Kirsten took my Thursday HypnoBirthing classes in August 2009. Her doula, Rosie Peterson, accompanied her to most classes because her husband was stationed in Iraq & wasn't due to return until the later part of her pregnancy. Kirsten describes her birth below & then Rosie shares her experience of Kirsten's birth below that.
Here is Kirsten's birth story:
My daughter was born on Sept 29, 2009. The story, in Rosie's words, is short and very sweet. Intense surges up until my daughter's birth (her name is Severin) took only about 5 hours; I didn't practice anything I learned in HypnoBirthing class. It all happened so fast! The only things I remembered to do were to keep my moans low and gutteral, to keep moving (I paced the house for a while) and to position my body in a squat to help baby move down. I instinctively went inside my body; I had my eyes closed the whole time, from the time we left the house to go to the hospital up until she was born. I never had a fearful moment except when I worried I might throw up (I never felt sick! I'd just heard a lot of stories of women barfing during childbirth) so I kept the car window rolled down just in case. I started feeling real proud of myself when the nurses started showing up in my room to tell me how impressed they were with how well I did, how they had never seen anything like it, etc. It was really helpful to have Rosie as my advocate in the hospital. I couldn't have done it without her.
And I couldn't have done it without you, Carol! You're an amazing and dynamic person and I learned so much from your class. Thanks again- Kirsten V.
Rosie Peterson, Kirsten's doula, wrote out Kirsten's birth story. Here it is:
September 29, 2009 at 6:22am Severin Rose entered the world. She had her eyes wide open and was quiet as she observed her parents, their familiar voices, the new lighting, and the new penetrating unmuffled sounds. She didn’t need any direction or help finding the breast, her new source of nourishment and comfort. Severin Rose was beautiful! All 8 pounds, 8 ounces of her!
Severin’s mom, Kirsten and I met in the early summer to chat about ‘everything birthy’. Kirsten comes from a family of good birthers. Would she be one? Could she do it? So many questions, unknowns, anxious moments. Well, pregnancy itself was a breath of fresh air at least! Being pregnant was something she now knew she could do and she did it as gracefully and swimmingly as any I’ve been blessed to witness.
Mom went to HypnoBirthing classes with Carol Yeh-Garner. I went along to a few classes until Jacob got home from Iraq and could attend. I witnessed a birth of a family on many levels. During Kirsten’s pregnancy Jacob was away for many months serving our country. When Jacob returned he and Kirsten took few days away from house remodeling, family and doctors; they retreated to Laguna Beach. As he and Kirsten reunited before Severin was due to arrive a new family was born.
They returned just in time for a visit with Jacob’s mom. Then Jacob had one day of work before……Paternity leave!
Monday, September 28, I went to bed at 11PM wondering, "Would Kirsten call tonight?" The phone rang at 1AM. Kirsten said she had started having different type surges (contractions) after lunch. She and Jacob had dinner and she tried going to bed but could not sleep – this was her first clue that she was in real labor! She didn’t want to disturb Jacob, who was sleeping soundly. Could I come over? I was there just after 2AM. Kirsten was "going deep" with each surge when I got there - using her HypnoBirthing relaxation automatically. She made it look easy, it was HARD work, labor always is. But she was quiet, peaceful, breathing, opening. It wasn’t long before surges were longer and then longer until there was not much break. She was a little fearful when I got there thinking that they were going to get much harder. But I reassured her that they just keep doing this. "They just stay like this. And you keep doing one at a time. They get closer, longer, and I know that you will do those (feared future surges) just as well as you are doing now." And she did. Soon Kirsten said she felt the urge to push at the peak of the last surge. We moved to the bathroom, where she was going to sit on the toilet and then maybe take a hot shower. But on the toilet things changed. It was time to head to the hospital. We left at 3:30AM.
The only vaginal exam Kirsten received was upon admittance because Kirsten was fully dilated! Her bulging bag of water promptly popped, splashing across the bed. There was a little meconium in the waters but there were no extra procedures or ill effects from the mec. Baby’s heart rate was perfect and stayed that way. As the hospital staff rushed around doing things like drawing blood, placing IV, getting file started, the doc and the neonatal nurses came in thinking baby was going to come immediately. But S-L-O-W D-O-W-N! Kirsten wished for a calm, quiet, peaceful, dim room to birth in. This was not it. She stayed in Labor Land, her birthing space, until all the folks calmed down and left us alone. Kirsten’s angel nurse, Tina, turned down the lights. I turned the music on low. Kirsten gently nudged her baby down, down, down, moving into different positions as her body directed her, she was as quiet as a prayer and as gracious a birthing mama as any baby could hope for! Soon her nurse took off the External Fetal Monitor and monitored baby intermittently. They had read Kirsten’s Birth Plan and were following it explicitly.
Jacob was glowing with love for his woman. He whispered in her ear and privately they labored on together. After side lying for pushes on one side and then the other, Kirsten swatted for pushes and could soon feel her baby’s head. She reached down between legs in between contractions and felt a furry, swishy little head. When the neonatal nurses (baby nurses) and the doc came in to join her for the final push, they were all smiles and you could tell they enjoyed witnessing a rarity in their hospital, their technology driven, modern medicalized institution. They were witnessing a normal, natural, sweet, slow, birth! Some said they had never seen such a birth. For others it was rare. For Kirsten it was LOUD, because as quiet as the room was, her body was working like never before, it took her intensive concentration to listen to her body and follow its lead, to let go of her baby. Birth power is strong, but also doable – just ask Kirsten.
Kirsten was ready to go home with her baby within the hour. When she found out she would be staying for 48 hours she was shocked and disappointed. I reminded her that she was in charge – the lady boss! Her baby was hers, legally, spiritually, and in every other way. So whenever she wanted she could leave. She stayed for 24 hours and is home now– enjoying her new status as Mommy, her new precious baby girl Severin, and her new status of Courageous Woman Warrior and Birther Extraordinaire!
It was my honor to be a friend and a witness in the days leading up to and the day of Severin’s birth. Congratulations to Kirsten, Jacob, Severin, the grandma’s, grandpa’s, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends!
God bless you always, Rosie Peterson, the doula 760-740-2455
Thank you, Kirsten, for allowing me to share your birth story & thank you to Rosie, for sharing your version.