(Hypnobabies Students: I talk a good deal about intense feelings throughout my story, so you may want to use a Bubble of Peace.)
Scottie’s birth story begins in Belize. My husband and I were on our first vacation alone after the adoption of our first daughter, Lillian Virginia. We were staying in a delightful little place on the beach that provided its guests with their very own boat captain. After taking Nate and I fishing one afternoon, Captain Boxter turned the lone fish I had caught into a delicious dish with mango, onion, and a myriad of other secret island ingredients. As he walked off after dropping off the meal, Boxter said, “Be careful. That’s baby makin’ food.” Nate and I laughed. Having lost three pregnancies in the last three years, we were no longer on the baby making train.
Thirty-eight long, terrifying, miraculous weeks later, I was ready for my little Belizean creation to join our family. I started having pre-labor signs around this time. I lost my mucus plug and began to have lower back cramps. I did not want Scottie to come before she was ready, but I did take a few steps to encourage my body to get ready for labor (evening primrose oil, long walks, several nights of awkward passion with Nate).
At about 1:30 am on March 12, I began having pressure waves that woke me up. I was not sure that I was in my birthing time because I had been having similar feelings in my back on and off for several days. I began timing the waves, however, and discovered that they were coming in a regular pattern. The waves were lasting about 40 seconds long and were coming every 7 minutes. I moved from my bed to the couch and started listening to my “Easy First Stage” hypnosis track. By about 4 am, my pressure waves were lasting at least 1 minute long and were 4 minutes apart. My pressures waves were getting very intense, so I thought I would try to get in the bath. I discovered that moving around a lot increased the intensity of the waves, so I moved back to the couch and tried to concentrate on my hypnosis tracks.
At 5:00 am, I woke up Nate and called the midwife. By this point, I had begun making long moaning sounds during my pressure waves. While talking to my midwife, a pressure wave came on and I had to give the phone to Nate so I could make my sounds. The midwife told us we should head to the hospital. We called my parents to come get Lil. They arrived at around 5:30 am. I had already gotten in the car and was continuing to “moan” through my pressure waves. I was no longer timing them, as my concentration had moved very much inward. On the car ride to the hospital, I threw up several times. It actually felt extremely good to throw up, but I think it scared Nate. We arrived at the hospital at 6 am. A well-meaning security guard tried to get me to sit in a wheelchair, but I refused to sit down. It felt good to be walking after the car ride. I had to stop during pressure waves and bend down and moan. I was not one of the Hypnobabies moms who arrive at the hospital quietly.
When we arrived at the nurses’ station, I was taken to a room and Nate filled out paperwork. The nurse checked me at 6:15 am and I was fully effaced and 4 cm dilated. She said, “Good enough to stay!” I remember thinking “what?” I was not discouraged because my pressures were very strong and close together so I figured things were happening quickly. After Nate came to the room, we were moved to a labor and delivery room. The midwife had not arrived yet, so the nurses began to do some different things around the room, but not to me. I was not aware of much that was happening around me because I was very focused on my body. The feelings were all consuming – not painful nor unpainful – just intense and powerful.
Nate put on a Hypnobabies track when we got to the L&D room. I could not understand the words that Kerry was saying, but I could hear her voice. My midwife Heather arrived and advised that I get an IV because I had been throwing up quite a bit. I was throwing up foamy bile – I could neither taste nor smell it, but everyone was concerned with getting the bucket away from my nose because of the smell. I remember thinking that that was one the most ridiculous things I had ever heard. I was moving around too much for an IV, so the midwife had the nurses put in a heplock. Nate suggested that I get in the shower at this point (there was no tub), and I did. He laid towels down on the floor and I got on my hands and knees and let the water spray over my back. The feelings were most intense in my front, but I could not turn around to let the water hit my front. I had begun moaning (the word outside my room was screaming) extremely loud with each pressure wave when we arrived in the labor and delivery room. The anesthesia nurses/doctors apparently kept coming to the door (I never saw them) to offer me an epidural, but Nate would not let them in the door. I would later learn that I became referred to among hospital staff as “the screamer.”
Around 7:30 am, the head midwife Joann arrived and I was so glad to see her. I was bent over the couch at this point with my knees on pillows. I remember seeing her face and saying, “I can’t do this” at the top of each pressure wave. She would say, “You are doing this.” I was moving around the room a lot – from hands and knees on the bed to squatting on the floor to sitting on the toilet. I had to really concentrate on relaxing and breathing between the pressure waves. My mind had a hard time accepting the times of peace between the waves, but Nate and the midwives helped me to relax during this time so I could save my energy for the waves.
