In the weeks leading up to Lydia’s birth, I had been visualizing giving birth on June 12. My OB was on call on the 12th and I really wanted her to be the attending physician. In addition, while on our babymoon in Florida, we met an eccentric, rich, old woman who had promised us $1,000 if I gave birth on the 12th because it was her birthday (with the caveat that I couldn’t be induced).
I woke up at 2:57 am to a bizarre feeling: my underwear was soaking wet. My initial reaction was that I had peed my pants. I walked to the bathroom, turned the light on, and sat on the toilet. Much to my surprise, I emptied a full bladder. I then checked my underwear to see if I could see any blood. Of course I was wearing navy blue underwear and couldn’t see anything. I then sniffed my underwear: it smelled sweet. As I stood up from the toilet, liquid started running down my legs. It was at this point I was fairly confident my waters had released. I gingerly walked back to bed and woke Spencer up by shaking his shoulder and saying, “I think my water broke.”
I headed back to the bathroom to sit on the toilet since amniotic fluid was leaking out. Being the overly cautious first time mom, I called L&D and was told that there wasn’t a huge hurry, but that I needed to come in within the next two hours. Meanwhile, Spencer had gone to the Hypnobabies quick reference guide and discovered that Hypnobabies had a sheet on what to do if your waters released and you had no pressure waves. At this point, I texted our back-up doula, Liz, because the doula we had hired was out of town. Liz texted back immediately and then called. Between the Hypnobabies sheet and talking to Liz, we decided I would go back to bed, get some rest, and wait for pressure waves to start.
I got back in bed around 3:45 am and turned on my “Deepening” track because during my home-play, without fail, the “Deepening” track would put me to sleep – it didn’t matter the time of day or if I was tired or awake. Around 4:00 am I started feeling some very minor pressure waves. The “Deepening” track didn’t put me to sleep, but I was very relaxed. After my first track finished, I turned on “Birthing Day Affirmations.” Meanwhile, Spencer was rushing around our house packing our hospital bags. It was something we had discussed earlier in the week and had made a packing list, but never actually did because “first-time moms NEVER give birth before 38 weeks.”
After finishing my second track, I got up out of bed and ate a peach. I knew I needed to continue resting in preparation for giving birth, so I got back in bed and turned on my relaxation tracks. I fell asleep around 7:00 am and slept until shortly after 8:15 am when pressure waves woke me up. The waves were closer together but they didn’t bother me. I texted an update to Liz and then headed downstairs to tell my friend, Laura, who lives with us, that I was in my birthing time.
Spencer and I decided that we wanted Liz to come to our house earlier than we otherwise would have since we had never met her. I decided it would be good to establish some sort of relationship before she saw me totally in the buff giving birth. Liz showed up around 10:30 am and encouraged me to go for a walk. Spencer, Liz, and I all headed out to walk in an effort to move my pressure waves along. It was drizzling and Liz had an umbrella that she offered me, but the rain didn’t bother me. We very carefully chose a walking route to avoid passing by the church where I work because I didn’t want anyone to know I was in my birthing time.
Shortly after returning from our walk, Liz suggested I eat something. After eating some peanut butter toast, kefir, and watermelon, I noticed a shift in my pressure waves: I felt numbness running down my left buttock and leg. Liz suggested a side-lying release, a Spinning Babies maneuver that can help with getting baby lined up properly and out of my hip. During the side-lying release, the baby was moving a lot. Liz could feel her movements as well. At this point, I began to get really hot. Shortly after the release, I went to the bathroom and started feeling shaky during my waves. Liz suggested we head to the hospital. Liz, Laura, Spencer, and I all drove in a caravan to the hospital.
I called ahead to L&D to let them know I was coming. When we arrived at 1:30 pm, we were ushered into triage by a rude nurse. I knew from my Hypnobabies class that it wasn’t unusual for nurses to not believe a Hypno-mom when she said she was in labor, so I had activated my “Bubble of Peace” and wasn’t thrown at all when the nurse questioned whether or not I was in my birthing time. Upon getting in the triage room, the rude nurse insisted I put on the hospital gown. I was rather irritated and stated emphatically that I would be staying in my clothes. She rolled her eyes and told me I could take it up with the triage nurse assigned to me.
The triage nurse assigned to me was wonderful – upon entering the room, she tossed the gown aside and said I didn’t have to wear it. She read through my birth preferences and told me they were all manageable. She then strapped the monitors on to me for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes, she performed a cervical check: I was 3 cm, 85% effaced, and baby was at a 0 station. I was a little surprised because I thought that I would have progressed further, but I knew that the numbers didn’t really mean anything. While waiting for the physician on call to come check me, Liz, Spencer, Laura and I walked around the birthing unit. With each wave I would squat and use my peace cue. Occasionally I would lean against the wall and Spencer and Liz would do a hip squeeze with every wave. It felt great.
By this point, I really wanted to walk around outside, but the chance of that happening was very low since my waters had released. Thankfully, our nurse advocated for us and after signing some paperwork, I was allowed to walk around outside on hospital grounds for an hour. Walking through the hospital to get outside was rather humorous. When each wave would end, I would look ahead and mentally map where I needed to get to take the next wave. We received many strange looks and offers for assistance. Liz reassured those around us that I was in my birthing time, doing great, and that this is how a natural intervention free birth looks. In the lobby of the hospital we ran into Laura’s mom, Dr. Pratt and I talked with her between waves. I was really anxious to get outside, so we continued to the boardwalk/nature area the hospital had out back.
