Amy's Birth Story
This birth was our fourth baby. After our first, whose birth ended in a c-section, I knew there were things that I needed to do to make the next birth better. Initially, I thought I just needed to find the right doctor. About 4 weeks before our second was born, I realized that the doctor wouldn't even be there until the very end and I needed to make sure I had someone to help me make it through labor. I found a doula, and the experience was so much better than the first. I had a successful VBAC. With our third, we had another wonderful doula. This time I really wanted to try the hypnobirthing method. I took the classes with Amanda. She was not available at my due date to be my doula. I chose Jessica Andersen. She wasn't a certified doula yet (with my birth she got her certification). I felt an immediate connection with her and knew I would feel comfortable with her by my side. She went through the hypnobirthing class with me and my husband. One day after my due date all three kids, my husband and I all took turns with the flu. I was the last one to finish out. Five days past my due date, in the evening, I went into labor. My second and third children were 20 hours and 12 hours of labor. When this one started, right from the beginning, it was intense. I was so tired (having not eaten anything and barely been able to keep liquids down after the flu) that I knew I couldn't handle 12 hours of the intense labor I was feeling. Little did I know I only had less than four hours until our baby would be born. Unfortunately all of my hypnobirthing practice went out the window. I said, "I want an epidural" after about 30 minutes. My doula came about one hour after labor started. I labored with her help for about twenty minutes and then again asked for an epidural. I was so afraid of letting everyone down if I got an epidural but I just didn't think I could do it. So, we loaded up to head to the hospital. I kept telling myself "just twenty more minutes, we will be at the hospital, I will get an epidural. I can do this for twenty more minutes". Then of course when we got to the hospital, we were in triage. Because it was my fourth, and they could tell I was progressing (when they checked me I was at a 7) they got me into a room quickly. Then they started the blood work for the epidural. They said it would take about twenty minutes. "Ok, I told myself, twenty more minutes, I can do this for twenty more minutes." At about that point, Jessica whispered to my husband, "I don't think she will make it for the epidural, she's going to have this baby". I did not want to hear that right then, although in all honesty, I really did want to do it without an epidural, I was just doubting myself. About twenty minutes after we were in our room my water broke. I kept asking the doctor to give me an epidural. He assured me that he could not do that. I must have been looking at him with a pretty disappointed face because he said he could give me a pudendal block. I said "ok". I had to get up on the bed on my back. That was miserable. But after he gave me the shot, he said I was ready to push when I wanted. The one thing I knew I wanted to do this time was be upright (kneeling) while the baby was coming out and I DID NOT want to push. Thankfully after I knelt on the end of the bed and the "pushing sensations" started, I just let my body push. I did not try to speed it up by adding more pressure. At that point, I was able to calm down and calmly breathe through the surges. That was the best feeling ever. I could feel the pressure as he came out. With only a few surges our sweet baby was out. The doctor just gently helped him down to the bed and then told me to reach down and pick up my baby. I picked him up, and I cannot even describe the wonderful feeling I had. I kept saying, "we did it! We did it!" He was born about one hour after we got to the hospital. So, it was a good thing I asked for an epidural, otherwise he may have been born in the car. :) Apparently the anesthesiologist was with another patient and came in as my baby was coming out and just turned around and left the room. What a blessing!! I layed down on the bed and held my baby and nursed him. I felt so wonderful after giving birth. I showered almost immediately and held and loved my baby and rejoiced with Jessica and my husband. I hope I will always remember the wonderful feeling of accomplishment, relief and the pure joy of having that sweet baby!!
After my second birth, because of the pressure from pushing (lying down on my back) I developed an internal hematoma that required surgery the next morning. With my third, I tore pretty bad (again lying on my back to push). But this time, I didn't tear at all! Of course part of that was that it was my third vaginal birth, but I think being upright to push played a huge part in the ability to allow my body to push the baby out, without me trying to force him out. So much better!!
All in all, I think having a doula present at my last three births made such a difference. With the first (vaginal birth), my husband was a little hesitant about having someone else there. With the second and third, he was very supportive because he knew it would take some of the pressure off him. He loved having someone else there to help out and support.
