On Wednesday 8/10, I had been having a lot of Braxton hicks “practice waves,” although now I realize that I was probably in early labor and was so used to having Braxton hicks that I didn’t really focus on them. Lindsay came for our last doula appointment and she did the rebozo and a pelvic floor release maneuver on me. She said that one side was really tight and that it loosened up really well. After Lindsay left, Mark and I sat out on deck and talked about our plans for the weekend. Our neighbor Brooke asked if I had the baby yet and we said, “Not yet.” I was having longer and stronger Braxton Hicks than what was normal for me, but I just ignored them. I remember thinking that I HAD to finish the thank you cards from my last baby shower, so I stayed up late to get them done and then went to bed in the guest room. When I went to bed, Mark said, “let me know if your pressure waves get stronger or if something changes.”
This is where our birth story starts to get interesting…at 4am on Aug 11, I woke up to go to the bathroom. While I was going to the bathroom our cat Booker was acting crazy, mewing and walking around my feet. I was really tired so I just went back to bed and ignored the cat. I couldn’t sleep so I listened to the Special Place Hypnobabies CD. I remember thinking that it was weird that I wasn’t having any pressure waves since I had gotten so used to having them. Around 4:30, I felt a pop and rushed to the bathroom as fast as I could, as far as I could tell the fluid was clear. I was pretty sure that it was my waters releasing but I think I was in denial not really believing that this was it. So, I went upstairs, put towels on the couch and laid down and ate rice with lots of butter while contemplating what I wanted to do. Around 5am I felt another pop with a small gush, at this point I decided that I should probably start letting people know. I texted Lindsay, who responded super fast and said, “go back to sleep and get some rest if you can or listen to Hypnobabies fear clearing or deepening.” I then called work and let Susannah our night charge nurse know that my water broke and I obviously wouldn’t be coming in. I remember being worried that I wouldn’t be able to stay late for someone like I had planned.
At this point I felt kind of giddy and excited but I remembered my Hypnobabies teaching and what Lindsay had said about adrenaline and that it was better to just stay calm and try to relax. I finally decided that I should probably wake Mark up! I woke him up, updated him on what was going on but that it would probably be awhile before anything happens so go back to sleep. He said, “Ok” and went right back to sleep! I tried lying down with him for awhile but I was too uncomfortable, I then tried lying down in the guest room but I just couldn’t lie down. I still wasn’t having any pressure waves so I decided to just things ready. I am so glad now that I decided to finish packing our bag and getting the car seat ready, it made it easier to just grab things and go later on. While packing I started having pressure waves, I remember just slowly breathing through them and saying pregnancy affirmations in my head. I had most of them memorized at this point as I had been listening to them every day while driving to work for months. They helped keep me calm and allowed me to trust my body that it knew what it needed to do.
Around 5:30am, my pressure waves were 5 min apart and lasting about a minute. They were a little stronger than my Braxton hicks that I was so used to. I spent the next hour and a half moving between the bathroom toilet, couch and birthing ball all the while listening to my Hypnobabies tracks deepening and then fear clearing. That hour and half is pretty much a blur, I was just focusing on my Hypnobabies and listening to my body about where I was the most comfortable. Mark woke up at 7am and we decided to text Lindsay with an update. At 7:08 we let Lindsay know that the PWs were 4-5min apart and lasting about one minute. She asked how I felt and if I was talking or breathing through them. At 7:12 Mark texted Lindsay back saying, “she is breathing through them, talking between and listening to Hypnobabies.” Lindsay asked if she should come as she lives about an hour away and it was during rush hour. We initially said she could wait as I was felt I was doing fine without her. Six minutes later everything changed and Mark decided Lindsay should come now! I began to have a lot of back pressure and the pressure waves got more intense and closer together. They were 3-4min apart lasting about 1-1:30 each. I moved to the toilet and just began to focus on using my hypno-anesthesia and thinking the words “open” and “relax” during each pressure wave. I wanted Mark near me as much as possible. I found a rhythm where I would lean on him during each wave and breathe deeply while trying my hardest to keep my body and face relaxed. The Early First Stage track made my waves stronger and closer together than I was comfortable with so I switched to just listening to the relaxation music. During this time I felt really peaceful and feel that I used my light switch effectively for the first time. In between PWs I would go into center and alternate between drinking water or tea packets and just smile. It sounds cheesy but I remember one of the tracks saying after each pressure wave to smile and I guess I focused on that part.
Lindsay got to our house around 8:30 and just provided support in the way only a doula can. Around 9am, I mentioned that we hadn’t called our midwives yet. We paged them and Mary Hayes called us back. She spoke with Mark first and then wanted to speak with me. I was sitting on the bathroom floor, talking to Mary and I had a really strong pressure wave. I remember looking at Lindsay, she said just tell her you need a minute. Instead I just breathed through it and kept talking, I wasn’t going to be a regular person in labor! Mary said we should come on in to the hospital, so Mark and Lindsay jumped into action getting everything ready to go. During this time I was never alone and always felt supported, which was really important to me. Right before I got into the car I remember standing in our driveway thinking that it was a beautiful day to welcome our little girl into the world!
