This is a birth story from one of my class members, Nancy, who took the class in November/December 2008. This was her & her husband, Mark's, 1st birth!
My Birth Story: Isabella's Entrance!
My birthing experience did not go exactly as I had visualized, but it ended up being the perfect birthing experience for myself and my daughter, Isabella. My pregnancy was smooth, and felt like a very natural experience to me. I enjoyed being pregnant, although in the last few weeks, the aches and pains that are common seemed to be getting worse. I was very ready for my baby to come by the day it happened - the day before, I remember feeling very uncomfortable and taking a couple of naps during the day. I had been having insomnia a lot in the days beforehand, and somehow that night I was feeling a little better and that maybe I could get some sleep. Well, it wasn't too long after I started drifting off when my water broke! I was very calm when this happened (midnight on January 22, 2009)- I ended up "gushing" rather than getting a trickle, but everything felt very natural. My surges began soon afterward with a frequency of about 5-7 minutes apart at 1 minute long each. We spoke to our OBGYN, Dr. Zaid, who happened to be on call that night, and she told us to remain at home until the surges were at a frequency of 3-4 minutes apart at 1 minute long.
A couple of hours later, my surges reached that frequency, and I found that they were increasing in intensity of sensation. I used my HypnoBirthing techniques to breathe through each surge, and felt calm and very little discomfort. Again, I was struck by the sense that everything just seemed so natural, and I felt very in control. I told my husband we should head over to the hospital before the surges got more intense and it was harder for me to walk around. In the car, I listened to birthing affirmations on my ipod, and they kept me in a calm state.
We arrived at the hospital at 2:30 in the morning and I was put on the monitor to keep track of the baby's heartbeat and my surges. Usually the monitoring is for about 20 minutes and then they let you walk around. The nurse who was taking care of me was concerned by the pattern on the monitor, and she told me I needed to spend a few more minutes on the monitor to make sure everything was ok. I complied, but I wasn't very happy about being stuck to the bed, hooked up to the monitor. It seems to be an integral part of HypnoBirthing or any type of natural birthing experience to be able to change positions and move around if I needed it to achieve comfort and relaxation. Without being able to do so, it was harder for me to relax and let go with each surge, as I was limited in how I could move and didn't feel as in control anymore.
As the surges grew more intense, my comfort level decreased because I couldn't change positions, and was limited to lying down - I also had to switch from right side to left side and also being on my back so they could monitor me in those positions. Needless to say, I felt somewhat discouraged as a few minutes more of monitoring ended up stretching into the entire time of my labor in the hospital, but I continued to do my best to breathe through the surges. At one point they put a hep-lock on my arm just in case I needed fluids or any medication. I hadn't wanted an IV or hep-lock so that made me somewhat unhappy, but I knew that there was a potential medical situation. They also gave me oxygen because they were worried I and my baby weren't receiving enough. When they first checked my dilation, probably about a half hour after we arrived at the hospital I was 4 cm. Within an hour after that, I was up to 9 cm! I was shocked at how quickly I had progressed. Right before the nurse checked me, I had been starting to have doubts about whether I could last until the birth, and told my husband I might consider an epidural. I was disappointed in myself but it was uncomfortable, and without the ability to move about and change position, I wasn't sure what else to do. Since I was already fully dilated when they checked me and soon afterwards I got the urge to push, my question about the epidural became moot. Isabella was ready to come!
In HypnoBirthing we are taught to breathe down the baby, but I felt an incredible urge to push. Dr. Zaid showed soon after I reached this point in the labor. I immediately felt more comfortable when she showed up, as she was our primary OBGYN and we were very familiar and comfortable with her. She was also aware of my birth plan, so when the nurse told her I wanted to push and asked if she should talk me through it, Dr. Zaid said no, they have a specific way to breathe down the baby with HypnoBirthing. I told her actually I wanted to push and the baby wanted to come out now, but I was also grateful that she remembered my birth plan wishes. At this point, they let me sit up in the bed, which increased my comfort level. They coached me through the pushing, which made me feel in control again. So I ended up pushing the baby out, which may not have been my original intention with the birth plan, but it was what worked out and the way that my daughter came to me. It only took a few pushes before Isabella's head was showing! I was definitely in another zone, but I remember hearing my husband Mark exclaiming "Wow! you can see her head!" After hearing that, I knew that it wouldn't be long, and a couple pushes afterwards, Isabella came into the world!
I didn't have an orgasmic birth as we discussed in class that some women have experienced, but it was a wonderful and satisfying feeling when my daughter was born! I felt very empowered to have done it naturally. I ended up tearing a little, but I feel that I have been healing very quickly and despite tearing it hasn't caused me much discomfort. I didn't get a chance to do much perineal massage, so for the next time, I will try to be better about it to try to avoid tearing. As I held my daughter in my arms right after birth, it was just the most amazing experience. I looked over at Mark, and he was so calm and had such a look of joy and satisfaction on his face. He thanked me for carrying and birthing our daughter.
I have to credit him for making the birthing experience as great as it was by staying so calm throughout my labor, and giving me comfort by talking to me throughout the labor, holding my hand, and using light touch massage. He was my rock throughout the labor. Most importantly, he didn't let me worry by telling me about the monitoring situation, which I found very annoying but didn't exactly realize the seriousness of - apparently the baby's heartbeat was dipping below a level that the nurses thought was safe during each of my surges! I know that if I had known that during my labor, I would have panicked and been even more uncomfortable - I may not have been able to get to birth the way I did.
Although things weren't exactly as I visualized, they worked out perfectly. My labor was very short, which I attribute to the calm and natural manner of HypnoBirthing, and also how it keeps you in tune with the needs of your body and baby. I was fairly comfortable until my labor progressed to the later stages, but I think that I could have maintained a higher level of comfort if the situation hadn't required the monitoring which limited my movement. I am so happy that I was able to birth naturally, and being able to walk around soon after birth was great. I think my daughter was happier and calmer to have come into the world this way. She is one week old now, and she is such a wonderful baby. She has been eating well and sleeping well and was in perfect health at her newborn checkup!
I definitely recommend the HypnoBirthing technique to all moms, and hope I can have my next birth(s) using the technique also. Another wonderful thing about HypnoBirthing is how it encourages the involvement of the fathers in the birthing experience. My husband was very involved with me every step of the way as I described. As we start our adventure as new parents, I believe his involvement with the birthing increased his bond with our daughter from the very beginning. Everyday we find more joy and wonder with our daughter. Hypnobirthing gave us a great start from pregnancy and has fit well with our interests in more natural parenting methods and philosophy. I look forward to my next birth experience!
Thank you to Nancy for allowing me to share this wonderful birth story! I hope it helps to inspire someone to use HypnoBirthing for their birth.