Ashley, Doug, & Benjamin's HypnoBirthing Story
"My due date was January 29th - my birthday! - and we were hopeful he would choose to make his appearance on that day so our special day could be shared. The morning of the 29th, I wasn't feeling quite 'right'. We decided to skip church, just in case. We made the best decision - what would have been 30 minutes into the service, my water broke. It wasn't the major gush that I had read about. It came in waves - sometimes it was a trickle, others there was quite a bit of fluid! I was overcome with emotion - this wasn't in my plan for a natural birth!! My intent was to labor at home for as long as possible. We wanted to avoid the potential for any pain management to be offered - I feared I would be tempted in a moment of weakness. But our baby had other plans. We took our time making it up the hospital. I ate, showered, finished gathering the remaining items for the hospital - and off we went. We were brought into triage around noon and immediately were hooked up to the monitors to track the baby's heartbeat and contractions. Being at the hospital made everything so real - we could hear the baby's heartbeat and while this wasn't the first time we had heard it, it was the first time I realized I would soon be feeling that little heartbeat as I held him in my arms. The doctor came in to check to cervix - I was dilated to a 1. How disappointing! I was going to be there forever, I thought. One of the nurses asked me about my contractions. At that moment, I felt nothing. She chuckled and said "are you sure? Your contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting almost one minute." She showed me the monitor and sure enough, I was having contractions! I couldn't believe it! I was elated that progress was being made and I wasn't feeling the pain yet!"
We were admitted and the waiting game began. We watched as the monitors showed my contractions, which were lengthening in duration and time between was shortening, but I still had yet to feel them. We walked the halls of the hospital and sat on a birthing ball to help encourage dilation. It wasn't until around 5 pm, when I was dilated to a 6 that I finally felt what my body had been doing for the past 5 hours. But the feeling wasn't painful - they felt like muscle spasms. They became more predictable and I could announce before one would show on the monitor. Within the hour, the intensity increased and I felt the need to continue to move. As we walked, I started to find myself focusing on what hypnobirthing had taught me. I was going 'within' while my contractions were happening. I recited birthing affirmations my husband and I had practiced for weeks: "the pain is not stronger than you, it is you", "your body was made for this", "your body knows how to birth this baby, just as it knew how to grow it". As the intensity progressed, I asked my husband to put on the Rainbow Relaxation recording to allow me to retreat deeper - I didn't want to get in the way of my body working to bring my baby into the world.
Around 8 pm, I was fully dilated (the doctor could feel the baby's head) but my cervix was still high. The intensity of my contractions had surely peaked and were definitely more noticeable than what I had been experiencing! I needed to move but walking the halls while fully dilated wasn't recommended. I had remembered what Danielle had mentioned in class about dancing with her husband during labor, which is precisely what I did. It was amazing. The rhythmic swaying of my hips allowed me to focus within and the movement eased the pain. It was at this point, I started to get hot - really, really hot - and I wanted nothing more than to be submerged in ice! My mother, mother in law, and husband worked as a team to keep cold towels on me as I paced the room. After a half an hour, the nurse, who had been watching the monitor at her station, stated the baby appeared to be in distress and I was running a fever. I wanted nothing to do with ANY pain medication, but I accepted a single Tylenol to lower my fever, as I feared my baby was in distress. My fever subsided within a few minutes and I was relieved when the baby's heart beat returned to normal.
At 9 pm, the doctor and nurses urged me to begin pushing, despite the fact my cervix was still high. I began pushing, which was actually a little more difficult that I thought! There is a certain method to pushing and working with your contractions that I was not aware of. It took me a few times to get the hang of it but once I did, I felt like a pro! For 5 hours, I pushed and pushed with every contraction. For 5 hours, I changed pushing positions to assist my body. For 5 hours, I recited my favorite birth affirmations. But at 2 am, the baby's head hadn't moved from the original position. My doctor kindly told me, 'Ashley, I know your heart is set on a totally natural birth, but I think we may have to consider a c-section. The baby is stuck.' That was all I needed to hear - I agreed immediately to have the baby via c-section. Within minutes an entire team was rushing in, having me sign documents, prepping both me and my husband for surgery and ushering my mother and mother in law out into the waiting room. The OR was a huge change from the relaxing room I just came from - it had the brightest lights I had ever seen, cold stainless steel everywhere and a ton of people. I was instantly disappointed that this harsh environment was going to be my baby's first experience in this world. All of the anxiety disappeared when the spinal block was administered and I was able to focus solely on the thought of seeing my baby. My husband and I waited anxiously to hear our baby cry - and the moment he did, I was flooded with emotion. The physical work was done and our baby boy was here! He was perfect in every way! The nurses were enamored with him - they clamored over him, exclaiming how adorable he was and that he was incredibly alert. When I was finally able to see him, they placed him on my chest and we immediately locked eyes. It was the most beautiful moment of my life!
Weeks before my baby's birth, my husband and I developed an extensive birth plan for both a vaginal and c-section birth. Did it go 100% according to plan? No. But our main goals were accomplished: a totally natural labor process and to deliver a healthy, alert, beautiful baby boy. We were able to accomplish our goals and handle the curve balls that were thrown our way because of the tools we learned during our hypnobirthing class. The birthing affirmations, Rainbow Relaxation recording, and Danielle's insight provided us everything we needed to bring our beautiful baby into this world. Had we not been prepared, I highly doubt I could have accomplished what I did. Thank you, Danielle, for providing us with the resources we needed!"