Preparing for a natural birth can be daunting, even when you have delivered naturally successfully before. It can be unsettling mostly because every baby is different, every mother is different, and every birth brings it’s own tale; one that remains with you as a mother forever. You may forget what you were wearing, your favorite songs or food at the time, but you will NEVER forget your birth story, it just doesn’t happen.
Giving birth is one of the most transcendent experiences of my life. I anticipate it the way I imagine someone would anticipate a race they have been training for for months, because that is exactly what I do. I train. I mentally prepare. I put in a lot of TIME, so when those contractions start it is GAME TIME and I am pumped and ready to go. I understand that this is not the way that everyone looks at their delivery day and that is okay, this is my experience and I am so happy to be sharing it with you today. I appreciate hearing other women’s birth stories and I especially love reading stories from other women who have had a positive experience with birth because I feel that it is rare to hear stories that look at giving birth in a positive way.
Now, before I go any deeper into the telling of this birth story, I want you to know that my “game day” training for birth comes through Hypnobabies. I have used it now with two of my births and I am a big fan. What I also must disclose is that I am an affiliate of theirs, meaning, if anyone purchases their products using my link I receive a small commission. I feel I also must disclose that I am not a “picture perfect” hypno mom as you will come to find out in the telling of my story. I bend the rules a little bit, and I make the program fit my personality, style, and birthing preference. Thankfully I have a doctor who is completely on board with my wishes and accommodates the strange mix that I am. I prefer to give birth in a hospital with a doctor, I feel I am most comfortable knowing that if a medical emergency took place I would have all of the medical resources available to me if necessary. I also am not against having my membranes stripped or having my water broken during labor. (These are practices that hypnobirthing/hypnobabies moms are told to steer away from) but I felt like it was perfectly fine to do so.
Okay, here we go….
Here is the video:
This is the birth story of my fourth baby, if you want to read more about 1, 2, or 3 you can do so here. Because I have been around the block a few times I felt pretty confident in knowing what to expect and decided that I would try Hypnobabies again as I had such a wonderful experience the first time. I started practicing by listening to the audio tracks when I was around 34 weeks pregnant. One of the best pieces of advice I ever had from a labor/delivery nurse was this: “If you plan to go natural you have to COMMIT to it. Practice every day and tell yourself that this is what you are doing. If you go into it with a “maybe” or a wishy/washy feeling at all you will change your mind.” So I committed, I listened, I practiced. You can plan on typically 25-35 minutes per day in addition to “positive affirmations.” The idea is, you are literally training your brain and it’s thought patterns with the ability to relax completely while you are in labor and to not associate labor with fear as that fear can trigger pain in your brain. Our subconscious creates the reality for us that we imagine without us even knowing it at times. So by practicing hypnobabies you are training your mind to think of labor in a positive, exciting way…you are training it for game day.
I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to numbers and birthdays. If I can come up with a fun date within the week of my delivery I am going for it. In this case, I was due 6.5.16, but I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to have the birthday 6.1.16? This is where I am not within accordance of Hypnobabies teaching. ha ha. I asked my doctor to strip my membranes on evening of 5.31.16 in hopes that it would get things going for the next day. I was 30% effaced and dilated to a “roomy” 2, he then stripped my membranes and made me a 3. I had been having contractions but they weren’t regular and I was hoping this would give it the little kick start it needed to continue. That night my husband and I “had some fun” and by 1:30 am I woke up to contractions that were coming every 3 minutes! I timed them for over an hour and decided it was time to get up and take a shower as this may be the last chance I would have.
After having my shower and doing my hair my contractions had stopped. I was disappointed, and decided to go back to bed. By the next morning I was having contractions again but they were only every 7 minutes or so. The doctor invited me back to his office at 9:30 to strip the membranes once again and we would just see where things went from there. I have to tease my husband a little bit here because with hypnobabies the birth partner is asked to have everything prepped and ready for the birthing day so that the mother can be completely “zen” as she prepares to go the hospital. Typically my husband is stellar and is really good at this, but not this time! He didn’t have his bag packed, his shoes were lost, and he insisted on me helping him find his phone so he could go to the bathroom. WHAT?! Go to the bathroom, we were already late for the appointment! 🙂 I ended up being the one that loaded the car and waited patiently as he did his thing on the ceramic throne.
