Kelly & Trevor took my HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesdays at Babies by the Sea Boutique in August 2010. She was the last of her class to give birth. All of her classmates had wonderful HypnoBirths & they all became close friends through their experiences as pregnant moms & moms of newborns. Here is their birth story
This is the birthing story of the love of our lives, Keaton James. From the moment I first found out that my husband and I were expecting a baby, something shifted inside of my heart. I felt more empowered, a sense of strength I never knew I had, more amazed at what the body was created for and what it is capable of. As my pregnancy progressed I found a yearning in my heart that I never knew would have existed … I wanted to trust these feelings of empowerment and opt for a birthing experience that mirrored this newfound confidence. HypnoBirthing was the answer to that yearning …and here is our story
Keaton made us wait in anticipation to meet him, but he was well worth it! I was 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant when my labor began- still feeling great physically, mentally- just anxiously and excitedly waiting to meet my little guy (and to finally not have to answer so many questions from others about why I was not getting induced!) Trevor, my husband, and I did EVERYTHING possible to naturally help spur labor along- and on this particular Sunday night (it was a full moon, too!), things finally started happening. I had no idea that labor was on its way when I went to bed around 9:30pm- exhausted from a long evening walk- but right when I got into bed I felt a little trickle of water. A moment later, as I was getting up to investigate what was happening, my membranes fully released. This was the only moment of my entire labor that was like what you see in the movies- water was everywhere and I just stood in the bathroom with a towel between my legs thinking- He’s coming, he’s coming! I was not nervous whatsoever, I had spent the last couple months mentally preparing for this moment, and after weeks of affirming how I was going to rock out this birth, I truly felt it in my heart. I told my husband that tonight was the night, and to page Dr Biter so we could let him know what was going on. My surges began almost instantly after my water broke, and they were intense from the get-go, lasting about 45 seconds-1 minute, about 2 and a half minutes apart. Intense! I didn’t have much time to ease myself into “the zone” so I put to good use the practice of instant relaxation, put my ipod in, and listened to my HypnoBirthing affirmations and relaxation tracks. I was SO thankful for the time we had put in to prepare for this very moment- it made the weeks of practice incredibly worthwhile.
With Trevor’s help, I moved positions every 30 minutes or so- moving my hips around on the birthing ball and sitting on the toilet were my two favorite spots, the pressure seemed less intense and in many ways I felt like my surges were getting more done in those positions. The surges were intense, tight, and at times very uncomfortable (particularly the few times when I felt my surges in my back, but it was all manageable), but never painful. I actually remember thinking after one of them- I am doing it, this is working! After my surges I always felt a sense of deep appreciation for what my body was doing and for the fact that everything we had practiced for so many nights was actually working! Time distortion set in almost immediately, and each hour literally felt like 10 or 20 minutes. I think I was most thankful for this aspect of my labor- instead of dreading an upcoming surge or tensing up in anticipation- time just seemed to drift by, and my body drifted along with it. And it’s not that I just don’t remember what was happening- I just literally was so relaxed that I wouldn’t even realize I had had 10 surges, not just 1 like I thought. I stayed quiet most of the time and Trevor went back and forth between giving me light touch massage and helping me change positions. As much as we had practiced Trevor reading scripts to me, during labor I didn’t want him to read to me at all- only my HypnoBirthing CD and a few choice songs. In fact, Trevor and I didn’t talk much throughout my labor, but he was always right there, supporting me through massages, counter pressure, or just holding my hand. At first, I texted a small group of friends and family about what was happening (including my HypnoBirthing classmates!) and enjoyed receiving all of the encouraging messages in return. Soon after, I didn’t even want to look at my phone anymore- I needed to focus completely inward so that I could handle my surges- again, they weren’t painful, but just incredibly intense and tight. To me, the tightness I felt was the most intense part of my labor at this point- I had had a lot of practice labor leading up to this point but this tightness was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. When I would hit a peak of one of the more intense surges that I wasn’t sure if I could completely handle, I could hear Carol’s voice asking, “What’s that sensation?”- and I would focus on the fact that my uterus was tightening, or that the baby was moving his way down- never on the idea that it was painful. I knew in those moments how helpful it was to understand the labor process so that I did not have a reason to freak out or question what was happening within me. Soon after, Trevor mentioned that I had been in active labor for 6 hours (what?!), my surges were getting stronger. I literally have never been so relaxed in my life- which is still amazing to me to think about since I was in active, ACTIVE labor.
