I had been experiencing frequent braxton hicks for a couple weeks before the birth. Even though I had them most of my pregnancy they were starting to become more frequent at night making me believe that “tonight was the night.” They never turned into anything and left me unable to fall asleep for hours.
My guess date came and went which didn’t surprise me all that much, but when the 41 week mark came and went I started getting impatient. I loved being pregnant but was mentally and physically ready to meet this new little one.
I had my last chiropractor appointment on Friday, July 6th and scheduled a pressure point massage for the next day. The massage felt so good. She gave me a massage and worked on some pressure points to help get my birthing time going. The rest of the day we just hung out around the house.
That night I started getting the same braxton hicks but just ignored them since it happened every night. Then at 2:30am on Sunday, July 8th I woke up to use the bathroom. When I laid back down in bed I felt a gush of fluid. I hadn’t had any bathroom accidents so I knew it had to be my waters. It was still hard to believe though. I got up and wobbled to the bathroom to get cleaned up. It seemed to be a leak which would let gushes out here and there. I put a pad on and headed downstairs to wrap my head around what was happening. I didn’t wake Matt since I wasn’t having any waves yet and wanted him to get sleep for when I needed him.
I called my midwife Emme to give her a heads up but told her I didn’t need her since nothing was happening. I just wanted someone else to know in case things happened quickly. I also texted my doula Nicole.
I cleaned up the downstairs and got things ready and then laid down on the couch to rest and watch TV since I was too excited to sleep but still not experiencing any waves.
The sun started to rise so I brought my birth ball out onto the patio and just enjoyed the peaceful morning. I was so excited that I would meet my baby that day!
Eventually, I went back to bed and might have got a small nap in. The girls woke up and came in around 8:00am so I let them wake Matt up. I told him my waters released earlier but nothing was really happening yet. We went about our morning and around 9:30am I called my mom to let her know. She was going to take the girls during my birthing time so I asked if she would meet Matt to get them in case things went quickly and he wasn’t able to meet her later.
Emme and Renee (midwife's apprentice) decided to come visit and do some techniques and exercises to help baby get in a good position. They came at 12:30pm and we did inversions, lunges, the side lying technique, and shifting with the rebozo. They headed out after that and told me to eat and try to nap. I put on my birthing affirmations and tried to sleep. My back was hurting (which led us to believe the baby was not in a great position) so I was able to get a little nap in but was uncomfortable.
As the day wore on I started getting discouraged that things were still not happening so Matt and I went for a walk and then a drive to get some ice cream and movies. Emme and I were keeping in touch throughout the day and she knew I was getting discouraged. She told me that she was at a Spinning Babies workshop with Gail Tully and they were discussing what was going on. Gail told her to remind me that there was only room for one head in my pelvis so I needed to keep mine out. Also, that I needed to take my doula hat off and be a birthing mom. Wise words, yet hard to do. I knew that 90% of women start having waves within 48 hours of their waters releasing so I still had a lot of time before we needed to think about taking the next step. I just tried to keep that in mind. After some emotional release and talking with Matt we decided to watch a movie and I had a ½ glass of wine. It felt great to take my mind off everything and just be in the moment.
We decided to head to bed around 9:30pm to try and get some sleep. We laid down and I had a few waves that were just too uncomfortable to lay down through. I had Matt put the TENS unit on my back which was heavenly. It took away most of my back pain and really helped me relax! I asked Matt to start filling the birth tub since if things were to continue I would be using that tub later and since it had a heater it could be set up for a couple days.
While Matt was filling the tub, I set up shop on the glider with Easy First Stage going through my ear buds, the TENS unit on my back, and movement of the glider to just glide me through the waves. Every time a wave was finished I found myself asking for another one. I wanted them to get closer and they were so comfortable. I was really loving this early labor! After we ran out of hot water I asked Matt to try and sleep and that I would wake him when I needed him. Before Matt went to bed he timed some waves so I could get a starting point. They were between 6-8 mins apart and lasting at least a minute. I thought this might be the real thing so I called Emme and gave her a heads up. This was around midnight. I also sent a text to my doula Nicole and photographer Katie to give them a heads up.
