This was shared by a fellow HypnoBirthing practitioner. I love that she wasn't committed to having a natural birth (even during her birth experience)and proceeded to labor easily & comfortably until she got to 9 3/4 cm!
This is a birth story from a friend of mine who did the HypnoBirthing class with me. It's her second baby. I think it's one of my favorite stories so far. Enjoy. Marie Berwald up in Saskatchewan
On Thursday April 2nd my mum arrived in Regina to be here for me and to take care of my 2 year old son Michael while I had the baby. That day I also had a doctor's appointment. When the doctor checked me I was 3 cm dilated. The next day I can´t fully explain it, but I felt "different". I felt a little crampy and hoped it was a sign that baby was on the way. That evening my husband and I had planned to go to a movie, but when the lines were too long we decided to go shopping for some last minute baby supplies instead. Although I wasn´t in labour, I insisted that evening that we pack my bag. I felt the need to ensure everything was ready before going to sleep.
Throughout that night I kept waking up to go to the bathroom. I couldn´t tell for sure what was waking me up, but I remember feeling tired and frustrated that I wasn´t sleeping properly. At 4:28 am I woke up with what I knew was a definite contraction. It was more than just a cramp and it lasted long enough to wake me up. I decided to take note of the time just in case this was the real thing. A few minutes later, I had another contraction so I thought I would time them. They were about 5 minutes apart. I also remember reminding myself to use the breathing techniques. Although the contractions were not extremely intense, I found it helped to use the surge slow breathing to remain fully relaxed. I practiced keeping every muscle in my body as relaxed as possible and made an effort to pay attention to filling my tummy like a balloon. I was amazed at how much it helped and it almost became a game to try to breathe as deeply as possible. This focus helped me to relax.
Now, although I had started the breathing techniques learned in class, I started to re-think HypnoBirthing. I remember lying in my bed feeling very tired and lazy. With my first son I had been quite happy with my epidural, so I really wasn´t sure whether or not I was going to commit to the HypnoBirthing. When I joined the HypnoBirthing class, I was not convinced that I would ever have a drug-free labour. I was intrigued with the thought of HypnoBirthing but decided that I would have to play it by ear.
So, at 4:30 in the morning, the thought of staying focused and being strong seemed unlikely. I decided right then that I would probably get an epidural and that there is no shame in that! I told myself to play it by ear and when I needed an epidural I would get one. However, at this point, the breathing was doing the trick so I didn´t need to think about the drugs yet. At 5:00, I decided to wake up my husband, Paul because I wasn´t sleeping and I wanted someone to talk to. I was also a little excited to tell him that it might be the day. I really wanted to have a bath but decided I would have to wait because I didn´t want to wake my son.
At 5:30, Paul was feeling a little anxious, so he got out of bed and got dressed. A few minutes later, my son also woke up so I decided it was time for my bath. While I was in the bath, Paul went downstairs to let my mum know that I thought labour might be starting but not to get too excited yet. Michael wanted to help out too so he poured water over my belly. He was so excited to be involved.
At about 7:00, I decided to get dressed because I wanted to go downstairs for breakfast and to hang out with my mum and husband. I was feeling really good and didn´t want to be in my bedroom or bathroom anymore. I also wanted to be ready to leave just in case I suddenly decided it was time to go to the hospital. I had a wonderful morning with my husband, son and mum. I sat on the couch, talked to my mum and Paul, cuddled with Michael, ate my breakfast, drank my tea, chatted with friends on the computer and phone, and relaxed while my husband read my novel to me. I continued to breathe through each contraction but remained completely relaxed. My son had no idea anything was going on even though he was cuddled right into me for a lot of the morning. At times, I questioned whether or not this was really labour. My husband even thought it was funny to watch me during contractions because I would stop mid-sentence, close my eyes, breathe deeply and then just open my eyes and finish the sentence. He actually took a picture of me so that I could see just how relaxed I looked. He commented that it looked like I was falling asleep every 5 minutes or so.
I started to think that maybe this wasn´t labour and that baby wouldn´t make an appearance that day. I was even thinking that I should take my son to his friend´s birthday party at 2:00. I couldn´t imagine that I could feel so great and really be in active labour. I continued to enjoy my day and took advantage of the time spent with my family. When I started to feel tired, I lay down on the couch while Paul read "Twilight" to me. This kept me very relaxed and gave me something to focus on during and between contractions.
