Saturday, May 14, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Jewel & Nathan

Jewel & Nathan took my HypnoBirthing classes at Indigo Dragon Health & Wellness Center on Thursday nights. Here is their birth story:

Everly's birth story:

My birthing experience wasn’t what I envisioned. It started out in all the wrong ways, or so I thought, but my daughter was born in a calm, peaceful environment without the use of pain medication and that’s what I wanted most in the end. It took me awhile to realize HypnoBirthing worked wonders for me.

Labor started on Monday January 17 a little after 1 in the afternoon when my membranes released. I was 39 weeks 3 days. I had a feeling the baby would be coming during the week because I wasn’t feeling like myself all day on Sunday. I felt a small gush of water and went to the bathroom not quite believing it was happening. Fluid continued to trickle so I knew it was definitely my water. I didn’t have any surges though.

Mild surges started about twenty minutes later. They were very short and just felt like a general tightening around my abdomen. I called Nathan and told him that my water broke and asked him to come home as soon as he could since he had an hour drive back home. I didn’t want things to go too quickly and have him still be a long way away. My surges were pretty irregular but I wrote them down and tried to remember to pay attention to how long they were. I finished some chores around the house, not really feeling any different. Once Nathan got home, nothing had really changed with my labor. I wasn’t even sure if it had even begun since I was so calm and relaxed. We took our dogs for a walk and relaxed around the house. We started to question when the right time to go to the hospital was. I remembered Carol saying 4-1-1 (surges that are 4 minutes from start to start, lasting one minute & consistently happening for 1 hour) and decided that would be when we would head down. It would take us 30 minutes to get to the hospital as I was delivering at Kaiser. We continued to go on a few walks to get things going but I never felt like I was progressing. However, I just kept thinking that I was so relaxed and well-prepared for the delivery of our baby that maybe my labor was progressing more than I was aware of (wishful thinking!)

The surges never seemed to get more intense but at 10:30 that night we decided to go to the hospital so we could get settled in our room. I wanted to be set-up in the room before things got too intense. I had been listening to the Rainbow Relaxation on my iPod and practicing my breathing up to this point.

When we got to the hospital we checked in and they put us in a small triage room just like Carol said they would. We ended up being stuck in that little room for almost 3 hours because it was such a busy night. The first doctor I met with wanted to check me but with my membranes not intact, I knew they shouldn’t be doing a lot of checks, but I also wanted to know where I was so I allowed it. I was still under the impression that I would be much farther along attributing my progression to my relaxed state. But when he said I was only 3 cm, it was somewhat crushing. I would’ve bet that I was at least 6 cm. But I hadn’t really had to breathe through anything, so that should’ve been my first clue I wasn’t that far along. The doctor mentioned pitocin which equated in my head to an epidural and c-section. I told him that would be a last resort and I wanted to try natural induction methods.

Once we got to our private room, we went over our birth plan with our nurse who was supportive in our wishes for a natural birth and about forgoing the pitocin. I sat on a birthing ball for a little bit and we walked the hallways. The time was going fast and my surges weren’t changing enough according to the nurses. Nathan read me the balloon fear release script and I tried to listen to the Rainbow Relaxation but I was getting frustrated and couldn’t find a position I was comfortable in. And on top of all this, pitocin was looming in the background. We were so exhausted. With each surge I wanted Nathan to do light touch massage on my arm, but the poor guy could barely keep his eyes open. But I’d nudge his arm when I needed him and it really helped.

Just before 7:00 am the nurse checked me again and I was only at 4cm so pitocin was brought up again. By this time I was so tired that all I could think of was the long road ahead and I was so far away. So Nathan and I agreed to the pitocin. I was so defeated and upset that I was going to have it. I knew it would make my surges much more intense than without it and I didn’t think I could do it without any pain medication to help me through. At this point I wasn’t listening to my Rainbow Relaxation. I was just trying to breathe through my surges.