I went about my night laboring on the birth ball, standing up, hands and knees, and just walking around the house enjoying the comfortable waves and knowing these would bring me to meet my new baby. I was just doing my own thing downstairs so Matt could get some rest. The intensity of the waves started picking up around 1:40am so I called Emme and Nicole and asked them to start heading over. A little later I texted Katie to let her know that I was ready for her to join us.
I headed upstairs and woke Matt to ask him to finish filling the tub and let him know the midwives, Emme, Clare, and Renee, and doula, Nicole, were on their way over. I continued changing positions but found standing and leaning on a dresser or counter were working the best. Everyone arrived shortly after and came up to say hello. I was still able to talk in between waves but had to concentrate on my hypnosis and breathing during the waves. After a bit I asked if I could get in the tub and they were wondering why I wasn’t already in it!
I changed clothes and Matt took off the TENS and I hopped into the birth tub. If felt so great! I kept my headphones on and changed positions in between waves to try and see what felt the best. The best part was in between them all the back pain and crampiness would just melt away in the water.
<BOP> A few waves hit me really hard and it was hard for me to stay on top of them. Matt and Nicole helped me get through each one but it was really intense. During one of them I felt the baby descend into the birth canal. What an amazing and intense feeling! <BOP>
I asked for the Easy First Stage track to be put on the speakers to see if that would help. It changed everything immediately. I went from feeling like I was losing control to being totally comfortable and in control. I was able to breathe and rock through waves. My birth team thought my waves had slowed down because they couldn’t tell when I was having them. Truly amazing.
I could tell I had hit transformation since I was shaking, felt nauseous, and was starting to doubt myself. The cool thing is, all of these actually made me excited and more confident. When doubts would enter my mind I would feel calm because I knew that was a great sign that I was close to meeting my baby. I loved feeling the shakiness because that was also another sign that my body was in the final stretch!
Katie, our photographer must have been taking pictures the whole time but she was so quiet and discreet I didn’t even know she was there. Later she told me that it didn’t sound like I was having many waves so she took that time to grab a new battery out of her car and when she came back they were helping me pull off my bottoms!
The Hypnobabies track started talking about pushing the baby out and at that exact time a wave hit and my body started pushing on its own. That is when the midwives helped me take my bottoms off. The pressure was so intense that was a hard thing to do. Nicole switched the track to Pushing Baby Out. Each wave after that I would start off with my body tense and face all scrunched up and then relax into the pushing. I kept my hand down there and felt the baby’s head crowning into it. After each push I could feel the baby going back in giving me time to stretch open. During every wave I would support my perineum and help it stretch around the baby’s head. Emme let me know what part of the head was out, the nose, the upper lip, etc... It was so cool to be feeling the little ear, nose, and head as it came farther and farther out. When the head was pretty much out Emme checked for a cord as I continued to push her out. Once she was out Emme gently guided the baby through the water between my legs so I could catch her and scoop her into my arms. That is a feeling I will never forget. Sitting back in the water with my baby in my arms and listening to her first cries was truly magical and so perfect. Matt checked to see the gender and announced it was a baby girl! More tears came flowing from me knowing our family was even more sweeter than before.
Everyone helped me get out of the tub and move to the bed where Matt, baby girl, and I had our first cuddle as a family. Baby Juniper was born at 6:27am on Sunday, July 9th, 2012. She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and was 20 inches tall. She is such a sweet and cuddly baby. What a wonderful addition to our family.
Hypnobabies helped me accomplish my HBAC. It was such a great tool during pregnancy and labor. I got a small taste of what it was like when I turned it off and tried other music to listen to. I am so glad I tuned it back on and was able to regroup. It helped make my birth manageable and it helped me stay in the present. Having a Hypno-doula was also a great tool because she knew the words to use and the cues to keep me grounded. She also knew what tracks to use and when to use them so I didn’t have to concentrate on that. I was able to stay in my zone while everyone took care of things around me.