As soon as we got outside I felt myself relax fully. It was humid but not uncomfortable. The waves were picking up in intensity and I really appreciated the hip squeeze. The first waves I was taking in center – I remember the first wave outside I was leaned over the railing and saw a little mouse moving in the grasses below. It seemed that with every wave things were getting more intense, but I didn’t feel any discomfort or pain.
Liz could tell that things were accelerating and suggested a sacral release instead of the hip squeeze (that Spencer and Liz had been doing on every pressure wave). With the first wave that Liz did the sacral release on, I felt my entire pelvic area relax even deeper; it was exactly what my body needed. With each wave, Spencer would use the release cue (which is the one during home-play that I thought was useless – I loved my finger drop) and instantly, when I heard the word “release”, my body would melt. I could tell my hypnosis was really working because each wave was wonderfully strong, but I could feel my body working with the baby to move her down.
As we headed in from the walk, the waves seemed to be rather close together. Depending on where I was, I would either take the wave in a squat, or leaning against a wall. With each wave and squat, I would envision my cervix opening and melting. When we arrived back at the birthing center, my waves were 2.5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute each. I was ushered into a delivery room, 341, by our nurse, Cara. I went to the bathroom and it was here I began vocalizing. It felt so good to vocalize. Apparently I was vocalizing with an “eeeeeeeee” sound. Spencer then joined in vocalizing with me, but he vocalized an “aaaaaaaah” sound. I immediately changed to “aaaaaah” (I understand being easily impressionable in hypnosis, I don’t even remember this or making a conscious change in noise).
After getting off the toilet, Cara checked me. The walk had done its job because at 4:21 pm I was 6-7cm, 90-100% effaced, and baby was at a -1 station. Cara then offered for me to get in the bath. This sounded like the best idea I had ever heard. Liz set up some electric candles and I quickly sank into the warm water. The bathroom was rather small for all four people, so Spencer, Liz, and I were in the bathroom, and Laura interfaced with the nurse. I listened to my affirmations and Spencer continued to remind me to “Release.” During this time, the nurse got everything set up for the actual birth. An hour after getting in the tub, I needed to get out and go to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I realized I was going to vomit. After vomiting, I looked up at Liz and smiled and said, “I think I just hit transformation!” Liz laughed and said, “You think?” At this point, I started to feel the urge to bear down. Spencer and Liz then suggested I move to the bed.
During my visualization of birth, I had thought I would want to give birth in a squat. It became very apparent to me that my body had other plans and I listened to what my body was telling me. I got to the bed and immediately got on all fours and began rocking a little bit during each wave. The nurse checked me at 5:58 pm and I was 9 cm, completely effaced, and baby was at a +1 station. At this point the on-call physician came in and told me she had read through my birth preferences and she was “going to try to make all my dreams come true.”
Each wave I could feel my body working to lower the baby. Spencer and Liz took turns massaging my back and Laura would get various things for me. I remember getting very hot and feeling like my body was working hard. I still had not experienced any pain, just very intense pressure. I was continuing to vocalize with each wave and I began pushing occasionally. The nurse noticed I was pushing and insisted on checking me. By 6:35 I was 9cm with a lip, fully effaced, and baby had lowered to a +2 station. Cara told me that I really needed to hold off on pushing. I heard her, but I had to listen to my body. I would bear down when my body told me to, but I did it quietly so I didn’t have the nurse telling me not to. At this point, Liz realized that I was really hot, and she grabbed cool washcloths and placed them on my neck and back. At this point, I remember looking over at my arm and seeing sweat beads roll down my arm.
At 7:06 pm I was checked and found to be complete, baby was at a +3, and I was given the okay to push. The nurse (now Mollie) offered me a mirror. I declined but she asked again. To get her to leave me alone, I said I wanted a mirror. I was completely focused on birthing my baby. Each wave that came I welcomed because I realized that I was getting really close to meeting my baby. I could tell that she was going to be born soon.
At 7:17 I cried out, “Baby’s head is RIGHT THERE. I can feel her head. It is right there.” Liz told Laura to run and get the nurses, because “Mama’s don’t lie about that.” Liz told me that I was doing a great job and that there was going to be a lot of activity and talking momentarily and that I should continue to relax and stay focused on listening to my body. I remember hearing a lot of people come in, a noise like a jackhammer, and some clinking of metal instruments. A pressure wave came and I pushed. I stopped pushing and the wave ended. The next wave came. I pushed. I asked if her head came out and was told not yet, but that I was doing a great job. The next wave came, I pushed and felt her head exit. I breathed a sigh because the pressure had subsided a bit. The baby pushed her own arms out and with the next wave and a slight push, Lydia Jane entered the world at 7:22 pm, 7 lbs 1 oz, and 20.25 inches long. She had a full head of dark hair and was beautiful. I couldn’t believe that she was born. I even asked her if she was born and then told her over and over what a good job she had done. I flipped over on my back and she was placed immediately on my chest. Her eyes were wide open and she was looking all around. I felt like such a strong Mama in that moment – I had birthed my baby safely, smoothly, and easily. And she was perfect.