Knowing that I had some pretty close calls, I knew our baby would not be making it to his guess date-which was March 19th. With Hypnobabies you practice how to visualize your birth; and since I knew he would be early, I started visualizing him coming on February 27 (at this point I would be 37.1 weeks pregnant and be able to have the water birth I was dreaming of, but also it is my husband’s birthday.) I also visualized him coming on night shift (I work night shift as a nurse on the birthing unit.)
February 26th was a big day for me. I made it to 37.0 weeks and was off bed rest. It was an amazing feeling knowing I had made it to (early) term for our baby. I decided to go to the store since I was finally able to get out of the house. While there, I had pressure waves, but I had been having them for weeks and they were the same tightening feeling. However, when I got back home that afternoon I just knew that this was going to be “it.” I decided to bake some cookies for my nurse friends at the hospital and write up my whole pregnancy story for my soon to be born son. When I was done writing it I said to him, “it is safe to come now and I am ready.”
That evening my husband and I started a movie and at exactly 8pm I started getting pressure waves that felt different from the ones I had been experiencing for the past 3 ½ weeks-they were tightening and cramping. I kept an eye on them and they were consistently coming every 7 minutes. After about a half hour I told my husband what was going on and that I really thought this was the start of our birthing time. Around 9:30pm we decided to get some sleep in preparation for our son’s arrival.
The pressure waves continued to come while we were in bed. By 11pm they were coming every 5-7 minutes. At this point I thought I should call the midwife on call because I was told once things started they would “most likely go quickly” and I was not mentally prepared to birth him at home unattended. When I spoke with her I told her what was going on and she suggested that I do the “tub test” for an hour to make sure that what I was experiencing was indeed the real thing. I was to give her a call after an hour and touch base again to come up with a plan.
I lit some candles and played my “Birthing Day Affirmations” track. It was close to 11:30pm when I got into the water. This is exactly what I had visualized I was going to be doing the night of my son’s birth and I found amazing comfort in this. I was so relaxed and at peace with what was going to be happening. I continued to tell my son that I was ready for him and that we were going to be a great team and work together for his birth. While I was in the water the pressure waves started coming every 1-5 minutes and they were becoming slightly more intense, but I was still able to easily breathe through them.
After an hour of being in the water, I called the midwife to update her. She said it was up to me, but we could come in and see where things were. Again, I didn’t want an unplanned home birth so we decided to go to the hospital. My husband pulled the car up to the front of our condo building and came back upstairs to walk down with me.
At this point, it was just before 1am on February 27th. My husband and I took the elevator down and we were smiling at each other with anticipation, excitement, and a little uncertainty. The whole way to the hospital I listened to my “Easy First Stage” track. I was incredibly relaxed and comfortable; and I was able to easily breathe through my pressure waves with ease.
We arrived at the hospital and my midwife checked me. I was at 5cm, 80%, and our son’s head was at +1 station. This was exactly where I was at the last time I was checked 2 days before (while I was on bed rest, I had to be checked once a week to make sure the pressure waves I was having were not continuing to cause change.) She suggested we walk around the unit for an hour to see if there are any changes.
I turned on my “Birthing Day Affirmations” and at 1:20am we started walking the halls. It was night shift so all my friends were working, it was so nice to talk with them and have their support. When we first started walking I was easily able to talk through my pressure waves. However, as it got closer to the hour mark, I had to stop walking and really focus through the pressure waves. The pressure waves seemed to be coming pretty consistently every 5 minutes. I was still completely comfortable at this point and was not experiencing any discomfort.
At 2:40am my midwife checked me again and said that there were not any changes. She suggested we go home and get some rest; and come back to the hospital when the pressure waves were coming every 5 minutes and I had to breathe through them. It was at this point that my husband and I looked at one another because what she described was exactly what was happening (looking back I just don’t think she realized it because I was so incredibly calm and relaxed through the pressure waves.) She continued saying, “once things really get going, you’ll have at least 3 hours.” To us, that was the decision maker. We told ourselves, “we live really close to the hospital, if there are any changes we can just come back.” After all, we had never done this before so we were not exactly sure what to look for. Additionally, we had had so many false alarms, that I don’t think we were entirely sure what to expect anymore.
