Friday, September 11, 2009

Courtney & Evandro's HypnoBirthing story

Here's another HypnoBirthing story from one of my past couples--Courtney & Evandro, who took my Tuesday/April 2009 class. It was their 1st birth & they had Dr. Biter as their OB.

Kaian Marley turned three months old last Saturday, but better late than never! Your classes helped us complete our pregnancy and to experience labor with nothing but the most positive and loving outlook. I don't know how much of it was the natural birth or our attachment parenting philosophy or if we just got lucky - but he is the sweetest, mellowest baby and has been since day 1. From birth, family and friends keep commenting at how peaceful and alert he is. I also wanted to share that while I maintained mostly a positive and focused state of mind during my labor, I was not without my doubts. I felt much less relaxed on my inside than I looked and felt on the outside. So much was going on inside me during the laboring process - chatter in my head, the intensity in my abdomen, struggling to maintain focus, the constant need to overcome my instincts to resist the surges instead of give into them... I kept wondering if I was doing it correctly. But after hearing the awe and amazement from my family who witnessed it first hand, and seeing how calm I looked on the video, I felt much more confident about the entire experience. I think that having doubts - even when things are going perfectly according to plan - is normal. There is no way to completely control everything... it is more how we control ourselves during the process.

I now know why you are so passionate about taking control of your pregnancy and birth, and in demanding nothing but the best for your family. Your class was the best pregnancy decision we made and I try to share my knowledge and experiences with everyone I can. It makes me so sad to think about all the women out there who have a negative experience just because they don't know there's an alternative. I am a firm believer in HypnoBirthing!

Thank you for teaching us how to have this amazing experience!!!




On Thursday night, May 28, my sister-in-law, Karna, and I were discussing my pregnancy and wondering when Kaian would make his appearance. We decided to make a baby pool and ask everyone in the family for their bids. My estimated due date was June 8, still 11 days away at that point. I have always had a strong feeling he would be making an early appearance so I chose June 1. Evandro chose June 5.

Somewhere during the conversation Karna asked if I was born early. I was, and thought it was about 10 days. Karna laughed and said if Kaian followed suit then I will be giving birth tomorrow. Little did we know...

I woke up several times that night having to pee. Although that was normal, something felt different. I was sleeping lighter and the practice contractions I had been having for weeks were especially pronounced. No pain or pressure at all, just a lot of tightening (where my belly got rock hard) and they were coming and going pretty frequently and lasting for a minute or so each. That had happened a few other times in the weeks before so I tried not to think anything of it - just tried to stay in the moment as much as I could. But I had a deep rooted feeling that it "was time."

At 6am I got up yet again and felt something like light gas pains. But after sitting in the bathroom for a bit nothing was happening so I got up and just stood in the middle of the bedroom trying to decide if it could possibly be labor. Evandro woke up and saw me standing there and asked "What is it, Amor?" I said (half-jokingly), "either I have to go poo or I'm about to have a baby." He told me to go back to the bathroom, but after a few minutes I came back and said I couldn't go. I told him my belly was hardening very frequently but still didn't feel any pressure. He smiled and got out his watch to time them just in case. They were very sporadic - sometimes coming every minute or two and sometimes taking several minutes in between. But I basically felt nothing other than the hardening.

Around 8 am, the pressure started and at that point I knew my instincts were correct. I was beginning to labor and Kaian was going to be born today. I soon started feeling extremely nauseous and went to the bathroom and threw up. Not long after that I emptied the other end as well. My body was cleaning itself out to get ready for giving birth. Evandro called Dr. Biter's office and Dr. Biter called back a few minutes later and asked how far apart the contractions were. We told him it ranged from 2-6 minutes. He asked if I could still talk through them and I said yes. He told me since I was not having an epidural to relax and stay home as long as possible and to keep him posted as the contractions got more regular. He suggested I take a bath or go for a walk.

From there the surges very quickly became stronger, felt especially in my lower back. Evandro asked if I was having any pain. I said not really pain, just a lot of pressure. They were lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to over a minute each. He ran a bath for me and brought in candles and put on the Rainbow Relaxation CD. Now our bathtub is one of those small, standard sized ones - so I had to stay semi-reclining and could not get my whole body in the water. I thought about that movie Knocked Up, where she labored in this beautiful, luxurious bubble bath. My bath was NOTHING like that. I think I lasted maybe 10 minutes in there before getting out.
I then went to the couch and sat in child's pose. I used my deep yoga breathing during the surges, which were growing increasingly stronger. They felt like a tightening with some pressure in my lower abdomen and far more intense pressure in my lower back, like a burning sensation. I was growing more and more uncomfortable, so I started getting up to walk in circles around the house during the surges. Some of the surges were light enough to remain in child's pose, but I kept having to get up and walk for the stronger ones since walking helped relieve the pressure. I kept thinking about marathon runners and how at some point during the marathon they probably wanted to quit - but pushed through it one step at a time. As I walked I pretended I was running a marathon, which helped keep me focused and motivated.

Around 9am, I said wanted to leave for the hospital. Evandro called Dr. Biter's office again and this time Dr. Capetanakis called back. He said we shouldn't go to the hospital too early and that we could come to the office to get checked out first if we wanted. After about 10 minutes of thinking it over I told Evandro I wanted to go to the hospital instead. It was all I could think about, and I wanted to get there so that I could relax and focus instead of being preoccupied about when to leave for the hospital. The 15-20 minute car ride was tougher because it was hard to relax and get comfortable. The surges seemed way more intense and I had to brace myself for a few of them.

When we got to Scripps Encinitas just after 10am, my cousin Erin met us out front and helped me go check in while Evandro parked the car. The lady who checked us in said they never received my pre-registration paperwork but luckily I brought a copy with me and handed it to her. Erin talked for me and explained I was doing HypnoBirthing. A nurse named Carolyn came over and said she would get me to my labor room. I silently followed and immediately got into the bed. The whole time I could only focus on my deep, slow breathing and getting through each surge.

After checking my blood pressure, Carolyn said she needed to get a baseline reading and put the monitor on my belly. She checked me and I was 5-6cm. She only kept the monitor on for a short time and then took it off and said I could walk around if I wanted. I got up to use the bathroom and felt like I was going to throw up again so I immediately got back in bed.
My dad, stepdad and grandma showed up at some point. All along I thought I wouldn't want anyone in the room with me but at that point I could have cared less who was in the room as long as they were quiet. They knew we were practicing HypnoBirthing and knew to be quiet and let me focus.

Later on Carolyn put the monitor back on to get another reading. I heard my dad whisper to Erin that the top reading was the baby's heartbeat and the bottom one showed my contractions. He said "See she's having another one, but she's so quiet you wouldn't know it. She didn't even move." I was curious and looked up to see the monitor. I could see the reading move up and down with each surge. They were still getting stronger and the monitor gave me something to focus on. I watched them go up and could see when they peaked. Being a visual person, it helped me along for a while.

Evandro massaged my legs for a bit and kept asking if I needed anything, like my birthing ball. I said no. I felt so nauseous every time I stood up that I stayed in the bed. Sometimes reclining back or on my side, other times in child's pose or squatting against the head rest. A short while later the monitor became too much - I didn't want anything touching me - so I pulled it off and handed it to Evandro. He asked if I wanted anything to eat and I said no - I was too nauseous so I just drank water.

Soon I felt something warm and saw that my mucous plug come out. I knew we were close. The surges were getting so strong that I was moaning through some of them. Carolyn came over, stroked my head and told me to surrender to the surges. She and Evandro both kept telling me that I was doing great. I could feel each surge rise up my uterus, getting tighter and tighter... and then finally peaking before releasing back down. The peak told me it was subsiding and that I could rest for a moment. I used a number of the visualizations, including the opening flower and also thought about how native women give birth in the jungle all the time. I figured if they could do it, so could I. I visualized the jungle around me and felt close to nature. The Rainbow Relaxation was on repeat and I focused on the words. I took each surge as it came. Each time I thought "I can get through one more," and tried to forget that there would be more to follow. As long as I stayed in the moment, I could do this. I kept feeling my baby Kaian, talking to him in my head and told him to come when he was ready. I could feel him more than I ever did before.
The nurse checked me again around 1pm and I was 8-9 cm. I knew Kaian was ready and it wouldn't be long. Evandro came over and told me that Dr. Biter was on his way. I started shaking uncontrollably, and remembered Carol's birth stories that she shared in class. She told us this happened to her just before she gave birth. Evandro saw me shaking and asked if I was cold. I wasn't. He told the nurse I was shaking and she said that it was normal - I was going through transition. Hearing this, I focused on the opening flower visualization and told my cervix to open so that Kaian could come out. I was encouraged that I was almost done.

I asked Evandro to get in bed with me. He laid against my back and held me. I said "I can't do this anymore. I need this to be over." He told me it was almost over and that Kaian was coming soon. It felt good to have him there close to me.

Dr. Biter soon arrived. He checked me and said "It's time." The sweetest words. That was exactly what I needed to hear! Evandro told me later that my water released just then and splashed out everywhere. I barely remember that happening.

