I woke up around 3am and had to go to the bathroom. I finished, but it still sounded like I hadn’t. It was only a small trickle and eventually stopped, so I got back in bed and drifted off to sleep. About an hour later, I woke up feeling like I had to go to the bathroom again and the same thing happened. I normally sleep pretty soundly, so upon hearing me get up a second time in one night, my husband asked if everything was ok. I laughed a little and said, “I think my water may have broken, but let me go check my workbook.” I guess you have to know me, to know how in character it is for me to suggest going to consult a manual to see if my birthing time had actually begun.
Once I was convinced that my water had indeed broken, I asked my husband to start getting things ready and I took a shower. I was determined to stay at home as long as possible, so I helped give direction on where things were so that my husband and mother-in-law could pack a bag. Ironically, we had already made plans to pack the hospital bag that day and had made an appointment to get the car seat installed by the fire department the following day. You see, my daughter decided that 37 weeks and 5 days was enough time to cook, and like so many babies do, she took charge of the agenda.
The most comfortable position for me during the pressure waves was on my hands and knees. I had practiced yoga for around 6 year at that times, and my go-to position for the entire birthing time was cat/cow. My husband and mother-in-law would ask for direction, I would give it, then I would quietly lower myself down to hands and knees while the pressure wave passed. I didn’t even realize how close together they were coming until my mother-in-law finally said “We can’t wait around here anymore.”
We loaded up the car and headed to the hospital. We live almost an hour away and we left just in time to hit rush hour morning traffic. My husband and mother-in-law were up front and I was laying down in the back seat with my body pillow and my headphones in listening to my “Early First Stage” Hypnobabies track.
To get the full impact of the next part of the story, you’ll need a little of our fertility journey history. Prior to this pregnancy, my husband and I went through two heartbreaking miscarriages. You may or may not know, but a baby born after miscarriage is frequently referred to as a rainbow baby. While I couldn’t hear it because I was listening to the Hypnobabies track, one of my husband’s favorite memories from that day is a song coming on the radio while we drove to the hospital. The song title couldn’t have been more perfect: Chasing a Rainbow. We really were chasing our own little rainbow, all the way to her birth.
My mother-in-law still loves to tell people her favorite part, which was me walking up to the counter to check myself in. The nurse asked if I was in labor and then came out to direct me to a room. My mother-in-law says I very calmly raised one finger to ask for a moment, lowered down to hands and knees, stayed there through the pressure wave, and then got up smiling and said “ok, we can go now. Sorry to hold us up.” The nurse looked at me in awe and said, “If you’re going natural, you’re in charge here. Do what you need to do.” It was in that moment that I knew I had their support in having a natural birth.
The nurse assigned to me came in and took my vitals and was very loud, but upbeat. My husband gave her a copy of our birth plan and she headed out the door. The next time she came back, she dimmed all the lights and began speaking in very hushed tones. It made us both happy to see how quickly she went about setting up the perfect environment for us after reading our birth plan and how she made sure all of the other staff was aware of what we were doing as well.
I got into a little circuit of moving from sitting on the toilet, to doing cat/cow on the floor, to crouching on the bed. My nurse eventually sat the bed up into an almost chair like position, because she hated seeing me get down on the floor so often for the pressure waves. She asked if I’d like to try lying over the back of the bed as if I was turned around in a recliner laying my head on the back. It was such a beautiful suggestion that I actually ended up falling into a hypnotic sleep like that and slept through a pressure wave! The nurse told my husband she couldn’t believe it as she watched the monitor showing a pretty intense contraction while I appeared to be sleeping peacefully.
The nurse was completely in awe the entire time, which wasn’t very long at all. We were checked in around 8am, around 11:50am I started feeling the need to push and by 12:17pm my daughter was on her way to my arms. The hospital was amazingly supportive and I don’t think there was anything on our birth plan that wasn’t respected. We were able to have skin-to-skin with her for the first two hours, one with myself and one with my husband. The cord clamping was delayed and my husband got to do the honors of cutting the cord. We had already decided to leave the vernix on and massage it into her skin, which got no pushback from the staff. They did all procedures in room and she roomed-in with us. The only time she left our sight was for the car seat test because she had been so small. Even the pediatrician agreed to do the exam in the room, which they communicated isn’t the norm.
The lactation consultants were amazing and even though she had a hard time latching at first, through syringe feedings and perseverance, we developed a beautiful breastfeeding relationship. She was described as a very “healthy” baby every time we saw the pediatrician, which was their polite way of saying she was a happy, chunky little breastfed bundle of joy.
Our experience was so beautiful, that 7 months after her birth, I traveled to New Orleans for the first Hypnobabies instructor training offered since before I became pregnant. Our class had been the last one our teacher planned on doing before taking some time off to spend with her own little girl. She was thrilled to find out that one of her students would be carrying on after her to continue bringing this phenomenally successful program to the Kentuckiana area. It wasn’t long after I became certified that I was able to hold my first class, and my first students ended up being my own brother and sister-in-law. As if this program hadn’t already blessed me enough during the birth of my daughter, it continued to make my cup runneth over when I got to serve as hypno-doula as we welcomed my niece and second hypno-baby to the family. Since then, I’ve gotten to serve as hypno-doula and instructor to another brother-in-law and sister-in-law as we welcomed my nephew a few short months before I gave birth to our second hypnobaby, Oliver.
You can read his birth story here.