Sunday was a busy day. I presented in a church meeting in the morning, (and had to leave three times for bathroom breaks ) and then gave a talk in another church in the afternoon. We went to bed at a pretty normal time, but I was up all night feeling the need to go to the restroom. I was amazed at the frequency but it didn’t even enter my mind that something extra ordinary could be going on til around 5 a.m.
It wasn’t til nearly 7 a.m. that I broached the idea with my husband that I might actually be going into labor. At that time we started timing my surges. They were 7-8 minutes apart. By 8 a.m. they had gotten closer, averaging 5 minutes, but sometimes down to 4 minutes with the intensity lasting around 45 seconds. I had a midwife appointment at 9 a.m. so we planned to go and get checked and see if this might be real.
During all these surges I was able to use the techniques I’d learned in my HypnoBirthing class. I used the image of my tummy as a balloon which I would slowly blow up by breathing in deeply, and then let float up into the sky. I kept myself relaxed enough that I actually was still dozing off between surges until they got to be 4 minutes apart. My husband was getting my 4 other (adopted, this is my first birth experience) children ready to go. I managed to get up and take a shower, though the surges were pretty powerful at this point. By the time he’d dropped off children at various sitters and we were in the car it was nearly 10 a.m. We’d missed the midwife’s appointment, and because of the intensity of my surges, my husband decided I should be checked at the hospital.
I made it halfway across the parking lot before I was hit with a surge so powerful I decided I didn’t think I could walk any further and was very grateful to see a wheelchair. I flagged down the nurse with the wheelchair. She wheeled me upstairs and the nurses there had me get up on the table to be checked. Imagine all of our surprise when they announced I was complete. “Let’s get her a room!” The nurse informed me that the only thing keeping the baby in was my bag of waters which had not yet released. My midwife, (whom I had never previously met as I had changed to the midwives just a short time before,) checked me and said she had some paperwork to do and she’d be back in a while to see how I was progressing.
I was actually relieved that the baby wasn’t coming out yet as I really hadn’t known I was in labor and we had details to take care of. My 2 year old had sprayed silicone shoe spray in the face of my 11 month old daughter and my husband thought he might be able to buzz her over to see the pediatrician next door while we waited for my labor to progress. As we obviously didn’t have time for that, his dad, who lives 25 minutes away was called to come get her. We also hadn’t brought up the bag of tricks my husband had so thoughtfully prepared “just in case” this might be the real thing. A nurse held my hand while he went down to get my pillow, breath mints, and stereo with my favorite hypno-birthing CD. One nurse pushed on my knees and another encouraged me to breathe through the surges. I had no epidural, no IVs, no medical intervention until late in the delivery when they put a belt around my waist to monitor the baby’s heartbeat.
This time is a blur, I wish I could remember it better as it was one of the most amazing times of my life. I know when my husband turned on the CD and whispered calming words in my ear it was helpful in getting through the surges which were coming so quickly. I know I was lucid enough to worry about finding someone to take care of our daughter and someone else to videotape the birth. My husband took control and helped me stop worrying and focus instead on this baby who was imminent.
Finally at 11 the midwife came in and released my bag of waters. Then, she immediately told me I needed to start pushing. I was not prepared emotionally or physically for what she was asking me to do, but neither my husband nor I, at that point, had the courage to say “no, we’re not going to push that way.” So I did as I was told and experienced a very difficult 45 minutes.I pushed and seemed to make very little progress for a very long time. I felt stretched and tired. Finally, my husband, sensing my frustration, began to whisper in my ear that my body knew what it needed to do. I needed to relax and stop listening to the nurses urging me to push. I needed to breathe that baby down and focus my energies on letting him come. Minutes later at 11:59 a.m.l, he did.
The dark hair everyone had been talking to me about for the last 20 minutes was finally visible. A moment later with no memorable effort at all, his shoulders came and he slipped easily out of my womb. They laid him on me so I could see him, but because of his very short cord had to sever the cord before I could really hold him. And then I did hold him. Hold him and stare at this tiny creature who was mine and my husband’s. Clayne made sure that I got my fill before they even let them take him to weigh him. Then I spent another hour or so holding him while the midwife stitched me up. My little dark haired baby with the little man’s face. I had been in the hospital for 2 hours and here he was. We had done it. The natural birth, the natural labor, the happy occasion we’d hoped and planned for and dreamed of. WE did it.
P.S. I talked to several of the nurse midwives later about the pushing thing. None of them really believe that with a first baby that it is possible to “breathe the baby down.” They all say that that purple pushing is necessary. All I know what that I didn’t get my baby here until I went back to what I’d learned and practiced through my hypno-birthing experience. I would advise any moms who are planning to deliver using this technique to discuss in detail what they want you to do to as you go through the actual delivery. Our birth plan included all the details before and directly after the birth, but evidently we didn’t go into enough detail about “pushing.” That purple pushing is the only regret I have and I am sure that had I done it my way, I would not have had to endure the hour of being stitched up and the weeks of healing. No matter, I experienced the miracle of birth and I am actually jealous of people who get to deliver their babies soon. I would give anything to experience birth again.