My daughter’s birth is something that I had been hoping and dreaming of for years. I had taken a hypnobirthing class two years ago at the Riverton Hospital in hopes of having a hypnobirth with my first baby. Unfortunately, my first labor didn’t go as planned. I thought my doctor and team was going to be supportive, but they ended up encouraging me to use the medicine provided instead of going natural. I ended up getting an epidural and walked away from the experience feeling ripped off, to say the least.
Since then, I was determined to have a natural birth the second time around. I took Karen’s hypnobirthing class this time and it was so amazing! I felt much more prepared than I had in the past and I could picture how I wanted my labor to be. I spent many hours listening to affirmations, meditating, “talking” with my baby and imagining my labor in detail.
I went into labor naturally 12 days after my baby’s “due date”. After getting a foot zone from Karen in the afternoon, I decided to relax and practice my meditation. That night, we went out to dinner and while waiting for the table, I started to have really strong surges. I didn't think much of it, because I had been having surges for 3+ weeks, so I just assumed that they would stop again. The surges averaged about 8-9 minutes apart for 2+ hours, so I started to think that this might actually be it.
We headed home to finish packing and clean up the house. I rocked my almost-two-year old daughter to sleep and told her that she probably wouldn’t see us in the morning. I cried knowing that it was going to be the last night where I could rock her for as long as I wanted to. I called my parents to let them know that they would probably be getting a call from us in the middle of the night.
The surges were consistently strong and some of them were 7 minutes apart. I decided to get some rest and fell asleep listening to affirmations around 11:00pm. I woke up around 1:00AM because I couldn’t sleep through the surges anymore. They were 6 minutes apart and I couldn’t talk through them. I spent the next two hours sitting on a yoga ball and listening to calming music. When my surges started to be 5 minutes apart, we decided to head to the hospital. My parents arrived around 3:00AM to stay with my daughter and we drove to the Hospital.
I checked into the hospital around 3:30AM. I was dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced. The contractions were pretty manageable at the time and they were fairly far apart when I was lying down, so I told Karen that she could just head over when she was up and ready for the day. I tried getting some sleep, but was pretty unsuccessful.
Karen arrived around 6:00AM. She suggested that we walk the halls, so that’s what we did. It was refreshing to get out of my room. I would have surges while walking and Karen would show my husband what he could do to make my surges easier. I loved how involved he could be in the birth process too! We walked for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then my body started to shake. I was so cold! Karen suggested that they check me, and I had progressed to a 4+.
We continued walking the halls more and tried a few different positions to stay as comfortable as possible. Annie, my midwife, arrived at around 7:00AM and gave me more suggestions on positions. My baby was posterior, so some of the positions were ones that I wasn’t familiar with in order to take pressure off of my back. At 9:00AM my body started shaking again and I was so cold. I began throwing up, so we decided to check me again. I was dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced. I couldn’t believe it! My body was doing it! I started crying because I just couldn’t believe it was working! I mean, I expected it to work, but after staying dilated at a 1 for over 15 hours with my first labor, I was afraid I’d have the same problem this time.
About 45 minutes later, we decided to break my water. I went to the bathroom afterwards and while going pee, I started throwing up. It felt uncontrollable because I threw up about five times. I made my way back to the bed and I sat in it like I was in a chair. I started having really painful back labor. My surges were really strong and close together. This was the first time during my labor when it was incredibly hard to relax. I decided to listen to some affirmations while Karen, my husband and Annie were doing some light touch massage on my belly, hands and feet. The light touch massage changed everything! My mind immediately focused on that rather than the pressure from the surge. I was eventually able to fall asleep in between surges.
Around 11:45AM, we checked again and I was dilated to a 9. I couldn't sit in the bed any longer because the back labor was so strong. We moved to the yoga ball and I put my arms above my head to hold onto a bar. This was the hardest part of my labor. Mentally, I was able to stay relaxed and strong during my surges, but in between surges, I started to question if I could do it. I was afraid that it was just going to get harder, and I didn’t know if I could handle it. Looking back, this moment was harder than any other moment during the birthing process. I felt helpless and so tired. I was very happy to have such a great team to remind me that I could do it at that time.
