I never really had expectations of birth education or birthing. I always assumed things would work out like you see in the movies. We would spend nine months laughing about pregnancy cravings, go to all the normal check-ups, and then give birth in the hospital. I didn’t think I would have much of an opinion on birth details and for the next nine months was going to agree with every decision my wife made. Things didn’t exactly work out that way....
After our initial meeting with Laura we realized we really didn’t know what we were getting into. We chose the six week Hypnobabies class over a traditional one day hospital class mostly as a chance to get to know Laura better, and we felt we’d learn more over the six week period. I was very skeptical about hypnosis and thought my wife was nuts for wanting to go this route, but I remained optimistic and wanted to support her decisions.
The Hypnobabies class was great! I was excited to be having a baby, but I didn’t honestly think I’d learn so much or be so involved. Hypnobabies teaches you everything about child birth, and for us was the gateway to the crunchy world. The bulk of the class time is information related, and hypnosis was actually a very small part of it. I also realized that hypnosis is more like meditation and not crazy mind control like I originally thought.
The first few classes I felt intimidated and unprepared when listening to the other couples. I’d hear them talk about mystery crunchy birth items for moms and their tours of birth centers. My wife and I would leave class thinking about items we should be purchasing. We also hadn’t fully committed anywhere for birthing and I felt like we were way behind in planning. As the weeks went by I felt a little better about things. We got to know the other couples in class and realized they didn’t know what they were doing either. I really started looking forward to “Hypnobabies Saturday”. The trips to class and the weekly readings brought us together as a couple to talk about baby stuff and I was getting more involved and more opinionated than I originally thought I’d be. We also got closer as a class and have remained friends with some of the other couples to this day.
Jack was born two weeks before his guess date, and the day before I came down with a case of Cellulitis on my foot. I didn’t know that was what was wrong with my foot at the time and I couldn’t put any weight on it. I had an appointment at 9 AM the next day, but as it turns out, my wife’s water broke at 4 AM. I was on two hours of sleep and my foot had doubled in size over night so I didn’t give her the reaction she was looking for when she told me her water broke. I was excited the baby was coming, but felt completely worthless as a husband/father. This was supposed to be my time to be supportive and prepare for the hospital while she relaxed. In reality I couldn’t walk, carry anything, clean up around the house, or get ready to go to the hospital.
Since this day wasn’t planned for another two weeks the house was a mess. The “To-Go Bag” wasn’t packed, dishes were dirty, and no pre-made meals were prepared. My wife remained very calm and started to clean up to take her mind off things. Her pressure waves were all over the place and tough to time accurately. I was lying on the couch texting Laura and attempting to time pressure waves. Fortunately, my left foot was the problem and I could still drive with my right. I drove the dog over to my parent’s house and returned to help get ready to leave.
Not long after being checked in Laura showed up in Triage and took over verbal prompts during waves. There was a huge sigh of relief once Laura arrived. Instantly, the mood of the room which was already calm became even lighter hearted. Laura also felt the need to tease me about being in a wheelchair. We were in Triage for a couple hours because all the hospital birthing rooms were taken. Apparently, it was a busy morning for babies to be born.
My wife kept having birthing waves every minute or so. Laura would read prompts. I would chime in with key words like “peace” and then hold the water bottle up for my wife to take a sip. At one point, my wife needed to use the bathroom and I felt so thankful that Laura was there to assist. Shortly after the bathroom break Laura told the staff we needed a birthing room ASAP. I could tell things were progressing quickly and the staff came in to check how far along we were. Laura had the nurse tell only her how far along as it can be better if the parents not to know such things. A couple minutes after the check we were whisked off to a birthing room both still in wheelchairs.
We made it to the birthing room and the mood was still calm. I had to explain my foot issues to another set of nurses while my wife was unknowingly minutes away from giving birth. In between waves I hobbled around to put up Hypnobabies signs, and covered up the clock with a picture of our dog. I was getting more and more excited about the birth, but didn’t know how long things would take. My wife felt the best on all fours and liked when pressure was applied to her lower back. During waves Laura would read prompts and I would push on my wife’s back.
We weren’t in the birthing room long when my wife had to use the bathroom again. Laura told me to let the nurses know it was time, but they didn’t believe me. My wife was doing really well, and was very calm even through pressure waves.
My wife came out of the bathroom and hopped back up on the table on all fours. A couple involuntary pushes later and she yelled “head head head!” The doctor barely got her gloves on in time. Laura and I started blowing raspberries at my wife as this was supposed to slow things down for a moment. My wife pushed one last time and the baby literally fell out! I think my wife and the doctor both caught the baby and my wife brought him up to her chest and flipped back over to lie down on her back. The whole event only took a matter of seconds. I remember being so surprised the baby was here already, and thinking “that was crazy!”
His little body was covered in vernix and Hypnobabies training kicked in. We rubbed in the vernix and told the staff we wanted skin-to-skin time. We also delayed cord cutting which was the only birth-plan item the staff questioned us about.
We were only in the birthing room for about 30 minutes before the baby was born. The doctor who helped catch wasn’t even supposed to be there. She came in to say hi and check on us, but ended up being the person to put gloves on quickly and catch a baby. I remember my wife saying “well, that was easy” and we all laughed. We joked with Laura about having a baby before lunch time.
I was overjoyed to have a healthy baby and a wife still in good spirits. I got some skin-on-skin time as well while my wife looked over the lunch menu. I never had an urge to hold other people’s babies, but I was excited to hold my son. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing but I had to learn sometime. I called my mom at work and we both teared up when I told her the good news. We spent a couple hours more in the birthing room hanging out with Laura and nurses. We ordered food and relaxed with our new baby. After a while our little family was wheeled off to the postpartum room and it was time to start our lives with baby Jack!