Thank you Amanda and Jessica!!
Mason's Birth Story
This is the story of how our third child, Mason, came to be our son, and how HypnoBirthing and a doula helped to make our dream birth become a reality.
My story starts back 5 years ago, to when my first son was born. I was very young and really had no idea what I was doing (although I thought I did at the time). I hadn’t had any real experience being around birth or pregnant women. The only thing I had to go on was that my mom had had two babies when I was ages 13 and 15. I was there to witness both of the births. Both were calm, hospital, and medicated births. There were no complications and everything seemed rather uneventful. My mom was induced with one of the babies, so I thought this was normal. Both kids were healthy, and this seemed to be the ultimate goal: To have a healthy baby.
When I became pregnant, I thought this was just what people did. You go to the hospital, get your IV, start your induction, get the epidural, have the baby, etc. A natural birth never once even came into my thought process. So, the big day arrived. I was just shy of 40 weeks, and one of my tests had come back a little high for cholestasis. The doctors thought it best if I just go ahead and induce since I was basically at my “due date”. “Great, I thought.” We’re here at the hospital already so it is convenient for everyone. I got all hooked up to my IV, got the Pitocin, penicillin for group B strep, and had my water broken. I then chose to have my epidural. Things were moving along, everything seemed fine. Our son was born 39 hours after my induction. He came into the world kicking and screaming, and all seemed great! He was placed on my chest, and immediately my mommy instincts started kicking in.
When we were discharged from the hospital was when things started to seem “off”. I couldn’t understand why I was so sad all the time. It felt as if there was a fog around me, and nothing really made me happy. I felt very alone with this new baby being so young, and it really intimidated me. I felt very alone with my situation, and didn’t really understand what was going on myself. I had insomnia very bad, and I would be anxious all the time. I was struggling with postpartum baby blues. Although I still loved this baby very much, and had very strong maternal instincts towards motherhood, I just didn’t seem myself. Eventually, (and thankfully) the situation got better on its own. It wasn’t until I had made it through that fog that I could really begin to understand what had happened. That was the first time in my life that I made the decision to explore natural birth and really educate myself as much as I could for any future babies I would have.
Sonny and Kailey's HypnoBirth
Before getting pregnant I was set on having an epidural when I one day had a baby. But once I found out we were expecting I began researching more and more. I decided that I wanted a natural birth. We found Amanda and took her HypnoBirthing class. It gave my husband and I so much information about labor and the events that took place after. We both felt so confident about our decisions after finishing the classes.
I woke up Friday morning at around 0530 and knew that something was different........
I had been having warm up surges for a few days now but they were a little stronger and more consistent. I was 40 weeks and 5 days so I knew this could be it and with the excitement about meeting our little boy I was praying it was. My husband had already left for work so I sent him a text letting him know that I was having these surges, not to rush home but to keep his phone on him just incase. At about 10:00 am I decided I should lie down and take a nap and surprising I slept great and woke up about 2 hours later with more intense surges. By the time my husband got home around 2:00 pm the surges were getting stronger and I started constantly thinking about them. We decided to get out of the house and go to a store to walk around since it was raining outside. This helped get my mind off of the surges and pass the time. During our little shopping trip the surges got to the point where I would have to stop walking and lean against my husband, but I would just breathe threw them. Our friends invited us to dinner so I figured it would be good to get out for one last meal, baby free! When we got to dinner around 6:00pm I started timing my surges. They were about 30 seconds long and only about 2-3 minutes apart. My doctor had told me to head to the hospital when they were a minute long and 5 minutes apart. I knew I wanted to stay out of the hospital as long as possible so we stayed at dinner. By the end of dinner around 8:00pm the surges were at least a minute long and about 2 minutes apart. My husband and I both decided it was time to head to the hospital. I was checked when I arrived and was told I was 2cm dilated. The nurse recommended going home and coming back when there was a definite change in my personality. When we got home all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and I wanted my husband near me. At about 10:00pm the surges were very intense, I began telling my husband I didn't want to do it anymore. He was so encouraging and continued to reassure me that I could do it. He also knew this was time to get to the hospital. When we got to the hospital I was checked again and was 6cm opened, I was admitted and my doctor was called. I was so happy that things were moving along so quickly. I was given a hep lock and told I could walk around or use the birth ball but all I wanted to do was lie on my back in the bed. During each surge my husband would remind me to breathe and would even breathe with me, which helped so much. He kept me calm and reassured that I could do this. When I wasn’t having a surge I would allow myself to just relax, space out and almost fall asleep. This allowed me to save my energy and keep calm. Within the next two hours (I lost all track of time during labor) I felt my water break twice. The nurse checked me and told me I was 8cm dilated and was moving along great. Just a few minutes after that my body took over. I wasn’t trying to push but my body was doing it on its own. My husband paged the nurse and she knew it was time. The midwife on call and other staff all came in with all the equipment. My body would naturally push when I would have a surge and then the staff and my husband would remind me to breathe and calm myself in between. My doctor came in and put on his gloves and with a few more pushes our son was born at 1:24am. He was handed to me for skin on skin, was alert and absolutely perfect. It was the most amazing experience of my life. It wasn’t easy and there were moments when I wanted to give up but using the HypnoBirthing techniques and my husband’s support I did it. I couldn't have imagined a better birth!