I was jolted back into reality when I began to shake pretty heavily while sitting on my birthing ball and felt a rolling urge to begin pushing. I immediately thought- I remember Carol mentioning that she shook when she was in transition. “This is not supposed to be happening yet, I’m still at home!” I thought, and I quickly fell into the immensity of the situation. There I was, sitting on my birthing ball rolling my hips, shaking, telling my husband I felt like the baby was only minutes away, and we were still at home! I could see Trevor was worried, and all he said was- “Okay, change of plans. We need to leave. Now.” Trevor put together some comfortable clothes for me, threw together a bag, and off we went to the hospital- he held it together for me and spoke softly and sweetly to me throughout the whole drive. I tried to stay in my zone in the car, but I couldn’t get comfortable and I began to think about having this baby in the car, or without my doctor- not reassuring thoughts! I immediately began feeling a new sensation- I had been dealing with a bit of back labor in my lower back at home but it was nothing I couldn’t handle, but now … now I could feel each surge rolling up and down spine. Each little nerve ending felt like it was on fire, one by one. “This isn’t normal” I kept thinking, and it began to freak me out. I could feel the reverberation of each surge on individual nerve endings and up into my brain- I remember commenting that I felt like I was about to have a seizure. I was still able to breathe through my surges, but the tightening and intensity of what was going on in my abdomen was like a walk in the park in comparison to what was happening with my spine.
We got to Sharp Mary Birch hospital and I had to get checked in and monitored. I wasn’t allowed to move from the hospital bed for about 15 minutes- time distortion worked just the opposite for me at this point, it felt like an eternity before they transferred me to L&D. The intake nurse checked me and stated that I was 7.5cm at this point- I told the staff and Trevor I felt like I had un-dilated between our house and the hospital- and I wouldn’t be surprised if I did, it was a psychologically and physically draining drive for me. I was fully aware of the fact that once I began to freak out about the situation was when my spine began flaring up, so I tried my hardest to get back into the zone I was in while I was at home. I was able to get back to a point where I was holding it together (not like I was at home, but I was managing the situation)- the affirmations I was listening to helped immensely during this time (i.e. Calmly handling whatever path my birthing may take)- and Trevor was doing everything he could to figure out what position would be best for me. Once we began talking with the hospital staff about my spinal pain (something I was reassured would not cause any permanent damage as I thought in the moment it might), I began to get frustrated. Trevor continually asked, but no one at the hospital had any idea when it came to natural options to relieve my spinal pain- no positions were working, and a request to try to change the baby’s position inside me was denied because he was facing the correct way and they “didn’t want to disturb him.” I felt like I was trapped and didn’t know what to do, I was on the verge of tears. My labor at home was so sweet and gentle, and my labor at the hospital felt like it was out of control. I was amazed at the difference between the two. Trevor responded by encouraging me with how well we were doing as a team, and how proud he was of me, and how excited he was to meet our son. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I turned on my relaxation tapes and played them in my room, turned down the lights, and tried to wait it out. I breathed through each rolling surge and tried to stay calm through each rapid firing throughout my spine- and it took every inch of my mind to stay in this mindset.
After about an hour and a half, I just couldn’t handle what was happening in my spine, it was agony at this point- despite my quiet breathing and lack of screaming (which threw the nurses off). Yes, I had a great coping tool in HypnoBirthing, but I soon realized that this very rare issue was throwing off more than just my ability to focus. The mood in the room changed dramatically and more staff started coming in to look at the intermittent monitoring that I was on. I could tell something was happening but no one was speaking loudly enough for me to hear whatever it was they were obviously worried about. Trevor asked for an explanation, and we were told that the baby was in distress and his heart rate was dropping significantly, and was staying that way. I went into the hospital being very leery of staff suggestions as I didn’t want to be manipulated in any way- but the hospital staff had been very open and understanding of our desire for a natural birth- so when they asked if it was ok if they gave me some pain and/or anxiety medication to help with my spinal issues (as they believed this was the source of Keaton’s distress- they thought I was in internal distress despite not showing it outwardly), we took the request seriously. I immediately tried to send calming and relaxing thoughts to Keaton to try to help stabilize his heart rate without intervention. I couldn’t fully focus on that though as my spinal pain was simply off the charts. We requested five minutes to talk it over (something we learned in our classes!), but were denied the length of time (in a respectful, empathic way…). They stated that Keaton’s need was immediate, and they didn’t want to let him go any further in the birthing process without stabilization- and they felt this was the least intrusive way to get Keaton stabilized. Again, they simply were not well educated on natural interventions for this type of thing- but that was the situation we were in and we needed to confront it. We felt like they were being honest, and their candidness spurred us to see this is a very serious request. Trevor said to me that the staff had nothing to gain by asking us this, as I was progressing quickly and had been relatively quiet throughout my labor thus far- we weren’t causing them problems at all and I hadn’t even spoken of my spinal pain for about an hour or so at this point. Because I felt like I didn’t know what else to do naturally, we agreed to a small amount of medication that would localize in my spinal area and would not affect my ability to experience the rest of my labor and delivery. They originally asked about an epidural- but we politely declined that offer. I was worried that the medication might cause the baby to be drowsy, but was told that this was an unnecessary fear. I prayed at that point that they were telling me the truth, and we went forward with it.
