First, I am a nerd. I am also a skeptical nerd. One that never out-grew the “why?” stage. The kind of person who can’t take even an “expert's” word for something. I HAVE to obsessively research and go back to the raw data and theory before making a decision.
Pregnancy only made this worse. See Dr Google. http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/do-you-love-dr-google/
Doula- First heard a doula mentioned by my aunt. My first reaction was what the heck was that?! Some stranger with no medical training attending your birth. Why would anyone want that??? But something about my aunt’s tone of voice made it clear that she was attributing a successful birth to this stranger’s presence. Odd. Stash “doo- lah” into memory banks
Home Water birth- A friend who lives in WY delivered at home in a tub. That was the first I had heard of it. The homebirth was shocking but made sense given how far she lived from a hospital(14+ hrs). But this water business, Ew!! And couldn’t the baby drown?? She insisted the tub was safe and amazing. When she talked of her birth, she was happy, proud, peaceful and amazed. Her pictures showed her the happiest I’d ever seen her. Stash “waterbirth” into memory banks.
Then it happened.
I was one of those weirdos who had a 6th sense and “just knew” I was pregnant well before the blue lines showed up. Two blue lines were the signal that it was time to unleash the inner nerd and research everything birth-related for the next 9 months.
When I finally became semi-functional again in the late second trimester I frantically began researching birth helps. The morning sickness told my instincts, I’d need every tool in the book to survive delivery. Two things I thought I wanted were prenatal yoga & maybe a “doo-la”?
I first started by looking for a prenatal yoga studio. I’m not a yoga person- I like feeling my heart pump and muscles throb. I’m not really into that namaste, budda, zen, nothingness stuff. But, my usual routine of interval body-weight exercises was no longer anatomically feasible. Also after being bedridden for weeks, I could hardly breathe while walking a flight of steps. I didn’t want to go to a regular yoga class and have someone tell me how to adapt the poses. The doula I thought I wanted mostly for my husband who is super loving and supportive but isn’t that into blood & guts.
Somehow while asking Dr. Google to find both prenatal yoga and a doula. He popped out Lindsay McCoy and Blooma. Two birds one-stone, I like it. At least with this chic I’d see her weekly in yoga class before asking her to be present for my bajingo party so it’d be a little less weird. But her website mentioned “hypno-babies”? Some trendy, new-agey, weirdo, yoga person thing? But, I was curious, Lindsay seemed kinda normal for a yoga guru.
Well, Dr Google what is “hypno-babies”?
Cue, YouTube videos and lots & LOTS of birth stories like this one that seemed too good to be true. Almost like a cult that won’t admit their leader is off his rocker. But, the more I looked into it. The more curious I got. I couldn’t find any stories of hypnobabies “doesn’t work” or “scam”. Just unbelievably calm births.
We also needed a childbirth class and I wanted more than the 3 hr hospital “would you like fries with your delivery?” version.
I contacted Lindsay and she my husband & I met at Blooma. She wasn’t weird at all, just very positive, warm, reassuring and knowledgeable. Sold! Begin prenatal yoga, doula relationship and hypnobabies instruction. Classes were both more helpful and technical than I expected. Our “homework” was a wonderful way to connect as a couple when as mom-to-be your protruding belly may make it seem hard to do. Through classes and Lindsay I also learned about Spinning babies and Startree Massage (myofascial release). Thoroughly recommend both! Started doing the weird poses, squats & lots of walking.
Around week 37 I reached my “I’m done now” point. I started puking again. Couldn’t sleep more than an hour (which became 30 min, then 15 min…) before needing to get up to pee, drink and switch positions to regain blood flow to the body part that had fallen asleep. People would ask if I was “ok”, because my breathing would become heavy and sound like I had just finished sprinting. My husband wouldn’t let me cuddle in certain positions because “your heart is pounding so strongly on top of mine it’s gonna give me a heart attack.” Then, my stomach would regularly, get rock hard and I couldn’t breathe. I started timing these. They were very regular. I contacted Lindsay, called in to work and started preparing for the 18+ hr labor my very nice but not hypno-hip ob told me to expect. I was ready. Lindsay said they could be labor, go to bed. Then NOTHING.
