Before I go to the details of my VBAC birth, I want to tell a little about my previous birth experiences.
My first birth was a very typical hospital birth. I took a hypnobirthing (Mongan method) class and thought I was prepared for what was going to happen. On April 21st 2010 (Two days before my guess date), I woke up at 11:30 pm with some consistent pressure waves. I stayed up all night timing them (silly me) and they were every 6 minutes. We got to the hospital at 6:00 a.m. on April 22nd. I was checked and I was a 6. They checked me again at 11 a.m. and I was still a 6. My OB was asking me to start doing pitocin to speed things along. The thought of having pitocin made me very nervous. After 12 hours of coping with back labor and having my OB pressuring me to get pitocin, I caved in and got an epidural and the pitocin. Even with the epidural things were very uncomfortable especially after they broke my water. Finally the time to push came. After about 30 minutes of pushing my OB asked me if he could perform an episiotomy because I had a tight fit. I didn’t even know what an episiotomy was but I consented to it because my OB must know better right? Everything was very far from what I was planning and expected. My boy was born at 2:29 p.m. On April 22nd weighing 7lbs 8 oz.
For my second birth I was more prepared and confident that I could have the natural birth I desire. I did the Hypnobabies home course and saw how different it was from hypnobirthing. I had a different OB who seem to be very supportive of the natural birth I planned for. As I approached the end of my pregnancy my OB became very concerned about the size that my baby was showing on the ultrasounds. He offered to induce me as soon as I reached 39 weeks but I declined. My due date came and baby wasn’t here yet. At 40 w 2 d, I had an OB appointment and my OB greeted me shaking my hand and saying very rudely: “YOU ARE STILL PREGNANT.” He measured the baby and the ultrasound said he was 10 lbs. He freaked out and told me that a C-section was the only way to go. He also told me that if I was his wife and planning on a natural birth with my circumstances, he would divorce me right away.
I was more than shocked at what he had said and asked him for the risks of having a C-section, just to hear his answer. He told me that there were no risks in having a C-section. [!!!] I left the office and went to a hospital to get a second opinion. At the hospital they did an ultrasound and measured the baby at 12 lbs. after hearing that, I got a little scared for the baby and the risks he could face so I consented to the C-section. He was 10lbs 3oz at birth. I had a very bad recovery.
I did a lot of things to prepare for my third birth: Hypnobabies, Hypno-doula, 3 cups of red raspberry leaf tea daily since the beginning of my pregnancy, Dr. Christopher’s birth prep pills, wheat germ oil pills to strengthen my uterus, weekly chiropractic adjustments for the last 3 months of pregnancy, exercising, eating healthier than usual, head inversion exercises from spinningbabies.com, and most important lots of prayers. Here are the details of my Hypnobabies birth:
On Sunday March 9th 2014, I woke up at 3:00 am and started having some pressure waves. I decided to ignore them (so I can get more rest in case they were the real thing) and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 4:00 am to go to the bathroom and noticed I had some blood showing. I got excited and told my husband to let the stake president know he won’t be able to give his talk at church later in the morning. We cuddled together in bed while I timed my pressure waves (they were around 5 mins apart). At 6:30 a.m. I called my mom to let her know that they needed to pick my two sons up that morning. I went back to bed and started listening to my Hypnobabies tracks but I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I decided to have something to eat. My mom picked my boys up at 7:30 am. We hugged and took some pictures of us being a family of four (soon five).
I noticed my waves were inconsistent, so I went to bed and listened to the Hypnobabies Deepening track on repeat. I was able to take an hour nap which helped me a lot. Around 10 a.m. my husband needed to check the lab for work so I decided to go with him so I could walk around the lab. I walked for a while and during that time I always felt my belly tight, so I couldn’t tell it if was because of pressure waves or just the walking. We did 3-4 Abdominal Lift and Tucks (Where I leaned on him and he pulls gently up on my belly 1-2 inches in during pressure waves. This is to help baby get in a good position). After about 1.5 hours, we decided to go back home. My waves were 5-10 mins apart Lasting 30-45 seconds, sometimes more and sometimes less than that. With my first, I got “stuck” on 6 cm for a while so I didn’t want to show up at the hospital and have that happen again, especially since my wonderful OB (Dr. Z) was on vacation. The plan was to go to the university of Utah hospital where I was told all the OBs are VBAC supporters and thankfully my doula was there for me. I spent most of the day texting and talking to my doula over the phone. I didn’t feel I needed her at my home yet. I just kept her informed and she would tell me what tracks to listen to from the Hypnobabies CDs (she is a Hypnobabies instructor as well). I did some more lift and tuck and some nipple stimulation at around noon and things would speed up a little but they would slow down again. My hubby was telling the baby to please make it before 12 am so we both could have some “sleep” (ha, be careful what you wish for sometimes).
