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.