Tucker’s birth was a lesson in remaining calm and relaxed with circumstances that kept changing.I wanted to go into labor naturally but that did not happen in a timely manner. And with very high blood pressure – the physicians were concerned that I was in danger of having a seizure. Knowing that I might be induced, I had read a number of birth stories online from other moms who used HypnoBirthing successfully with Pitocin.
I went to St. Luke’s about 4 pm on Friday afternoon 12/13/13, my due date.My doctor was concerned that my blood pressure was high that morning when I was in her office.She forgot to have her nurse re-check so she left me a voicemail asking me to check it again at home.I was out doing some errands so I had it checked at Walgreens where the reading was 160/100.When I spoke to the doctor on call, he advised me to come to Labor and Delivery so that they could assess it again.Little did I know that I would be “kidnapped” at the point!I had forgotten to take my midday dose of blood pressure medication, so I took that after arriving at Triage.But after an hour, my readings did not come down.And I was scheduled to start the induction on Sunday evening 12/15 anyway. So, the doctor on call decided that I would stay and start the induction Friday night instead.I was disappointed that my doctor would not be involved.On the other hand, the nurse that I really wanted, only works on the weekends.So by being induced early, I was able to labor with a nurse that I really liked and one I knew to be an advocate for natural childbirth.
I was admitted to a room and called my birth companion to come visit.I gave her my house keys and the list of items to bring back to the hospital.She stayed to make sure I was settled in and then left to sleep at home that night.I was started on Magnesium for my blood pressure and given a medication that night to soften and open the cervix.The Pitocin was started at a very low dose on Saturday morning about 7 am.The nurse was on board with my doctor’s plan to titrate the medication very slowly. We had the HypnoBirthing sign on the door to our room and the staff was very respectful of my birth plan. The doctor on call commented that he was familiar with the practice of HypnoBirthing from his time in the Navy.
By 10 am, I was still only at 1 cm so the doctor ruptured my membranes.Then the contractions began in earnest.I labored in a rocking chair and on a birthing ball.My birth partner set up the diffuser with lavender oil and everyone who came into the room commented on how wonderful it smelled!We also had soothing music coming from the CD player.And she was guiding me through the relaxation exercises.I was able to relax deeply in between the contractions. And then breathe through the surges themselves.To the amazement of the doctors and nurses, I was fully dilated by 4 p.m. As my nurse said, I dilated quickly because I wasn’t “fighting the process.”
I then changed position to breathe the baby down.However, by 6 p.m., the baby had still not descended.The nurse then suggested that I try to push a bit more aggressively, in order to avoid a C-section.She thought that the baby’s head was not moving past the pubic bone.So, in order to avoid surgery, I did engage in pushing for an hour.At 7 p.m., the nurse checked and felt that the baby’s head was still trying to push down but we were not making any progress.She was very supportive of natural childbirth but said that in her 8 years of experience, she did not think my baby was going to be able to descend. So I agreed to a C-section. Over the next 30 minutes, as the OR was prepared, the contractions were very difficult to manage as I knew my body was trying to push the baby down and it was not working.
The staff in the OR were all very upbeat, positive, and friendly.The on call doctor performed the C-section and my birth companion was there to be with me and take pictures.The certified anesthesiologist assistant was also very enthusiastic about the baby and helped to take pictures.I was able to remain calm throughout.And the medical staff was amazed at how calm Tucker was upon his arrival.The nurses wanted him to cry more to get rid of mucus – but he was too content to cry.My birth companion brought him over to me and we met “head to head” while the doctor finished the surgery. Tucker seemed to know I was his mom, and mouthed my cheek in greeting.
In the days that followed, I never experienced any pain from the C-section.And I never took any of the narcotic pain medication that was offered to me.I believe that this “pain-free surgery” was a result of my day of HypnoBirthing.I think that releasing endorphins instead of stress hormones, served Tucker and I both very well as we went into the C-section procedure.I was disappointed to have a C-section and felt like something of a failure.But in the moment that I had to make that decision, I was calm and centered and my intuition was that this was the right decision.After Tucker was delivered, we could see from the marks on his head that he was trying to pass down with the length of his head instead of the width. And he was not going to be able to descent with his head in that position.
