When I found out I was pregnant, I naturally started thinking about childbirth. A number of years ago I had to have a spinal tap and had a very severe spinal headache which led to nausea and the inability to sit upright without severe pain for 2+ weeks. Furthermore, I had localized pain in my spine for months afterwards. It was a miserable experience. I knew I did not want to risk something like that happening with a newborn to care for, so I knew I needed to find some way of dealing with the intensity of childbirth without turning to an epidural. I did my research (and more research and more research) and finally came to the conclusion that Hypnobabies was the right choice as I believe in the power of our minds to shape our experiences.
My guess date was June 7th, and it came and went. I felt very comfortable physically, even more comfortable than I was around the 35/36 week mark. My only physical complaint at 40 weeks was heartburn. I figured since this baby would be a dragon baby, heartburn was probably par for the course. We had my 40 week midwife appointment on June 11th, which went well. The midwife talked me out of getting a cervical check (yay midwife!). Up to this point I had declined all cervical checks, but was really curious at this appointment. I’m glad I waited, as it wouldn’t have told me much. They scheduled an ultrasound/BPP on June 18th “just in case” I hadn’t popped yet. I was sure I would have this baby before then.
By this time, work was becoming difficult. I was still physically comfortable enough, and was even walking up to 5-6 miles a day in an effort to get the baby out, but I was tired of the never-ending questions about when the baby would come. Seriously people...never ask a full-term woman this question! So on June 12th, I decided it was my last day of work (I had decided to be a stay-at-home mom after the baby came). I cried on the car ride home. I didn’t realize it would be so sad to leave this part of my life behind when I was so excited for the next part to begin.
The rest of that week was spent in an effort to get the baby out. My sister, who I had planned to have at the birth, was leaving town for a work conference on the 18th, so I really wanted to hurry things along. So I walked, and ate spicy food, and did lots of squatting (weeding in the garden), had acupuncture, walked some more and had “time” with my husband. And the baby stayed put. My parents, who were planning to come out as soon as I went into labor (they live a 10 hour drive away), got impatient and drove out on Saturday, June 16th. We had a lovely Father’s Day BBQ at my sister’s house the next day.
Monday, June 18th, Willi and I went to the midwives’ office for the ultrasound/BPP and midwife appointment. The BPP went perfectly - 8 out of 8. Everything looked good although the doctor reading the ultrasound said there was likely meconium in the fluid. Midwife appointment also went great. I got my first cervical check - I was 2cm dialated and 60% effaced. I decided against a membrane sweep as I was GBS+ and did not want to do anything more to introduce bacteria and/or risk membrane rupture. I went home after taking Willi to work. At home, Mom and I did some gardening and Dad worked on our A/C unit. I noticed a few waves while gardening, but they seemed pretty sporadic and were very mild, like the Braxton-Hicks I’d been having here and there. At noon, it was super hot, so we quit gardening and walked over to the nearby bar for lunch. While at lunch, I noticed that the waves were increasing in frequency and seemed fairly consistent, although they were still very mild. I went to another acupuncture appointment and grocery shopping that afternoon.
That evening, Mom and I made potato salad while Dad and Willi grilled pork chops. I started timing waves after dinner and they kept getting closer and closer together and increasing in intensity, although they were still very manageable. We tried out Google hangouts and talked with my sister, Becky, who was now in California and not going to be at the birth. Boo. I went up to bed at about 10pm to listen to my hypnosis track and get some rest.
I woke up at 11:30pm and needed to use the bathroom. When I got up, I felt a small gush of fluid. When moving around, I felt a few more gushes. I went to the bathroom, put on a new pad and then realized I was hearing a lot of water hitting the floor. It wasn’t my water...but rather our air conditioner leaking through the ceiling into our kitchen. Gah!! So I ran upstairs to tell Willi and he and I frantically ran around with towels and buckets trying to clean up the mess. In the commotion we woke up my Dad who was disappointed that he had not in fact fixed the air conditioner. After we got everything cleaned up, I called the midwives to tell them that I thought my water had broke. They agreed that it sounded like it had and that I should get myself to L&D sometime that night, but said I could take my time. So I tried to go back to sleep. My waves were continuing to pick up in intensity and I was too excited to sleep. I also realized that I hadn’t yet made the brownies that I intended to take to the nurses. So I got up and made brownies while swaying and listening to the Birthing Day Affirmations. At about 1am, I texted our doula, Anne, to let her know what was going on, and asked her to come to the house since we were going to have to head to the hospital yet tonight.
