Kim & Jeff took my May/Tuesday 2009 classes. Kim had a baby several years ago & thought she had a good experience--had an epidural, had a pretty straight-forward labor, but when she got pregnant with her 2nd, she did more research. Here is their birth journey...
My birth adventure was a decision making process that led me to open my mind, follow my heart, embrace my power as a woman and share my passion. I hope to eventually inspire others to change perceptions of birth and understand how amazing our body is. I am going to start at the beginning because I feel it will be cathartic to get it all out of my brain. When I found out I was pregnant-- I immediately went to my ob/gyn. This was what I thought everyone did. They saw a doctor, went to monthly check-ups, labored in pain at a big hospital, got an epidural and eventually went home with a healthy, bouncing baby.
I should know. I experienced it all before with my daughter, Brooklyn. I was very young when I had her, but I thought my experience was good compared to some horror stories I had heard. With Brooklyn, I had a lovely woman doctor that I barely got to talk to. I got poked, prodded and had to pee in a cup nearly every visit. I took childbirth education classes at the big hospital where emphasis seemed to be on funny breathing and answers about the epidural. I decided to take my doctor up on a suggestion to be artificially induced two days before I was even due. I got hooked up to every monitor and contraption. I ended up getting an epidural even though I never stated that I wanted one. I had a catheter put in because I couldnʼt pee and then I got a stern on-call physician that I had never seen before using a suction cup device to help deliver my baby. I thought I had a generally “good” experience because I went in to the hospital at 8am and Brooklyn was born at 5pm. I thought this was how it always went. Boy--was I uneducated about choices!
So here I am back in the ob/gyn office, replaying in my mind everything that happened with Brooklynʼs birth. I knew I did not want all those medical interventions. I wanted something different. Since I work in healthcare, I realize all the unnecessary procedures that are done today and have seen the complications that can arise. I knew with this birth I wanted it to be more natural. So here I am for my first appointment and all I see is the nurse practitioner. I found out I might not even meet the doctor for awhile because she is so busy. The NP tells me my only birthing choice is Tri-City hospital, but this is great because they have a Level III NICU. Immediately, I donʼt like this. As I go to checkout, I am informed my insurance doesnʼt cover anything pregnancy related, but they will let me do a payment plan for the birth. I donʼt like this either. Time to make some decisions.
Now begins my research. I found a great California funded insurance option for women who are pregnant. Itʼs called AIM (Access for Infants and Mothers) but of course mycurrent ob/gyn is NOT a provider for this insurance. I figure this is ok...maybe Iʼll find a better doctor....or maybe a midwife. Wait, what is a midwife? I had heard of them, but I had a skewed vision of older, gray-haired, gruff women delivering babies in garages..or something like that. So more research.
I find out midwives are great! They are generally more holistic-minded, promote natural birth and are very educated and informed about the birth process. They spend more time with their patients and respect their choices. Not all midwives deliver babies at home either. There are dedicated practices of midwives that work and deliver babies at hospitals. I chose to try North County Health Services in Encinitas. Immediately, I felt great with the midwives there. They were young, vibrant and excited about ME and my pregnancy. Now that I had midwives, I had to figure out what I needed to birth naturally. There had to be an alternative to Lamaze class. More research.
Somehow I stumbled across HypnoBirthing. This immediately struck a chord with me since Jeff and I had just started listening to self-relaxation and hypnosis scripts. We both used them to go to sleep and we always felt better when we woke up. I started watching YouTube clips of HypnoBirthing. All the women seemed calm and peaceful. This seemed right to me. (Plus I was determined to prove to Jeff that birthing can be beautiful. He kept having this horror episiotomy vision that haunted him). I did more research on HypnoBirthing classes and found Carolʼs website. I was a little hesitant...should we spend the $300 or just take the free childbirth classes at the hospital? But, I had a good feeling so I signed us up! I was lucky Jeff was so open to hypnosis- he was actually very excited for these classes. We always made it sort of a date night and had a dinner or went to the beach before class. It was nice to set aside that extra time for just us.
My pregnancy went by fast and it was great! I felt fantastic. I did prenatal yoga almost every day and ate very healthy. We started Carolʼs classes with 7 weeks left until my estimated due date. The HypnoBirthing classes were great. I really felt educated and informed to make all the right decisions. I was able to figure out exactly how I wanted this birth to go and put that vision in my mind. I read the HypnoBirthing book about two times and I listened to the rainbow relaxation cd almost every night before bed. I pasted my birth affirmation up on the wall and I continued to always think positively. I never watched any Baby Story tv shows and I let everyoneʼs comments about pain roll off me like water. I felt very prepared. My midwives were interested in HypnoBirthing, but had never really seen it first hand. I repeated a mantra in my head that my labor would be fast and easy. Everyone kept saying 2nd babies come early most of the time, but I had no symptoms of impending labor at all. I kept joking around to Jeff that I would probably go into labor when he was up in Burbank for work and he would have to race home in traffic. Or the baby would be born in the middle of the night and be a little night owl like him.
On July 13 2009- This was my estimated due date. I woke up with a little bit of bleeding. I figured this was probably either the beginning of my cervix dilating or the loss of my mucous plug. I started to get excited but I figured labor could still be awhile away. Jeff had to leave to drive to Santa Ana to meet with some employees of his. I told him to be on “high alert” but I donʼt think he took me seriously. I took Brooklyn to swimming lessons in the morning and then I came home and wasnʼt feeling too great. My mom came over to take Brooklyn for the rest of the day so I could relax. I started having some menstrual like cramps. I laid in bed and surfed the internet on my laptop, ate a snack and just rested. I really didnʼt think these cramps could be surges so I kind of just ignored them. About 1pm, I started timing the cramps just in case. They were pretty sporadic. Some would come every 10 minutes and last for 40 seconds and some would come every 3 minutes and last 15 seconds. I still didnʼt possibly think I could be in labor.