I feel that HypnoBirthing can serve you well, even if the birth plan changes radically along the way.Maybe especially in cases where the plan changes – because that is when you most need to be calm, relaxed, and adaptable to the unexpected change.Ultimately, I did labor naturally for 8 ½ hours.I dilated very quickly and I never wished for an epidural.Baby Tucker was never in any fetal distress.We both had a very positive surgery experience.And the rest of our hospital stay was easy and happy.
We didn’t know the gender of our baby, but I will call him he in this story since our baby ended up being a boy. I had a pretty easy pregnancy. No horrific morning sickness, pretty good energy, no real Braxton Hicks, and no major complications. I ran and did yoga through most of my pregnancy until about 28 weeks when my amniotic fluid got low. It took a few weeks to get it back up then I was able to run again. In fact, I “ran” (really more of a slow jog) 9 miles the day before my labor started.
It all started on a Sunday. I had a massage that day to “encourage” him out. I was 39 weeks 2 days at that point. We went to dinner with my husband’s parents and when we got into bed that night, I noticed what I thought were “real” surges. They started in my back and spread to my stomach. At 10:00 pm on a Sunday night they were 8 to 10 minutes apart. I had practiced HypnoBirthing techniques during my pregnancy because I really wanted to deliver naturally, so I started my visualization and thought about breathing up the uterine muscles that night when the surges weren’t very strong.
I didn’t really sleep that night because I was timing the surges all night. Monday morning, I sent my husband to work because we didn’t know how long it would take for me to progress. I went to the grocery store and did some craft projects that morning as I was timing my surges. With each one, I would close my eyes and think about breathing those muscles up to aid in the dilatation. Around 8 am they got to the magical 3-5 minutes apart (while at the grocery store) and I started my 2 hour timer. The surges were intense, but pretty short so not hard to deal with. I called my doctor because I no longer was able to feel my baby moving which I thought was normal, but just wanted to check. I left a message and went about my chores at home. About 9:15 I got in a warm bath to try to relieve some of the intensity of the surges which worked. My husband called to check on me and I told him to come home just in case. When I was in the tub, my surges went back up to around 6 minutes so I got out because I didn’t want to slow them down. I just kept thinking that each wave was bringing my baby closer to me. I was excited to find out the sex and didn’t want to slow anything down, even if the bath was soothing.
I decided to take a walk around the block to speed the surges back up, which worked. They went back to 3-5 minutes and I started my 2 hour timer over (my doctor told me to go to the hospital when my surges got 3-5 minutes apart for 2 hours). I made it to about an hour and 45 minutes before the bath when they went back up to 6 minutes apart for about 45 minutes. I just assumed I had to start the time over which was almost a big mistake.
The doctor called me back around 12:30 and asked if my surges were still 3-5 minutes apart. When I said yes, she insisted I go to the hospital since it had been almost 5 hours since they originally reached the 3-5 minute point. I thought it was WAY too early because I was still able to deal with the surges pretty well and in my mind, it had to get worse. At this point, I could feel the surges coming on. They started in my back and then I would just sit down wherever I was because it was too hard to stand through them. As long as I was sitting, I could close my eyes and picture the muscles relaxing and opening. I just kept telling myself to embrace the sensation because it meant I was going to get to meet my little one. I almost looked forward to the surges because I know it meant he was on the way.
We took our time getting to the hospital because I honestly believed we were getting sent home. Everyone I knew got sent home at least once when having their first baby. The car ride there was probably the most painful part…bumpy roads and surges don’t mix. Again, I just kept closing my eyes and focusing on the muscles opening. I mentally kept telling myself to smile through them because my baby was on the way.
When we got to the hospital, we parked in the parking garage instead of valeting and left our bags in the car because, again, I swore we were going home. I had 4 surges on our walk from the car to the hospital check in. For each one, I just leaned against the wall and focused on relaxing. I remember hearing people ask my husband if I was ok, but I just kept my eyes closed and tried to relax every muscle. That is when I discovered the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet (we had to stop on our walk over) was like a miracle. It felt sooo good! It made the surges so much easier!
