Friday, February 20, 2009

A former class member's HypnoBirthing story

This is the birth story from my former class member, Jen. She had 2 previous births & had taken the HypnoBirthing course from my former instructor for baby #2. She had used Bradley for baby #1. She came to my classes for a refresher course. Her birth story is one that is a testiment to the fact that if you have a supportive birthing team (OB, hospital & doula, in this case), you can have the birth you want. Her labor was slow until she released the pent up frustration & emotions & once those underlying feelings were gone, her labor went really quickly. Jen's doula, Becky Gonzalez, is wonderful & I love what she said about HypnoBirthing...that HypnoBirthing isn't about quiet births, it's about peaceful & calm births. Thanks for sharing, Jen! Congratulations!

Bridget Shaye’s Birth Story
Bridget is already 3 months old…I thought I would write this story within days of having her…as every detail was so fresh in my mind and I was so excited to share everything…but here I am 3 months later having had the best intentions. Bridget was born on Friday October 24th at 1:17 A.M. exactly 2 weeks after her estimated due date. Knowing I would probably be late again…I even fudged the date of my last menstrual cycle by a day or two to allow more time and less pressure. Some back story: I was also late with my 2 older girls. Caitlin (8) was 12 days past her EDD and I induced labor with castor oil. The labor lasted 12 hours and she was born naturally without any pain medication. I used the Bradley Method and the labor was pretty brutal and left me physically drained for a few weeks. I had almost every intervention with the exception of an epidural (internal fetal monitoring, meconium, an amniotic flush, IV fluids, back labor, a cervical lip, etc…). But there were a few moments when I was in the tub that I lost track of time and was completely zoned out…my doula thought I was asleep…it was very trance like. I think I was experiencing Hypnobirthing without realizing it. I was convinced there had to be a better way.

So when I became pregnant with my 2nd child I discovered HypnoBirthing through Dr. Zaid. Since I am a yoga practitioner and the breathing and going within are so similar it seemed very natural to me. Emma (6) was born 9 days past her EDD and I was actually induced in the hospital because my father was very ill and I was really stressing out about making it to Chicago to see him before he passed away. I went in for an overnight induction with Cervadil. In the morning I was told if my surges were 5 minutes apart and I was 3 cm dilated, Dr. Zaid would break my bag of waters to get things going. When I was put on the monitor…I willed the surges to be 5 minutes apart and sure enough I was 3cm dilated. So Dr. Zaid ruptured the membranes to get things going so I could avoid the pitocin. And that did the trick! My membranes were ruptured at 10:30 A.M. and I was in active labor and dilated to 7cm by 1:30 P.M. The best part…I didn’t feel a thing! The HypnoBirthing was working and I was in my own world. The caveat…the baby was transverse and she grabbed hold of Dr. Zaid’s finger when she was checking my cervix. She made several unsuccessful attempts to get her turned as her shoulder was engaged in the birth canal. Dr. Zaid was very patient and she gave me until 6:30 that evening to relax and see if the baby would turn on her own. Unfortunately she didn’t turn on her own and my labor was stalling – the surges were now coming every 7-10 minutes instead of every 3. At that point I had 2 options…have an epidural and a c-section or opt for the epidural and attempt to turn her again. Reluctantly I got the epidural and once it kicked in the doctor and nurses were able to turn the baby. Within 30 minutes I was dilated to 10cm and after another 30 minutes of passive descent (breathing the baby down) she was born with 2 gentle pushes…all 9 lbs 1 ounces of her…with no tearing! Even though I had the epidural I was so thrilled with the entire experience….it was truly peaceful, very Zen like…no yelling, no purple pushing and all the nurses were so amazed. They kept coming to my room to see the mom that birthed a 9 lb. baby naturally. I made peace with receiving the epidural because there is a time and a place for medical intervention…that’s why it’s there and it saved me from a c-section.

