I have to start with my son, Ben's birth. My water broke, before labor started, on the morning of my guess date. We went and had brunch, took our time getting to the hospital, and had active labor begin around 5:00 pm. I was fully complete by 8:00 pm and he was born at 9:12 pm. Not a bad labor for a first time mom!
We decided to use Hypnobabies with Katherine's birth. (We used HypnoBirthing with Ben, but our doula & instructor was also pregnant and wouldn't likely be available for Katherine's birth.) Seeing as we'd already had a natural, drug-free, hypno-based birth, we felt really comfortable with proceeding to Hypnobabies. Hypnobabies, and our Doula/hypno-instructor, Lindsay, was the best thing we'd ever done! The class was much more intense than HypnoBirthing. We had LOTS of home-play (they don't call it homework) each week. It was challenging to practice each week because we had a toddler at home to chase around this time!
(Editor's Note: Hypnobabies involves daily practice of hypnosis scripts and tools, along with reading, exercise, nutrition tracking and other suggestions to have a healthy pregnancy and prepare for birthing. The daily repetition is how our students retrain their minds to believe that birth can be easy and comfortable. They also learn how to produce hypno-anesthesia in their bodies to make themselves so much more comfortable while birthing. It's like preparing for a marathon or some other sport or performance. The more you practice, the stronger your tools become and the easier your birth can be.)
All throughout my pregnancy, I was convinced that our birthing time would happen the weekend of Thanksgiving ... I just had November 30th stuck in my head. I was also convinced that this baby was going to be smaller than Ben. (He was 7 lb 11 oz and 20.5" long). I was so much smaller with this pregnancy. I ended up gaining 10 pounds less this time around than the first. This was going to be a just a little peanut baby ... probably 7 pounds even.
After Thanksgiving, I decided not to go back into the office. My guess date was Tuesday 12/3 ... what would be the point of going in on Monday (after the long Thanksgiving weekend) to then have the baby the next day? My first official day of maternity leave, Monday, was great. I got some good rest at home, went to yoga, enjoyed the day to myself. I started having some pretty regular pressure waves (hypno-lingo for contractions) right on my guess date. I though, OK, this is it! I ended up having waves about every 10 minutes for 24 hours. Tom decided to stay home on Tuesday in case things picked up. And then nothing.
Wednesday, Tom had a big event with work, so he had to go to the office. I was fine I told him ... but I was definitely disappointed that baby hadn't arrived yet. I was officially 'over-due' at this point. (Editor's Note: We prefer the term "past 40 weeks". Women aren't considered "postdates" until they are 42 weeks.) Thursday, no waves. Just boredom, frustration, and lots of emotions. Tom stayed home again, which was great. But I was starting to feel like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing. Thursday night, around midnight, waves started again. YAY! This will be it ... I just know it ... and then after a few hours they stopped again. UGH.
On Friday, 12/6, I started having waves in the afternoon. Ok, this has to be it ... and of course, over night they stopped again.
Now, I should also tell you that each time the waves started I would call our midwife, doula, and birth photographer because "your first birth was so quick ... the second will be quicker!" I definitely was feeling like I was the crazy pregnant lady calling wolf each time labor stopped.
No baby. Now I'd 'wasted' a week of my maternity leave by sitting at home without a baby. I was getting edgy, frustrated, depressed, angry, you name it! I was going to the chiropractor for adjustments, acupuncturist for labor inducing, eating SUPER SPICY foods constantly, everything short of chugging the castor oil ...
Sunday night (12/8), around 1:00 AM, I woke up with waves. They were strong. I was using my "peace" cue from hypnobabies. I was listening to my tracks. I was feeling good! After a few hours of waves I decided to text our Doula. I didn't want to wake Tom up yet because I knew he was going to need some sleep if this was it ... and I KNEW this was different. I was feeling a lot more pressure and just knew we'd be having a baby soon!! I kept waiting for my water to break ... any minute its going to happen.
The waves just kept coming, about every 6 minutes. This was definitely labor. We called the midwife later Sunday morning, about 9:00 am. My dad came over to come hang out with Ben. We decided to head into the hospital about 11:00 that morning.
When we got to the hospital, I was doing great. Waves had slowed down during the ride over, but I knew it was OK ... our Doula warned us that labor can slow down during the drive. No biggie, we'd just walk from the parking ramp like we did with Ben's birth. We'd have this baby in our arms later that afternoon. I KNEW IT!
After a long walk, some more super spicy food, and finally getting checked out by the midwife, we were sent home.
Ultimately this was the best thing our midwife could have done. She told us that we could get admitted, but then we'd be 'on-the-clock' at the hospital. That they'd have to start pushing for interventions to get active labor started. I didn't want that. She told me it could be 4 hours or 4 days. I was DEVASTATED.
We found our doula and birth photographer in the waiting room. I instantly started crying. I was so embarrassed about going to the hospital when it wasn't really time.
My parents brought Ben to his Christmas pageant at school ... we skipped it ... I didn't want to face anybody.
I sat in the shower at home and just sobbed. That gut-wrenching, ugly crying. The kind where tears and snot just flow and mix together.
My fabulous doula suggested that we get together that night, after our kids went to bed. I met up with her and we did some hypnosis release tracks, some essential oils, and had some more good venting/crying.
