It is amazing how difficult it is to find time to do anything other than feed the baby and feed myself. For those of you who have held out, anxiously waiting to hear Part 2 of my birth story, I commend you!
Before I start though I do need to issue a warning:
Warning: The following is a Birth Story and may contain depictions of what actually happens during childbirth. If that makes you squeamish I advise that you click the “Recipes” tab at the top of the page and look for a more appropriate post there.
In Part 1 of Baby Brother’s birth story I talked about my motivation for having an unmedicated birth along with how I prepared for it.
Now for the good, the bad, slightly descriptive details….
10:15 pm: A mild contraction, much like I’d been having all day, breaks my water just a few minutes after I laid down in bed. And, yes, when my water first started leaking, I really thought I was peeing my pants. Thankfully, The Husband had the foresight to put a towel under the sheets the previous week “just in case” my water broke in bed.
10:15 pm: Regular labor contractions (“pressure waves” as they’re referred to in the hypnobirthing program) begin. The husband finishes packing the “go bag”–man-speak for hospital bag–as well as a bag for the kids.
11:30 pm: I decide to see if I can get some rest, knowing that I’ll wake up when the contractions get strong enough that I need to go to the hospital. I put my my ear buds in and started my hypnobabies tracks. At this point my contractions are 4-6 minutes apart, lasting about 45 to 60 seconds, and I can speak through them.
8:00 am: Amazingly, I slept through the night! I woke up for each contraction, of course, but fell back asleep immediately after. Sleeping in 4 to 6 minute increments is surprisingly not too bad!
9:00 am: Contractions are getting stronger, and, knowing that birthing time generally gets shorter with each successive child (1st child: labored for 15 hours, 2nd child: labored for 12 hours. I’m hoping to have this child out of me by lunchtime!), we decide to head to the hospital. I put my ear buds in again and go into self hypnosis mode.
10:30 am: After a loooonnng walk up to the labor and delivery ward of the hospital (we didn’t realize we were supposed to park at the emergency area of the hospital and have me wheeled in), we get me all checked in. Then the moment we’ve been waiting for! Okay, so not THE moment–the baby moment–but still another much anticipated moment! I was nervous and yet eager to find out how dilated I was after laboring all night. 5 cm? 6cm?
“Well, you’re at about a 3.” I hear the nurse say. A 3! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but not surprising considering I wasn’t dilated at all at my doctor’s appointment just 2 days earlier.
10:45 am-3:30 pm: By this time I was beginning to feel the contractions strongly in my back. Thus began the dreaded “back labor”. With The Husband as my birth coach we walk up and down the L&D corridor more times than I can count. Each time a contraction came I’d get my relaxation/hypnosis on while The Husband applied counter pressure. I laid in bed (slept a little more, thank goodness), sat on the birthing ball, knelt on the floor while leaning against the birthing ball. All the while my faithful birth coach stayed by my side and did counter pressure during every. single. contraction.
3:30 pm: By this time I was dying to find out how far my hours of active back labor had got me. I hoped for an answer that I would soon have a baby in my arms and have some respite from this exhausting process. Because I hadn’t had back labor with my last (who I’d had an unmedicated birth with as well) I couldn’t tell where I was at in the birth process simply by the intensity of my pressure waves. I can tell you that by this time I’d never felt anything so intense! The pressure waves were not coming one on top of the other yet. But they were now at the point that, even with all the tools for relaxation and self-hypnosis Hypnobabies had given me, I would call them extremely painful (hypnobabies is all about pressure as opposed to pain).
“You’re about a 5 now.”
You’ve got to be kidding me! Thankfully, at the time I was able to remain calm and positive…for a few minutes at least…
4:00 pm: Things were getting very intense and I felt like I was losing control. I could no longer get myself into the totally relaxed state necessary for self hypnosis. I tried every position I could think of only to find no relief. To make matters worse counter pressure now made things worse instead of better.
I cried (literally cried) to The Husband that I couldn’t take anymore of this. He encouraged me telling me he knew I could do it. ”Yes, I can, but I don’t want to do it anymore! I can’t take several more hours of this. Just have them come in and give me an epidural.” (Just to give you an idea of the difference of my labors, this thought never even crossed my mind with my last child.) Once I calmed down I agreed to wait a few more minutes and then have the nurse come in and check me again. If I hadn’t progressed then we’d call the doc for the epidural.
4:40: “You’re at an 8! I’ll get the doctor and have him come in and check you in a few minutes.”
Thank goodness!!! And thankfully, The Husband seemed to realize that the intensity I was experiencing was because I was suddenly progressing so quickly. With this encouraging news in my mind I followed The Husband’s encouragement to lie on my side and try to relax. I put my hypnobirthing Final Stage: Pushing track on and went deeply into hypnotic relaxation.
My contractions were still present and I was still aware of their intensity, but using my self-hypnosis techniques I stopped fighting against my body and the pressure waves became manageable once again. Later The Husband asked if my pressure waves had stopped after I got back in the bed. I had become so still that he thought perhaps my labor had paused.
5 something: I was suddenly so hot! And nauseated! I heard someone say the doctor would be in in a few minutes and remember thinking he’d better come in RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately at this point all my conscious abilities were turned inward trying to keep myself focused on my hypnosis track. Very suddenly my contractions changed, and though I was suddenly unable to speak, I knew I needed the doctor in there NOW!
I may not have been able to speak, but it seems that I could scream no problem. I remember having a slight disconnect and thinking as I screamed, “Why am I screaming? I was so calm during my last delivery. So much for the baby’s head “pushing anesthesia down”.” This last thought is more hypnobabies self-hypnosis. Unfortunately, it seems my subconscious decided not to embrace the anesthesia during pushing part of the program.
5:54 pm: I’ve often heard women describe the “burning” sensation they feel as they birth their baby out. I have to admit I’m always a little jealous of these women. No, in my experiences birthing my babies the sensation down below is a little more than burning. Tearing flesh is a little more accurate. I didn’t so much care about pain of my tearing flesh though. My contractions were so intense that my only focus was getting the baby out as fast as possible so I could make these contractions stop.
The doctor, much to my surprise at the time, asked if I wanted to reach down and deliver my baby. And, in tone of complete frankness, one that only being in labor and feeling one’s body tear can bring upon an otherwise docile person, I replied, “No. Just get him out.” After a surprisingly short time pushing (my crazy uterus seemed to be doing most of the work, accounting for the amazingly intense pushing contractions) Baby Brother made his debut.
Out he came! My beautiful 8 lb little boy with lots of hair! Despite my own screams, Baby Brother entered the world totally at peace. He was very alert, looking all around, but was completely calm. The only time he cried was when the nurse unwrapped him to weigh him.
Pushing stage aside I was able to remain very calm and relaxed during my long labor. And, despite how long my labor was, I still had energy afterwards to get up and walk around for a bit afterwards. Apparently, unmedicated childbirth is very rare here because any of the hospital staff who came into my room expressed their awe that I had the baby without an epidural.
And, though I didn’t have a testimonial worthy hypnobabies birth, I don’t think I could have done the 20 hours of back labor without my hypnobabies preparation. The self-hypnosis training was the only thing that could have gotten me to transition with the complete relaxation and composure that it did.
If you just can’t get enough of babies, I’ll be posting regular updates of Baby Brother’s growth and development.