It was roughly 3:30am once we were back to our home. I remember looking in the mirror thinking, “okay, these pressure waves feel really different.” I was still able to breathe through them, but it took quite a bit more concentration. My husband got me to the bed and I tried to get some rest. To be honest, I am not sure how often the pressure waves were coming at this point or what time it even was, but when the waves came I instinctively started rocking my body through them while lying in bed. After about 3-5 pressure waves I had to lean over the bed and sway my hips through them. I did this position for about 2-3 pressure waves. I then said to my husband, “I have to go to the bathroom.”
I am not sure exactly what happened next, but either I called my husband into the bathroom or he came in on his own. Nevertheless, I was on the floor on my hands and knees and said, “I have to push.” He said, “We need to call an ambulance and get back to the hospital NOW.” I told him I did not want to take an ambulance or go back to the hospital “in case this wasn’t it.” Hindsight is 20/20, because at this point I was going through transformation and was not being logical-this was obviously “it.” My husband, bless his heart, was able to convince me that we needed to go back.
In between pressure waves we were able to walk down to the car. Once we were in the car my body completely took over. It took everything I had to not give in to the urge to push. During this time I was listening to the “Relaxation Music” tracks. My husband got us (safely) to the Emergency entrance and he dropped me off while he parked the car. I waddled into the entrance and sat in a wheelchair waiting for him to come in. Once he got the car parked he went to the front desk and told the woman that we needed help and had to get to the birthing unit. The woman asked if I was going to have the baby right now and my husband replied with a quick, “I don’t know, but we need to get up there.”
We arrived to the birthing unit at 4:46am and they were about to wheel me into the same triage room that we were in roughly 2 hours before. My husband said, “she is pushing.” With that, the nurse said, “get her to room two!” They wheeled me into the room and started the water for the tub immediately, but they wanted me to get on the bed first so I could get checked. Everything was happening so quickly, one of the nurses pushed the “staff assist” button because of my urge to push and suddenly tons of nurses were in the room. It was at this point my husband texted our doula to come. Another nurse was pulling down my pants while I was crawling up on the bed. Suddenly the midwife was there too. She checked me and I was 8-9cm with a bulging bag. (In my birth preferences I said I didn’t want to know my progress, but at this moment I didn’t care that she said it out loud. We didn’t even get a chance to give her our preferences.) After a few minutes of being on the bed my water broke and the midwife rechecked me. I was complete and able to get into the water.
As I was moving in the direction of the tub, the urge to bear down was incredible. I got to the edge of the tub and started squatting. Unexpectedly, one of the nurses said, “she wants a water birth!” With that, I was swiftly lifted into the tub at 5:00am. The moment I was in the water everything seemed to change. The extra staff members had left the room, the lights were dimmed, and I seemed to be more aware of what was happening around me and it felt very peaceful. I definitely experienced the “pause for the cause” during this time.
While I was in the water, I was listening to the “Relaxation Music”. In between the pushing urges my husband and I were talking and smiling and when a pressure wave came I would shut my eyes, go internal, and push. My husband would put his hand on my shoulder and use the “relax cue.”
I was leaning over the back of the tub, with my husband supporting my arms, and suddenly felt our baby’s head emerging. I remember I said, “oh, this part,” but I honestly did not feel discomfort, just stretching sensations. It was then that the midwife said, “your baby’s head is out!” I could not believe it happened that quickly. She told me to sit back so I could see him come out. With a little convincing, I sat back and with another push I saw my son be born. I was able to help pull him out of the water and bring him to my chest. I remember saying, “that was easy” and meaning every word of it. Our doula arrived shortly after our baby was born. I was sad she missed his birth, but the nurses kept commenting on how great of a team my husband and I were.
Alaric “Lars” Dean was born in the water at 5:30am-during night shift-on his dad’s birthday. He weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces. I pushed for 30 minutes and not once did I feel any discomfort. We worked perfectly in sync with one another. I was later told by one of the midwives that the “only” reason Alaric was not born in the car was because my water was still intact when arriving to the hospital. I know this was a big reason for him not being born in the car. However, I strongly believe that my Hypnobabies practice of visualization and connecting my mind and body together also helped him stay in until we were at the hospital.
Hypnobabies taught us so much and when we decide it is time to have another baby, we will without a doubt be taking Hypnobabies again! Alaric’s birth was the most amazing thing I had ever been through. I felt empowered, strong, and womanly, but even more so I felt blessed that I was now a mom-something I have wanted to be my entire life!