After the bath I timed a few more waves and realized they were coming about every 4 minutes. I still didn’t think it was time, expected them to fizzle out and come again the next night, but couldn’t ignore the increasing frequency. John also thought I should just rest and ignore for a while, but we decided I should call my mom and have her come just in case. She lives an hour away and was coming up the next morning to babysit anyways. She and my 18 year old sister (who was coming to help with K) drove up. During that time, I needed to turn a lot more focus inward during the waves. I was sitting upright on my birth ball, circling and swaying my hips. I talked to them for a bit when they got there, saying that I wasn’t convinced it was “real” and didn’t want to raise a false alarm. I was going to try to get some sleep and see what happened.
I laid supported in bed and listened to “Easy Comfortable Childbirth.” This was a track I fell asleep to frequently during pregnancy, so I thought it would be a good choice to rest with. I dozed between waves, but around 4:00 am suddenly woke myself up with some vocalizations. I rode out a few waves in bed, vocalizing quite a bit with each one. I was trying to change positions, but kept getting stuck between waves. I made my way up and sat back on my heels, where I rode out a few more waves with more comfort.
I moved into the bathroom, where I sat on the toilet with my feet up on the Squatty Potty. I was really vocalizing at this point, and finally realized that I was really and truly in my birthing time. I had quite a bit of bloody show at this point too. My mom heard me and woke up, and came to the bathroom door. She said “I think we should call everyone over,” and I said “I know, but I haven’t been able to pull my shit together enough between waves to call Aly!” (our midwife). Then I told her to go wake up John and tell him to call Aly and our doula - he was sleeping with our toddler. I made my way out of the bathroom, back onto the birth ball. It felt really good to be upright like that, with small hip movements. I started getting cold and shivery, and wrapped up with a blanket. I turned on my “Birthing Day Affirmations” and totally focused inward.
By 5:15 am, the birth team was arriving and there was a flurry of activity as the bed, birth tub, and home was set up. I had my back to all of that activity with my ear buds in, listening to my affirmations. I kept repeating “soften, open, relax” to myself, over and over. I also found myself using my “Peace” cue with almost every wave. At first, I would say it and visualize my orange hypno-anesthesia, but I didn’t feel like it was doing much of anything. Then I started being much more intentional. I would think “peace” on my exhale and “push” my hypno-anesthesia where I was feeling the most sensation. Then on my inhale, I would focus on “holding” my hypno-anesthesia in that position until I could send another ball of it on my exhale. That visualization was really helpful and effective for me!
As I finished my Birthing Day Affirmations, my midwife checked my vitals and told me to eat something and go to the bathroom. My doula thought doing some Side-Lying Release may be helpful. John made me a smoothie while we got set up, and I decided it may be a good time to turn on “Easy First Stage.” We did the Side-Lying Release through three waves on my right side, then 3 on my left. That was probably the most intense part of my birthing time. The position was not my favorite during the wave, but I was able to fall asleep briefly in between them.
By the time we finished those 6 waves, I began to feel a little bit pushy. I wanted to use the bathroom again, and then my midwife asked if she could check me. After she checked me she said “Well it’s not time to push yet, but things are moving right along!” I asked how far I was - one of my biggest fears was feeling the urge to push before being complete, because that had been a major complication of K’s birth. Aly told me I was 7-8cm in the front, 9 in the back, with a bulging bag of water. I was thrilled to hear this! I said “That’s so much farther than I expected!”
She asked if I wanted to get in the tub, and I did! I knew that if it was time to get into the tub, things were really and truly progressing. I climbed into the tub, and immediately felt a huge wave of relief. It felt so good! As I was in the tub, I still felt pushy with my waves and would bear down lightly and breathe through them as much as possible. The “Relax” cue with the hand on my shoulder was really helpful at this stage. In retrospect, I was in transformation at this point, but really didn’t realize it! I was still able to chat between my waves. At one point, K came over to feel the warm water and asked if I wanted a cup to pour water on my belly. I was able to connect with her between waves, which was so special.
My mom, sister, and K decided to go for a little walk to get her out of the apartment for a while. I was changing positions in the tub every few waves, because my midwife and doula thought it would be helpful to move the baby down. I’d alternate between leaning back against the tub, draping myself over the side, and sitting back on my heels. As I changed positions between waves, I felt a “pop!” and a flow of warmth and said “there’s my water!” After that, I began feeling much more pushy and was having a difficult time not bearing down with each wave. With one wave, I bore down and felt baby’s head move way down. After I said that, my midwife asked to check me again. She said there was still some cervix, but it was very soft and stretchy. She asked me if I’d like to have her hold it out of the way while I tried pushing. It felt so much better to push than to fight it, so I said yes, if it would let me push, that’s what I wanted to do!
For 3-4 waves, she held back the little bit of remaining cervix while I pushed. That’s around the point that I realized we should turn on the “Pushing Baby Out” track! John also called my mom, telling them to come back. At that point, things moved really quickly. They actually had to run in order to make it in time! Baby had moved past the remaining cervix, and I turned over onto my hands and knees. Within another couple pushes she was partially crowning. After the next two pushes, her head was born. There was a very brief pause, then I pushed out the rest of her body.
Aly pushed her towards my hands, I scooped her up to my chest, and sat back against the tub. I held her and talked to her, and she almost immediately started loudly and vigorously crying. She was a great pink color from the moment she was born, and began nursing almost immediately. It was only a few minutes before I began feeling more waves and birthed the placenta. We put the placenta in the bowl, passed the baby over to John for some skin to skin while I got out of the tub, and all got into bed together. After checking our immediate vitals, everyone left for an hour or two while we snuggled in bed. They came back in to get me to the bathroom, do the newborn screening, and cut the cord. I cut it myself, which was very special! We were given our postpartum instructions, and left to snuggle in together as a new family of 4!
I was surprised at some of the differences between this birth and the last. The positions I found comfortable were very different with each birth. With K, I wanted to lean over - I would lean on a table or counter and sway my hips. With E, I wanted to be totally upright - sitting straight up on the birthing ball, sitting back on my heels, or on the toilet with my feet propped on the squatty potty.
I also used support in very different ways. I had a lot more physical support from my birth team with K’s birth. This time, my team suggested positional changes and used the “relax” cue, but otherwise I was very independent and internal. I was also surprised with how forcefully I pushed! I expected to do littler pushes and breathe the baby down, but it felt really good to push. I was quite vocal and pushed hard, but always when it felt right for my body.
In retrospect, I probably should have used each one of my Hypnobabies tools earlier than I did, but I really didn’t realize how far I was and how quickly things would move! I only listened to about half of the “Easy First Stage,” and we barely made it past the introduction of the “Pushing Baby Out” track! I did use my finger drop, release, relax, and peace cues a lot within my own mind throughout the entire birthing process. It was a really wonderful, healing experience! E was born at 8:59 am and weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces.