K’s Birth Story – Part 2 – Our Birthing TimePosted by Moira on Jun 19, 2013 in Pregnancy & Birth | 2 comments
Our Birthing Time
(Be sure to read Part 1 of our birth story)
Because of the blood thinners I was not eligible for an epidural. Fine with us, I never wanted one anyway. I couldn’t stomach the thought of a needle in my spine. I’ll take the pain of childbirth any day over the idea of a needle in my spine. Everyone thought we were crazy, but Nate supported my decision 100%. We told every OB we met in the practice that we were going to birth without medication. They all smiled and said ok, but it was the kind of smile you have seen some parent’s give their children to placate them. One OB suggested that we bring a doula with us after we presented her with our birth plan. You see we had chosen to use Hypnobabies. Hypnobabies is a method of birthing that makes use of eyes open childbirth hypnosis. Sounds kind of woo-woo, but it is completely awesome. I have a Ph.D. in Psychology so I knew that the mind is a powerful thing and had no trouble buying into this. Nate and I spent months practicing self-hypnosis, we hired a doula (Julie) who was also our Hypnobabies instructor, and I told every single person that I encountered that I was having a natural, pain-free birthing. Everyone gave me that placating smile, but I knew that we could do this. I trusted myself, I trusted Nate, and I trusted that we could have a pain-free hospital birth.
On September 1, 2011 Nate and I went out to eat at Sweet Basil, we had 9 more days until our baby’s guess date and my 30th birthday and were enjoying a date. Even though we had 9 more days, I looked at Nate and said that this could be our last date before the baby came. It was our last date (and after 22 months have only managed to have 1-2 more dates).
As part of our Hypnobabies practice we visualized our birth. I had visualized our birthing time starting at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon with the baby being born around 1am. This would give us plenty of time to let the blood thinner clear my system before giving birth. I guess I didn’t emphasize the “pm” part of “3pm” enough. At 3AM on September 2 I woke up to tinkle (as usual) and my membranes ruptured (a.k.a. my water broke). I had been dreaming that I was having pressure waves, and I probably was. In my dreams, as during my active birthing time, I felt only pressure.
I woke Nate and let him know that we were going to welcome our baby earthside in the nearish future. While I was taking care of myself, Nate rushed downstairs and called Julie – at 3am – I felt bad for her. By the time I got downstairs she wanted to talk to me. She assured me that it may be a long wait and to go back to bed and get rest. I promptly went upstairs and decided to shower – not sleep like Julie suggested – shower. I wanted to be clean. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but it sounded like a good idea at the time. I even washed and blow-dried my hair. Then as the pressure waves (contractions) intensified I sat on my birthing ball (exercise ball) and shared Cascadian Farms version of cheerios with Marvin (our dog), who was sitting on our bed. I did eventually try to lie back down and listen to some scripts, but I was bored. I have always been one to wake up and be ready to start the day. Soooo….I badgered my wonderful husband into helping me put the crib tent on the crib so that Ziva wouldn’t get in it with our baby (our babe didn’t even sleep a single night in the crib until he was about 9 months old). This was about 5 in the morning, Nate is not a morning person, but was wonderfully patient with my request.
The waves continued but I was using my hypnosis and was feeling really comfortable, just a little pressure. A couple more hours passed and the waves were continuing, but not getting stronger or closer together. When Hollycrest Bed and Biscuit opened, we took Marvin for his kennel vacation – he was pretty jazzed. I insisted on riding along and going down the big hill by the kennel in the middle of a pressure wave was actually a cool feeling.
We hurried home and Julie arrived around 10am and the first thing I said when she walked in the door was that I was bored. She laughed. Unfortunately, my pressure waves came to a grinding halt AND I was still bored. So we decided to go for a walk. The pressure waves started back up, but weren’t really progressing. Julie said that she was considering leaving for a while so that we could be alone and maybe the waves would start back up. I was frustrated with the progress and told her that – I will admit to be spoiled and liking to get things my way.
***Here is where I’m not quite sure of the order, but I think it is right**** In an effort to move things along, Julie suggested that we go do some laps around the house. We went up the stairs two at a time, marched through the kitchen, and did all kinds of funny things. Everyone had to do it so I wouldn’t feel silly doing it by myself.
Then we did the rotisserie. Two pressure waves on one side, two on hands/knees, two on the other side, and two on my back while listening to a script. My waves were still 7 minutes apart. Sigh. We went downstairs to eat lunch (we had peanut butter and jelly because that is what I wanted) and Julie tried some acupressure points. She suggested that Nate and I go back upstairs, cuddle, and listen to some scripts. I tried to lie down, but it just wasn’t comfortable – a lot of pressure – things seemed to be changing, getting stronger. Nate went to get Julie and she came upstairs.
We tried counter-pressure during one wave and I decided that I didn’t like to be touched during a pressure wave. So for each wave everyone was just quiet. By that point I had heard enough scripts – no more Hypnobabies scripts for the remainder of our birthing time, just hypnosis (I am pretty curious what the other ones were like though and may listen to them some day).
The waves continued to intensify and one caught me off guard. I let my hypnosis slip and had a couple of seconds (no more than 5) of pain. This happened just one more time a couple of minutes later (again no more than 5 seconds). After that I was careful to make sure I just kept my hypnosis in place all the time. I had no more pain ever. The waves were getting stronger and longer, around 2 minutes in length. Then a wonderful thing happened – I vomited – like the ruptured membranes wasn’t enough. Nate got me a cool cloth, Julie got me Scope and I sat in a tailor sit on the bathroom floor for a while. I smiled at Julie and asked if you usually vomit more than once and she smiled back and said no. Please recognize that I had given her permission to lie to me when I asked her that question and I was too in the moment to realize that was exactly what she was doing!
