**Disclaimer I DID NOT have any kind of internal exam at this appointment. **
The doctor needed to grab me orders for some blood work so while she did that I ran to the bathroom (like most preggo ladies). I met Patrick and we started out the office to get blood work done down the hall. about halfway to the checkout I stopped looked up at Patrick shocked and said "I think my water just broke. I just peed! There is no way this is all pee!!" Patrick said later he didn't really believe me until I then had an internal exam and in full movie style my water just covered the exam room floor. I was 1cm dilated and we were headed to the hospital! So much for getting the that 37 week induction!
We excitedly headed to the hospital while I wolfed down a greek yogurt and cliff bar we had packed just in case I got hungry because eating anything "real food" wasn't going to happen for a bit. So glad I packed snacks!
Patrick got me settled in our room (room 25) and then quickly ran home to get all of our things (we only live about 10-15 minutes away which we became very thankful for over the next 2 weeks). All we had in the car was Felix's bag and car seat plus birthing time snacks.
My water broke around 12:30pm and I was started on pitocin around 2:00pm because I didn't feel any contractions. Patrick arrived either right before or right after we started pitocin (I don't really remember). I listened to fear clearing a few times before Patrick arrived with all of our belonging because one of the nurses had already let me know there was a likelihood Felix would be in the NICU for at least a day or two. I was able to put my emotions aside about what was to come and focus on my birthing time.
I started listening to my Early First Stage track. We started some lavender essential oil and turned off most of the lights. We had an amazing quiet, serene space to bring our boy into the world.
Patrick was an amazing birth partner, he advocated for me and passed out our birth plan ( along with a goody bag ) to just about everyone who walked into the room. Our first nurse, Kelly, was amazing. She advocated for all of our natural birth choices and kept our space quiet and peaceful when she visited. I made the choice to not know the level of pitocin I was receiving or how much I had progressed. This let me keep an open mind and not feel defeated if I hadn't progressed as much as expected or create expectations of how long my birthing time would be.
Surprising to me, I hung out sitting Indian style (criss-cross apple sauce if you prefer) on the bed most of my early birth and a little bit on the birth ball. I didn't really enjoy having to support my own weight haha. I expected to want to walk and move around and I really just wanted to be still. Patrick and I talked and joked during most of my early first stage. I had a popsicle and juice, Patrick had some snacks. We both tried to nap some but we were so excited it was difficult.
Early in my birthing time Norene, one of the neonatal nurse practitioners came and spoke with us about Felix and his needs as a 34 week premie. She was really supportive of all that we wanted in terms of his birth plan. She was supportive of delayed cord clamping, delayed bathing, rubbing in the vernix into Felix's skin, and as much skin to skin time as was possible. We were all encouraged that we had seen his lungs practicing breathing on the ultrasound earlier that day but we really wouldn't know how developed he was until he arrived. The ultrasound tech guessed he was about 5lb 5oz which was also a great weight for a 34 weeker but ultrasounds are not an exact science and his weight could have been off (which it was! He was 5lb 11oz). They also told us that we were dealing with "wimpy white boy" syndrome. White little boys tend to develop a little later than anyone else in terms of lung development and other skills, like eating on their own. She did an amazing job of making us feel reassured that he would be okay but we would need to be cautious of his vitals and keep his needs first.
Early in my birth the on call doctor (who is an older gentleman from my practice who I very much like but who is now retired and is very set in his ways - yes he literally retired a month after Felix was born) came in to introduce himself and ask if I was feeling anything. I had been in hypnosis for a few hours at this point and honestly hadn't felt a thing. He seemed very pessimistic that I was progressing and also told me to just let him know when I wanted an epidural because it was going to hurt. (rolls eyes) I smiled politely and said no thank you. He left and we went along with our birthing time.
Around 8pm or so I started to feel teeny tiny pressure waves, like I had to really think about it to notice them. I would relate them to very mild period cramps. The new nurse and same doctor came in. The doctor, very rudely in my opinion, loudly announced that I was now on the highest level of pitocin and if I wasn't feeling anything that could be a problem. He also let me know that there weren't many contractions (his words) registering on the monitor. It was very obvious his mind was working towards the next intervention. He asked me if I was feeling anything and I told him nonchalantly maybe a little something. He asked how many minutes apart I thought they were and I shrugged my shoulders and said I don't know and I'm not really worried about it. He gruffed an okay and left. We got back to our serene birthing.
Within the hour my pressure waves picked up, they weren't painful and I would say I only was still slightly aware of them. The nurse then came in and turned down the pitocin because my waves had gotten so close together as my body started to take over. Patrick gave me a few foot rubs and took a nap.
Around midnight I started timing my waves. They weren't terribly consistent - about 20-40 seconds long and 2-4 minutes apart. I still was very comfortable and enjoying my Hypnobabies tracks. At this point we changed to just music as I was falling asleep in between waves. This part of my birth is a little hazy at this point, it was quiet and still and so peaceful. The nurse came in only as needed which was rare. I moved from the bathroom, to the ball, to the bed and all around again. Patrick just sat with me in silence. It was such a wonderful time just the two of us.
Slowly through the morning my waves became more present but I still wasn't ever in pain. Both Patrick and I thought this separately but didn't tell the other until after; we both worried I was not progressing somewhere in the back of our minds because I was so relaxed and calm. We knew I had my hypnosis skills and were confident in their strength - but seriously we had been birthing for 13-14 hours and all I was doing is a little heavier breathing through waves. They weren't even registering on the monitor!
