I first discovered Hypnobabies when I was pregnant with my first son Kaiden. The philosophy resonated with me as I really felt that birth was normal, safe and beautiful and I wanted a complete childbirth education class that reflected that belief. I was also intrigued with Hypnosis and the mind-body connection. Fortunately Jenn at Hypnomammas was teaching group classes (she was the first instructor in Canada) and we started our class at 20 weeks. I loved the class! The daily hypnosis sessions were really beneficial to me as work (back in the day I was an accountant) was really stressful at the time and it helped me relax every night. I enjoyed starting the day off by listening to my affirmations on the train ride to work as well.
My birthing time started Tuesday evening at 2am when I was woken up with birthing waves that I felt only in my back. I woke Cody up to let him know and we both went back to sleep for a few more hours. Even though the waves would wake me up I managed to get a little bit of sleep. Cody stayed home with me and our day started with a walk (all 3 days of my birthing time were sunny and warm) and I did just what I was supposed to do, go about normal activity alternating with rest. My waves continued on regularly throughout the day and slowed down a little right before I went to bed.
I went to bed and was woken up a couple hours with extreme back discomfort and was unable to go back to sleep. From this point on the back pressure was pretty much continuous, only letting up for really short periods of time right before the next wave would start. This was making it tricky to time waves as all I could feel was my back. The intensity of the back pressure continued to grow throughout the day which excited me as I knew that this meant that things were progressing. I was calm and happy and a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to sleep. When I first woke up that night I had tried using my off switch and found that I wasn’t able to relax long enough to feel like I was able to get off. I ended up not really using my light switch much for Kaiden’s birth. I did listen to CD’s although I can’t remember which ones anymore. :) Even though I wasn’t using my light switch I know that my tools were helping me remain calm and happy throughout all the intensity.
Later that evening my doula came out and spent the night with us. I was starting to get pretty tired and Cody was able to sense that I could use more help to focus throughout the waves. I kept trying to lie down and rest, when I did lie down the waves would space a little bit but then the intensity of them would be way worse. I tried all the different positions that may help relieve back pressure and unfortunately none of them did anything. This was the pattern throughout my birthing time, most of the things we tried to relieve the pressure would just make it worse. I knew at the time that the pressure in my back was caused by Kaiden’s positioning and I now know that it was also likely affected by the issues with my sacraliliac joints.
Cody and my doula took turns staying with me throughout the night so that they could get some rest. Throughout the waves I made tonal sounds which helped me stay focused and calm, I’ll always remember my doula making sounds with me while I wondered if my neighbors would be phoning the police (my doula recently told me she doesn’t remember me being loud). A few times we phoned my midwife to keep her posted with what was going on and she was very dismissive and rude at times to my doula. Her only advice to me was to sleep… like I didn’t already know that.
On Thursday morning after 55 hours my midwife came over to see how things were going. I had discussed it before she showed up with my doula and decided that I would like to have an internal (my original intention was to have none). After 55 hours I just wanted to know, I figured worst case scenario I was 4-5cm. This was the first intervention in my birth and one that I probably never should have chosen; it changed the course of my birth. I ended up being only 2cm. My midwife was all weird about it and when she finally talked to me she basically told me that my body wasn’t able to birth without going to the hospital. Then she left. After 55 hours she was at my house for 20 minutes and managed to only bring a lot of negativity and mistrust in my body with her and change the course of my birthing time. She felt that due to my dilation I obviously hadn’t entered active birthing at all. I can’t even describe how deflating that was to me since I obviously had been in active birthing, it was just in an atypical manner. This was the first point in my birthing time where I wasn’t happy, I cried and cried hard. My doula, who is amazing, lay on my bed spooning me until I was done. She suggested I have shower to help clear my mind and I did.
While we were in the shower we discussed options. I really did not want to transfer to the hospital and my midwife left me feeling like that was my only option. My doula suggested we try some acupuncture and called in one of the doulas from Acumamas. I was really excited for this as I felt that if I could get Kaiden to rotate then the back pressure would let up and I could rest in between waves. (In my mind at the time this was the only way I could stay home as my midwife said the only hope I had for staying home was rest and really did not listen when I described why I was unable to rest). The acupuncture definitely made things more intense but Kaiden did not want to change positions and now that I know him, there is no way he was going to. At this point I made the decision to transfer to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital 60 hours into my birthing time and I had an epidural and oxytocin. I remember making a comment to the anesthesiologist about a reaction my aunt had to her epi and he basically told me that epi’s had no risks. Well I sure as heck knew that it wasn’t true, I’ll never forget that. I managed to get a bit of rest now that the back pressure was reduced, I did still feel it a bit with the epi. However I wasn’t able to get much rest as the monitors kept slipping which meant that they kept adjusting my position, and technically these are monitors that you are supposed to be able to walk around with.
3 hours later my midwife checked my and I was 9 ½ cm already, which was great news. I had Cody text my doula since I had sent her home. Unfortunately she didn’t get the text which is why I now have a strict no texting me important information rule for my doula clients. I started pushing 30 minutes later and ended up doing 45 minutes of purple pushing on my back. I feel fortunate that I was able to feel some of the sensations while I was pushing even with the epi. When Kaiden’s head came out the cord was around his neck and my midwife said it was too short to unwrap and wanted to cut it. I let her which I regret as I fully knew that you can birth a baby with a short cord around the neck. Then I pushed his body out, reached down and pulled him up to my chest. Despite being informed that we were to have skin to skin contact the nurse took him away even with my midwife telling her everything was fine. He wasn’t gone long, but it was too long for me. The nurse brought him back and we got to bond and relax.
He was absolutely amazing! He was born at 5:33pm on July 15th, 2010, after 65 hours, weighing 6lb 1oz and 20 inches long.
I was very grateful for my Hypnobabies tools. All the post-hypnotic suggestions helped me stay relaxed, calm and happy through 3 days of birthing with very little rest. My doula's and Cody's support was amazing and I am so glad they were there for me during my birthing time.
This birth went down a much different path then I had hoped for. I look back and realize that the biggest factor for our hospital transfer was the lack of support from my midwife. With support I would have stayed home. There were signs that she was not the right care provider for me but at the time I assumed that since I was educated about birth that I would be able to stand up and protect myself from her should the need arise. When a woman is birthing she needs to know that she has a care provider she can trust and who will respect her throughout her birthing time as birth is not the time to try to protect oneself. This is something I now know. After Kaiden’s birth I felt like I had failed and that my body did not know how to give birth on its own which was compounded by a ton of breastfeeding problems (mostly cause by my midwife, surprise surprise). It was a long healing process and I think my final healing chapter happened 5 days before Jaxon was born.
Kaiden’s birth experience changed my life in many great ways. It has given me the strength to start living my life for me, Cody, Kaiden (and now Jaxon) instead of worrying about how other people may feel about my decisions. Another big change was having the courage to pursue work that I was passionate about and enjoyed. You can read Jaxon's birth story here!