves but it seemed to make me more uncomfortable instead of less. I suspect that it still sped things up because suddenly I realized that my body was pushing! In complete awe I told my husband and he quickly called the midwife (good thing she was only a block away!). It was now 5:31 and my sweetheart kept telling me to stop pushing until she got there but there was no stopping my body, it had taken over.

Our midwife arrived minutes after. She moved back a slight cervical lip and gave me complete permission to push. WOW! I was amazed at the incredible power my body put into each push. I had read that in your birthing time it is very relieving when it comes time to push and I now know what those women were talking about. After a few pressure waves my midwife suggested that I reach down and feel my baby’s head in the birth canal. That was another WOW! moment. With each push I could feel his head move closer and closer, it was so amazing and exciting!! We didn’t have enough hot water to fill the birthing pool very far so it only reached up my tummy when I was on my hands and knees. My midwife had me get into a squatting position so that my bottom would be submerged for the crowning but that position stopped the baby’s progress so after a few pressure waves she had me get back onto my hands and knees. From there the babies head was soon crowning. As I was trying to slowly ease my baby’s head out I could really feel the stretch so when my midwife asked me to push I obliged her and in two pushes I felt his beautiful head emerge (I still didn’t tear at all. YAY!). It was strangely incredible to feel his head protruding from me. I could feel his wet hair and his tiny ears. I was then told to go ahead and push out his body even though I wasn’t having a pressure wave. I was surprised at how easy it was to do so with one quick push. He was born at 5:50. I immediately turned over onto my back and my little angel was placed onto my stomach. He lay there looking around at his new world, occasionally making the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard.

In less than 2 1/2 hours from when my pressure waves began and almost 20 minutes of pushing I had given birth to my baby. It was the most empowering experience of my life! He weighed exactly 6 lbs and measured 19.5 inches. I’m so in love!


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Lyla was born on April 16th 4:13am weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and was 20 inches long! I would definitely call this a Hypnobabies success story!

A lot of people have been curious about Lyla’s birth story especially since I used hypnosis to have a completely natural birth. I hope that in sharing, this will encourage more women to trust in their body’s ability to give birth naturally and not be so quick to accept interventions that are unnecessary (and which lead to more interventions and c-sections). Also, I wanted to add to all the other positive stories out there of successful VBACs- and for everyone to know that a VBAC after 2 c-sections is not only possible but can be such a great experience! Those who know me know I tend to be wordy, so yes, this is long and detailed. Also it is a birth story- so expect it to be just that!

To tell the story of the birth Lyla, a little bit needs to be said about the births of our first two children. Having a natural birth has always been important to me. My mother had 5 kids and it wasn’t until her last baby that she experienced the rewards of a completely natural birth in Japan with the help of some amazing midwives. That was enough for me to want it. However, my first birth ended in a c-section. From the very moment I walked into the hospital, nothing was going my way. Although I didn’t want an IV or to be monitored constantly I was told I had to and I eventually gave in- and I ended up laboring uncomfortably in a hospital bed. By 8cm it was just too much to handle and I asked for an epidural. When I hit 10cm I was immediately told to push (unnaturally) and pushed for 3 hours with no progress. Never once did I feel an actual urge to push. My tired doctor finally convinced me I needed a c-section and I gave in. With my second baby, I approached the same doctor about a VBAC. He told me my pelvis was too narrow for natural birth and that I would need a scheduled c-section. He was very convincing and I trusted him again.

When I got pregnant with my third, I knew I had to do what it took to get my natural birth. A birth where I was alert, aware and in complete control of my body. From the very start odds seemed to be against us. I was worried that after 2 c-sections it would be impossible to find a care provider who supported my wish. But with encouragement from my husband and close friends, I started searching, and my search led me to Melissa Courtney- a midwife who had just started her own practice at Womankind Midwives. I remember feeling so nervous walking into her building to talk to her- and I RARELY get nervous over things like that! But the moment I met her I felt at ease. She was kind and sweet and took a lot of time to listen to my story and the reasons why a natural birth was so important to me. She calmed any fears I had about uterine rupture and other complications. Even as I got really emotional she was so sweet and understanding. I knew immediately that I wanted her to deliver my baby. BUT. There was a catch- she had to get a doctor who would back her up just in case. Thankfully that was Dr. Campbell- a high risk OB who supported midwives and their cause. I had to wait for Melissa’s call that day that he had agreed to give it a go. I was so nervous. Then the call came. He was on board! There were a lot of “what if’s” but at that point I didn’t care. I had faith that things would work out and I wasn’t going to give up.

