Hypnobabies parents, you may want to use your BOP in reading this as it does mention pain. Thanks!
I felt the first signs of my birthing time on Friday, December 18th. I was out to coffee with my friend Amy and felt a few little cramps. I remember thinking that that was interesting and wondering if it meant anything. I didn't really feel much else the rest of the day, but I remember feeling a bit crampy again that night as we went to bed. I woke up early in the morning on Saturday and I couldn't get comfortable or sleep so I got up and finished packing my bag for the hospital. After that, I was tired again and able to go back to sleep.
All through the day on Saturday, I would feel cramps, which then transitioned into lower back pain. Around 2:00 pm, I decided that they were getting more regular and that I needed to start keeping track of them. I downloaded "Contraction Master" to my iPod Touch and started keeping track. We were supposed to go to my work to have my friend Stefani do some maternity photos of me at 4pm, but my pressure waves (I'd decided that they were most likely pressure waves by now) were starting to get more regular and stronger. At 3:30pm when we were supposed to leave, I decided that it just wasn't a good idea and that we'd better stay home. We also called our Doula, Sheridan, and told her what was happening. She said it could be that my birthing time had started and to try and relax and rest.
So, Lex and I did the opposite and decided that we needed to take our own maternity photos since we weren't going to be able to have them done for us! Lex set up his studio backdrop and new light kit and we spent the next hour taking lots of shots of me pregnant. Lex even got photos of me in the middle of pressure waves, which were getting stronger and more frequent! I'm so glad he did-little did we know that in less than 24 hours, I wouldn't be pregnant anymore!
All that evening, the pressure waves got longer, stronger, and closer together. We continued to talk to Sheridan throughout the evening. Lex and I were both still unsure about whether this was my birthing time or not-Lex looked up lower back pain in late pregnancy and saw that a lot of women had what I was having, but that it wasn't their birthing time, and they didn't give birth for a few more days. I was confused because I didn't have any pressure waves in my belly, everything was across my lower back.
Lex tried to get be to eat something that evening (my homemade macaroni & cheese with chicken and broccoli) but I couldn't eat more than a few bites. Sheridan reminded Lex that I needed to hydrate, so I tried to drink some water throughout the night, but had a hard time with that as well. Sheridan also suggested that thebabymightbe pressing on a nerve and that I should try some belly lifts and/or pelvic tilts. I did both of these at different times of the evening. At first, the belly lifts helped and then they stopped working, so I moved on to the pelvic tilts, which again, alleviated some of the discomfort at first, but then slowly stopped working. I tried several times to listen to my hypnobabies scripts and to lie down and rest, but each time a pressure wave they would slam into me and it was all I could to stand up or get in my hands and knees and rock and do pelvic tilts. There was going to be no relaxing here! I kept hoping that maybe these were just the result of the baby being in a bad position that was just hitting some nerve, and that as soon as I could get the baby to turn, or more to a different position, that the discomfort I was feeling would stop. Also, with each wave, I could actually see the baby move in the lower left part (from my viewpoint) of my stomach. So I was unsure if the baby was causing the waves each time she moved, or if each pressure wave was causing the baby to move like that. Whatever was sticking out was smaller than an head; looking back on it now, I think it must have been a shoulder or maybe an elbow or even a knee! I could literally watch as the bump grew and the pressure wave built.
When a pressure wave would come, it would radiate from the middle of my lower back out across each side. As they got stronger, they also got more forceful and would hit like a ton of bricks! Towards the end, I would actually describe them as a little violent because they would hit so forcefully, and with so much strength!
At the beginning, I was able to get into the shower and let the hot watch run on my lower back and it actually made the pain almost completely disappear. As the pressure waves got stronger, though, the shower helped less and less. Nevertheless, I ended up taking about 6 or 7 showers (of about 30-45 minutes!) throughout the night!
It started to get late and I spent most of my time going between the two bathrooms upstairs-in the guest bathroom I sat both forwards and backwards on the toilet, and the would pace/sway between that bathroom and the master bedroom bathroom. I would go between that and hoping in the shower when I needed a change.
The pain started moving from my lower back to my hips sometime in the middle of the night, which turned out to be even more painful than the back pain! At that point, the only thing I could do to get through each pressure wave was to walk and sway back and forth. The pain was so great that I just wanted to run from it, but of course, I couldn't.
We talked to Sheridan again around 10pm. She offered to come over, but at this point, I was so into focusing on myself and my body, that I just wanted to continue that way and didn't think I could take anything distracting me from that-I didn't even really want Lex comforting me, so he did research in his computer room, just a few feet away, where he was close by if I needed him, but didn't distract me from getting through each wave.
