Julia & Cory took my HypnoBirthing classes on Monday nights in February/March at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA. Here is their birth story:
My labor went exactly as I hoped it would, up until the very end.... It began with surges/contractions instead of my water breaking, in fact, my water never broke naturally, but we'll get into that later. I progressed very quickly and through the help of HypnoBirthing, remained calm and relaxed. Eventually, we were hurried to the operating room for a last minute C-section to ensure the health of our baby. Our nurse was supportive of our birth plan, and the doctor gave us a chance, so all in all we considered it a successful HypnoBirth.
Labor began on Wednesday, April 27th; I was 40 weeks and 2 days. The night before I had felt some mild surges while going to sleep, and they continued into the morning on Wednesday, but they were pretty spread out so I wasn't too concerned. Cory went to work as normal since I told him I didn't think anything was happening anytime soon. Around noon or 1pm, they had evened out to about 4 minutes apart. I called our doula/monitrice to let her know what was going on, but I still felt fine without her support, so she told me to call her back when they increased in intensity or frequency. I managed the surges with breathing, rocking back and forth, and using the TENS unit that our doula had loaned to me. I listened to the Rainbow Relaxation CD a bit, but I seemed to do better when I could hear my own breathing, so I only listened for a little while. In between surges I did hands and knees to help with the pressure I was feeling in my lower back. Around 5 or 6pm, Cory got home from work, and the surges were increasing in intensity, and were getting closer to 3 minutes apart. Our doula/monitrice came over around 7pm. She checked me quickly and determined I was 5 centimeters. My husband Cory, who is a veterinarian, was interested in learning how to determine effacement and dilation. With my okay, our doula/monitrice gave him a quick lesson and he got a chance to check me as well and got to feel the baby's head for himself...it was neat seeing his expression as he did this.
With the intensity and frequency of the surges increasing quickly, our doula/monitrice decided around 9pm that it was time to head to the hospital. The drive there was so surreal...I couldn't believe that after months of waiting, we were finally meeting our baby soon! I only had a few surges during the car ride, and we seemed to get to the hospital pretty quickly. It was quiet and empty when we checked in at Scripps La Jolla, and we met our nurse Erin, who took us to our room. She was very nice, and looked over our birth plan quickly, saying mostly everything looked good and that she was supportive of our plans. I was hooked up to the monitor with the plan of only staying there as long as needed, then I would walk around and get monitored intermittently. Erin checked me and I was already dilated to 7 centimeters upon arrival to the hospital. Cory said the nurse had a look of shock when she realized how far along I was, and that I was acting like it was no big deal. While the surges were intense at this point, I was still using my breathing and staying calm and relaxed. Cory was doing a great job whispering to me through the surges, telling me I was doing amazing and that we would meet our baby soon. While doing the initial monitoring however, the baby's heart rate began to decelerate from the 120s to the 70-80s after each surge. The doctor on call came in and said I would now be staying on continuous monitoring, which made sense, and our doula/monitrice agreed. The decrease in heart rate was because my surges were so close together that my baby never had time to recover and reoxygenate between surges. Soon they had me wearing an oxygen mask to increase my blood oxygen hoping the baby could recover better. They gave the baby and me a chance to continue with a natural birth by turning me to different sides after each surge, trying to get the baby's heart rate to improve. Erin, our nurse, warned us that this could lead to a c-section if it continued, so I did my best to focus on getting oxygen to the baby, and to remain calm. She was definitely rooting for us. I began feeling pressure with my surges, and when Erin checked me again, I was at 9.5 centimeters within an hour. I had no concept of time...it felt like I had been in our room for only 20 minutes! (Thanks Carol for the time distortion technique!) With the decelerations in heart rate staying steady, the midwife on call asked if she could break my water to help things proceed. Cory and I agreed that since things with the heart rate weren't improving and in fact, getting worse (dropping into the high 60s) we would allow the manual rupture of the membranes. The hope being that would help me get to the last stage of labor and allow me to start pushing. With the thought of preventing a c-section in the back of my mind, and the fact that the baby was still in a -2 position, we should give it a shot. As it released, they found meconium in the water indicating that our baby was already experiencing a stressful labor.
At this point with the heart rate continuing to drop even more, the doctor rushed back in and said a c-section would be advised. If we continued with our plan, we could end up pushing for up to another hour putting our baby at risk for brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. I remember looking over at Cory and our doula/monitrice, feeling so disappointed that I had made it so far with HypnoBirthing and without any drugs, only to have a c-section at the last minute. But our nurse and even our doula/monitrice agreed that this point a c-section really was necessary. So into the OR we went, and very shortly thereafter, our son was born at 11:16pm! We didn't know the sex, so it was so amazing to hear Cory say "It's a boy!". Gavin was born on 4/27, 7lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long.
After the blur of events, Cory told me that our nurses were so impressed and stunned that I remained so calm and content all the way up to 9.5 centimeters! They were all rooting for us and I think their hearts dropped with ours when the doctor finally made the call to head to surgery. We were so close to having the natural birth, but we couldn't be more pleased with the outcome and the expertise of the staff.
Carol, thank you so much for everything you taught us in class. Cory and I felt very empowered and knowledgeable going into our labor, and even though it ended in a way we didn't envision, I still felt very much in control. I'm proud of the fact that I made it so far un-medicated and using our HypnoBirth techniques, and I'm excited to share our experience with HypnoBirth with my pregnant friends. Now that Gavin is here, while we are definitely sleep deprived, it's hard to remember life without him. Thank you!
Julia, Cory and Gavin
Congratulations to you, Julia & Cory! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I remember getting the phone call from Cory that you'd been in labor for quite awhile & that you both just needed to touch base with me to see if I had any last minute recommendations. It sounds like you did everything possible to have the birth you want. I'm sorry that you didn't get the natural birth you had planned for. I'm glad, though, that the HypnoBirthing classes helped you both feel empowered & educated so that you could make the best decisions for yourselves, your birth & your baby. Sometimes things don't go the way we planned and I'm glad that you were still able to feel a sense of control & have peace of mind with all of your decisions. Continue to enjoy your babymoon!
If you're interested in learning more about Julia & Cory's doula/monitrice, please contact Donna Hayes via her listing on San Diego Birth Network's Doula list at www.sandiegobirthnetwork.com. A monitrice is a doula that has medical training so they are able to do vaginal exams & check the baby's vitals whereas a doula cannot do those specific things.
If you're interested in learning more about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol Yeh-Garner's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. She has ongoing group classes in North County San Diego and is also available for private HypnoFertility sessions for those dealing with infertility.