In our quest for a natural birth, we decided to take a Hypnobabies class. My best friend had used Hypnobabies with her VBAC and raved about it. That led my sister-in-law to use it for her birth and she also had a great experience. The class was taught by Julie Six, who was also my sister-in-law’s doula. I decided to contact her to see if she would be a good fit for us. In talking to her, she was very experienced and passionate about what she did. After texting back and forth we also discovered that we knew each other already! From high school! Small world… no wonder she felt like an old friend! We decided to hire her as our doula and I had every bit of confidence she would help me in every way possible to get the birth that I wanted. I also learned early on that finding the right people to support you during birth is so important!

As my due date got closer and closer there were a few concerns. My first 2 babies were apparently considered close to the “large” side at 8 pounds (Joselyn) and 8 pounds 10 oz. (Landen) The policies at the hospital don’t allow for VBACS of babies looking to weigh more than 8 pounds 14 oz. (let alone a VBA2C!) So Dr. Campbell wanted to make sure that my little Lyla wasn’t going to be close to that number. At 37 weeks she was already calculated at weighing 7 pounds 3 oz and with babies growing about half a pound a week, we would be cutting it close. At this point I should also mention that apparently there were 2 due dates floating around. Dr. Campbell had been going by my April 6th due date (calculated according to the first day of my last period)… but according to an early ultrasound, her due date was actually projected to be April 11th. The latter was the date my midwife had been going by. We went back for another ultrasound 2 weeks later and were relieved to find out that she had only gained 4 oz!! This was such a blessing!! With that, Dr. Campbell pretty much said we were good to go!! My only concern after that was that she would come fast so there would be no more questioning her size.

So then we just waited. And waited. April 6th came and went, nothing. Easter came and went. I was for sure she was going to be an Easter baby. April 11th came and went and nothing. I was starting to get a little concerned… but Melissa was reassuring as was Julie. Babies come when they are good and ready- and Melissa didn’t seem too concerned over the weight of the baby. I was a little anxious so I had Melissa strip my membranes twice, both pretty much only causing a few pressure waves here and there with some minimal cramping.  Over the course of the 5 days leading up to Lyla’s birth I would get periods of pressure waves that were getting closer together and stronger. I would think “this is it!!” but then they would stop. That was so frustrating to me!! Not to mention a little embarrassing since I felt like the boy who cried wolf every time I called Julie or Melissa. On Saturday night April 14th, I just had a feeling I would be going into labor the next day. It was approaching 4 days past my latter due date which is when I went into labor with Joselyn. I knew for sure I wouldn’t feel up to going to church so I called for a sub. At 1 am in the morning the pressure waves started. They were 5 minutes apart. I wasn’t going to cry wolf this time, so I timed them for 2 hours, I took a nice warm bath and listened to my hypnosis tracks to relax myself. When they didn’t stop, I finally called Julie and Melissa to give them a heads up- but told them I would call them later on in the morning.  I tried to get a little sleep in between pressure waves and at this point everything was very manageable. Nothing painful at all- I wouldn’t even call it discomfort.  I was actually enjoying them! Really! I knew it meant that I would finally be getting the birth that I wanted and that I would finally get to meet my little Lyla Jane. When everyone woke up at around 8am, pressure waves were still coming 4-5 minutes apart lasting about 1 minute long. Melissa had told me that’s when I would want to be going to the hospital- but when I called her she wanted me to wait a little longer. The more I labored at home the better.

Julie came over around 9:30am and we took the kids over to my in-laws. I got out my trusty birthing ball and did a lot of my laboring right there in my living room. I listened to just about every hypnosis track in my possession. We went for lots and lots of walks. I have fond memories of these walks. It was incredibly beautiful outside- a light cool breeze and sunny skies. It was the kind of day I had imagined in my head when I thought about Lyla’s birthday. We talked and laughed in between pressure waves- I was so excited things were happening!! We were going to do this!

