Friday, November 18, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story-Erika and Ben

Erika & Ben took my HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesday nights at Babies by the Sea Boutique in Cardiff by the Sea, CA (North County County San Diego) in April 2011. Here is their birth story:
Ayla Maeve's Birth Story
Ayla Maeve was born at 9:17pm on Saturday, July 9 2011 at Pomerado Hospital. Her labor was officially a total of 38 hours from water breaking (or more like leaking) to delivery, but to me it felt like a total of only 2 intense hours!
The morning of Friday, July 8th I awoke to a possible slow amniotic fluid leak, so we called the OBGYN, Dr. Cobb to see if we should come in earlier to our appointment that we had scheduled for later that day. We arrived at 8:30 to Dr. Cobb’s office, he tested the fluid and believed that it could be amniotic fluid, so he asked us to go home, get our bags, and get tested at Pomerado Hospital with a more accurate test.  We arrived at noon to the Hospital, where they confirmed that the discharge was in fact amniotic fluid, and I was admitted. Dr. Cobb called that afternoon and said that the plans had changed for me and I would need to labor at the Hospital instead of at home. I received a heplock in my left arm and every 4 hours received antibiotics since the water had somewhat broken. Our Doula, Val Peterson, arrived but there was not much going on and contractions were 6-7 minutes apart and not painful. We spent most of the day hanging out, watching a movie, walking around the hospital and outside, and enjoying a full dinner in the cafeteria before calling it a night.
On Saturday, July 9th Dr. Cobb arrived around 9am to the hospital to discuss my options since 24 hours had passed since my water had broken. He suggested that I be given a small dose of Pitocin to get the contractions moving, but left us the option of continuing to wait or to proceed with the Pitocin. We asked if we could have an hour to think about it and go for a walk, which included a trip to the cafeteria for a big breakfast. After we enjoyed a big meal, we headed to the parking garage where I tried to speed up the contractions by walking up and down the staircase.  This seemed to work, as contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes while walking around, but when we went back to the room for monitoring, it went back to every 6-7 minutes.  I was then hooked up to an IV for Pitocin, along with a continuous fetal monitor around my stomach, and a blood pressure cuff on the other arm. I was truly confined now to a limited area since the monitoring fell off easily when I tried to sit on the birthing ball we brought with us. I found it most comfortable to sit hooked up to the machines in a rocking chair with my feet on the birthing ball, while we watched another movie. Around 3pm, the contractions started to get a stronger and more regular so I put on the hypnobirthing CD with noise-cancelling headphones and put an eyemask on my face so I could tune everything out.

I fell in and out of the relaxed state and would rock myself in the chair when the contractions were a bit intense. Apparently I would drift off to sleep between some of the contractions.  I did not realize that the nurse was monitoring me during this time and increasing the Pitocin while I was in the rocking chair. In the end, she upped me to an 8 on the Pitocin drip, which I thought may have been high on a scale of 10, but I found out the next day that it goes up to around 42, so it was a low dose of Pitocin.  My husband, Ben, Doula Val, and the nurse were apparently discussing how great I was doing, and how calm and quiet I was at this time, however, I couldn’t hear or see them while I was focused.  
When I finally felt like I needed to use the restroom, the nurse said that I would need to be checked first. She offered to check or have Dr. Cobb called. I asked for Dr. Cobb to be called and after he checked, I was informed us that I was dilated to 7cm. This was the first cervical check in about 30 hours to minimize the possibility of infection with the broken waters.  The nurse who had been upping the Pitocin was shocked that I was 7cm as I apparently didn’t show any signs of intense pain.  We were so excited that things had progressed so fast…about 6-7 hours from Pitocin to 7cm with discomfort but minimal pain.
The pressure was a bit intense from this point forward, so I moved to a chair where I was able to sit down. Doula Val was crucial at this point in labor and tried to alleviate the tension by putting a washcloth on my head, having me chew on a hard candy, and massaging my temples.  At one point I was chewing on the washcloth to get through a contraction. I felt like the pressure was too much and asked Doula Val if I should get the epidural but she told me I was doing great, was so close, and didn’t need it. I thought that only 20 minutes of time had gone by, but in reality about 1.5 hours had passed by. I asked Dr. Cobb if I could get the epidural but he suggested that I get checked again instead. He checked my cervix, and said “are you ready to push this baby out?”
From the Hypnobirthing videos I had seen, I thought that the baby would arrive with 3quick breaths, so after 3 pushes I felt confused. Dr. Cobb and the nurse thought this was a bit amusing, after I asked for the vacuum to be used after my first attempt with pushing! I continued forward and pushed for about 40 minutes until Ayla arrived! Time again went by so quickly that I felt like I had been pushing for about 10 minutes. Doula Val took amazing photos of the arrival of Ayla and us during the hour of chest-to-chest contact afterwards! The umbilical cord was left to pulsate after the birth and then Ben was able to cut the cord. Ayla weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces and was 22 inches.

I feel that without my supportive team, I probably would have given in and asked for the epidural at 8-9cm.  I also feel that with most other doctors, considering my water had broken, I would not have been given 38 hours to allow things to progress, and would have most likely been encouraged to deliver within 24 hours, whether naturally or medically. Friends consistently ask me if I would have another baby again “naturally”. My response is always Yes! It is really about being prepared…with the hypnobirthing classes, ability to eat during labor, supportive doctor, Doula, and my husband, I had an amazing labor and delivery.

Congratulations Erika & Ben! Thank you so much for sharing your story! It just goes to show that if you have the education necessary to trust your body & the birthing process, that you can have the kind of birth experience everyone should have--empowering & beautiful! Even with pitocin! One thing that is important to know is that you searched for the right OB/GYN & changed OBs during your pregnancy, which was stressful, but it ensured that you were confident that you had the kind of medical care provider that you trusted & you knew trusted the normalcy of birth. Thanks again for sharing your story & continue enjoying your babymoon!

If you are interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes with Carol, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net for more information. If you are unable to take her classes, there are several other HypnoBirthing practitioners in town. You can find them via the Find a Practitioner section on If you are out of San Diego County, you can find a practitioner near you the same way.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Cobb, you can contact Seaside Women's Health at 760-642-0800.

If you are interested in learning more about Erika & Ben's doula, Val Peterson, please visit her website at