We were waiting until my body was ready to push, because we knew I was getting close. I got back onto the bed and put my feet in the stirrups. I really wanted to feel my baby girl moving down, but my back labor was so bad, that it made it really hard to focus on anything else. Suddenly, I felt this surge. It started slow, with little pressure, then it got stronger and stronger, and my body started pushing completely by itself! I started yelling, “I’m pushing!” (Which I realize now was completely dramatic.) I stayed as relaxed as possible and let my body do the work. I was so grateful to have Karen there because she kept reminding me to wait during the surge. My immediate reaction was to push, but instead, I waited, and my body did the pushing itself. It was a surreal experience. I pushed for about 35 minutes (twice as long as my first labor since this baby was posterior) until my sweet girl arrived.
Gracie was born at 12:34PM on Aug. 31, 2017 weighing in at 8lbs 1oz and 20.5 inches long. They immediately put her on my chest and I kept telling her “I missed you so much!”
My labor was everything that I had hoped for and more! I didn’t have a single needle in my arm and I didn’t need any Pitocin. My body was able to do what it was designed to do, without any extra “help”. It was such a calm and loving atmosphere, exactly what I wanted my daughter to be born into. To have so many people in a room who care and respect the birthing process is an amazing thing. It was an empowering experience that is a highlight in my life. I’m actually looking forward to being able to experience it again.
October 20 - I woke up at midnight with what started off as heavy contractions. I got out of bed and walked around to see if they would subside. Nope, they stayed steady and strong. So I knew we were going to be having a baby soon. I got in the shower did some dishes and then woke up the hubby. After I getting ready I called Karen to let her know what was happening. For some reason I was so nervous with this labor. Hearing Karens voice and the support and directions that she gave me was just what this momma needed. My husband took my daughter up to grandmas and I stayed home breathing through my surges. As soon as my husband got home I told him we needed to go to the hospital. Before, I was in labor I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. But this time I was so nervous at home. Getting to the hospital and having my team with me is what I needed to help me feel empowered and safe. I needed my husband, Karen and my doctor. We arrived at the hospital at about 3:00 am. Karen arrived about 15 minutes later. The nurse got us all checked in and hooked up to monitors and checked to see how dilated I was which was at a 4.
We followed Karen’s instructions and walked the halls, we would sit on the yoga ball. Which this was the best thing, we laughed and talked and it was so great when I was having a contraction I had my amazing team to help me through them. When I would need to lay down we would go back to the room and Karen would help with the surges. She would zone my feet and have me lay or sit in certain positions. I was amazed how much it helped! She also kept an eye on the amount of fluids I was drinking and made sure that I had food in my tummy. She was cute,she would also make sure my hubby was not getting exhausted and kept an eye on him to eat and drink and rest as well. About two hours later my doctor came in and wanted to break my water. That was not in my birth plan and having the support of my husband and Karen we decided to wait. So back to the walking,laying down and yoga ball. A little while went by and there was some concern with the amount of blood I was loosing. My placenta was starting to tear away from my uterus. Karen could see that I was then starting to get really nervous. She told me to breath and to tell my body to slow down the bleeding. I did just what she said I went into my breathing and talked with my body and a little while later the bleeding did slow. Then our baby girls heart rate would dip then come back up then dip again. We found out later that she had a short umbilical cord which was getting pinched. So the pressure was on to break my water. The concern was an emergency C-Section if the babies heart rate dipped too much. The interesting part was if we broke my water or if we didn't break my water there was still the chance of an emergency C-Section. I talked with my husband and Karen and I just closed my eyes and prayed and about 15 minutes later my water broke!
