Emelie & Justin took my Thursday night classes in February 2010 at Indigo Dragon Health & Wellness Center. Here is their birth story
Hudson Michael R’s birth story
Emelie & Justin had a different OB through the first 7 months of their pregnancy that said that she supported HypnoBirthing. But, after experiencing persistent doubts about getting her 100% support of their ideal birth plan and feeling rushed through one too many appointment, they decided to explore other options and interviewed Dr. Biter. They switched to him at 31 weeks and feel that making this change was vital to the wonderful birth they experienced.
Even though I was due on May 1st, 2010, I felt throughout my pregnancy that my baby boy would arrive sometime in late April and would say that my guess date was “sometime in late April”… I went to see Dr. Biter on Friday April 23rd for my regular weekly appointment, and although he was not conducting any internal exams, he said he thought my practice surges were happening more frequently than I was aware of and were pretty strong. He said I was having one at the time he measured my belly. I couldn’t feel a thing! Since I was 39 weeks along, we all knew that baby boy could arrive anytime and would likely be very healthy. On Saturday April 24th, my family and I enjoyed walking around the Encinitas Street Faire in the afternoon breeze. The baby felt heavy as we walked, and my mom commented that she thought it looked as if he had dropped much lower in my abdomen than even earlier that day.
As we ended our long, 2-hour walk, I experienced a more powerful surge that seemed to continue uninterrupted for about 10 minutes. My mom checked her watch to time the surges if another one began, but nothing more happened. The surge felt slightly more intense than the practice labor we’d been observing.
After a healthy dinner, we headed to bed. At about 11:45pm, I awoke with the distinct feeling that something was happening. As I stood to get out of bed, a slight gush of fluid let me know that my membranes had likely released. I checked, and the fluid was clear, so I knew that all signs were probably “GO” and that the baby hadn’t released any meconium in the waters. I waited to see if my surges were going to start before waking my husband, Justin. The surges started almost immediately and were 2 minutes apart on the dot. I awoke hubby, and we calmly sat in the living room while I experienced and timed the surges. I instinctively knew that even though they were close together – consistently 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds, they were not yet intense enough that birth was imminent. In fact, I still wasn’t 100% convinced that I was actually in labor. As each surge came, I relaxed on my birth ball and meditated on my HypnoBirth Birthing Affirmations. The surges were very manageable. After about 2 hours, I took a shower to see how it would make me feel, and it was relaxing, which made the contractions begin to feel stronger. I had a secondary release of membranes that was DEFINITELY the real deal, so I knew for sure that I’d be having my baby soon! I called Dr. Biter to let him know I was in labor and get a feel for when we should head into the hospital. He instructed us to just continue to hang out at home as long as possible, and to call back when we decided to leave. He really left it up to me to listen to my body and decide for myself when it was time. At 4:15am, I felt it was time, and my mom, Justin, and I drove to Scripps Encinitas.
I was welcomed into a delivery room for initial monitoring and check-in. I went over my birth preferences with our nurse, and she said they would be able to accommodate all my requests without any issues. I sat on the birthing ball while they did the Fetal Monitoring, and because I was so calm, the baby’s heart rate was excellent and very consistent. I was dilated to 4cm, which I was a little disappointed about (and didn’t really need to know), but I somehow knew that things would move along quickly, so I didn’t let my disappointment distract me from remaining calm. I was allowed to do intermittent monitoring from that point forward, and the nurse left us to labor in peace and said she’d be back in an hour. I decided to use the shower and sat on the birth ball while hot water poured over me. The surges became extremely intense, and I frequently changed positions in the shower to better control how I reacted to them. I was not as outwardly serene as I thought I would be, but I did feel completely in control of the process. Even when I felt sick and vomited in the shower, I knew it was completely normal and was probably an indication that I was entering the latter part of the thinning and opening phase. I made low moans without even meaning to as the surges continued to get stronger. Justin repeated some of the birthing prompts, and the most helpful thing about that was that it helped him remain calm and have something to do that he felt would help. I think the intensity of my surges and my gutteral, animal response to them was fairly overwhelming to him, and the prompts helped him stay calm, which in turn helped me remain focused.