Looking back now, especially looking at the record of my pressure waves on Contraction Master, I can see that there were several times when my pressure waves were strong and close enough together that we should have gone to the hospital if we were following the 4-1-1 rule (4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minutes, for 1 hour) but I wasn't really watching this, and neither was Lex, who was convinced that it wasn't my birthing time yet! I told Lex that for our next baby, he has to keep track of my pressure waves because he'll have the presence of mind to keep track of how far apart they are! The few times I did think "maybe we should go to the hospital" I decided I didn't think I could stand the car ride there, so I'd just wait (not very smart!)
Sometime after 4am, I remember thinking that something had to change, that I couldn't go on like this. I even told Lex that if someone offered me an epidural right then, I would take it. I didn't know it at the time, but I think I was going through transition at this point.
Not long afterwards, while I was sitting backwards in the toilet, I stood up and saw some blood dripping. On the next pressure wave, I lost what I thought was my mucus plug. That's when I knew that things were moving along and that my birthing time had really begun!! Up until that point, I kept thinking that maybe this wasn't my birthing time, but that it was the baby dropping, or something like that. I figured since I hadn't even lost my mucus plus that I couldn't be very dilated at all, and even with the birthing waves as strong as they were, I didn't want to go to the hospital because I was afraid that they would tell me that it wasn't time yet, and that my only option was to go home and wait (or maybe get an epidural for the pain, which I didn't want, but thought I would take at that point because the pain was so great)
Once I lost my mucus plug, the pressure waves immediately started coming harder and stronger, and I felt like I was getting slammed each time one would hit. I told Lex that I thought we needed to go to the hospital and that he needed to call the Dr. He did, and I had to jump in the shower to be able to endure that next few waves. Hours before when I had thought about going to the hospital, I realized that I didn't know how I would get there because I had to stand up and sway to be able to bear the pressure waves. Now I really had no idea how I was going to get in the car and sit there while we drove to the hospital!
Lex talked to the Dr on call, Dr Kong, and she said, yes, come on in to the hospital to get checked. Lex jumped in the other shower, and got things ready while I stayed in the shower. I wanted to stay there until the last possible minute, then get out, throw on some clothes and walk to the car-I didn't want any delays once I was in the car!
While in the shower, I started feeling the urge to push with each pressure wave. This urge got stronger with every pressure wave. I didn't feel like the baby was right there, but the urge to push was so great. I decided to see if I could feel the baby, so I felt with one finger and could feel something slippery kind of bulging up inside me. A few pressure waves later I felt again and it had moved down. I wasn't sure what it was, the baby's head, etc? but I later figured out that it must have been my bag of water that was bulging out.
I hopped out of the shower to go and then told Lex that I didn't think I could make it to the hospital, because the urge to push was so strong! He told me to get in the car and that we were going to the hospital one way or another and that I had to get in the car. I did and Lex did an amazing job of getting us to the hospital really fast! We called Sheridan to let her know that we were going to the hospital and to meet us there. On the drive to the hospital, I sat in the car, eyes closed, bracing myself the whole way. With each pressure wave, I felt the urge to push and kept saying to myself "don't push, don't push, don't push" to get through each one. I think I had around 4-6 pressure waves on the way to the hospital. We left the house around 5:25am. Somewhere, not too far into the ride there, my water broke with a pop! Luckily, I'd somehow had the presence of mind to bring a towel and to sit on it (no idea where that moment of coherence came from!)
We arrived at the hospital and got the last parking spot in front of the Emergency room (where you had to enter after hours). I walked in during a pressure wave. They had me fill something out, which I could barely do, and then a runner got me into a wheelchair and got me up to the L&D area really fast, which I was so thankful that I didn't have to walk there, or wait for someone.
They tried to put me into triage to make sure I was actually in labor (I'm guessing they didn't think I was because I wasn't screaming or anything, but looked pretty calm from the outside). When I stood up, they saw that the wheelchair seat was wet and realized that my water had already broken and got me a room (Lex said we had to wait a little for a room, but I don't remember that).
Once in the room, the nurse tried to have me use the bathroom and pee in a cup. I thought in my head "there's no way" but couldn't get the words out and went in. I could barely move and pulled the "help" cord and told the nurse that I couldn't and that I had to push and just stripped off everything waist down and got on the bed. I think that's when they realized that I was farther along than they all thought and the room was a flutter with activity.
Overall, I think I was very calm-I was just inside my head and focusing on my body and nothing else, and I was very quiet. Even though I was in pain, I still felt very calm, though it was really intense.
