Ali Jo's Birth Story
A little background..... I have a 4yr old son Calvin who was born at 41w+1 vaginally in the hospital after a few doses of stadol - yuk! Neither of us did well with it and I kept thinking there must be better way to birth! I found Hypnobabies when pregnant with my now 3 yr old daughter Nora who was born on her 'guess' date. Her birth blew my mind...it was 98% painfree and wonderful, despite some severe abuse we endured from the hospital staff. My positive experience with her birth was what led me to become a doula and a Hypnobabies instructor.
This time we knew we wouldn't be headed back to the hospital. We hired a fantastic midwife, Rachel, and a doula Teresa to attend my homebirth. I did the Hypnobabies Home Study program in preparation for this baby's birthing. Some of the words I use are hypnobabies terms, like waves for contractions or birthing time for labor.
On Monday August 22nd I was 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant and fed up. I was done! Done done done. I'd been fighting high blood pressure and on light bedrest with a 2 yr old and 4 yr old for almost month. It was hot (HOT!) outside and I was fat (FAT!).
I'd figured new baby would arrive on the 22nd but the only thing happening that morning was the Dinosaur Train movie on pbs. I had a great breakfast with my kids and a slow start to the day. We headed off to the chiro for a quick 1130am appt and went from there to my mw's office at 12. On the way I was chugging ginger tea to keep my bp low and eating banana bread to get new baby moving...he/she was NOT a big mover during the day and I was scheduled for an NST.
I always loved my prenatals at the birth center. My kids would play nicely and my mw Rachel and her assistant Sheena and I would just chat. That's pretty much how things went on Monday, they hooked me up to the nst and just talked while we tried to prod baby into moving. After we called it quits on the nst, I asked if my mw would strip my membranes for me. I hated to ask...it felt like cheating! But I knew I was at my max point. It was time to do something.
Rachel was really understanding when I asked to be stripped. When she checked me, I was 3-4cm and 70%. Very ready! She realized she could easily stretch me to a 7. Wow! Maybe I wouldn't have to wait much longer to meet new baby. Rachel said, are you sure you aren't in labor? I said yep, pretty sure! I hadn't had anything going on so far that morning but by the time I left her office I was feeling lots of pressure and lots of waves and having quite a bit a bloody show.
It was lunch time and the weather had really cooled off so I took my kids to the park for a picnic. It was nice to be outside and let them burn off some steam but I was REALLY uncomfortable! I texted my doula to let her know how I was feeling and got ahold of my husband to let him know something was up. He was out of town for work and it would take 3-5 hrs for him to get home if I needed him. I didn't think I needed him quite yet but I told him I'd keep him posted. By the time we left the park at 3:30 I was feeling less waves and pressure but still not quite right.
The kids and I napped from 4 until 5. I listened to my special place cd thinking it might calm things down. No such luck. Through dinner and a trip to the grocery store the pressure and waves continued, as did the bloody show. Since I was on my own with the kids, I was very ready for them to go to bed that night! It was tough being a patient mama when I felt so uncomfortable and out of sorts. I'm proud of myself though, I did bedtime yoga with them before they got tucked in! Lol
The kids were in bed by 830 and I settled in to have some icecream and watch tv. By 9 my waves had picked up in intensity. I used my lightswitch through a couple and changed positions but they were stronger and longer than what I'd had earlier. They were about 5 min apart and 45 sec long. At 930, I called Loran and I said I hate to do this...but I need you to come home. I think this is it but if it isn't I need you home to have sex with me anyway! I called my doula just after that and asked her to head my way. I didn't feel so much as I needed her support just yet...more like I needed to not be alone!
When I got off the phone with Teresa I went to lay down in my room and listen to my early first stage cd. I figured things would go like Nora's birthing time. I would listen to that cd and bam! Things would really start moving. Then we'd have a baby a couple hours later.
But. 'This is a new birth and a new baby...' (hypnobabies affirmation!) And that's not how things went. When Teresa arrived just before 11 we chatted and she helped me with some back pressure I'd been having during the waves. Loran texted to say he'd be home around 2am. I called Rachel at 1130 to let her know what was going on but that I didn't need her just yet. The waves were still 5 min apart and 45 sec long about then. I was getting frustrated. About 12 I told Teresa I was sorry she had driven all the way out when it was looking like a false alarm. She said she thought things were slow bc I was waiting for loran to get home. She asked if it was ok if she hung out til he got back. I said of course! And she went to nap on the couch while I went to bed.
Loran got home just after 1am and I was so relieved. My waves were strong enough I couldn't sleep through them but still about the same. They started lasting a bit longer when he laid down with me. He played sodoku and talked to me while I rested in between waves. It was really nice having him there. At one point I said this is really hard (as in long and frustrating) and he said it isn't always easy, it just seems that way when you get done.
Rachel texted at 230 to check in and I let her know the waves were not getting closer but were a bit longer. I told her she was welcome to come over. She arrived at 3ish and just watched me for a bit, checked on baby and gave me a few suggestions for getting things moving. I did some nice deep squats and we did several belly lifts that seem to make the waves more intense but no closer together.