Around 3 or 4am I decided I was ready to be checked. I was pretty sure I was in transition. Patrick said something that suddenly really offended me; I got really weepy and winy. I also didn't want him to touch me anymore but I also didn't want him to go anywhere - including the bathroom haha. My pressure waves were about 2 minutes apart lasting about 30-40 seconds. The doctor came in very skeptical but waited between waves and almost in bewilderment announced I was 6cm dilated 100% effaced. I was elated. We would be meeting our boy soon! I had a small snack of apple juice and jello then we changed the essential oil to orange to give me some energy and I prepared to continue birthing.
So to clarify, with Hypnobabies, I had felt little to nothing during my early birthing time. After being checked and moving into the next stage I did feel slow mounting pressure but no pain. I literally kept thinking during each stage "open, open, open" willing my body to prepare for my baby to be born!
I did much more moving at this point and eventually wound up on my hands and needs holding the head of the bed so I could move my hips. This kid's head was in my pelvis for a longgg portion of my birthing time.
I stopped tracking my waves around 5:30am and asked to be checked again around 6am. I was 8cm dilated. During all of this time Patrick was an amazing birth partner. Anyone who came in the room he ran them down before they could ever talk to me and gave them the Hypnobabies speech. However, we felt so respected. Everyone who came in the room whispered and all the nurses used the term wave instead of contraction. It was the closest experience to a birth center without being in a birth center. To top it off the nurses and new on call doctor were in awe. I was literally the talk of the floor for a handful of days (I overheard nurses talking about me more than once). At my postpartum appointment my doctor said she had never had a more serene enjoyable delivery. Yay, Hypnobabies for all!
Within the hour, not 100% sure of the time, I suddenly had the huge urge to push. We called and the nurse checked me. I was 9cm - almost there. I kept up my Hypnobabies chant in my head "bright orange hypno-anesthesia, open - open - open". We had easy comfortable birth going on repeat. While the pressure waves got stronger and I definitely was getting vocal I never felt pain - it was amazing! No more than 15 -20 minutes later the nurses and doctor had somehow assembled. I still can't believe how many people were in the room - the NICU nurses kept saying "I was there I don't know if you remember..."
I was so very much in my own head and inward. I remember looking up and wondering where all these people came from! I started to have an involuntary need to bare down. I was checked again and I was almost 10cm there was just a small lip on the right side of my cervix that hadn't dilated. I nurse suggested - very gently - that I lay on that side for the next few waves. It worked!
I started pushing around 7:15 - 7:30 in the morning. I pushed on my side for a little bit however, it wasn't really working for me. We elevated the bed on an angle and I had some help to hold my legs and funny enough I ended up pushing somewhat on my back (at an angle). During all this time everyone very quietly kept encouraging me - it was wonderful. It was still our quiet, peaceful space despite all the nurses and doctor present.
After pushing for a few waves it became clear - to me, Patrick, and the nurses - I was trying really hard but not having very productive pushes. The doctor very quietly asked Patrick if I was open to some instruction. I butt in and very eagerly said yes. My labor and delivery nurse Katy told me to curl in instead of out and to think about opening. (All of these things we learned in Hypnobabies, we forgot to put on the pushing baby out track so part of me blames the need for some instruction on this). Within a few waves I was able to feel Felix's head which gave me renewed energy! I found some untapped energy and prepared for the end of pushing and welcoming Felix. It was such a huge release when I pushed out our sweet boy. All I remember is Patrick saying "He is here! He is crying! He is crying!" (Remember we were really hopeful his lungs had developed enough and those huge cries were an amazing noise.)
I really have no clue what this really refers to but for the next 12 days while Felix was in the NICU before and after I was discharged my doctor and nurses (both Labor & Delivery and NICU) kept praising the control I had while pushing. I only have one birth experience so I don't know what it feels like to be out of control during birth but that was a perfect summary of my emotions. I always felt in control of what I wanted and the experience I was having.
Despite being 34 +2 weeks and a premie our doctor did delayed cord clamping for Felix. They took him away for a split second to the warmer to do his apgar and ensure he was breathing well. Amazingly his apgar was an 8/9 and I was able to do skin to skin for about 15 minutes before Patrick followed him to the NICU.
It was almost 5 hours before I saw my boy again due to retained placenta complications. I lost a lot of blood and almost had to have a D & C but thanks to a very persistent doctor and some strong medication (after the fact) I was able to avoid that. I was extremely anemic and have been on iron since.
In summary, I was able to birth our sweet boy unexpectedly early, with pitocin, in a Hospital naturally just as we wanted and it was such an amazing beautiful experience. I felt no pain just pressure and only for the last 4-5 hours of my birthing time. Doing Hypnobabies created this unity between Patrick and I that we had not had (and we pride ourselves on being such an awesome bonded pair) - we became a serious team and birth made us an even stronger team.
Despite the common culture around birth in America I was able to have a natural, easy, wonderful birth in a hospital setting. I look forward to birthing again if God blesses us with the opportunity. Thanks so much to Jessica Drew with Midlands Hypnobabies for leading Patrick and I in our Hypnobabies journey; We are so grateful for this true gift of a birth experience.
If anyone has questions about Hypnobabies let me know!