I don't know if it was a nurse or the Dr who checked me. Lex said it was the nurse who checked and said I was fully dilated and 100% effaced. Then they told Lex that this was going to be really quick and that the baby was coming soon!!
I pushed through 7 pressure waves for the next 25 minutes to push her out. It took the first 2-3 to really get the hang of it and figure it out. I pushed on my side, because that's what felt most comfortable. At one point, they asked if I wanted to switch to my back with the stirrups, but that sounded terrible so I declined and just didn't want to/couldn't imagine moving from that position!
After a few pushes, they said they could see the baby's hair and asked me if I wanted the mirror to see. It was pretty interesting to see just a bit of her hair, but also a bit scary to realize just how far I still had to stretch to get her out. I was glad that I couldn't see the mirror when I was pushing because people were in front of it because I think it would have made pushing harder if I'd been watching her come out.
Sheridan arrived after the first 2 or 3 contractions. She was really helpful and held my top leg while I was pushing, which was so helpful because I could concentrate on pushing, rather than having to hold that leg up. Also, she kept reassuring me, and saying small parts of hypnobabies scripts ("Peace and anesthesia") the whole time to help me relax. Lex was amazing too. The whole time, all he said was "you're doing great, honey" and "relax" which was just perfect. I was so happy to have them both there as the combination of what they said helped to reassure me and keep me relaxed!
At the beginning when I was pushing, Dr Kong was counting to 10 while I was pushing. I couldn't imagine pushing for that long, so I remembered what Sheridan had said about following my body and doing what felt right, so I'd push until I couldn't anymore, then let out my breath, then started pushing again, then I moved on to exhaling while I was pushing-no purple pushing for me!Eventually, they must have seen that what I was doing was working, because Dr Kong stopped counting, and everyone was very encouraging and kept saying that I was doing a great job and to keep doing just what I was doing while I was pushing. Sheridan said that the baby came out in a very slow and controlled way when I was pushing and that my pushing was really effective.
It was such a relief when her head came out! Then they suctioned her mouth and nose, then asked me to push again and she just popped out in a warm gush!
And then she was here! Everything, all the pain, was completely worth it! They put her on my chest and dried her off. It was so wonderful having her there-she cried for a little bit, but then was just calm and looked around. We let her look around and do the "breast crawl" but she had a bit of a hard time finding my breast to start nursing right away.
A little while later, I told the Dr that I felt the urge to push again. She looked and said that my placenta was right there, and she pulled a little on the cord and it just slipped out painlessly-I didn't even have to push at all. Once the cord stopped pulsating, they let Lex cut the cord (I don't remember if this was before or after the placenta came out.) I didn't see the placenta, I was to wrapped up in looking at Alexandra, but now I wish I'd asked to see it-I think it would have been interesting-but I was focused on more important things!
We were able to keep her on my chest for over an hour! The baby nurse wasn't so happy, because she wanted to take her and check her and give her a bath, but Sheridan told her we'd call her when we were done (we never did and then they changed shifts, thankfully!) and she went away! They did her Apgar test while she was on me and she scored an 8 the first time, then a 9!! When we did finally let them take her, she was a little cold, so they put her under some warm lights (it turns out she had to be there for a few hours before Lex got to hold her because she wasn't warming up enough on her own). They weighed and measured her and she was 7lbs 2oz and 20 1/2 inches long.
I did end up having a 2nd degree tear. Dr Kong gave me an anesthetic before she stiched me up. I didn't feel it at all when she gave me the shots-I think in three different places- which I attribute to being so calm because of the Hypnobabies techniques!
Sheridan asked me about how long I felt my whole birthing time lasted. I knew it has lasted 16 hours, but I really felt like it was much shorter than that-maybe 6-8 hours long. Sheridan said that this is common for Hypnobabies moms to feel that their birthing time is shorter than it actually is. The entire labor was very intense and I spent most of very focused and inside myself, blocking out the rest of the world, just focused on my body. I am really proud of myself for having done it without an epidural, and I feel like I've joined such an amazing group of women, throughout the ages, who have done this before me! While I did have pain, I was able to get through and stay calm because of Hypnobabies! I felt very calm the entire time and just let things happen. I am completely confident that, had it not been for the nerve pain that I had from having back labor, that I would not have had any pain because of Hypnobabies! I'll definitely use it again if/when we have another child! Even though I had pain, Alexandra's birth was an amazing experience and I'm so happy that I chose to give birth naturally and without any pain medication. I feel like I was truly present and involved in her birth!
And of course, I got the best prize of all-I got my amazing little Alexandra! She is the best and most amazing thing that has ever happened to me! I'm completely in love with her and with being a mommy! Her birth was just the beginning of the wonderful adventure of parenthood!