By around 4:30pm things hadn’t really progressed much- pressure waves were still about the same or ranged from every 2-3 minutes apart to 4-5 minutes apart.  We decided to go meet Melissa at her office just to check on things. I had said early on that I didn’t want to know my progress in numbers- I was afraid knowing would discourage me if I hadn’t made much progress even though I had been taught in my classes that those numbers could mean anything. Well, it really was a good thing I didn’t know. After laboring all morning and afternoon, I was apparently only 4cm. I was 100% effaced though and the baby was at 0 station so at least that was all in place! We were sent back to labor at home some more. We tried to all get a little nap in when the evening came and even took another nice long walk just as the sun was setting. I really was starting to get a little discouraged. I kept on waiting for Julie to say “ok! let’s head to the hospital! It’s time!” but she never did. I personally felt like things were going SOMEWHERE because I felt different.  I went through a period of chills and shook for a little bit as I was laying down and at one point couldn’t stop crying I was just so emotional. I was laughing through the tears because I honestly had no idea why I was crying. Of course it was the hormones- things were progressing- but still not enough for Julie to think I was ready to head to the hospital. I was afraid that if something were to happen fast we wouldn’t get to the hospital in time, but Julie reassured me that everything would be ok since we lived only about 5 minutes from the hospital. As far as “pain” or discomfort goes, everything was still manageable. Intensity had definitely picked up though especially in my lower back. Julie and Adam both took turns with massages and hip squeezes (took a lot of muscle on their part!) that relieved a lot of the pressure I was feeling. By midnight I was just ready to have the baby. It had almost been 24 hours since I started my labor and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel discouraged. I felt that by staying home I was somehow keeping Lyla from coming- that I needed to be where I was going to give birth. In a lot of cases, going to the hospital can slow things down though- so really we had no clue what was going to happen once we got there. But I wanted to be at the hospital. So we went.

When I first walked in to the room, the nurse immediately told me she supported what I was doing 100%. Not only was that a confidence booster, but it made me feel a lot more comfortable. Because it was a VBA2C, I was supposed to immediately get a heplock and be monitored the whole time. I was also supposed to get a dose of antibiotics because I had tested positive for Group B Strep. But Melissa still felt I had a way to go and that I would possibly want to go back home if I didn’t make any progress so they held off on the IV. I was checked- and once again, it’s a good thing no one told me. I was only 5cm!!! After laboring ALL DAY LONG!!! But as you will see, you really can’t birth by numbers!

The nurses were so wonderful. They respected my wishes to labor on the birthing ball where I was most comfortable and tried really hard to get the monitor to work for me on the ball. It was difficult- they weren’t picking up much. So finally they said if I would lay in the bed for 10 minutes and let them monitor the baby they would let me back on the ball without the monitor.  I will say trying to labor at the hospital WAS a lot more difficult. It was a lot harder for me to get into that relaxed state of mind that I needed to be in. Nevertheless, I know that the hypnosis was working because every time I heard certain cue words such as “relax” I would immediately feel more relaxed and my breathing would slow down. Things were getting pretty intense. Still manageable but definitely got me wondering if I could do it- especially when everyone around me seemed to think I wasn’t really close. I felt like the pressure waves were coming back to back at that point. I think it’s at that point when women think “I can’t do it” that things are actually happening. It was right about then that I felt a pop- and I said “I think my water just broke…”  I stood up to “confirm” and sure enough my water had broke. They took me to sit down on the toilet- and I felt like I had to pee- and the nurse checked me again. I was an 8. Then all of the sudden I had an urge to push. I had never felt it before but it was very powerful. I remember it being really intense but I loved that my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing! It almost made me giddy inside. They moved me to the bed. I had told myself I would never push on my back again (which is what I did with Joselyn)  but it was strange that it was what felt right and most comfortable. Things moved pretty fast from there. I couldn’t hold back my urge to push- and Melissa was called. An IV was put in quickly so I could get my dose of antibiotics as well. I must say I felt pretty silly- I was trying to breathe her out as much as I could but sometimes what came out of my mouth was making me laugh inside. With each push I could feel Lyla making progress. It was incredible! I would get a small rest in between the pressure waves and those were relaxing. I would get enough energy to push again. I was glad at this point that I had labored mostly at home- eating and drinking as much as I wanted so I would have energy for that moment.