Our kids came back from my mom’s house at 6:30 pm and we put them to bed at 7:30 pm. After they were down, we decided to go to bed. At 8:00 pm, I started to time my pressure waves again while using my Hypnobabies Center-switch technique and listening to Easy First Stage track. They were 5-6 minutes apart lasting 1(+/-) Minute long but now the menstrual cramp feeling was from beginning to end. It wasn’t painful. It was just intense, and I needed to concentrate more through them. Suddenly, the pressure waves jumped from 5 to 4, 3, 2 minutes apart in a total time of 30 minutes and since the hospital was an hour away I thought that it was time to go. I called my doula. She gave me some hypnosis prompts over the phone and we coordinated how we would be meeting at the hospital. After I finished talking to her, I woke my husband up and told him it was time to go to the hospital.
He looked at the clock and pointed out that it was only one hour after we went to bed. He asked me if I was sure it was time to go. He didn’t believe it was time because of how calm I was, which for his own good I took it as a compliment. I told him that my pressure waves were around 2 mins apart now. We woke my mom up who was sleeping at our house and told her it was time. During our car ride to the hospital I was laying down in the back of the van while listening to some hypnosis tracks. I would just close my eyes during my pressure waves and breathe deeply. After what I thought was half way through the ride, I sat up and was surprise to see we were almost there.
We got to the hospital at 10:00 pm, and it took us 30 more minutes to get to the maternity area since I was stopping every time a pressure wave hit. At 10:33 p.m. we got out of the elevators. I felt I needed to empty my bladder and the closest bathroom was being used. We waited and while I was in the bathroom I had 3 more waves. After I was done, we went looking for the place we needed to go. It seemed we were the only ones there. We found a nurse, and she took us to the triage area. She started asking me questions. I would answer as long as I didn’t have a pressure wave. Then, she asked if I was having contractions. At that moment a wave hit and I leaned on the desk to relax. My husband took over from there and told her that I was using Hypnobabies and that they were pressure waves and not to call them contractions. I was very proud and impressed with his answer. I wasn’t as firm about not calling them contractions as he seemed to be.
Finally, they took me to a triage room and put me on the monitor. The nurse told me that they needed to check me to see if I was going to be admitted. I told her: “oh, I KNOW I will be! I guess I was too calm for her. My doula arrived at 10:45 pm and started rubbing my feet. She was of great help since she arrived. I was on a bed which was not very comfortable because it had me leaning back a little bit. During my whole pregnancy I would avoid being on my back and I would even drive leaning forward. At 10:47 p.m. my water broke and it was an amazing feeling. I was wearing diapers thinking it would be enough in case my water broke and oh boy was I wrong. After my water broke, the pressure waves were every 2 minutes and lasting 90 seconds long, so I got only 30 seconds (or less) to try to get in a better position. They checked my cervix right after the water broke and I was a 5.5 cm.
At that moment I started feeling some pressure on my bottom and it was VERY uncomfortable. I told my doula that I was going to throw up. The nurse hurried and got a bowl for me. My doula got out some essential oils and let me smell a ginger one that smelled so good. The oil made the nausea go away and relaxed me a bit which was wonderful. At that moment, all I could think was that I was only a 5.5 cm. I started to wonder if I was going to be able to do it. I got out of the bed with some help and knelt on the floor. That didn’t feel any better. It didn’t cross my mind that I was already in transformation. I felt lots of pressure and I wouldn’t say it was painless at this time. I stood up and leaned on my husband and I felt a strong urge to poop (sorry for the word but that’s how I felt it, like I had a big poop that was coming out). I asked the nursed if I had pooped and she said:” no, you didn’t, but I need to check you again right now.” It had only being about 15 mins since they checked me, so I was not happy about that.