When Sheena arrived, I asked Rachel, so what's the plan? It wasn't very encouraging having everyone around when things were so slow going. Rachel gave me a few homeopaths and told me to hit the shower for 30 min and do lots of nipple stimulation. After that, I was to have some intimate time with my hubby (he assured them that performance anxiety would not be an issue! Lol).
We left everyone in the living room and retreated to our bedroom about 4. Things started to really pick up in the shower. I worked through about 6 waves and moved my hips in figure 8s during them. When I finished in the shower, Loran and I had our time together...all I'll say is it worked! By the time we emerged from our room about 530 my waves were close and so very strong. I was using my peace cue and trying to focus my mental anesthesia but not having much luck.
I sat on my birth ball in the living room and the waves started to come hard and fast. I called my doula over to me and leaned on her during my waves. I was starting to not feel so calm and collected. The waves were huge and intense! I remember thinking hmm this is what my waves felt like toward the end with Nora....but I didn't think I could possibly be quite there just yet.
My doula was AMAZING at this point. She had worked to learn all the Hypnobabies hypnosis cues and just as I was ready to throw my hypnobabies out the window (yep, says the Hypnobabies instructor/doula/mom) I heard Teresa say deeper and deeper relaxed...and I was! I had never practiced the verbal cues. I didn't think they were the right tool for me. With my previous hypnobabies experience, I listened to my mp3s in my own little world the whole time. This time was so very different and I am hugely grateful Hypnobabies has so many ways to use the self hypnosis! With each pressure wave, I'd lean into my doula and she'd start with the cues right away. I was really vocalizing during the waves but my whole body would just melt when I heard those cues.
Rachel, Sheena, and Loran were all busy getting the birth room set up. Loran was so helpful! The best part was I heard him muttering about having stupid candles that won't light... I quietly said honey, they're battery powered! As they worked, I kept thinking I want that tub and I want it NOW! Teresa asked at one point if I wanted to change position and in my head I knew I probably should but I couldn't make my body cooperate. The waves started to piggyback on each other and I was thinking is that damn tub filled yet?! Rachel came in to ask if I wanted her to fill the tub. YES! It was wonderful when she came back and said it was all ready. I headed for the tub about 630.
After a quick stop to the bathroom, I made a beeline for the tub. I kept thinking of all my wonderful doula clients who have had a break or pause in their labor when they get in the tub. That's what I wanted - a break! My husband had turned on the pushing baby out track but I had him turn it off right away. I wasn't ready for that yet.
My waves started to feel more powerful and I could tell they were changing direction. I was kneeling over the side of the tub with Teresa in front of me, giving me my cues. About the time the waves started to change, they spaced out. I actually dozed off between a few! I asked for the pushing baby out cd to be put on. As soon as I heard Kerry's voice, a huge wave came over me and I was pushing! It was cool how my waves seemed to line up with what she was saying in the cd. I completely understand now why my mw says don't put that cd on before she arrives!
I'd like to say I was peacefully ahhhh-ing my baby out like I did with Nora...but no, I was LOUD. I just let my body do what it needed to do and ahhhhing loudly felt right. I didn't even think about waking up my kids! My son came in about then to see what I was doing. Then he went to watch cartoons, lol. He came back periodically to check in but he was very casual about the whole thing. I was talking to baby too as I felt him/her move down. Kneeling just didn't seem to be quite right. My mw suggested I open one of my knees (kind of captain morgan's style) and that was what I needed.
Baby started to really move after I opened my hips. I felt myself stretching but the strangest part was feeling my bones move. This wasn't a small baby! Soon Rachel encouraged me to reach down and touch baby's head. I did and it felt...not like I thought it would. All smooth and weird. I was confused, what was I feeling? Rachel and Sheena told me then that my water hadn't broken and the baby was still in the caul. Whoah! How cool! I wanted to tell my husband to take a picture of baby crowining in the caul but I couldn't find the words.
My whole birth team was so encouraging as I breathed baby out. Loran kept telling me what a great job I was doing. It was intense but I pushed gently through several waves to get baby's head all the way out. My sweet baby had a nuchal hand (hand by its face) which made things a bit more challenging. Then another big push for shoulders, and another for baby's chest. The caul broke as baby was born.
Sheena caught baby and lifted it to my chest. As soon as I saw the baby's face, I thought omg that baby looks just like Nora! We cuddled and baby was a little slow to breathe clearly but did fine with a little stimulation. Someone (Rachel? I think) said so what do you have? Did you look? And I looked down and I said oh it's a girl!!! We thought you were a boy! Now we have to spend the next two days fighting over girl names! (We had a great boy name and couldn't agree on a girl name at all)
Just then Nora came in. Loran got a great picture of me talking to her, my eyes full of tears. I said Nora! You were right! It was a sister baby! Come see your sister baby. It felt amazing that she just KNEW in her heart that this baby was a girl. She'd get so mad when people would say it was a boy! Calvin came in too just to check things out, then went back to cartoons. He wasn't too impressed with the whole process and a little irritated I had woken him up.
Everyone helped me out of the tub and to my bed. It felt so good to be in my own bed snuggling with my brand new baby and sitting with my son and daughter while they were checking things out. Baby was perfect, all 8lb 15oz of her. I was just fine. Nothing exciting or dramatic, just very special for us. (And it did take us two days to come up with her name, Alice Josephine - Ali Jo)