After feeling a couple of these cramps I was wondering if I was coming down with a stomach bug. The feelings felt an awful lot like the gas cramps I have when I get an upset stomach. I got up and paced around the bathroom for a while, I didn't want to wake up my husband (Jason) because it was a Sunday night (really at this point it was early Monday morning) and I didn't want to deprive him of sleep for his day at work unless I was sure that I was in my birthing time.
I tried climbing back into bed but as soon as I did I felt another cramp and it was not comfortable enough to try to sleep through it. I decided I should get up and walk around the apartment for a bit. I spent until about 3:15 am on my own when I realized the cramping was still coming regularly and although I was still not convinced that this was really my birthing time I decided I should wake Jason for some assistance just in case.
When I woke him I warned him that I wasn't sure whether or not these were practice waves but that I'd like him to get up to time them and to help me out by getting me snacks, etc. I started eating an apple and peanut butter, drinking water and he was timing things. Around 3:45 am we were getting more convinced that this was something to take seriously. I called my mom, who lives out of state, so she could book tickets to fly out. Then I called my midwives and my doula - I was told to just take my time and that they would see me at the hospital in a bit. My doula and midwife both knew that my plan was to stay home for as long as possible.
Up until this point I was not really using much of my Hypnobabies and was sort of struggling with my waves. I kept trying different positions but nothing was very comfortable. Jason finally said to me, "Why don't you listen to one of your Hypnobabies tracks." So I got on my birthing ball, set up a bunch of pillows, got all situated and listened to the "Deepening Track" (my favorite one!). I did put my switch in the center position so I was able to talk to Jason and wiggle around. The track absolutely relaxed me and put me into the right mindset. I felt I was in control.
(Editor's Note: This is key. In order for Hypnobabies to help you have an easier, more comfortable birth, you have to choose to USE the tools during your birthing time, just like this momma did!)
We stayed at home for as long as possible which as it turns out was only until about 6 am. My waves were about 3-4 minutes apart (from what we could tell, we weren't being the best about timing) and lasting around 60 seconds. Being that this was my first time giving birth and that we really didn't know what to expect, it just made us both feel more at ease to be heading to the hospital. I listened to my "Easy First Stage" track on the drive to the hospital and basically on repeat from here on out. We arrived around 6:45 am and headed into triage. The nurse (Sheryl) I was given was fantastic! The only downside was that she is a travel nurse. She had only been at this hospital for 4 days and did not have admitting privileges. She told me she had looked over my Birth Plan and since I wanted minimal internal exams that she was going to wait until the midwife arrived so the midwife could check me and then (hopefully) admit me.
Once I was in my room I started using a birthing ball while still listening to my track. I found early on (before leaving home) that breathing through my waves with "horse lips" (I'm not sure if that's the real name for them, but it's what Ina May calls it) really worked for me. So each time I felt a wave I just relaxed my body as much as possible and blew "horse lips" while swaying on my ball and resting on pillows. After some time on the birthing ball I decided to move to the tub. Truthfully I was doing just fine and wasn't convinced I wanted to be in the water, but I've heard so much about how much the water helps that curiosity got the better of me.
I started getting "pushy" feelings shortly after getting into the water, around 11 am, so I got out pretty quickly, the midwife checked me (this was only the second time I was checked) and said it was time to have the baby! Jason switched my track to "Pushing Baby Out." I didn't have anything to play the tracks out-loud, I just stuck with my headphones. I listened to the track about 5 times, I kept saying to Jason "Babe, repeat the track" and at one point the midwife said "I really want to know what she's listening to." They were all very surprised at how calm I was in-between waves. I would just completely relax and drink water (I was very thirsty throughout my whole birthing time!)
The pushing is the only part of my birthing time that I would have liked to have gone differently. I really wanted to "ahh" my baby out, but didn't ever actually discuss that with anyone because I suppose I assumed it would just be something I would be able to do since I had listed on my Birth Preferences "Please don't tell me when to push." But when it came down to it they let me go for probably 20-30 minutes of "ahh"ing and pushing the way I wanted to and then they started telling me it was time for me to push during waves. I just followed what they told me and ended up doing "purple pushing."
Baby Henry was born at 12:38 pm - about 10 hours after I woke up with my first waves and about 6 hours after arriving at the hospital. He was 7 lbs 10 oz 21.25 inches long. He was placed on my chest and stayed there for nearly 2 hours after being born. Having him there to focus on really helped a great deal with all of the after birth stuff that goes on - I wasn't focused on any of that at all, I was just focused on Henry. I had stitches for a 1st degree tear, very minor, yay!