My husband and I have been married 6 years. We started trying to get pregnant in 2009. It was a long struggle and very emotional. I heard good things about acupuncture so I gave it a try. They suggested I change my diet to exclude soy, dairy and gluten. About a year later we got pregnant naturally! I continued my diet and acupuncture through pregnancy.
I had a pretty easy pregnancy. First trimester was nauseous most of the time but as long as I kept eating cantaloupe and rice cereal I was good. :) Second trimester We discovered I was anemic. I was really exhausted and dizzy but once I started taking iron i felt better within a few days. I started gaining more weight and getting my appetite back. I started seeing a chiropractor which helped with my upper back. Throughout the pregnancy I did prenatal yoga at home which helped relieve tension and maintained my energy level.
Before anyone knew we were pregnant, a friend came to my husband knowing we had been trying for a while and gave him some info on Hypnofertilty. Apparently his neighbor gave birth using the hypnobirthing method using no pain medicine. I didn't need to do too much research beforehand, just knew this was the method I wanted to use for our birth. I looked around for trained professionals on the Internet and asked my acupunturist if he knew anyone and he recommended Carol Yeh-Garner at www.AWelllivedLife.com. We signed up for the 5 week classes. We received a hypnobirthing book, a cd, as well as handouts each week to practice at home. I read the book, took a ton of notes in class, listened to the cd every night at bedtime and fell asleep to it. I just let it repeat throughout the night. I could feel myself relax and slept great when I listened to it. We practiced the other scripts a few times. We did the perineum massages about 3-4 times a week starting at 7 weeks to delivery. The only thing we didn't do enough of was practice the scripts or relaxation with a lot of distractions. I really enjoyed the class and felt prepared and more at ease about delivery and was determined to have a natural birth.
11/5 at My 37 week appointment I lost 2 lbs and my fundal height had not grown and the baby dropped into position. The doctor wanted me to get an ultrasound to check the baby's size. The baby was measuring small, in the 3rd percentile. She thought my placenta was starting to get worn out and the baby wasn't getting enough nutrients. In order to ensure the baby was ok they wanted me to start non stress tests and ultrasounds 2 times a week. I also did another blood test to check my blood count. This new info caused me to stress and worry. I was in the final weeks of pregnancy and very hormonal and fearful. It was an emotional roller coaster.
That Friday 11/9 the dr called and wanted me to go to the hospital to get another blood test. they wanted to rule out a form of preclampsia called HELLP. Signs were small baby, low blood count and enzymes in the liver. I had 2 out of 3. Knowing how severe that is, I was anticipating being induced that weekend. Not something I was prepared for since it wasn't following my birth plan. I reached out to my hypnobirthing teacher, Carol, for advice. She suggested a fear release and gave me steps to follow for induction and reminded me I could still have a natural birth and to relax and allow my body to take over. Going to the hospital, I felt prepared and was ready to accept what came next. They monitored the baby: "the best looking baby they had seen all day." The liver test came back fine and I was released. What a relief! The doctor still wanted me to have the baby before my delivery date and to try and naturally induce.
Then that Thursday, 11/15, when I did another ultrasound, it showed the umbilical cord was slightly restricted. My doctor called and advised me to go to the hospital for induction. This time it was real and I was so scared and not prepared. Knowing the advice Carol gave me the week before, we did a few fear releases to help change my frame of mind and accepted the path my birthing would take. It was my first lesson in parenting. I no longer have control over everything and need to go with the flow. :) I started to get excited knowing I was going to meet my baby soon.
On the way to the hospita,l we listened to the birth affirmations. As we arrived, I started playing the rainbow relaxation CD and kept it on repeat. We arrived at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla around 3pm. We asked for a hypnobirthing nurse and handed out our birthing plan to review with them. They wanted to monitor me the whole time since the baby could be at risk. We met the doctor and midwife on call. We prepared the room for my comfort, covered the clock so I didn't know the time, dimmed the lights and kept the rainbow relaxation in one ear on repeat. They did a vaginal exam but I asked they not tell me how much I was dilated. The less I knew the better my mind would allow my body to take over. We talked about the plan to induce slowly and allow things to take its course without pressure to advance faster. We did another fear release and shortly after started having surges on a consistent basis. The doctor decided to let me go for a few hours before interfering with any induction.