The pitocin started. I asked for the minimal amount knowing I’d have a better chance than if they gave me a big dose all at once. So it started low and within a couple surges I was asking the nurse about an epidural. I wanted to know how long it would take to get once I determined if I wanted one. I was so tired and didn’t think I could go any farther. Nathan was in my ear telling me what a great job I was doing and that I could do one more surge. Finally, I relaxed into a reclined position and put in my earphones and listened to the Rainbow Relaxation. I bent my knees and pushed my hands against my knees whenever I had a surge. I remember thinking it was like a wave and if I could get past the first peak I would come down and work my way through to the end of it. Nathan kept telling me to breathe deeper when he could tell I was struggling with it. I kept my eyes shut most of the time, only peeking at my surroundings every once in awhile. Nathan continued to do light touch massage on my arm and he cooled me down with some ice. I wouldn’t say the surges were painful, but they were difficult and required work to get through.

Sometime in the 10:00 hour I felt a lot of pressure down below and asked if I could push. One of the nurses checked me and I was 9 ½ cm. They told me I could start pushing soon. I felt like I needed to push as the pressure was intensifying and also the fact that I was so surprised how close I was to holding my baby in my arms.

Nathan’s biggest regret is that he let me push so hard instead of doing my birth breathing to gently breathe the baby down. But my pushing even felt out of my hands. It was something my body was telling me to do. It wasn’t what I planned for, but so far nothing had gone according to plan except for the fact that I was relaxed and calm. In my relaxed state, I even heard one of the nurses exclaim that she wished all her patients could be like me and another one say that my focus and control was amazing.

About 4 hours after the pitocin started (almost 22 hours after my membranes released) I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Everly Grace. She was 6 lbs. 8 oz. She was calm and alert. The doctor placed her on my skin and I’ll never forget looking into her eyes for the first time. She wasn’t crying like they wanted her to (I attribute it to the fact that she’s a HypnoBaby) so they took her from my chest after a minute. She was just fine, crying within a few seconds of leaving me. Unfortunately due to my purple pushing, I did have some tearing which required stitches so meanwhile the doctor had proceeded to stitch me up. Only after they took Everly from me, did I notice the pain. Nathan says that at one point I said that it hurt and the doctor asked if I needed more epidural to which all the nurses in the room (there seemed to be about 20) responded that I didn’t have an epidural. I remember the look of shock on the doctor’s face because she had been stitching me up quite vigorously for a few minutes without any type of pain medication. You think a doctor would know if the patient was on any medication or not!

Anyway, my HypnoBirth was the topic of discussion between all the nurses that day. They were impressed with how calm and focused I was.

Nathan and I were on such a high after meeting our daughter and working through such an intense experience that we couldn’t stop talking about it with each other. I was so surprised that with all the obstacles we encountered, I was still able to achieve a somewhat-natural (minus the pitocin) un-medicated birth. The Rainbow Relaxation and breathing techniques helped me achieve the birth we wanted. It took me a little while to understand that HypnoBirthing worked because my birth story wasn’t as easy and quiet as some of the videos Carol showed in our classes. Also it wasn’t what I envisioned so I had to let go of the image of “the perfect birth” that I had in my head.

Nathan and I want to thank you, Carol, for educating us and helping us to prepare for one of the most important and rewarding days in our lives. We were able to have an amazing birth experience while welcoming our daughter into this world because of HypnoBirthing and your guidance. It was the most intimate experience for Nathan and me and I feel like it has bonded us to be better partners and parents for our little girl. We can’t thank you enough.

~Jewel, Nathan, and Everly
Congratulations Jewel & Nathan! You did an amazing job dealing with the intensity of the surges & with the pitocin! It just goes to show that if you can keep your mind in the right place and stay focused, you can have a natural, vaginal birth even with pitocin!

Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! Enjoy your babymoon!
If you would like more information about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, CA, please contact Carol Yeh-Garner via her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If you are outside San Diego, CA, you can visit to find a practitioner near you.

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