When we got to the check in, it was exactly 1:45pm on 12/16/13. I checked us in with a smile which apparently is very uncommon. The nurses told us later that they all thought we were going home because I was just too happy. They put us in a triage room and called the doctor. I spent most of that time in the bathroom which had become my best friend. We didn’t call anyone (which later made my mother very mad) because we wanted to wait until we got admitted. One nurse did come in and ask if we had a birth plan. I told her that I did not want any drugs and wanted to do everything as natural as possible. She said no problem, they wouldn’t ask again so I had to tell them if I changed my mind…and they never asked again.
About 2:15 the doctor got there to check me. When she did she started laughing which I thought was a sign I was going home. She just looked at me and said “you are 9 cm; you are having this baby NOW.” That is when the chaos started. The nurse was shocked. They all started rushing around to get me to the delivery room.
All I know is that when I felt a surge, I just closed my eyes and focused on my baby and how this was bringing him closer to me. If anyone tried to talk to me during a surge, I just held a finger up to tell them to wait, but I kept my eyes closed and completely blocked them out. I had prepared music and had an exercise ball I planned to use, and well, none of that was ever needed. At this point I could feel him coming (even though my water had not broken) and told the nurse that. She told me that I still had quite a bit of pushing to do (little did she know). When we got to the delivery room, everyone left to gather whatever equipment they needed and it was then that my water broke, and I felt him coming. I told my husband to find the doctor and find her now! They all rushed back in and we ended up having to do verbal consents because we didn’t have time to sign consent forms.
This is where it got a bit uncomfortable. They made me roll side to side during my contractions to try to find his heartbeat. I could deal with the surges as long as I could just sit or lay still and focus, but the moving made it very hard and somewhat painful. Finally they gave up and put a heart rate monitor on his head. This is when things got serious and my doctor was phenomenal!!! His cord got caught when my water broke and his heart rate was dropping. She looked at me and told me I had to get him out NOW. She asked if I could do it because if not we had to have an emergency C-section or they were going to suction him out, one of the two. I told her yes and we went to work.
This was the one part where we did not follow our HypnoBirthing training. She told me that she understood what we were taught, but she needed me to literally push him out now. She told me exactly what to do (curl up like I was doing a crunch, grab behind my legs, pull with my arms, push with my legs, and hold my breath as I pushed) and I decided that I trusted her enough to do it. Normally she makes people push 3 times and then they get a break before the next set, but she asked me just to keep trying because we had to get him out. She knew my background as an athlete and knew I was capable of it. We did 3 sets of 3-5 pushes and 15 minutes later he was born. It was amazing. The pushing part honestly didn’t hurt at all. It was more frustrating than anything because I just didn’t feel like he would fit, but of course he did. It wasn’t at all like in the movies where the head crowns and then you have one more push to get the body out, nope; he was out in one push. It was instant relief. I didn’t even notice I tore until they were later giving me a local numbing agent so they could stitch me up.
He came into the world using him lungs (and continues to exercise them today). The doctor is the one who told us he was a boy and I was soooooo happy. It was this feeling of: “I did it” mixed with “HE is safe” mixed with “give me my baby NOW”. My heart was so full; I just wanted him in my arms! The only thing keeping him from me was my husband cutting the cord. He just kept saying it was hard to cut when I finally looked at him and said “I just pushed that baby out of me, you cut that cord RIGHT NOW”. I had shown no real emotion while in labor or pushing but when he was (in my mind) keeping my baby from me, I had no problem yellingJ. Then, he was in my arms and nothing else mattered. He was perfect. A cute button nose, perfect mouth and chin, and well… he was mine! He was immediately put skin to skin on my chest, and I never wanted to let go. I don’t really even remember what they were doing down there. There was stitching, a pressure and eventually the placenta was birthed, but I hardly remember it because I was just looking at him. I have never felt more love for anything! I can’t even put it into words. I felt like I could stay there forever. The nurses were wonderful. They never pressured me to take him for anything. We just stayed there for what felt like forever until everyone finally left the room and then we tried to nurse him. It felt so natural. It all felt natural. I felt amazing. I couldn’t even sleep that night because I had so much energy. I just kept looking at my son and at my sleeping husband and thinking how wonderful my life is. He stayed with us in the room and I fed him all night it seemed. I didn’t care if he cried, I didn’t care if I didn’t sleep, I was just so happy to he came into this world safely. I love him so much.