After I stalled, the next step was to give me cervidil. An inducing drug that is inserted at to the cervix and can be pulled out at anytime. My surges started coming on strong and after about 2 hours, they pulled it out since I was advancing quite fast. The whole time I was listening to the rainbow relaxation and allowing myself to get into deep relaxation. I had no idea what was going on around me. Nurses came in and out without me realizing. My husband would make sure they didn't bother me during a surge and would tap my shoulder when they needed to talk to me after a surge. When a surge came on, I closed my eyes and focused on breathing up. I shifted positions often. The nurse brought in a labor bar across the bed and I leaned over it while my husband rubbed my back and did light massage. When he saw me tense up, he would place his hand on my shoulder and whisper "relax". I drank a ton of water and ate almonds as needed.
After the cervidil was out, things stalled a little so we did another fear release. The midwife came in to talk to me about some options and the plan. She saw in my medical history I had a colscopy and suggested we make sure there was no scar tissue and asked if she could try massaging the cervix to allow it to open. I remember Carol telling us that in class but forgot to mention it. I was glad the midwife knew what to do.
The midwife also gave me an option of a balloon/foley ball, but I didn't remember the pros and cons of it from class so I opted to wait and see how things progressed before we decided to go that route. Luckily things progressed.
I started showing all the signs of true labor, nausea (even threw up twice), bleeding and the urge to push. They did another vaginal exam and again didn't want to know how much I was dilated. But the midwife suggested to release my membranes.
We did another fear release. I got comfy and kept telling myself to bring on more surges cause it was bringing my baby closer to me. The more I said it, the better I felt. I had some back labor and the only thing that felt good was to lean back on my fist. Next time, I will bring a tennis ball to lean on instead.
After a while, I started to get really tired and surges were strong. Never did I think pain but more uncomfortable. I felt as if I were running a marathon and running up hill most of the time and kept telling myself the finish line was after the next hill.
Shortly after, I felt ready to push. The midwife came in the check my progress and she said "Erin, you are ready to have this baby. But you can't push just yet." Then they frantically started getting ready. My husband kept me in the zone and not focusing on what was happening around me. When I started pushing, I remembered to breath down like I was on the toilet. The midwife let me lay how I wanted and she would relax my legs when I tensed. I was not quiet at all, my brother in law could hear me outside but the noises were more from effort than pain. It felt so amazing on the last push and I felt the baby slide out. My husband announced it was a girl as they placed her on my stomach. The nurses did have to take her away shortly after to make sure she didn't have to go to NICU. Our Hanna Marie weighed 4lbs 9oz which was enough for her to stay with me and not go to the NICU. Everything at this point was a blur. There was so much going on and I was on cloud 9! I couldn't believe it was all over. She was very alert and started breastfeeding right away with some help from a nurse.
After the placenta came out, I was intrigued to see its condition. It was perfectly healthy and not worn out, no calcium deposits just smaller than "normal". Since the placenta was small, the baby was small but Hanna was healthy.
After everything calmed down, I asked my husband how the progression went since he knew how much I was dilated each time. From the beginning, I was at about 1 cm dilated, progressed to 2 after the cervidil and 2 after the massage of the cervix. When my membranes were ruptured, 2 hours later I was at 10cm, then I pushed for 35 min and Hanna was born at 5:51am Friday, November 16.
I'm so happy with the way things happened. Hypnobirthing really trained me to handle the whole process. We had all the tools and put them to work for us. My husband was such a great coach and very supportive. I was amazed at how he made me feel. I can't thank Carol Yeh- Garner enough for such a great class and support and advice. I would recommend hypnobirthing to anyone and looking forward to doing it again!
-------------------------------------------------------------------Congratulations Erin & Juan! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I'm so glad that the classes helped both of you feel empowered & educated to make the best decisions for your birth & your baby. I hope you're enjoying your babymoon!
If you're interested in learning more about Carol's HypnoBirthing classes, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If her classes don't fit into your schedule, she would love to refer you to other practitioners in the area. If you are outside of San Diego, please visit www.hypnobirthing.com for a list of practitioners in your area. Thank you!