So I attended your class three years ago before the birth of my first child. That birth didn’t go as planned (forced inducement = intervention central, epidural, yuck, yuck, yuck). I am happy to report that in November we welcomed our second little girl, Ruby into the world in the most peaceful way. Here’s the story:
When we were preparing for Grace’s birth, we took a HypnoBirthing class and prepared for a non-medicated delivery. Since Grace was induced, it didn’t go quite as planned and I had an epidural. After that experience I was even more convinced that I wanted a non-medicated birth this time around.
Monday morning we went in for a non-stress test to be sure everything was still looking good with baby girl since at that point she was 8 days past her due date. She looked great and the midwife asked if we wanted to have my membranes stripped to try to get things going. After discussing that there wasn’t much that could happen medical-intervention-wise as a result of the membrane stripping, we decided to have her go ahead and do it. My parents were flying back to California on Thanksgiving Day (3 days from then) and so we were all anxious for the baby to come before they left. I was dilated to a 3-4 at that point and that was the first I’d been checked this pregnancy. The midwife told us that 50% of women will go into labor within 48 hours, but the other 50% either have nothing happen or feel cramping without any labor inducing effect, so I was prepared for the worst. That night we went to Opryland to look at the incredible light display. I was feeling kind of crampy but nothing consistent and I was trying to not get excited.
Tuesday morning we woke up around 8 (after a not-so-brief hiatus of awakeness around 4 am) and I was still feeling crampy. That morning my wonderful friend from church and doula, Rebekah, knowing that I was going stir crazy waiting for this baby brought over a craft project to do. Throughout the morning as we were working on the project I was feeling more and more surges that were getting consistent and that required more focus on relaxation. Since I was induced with Grace, I had never experienced starting labor on my own or contractions that weren’t insane pitocin ones, so all morning I was hesitant to believe that I was actually in labor so I wouldn’t be too disappointed if the contractions stopped. The project took me about 2 hours longer than it should have because of stopping for the surges, but I finished it. Rebekah was joking later that she should sell those as labor-distracting kits since it did such a great job at that for me. Each time I had a surge, I would relax my whole body as if I were going to sleep and breathe through the surge to work with them and the baby. Rebekah left around 1 pm to go home and put her son down for a nap who had been over playing with Grace while we were crafting. At that point Rob put Grace down for her nap and we laid down for a rest. My parents were here hanging out the whole time and my mom was making chocolate angel pie (yum!). By about 2:30 I was feeling like the surges were getting quite intense and I was feeling like maybe we should think about going to the hospital. We called Rebekah to come back over and then we decided to head to the hospital.
We got to Vanderbilt University Medical Center around 4 and the surges were pretty strong. I was hoping that we were almost there! We got a little lost finding labor and delivery, which was difficult because we’d have to stop every couple of minutes so I could lean on Rob for a surge. We finally found where we needed to go, and the ladies at the desk I’m pretty sure didn’t think that I was really in labor because I was so relaxed. I just rested my head on my arms on the counter there and let Rob take care of things. I think they scoffed just a little bit when I said yes to the wheel chair to take us to where we actually needed to be. There is just one room at Vandy where they have a tub that you can labor in and it’s first come, first serve. I was so happy when that was the room they wheeled me into. They left us there in the room for what seemed like forever, but was only a few minutes in reality…I’m pretty sure they didn’t believe that I was actually in labor either.
Finally they came in to check me and Rob says everyone looked shocked when I was a 7. So they hooked me up to the monitor for 20 minutes and Rebekah arrived with her bag of tricks. She was amazing! She had food and lotion for massages and funny things to say to keep us entertained. Too bad things went so quickly that we didn’t get to use any of it! After the 20 minutes of being monitored and having to lie still, they let me get into the tub and hallelujah is all I have to say about that. Getting into that water was the most amazing feeling of relief – it was sort of like getting an epidural – it was that good. I guess the warm water was relaxing and taking all that weight and pressure off my abdomen really helped. Rob says that when I got into the tub I smiled so big and was telling everyone how much I loved the tub and everyone helping me.
Rob was so sweet and dabbed ice on my face the whole time I was in the tub because I was so warm. So I labored in the tub for about an hour or so and when I got out I was completely dilated and effaced and ready to go! So I got back into the bed and Miss Linda, the midwife, broke my water and I started pushing. Because I had so much scar tissue from Grace’s birth, Miss Linda was really trying to support those same areas so they wouldn’t tear as much again so we went really slowly. I was in what Rebekah calls “labor land” – pretty detached from reality in my relaxed state.
I remember everyone telling me that they saw her head and she was almost here for what seemed like forever. I felt like she was never going to just come out and asked if they couldn’t just pull the baby out (I found out later it was because Miss Linda was taking such good care to help me not to tear). I pushed for about half hour and finally she came and wow! I felt so good! They plopped Ruby on my belly and Rob cut the cord. Then she nursed for an hour while they stitched me up (fixing the bad job the previous doctor had done!).
I loved feeling so alive after she was born and not feeling drugged like the last time – very different from my experience with Grace’s birth. With the epidural last time I was very out of it and not feeling very well or very coherent there at the end. This time was so different and it felt so good! This time around I didn’t have to sleep the drugs off for hours and not be able to enjoy my baby. All evening I was able to cuddle my sweet baby and enjoy celebrating with family. I just can’t say enough how amazing the birthing experience is when you use the HypnoBirthing methods I learned in your class.
I’m actually excited to do it again!