Around 5:30pm I started getting more uncomfortable. The cramps were a little more regular, but they still only lasted about 40 seconds. Maybe this was labor? I called my midwife to get her advice. She said that I should just relax and maybe get in the bathtub and call her back when the surges were at least a minute long for over an hour. I got in the bath tub, started drinking my coconut water and plugged my ipod into my ears. I listened to the Rainbow Relaxation on a loop. I wanted to labor at home as long as I could before going to the hospital. I called Jeff to come home because I knew he was atleast 45 minutes away. The cramps started getting more intense. I couldnʼt get very comfortable in the bath, but kept breathing and focusing on relaxation. Jeff came home and started packing things in the car for the the hospital (Scripps Encinitas). I didnʼt really know what he was doing packing MORE things when I had a backpack all ready to go, but I guess he was just nervous.
Finally he came into the bathroom and I asked him to time my surges. I would hold up my hand when one started and ended because I didnʼt want to talk. I really had to focus on breathing and relaxing. I visualized each surge as a wave that I was riding with a beginning, a peak and a distinct end. I also visualized my cervix opening with each wave. I especially focused on keeping my face and mouth relaxed. He said they were still only about 40-50 seconds long. I remained in the bath tub as the cramps were getting stronger. I kept remembering what Carol said about how when you feel like if you want an epidural-youʼre probably just really close to 10cm. I immediately put the thought of an epidural out of my head. In my mind, it just wasnʼt an option at all. Iʼm not sure how much time went by but it was dark outside now. I started feeling my body involuntarily push the baby down. During each surge I would moan (which I totally didnʼt expect). I started bleeding a little more and I thought my water may have broken but I wasnʼt sure because I was in the bath. I really didnʼt think I could wait for the surges to get longer--I knew I was getting close to seeing my little girl.
Finally I told Jeff it was time to get in the car and go to the hospital. It was so hard for me to get out of the bath. I really didnʼt want to leave the water. Jeff wrapped me in my robe and grabbed a towel for between my legs. He called the midwives and it was Brita on-call that night! She was my favorite midwife! She was going to meet us there. The car ride was very uncomfortable but I kept listening to the ipod and breathing. Ofc ourse Jeff was trying to hurry and missed the freeway entrance and we had to go the long way (poor guy was so nervous). I didnʼt say anything because I didnʼt want him even more nervous, but I tease him about it now- it was so cliche!
We got to the hospital and I got in a wheelchair. I was still naked under my robe with a towel between my legs (so much for the cute clothes I bought to labor in!). I got a room very quickly and realized it was already 10:30 pm. Brita checked me once I got situated and I was at 8 cm! I was so happy that I didnʼt have long to go. According to my birth plan, I agreed to having a hep-lock but I did not want an IV started. They were able to monitor the baby but the nurse turned the volume down so I didnʼt have to hear the heartbeat. I wanted to be calm. With each surge, I had to grab the handrails of the bed and I would breathe and moan. (Jeff said that if someone was just passing by the doorway it would have sounded like a woman having great sex! How mortifying!)
Brita was so awesome and she used warm compresses on my perineum just like I wanted in my birth plan. Jeff was standing by for anything I needed, but I really just wanted to listen to the rainbow relaxation. I tried to get in a few different positions but being on my back actually felt the best. Brita said that I had a fore-bag of waters that had broken but my actual water had not broke. She offered to break my water and then things would gor eally fast. My surges were so intense that I agreed. She broke my water and I could feel my body pushing the baby down. Brita checked me again. I was suddenly at 10cm! Anytime I wanted to push or breathe the baby down, I could.
This is where I had a little break. I remember the room was very dim. It was just Jeff and Brita with me. There was one nurse setting up things for the baby. There was no commotion. It was so calm. The surges were farther apart. I tried breathing the baby down with a little push, but nothing was happening. I tried my hands and knees and also laying on my side. Finally I was ready for the baby to be out! I got on my back again and pushed a few times. I remember Brita said to reach down and touch the head. I did and it was amazing! It gave me the strength to give a few more pushes and her head came out. She had the cord wrapped around her neck twice but it was quickly unwrapped and with one more push she was out! Instantly Brita put her on my abdomen and her slippery little body wiggled up and found my nipple. She looked at me with her big eyes and was completely alert and seemed aware of everything. She was born 2 minutes before midnight. I had only been in the hospital for an hour and a half!
Brita said she had never seen anyone look so calm and in control during labor. Jeff said I did great and the nurse said I was a professional birther (hahaha!) In my head, I had felt a little crazy and not as calm as everyone said I looked and I felt like I failed at “breathing” the baby down because I ended up just pushing, but when I look back on it--it was so absolutely beautiful and I felt so good and so strong afterwards. It really felt like the most amazing thing I had ever done in my life. I had no ripping-just a tiny tear by my urethra that didnʼt even require a stitch. I still feel so proud I let my body birth naturally.
Little Nikka is still very alert and very healthy. My body was pretty much back to normal after 2 weeks. I didnʼt have half as much pain and discomfort postpartum as I had with Brooklyn. Nikkaʼs birth went pretty much exactly how I visualized it..even down to the part where I joked that Jeff wouldnʼt be around during onset of labor and she would be born in the middle of the night. I really believe Carolʼs HypnoBirthing class played a big role in my wonderful birth. Thank you, Carol! And thanks to Brita Pompa CNM who delivered Nikka! I am so inspired by this experience that I hope I can find a way to spread this birth empowerment movement with more women.
Kim and Jeff
Nikka Brazil Page
Born: July 13 2009
8 lbs 4 oz
Congratulations Kim & Jeff! What an amazing & inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!
All my best--Carol