At the doctor’s office he told me I was now 50% effaced and at a 3.5, so my contractions were doing something! He stripped my membranes again and told me to keep in touch with any progress. Paul and I decided to go to breakfast while we waited, we had sent our oldest off to school and the younger two were with their aunt, it was like a nice little date! After breakfast I was ready to get moving and thought this would be the perfect time to do a little shopping. As you may know we are working on our basement so we decided to go to Lowe’s to pick out a bathroom vanity and tile. I was literally dancing down the aisles and doing awkward “running man” like moves to keep things moving along. This is always a good time because I was embarrassing Paul and it seemed to be working as my contractions started picking up again. I was getting super excited and was having so much fun walking around and keeping busy as I knew I would be meeting my sweet baby soon!
Next we made a stop to Petco and I impersonated a mouse running on his little wheel trying to “run” the baby out. We just laughed and laughed because it really was ridiculous…but we were able to make some fun video AND every time I did that move I had a contraction! I went to the bathroom then and realized my mucous plug was starting to come out. (I hope no one reading this is too squeamish, this is the a labor story.) I came out and let Paul know what was happening, he was excited but was wondering if we should go to the hospital yet, I said no, as I knew I was having much more fun laboring this way then I would be at the hospital. We went to Deseret Book, and eventually ended up at Costco where I was certain I was in full labor. I was having contractions every 3 minutes or so and things were starting to get real. I was SOOOO excited. Paul was a little freaked out because I was so calm/happy about it and insisted we go to the hospital right away. (You can see this in the video we made as well, it was hilarious to see how worried he was about my water breaking at any minute.)
During the whole shopping experience I was NOT in any pain. I would relax my body as it did it’s thing and I was simply looking forward to progressing further. I was not fearful, I was excited, and I owe this is big part to my Hypnobabies training.
We checked into the hospital around 12:00 and had to go through the typical series of admittance questions and procedures. They were skeptical that I was really in labor as I didn’t seem to be in any pain and thought this might not really be the real thing. This process took a lot longer than it should have because they had an intern come in and ask me the same questions all over again. They also had a really hard time finding a vein to put in my saline lock and had three different nurses try three different times. If I am being honest I would say this was the worst part of my delivery. I was starting to feel really uncomfortable waiting in the chair as they poked and prodded me and I felt like my progression had really slowed down even though the monitor showed I was having contractions every 3-3.5 minutes. I was now dilated to a 4 and was 80% effaced and I wanted to get moving. About two hours later they finally took the monitors off of me and allowed for me to get up and move around knowing that we would monitor the baby 20 minutes of every hour.
Finally! I realized after all of this time that I had yet to listen to one of my hypnobabies tracks and I was feeling really frustrated that I hadn’t been able to move around the way I wanted to. There were so many nurses in my room and I just wanted to be alone. Once I put in my “positive birthing day” affirmations track I felt so much better and felt like I was back on track to having an amazing day. I walked around with Paul for about an hour and leaned on him allowing my body to go limp every time I had a birthing wave.
My doctor offered to come in and break my water after I had been laboring on my own for a bit. I was ready to move on, so at 3:30 he broke my water and after walking around for a bit I decided I was ready to just lay down and focus on my body with my headphones on. I listened to “easy first stage” and “positive birthing day affirmations.” I had my mom and my husband in the room with me. This part is pretty boring for them as I am as quiet as can be and completely focusing on my breathing. I like to labor on my side as that is the way that I would practice hypnobabies the weeks previously.
There are two things I wanted differently in this labor that I learned from the last birth.
- I wanted to be in a better birthing position.
Last time I gave birth I progressed so quickly from an 8 to a 10 that I was unable to get from my side to my back in preparation for pushing. Some women prefer to deliver on their side but I found it to be extremely uncomfortable. I also could not find the words to tell them that I wanted help moving my body. My body literally felt like a truck was on it and I could NOT move it on my own. My face and arms had gone numb, which I now understand is my body’s way of telling me I am in transition. It has happened with every baby and it wasn’t until experiencing it for the third time that I understood what it meant.
