Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Sara & Dan

Sara & Dan took my HypnoBirthing classes in March 2011 on Tuesday nights at Babies by the Sea Boutique in Cardiff by the Sea, North County San Diego. Here is their birth story at the UCSD Birth Center in Hillcrest:

Sara and Dan’s Birth Story

2 days before my due date I was up most of the night with an upset stomach. Thinking I had eaten something the day before that was causing it, I called my midwife at about 6 am to let her know how I was feeling. She told me to drink plenty of fluids and to call back that evening if I wasn’t feeling better. Almost as soon as I got off the phone I started to realize that the cramping was starting to have a pattern and so I started to time them realizing that this might be “it”. At that point the surges were about 8 minutes apart and very mild. I was excited but wanted to try to rest and let Dan sleep (I had gone into our other bedroom that night so I wouldn’t keep him up with my tossing and turning) to prepare for the day ahead. A couple hours later they were getting more intense and so I woke Dan up and we called the midwife again and our doula Julie. We decided to stay at home as long as possible, but by 10am the surges were 4 minutes apart and I felt like we should head in to the birth center since it seemed like things were progressing quickly.

When we arrived I was surprised to find that I was only 1 cm dilated and my surges had slowed to 6 minutes apart. Luckily our midwife had room in the birth center (they usually send you home unless you are 4 cm) so she let us get settled in. Soon after we arrived I started throwing up and shaking, which I knew were signs of transition, yet I still was only a couple of centimeters dilated. We played the rainbow relaxation CD on repeat in our room and we read several scripts and did a lot of breathing to help relax. I spent a lot of time in the shower and then several hours in the tub but things continued to move very slowly. We did several side lunges to help reposition her head because the midwife felt like she might be face up. By 10 pm I was still only about 4cm and was very tired from not sleeping much the night before and having very painful back labor. I was starting to ask about an epidural but my midwife suggested trying a mild drug first that would allow me to sleep between surges so that I could get some rest and not have to transfer to labor and delivery. We decided to go that route first and so the next 4 or 5 hours I would fall deeply asleep between surges, then wake up and breathe through them as my husband, doula, mom and sister took turns coaching me.

Early the next morning I was still at 4 cm and the sleep medication had worn off, my back labor was becoming more intense and I was very discouraged to not be progressing at all. We made the decision to head up to labor and delivery for an epidural. I insisted on walking up hoping that gravity and walking would help and I swear that walk seemed to take a week! I would stop every few minutes and hold onto Dan or Julie and breathe through my surges. The new midwife (we were now on our 3rd shift!) wanted to break my water when I got the epidural but I insisted on waiting as I didn’t want to start the 24 hour clock for a C-section. Several more hours went by then the doctor came in to see me and said that they were starting to think that a C-section might be necessary so I agreed to have them break my water as a last effort to avoid a cesarean. I then progressed to 2 min apart and 7 cm over the next several hours but she was still not dropping past -1 station. Though her heart rate was strong, it had now been 33 hours and the midwife and doctors were concerned that there was something happening that they couldn’t see that was causing her to be stuck. We agreed it was time to get her out and they wheeled me in for a cesarean. Julie read a script that helped me feel a little better; I was initially very upset that my desire for a beautiful natural birth had slipped away. But then a few minutes later my husband and I heard our daughter Autumn cry for the first time in the operating room and I knew that none of what I had gone through mattered anymore, we finally had our little girl in our arms and she was healthy and beautiful! It turned out that she was face up and her head was stuck in the right side of my pelvis, so it was the right decision to have the cesarean. The doctor did not think she would have ever been able to come out naturally.

The value of our hypnobirthing training was priceless, it not only kept me from feeling anxious during my pregnancy but it helped me to cope with a difficult labor and later to come to terms with not having the natural delivery I had wanted. It greatly helped my husband to support me and to stay calm and focused during our experience as well. Thanks again for the great class! It helped us in more ways than I ever expected :)

Thank you Carol!

Sara & Dan
Congratulations Sara & Dan! I hope you're enjoying being parents! I'm glad that even though you didn't have a natural birth, you were able to utilize the HypnoBirthing techniques to the best of your ability. My goal of the class is to teach you information to trust your body & the birthing process as well as empower couples to know what to do so the choices you make for your birth are ones that you KNOW are necessary. It sounds like you did everything possible to get the birth you had planned for & that you were able to decide to get the epidural & later, the c-section, knowing that was what you needed to do in order to have the best outcome you possibly could. Thank you for sharing your story!

If you're interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol's website to learn about classes being offered in the North County area of San Diego. There are also other HypnoBirthing instructors in San Diego that teach in other areas of town, so please visit the website to Find a Practitioner near you.

If you're interested in hiring Sara & Dan's doula, Julie Mitchell, please contact her at


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