So fast forward 6 years, 3 miscarriages and a 1st trimester on bed rest due to a sub-chorionic hemorrhage. I knew 100% I would be using HypnoBirthing again and I was actually really excited for labor…I had no fear whatsoever about the birth. I spent a great deal of time deleting my prior birthing experiences and visualizing a new one. In fact, I didn’t even plan out the exact birth because I wanted to leave myself open to anything. And I was determined to go into labor naturally this time…in fact I was so excited for the spontaneity of labor and to let nature take its course. So when my estimated due date came and went I really wasn’t surprised at all. I was very calm…I was still walking and doing yoga and sleeping surprisingly well for a woman at my stage of pregnancy. When I approached 41 weeks I was still active and actually feeling great…I was still enjoying the pregnancy. What I wasn’t enjoying was all the outsiders giving their 2 cents…"you’re still here…aren’t you going to get induced…how long are they going to let you go?" It got a little old…but once I was home I was content with my decision to wait and to trust my body. So as I approached 8 days past due I started to think about some natural induction techniques and over the course of the next 5 days I tried them all…a glass of wine…a glass of wine with Italian food, a glass of wine and then a bath, intercourse, a beer, a beer with spicy Mexican food, balsamic vinegar, pineapples, evening primrose oil, acupuncture and even a days protocol of black and blue cohosh. I did it all and not to mention the miles and miles I walked the last month. But I was still determined to let nature take its course…so I waited as long as I possibly could. Unfortunately, that 42 week time limit was looming even closer and I was getting more and more frustrated that my body just wasn’t going into labor on its own. I was so certain that with a 3rd baby I would have gone into labor by that point. I talked it over with my doula Becky (Gonzalez) and we figured that I was probably one of those women that would have gone to 43 weeks back in the day before medicine took over deliveries.

So I reluctantly made my appointment to go to Scripps Encinitas to be induced and because they were so booked I was actually bumped back 2 days. I was kind of relieved since that gave more time for nature to take its course, for me to be certain of my decision and to make peace with having to intervene with the labor process. So once again I found myself checking into the hospital in the wee hours to have my cervix ripened. I got there at midnight since the hospital was still so full and that was the only time they could fit me in. It took about 3 hours for the entire process (blood pressure, heart rate, hep lock since my strep B was positive, paperwork, etc…) and I was finally able to "rest" around 3am. The nurse came in every 20 minutes for the 1st 2 hours to check my stats and then after that hourly. So it wasn’t the most restful night of sleep but I was ok with that because I knew I would be holding my baby very soon.

I let my husband go home to get some rest because it was useless for us both to be wiped out. I check in with Steve and my doula in the morning. Dr. Zaid was going to be coming in around 1 P.M. to check my status and discuss the birth plan. So in the interim I ate breakfast (I brought a cooler bag with my own food since I knew the hospital wouldn’t serve me any food) and I did some light yoga stretches to loosen up and prepare for the work ahead. Becky, my doula, arrived around 11am to get settled in. I was so relaxed that I actually let my husband go play in the golf tournament he had registered for months earlier. I figured he could leave the course if things got going and right now I wasn’t in labor yet.

So around 1:00 Dr. Zaid came in and we discussed the labor inducing options. I wasn’t in labor at that point and really wanted to avoid Pitocin at all costs. So we opted once again to rupture the membranes to see if that would get labor started (the most invasive of the natural inductions…but the least invasive of the medical inductions). The baby was still really high (-3) so Dr. Zaid had a hard time reaching the sac and she wasn’t sure if she got it. She left me on the monitor for about 20 minutes and said she would come back to check on me…by the time she returned the surges were every 2 minutes and the fluid was gushing out with the surges….I was ecstatic and couldn’t stop smiling! I was only 3cm at that point…but I was in labor! It worked!

Dr. Zaid headed back to her office and I called my husband to tell him the game was on and we would update him once things got more intense. For the next 2 hours I was very chatty with the nurses and my doula….they were amazed I was so calm. In fact, the nurses didn’t even believe I was in labor…they would make me get on the monitor just to make sure I was having ‘contractions’. At one point…around 3:30 the nurse came in and said "just please tell me something is going on and you are a little uncomfortable so I can report to the head nurse…she doesn’t think you’re in labor" and at that exact time things were getting a little more intense. I could no longer talk through the surges and just went within. Shortly after it was time for a progress check…and I was so disappointed…I was still only 3 cm, but I was still pretty comfortable so I figured things should pick up and they did.

For the next several hours the surges were every 3-4 minutes and I really had to go within. My husband got there around 5:30 and we caught about up the day in between the surges. Right before the nurses shift change at 7 P.M. it was time for another status check so they could update the chart and give Dr. Zaid the update as well. I was crushed…still 3cm…the nurse said she could maybe stretch me to 4. I was so disappointed. I really thought things would have gone so much quicker the 3rd time around. But in hind sight I had gone from -3 to 0 station. So the baby was descending…I just wasn’t dilating. At that point the nurses started discussing pitocin and I said no way. So they called Dr. Zaid to get her input and she said whatever the patient wants. She was going to give me the full 24 hours from the time my water broke before she would intervene as long as I had the antibiotics every 4 hours for the strep. A sense of relief washed over me…there was NO way I would still be in labor at 1:00 the next afternoon!