She checked me while I was standing up and said that the head was right there but that she needed a better position to be sure and asked me to go on the bed. I wasn’t talking at that moment, but I just thought: “wow… if the head is right there, why in heavens do you need to check.” My husband tried to help me sit on the bed but at soon as my bottom touched the bed I stood right up and said that there was a lot on pressure on my bottom and that I couldn’t sit. I jumped on top on the bed and knelt facing the back of the bed. At that moment, everything changed for the better. As soon as I got on that position I didn’t feel a thing, no pain, not pressure, no feeling of pushing, I was just feeling very hot. I kind of went to my own world at that point.
I noticed everyone was panicking and hurrying things up. Suddenly the room was filled with medical staff and one nurse pushed the bed I was leaning on to the birthing room because we were still in the triage room. Everyone was running and I was smiling. It felt so good to feel the breeze on my neck from them running while pushing the bed. I think this was my favorite part, a nice cool ride. They got me to the birthing room and asked me to move to the other bed. I did this without a problem. I was GBS positive and while I was pushing there was a nurse trying to hook up a hep-lock to do antibiotics, which it seemed pointless at this point but I was too focused to argue about it. All this time I’d been pushing only when I felt like it. It was amazing how I didn’t feel anything, but my body would just push and I knew it was the right time. I was also expecting to vocalize while pushing, but I kept doing the same calm deep breathing I was doing since I began having my early pressure waves.
My doula was next to me telling me: “Claudia, it is just pressure.” She later told me that the medical staff was saying: “we know it hurts but keep pushing” but I honestly didn’t hear a word the medical staff said. The only person I heard was my doula. After she reminded me it was pressure I told her: “I don’t feel anything, I don’t feel pressure. I just feel I need to poop. It was like I couldn’t feel my stomach, the only part of my body I felt was my perineum area. Now that I am writing this down I think it was the Hypno-anesthesia which worked on me so well. I could feel the head coming out and at that moment I wondered if I would feel the ring of fire some people talk about and nope … I didn’t. I just felt that I had the baby there and that it was stretched to its maximum but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. I heard people say: “he has a lot of hair.” Then I knew the head was out.
I tried to push after my body pushed the head out just to help things along and maybe avoid tearing but it seemed like it wasn’t doing anything. I waited until I felt it was right. I think I pushed 3 times total and baby was out. He was born at 11:28 p.m. (before midnight like my husband had asked our baby to do) and only 38 minutes after my water broke. I went from 5.5 cm to baby out in 38 minutes! It was intense during transformation and I thought that I lost it, but my doula told me that I was always so calm and very composed even if things were crazy inside during those 10 minutes or so. That was always my goal, to be calm even if it wasn’t pain free but of course the painless pushing phase was a plus that I loved. I told my husband that he should’ve recorded my Birthing Time when we were at home and when we got to the hospital and he said:” well…you were so calm that I didn’t think things were happening and neither did the hospital staff.”
My baby was 7 lbs. 12 oz. 20 in long and in the perfect position. He was born 3 days past his “guess date” according to the first day of my last period but right on his “guess date” according to ovulation. When I think of this wonderful birth experience compared to my previous two, I am amazed at how peaceful, amazing and empowering birth can be.
On Saturday April 23rd 2016, I was 6 days passed my guess date. I was so ready for my baby to be on my arms. This was my second VBAC hypnobabies birth and first home birth. While my husband was getting a night snack ready for himself, I started to walk around in circles on our family room. Bryce thought I was being silly, but I just had a feeling that I didn't want to be on the treadmill if my birthing waves suddenly started. Thinking back, I am so glad I followed my instinct. We started to watch a movie at about 8:30 pm. We watched "Here Comes the Boom" which was very suiting to what was coming that night.
At about 9:45 pm, I started to feel pressure waves which were strong in intensity. I didn’t feel pressure waves like that until the last 2 hours before my last baby was born. I texted my midwife and she told me she was coming to see how I was doing. The pressure waves continued, and I told my husband to prepare the birthing pool. I went to the bathroom and noticed I had some blood show. This was a sign for me that this was indeed my birthing time.
