Friday, September 28, 2012

Sandra and Tim's HypnoBirthing Story

Sandra and Tim took Carol’s HypnoBirthing class on Tuesday evenings in February/March 2012 in Encinitas, North County San Diego.  This is their birth story, as told by Tim. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 22nd - Sandra woke up with excruciating pain on the left side of her mid-back.  It was a constant pain so we knew it was not surges.  We tried Rainbow Relaxing, massage, ice and heat.  Our doula recommended an epson salt bath which worked like a charm.  When Sandra got out of the bath she was pain free for the next five hours.... but then it came back at the same level as the morning.  We tried another bath, but it was much less effective.  She tried to sleep, but had little success.

Monday, April 23rd - This was the first day of Sandra's maternity leave.  She had not slept much due to the pain, but felt much better when I left for work.  She went swimming and felt good all day.  Just before we went to bed the pain came back.

Tuesday, April 24th - Again, Sandra had a hard time sleeping because the pain was the most acute at night.  At 1pm she called me at work because the pain was back and so strong she was worried about driving herself to the chiropractor.  I came home and took her to see Bridget.  She adjusted Sandra's pelvis which was really tweaked to the left.  This did not immediately help relieve the pain, but we left very hopeful.  Sandra had also been constipated for the last 48 hours so we stopped by Jimbo's to get some Homeopathic stool softeners. 

Wednesday, April 25th - At midnight the pain was still significant so we consulted with the midwife and she recommended trying Castor Oil because nothing else was working and we were close to the due date.  I went to CVS and searched for Castor Oil.  Not surprisingly the employees at 3am are not the A team.  Castor oil is in the baby section, not the constipation section!  We tried the Castor oil (Sandra reports that is tastes pretty awful!) and 8 hours later there was still no bowel movement.  So the midwife recommended drinking 2 ozs of Extra Virgin Olive oil and 48 ozs of water in 1 hour.  This was supposed to help with the constipation, it did not help and about 30 minutes after finishing the water Sandra threw it back up.  It was about 1pm and we were getting worried because Sandra had not been able to eat anything significant in over 12 hours and now it appeared water was not sitting well either.  Eventually the midwives decided it was best if we came into the hospital to get checked out.  We went in at 3pm and they put Sandra on an IV to help rehydrate her, started running tests to try to identify what was causing the pain and did a vaginal exam.  The vaginal exam revealed Sandra was 2cm dilated and was having regular surges which Sandra could not feel due to the back pain.  They did blood work to check for a kidney infection and did an ultrasound to look for kidney stones.  While waiting for the test results they gave Sandra an enema which finally fixed the constipation.  We hoped that this would help with the pain, but after a brief respite the pain came back just as strong.  We wondered if the baby was going to come, but the surges slowed down.  They decided to keep Sandra at the hospital overnight because the pain was still so acute. 

Thursday, April 26th - Sandra was released from the hospital at 7am.  They did a vaginal exam before she left and she was 3.5cm dilated.  We got home and she was able to sleep until noon.  This was the longest block of sleep she had gotten since Sunday.  She spent the rest of the day propped up in bed watching movies.  I had a feeling it was a matter of days if not hours until the baby came so I spent the day doing laundry and running errands.  I got home at 10pm and Sandra took a bath to prepare for bed.  She was feeling some surges but kept falling asleep between them so she did not know how far apart they were spaced.  After her bath I timed the surges and they were consistently 7 minutes apart so I called our doula.  She said she had been dressed and ready to go since 6pm because she had a feeling Torin was coming that night. 

Friday, April 27th - Becky (our doula) arrived just before midnight and helped us labor at home until 2am.  Amazingly the pain in Sandra's side disappeared earlier in the day when the surges became consistent.  At 2am the surges were 2 minutes apart so we headed to UCSD Hillcrest.  Unfortunately it was a busy night at the hospital so there were no rooms available in the Birth Center.  This meant we had to be downstairs in labor and delivery, but we still received care from the midwife, not the OB.  We had really been looking forward to being in the Birth Center because the large beds make it much easier to bond as a family after the delivery.  Sandra did a great job of not letting the disappointment throw off her game.  At this point she had to stop walking and concentrate during each surge, but still remained totally relaxed.  Labor progressed quickly.  After 3 hours she was 9.5cm dilated.  It then took 3 more hours to get to 10cm.  She loved not being on an IV because she was able to move around and labor in many different positions.  Her favorite position was squatting, but it is also very physically demanding so after a couple hours she started experimenting with with positions that allowed her to rest more completely between surges.  She ended up squatting on the bed for the surge and then laying on her side and completely relaxing between the surges.  At 7am a room opened up in the Birth Center and they offered it to us, but Sandra had no interest in moving at that point.

The birth - At around 8am Sandra began to have a very strong urge to push.  The midwife (Linda) tried to check her to make sure she was fully dilated, but the baby's head was so low it made it difficult to check.  Linda decided that she must be fully dilated and it was ok to start pushing him out.  This began a cycle of pushing him down, seeing the top of his head and then watching it disappear after the surge ended.  The cycle went on for over an hour.  Finally the head made it far enough that it stayed after the surge ended.  At this point it was clear Sandra was exhausted, but she did a great job of drinking coconut water, nibbling a protein bar and completely relaxing between surges.  The nurse kept using a handheld Doppler unit to listen to the baby's heart between surges.  I could tell she and the midwife were a little worried, but every time his heart rate was strong at ~140 beats per minute.  It took 3.5 hours of pushing, but the baby's head finally made it all the way out.  He sat there for about 30 seconds and then turned to the right to align his shoulders.  Sandra laid there waiting for a surge so she could push him all the way out, but after 5 minutes no surge came.  Through the course of the hours of pushing her surges had started to get farther and farther apart.  The midwife asked if she had the strength to push without a surge.  If not they were going to have to put her on an IV to give her pitocin.  Sandra pushed and the baby slid out!  Linda lifted him up and placed him on Sandra's chest.  He was active an alert, but not crying.  As soon as he touched her chest he reached up and grabbed her finger.  The birth was not a silent process of soft J-breathing, but the HypnoBirth techniques allowed Sandra to stay relaxed and save her energy for when she needed it.

Torin was born at 11:50am on April 27th.  He was 10lbs 5oz and 22in long!  The hospital staff was amazed that no tearing or episiotomy was needed.  The perineal massage paid off!

Thank you, Carol, for doing such a great job with the class...  we found the HypnoBirthing techniques to be very helpful in having a natural, un-medicated birth. -Tim

I am not sure how I was able to do it, I had no idea I had the strength in me, but Carol did give us lots of tools to make it all happen.  Our midwife was also amazing for not giving up on us.  She coached me through the pushing process and was very patient.  I feel like I would have ended up with a C-section if we had been at any other hospital. -Sandra


Thank you so much for sharing your story, Sandra and Tim. I loved reading your birth story from Tim’s perspective! I am thankful that the HypnoBirthing techniques were useful for you and that you had the birth that you were desiring, even in the midst of unforeseen situations! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story with us. Enjoy your babymoon!

For more information on UCSD Medical Center as well as the accompanying Birth Center:

For more information about Sandra & Tim's doula, Becky Gonzalez, please visit her website at

If you are interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes in the San Diego area, please feel free to contact us for class schedules and more information at: A Well Lived Life. If our schedules do not work with yours we would love to refer you to other local instructors as well. If you aren’t in the San Diego area but are still interested in utilizing all that HypnoBirthing has to offer, check out The HypnoBirthing Institute and find a Local Practitioner for you!