I drove home. I yelled at God in the car and said I didn't care when this baby came as long as she arrived safely.
I went to the grocery store and picked up everything to make a nice pot roast in the crock pot. I went home, started the slow-cooker. I watched some dumb TV. Tom picked up Ben from school; we had dinner and I maybe felt two or three waves the entire day.
Around 8 pm I felt crampy, so I decided to go take a nice long hot shower. That was heaven.
Tom and I started watching a DVR'd episode of Saturday Night Live. I started having strong waves. I instinctively got on my hands and knees and was doing child's pose and other yoga tricks. It felt good.
We texted Lindsay... she said to keep her posted.
Tom called the midwives, she said to take a hot bath, and that she'd call us in an hour. This was a little after 9 pm.
We got upstairs to our bathtub (Ben is sleeping across the hall). Tom sat with me.
Waves were getting stronger but were super sporadic. A few would be 5 minutes apart, and then 7, and then 3, and then 8. No pattern at all.
A few times in the tub I knew I had to pee ... each time I'd get out of the tub the waves would hit me like a brick wall. I didn't realize how great the water was until I was out of it ... the waves came much faster whenever I was out of the water.
I told Tom he'd better call my dad (to come watch Ben). And to call the midwife and doula again. I didn't realize this (thankfully), but Tom was trying to get in touch with my dad ... but he wasn't answering his phone.
At 10:45 my water broke, in the tub. It was the strangest sensation. It felt like a balloon popped inside of me, and then a gush. I KNEW this was really it for real. (Up until my water broke I kept telling myself this wasn't real, it was just more weird practice.)
Our doula got to the house at a little after 11:00 pm. I had gotten dressed, and was on the living room floor, on my hands and knees, seriously working through each pressure wave. The funny thing is that Lindsay told us that if I couldn't 'feel-the-head' we'd make it to the hospital.
Seriously the waves felt like they were lasting at least 90 seconds and coming every 2 minutes. This was FAST.
My dad still wasn't at the house ...
We decided we HAD to leave at 11:15 pm. Lindsay was going to stay at the house until my dad arrived.
I made it down the stairs, and outside into Tom's SUV. I wedged myself facing backwards into the front seat, with my knees on the ground. (I couldn't fit in the backseat because we had 2 carseats installed!!)
It literally felt like Tom was going 80 MPH+ down our little side streets (he assures me that he didn't speed at all) ... it was a very snowy & icy night too!
During each pressure wave in the car I would tell baby to "WAAAAAIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT". My body had completely taken over. It was pushing and I was trying to make it stop. The amazing thing was that after each wave I was fine. I was actually really calm.
We got to the hospital (at 11:45 PM), and Tom left the car (running) in the 15-minute loading zone. The security guard saw us and waved us in; up to the admission desk. I was literally working through each wave, telling baby to "WAAAAIIIIITTTTTTT" (feeling like I'm being super loud, but according to everyone not loud at all.)
They bring us to a triage room, and the nurse says, can you get on the bed? So I do, and then another wave. The wave stops and she wants to check my progress. My eyes were closed this whole time and I was really in my own little world. It was 11:50 pm at this point. Tom says that as she started to check me, she started waving furiously at people and about 4 people swarmed around my triage bed and whisked me into a labor room.
I remember telling the nurses that we wanted a water birth ... they said they'd try but didn't think I'd be able to have the tub ready in time.
Our midwife got into the room and asked how I was doing. I said GREAT!
She checked me and said time to push!
I did a few pushes on hands and knees, facing the back of the bed, and then somehow (I thought the nurses did this but apparently it was me) my right leg flew up and I almost fell out of the bed. Then I stood up on the bed and the midwife said to squat down. I instinctively started going into a yoga-deep squat and they said "not that low, don't sit on the baby's head!"
I was able to feel baby's head ... that was AMAZING.
Katherine was born at 12:12 AM on Tuesday December 10th. Literally less than 30 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.
I felt no pain at all during the labor and delivery. My only discomfort was when I had a few stitches placed after a minor 2nd degree tear ... and I probably wouldn't have torn if she would have been a little slower in arriving. Sheesh!
Baby was on my chest, and nursing after about 10 minutes. This was pretty funny ... around that time, they came with all the bands for baby, me & Tom to wear. As they were putting my admission band on (they never did that because of how labor was going) I happened to look down and saw not my name ... something like Angel or Angelina. Thankfully I noticed that ... who knows what would have happened... baby switching?? Just kidding.
Katherine laid there with me for almost 90 minutes before we started checking her out (and naming her!) The midwife helped me get to the bathroom to take a shower which was heavenly. As I came out of the bathroom I heard the nurses, my husband, our doula, photographer all exclaim that I had to see how big she was!
It was the best test of Hypnobabies that I could have had ... it was EASY, CALM, BEAUTIFUL, NATURAL, everything I wanted (except missing the water birth...)
I can't say enough that my birthing time was so easy in part because of many things ... having practiced prenatal yoga extensively throughout pregnancy, having worked the Hypnobabies program, believing I could do this again, and having a fabulous birthing support team including my husband, our doula, our midwife, etc.
One last thing. I would never voluntarily give birth without a doula and Hypnobabies! It truly is the most amazing experience I've ever had! We'll see if I ever get that water birth I wanted ...