Well not nothing. I still had to get up to drink, pee, rotate but the hard stomach was gone when i woke up. This continued. These stupid “braxton hicks” were NOT painless. They hurt more than any menstrual cramps. You couldn’t sit down to work. It was up walk around, if regular try to sleep. Then they’d stop. I made myself crazy timing these and Lindsay ordered me to stop timing. “You’ll know..” I wanted out. But managed to go to yoga and do my daily walks and exercises. My guess date came and I was crabby. This sucked. All accounts said it could go on for another 2 weeks. Ugh! I can’t stand these “fake” labor pains. How in the H-E- double hockey sticks was I going to make it through labor???? (oops! birthing time). My wonderful husband, knowing how crabby I was, offered to make my favorite dinner, steak. He was outside grilling them when I was doing my goofy crawling around on all fours routine. When I felt some fluid, then more, then more, then more, wait it wasn’t stopping!?! It was still going as I sat on the toilet. What the? It was like peeing but not.
Huh. Ok. “Honey, I’m pretty sure my water just broke”. I got the adult diapers on and started preparing. Calling Lindsay, Dr office, dog-sitter…. All the while waiting for the “waves” to start. Nothing. I felt fine. It was 7 pm of my guess date.
I had my bags packed. I sat back, and waited for Dr to call back and waves to start. I had a whole elaborate plan of all the positions I would try at home, then have Lindsay come, then go to hospital. Well, I waited and got bored. I was excited, but there wasn’t anything different from the previous weeks. Well, at least those awful braxton hicks were gone. I figured it probably hasn’t started yet. I tried going to bed while listening to my favorite podcasts to take my mind off it. As usual I couldn’t get comfy for more than 15 min at a time. I tried to only focus on things that made me comfortable and the words in the podcasts. I purposefully didn’t time them. I finally looked at the clock. It was close to 11 pm. I still hadn’t heard back from the Dr, so called back. Apparently, they had thought they told me to go straight in. Ooops! Well I was still fine. So both Chris & I took a shower to prepare for a long night. As I washed up I focused on going to my special place. Finally after the shower I felt “ready” to go to the hospital and told Lindsay to meet us there. We got in the car and I put on my hypnobabies, closed my eyes and went to my special place.
At the hospital we walked in and headed up to the birthing unit. Unfortunately hospital lighting is rather disrupting. I tried to walk with my eyes closed as much as possible and focus on my bubble of peace. Which came in handy during admission questioning. There was the standard series questions (name, date of birth etc..) But then they asked “have you been passing gas normally?” I had no idea how to answer that question and became rather annoyed as my “I don’t know” answer would not satisfy the nurse. “Does it matter? I’m not really worried about whether I might fart during labor!”. I looked at Lindsay and Chris with disbelief. They reminded me about my bubble of peace. Then the nurse needed to put on the big bands to measure fetal heart rate and contractions. That was a disaster! I was doing fine swaying around crawling on the bed on all fours. But they wanted me to stay completely STILL during a contraction (Lindsay & Chris helpfully tried to remind them to say waves and they did try but often slipped). Those bands were so uncomfortable and to make matters worse, the silly machine wasn’t picking up any “contractions”. Furthermore, the nurses couldn’t tell when I was having one since I was so calm. Instead of just riding with the waves and letting it happen, I had to focus on when they were coming and going to let the nurses know so they could time them. That was awful. Thankfully, my midwife was awesome and had agreed that if I didn’t want to know how far I was she didn’t need to check me. I asked for a birthing ball. It felt good to roll again. Unfortunately, the contraction timing had gotten me upset enough to open my eyes and leave my special place. My wonderful husband, who gives FANTASTIC backrubs tried to help by rubbing my back. I growled at him and shook my head “no!”. I was extremely disappointed that that did not feel good. I had been looking forward to backrubs during labor. Thankfully, Lindsay was there to remind me to “RELAX”. I heard her voice and remembered from yoga letting the tension out of my shoulders, expanding my ribcage, freeing my abdomen and wiggling my toes.
(Editor's Note: This is a great example of how sometimes a mom can get "off-track" a bit during her birthing time due to external forces, but continuing to use her hypno-tools brings her back into a calm, relaxed state.)
So we proceeded for what felt like 15 min, getting the awful contraction monitor on, checking heart rate, then Chris or Lindsay offering sips of water, while I rocked on the ball. I found myself rocking closer and closer to the edge of the ball right on my tailbone. I asked for my bag and switched to a wrap skirt. Pants felt too restrictive. As I did I noticed the room bathed in a subdued sparkly light from the candle while the hypnobabies background track played. I found the sound of voices to be distracting and had the scripts turned off. Rock, sip of water, lift finger to let nurses know when I was going deeper during a wave.
