By 10 pm, the plug looked more pink and my doula recommended I give the midwives a heads up, just in case tonight was the night. I remember everything I tried to accomplish taking so long (including just making the phone call). By the time I called the midwife, Kathryn, there was blood. Now I was sure our daughter would join us in the next day or so. Both my doula and midwife suggested I try resting and they would check in with me in a couple of hours. A couple of hours sounded like an eternity, but we were not sure how quickly things would progress and again knew stats about how long first babies can take. Unsure how I would rest through what was happening, I laid down with my Hypnobabies tracks on and tried to just relax. Even in side-lying, things had continued progressing rapidly as I was cold, shivering and nauseous and the waves were longer than 2 minutes and more intense. I was using my Hypnobabies cue words of "peace" and "relax" as tools to help me through the most intense parts of the waves. I also wondered if I was feeling that "pushy feeling" I had heard about. I also had started repeating "this is our journey" over and over instinctively as a mantra to be okay with whatever was about to happen. Regardless, it would be our special journey!
In the meantime, I am not entirely sure why, but we had not really started to utilize many of the other positions or scripts we had learned. Possibly because we both were waiting for more of the "real thing" to start? After all, I didn't want to be the woman who cried wolf. After a few more waves and not knowing how long this would continue, I started to doubt myself and told Dan that I wasn't sure I could keep doing this. The nausea, shaking, and doubt should have tipped me off that I was likely experiencing transformation (what Hypnobabies calls transition). I knew from all the birth stories and education that you could experience such things during this phase, yet I was so in the zone that I wasn't even processing what was actually happening until I felt a sudden burst and gush with the very next wave and knew immediately that my water had broken. It suddenly became "go time". Clearly all of the time Dan and I spent doing our Hypnobabies homeplay had already been imbedded into my subconscious and my body was so relaxed and ready to birth our baby that I did not even realize how far along I was!
Our doula, Ann, had told me I would "know when I needed her". Not only am I not great at asking for help, but I didn't want to overreact. I think we were all prepared for a much longer process and apparently I had everyone fooled based on how I sounded on the phone. After my water broke, we let Ann and the midwife know to meet us at the hospital. While trying to change clothes (post-water breaking), I noticed that each wave was causing a very strong push to happen. I looked at Dan and said "I don't think I am going to make it to the hospital". He gave me a look that said, "We are making it!". I tried negotiating hospitals to a closer one, but Dan reminded me it was only 6 miles and 10 minutes to stick to our original plan. We just never expected it to take so long to get out of the house! With each wave, my body was definitely pushing and it was all I could do to hold her in. Dan kept telling me not to push and I tried explaining that I wasn't pushing, but my body was and it was happening whether I wanted it to or not. After finally making it into the car, I put my iPod in and listened to Hypnobabies tracks again. Luckily traffic was non-existent at 3 am, but the ride still felt much longer than it likely was. The two times I opened my eyes were when we were stopped at red lights. I looked at Dan and asked him to please run the light. Rightly so, he didn't and we made it safely to the emergency entrance by about 3:30 am. Luckily our midwife had called ahead and there was a wheelchair waiting for me. I remember Sarah always telling us at Blooma to walk and not take the wheelchair, but I knew that was to encourage labor. I was pretty sure this labor didn't need encouragement, so I was glad to take it and Dan pushed that thing about as fast as he could!
I still had my Hypnobabies tracks on as we made our way to our birth room and was able to tune out everything else around me and stay in the zone. They wanted to monitor her heart rate, but I knew there was not time for a whole 20 minute strip. Our midwife was telling me to let my body do whatever it was telling me to do. I explained that it was definitely telling me to have this baby! She apologized that she would need to do a cervical check and it might be uncomfortable. It was the first check of my pregnancy (another thing Sarah always told us - "you don't need to let anyone stick their hands up there until it's time"). Fortunately it was not very invasive as I was a 10 and it was pretty obvious I was ready to have our baby. They asked if I still wanted to do a water birth. For anyone that talked to me during my pregnancy, water birth was absolutely what I had been hoping for all along. Yet I was so in the "birth zone" that I actually didn't even say yes right away. I was so comfortable side-lying and was so ready to meet our little girl. Luckily Ann knew how much I had wanted a water birth and said yes for me. I of course agreed. There wasn't enough time to fill up one of the blow up birth tubs, so they filled the hard sided tub instead. I remembered from the hospital tour that the tub was not for birthing. So there I was standing in it asking "But can I really deliver in this?". Hello...just sit down and have your baby!
Dan returned from moving the car out of the emergency bay to find an empty birth room. Ann found him there and said "drop the bags, it's time to have a baby". I got settled in the water and was so glad I had moved to the tub. The water was so relaxing and I think it helped to slow down the waves a bit. Dan had started reading some of the scripts and affirmations we had practiced in class. Ann pulled out the candles, turned out the lights and put a lavender scented washcloth in front of me. Immediately I responded with - "oh yes, this is exactly what I wanted!!". It was exactly that - just how I had wanted my birth experience to be and I was so comforted knowing that. All the preparation had led to this moment and it was amazing! Each wave was bringing us closer and closer to meeting our daughter.
We had learned about breathing our baby down in Hypnobabies by saying "ahhh" in a low tone during the waves. When we learned about it in class, I couldn't quite envision how that would work. Yet that is exactly what we did! Our daughter and my body were working to move her down and out. I realized after giving birth that incredibly, I never actually "pushed". It would have sped things up, but again I was so in the zone that it did not seem to matter. When her head started to crown, we were able to feel all the hair she was born with. It was hard to imagine that it was really her head we were feeling. What a miracle! In between waves, I was very relaxed and joked about how I wished she would have waited 2 more days to be a Libra rather than have a household of Virgos. I also realized that I wouldn't be able to call her at the time of her birth (4 am) like my mom does for me every year. After crowning for about 15 minutes, Kathryn reminded me to curve my back into a C shape. During the next wave, our daughter swam out all at once - head, shoulders and all. My mouth was hanging wide open! I knew that her arrival was the outcome of this whole process, but I was so in shock that she was finally here with us! I looked up at my husband to see his tears of joy and all I could keep saying was "I can't believe you're here". I had been so in the zone that I couldn't believe that the pregnancy and delivery journey was over and this whole new journey was just beginning.
She was just perfect, so alert and so content! We were given all the time we wanted to bond before any procedures were done. Luckily she was just as my mom described me to be...a quick study when it came to eating. Meanwhile, I was still in such shock that I was holding my little baby girl and able to provide for her everything she needed in that moment - warmth, love, comfort and food. It was the first time I really felt like a mother and it was wonderful!
Our birth journey was not necessarily how I had expected or planned for it to be, yet it was exactly as I had hoped and just what was needed for both Laila and I. More importantly, I felt prepared for anything with a supportive husband and a great birth team who understood my desires. I strongly believe that all the prenatal yoga, Hypnobabies training and preparation, education and chiropractic care helped me to achieve a wonderful birth experience. Instinctively I had already believed that birth was not something to be feared, it was natural and we were made to do this. This philosophy was shared by the Hypnobabies program and it was so refreshing to be supported in knowing that I was fully capable of having the kind of peaceful birth I was hoping to have. Blooma also equipped me with the confidence I needed. One of my favorite signs in the studio that would be a drishti at times was "She Believed She Could, So She Did!" I believed I could and I did!!