Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An interesting & surprising birth

This birth story came from another HypnoBirthing practitioner...thanks Anita!

I simply MUST share this little story with you, as it is an example of how sometimes certain clients just don't fall into our categories.
In my series that concluded in October, I had a couple in their early 30s, expecting their first. She hired me as her doula because she was admittedly fearful of the unknown, but in her heart, she wanted to believe in birth. She just felt she would need that extra support. Since my doula services include HypnoBirthing, they took the class. They participated fully, did the relaxation exercises, and everything. Then came class #4, where we do the Birth Companion's Deepening Practice and I go around the room doing the wrist-drop on each mom. When I lifted this mom's arm, it felt like it was literally spring-loaded! I was shocked! I stayed with her for several minutes, saying, "Let me do all the work, soft and loose and limp..." several times. NEVER before have I felt such resistence to relaxing!
I finished the "round," and ended the class by emphasizing how important their daily practice is, and that the goal is to "go deeper, faster." I didn't want to call attention to my "discovery" during the exercise, and decided to address it privately with them when I did their prenatal home visit.
Well, when I got to the prenatal home visit, the husband told me how he discovered her "spring-loaded arm" in their practices together after the classes ended, and how he kept trying to get her to relax. She was starting to worry, based on his insistence that she wasn't relaxing, that she "couldn't do it right." I worked with her for several minutes in her home, trying several different little tricks (alternately tensing and relaxing, light touch, etc.), and still - never got to the point where her arms was "heavy-limp-relaxed."
But in our conversation, I heard no residual fear or tension around birth. She was really looking forward to it with great anticipation. The only "problem" now was her worry that she wasn't "doing it right." So, I didn't want to continue down that road. I turned it around, saying that I noticed how very cooperative she is in everything: she always did the reading, practiced her relaxation, listened to everyone, and even on the arm-drop, at a subconscious level, wanted to "cooperate" with whomever was leading the exercise. So I told her, "With that kind of cooperation, I'm sure your body will cooperate in the same way when you're in labor and breathing your baby out. When labor intensifies, remember that, and focus on cooperating with the force of your labor..." or words to that effect. I was going purely on instinct, and hoping it was right!
My first labor call came at 3:20 on Thursday afternoon. It was her husband, saying she'd been having a lot of surges through the day, and she just got home from having her hair done (I LOVE it when women have their priorities in order!), and now they were about 7-10 minutes apart. I told him this may or may not be "it," and for her to drink some water, have a snack and try to get some rest. I'd be on the "short leash" for them whenever they needed me. When they didn't call back, I sent a text message at about 6:30, not wanting to disturb them if they were resting. The next call came at about 10:20p.m. It was the husband, saying they went to the hospital to be checked (I immediately thought "aaah, damn - here we go..."), and...she's at EIGHT CENTIMETERS!
So I did a quick change, jumped in my car and headed to their hospital. When I got there, she told me she was afraid she was only going to be at maybe four, so she didn't want to bother me! And, if she was only at four, she was going to "scrap" the birth plan and get an epidural, because she couldn't imagine how much more intensity it would take to get to complete. But when she heard "eight," she decided she could wait for me:-). Baby was born at 1:24a.m. Friday. Beautiful birth, impressed the entire staff, and new family bonding and enjoying "baby-heaven."
Life is full of surprises...
Anita Butler, IBCLC,, HBCE, CD(DONA)
Support for the childbearing year


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