I would often have a full body shiver in between waves. I found myself repeating out loud “thank god for hormones” “thank you god for hormones”. Chris later asked what I meant. Each time I shivered I got a rush of relaxation streaming through my body followed by a burst of pleasure. Whatever these “waves” were they were NOT contractions of muscles tight and unyielding, rather a coordinated rhythmic ripple from one end of the body to the other. Yes muscles had to contract to move but the coordination was the key to precisely time the intensity and groups so that only the needed muscles engaged while others relaxed. Shivering preceded waves which felt amazing.
As I got further to the edge of the ball I began to worry that it felt like I was sitting on a head, so I asked where the midwife was and if I could get into the birthing tub. She was on her way but I could get into the regular bathtub for comfort first. Lindsay recommended that I pee first. I didn’t want to as sitting on the toilet sounded difficult. I wouldn’t be able to rock like I had. But she was right. Man, did I ever pee!!! That’s always fun peeing in front of 3 + people.
OH MY GOD. Words do not do justice to how comfortable that felt. There is no drug that will make you feel that good. I truly exclaimed “this is AMAZING!!!”. I truly felt I could handle anything as long I was in that tub. It really was similar to the feeling right after an orgasm or really really long run or hard workout. Endorphins, anyone?? :-D
Then they asked me to stay still again to check the heart rate. They had given up on timing contractions. Ugh! That was torture and felt like forever! They could hear him fine but wanted a “long enough reading”. Ugh! Ugh!
I began to get annoyed and grunty. I heard voices in the background. Lindsay had put on another hypnobabies script which reminded me to tune out the other voices and stay in my bubble of peace. I asked for my midwife again. They said she was here but with someone down the hall. I grunted harder again. I was surprised and slightly dismayed that “I feel like I have to poop”. I really did not want to get out of that tub. Thankfully I remembered that was a good sign. I heard Chris, Lindsay and my nurse say “You’re doing great”. The nurse seemed dumb-founded by how calm I was. Lindsay said I could allow my body to push.
I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay relaxed as possible, for as long as needed. Heck my midwife wasn’t there and we hadn’t moved to the big tub yet. It did feel like there was something between my seat bones. But I tried not to focus on that. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that it was almost over. Then my body ( which was HUGE!) took over and i sprung up into my blooma squat position and pushed.
I squealed (that was the first very short but sharp pain I’d felt). Then I softly murmured:
“oh good boy, that feels much better. Good baby”
Meanwhile the nurse screamed. “oh my god there’s a head!, There’s a head! go get the midwife!!”
I was a little miffed. Wasn’t this when the medical people were supposed take over? I felt fine. Actually better than I had been feeling.
The midwife arrived and coached me to push again. I really didn’t want to. Didn’t feel ready. But was worried about the baby. I wasn’t sure if I was squatting high enough above the water to keep him out or even if he was okay. She said “you gotta push dear”.
Push - scream - baby out.
Holy shit! He’s out. Thank god too. That hurt. But only for a second.
Oh my gosh he’s big and look at those fingernails! They’re so long!
Somehow ( I really don’t know how we did it) I got up and scampered over to the bed.
I lay back and someone put him on my chest. He went straight for the boob. No problem there. We both got dried off. Then they said it was time to cut the cord. I was surprised by how hard, white and long it was. Lindsay and the midwife both agreed it was the longest they’d seen. Chris braved the blood n guts and cut it. Or rather took several snips at severing it.
Then they took baby away and started pushing on my stomach. Holy crap that hurt. Then they started talking anxiously and talking about stuff I really didn’t want to hear. I instantly went to my bubble of peace and asked Lindsay to put on my birth playlist. I also started to get the worst Charlie horse I’ve ever gotten. That hurt WAY WAY WAAAAAAY worse than anything from the birth. And I couldn’t do anything about it! I was lying on my back and my left leg felt like the muscles were going to break the bone. Chris and Lindsay alternated holding my leg while I belted out “Stronger” by Mandissa. All with my eyes closed of course. This was truly the most intense part of the whole process. I remember thanking God for the baby and talking to Jesus. Finally things calmed down. I survived the hemorrhage. (END BUBBLE OF PEACE)