The Birth of Emily
I suspected that my water had broken around 7pm on April 22nd. I wasn’t having any real contractions at that time. As time went on, I started feeling light period-like cramps that came more regularly as time went on. They took a long break while we put Elliot to bed, and I gave my boy some extra snuggles knowing his world was about to really change. Anthony and I went to bed shortly after and tried to get some rest. I put on a hypnobirthing script and got comfortable in my nest of pillows. I couldn’t sleep, but I found a place of deep relaxation while the waves came more regularly and got a bit stronger. Anthony read me the partner script from the book while doing light touch massage just like we’d practiced. That really helped put us both in the right mindset of preparing for what was to come.
Around 12:30am, I left Anthony to sleep while I went downstairs to get something to eat and watch some TV as a distraction. Getting up and moving caused things to ramp up a bit. I was having to stop and really breathe through each wave. As things got more painful, I discovered that if I leaned into the feeling it made it easier to deal with. I thought about how we learned in class that early waves cause the lower part of the uterus to contract and lift while the cervix thins and opens. Finding that downward and opening feeling and focusing on that made things way more manageable. I could even feel the hard round ball of the baby’s head moving lower each time. It was an amazing feeling.
When I was having to stop everything and just work through the wave I decided it was time to go to the birth center. I woke Anthony, and we called the Daniela and the labor ladies to set up the tub and headed out. I also texted Cheryl Andres as she had asked to be at the birth to help with Elliot. I was still able to just stop and breathe through each wave, finding a calm place and focusing on things opening and the baby moving down. When we got to the center, I don’t think the staff believed I was very far along. I was having normal conversations in between contractions then just stopping and going inward when they would come. Daniela hooked me up to a monitor and did a cervical check. I was already 6.5cm and 90% effaced. I told Anthony later that I knew I was about 7cm when we got there. I could just feel it.
When I got into the tub, there was a little break from the waves then they came back longer and stronger. Cheryl showed up, and we all chatted between the waves. When one would arrive, I would find my calm place and breath while Anthony used light touch massage. His touch helped ground me and made a huge difference. It was painful, but really manageable. Cheryl, who used to be a labor and delivery nurse, was amazed at how calm I was staying. I found a smile spreading across my face after each contraction knowing I’d worked it well and that every one got us closer to the finish line. The waves starting coming in pairs. They would ramp up, fade by about 50% then come up again before going away. After a couple of these, I told Anthony to call my mother to come with Elliot. I knew we were getting close…..I just didn’t realize how close.
I asked to use the bathroom so there was a bit of a scramble for towels. When I stood up, a very strong contraction hit. I felt a sudden moment of panic. I remember thinking, “I can’t do this!” then thinking, “Huh, I guess that means I’m in transition.” It was another double wave, but instead of easing off I felt a strong downward urge. My knees started to buckle under me and I grunted, the first real sound I’d made in labor. That sound must have signaled the birth center staff because the room was suddenly full of people.
Daniela urged me to sit back down. I was still processing the feeling of something pushing down and opening and said that I couldn’t move. A number of hands helped ease me back in the water and I heard Daniela say that I was crowning! I could not believe it! I have to admit at this point I started making a lot of sounds….curse words mostly. I was in total shock. The contraction that started when I stood up to use the bathroom never eased off. I needed to push.
Daniela got my attention and coached me though slowing down and taking a few breaths to let things stretch and open. I’d learned my lesson from my first birth and did my best to stop an breath out the urge to bare down. Soon enough the head accompanied by an arm came out then shoulders then the rest of the baby in quick succession. They held her under the water for just a few moments then Anthony and I reached down and brought our perfect, pink, crying baby girl up into the world. It was amazing. There is a picture of me at this moment and the look on my face is pure shock. She came so quickly and so easily it took me a few seconds to process that she was really here!
Eventually they got me out of the tub. The placenta passed without issue or excessive bleeding. I had some tearing, but it was so mild that it didn’t need repair and only hurt for about a day! My mother and Elliot didn’t make it in time for the birth, but they came a little while later. Elliot’s first words on seeing the baby were, “She came out!” He’s been a great big brother ever since. He is so sweet and careful with his new little sister.
I cannot say enough good things about our birth or the part that hypnobirthing and your class played in making my experience so magical and peaceful. The knowledge of what was happening in my body helped me cope with the pain, and I think made things move along at a very fast pace. Baby Emily was born at 3:42am. The records say that second stage labor took a total of ONE MINUTE. It’s kind of unbelievable!
Emily is totally a result of her peaceful birth. Although she complained about the speedy exit for her first few hours of life, she’s been the most happy, calm little girl. She cries when she doesn’t like something then settles right down when it’s over. She’s bright and alert and is already sleeping in stretches of 3-4 hours. She also loves to nurse and is super efficient. We had some help with our latch and now she sucks in long draws for 5-10 mins and is done! No need to comfort nurse here! Thank you again for all you do! Know that it made all the difference for me and our family. I could not have asked for a more perfect birth experience!
Lara’s Birth Story
HypnoBirthing played a huge role in my labor and delivery and even recovery!