Things kind of get complicated from here. I was really focused on what I was doing so although I was completely aware, there’s apparently a lot I missed. We had learned earlier on that Dr. Campbell was on vacation. Melissa wasn’t there yet so a laborist (on call Doctor) was called up to deliver my baby. Although I was having the urges to push, I was apparently not “complete” and the nurses were trying everything to get me to that perfect 10 to “avoid interventions”. I later learned the laborist was completely against VBACS and was telling the nurses I needed to have a c-section. Thankfully, the nurses were successful in getting me where I needed to be before the Dr. had come up to deliver the baby. I pushed for about 15 minutes- and then she was here at 4:13am! Words can’t describe the feelings I felt at that moment. I couldn’t believe I had done it! It was exhilarating! Adam and I were both very emotional as they pulled Lyla onto my chest. She cried for a minute, then with her big dark blue eyes just started looking around taking in the new world around her. She was so sweet and I was so in love. I just got to cuddle with her there as Adam helped clean her off.

About 5 minutes after the delivery, Melissa walked in. I am so sad she missed it- she was the reason I had been able to do this in the first place. I had a 2nd degree tear- nothing major at all- but the doctor apparently wanted to take me to the OR for better lighting to give me stitches. That seemed odd to everyone in the room, but I initially consented. When it was apparent that was an odd thing, I asked Melissa if it was necessary and she said it wasn’t. It wasn’t a bad tear, I didn’t have bleeding… so I decided not to get stitches. That apparently made the DR pretty upset. After talking to Melissa, he came back into the delivery room and said I would have to sign a waiver. I told him I would calmly and thanked him for all that he did. I could tell he was upset. I later learned he was not a huge fan of midwives or VBACs. He told Melissa she hadn’t followed protocol and was trying to write her up. The nurses would not consent. She had done everything she was supposed to. To me, this was a blessing in disguise. Even though I would not have consented to a c-section, I can imagine things would have been tense and stressful had I not progressed the way I had and he had walked in even saying the C word.

I’m so glad we didn’t give up along the way. I got exactly what I had wanted. Even looking back- knowing things did get hard at one point, I can’t remember being in pain at all. All I remember are the overwhelming feelings of joy when Lyla was born. And the feeling of accomplishment. And gratitude for the experience and to all that sacrificed their sleep and time with their families to help me. I’m amazed with what our bodies can do- really- even after 2 c-sections my body still knew what to do when it came time to giving birth. It was all a miracle! In the hospital, the day I gave birth, a nurse walked in and asked if I was the patient. She couldn’t believe I was up walking around doing things so shortly after my birth. The day we got home from the hospital I took a short walk- it felt nice to be able to move around freely.

Again, choosing Melissa as my midwife and Julie as my doula was essential to my success. I am a big believer that choosing the right care provider during a VBAC or VBA2C will greatly add to it’s success. Laboring at home as long as possible also helped me to stay focused listening to my hypnosis tracks. I ate a lot of crackers and apple sauce and drank lots of water during labor- that gave me the energy that I needed to last through my 26 hour labor and delivery. I’m so grateful that Hypnobabies helped me to have a relaxing and enjoyable birth experience void of fear and pain. I won’t say it wasn’t ever hard for me, but the intense moments were short lived and easy to get through because of all the techniques we had learned in class.

I’m in love with my birthing experience and the bond it has created between me and Lyla. Even my relationship with my husband was strengthened because we worked together through it all. I will shout praises about Hypnobabies the rest of my days!

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Thank for Gina from the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group for sharing her birth story.

Brief background: 1st c-section for twin boys – scheduled due to baby positioning; 2nd c-section for youngest boy – scheduled due to my own misunderstanding of VBAC risks; successful VBA2C at 41 weeks, 1 day on 9/20/11 using the Hypnobabies home-study course for Persephone Maria

As the days after her “due date” kept passing by with no sign of baby Persephone making her debut, I thought about buying the Hypnobabies mp3 track called, “Come OUT, Baby.” I was hesitant to spend over $10 on something that may or may not work when I may or may not actually need it. I mean, she has to come out eventually, right? What’s the rush? There wasn’t a rush, really, but we were all so ready for her to join us that I decided to go ahead and get it after she decided not to show up over the weekend. So, on Sunday evening, I listened to it in the kitchen after dinner.