Sonny and Kailey
In the knick of time..
In April of 2010, my husband deployed to Afghanistan. In May, I realized I was pregnant with our first child. When a week went by before I could share the news with my husband, I knew this wasn't going to be a normal pregnancy that all my sisters had told me about. With my husband gone I moved from California to Maryland to live at my parents house so I could have some people looking out for me while I was pregnant. I have 3 older sisters with 9 babies between them so when I shared that I wanted to do natural birth, I got harassed to say the least. I got lots of "you are crazy", "you''ll see", and "you don't need to be a hero." Well, needless to say, I am the youngest and rarely heed their advice.
I read about all the benefits of natural labor and knew that's what I wanted to do. I explored the ways to go about it from "winging it" to the Bradley method. It wasn't until Month 8 of my pregnancy that I came across Hypnobirthing and I am so glad I did. When I started reading about it, it made the most sense to me. When I told my sisters and parents about it, you should have seen their faces! Basically, the term "hypnobirthing" does not sound right to many people until you explain it. As I tried to get them to understand, I became even more determined. So I set out to find an instructor back in California to work with my husband and I when he returned.
My husband returned home one month before my son was before. Luckily, Amanda showed up on my radar as a referral from another highly touted Hypnobirthing instructor. She was awesome and came to our house and squeezed in all the sessions into 4 weeks! My husband at first was a little taken aback but as soon as he started taking the sessions he was all in. Amanda was wonderful and totally prepared us for what we were about to face.
Two weeks before my due date, on a Monday night around 8 pm I went to the bathroom and there was some blood in the toilet. I got a little excited but then I remembered that losing your mucous plug, or the bloody show, meant that labor could be hours, days, or even weeks! So considering all my sisters, mom, and grandmom were always late, I thought in my case I still had weeks to go. Well, I was wrong...
At 2 am, I sat bolt upright in my bed when my water broke. I had in my mind I would labor at home for as long as possible while the contractions built up. Well, right off the bat my contractions were 3 minutes apart. I was confused! Why were they coming so fast? Were these really contractions? Well very quickly the surges were getting stronger and stronger. When I couldn't get comfortable at home, we went to the hospital around 5 am.
When we got to the hospital I was 6cm dilated so I had done a bit of work at home! The contractions were awful, I'm not gonna lie. But, I did my best and breathed through each surge. I would close my eyes and just concentrate. I didn't end up listening to any of the relaxation tapes or my music, I just was completely in the moment trying to relax and focusing on getting my baby into this world.
At one point, I was so uncomfortable, I told my husband that I didn't know how much longer I could do this. He told me to just relax and that I could do it. A few minutes after I said that, the doctor came in and told me it was time to push. Thank God! The hard part was over! About 10 minutes later, our beautiful son was born on December 30th at 10am. He was perfectly alert and breast fed right away. Greatest day ever!
It was definitely hard, but I got through it with the support of my husband and the Hypnobirthing strategies. I couldn't ask for a better story <3
Brooke & Joe M.