At about 1:00, I started to feel a bit different. My contractions became more intense and longer. I had to make a greater effort to keep my muscles relaxed during and immediately following each one. I found that if I pictured my uterus like a balloon being filled with air I could keep my muscles relaxed. Expanding my tummy as much as possible with each breath helped tremendously and listening to Paul read to me helped to keep me comfortable. At 1:30, I told Paul that I wasn´t quite ready to leave yet but that I wanted him to get everything ready. I asked him to put my bags in the van and to slowly get himself ready to go. By 2:30, we were both ready to walk out the door. Although I still wasn´t convinced that the hospital would keep me, I really wanted to get there so that I could relax in their tub. On the way there, I realized that my contractions were becoming more frequent, but I still didn´t think they were intense enough for this to be the real thing. I started to think about what I would tell the nurses so that they wouldn´t send me home. I told my husband that I might have to exaggerate so that they would let me stay.
While I was sitting at the admitting desk in emergency, my contractions were coming frequently. I had at least 5 by the time they brought me a wheel chair and another 3 or 4 on my way upstairs. Once in triage, I had 2 or 3 more contractions in the bathroom. I wasn´t sure how long I would be at the hospital before baby was born, but I realized that they would likely believe that I was in active labour. I do remember thinking that I´m not in enough pain. They might tell me that the contractions aren´t strong enough. I can´t help but laugh at myself when I think back.
When talking to the nurses I was very impressed with their reaction to HypnoBirthing. They all took note of the fact that my doctor had written it on my form and told me that they would respect my plan. Of course, I was still doubting the drug-free labour so I felt the need to tell them that I might still ask for an epidural. When the house doctor finally checked me, we were all a little surprised to find out that I was at 6 cm. I had been so sure that it couldn´t be active labour. They took me straight to my room and called my doctor. When the house doctor came back, I was very impressed when she told me that my doctor had informed her that it was my intention to do HypnoBirthing and asked her not to offer me any drugs and not to make reference to pain. Although I was sitting on the fence about drugs, I was very happy with my doctor´s awareness.
Looking back now, this is when I would have needed to get an epidural if that´s what I really wanted. Instead I asked for a bath. I was feeling pretty good and really just wanted to soak in the tub. While in the tub, Paul continued to read more of my book. At about 4:30, I asked him to stop. I could no longer focus on what he was saying and just wanted to "sleep". I closed my eyes and found that spraying water on my belly helped keep my muscles relaxed. If I kept my muscles from tensing up, I was able to remain quite comfortable. At 4:45, I remembered the epidural. I decided it was time for the drugs!!! I asked Paul to go tell the nurse that I wanted an epidural. She said that she would check me and we would talk about it. On my way back to my room, I had a feeling that labour had progressed a lot and that the baby was on the way. But, I had by this point convinced myself that I NEEDED drugs, even though the actual labour wasn´t unbearable. I had convinced myself that I needed the drugs and that I could not go on without them. Sure enough, when the nurse checked me at 5pm, I was 9 and ¾ cm dilated.
This is when I panicked. I couldn´t believe that I had come this far without even realizing it. I couldn´t help but wonder why I had done this to myself. I asked the nurse to give me whatever she had. I just hadn´t come to terms with the fact that I was going to actually have this baby without drugs. Luckily the nurse was fantastic. When I asked her what I should do, she said, "I think you should push when you´re ready". She just said that I had done really well so far and that I would have my baby in 15 minutes. She didn´t rush me. She just let me know that whenever I was ready, I could push. She told me that the doctor was on the way and that I would be holding my baby soon. And I realize now that Marie wasn´t kidding in class when she told us that it´s sometimes normal for the "fight or flight" instinct to kick in right at the end of labour. It kicked in and I had a 10 minute panic attack. I didn´t know how the baby was going to get out, but I was not prepared to do it and I would not listen to anyone when they tried to tell me otherwise. Amazingly, my moment of panic passed and I managed to calm down and regain my confidence. I even started to tease my husband about how easy this labour had been for him. However, I didn´t start pushing on my own. I just tried to stay calm and my body took over.
And when my son was born I was in awe of the whole experience...amazing! I remember saying over and over, "I did it...wow! "I was so happy with the whole experience. It was all so much better than I could ever have imagined! The house doctor even came back to see me and tell me what a great job I had done. She said that having seen my experience with HypnoBirthing, she´s even thinking that she should consider it for her next child. And my doctor said that he hopes he can deliver our next baby because he really enjoyed the positive atmosphere. It was a wonderful, empowering experience and I am still in awe.
Lucas Edward O. was born on April 4th at 5:28pm at 7lbs 13oz. We were both very healthy and able to go home the next day. Michael didn´t even notice I had left. What a perfect way for our little Lucas to come into our world!!!
Thanks for sharing this inspiring story, Marie & Jen!