Julie asked if we wanted to go to the hospital and we opted to see how I felt in about an hour. She didn’t think I was far enough along that it is urgent to go yet and we agreed. No one knew we were in our birthing time at this point; we were keeping it a secret. Another hour passed and Nate was getting nervous so we packed up to leave for the hospital. I got my hypnosis firmly in place and we went downstairs, Nate patiently tied my sneakers because that is what I wanted to wear – no easy slip-ons for me, and we went out to the garage. (Unbeknownst to me when Nate was loading the car earlier he called my parents to let them know we were on our way to the hospital.) I got into the garage and found out that Julie had lied earlier – back into the house for another 20 minutes – then finally to our car.
I will never forget Nate merging onto I-85 – he went the whole way over to the left-hand lane immediately and poor Julie had to follow him. We got to the hospital, I refused to let Nate drop me at the door because I wasn’t in pain – birth is a normal natural thing, not an illness – and so we walked in together. I had a pressure wave in the lobby, which caused a security officer to come up to us and ask if we needed a wheelchair. Julie smiled and said that no we were ok. After the wave passed we proceeded to the L&D area. The nurse at the desk said we had to fill out paperwork and handed it to me. I filled out my social security number and asked Nate to finish it. While standing at the desk I had another 2-minute wave and I remember hearing the nurse tell someone else that I was in a lot of pain and they needed to find me a room soon. I looked at Julie after the wave ended and asked if I was in pain because I didn’t know I was in pain. She smiled again – I love seeing Julie smile. Everyone expected me to be in pain.
We finally got a triage room where I refused to put on the gown provided and instead slipped into my homemade birthing skirt and my Target sports bra. I wasn’t sick and I didn’t need a gown! The nurse monitored the baby and me for an hour. During this time I sat on the side of the bed – I really didn’t want to lie down. What I really wanted was to be in the shower. I asked Nate to stand in front of me because with each wave I felt like I was being pushed forward. I was afraid I would fall off of the bed, Nate standing in front of my let me release that fear. Julie looked at Nate and said that at least I was finally asking for someone to do something. It was 3pm and that was the first time I really asked either Julie or Nate to do anything for me.
While we were still in the triage room, the OB on call, Dr. Beck, and a nurse came in. They wanted to know when my membranes ruptured and I said I couldn’t really remember, but it was sometime early afternoon. I knew that if I told the truth I would get IV antibiotics. She said ok and asked if I wanted to be checked. In other words did I want to know how dilated my cervix was. I said no not really and she complied. She said that I could walk around or do whatever I wanted. We waited awhile longer and finally got an L&D room. I walked to the room, refusing the wheelchair again. By that time it was shift change and the outgoing nurse put in the IV (attached to nothing because I refused fluids and continued to *gasp* drink water out of a water bottle) and wrapped my arm in Glad Press and Seal so that I could get in the shower on the birthing ball. Nate got into his swim trunks and stood in the shower with me. I “ah’d” during my waves and started giving little pushes. After the nurse left we didn’t see any hospital personnel for a long time. Nate started to get nervous and Julie went in search of a nurse. The nurses assured her that I had plenty of time, I wasn’t in pain, and I was a first time mom. I shriveled up like a prune in the water and finally decided to move to the bed, by that time my pretty hair was as scraggly as a wet cat, so much for that 3AM shower.
I was against pushing on my back so I tried a couple of positions, but was tired so I ended up on my side. Still no hospital personnel and I was trying to ah my baby out. Nate was pulling on my arms like Julie showed him to help me center my pushing and Julie was keeping an eye out for the baby. Finally Dr. Beck and the nurses all arrived. The lights were kept dim and everyone except Nate and Julie stayed out of my line of sight. The nurse did quickly check me to make sure it was ok to be pushing, but then no one else touched me. Between waves I talked to Nate, drank water, talked to Dr. Beck, talked to Julie, and talked to the baby. It felt like the baby was taking one step forward and two steps back. Still no one coached me, touched me, or talked to me during a wave. It was quiet and respectful.
Finally, the baby made HIS debut at 8:45pm after a 17 hour and 45 minute pain-free birthing time. Here is something cool, Dr. Beck didn’t even touch us until his head was out – she trusted in our ability to birth our baby. We opted for delayed cord clamping so as soon as the baby was completely out he was put on my chest and we tried to nurse (not successfully). A little while later the placenta delivered itself and then the cord was clamped – this is apparently very odd and uncommon in a hospital birth. I had some strange tearing that was stitched up, Nate held our son skin-to-skin, we took pictures, and Julie went in search of food for us. Our son was here at last!
We held him all night long much to the chagrin of the night nurses. When Dr. Beck came in the next morning to check on us she said that she was in awe. She also warned that I might be having pain – I wasn’t. I never even took a Tylenol throughout the whole birth or afterbirth time. Hypnobabies was amazing and allowed us to have the amazing birthing experience we so desperately needed after so much pain. We are only planning to have one child – this was a high-risk pregnancy – and we couldn’t have asked for a better doula, a more supportive OB, a more fabulous acupuncturist, or more loving family and friends who supported us, pushed us, and pulled us through the pain of infertility into the wonderful light of parenthood.
As I am preparing to hit “save” on my birth story, I am reminded of something kind of humorous that I said during our birthing time. I remember after our son was born and Dr. Beck was getting ready to stitch me up I said to her “you ARE going to use an anesthetic right?” I made it through an almost 18 hour birthing time with NO pain and here I was worried about a couple of stitches.
**In each of these pictures I was relaxed and using my hypnosis during pressure waves.