I woke up in the middle of the night, around 1:30 a.m., with a warm gush of fluid. I got up and went to the bathroom, leaking the whole way, underwear and legs soaked. It seemed like I peed in the toilet and then didn’t notice any more trickling fluid. I smelled the wet spots on the sheets to see if it smelled like urine, and there were some parts that did, so I resigned myself to having wet the bed like a potty-training toddler. Maybe Persephone was moving lower and caused my bladder to explode or something, even though I’d emptied my bladder around 11:30 when we went to bed.

I tried to lie back down, but I noticed there were some pressure waves coming. They actually seemed to be in a pattern of some sort, something I might be able to time. I had about four before I decided I could not get back to sleep. I got up and did some dishes and made the big boys’ lunches for the next day in case labor started by morning. Of course, the pressure waves died down by the time this was all done, so I went back to sleep.

Monday seemed like it might get exciting as I noticed globs of mucous plug coming out whenever I’d use the restroom. But, no excitement in the very important aspect of pressure waves was to be found. I’d contract randomly throughout the day, usually when I was sitting down or resting in some way. I took Xander to our usual Monday playgroup. We ate lunch afterwards and went to Costco to get some things we needed (eggs, fruit, etc.)…just in case. I will say that I did notice small gushes of fluid throughout the day; I just needed to keep myself in denial, I suppose, to avoid any panicking over prolonged broken water.

Monday evening didn’t get much more interesting other than some traces of blood in the mucous. Surely, things should be starting up very soon. I decided when we went to bed that I would put my Easy First Stage, the first of the two Hypnobabies birthing day tracks, on repeat along with the Birthing Day Affirmations all night to see if it could help get the random, sporadic pressure waves to settle in a pattern and eventually intensify.

Within a couple hours of going to bed, I was noticing the pressure waves becoming more regular and more intense. I don’t think I ever really slept that night. I would relax in bed, lying on my left side and using my Hypnobabies techniques through some pressure waves, get up to go to the bathroom, check my temperature, and then just did that again and again and again. I remember going into the kitchen around 5 a.m. to get something to eat because I was super hungry, and I remember saying to myself how much fun (being completely sincere) this was as I strolled back down the hallway to return to the bed.

My husband woke up around 7:30 in the morning. He had forgotten to set his alarm for work and was about to call to tell them he couldn’t come in when I told him he couldn’t go to work. He asked if I was serious, and I told him I was absolutely serious; the baby was coming today. He made the call and went to the living room, and I decided to move into the living room, too.

I rested on the couch, relaxing through my pressure waves and using my hypnosis, finally able to see that they were coming about every 4-5 minutes and were lasting approximately 45-60 seconds each. My husband got breakfast ready for everyone (but me; I was no longer interested in food) and got the boys’ lunches ready and sent them off to school, being sure to explain to them that they would probably have to go to the neighbor’s house when they got off the bus because we’d be at the hospital.

Within 30 minutes of them leaving to catch the bus, I told my husband we should probably leave for the hospital soon. The pressure waves were feeling more intense and maybe getting a little bit closer together. He went through my packing list and got things together and put in the car. Then, he got Xander ready to take to the neighbor’s house so we could drive to the hospital. Just as we were all set to go, I said I needed to go to the bathroom. I don’t know what exactly happened in that short timeframe, but we didn’t get to leave for over an hour later.

I left the bathroom and went back to my place on the couch. I was now humming, maybe moaning, along with breathing my relaxation into my pressure waves. They seemed to be right on top of each other. I couldn’t get more than 30 seconds in between, so I couldn’t get myself to walk down the stairs to the car. Since I was doing hypnosis as well, my husband couldn’t really talk to me. I mean, he could, and I’d hear him, but I wasn’t able to respond.

He decided to take Xander to the neighbor’s house himself. When he came back, he called his mom. I heard him sound a little anxious about not being in the car and on the way to the hospital. I was feeling a bit anxious about this myself. As much as I would have loved to have a homebirth, I didn’t want an unassisted homebirth, especially when that isn’t what I planned, so I’d have no clue what to be looking for in the way of complications. Something about this sent me back to a more conscious level, and I was able to move off the couch and make an effort towards walking to the stairs after making one last trip to the toilet and finding a massive bloody show.

Another pressure wave hit about half way down the stairs; I stopped at the door and squatted down to the floor, leaning back into my husband’s arms. We made it out the door; another pressure wave came as we reached the end of the walkway. I dealt with this one by having one foot up on the walkway and the other on the driveway. He helped me into the car, and we were on our way to the hospital.