Once it broke I just cried. I had this wave of emotions come over me, for some reason knowing my water broke meant that it was go time and that the contractions would be getting stronger and we would be holding our beautiful baby girl soon. The contractions were so strong and the pressure on my lower back was beyond intense. Karen would push on my lower back and my husband would be by my face and holding my hand. The nurse checked my dilation and I was at a 7 1/2. Then I felt my baby just drop, that feeling was so amazing to feel. To feel your body know just what to do is beautiful. I had communicated what I felt to Karen and then my nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push and said to not push yet since I was not at a 10. Well, as the nurse was talking my body was already pushing on its own. I went from a 7 to a 10 in less than a minute. Right then my doctor came in and checked me and my baby girls head was crowning. Then it was show time, about 5 nurses came in and from there everything felt so intense. The surges and burning sensation were something I cannot explain. Karen knew just what to do and what to have my husband do. She could tell the pain was starting to take over. I cannot explain how amazing she is! She grabbed my husband and had him grab one of my hands and he stood him right by my head. She then grabbed my other hand looked me straight in the eye and directed me when to breath and when to push during each surge. I needed this so much. When a contraction was over Karen would have my husband fan me to help cool me down. About 15 minutes of pushing our little girl was here! Weighing 6 pounds and 9 ounces! Karen then stayed to help me with skin to skin and nursing my little one. She was beyond sweet to tell me she would stay as long as we needed her to. Let’s not forget we have all been up since midnight and it was now 11am the next day.
To have an unmedicated birth or a medicated birth everyone needs that team to help them. When things go not according to plan to have a doula who understands your birth plan and can communicate your needs and wishes to the staff is just what every family needs. I was amazed at how Karen knew what my body was doing and she could tell me what is going to happen. To have her communicate to me in such a personal way and to tell me what my body would be doing and that it was okay was such a comfort. Karen will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Born: June 2, 2017 at 7:50 am, 7lbs 10 oz, 21 in
June 1st my midwife, Annie, stripped my membranes. Later that day I started to feel some strong surges so I decided that we needed an outing before the baby came. We ran to Shopko where we had to stop occasionally so I could breathe through the surges then we went out for dinner at El Toro Viejo for dinner. The contractions were getting closer together but I wanted to get the kids in bed before we went to the hospital. After the kids were asleep I called my mom and asked her to come over so she could watch the kids while we were gone. The surges were becoming quite uncomfortable but still bearable so I took a bath to help ease the pressure. The bath worked and I was able to breathe and relax through each surge. I was feeling really good at this point. I felt like I was totally rocking the relaxation that I had learned from Hypnobirthing.
When the surges became about three minutes apart we headed off to the hospital. When they checked me I was still at a 3.5 which is where I was when Annie, checked me that morning, so we hung out for an hour to see if I had progressed. After using the birthing ball and walking around they checked me again but still no progress because the baby was face up, so we went home. This was frustrating because I really felt like I was in active labor and should have been progressing.
As we were leaving the surges were becoming more intense and moving towards my back. While we were at home I took another bath to relieve the pressure that was becoming more and more intense. After being home for a couple hours I decided that I couldn’t do it at home any more. My husband was amazing during this process and helped me breathe and relax through the surges as well as offering support and counter pressure.
We went back to the hospital about 2:30 am. When they checked me again at this point I had progressed to a grand total of 4. Again I was frustrated and disheartened. I was in a lot of pain during the surges yet nothing was progressing. Annie came about 3:30 am and really offered a much needed second support to my husband and I. At this point neither of us had slept at all and we were struggling. After walking, bouncing on the birth ball, and doing about a million squats I was finally at an 8.
While I was pushing I yelled a couple times that I couldn’t do it anymore but my husband, Annie and the nurses were right there to assure me that I absolutely could do it and helped me with positive affirmations.
After Isabelle was born I felt a little let down because I felt like I hadn’t handled it as well as I wanted to but my husband assures me that I did great. Looking back I am so glad that I did a natural birth and used hypnobirthing. I love that my body was made to give birth without intervention and I let it and embraced it.