Dr. Biter told me to wait for the contractions and then to "breathe the baby down." Which sounds so much easier than it is! I was reclining back at first and started pushing. I felt like nothing was happening. Dr. Biter told me to turn around and squat backwards against the back of the bed. I tried that and still felt like nothing was happening. I pushed as hard as I could a few times and Dr. Biter told me I needed to push harder to get the head around my pubic bone. I said "he's stuck!" And Dr. Biter said "he's not stuck, you're doing great. " Dr. Biter told me that the baby was moving downwards but I needed to help him, and that it seemed like I was pushing but then getting scared of the pressure and backing off. I wouldn't say I was scared, but I know I was concerned about tearing. I was getting frustrated in that position so I turned around again to a semi-reclining position on my back. I felt more at ease that way, like I had more control. Evandro kept encouraging me, saying "Nice Amor!" He held one leg and Carolyn held the other. I guess I kept trying to push with my legs so Dr. Biter told me I needed to relax my legs and push the baby down and out. He pushed down on my perineum and said push here, like you're having a bowel movement. I pushed again and still nothing.

Dr. Biter then said "wait for the contractions and push with them." At that moment I finally got it. I was so eager to be done, I realized I was just pushing and was not focusing on what my body was telling me. I stopped, went inside myself to connect with my baby and asked him to guide me. I suddenly realized the surges I was feeling earlier were gone, and was wondering how I would know when I was supposed to push. Then suddenly I felt the urge to bear down. It was totally different than the labor contractions, and much less intense. So I pushed and breathed downwards, and made a grunting noise. Dr. Biter poured on oil and asked Evandro to help him with the perennial massage. Evandro put his fingers in and said "I can feel his ear!" I thought it was so cool that he was able to participate.

After another push, Kaian's head was visible and Dr. Biter told me to reach down and touch my baby. Strangely, I refused. I'm not sure why, but I think I was so focused that I didn't want to be distracted by anything. But I could see his head full of dark hair and felt inspired. I kept talking to my baby in my head and felt him responding, telling me to help him out. He was so close. I closed my eyes and concentrated as hard as I could. As soon as the urge came again, I pushed and breathed and grunted. I felt my perineum stretch and remembered Carol telling us in class that the point of perennial massage isn't so much to stretch, but to get used to the sensation. I was so glad I did it, because that was so true. It was the exact same sensation and I pretended that I was at home doing perennial massage, which helped me stop worrying about tearing. At that moment I finally relaxed enough that the head came out. Dr. Biter said reach down and receive your baby, and as I reached down he pulled out the shoulders and helped hand Kaian to me. It was 1:43pm. He was 7lbs. 4oz and 19" long. No tearing, though I did feel scraped up a bit afterward. I immediately put him to my chest and held him. He cried for a brief moment and stopped as soon as Evandro and I started talking to him.

Carolyn told me that was the first she had seen me smile since I arrived. She said that I was so quiet that she didn't think I spoke English at first. My cousin Erin was the only one who spoke at check-in, and then after hearing Evandro's accent she figured I just didn't speak English. I guess I was pretty zoned out because a lot of the details are blurry. Carolyn then handed me a bunch of registration paperwork to fill out. She said I was "in my zone" when we arrived and so she didn't want to distract me with the paperwork at that time. She also said her sister used HypnoBirthing, which explained why she was so familiar with the techniques and terminology. What an Angel she was! She later came in and borrowed our Rainbow Relaxation CD for her next patient, who forgot hers. It was so nice to see a nurse in a hospital so supportive of HypnoBirthing.

Other nurses came over to meet us and told me they heard about our wonderful birth. No one in my family could believe that I didn't use anything for pain. I was so happy to show them how wonderful a birthing experience could be. My sister in law Veronica had an emergency c-section after being induced and laboring for 20+ hours. She had such a negative experience that she called me to say that after hearing my story she could no longer tell people how horrible giving birth was.

We were at the hospital for about 3.5 hours before Kaian's birth, and my entire labor lasted maybe 6 hours. We checked out about 24 hours later. It went exactly as I planned, as I always visualized it would. Although the surges were intense, I would not classify them as painful. They were also never consistent, so I'm glad I learned to listen to my body to tell me when I was ready. The pushing stage was the hardest for me. No pain, but it took me a few tries to find my rhythm. It was hard work. But in hindsight, the pushing part only lasted about 20 minutes so it went much faster than it seemed. I do know that I probably could not have done this without the HypnoBirthing classes, or without Evandro's unfailing support. There were moments when I understood why women end up asking for an epidural, because it is definitely intense. I reflected about the most difficult thing I had done in my life up until that point - which was a five day, 40 mile backpacking trip through the Sierras along the John Muir trail. I had altitude sickness pretty bad during that trip. I've decided that giving birth is the second hardest thing I've done - my backpacking trip still wins. Although I felt proud of myself after that grueling hike, giving birth - especially natural birth - has a much sweeter reward!

Courtney White Menezes
Agua Web Design

Thanks for sharing your story. Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

All my best--Carol


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