When my midwife came, she was so surprised to see me so calm and making jokes like always. Thus, she didn’t think it was my birthing time. My midwife asked if she could check my cervix and I consented. This was the first time she ever checked my cervix during the whole pregnancy. I had told her before that I am always a zero until the very last moment. That was the case with my previous 3 births. After she checked me she said: "Now I see what you mean, I can't even find your cervix." The fact that I was so relaxed (like we were just visiting) and a zero in dilation, made my midwife think I still had a long night ahead of me. She asked me if I wanted her to stay. She lives 15 minutes from me, so she promised to come back if I wanted her to check on me again later that night. Bryce wasn’t very keen on the idea. He kept asking me “are you sure they should go?” I was thinking that maybe I would have a long night ahead of me. After all, my last birth lasted 18 hours from the time of the first birthing wave until baby out. Thus, I told her it was fine if she wanted to go. My mom, who was already at my house, told her that I am always very calm during my births (yay Hypnobabies!), but it didn’t mean this wasn’t "it." She said I was just fooling all of us. We all laughed at her comment and said good bye to our midwife and her assistant.
After they left, I went to bed and did some nipple stimulation to get things going. Also, I visualized my cervix opening with each birthing wave and kept looking at all the birth empowering affirmations I had hung up throughout the house. Soon after that, my pressure waves increased in intensity and duration. I tried relaxing my jaw and repeating the Hypnobabies prompts. This helped me to stay relaxed. At that time, I was progressing very rapidly, and I didn’t realize I was already in transition. But, how could I? It was only 10 mins after my midwife left my home and 30 mins after being checked at zero dilation. I went to the bathroom, and it was again very intense. At the time, I was still thinking I had a lot of time to get my cervix to open up. I know...Silly me.
Bryce came to our room to check on me. I leaned on him for two contractions and did something I had never done before-vocalizing! I got on a kneeling position next to my bed and felt my water breaking. Bryce asked me if he should call the midwife and I nodded. After about 10 more minutes, I was passed the transition stage and my Hypno-anesthesia took over.
Bryce really did an amazing job for the birth. When I went to the living room where the pool was at, I was pleasingly surprised that he had the hypnobabies tracks going on and the video camera all set up and running. Listening to the tracks really helped me stayed focus and relaxed-Thank you babe! I rested on the birthing ball next to the pool. Bryce started to boil water since the pool wasn’t close to be full at all. With my previous birthing time, he admitted he did not think I was really having the baby that day because of how calmed I looked. This time around, because of how calmed I was, he took me seriously! He was so on top of things, making sure I was comfortable, boiling water for the tub, putting the relaxation tracks on, giving me water, and so much more. He did more in 2 hours this time around than in the 18 hours my previous birth took.
My mom was very nervous because she had very traumatic births and this was her first time witnessing a homebirth. As she came out of the bedroom, I proceeded to reassure her that I was doing great. It was funny how she was all nervous, and I was making sure she was okay. I kept telling her I was doing just fine. At this point I was resting on the birthing ball and letting my body do the rest. My mom proceeded to gently rub my back, which felt so good and soothing.
My midwife arrived at 12:00 am. She was really surprised to find me resting on the ball, and the baby already crowning. She later admitted that she didn’t expect to see me that advanced in my birthing time. She thought I was going to be a 7 at the most. I got into the pool even though it was only 1/3 of the way full. I pushed several times. Then, I tried to move to a different position. As I was getting up, his head came out and a second after he was born! At exactly 12:10 am, He entered this Earth. It was only 2 hours and 30 mins from my first birthing wave. He weighed 8lbs 9oz and 20.5 inches long. I had a small tear that needed stitches. I made sure to use my hypnobabies technique to stay relaxed. I used the finger drop technique and went to “Center.” And, it was not painful at all! But what I loved the most was the pushing stage. It was like having a walking epidural. I didn’t feel a thing, which is amazing and all thanks to the Hypnobabies techniques I learned. It gave me the tools to have a wonderful, peaceful, and powerful birth.