We get to the hospital, and I ask him to get a wheelchair for me. I needed to continue my relaxation, and that did not involve walking through the parking lot, into the hospital, onto the elevator, or down the hallways. I needed to breathe my calming thoughts: peace (for my mental anesthesia); I am comfortable and relaxed; my baby will be in my arms soon. He eventually returns with a wheelchair, and we make our way into the hospital.

My poor husband has been so left out of the events of the past 12 hours that he has no clue how to answer the questions he’s bombarded with…When did they start? How far apart are they? How long are they lasting? I hear it all, and I answer when I am not in the midst of a pressure wave, but I feel so sorry for him trying to deal with them. They get me into a triage room and ask for a urine sample. I try my best to get one, but I just can’t reach far enough with the pressure waves coming to get anything useful.

I go to the hospital bed and resume my left-side-lying position. The doctor comes in; he’s the same doctor that conducted the VBAC consultation class that I thought was so wonderful and positive towards VBACs. His tune wasn’t so positive now. He was trying to talk to me about my last appointment and being 41 weeks with a history of two c-sections and not having any cervical progress last time and what the midwife said. All I could think to answer was that she’d said we’d be fine waiting until 42 weeks; in my head, I’m wondering why the hell any of that stuff matters when I’m laying here in obvious birthing time right now. (After hearing my husband describe my birth, I guess it may not have been so obvious.)

Next thing I know, I feel my body pushing. I find my voice long enough to say I am feeling pushy. Doctor checks me and announces that I’m feeling pushy because I’m completely dilated and ready to push my baby out. There is a lot of movement in the room, people telling me not to push until we switch rooms, and just a lot of commotion that seemed to be completely separate from my calm and peaceful state at the time.

We get into a very bright room, and I am eventually instructed to take two deep breaths and then hold my breath to push for a count of ten with my next pressure wave. I think it took another two pressure waves for my body to allow me to attempt this. In the meantime, my husband puts on the Pushing Baby Out Hypnobabies track to have playing in the background.

My first pushing attempts were too gentle for what they wanted. I told them to “just leave me alone, please.” That was countered with some unnecessarily rude replies about whether or not I wanted to have my baby and that I needed to push. I stayed relaxed as I focused on the Hypnobabies voice in the background, the one that was (maybe not explicitly) telling me my body would do what it needed to do at the right time.

As far as I’m concerned, this whole labor has been gentle enough for my body to handle, and I’m going to continue to allow my body to dictate when it’s time to use proper force and when it’s best to be gentle. The time to push comes quickly, and Persephone was born with maybe a total of six or seven pushes through three or four pressure waves. There was a minor second degree tear that was stitched up with just a couple stitches. Baby was given to me, and we cuddled as the doctors and nurses did their cleanup.

Everything about this experience has been completely amazing for me. It is so much different to be able to move freely and without pain after having my baby. Although getting to the hospital so late meant that some of the things on my birthplan didn’t go as I’d hoped (heplock instead of saline IV, mother-directed pushing, delayed cord clamping – to name a few), I am certain that it needed to go this way to have the birth I wanted.

Even the nurse said that was absolutely the best way to do it, coming in ready to push, to avoid having to deal with all the monitoring and scrutiny that would have come from spending more of my labor time in the hospital. I had always intended to labor at home a long time (longer than the 5-1-1 rule, i.e. 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, for more than an hour), but I’d figured we’d get to the hospital around 7-8 cm dilated and be there for a few hours; I never thought I’d show up and then have a baby in my arms less than 45 minutes later. It was a very peaceful labor.

I didn’t do anything I thought I would, though, like use my birthing ball (though it was a lifesaver during pregnancy) or alternate birthing positions (I even pushed while lying on my left side) or lighting candles or using the river stream mp3 to relate to my special, safe place…but it was absolutely perfect anyhow.
I would whole-heartedly endorse using Hypnobabies for a really great natural birth, and my husband said he would have to as well after seeing how well I handled the entire birth and how great I’ve felt since. He was rather skeptical about how well it was really going to work and even said afterwards that he kept thinking I was going to end up one of those angry, screaming women for trying to give birth without pain medicine.

We are all doing really well. I feel great, and Persephone hasn’t made life anything but more wonderful thus far. It is great to feel like my family is finally complete and looking forward to our future.

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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 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!
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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