My water broke at midnight I was already 4.5cm dilated at my appointment 3 days prior, so we decided to head to the hospital pretty quickly. Once we got settled in our delivery room, we started walking around the hospital. I had pretty light contractions for the first 3 hours, but by the 4th and 5th hour I was intensely uncomfortable with back to back contractions and no breaks. After learning that I had dilated no further, I decided to get an epidural. The epidural helped me relax and go deeply inward. I chose a low dose epidural so that I was still in tune with my contractions and timing. I dilated steadily and pushed for 3 hours. My baby boy was ear up. He didn’t want to move at all! My doctor asked me “what is your birth plan”? My response was “to bring our baby safely and peacefully to the world in the best way possible for us both, and to fully trust those around us.”
We tried everything! Different positions, resting, using the peanut ball, the doctor and nurse both tried to turn him and it just wasn’t happening. My doctor and nurses really tried to help me have a vaginal birth, as I had discussed how important that was to me. Eventually, the doctor decided we needed a C-section. In that moment, I felt defeated, but my mom and husband quickly reminded me what my birth plan was and that this was the best possible thing for all of us. I quickly dried my tears, and got ready to meet our boy! My mom wasn’t able to come back with us, but my husband was by our side the whole time.
I feel that my birth experience was truly magical. I look back on it with tears of happiness!
The Birth of Elias
His birth couldn’t have been better! I decided to work up until my due date which was on October 26th. I went into work on the 17th for my 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift as a nurse at the hospital. At around 9 p.m., I lost my mucus plug which was exciting! But I had read enough to know that that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Around 10:30 p.m., I felt myself leaking fluid. Not a gush like you see in the movies, but kind of a slow trickle and at that time I started to have what I thought were practice surges. A little more fluid came and I decided to call my husband, Michael, l who suggested I call our midwife.
My surges at that time were 4-5mins apart, but I was determined to work my entire shift so the unit wouldn’t be short handed (crazy right). The midwife said as long as I wasn’t uncomfortable that I could do whatever I felt was best for me. I told her the surges were more annoying than anything because I couldn’t focus on my work! Around 2:30 a.m., I decided to go home and I was so hungry that I stopped at the waffle house! I called Michael to tell him I was headed home and then I called my sister to tell her I thought I was in labor (still in denial). She said you can’t be in labor if you’re at the waffle house and sounding so calm.
By the time I got home, the surges went from becoming just slightly annoying to enough to keep my attention but still not “painful”. I was standing in the kitchen eating my waffle when I felt the big gush like how it happens on t.v. There was no denying at this point my water had really broken! Almost immediately I began to have more surges. I called my husband and told him he needed to come home from work. I spent the majority of my labor kneeling on the floor and leaning over the birthing ball for support while listening to the hypnobirthing recording.
Mike timed the surges when he got home, but he found this hard to do because I was so relaxed I would frequently fall asleep!!! Finally, when the surges became strong enough to keep me awake during the cd, he was able to time them. I asked, “Mike, these things seem to be closer together, how far apart are they now”? He said, “they are about 2 minutes apart for the past hour.” At about 9 a.m., he loaded up the car and we were on our way. He called the birth center and the birth photographer from the car. The midwife initially took me to an exam room and wanted to ask questions about my labor, but I didn’t want to talk at this point. She said ok well let’s see how far you’ve dilated. I looked at her and said ok but I feel like I need to make a bowel movement. Her eyes got wide as she said, “That makes me want to take you to the birth suite!” On the way to the birth center, I tried to mentally prepare by telling myself that the surges would become more intense and that I would probably only be about 3cm by the time I got there (since I heard all the stories about first- time mothers taking so long to dilate). The midwife checked me and said, “My dear, you are 8cm!”. I was so shocked, but I remember thinking ok this is going to be fine if I’m 8cm I’ve got this, it’s not as bad as people make it seem! They checked my blood pressure, which was high, so they wanted me to get in the tub right away.
After Mike set up the video camera ( I wanted my own hypnobirthing video), I asked him to get the iPad so I could listen to the hypnobirthing recording. He said he forgot to bring it! Ok, well plan B: we had the CD but he also forgot to bring his laptop to play it on and there was no cd player at the birth center! Ok, well plan c: he was to read the script of the recording to me but he couldn’t find it in the hypnobirthing folder. We did have the birth companion prompts, so he asked if I wanted him to read those. I was able to relax in the tub with him reading those to me! It didn’t become challenging until the baby began to crown. At that point, I did find it hard to focus on my breathing but Mike was a great birth companion and helped to keep me focused. He also kept offering me water! After about 15 minutes of pushing, our little boy was born at 11:26 a.m. Overall, I think HypnoBirthing really worked for me. Thank you so much for all of your help. I will definitely be recommending your class to every pregnant women I know!
The Birth of Camille
When the time came to give birth, we approached every phase of labor with calm. The labor brought us some unexpected situations that we had not anticipated in our birth plan, but thanks to HypnoBirthing we were able to reflect on the changes with serenity and re-evaluate our approach with our care providers without ever panicking or getting discouraged. Our daughter Camille was born healthy and mom’s recovery was smooth.
One of the other excellent aspects of this class is how much it empowers the birth partner alongside the mother. The nurses all remarked how helpful and grounded Marty was during labor, and his immense compassion and positivity helped Anna every step of the way.