The hospital simply was not equipped to help me cope naturally, and my husband and I had done everything we knew of, but not being professionals ourselves we realized our shortcomings and, as much as I wasn’t a fan of taking any kind of medication- I felt like this was what needed to happen for Keaton to be safe and for me to continue having the birth I wanted. After receiving the medication, my spine calmed down tremendously (although I was still aware of it, I wasn’t imprisoned by it anymore, it was almost like having a glass of wine or something- my back and spine just felt a lot more loose) and I was able to refocus myself towards breathing through my surges- and I was feeling these more intensely again because of the lack of focus on my spine. I was actually thankful for this, as the source of my frustration (my spine) had eased up, but my body still felt fully present in the labor. Keaton’s heart rate stabilized quickly after that as well. I had to internally let go of the fact that I accepted intervention, and seeing the easing of worry in the staff’s faces when Keaton’s vital signs stabilized helped tremendously.
As it turns out, he was just about ready to make his debut anyway. I’m not sure if that was spurred on by the calming of my spine or this was already in motion. Within the next twenty minutes I began shaking again, I was telling Trevor that I was feeling overwhelmed and incredibly claustrophobic. It was very hard to stay in a relaxed state with so much going on internally. I had about a twenty-minute span where I felt like I simply wanted to run out of the hospital room and not be in labor anymore. I could tell that the relief for my spine was allowing my body to go ahead with the labor that I felt was stalling beforehand. Trevor remembered from our HypnoBirthing classes that this was a normal reaction to transition, and encouraged me that the baby was so close. Soon, a rolling sensation returned and I felt like my body was ready to start breathing the baby downward, but I was still apprehensive about this without my own doctor there. I wanted to share my labor with my doctor who had been such a huge point of encouragement and love throughout my pregnancy. My body reacted to the apprehension and stalled again for a little bit, which normally would be frustrating for many- but it turned out to be a wonderful thing. Dr. Biter came to meet us at the hospital within only 20 minutes from that moment.
I was able to instantly go deeper into my body and I could feel that my baby was ready as well. Literally the moment I saw Dr. Biter, I knew that I was ready and that I was well taken care of. Birth breathing did not go so well for me, and I felt overwhelmed with the urge to push- as much as I didn’t want to do this, it was what my body instantly went to. It was intense and I needed to make these very low grunting, animalistic noises as I pushed- although quietly. I could feel my baby making his way down with every push, and was able to watch my progress in a mirror- something I didn’t think I’d want until it came time- it really helped me focus on Keaton and gave me even more motivation with each surge. It was intense, not painful, but I just felt so incredibly FULL at that point- my body wanted the baby to be out in the world and I felt like I was just along for the ride.
Within the next half hour, with some amazing encouragement from Dr Biter, we welcomed our son, Keaton James into the world. He was 9 lbs 6 oz and 21 in long. A big boy, to be sure! He was lifted directly to my chest, and Trevor and I got to spend the next hour cuddling, feeding, and enjoying our alert, strong, calm little boy. The medication I took during the labor didn’t seem to have any affect on Keaton, at least outwardly. He was already able to hold his head up, nurse, look around, and look into our eyes (without any of that gook they normally put in baby’s eyes!). I had energy (not just adrenaline-type of energy), a gentle energy that allowed me to stay calm and in the moment with our new son. I tore slightly despite the many nights of perineal massage over the past couple months, but it was very slight and did not even bother me at all after a couple of days.
Many of the nurses commented on the fact that Keaton was so big and that normally they thought my body structure couldn’t have handled a vaginal birth of a baby that big- especially when it took about 8-9 hours altogether. It felt empowering to have birthed my little man in this way. My recovery time from labor and delivery was minimal- further reminding me how the female body was created for this very event! I needed time to personally cope with the fact that I used some kind of medication during this labor, as this was something I felt very opposed to beforehand- but the more I thought (and continue to think) about it the more proud I am of our decision- because we were informed and we knew why we were making the decision, and we chose the best option that was available for us at the moment. Not once in our labor did we feel as if we were being forced into something- although we do wish there were more naturally minded health professionals out there! It was a freeing and transformative experience for the both of us. Although things did not go according to how we had planned, we truly embrace our baby’s birthing story, and are eager to re-tell it whenever anyone asks.
We are so thankful for you, Carol! You empowered us to trust this process in a way that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. I also want to send a very heartfelt thank you out to the other women in our class with us- Jill, Brooke, Candace, and Holly. Their encouragement and friendship during my pregnancy, labor, delivery, and now into mommyhood has meant the world to me! And, of course, thank you to the amazing Dr Biter! His presence throughout my pregnancy and at Keaton’s delivery was unparalleled in terms of understanding, love, and encouragement. Delivering a sweet little Biter Buddy was an honor!
Congratulations to you both! Thanks so much for sharing your birth story! I know it will be inspiring to others to know that even with extreme pain & a little bit of medication, you can still have a HypnoBirth! It's my goal to teach the classes so that everyone leaves the class feeling empowered & educated to have the birth experience of their choice. If things come up along the way that aren't what they wished for, it's important for them to know what their choices are & how to ask questions to know whether or not the intervention being suggested is due to a true medical situation or just due to hospital protocol. You & Trevor were able to do that perfectly & did what you needed to do in order to have the best birth experience possible for Keaton.
Continue enjoying your babymoon!
All my best---Carol