Anne arrived at 2am. At that time my waves were about 60 seconds long and 3.5min apart. I was doing a lot of standing and swaying or sitting on the birthing ball and doing figure 8s at this point in time. I could talk through waves, but preferred not to. Waves on the toilet were more intense. Listening to the tracks, especially the Birthing Day Affirmations and Easy First Stage and staying in center worked perfectly at this point in time. I had some toast and PB and honey at 2:40am while Willi started getting things in the car. We woke up my Mom at about 3:30am to go to the hospital and left a few minutes later. A few blocks away, we had to turn around and go back as I had forgotten my ID and insurance cards. Way to go, Mary! Off again, and got to the hospital by 4am. I had not had any more leaking since 11:30pm and was thinking that maybe my water had not broken after all, but as soon as I sat down on the bed in triage, I felt another big gush. I guess I was wrong! I had another cervical check in triage, which is the only one I asked to know my numbers. I was 3cm, mostly effaced and baby was at a -1 station, so I felt good that there was progress from that morning. We got moved to a room at about 5:30am.
They put me on a monitor for about 20 minutes and I ate a granola bar for energy. The outgoing midwife checked in on me briefly before leaving at 7:00am, and about half an hour later the new midwife, Carrie, and a midwife student, Emily, came to check on me.
It was about this time when we realized that my waves were starting to space out some. Willi and I retreated to the bathroom to try some nipple stimulation. This seemed to bring on more intense waves, but they weren’t getting any closer. By 9:45am, they had spaced out to ten minutes apart. Carrie came back in and began to talk about possible need to augment since my water had broken and I was GBS+ (I had already been started on antibiotics). She said she would give us some more time. So we walked the halls, and I sat on the birth ball, and did belly lifts, and tried nipple stimulation some more. We tried a side-lying release at about noon. The waves were still not picking up considerably and by 3:30pm, we agreed to start pitocin. Carrie said we should start at 1 unit, and go up 1 unit every ½ hour. They got the telemetry monitor so I could get in the tub and got the pitocin started at 4:12pm. I started noticing the waves picking up in intensity and getting much closer together by 5pm. This whole time I was in center and Willi was usually using the Peace cue on my shoulder, which was working very well. I got in the bathtub at 6:10pm. Anne started reading birth prompts, while Willi and my mom took turns doing Peace cue on my shoulder. By 7:30pm, the pitocin was up to 4, which was as high as it needed to go. By 8pm, I was shaking violently, vomiting and waves were 2.5 min apart and 60-80 sec long. I remember thinking that I was not having a pain-free birth, but that I felt very calm and relaxed. I also completely lost track of time, which was the primary way that I knew the hypnosis was working. And I don’t know how I would have managed each wave without Anne or Willi reading the birth prompts! This was the one thing that I never really visualized before the birth as a tool I would use, but it was the BEST tool for me.
I got out of the tub at 12:25am to go to the bathroom, and had a couple of waves on the toilet. Emily checked me again at that time and I was at 9cm (I didn’t find out). I laid down and slept between waves from this time until 2am when a really big wave woke me up.
Bubble Of Peace WARNING - I think being asleep, I was not ready for this wave and it was super painful. I immediately thought that something must be wrong with my baby because none of my other waves had hurt anything like this. I finally asked the monitor to be put on so I could hear the baby’s heartbeat. I was able to calm down after that, was checked and found complete and got back in the birthing tub, which immediately took all pain away. End Bubble Of Peace
I pushed in the tub for nearly two hours, and could reach up and feel the baby’s head with my fingers...which was encouraging at first, but after awhile, it was downright annoying. Come on baby! Come out already! I think I was too tired and no one else could get in the tub with me, so I choose to get in bed and try pushing on my side.
At 4am, my water broke (previous water breakage must have been forewaters?) and lots of meconium was present. Carrie said the NICU team would have to be there, but if the baby started crying right away, they would just leave. I was so tired by this time and everyone was offering awesome and much-needed encouragement. During this time, I was definitely still using my hypnosis in center, but was actually quite annoyed by the Pushing Baby Out track which kept telling me that I would do this easily. It wasn’t easy for me at all! But, finally, at 5:05am, our baby was born and put directly on my chest, squalling quite loudly as the NICU team exited - go baby! Someone asked whether it was a boy or girl and I realized I had no idea! One quick look and it was a girl! Delsy Rose, named after my grandmother and mother-in-law. She was 7lbs 7oz, 21in long and just perfect!