- I wanted to be able to use my voice to make birthing better.
This time I wanted to be able to tell what I needed from the others around me to be able to help me. Transition took me by surprise so quickly the last time around that the nurses were literally scrambling to my side to help me in anyway they could. Unfortunately the only words I could manage to get out were “Somebody help me!” and that didn’t help anyone, especially me. 🙂 This time I was determined that things would be different. I would use my voice and let people know what I needed help with.
After 5:30 the doctor came in to check me and let me know that I was at an 8 and 100% effaced, let me know that things could happen quickly from here. I reminded him that it was only 10 minutes progressing from an 8 to a 10 last time and he agreed to not leave and just let me do my thing.
At this point in my delivery it is super helpful for me to have touch. My mom massaged my feet/calves as I progressed in the final stages and my husband was by my side giving me the “relax” cue. I reminded him that I needed him IN MY FACE during transition because that is when my brain goes a little crazy and I need a reminder to let my body do what it needs to do and relax my muscles as best as I possibly can.
It was one contraction after my doctor checked me that I felt a little “pushy,” meaning, my body was starting to tell me the head was near. My face and my arms went numb and I let my husband know that I was entering transition. I asked my mother and my nurse to help me get into more of a sitting position and put pressure against my feet/bent legs as to offer counter pressure to the contractions. This helped immensely and they massaged my feet as well. Some how I had the ability to change tracks to “pushing out baby” and by the next contraction I asked if the baby’s head was there and ready to come. I never really got an answer as within the next 30 seconds I was already pushing and had pushed the baby’s head out. My husband says the doctor wasn’t quite ready for this as he was grabbing his labor cart, but my friends, you cannot really wait on these things! I had a charlie horse in my foot after I pushed the first time and I was able to say, “Charlie horse!! Top right foot, there! On top!” Ha ha! Even amidst the pressure and pain of pushing the head out I was able to communicate and this was a huge deal for me.
They did ask for me to stop pushing after the head was out so they could twist the baby’s head in preparation for the shoulders to come out. Once that was done I pushed again and his shoulders were out. They said to push again when I was ready and after one deep, calm breath I pushed again and he was OUT!!!
He was out. We had done it! I can tell you that up until the point of transition and pushing the baby’s head out I was in NO pain. I had to really concentrate and relax, but the momentary pain was so worth the process of being in tune with my body and allowing it to do what it was designed to do.
It is hard for me to even describe the emotions that play out in a moment like this. I feel so close to my Heavenly Father and heaven as the baby enters the world. I felt relief, joy, elation, exhaustion, love, and wonder. My mother’s eyes were full of tears as she told me that was one of the most incredible experiences of her life. She was IN it this time and was able to assist me so closely as the delivery took place. My husband was awesome and totally helped keep me on track the whole way and I know I would not be able to prepare for it as well or get through it without his support. He had a first too this labor as he cut the cord for the first time. He doesn’t do well in medical situations and almost passed out, but he did it!
They were able to place Jensen on my chest as soon as he was born and we had skin to skin time as I delivered my placenta and was stitched up. He came out crying but calmed right down as they placed him on me. The placenta and stitching were absolutely the most painful part as I could feel every push and pull, but I had a beautiful distraction lying peacefully on my chest. You can hear the doctor talking to me about my tear and me saying “Just numb me up!” while he finished a few stitches from my tear.
We spent the next few hours marveling at his tiny form and Janae was able to come and take a few pictures for us.
I hope my story has inspired you in the way of knowing that birth does not have to be a scary experience. Allow yourself to imagine the what if’s of it being perfectly beautiful and one of the best experiences of your life.
If you have any questions about Hypnobabies or labor in general please let me know! I hope to be a doula or a hypnobabies teacher at some point, but for now I am going to enjoy this little miracle.
My baby is now almost 2 weeks old and I am still marveling over this experience. I could not have asked for a better outcome and I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father and my body that I have the opportunity to deliver this way. Birth is a miracle in every situation that a baby comes into this earth, I hope you enjoyed reading about mine.
This video was taken just after I delivered him and we were meeting for the first time. How do you describe such a special moment in time? This video captures it perfectly.
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