At that point I knew I needed a change of scenery. So Steve and I went out and walked the hallways stopping every few minutes and I think things really took a turn when we got back to the room. I was having a surge and leaned into him and just let it all out. I started crying out of frustration and just let it go. He hugged me tight and I knew I wasn’t in this alone; he was there to support me.

When we got back into the room I was much more optimistic. It was almost 9:30 P.M and time for more antibiotics and another status check. This time I was 6 ½ cm…progressing…slower than I thought, but at least I was progressing. The nurses were still amazed because I was still fairly calm and quiet. Once I was off the monitors I was feeling the need for water. So I got into the shower for a bit and to be honest…shortly after when I was going to the bathroom I was feeling the slightest urge for a BM but didn’t say anything because it wasn’t an urge to push. So I just kept on in the shower. I was squatting down and sitting on a yoga block that I brought with me to make squatting easier. I was actually fearful of getting checked at that point because I didn’t want to be told I wasn’t progressing. I decided to just wait until I had the urge to push then I would say something.

Shortly after there was a point when my breathing changed. I was no longer able to breathe only through my nose and my breathing became very deep and I started to moan. I was still afraid to get checked so I didn’t say anything. My doula even asked if I was feeling pushy and it wasn’t that strong so I said no. This all took place from 10:30 P.M. to a little after midnight. After 2 hours of that hard breathing and some very primeval moaning I was done. I told my doula I was done…I had labored in every position under the sun and there wasn’t a single position left that I wanted to be in. I asked her if this is when women asked for the drugs and she said you must be done! She suggested it was probably time to get checked again and out of exhaustion I reluctantly said yes. Becky called for the nurse and they got me back into bed…they thought they would monitor the babies stats while they were checking me…not the greatest idea…that really, really annoyed me. I was getting very cranky….and with good reason…I was fully dilated and the baby’s head was crowning.

In hindsight, I think I had been at 10cm for almost 2 hours, probably when my breathing changed and I had that 1st slight urge to push, but I was too afraid to get checked again. After hearing the work was done I couldn’t hold her in anymore…my body started to take over and I had a couple of very strong total body surges. The nurse told me not to push…that I had to wait for the doctor…I thought she was out of her mind! Becky whispered in my ear to just let my body do whatever it wanted and that the nurses would catch the baby if they had to. At that point I decided it was time…I was done! I think all the frustrations of the miscarriages, the bed rest, being 2 weeks past due and having to be induced all bubbled to the surface and I started to push…really push…I was done being pregnant. The nurse got ready to catch and just at that moment Dr. Zaid walked in. The nursed clocked her in at 1:17 A.M. at the same exact time as my this baby is coming out of me right now push…and Bridget was born at 1:17 A.M. just as Dr. Zaid got her hands into place.

I pushed so hard and she came out so fast it shocked her little body and they brought her over to the newborn tray to stimulate her lungs. Within a minute she was wailing and they brought her right back over to me. It took about 20 minutes for the placenta to be delivered and when Dr. Zaid checked it was perfectly healthy and fully intact, no deterioration whatsoever. Confirming our suspicions that I might just be one of those people that need 43 weeks to bake the babies!
Despite Bridget’s rapid delivery and her weighing in at 8 pounds 10 ounces I had no tearing at all.

The next day several of the nurses stopped in to tell me what an amazing birth I had and that they hadn’t seen anything like that in a long time. Becky assured me that I had an amazing HypnoBirth (I was a little doubtful because I wasn’t really as quiet as I thought I was going to be and I pushed in the end instead of breathing the baby down). She reminded me that HynoBirthing wasn’t about being quiet…it is about being calm and peaceful. In the end, I am so grateful to Dr. Zaid. She let me script my entire birth and never questioned what I wanted. She acted as a birth attendant and didn’t intervene at all. And the nurses at Scripps Encinitas were wonderful and very supportive as well. With the exception of the one time they mentioned the pitocin when labor stalled…they never mentioned pain medication or an epidural at any time. And since I was a HypnoBirthing patient they didn’t make me answer that pain tolerance chart with the faces. And I am so thankful for Bridget…she was worth the wait!!!

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