I got into the car, surrounded by pillows, and thought, “this is the absolute last place in the world I want to be!” I started to get a little panicky and scared and listening to easy first stage was making the pws worse. I was vocalizing through every pw and at one point I felt like I had to push. I didn’t say anything to Mark, but I just switched to my center position, listened to the relaxation music and ate small bites of my granola bar. We got to the hospital exit and Mark took the wrong one! Thankfully one turn brought us to the hospital. We finally parked at the ER entrance and walked in. Mark walked up to the desk and said the L & D was expecting us. I must have looked really calm, and not like I am in labor because they said, “Ok we are calling up there, have a seat.” What?!?! I am IN LABOR; I stood by the window and told Mark that he needs to tell them to hurry. At that exact moment, a nurse comes out, takes one look and me and says, “do you need to go to L & D?” I nod, she grabs a wheelchair and asks me to take a seat. Being my independent self I say no, I will walk. She just says, it’s a long way, sit down. Ha! During the ride to the birthing center, I have at least 5 pws. The nurse is asking us questions and I ignored most of them choosing to concentrate on my Hypnobabies tracks instead. We got to the birthing center and are greeted by a worried Lindsay and our nurse Andrea. ( **Note from Lindsay*** I had been following them in my car to the hospital so when I got to L&D so much ahead of them due to the wrong turn, I was hoping she wasn’t giving birth in her car, as I knew she was pretty far along!) I immediately decide that she (Andrea) is annoying and felt that way during my whole birthing time in the hospital. They hook me up to the monitor and Mary Hayes comes in. She greets me and I say something about her saying that I was, “locked, loaded and ready to go,” on Tuesday. She tells me that she knew I wouldn’t make it to the end of the week!
*BOP* I was told that the tub was being filled but they didn’t know if it would be ready in time for me to use it. That was discouraging for me to hear and I just wanted to get the monitors off and get out of bed! Around 11, I felt the need to push. I gave a few pushes and it was HARD! I remember sitting on the toilet in the bathroom and just feeling a sense of being done…I threw my headphones off, kicked my clothes off and tried to push how they were telling me to. Mary kept telling me to push through my bottom…what? I truly thought I was! At this point I just freaked out…here I was in this tiny, dark bathroom with my husband, my doula, my midwife and nurse who were all staring at me. They were trying to help but it wasn’t helping me. Mary kept trying to see with a flash light and Andrea kept trying to check Lucy’s heartbeat with the monitor. It was just overwhelming and I started screaming while puking, “I can’t do this! This hurts and baby come out!!” I could feel Lucy’s head slide down the birth canal and then slide back up. I was also experience pain toward the front…I was not expecting that. I had prepared myself to experience pressure in my perineum but not towards the front. All this led up to me feeling scared and I think that it really caused me to tense up and makes pushing more difficult for me. During this time, Mark and Lindsay were the people that I focused on and really leaned on for support. After about an hour of moving between the bed and toilet, someone said that the tub was ready. Mary asked me if I would like to get in the tub, and I felt this sense of relief. *end BOP*
Once I was in the warm water, I almost immediately felt much better. The tub room was bright and relaxing and had a calming atmosphere. Lindsay put on Hypnobabies relaxation music and diffused peace and calming essential oil. I think that I “freaked out” a little more and then something just clicked. Mark was sitting behind me on a stool and I draped my arms over his. Lindsay placed a cool washcloth on my forehead and I began to concentrate on relaxing my entire body and resting as much as possible between pushes. (**note from Lindsay: I love this part of Christi’s story. She had a short period of time where she felt overwhelmed but she made the decision to start using her tools again and really truly found her peace and calm!! Such a good thing for others to notice... that she really actively chose to use her Hypnobabies tools and techniques after a short period of time of not** )
Finally, Lucy’s head came out, it felt really squishy and not at all what I thought it would feel like. Then with another push her shoulders came out and I could feel her legs kicking still inside me and it was the weirdest feeling in the world. I reached down and with the midwives assistance she came all the way out and was just hovering in the water. I couldn’t wait to hold her! I brought her up to my chest and it was truly love! She just stared at me and didn’t cry right away. I was surprised at how much vernix she had on her and how wide her eyes were as she took in the world. I kept saying “hi baby” over and over again. I remember Mark behind us kissing my head and telling me good job. It was such a special moment and one that I will never forget.
Lucille may was born at 1:07pm after a little over 8 hours of labor. She weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and was 20inches long. Her average length surprised me since at every ultrasound they told me she was a really long baby. Lucy nursed about an hour after being born for the first time and had a really strong latch.
Overall Lucy’s birth was what we had envisioned despite me forgetting to give our birth plan to our midwife. Oops! Hypnobabies helped us feel prepared for our birthing time and empowered to express our wishes. Lindsay also helped remind us of things that we had said we wanted or didn’t want. When I think of my birthing time I am still amazed at the power of the mind and body to know exactly what to do. I love knowing that I had a mostly comfortable, complication free and relatively fast labor and was able to fully experience one of the most amazing events of my life thanks to Hypnobabies and our amazing doula!