By 9 am, I was fully effaced and dilated. My water had begun leaking out and my body was shaking. Joann said I was in transition and that I could begin pushing when I felt the urge. Looking back, I am not sure I ever felt the urge to push, but I began pushing anyway with each pressure wave. The next hour was the most challenging and powerful of my life. I could not figure out which muscles to push with, so I wasting a good deal of energy pushing with all the wrong muscles. I was pushing with my legs and what I thought was my uterine muscles, but the midwives kept saying that I had to push like I was making a bowel movement. I could not understand this and felt I could not do it. The midwife had me feel the baby’s head inside the birth canal and it was the most amazing thing I had ever felt. She then pushed on my perineum so I could feel where to push. They encouraged me to “moan out of my bottom, not my throat.” This did not work – I could not have stopped moaning for anything in the world.
Around 10 am, the midwife used the doppler to get the baby’s heartbeat. They had been trying to do this for a while, but I was shaking so much that they couldn’t get a good reading. She told me that I needed to get the baby out soon or she was going to have to get a doctor. I knew I did not want this, but I also didn’t know what I could do differently. I laid on my back and pulled my knees back toward me. I began pushing without stopping. I felt lots of burning and the most intense pressure I had ever felt. Nate was saying, “I can see her head” and the midwives were saying, “keep pushing.” It felt like my body was exploding. I looked down and saw her head coming out. It was so purple and long! It was the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen. There was a BABY coming out of me. The midwife laid the baby on my chest and then went back to working on getting the placenta out of me. I did not have to push anything out – the afterbirth just slid out. I had a small tear, so she stitched me up quickly. I was in shock at this point and could not understand what had just happened. I kept looking at the baby on my chest in disbelief. Nate was standing next to me and we were both just dumbfounded.
After the midwives finished stitching me up, they helped me get Scottie nursing. Then they left the room and Nate and I were alone with Scottie. This was an incredibly magical moment. If I could choose any to go back to and re-experience, it would be this time. The power, mystery, and beauty of the universe filled the room. I felt so proud of myself and Scottie and so grateful for the support of Nate and the midwives. I felt that I had both witnessed and been a part of a miracle.
After an hour, Nate went to get my parents and Lil. I had asked my dad to bring my some food and a Coca-Cola (I had never wanted a Coke so bad in my life!) when they came. I had not eaten anything during my birthing time, so I was starving. They came in and looked at the baby. Scottie was nuzzled on my chest and I was not letting her go anywhere! The nurses then came in to weigh her. I put Nate in charge of Scottie during this time and my mom helped me get to the shower to rinse off. This was about 3 hours after the birth. I was able to get out of the bed fine and stand up in the shower fine, which really surprised the nurses. I used soap on my legs and bottom parts (but not my chest!) to clean up and then got dressed in loose clothing. I sat back in the bed and immediately wanted Scottie back! We let the nurses get Scottie’s weight and do a Vitamin K shot while she was on my chest. We declined the Hep B vaccine. My parents left to take Lil home to nap around this time.
At about 1 pm, we moved to Family Beginnings room. Nate and I were both ready to go home at this point and the midwife cleared me for discharge. I was moving around well and my bleeding was minimal. I took some Motrin at this time for discomfort from the stitches, but otherwise I felt wonderful. Scottie was nursing well and strong, but I felt no discomfort from the uterine contractions that her nursing caused. Unfortunately, the hospital would not clear Scottie for discharge until after 24 hours. We could have fought to get released, but decided to just stay. The nurses came in and tried to give Scottie a bath, which I refused. They said, “but she is covered in blood and amniotic fluid!” There was nothing on Scottie’s skin, not even much vermix. She was labeled a biohazard, but no other nurses ever used gloves to handle her. I guess they couldn’t see all the blood and amniotic fluid, either. We were discharged around 11 am in the morning and declined the wheelchair transport. Nate and I walked out of the hospital with our daughter, Scott Annalee, around noon on March 13.
How Hypnobabies worked at my birth:
Although I am sure my story sounds as if I was in pain throughout my birthing time, I was not. I did have more intense feelings throughout my body during my birthing time than I ever felt in my entire life, but I would not label them as painful. I believe that Hypnobabies help me frame the feelings as pressure, rather than pain. I would like to say as well that I am so grateful that I experienced these intense feelings during my birthing time. I feel it brought power and weight to Scottie’s birth. The feelings also helped me to understand and appreciate the magnitude and importance of bringing a human life into the world. I also believe that Hypnobabies shortened my birthing time considerably – I became experiencing pressure waves at 1:30 am and gave birth to Scottie to 10:10 am.
Thanks for reading this, if you have made it this far. I wanted to get down a long version so I can remember the power of this transformative experience for the rest of my life.