At 5:30am, I left the shower when the heat became overwhelming, and alternated between laboring on my hands and knees in the bed to standing in a swaying position. I was checked again and was already at 7.5cm in just over an hour! The surges continued to intensify and I kept repeating out loud to “Let it Go” – so that my body would release and continue to open and move the baby down. The thought of pain or pain relief never entered my mind, nor did I even once think that I couldn’t do this. I was more focused than I’d ever been in my life! I started to bleed a bit and feel some pressure at 6:30am. Justin called and told the nurse that I felt like I’d need to start pushing soon. She looked at me quizzically and I think was a little doubtful that I’d progressed to that point yet since I was at 7.5 only an hour before. But my body was telling me what I needed to do, and I told her again that I was needing to push. I must have sounded convincing! She called Dr. Biter and told me to remain calm and focused, that I was doing an amazing job, and would just have to wait a few minutes until the doctor arrived.
I did not feel or look like the calm women in the HypnoBirth videos. Instead, my labor rumbled across my body like a thundering stampede. I let the surges take over and began to rock up and down on my knees to keep from pushing. I blew out through my mouth like a horse – something I’d read about in the Ina May Gaskin book, which ended up being a very helpful technique to remain open and loose.
Dr. Biter arrived just before 7am, and checked me as I was up on my knees. My mom asked him how dilated I was, and his response was – we’re going to have this baby right now!
I pushed from an upright position on my knees a few times, but was encouraged by Dr. Biter to turn around and lay back (in the ‘slanting J’ position) for more effective pushing. I listened to his confident support and lay back. I was relieved to be in the hands of someone I really trusted to help me birth our son the way I wanted to. He helped me listen to my body more effectively and push only when I felt the urge. He told me to push past “that point”, and doing so felt incredibly empowering. It was VERY intense, but I knew that I had to do this for my son… his heart rate was dropping a little as he came down the birth path, and even though the nurse didn’t say anything, I knew I had to deliver him with haste. After about 10 minutes of pushing, I crowned. Apparently the cord was around the baby’s neck, and Dr. Biter gently unwrapped it and kept encouraging me. I wasn’t aware of this until after the fact. A few more powerful pushes, and his shoulders were out. From my birth plan, Dr. Biter knew that I wanted to receive the baby, so he told me to look down and birth my son. I reached down, put my hands under his arms, and gently pulled him from me and placed him on my chest. It was the single-most unbelievable, beautiful experience of my life. Justin was in complete awe.
Hudson Michael R was born at 7:12am on Sunday, April 25th– after 15 minutes of pushing and less than 3 hours of labor at the hospital (about 7 hours of labor total).
We bonded skin-to-skin, and Hudson was incredibly alert and calm. He let out a single cry to clear his lungs and afterward, he just calmly lay on my chest and took his new world in. He latched almost immediately.
The nurses were extremely supportive and kept saying how awesome this birth was… how fast, controlled and natural.
Justin cut the cord after it stopped pulsating, and I birthed the placenta easily about 5 minutes after Hudson was born.
While my birth was not a “textbook” calm HypnoBirth, I do believe that I would not have remained in calm control without the relaxation techniques, self-confidence, and body awareness that we learned in our class. I envisioned how proud I would be of myself if I could achieve a natural birth, and I now feel more powerful, womanly, and natural than I ever have. I will carry the memories of this amazing experience for the rest of my life. In addition – my body is recovering from delivery extremely fast. My positive mental and physical state is ideal for handling the fatigue of newborn care.
Even better, Hudson is one of the calmest newborns I’ve ever seen. The doctors, nurses, and his pediatrician have all remarked at how great his temperament is, how healthy he is, and what a great nurser it looks like he will be. He was born exactly the way he was meant to be, and I think he’ll be forever impacted by it without even knowing it. This has been amazing.
Thank you so much Carol, for providing us the tools, knowledge, and ability to create exactly the right birth experience for us, even if it looked different that what we’d pictured in our minds.
Congratulations Emelie & Justin! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story. Enjoy your babymoon!
Even though Emelie & Justin's birth experience wasn't a "textbook" HypnoBirth, it sounds like it was an amazing experience--even with moaning, rocking & vomiting! I really work hard to convey in class that the videos are just for a visual & that maybe people will experience birth in that way but even if it doesn't happen exactly like that or exactly like what they had envisioned, that they hopefully will still feel in control & empowered throughout their experience. That is the goal for me when I teach HypnoBirthing. If a woman gets a "pain-free", calm, peaceful birth, that's a bonus. I want women to birth with confidence knowing & trusting their body's natural process. I want women & their partners to go into their births with full informed consent, doing the research to ensure they have the right care provider & the right birth setting for them to feel safe & 100% supported, and to know the questions to ask to ensure that any intervention suggested is for a true medical situation.
All my best--Carol