Sam, James, and Lucy's HypnoBirthing Story!

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“Let me start this off by saying this was our first baby. The basic things we knew were: we wanted a natural birth, we wanted it to just be us, and we didn’t want to know the gender. So one of the first things my husband and I did after finding out we were pregnant, even before announcing to our family, was hire Margaret as our Doula. At the time we didn’t realize how important it would be to have her. Honestly, throughout my pregnancy, I felt very pretentious having a doula. Especially after having to explain what a doula exactly is to almost everyone who asked.  (No, she’s not a midwife. No, I won’t be birthing in a field. No, she won’t make me hop backwards 3 times at midnight during a full moon, unless I ask her to, and in that case she might help.) I justified having her simply because this was my first baby and I figured if we have more we wouldn’t need a doula. It wasn’t until I was in labor and afterwards that I realized how much we needed Margaret. She was there for us every step of the way with information. She helped us find our midwife and educated us on the different natural birth centers. She told us about Hypnobirthing and gave us the contact information to Danielle Whaley.

With Margaret’s help we learned about the ABC and were able to transfer there from Royal Oak Beaumont when I was 37 weeks. Although I was sad to leave my beloved Midwife, Emily, I was ecstatic to be able to birth at the ABC! (Which Emily is now a Midwife there, so, woo-hoo!)

Now, my pregnancy was a boring one. I went to all my appointments. I didn’t gain too much weight, my blood pressure was good, and heart tones were fine. We just tra-la-la’d through it. I worked up until my due date (October 23rd) and then it passed. And then a week passed. And another. I was bored and fat and depressed. I had baked and cleaned and nested and slept. I. Was. Done.  I remember during the end of those 2 weeks I was watching a video of an elephant giving birth and I was bawling because the elephant had her baby and I didn’t have mine. The only comfort I had was in knowing that, historically, no one had ever been pregnant forever. But my baby wasn’t ready to come out.

 At my prenatal appointment on October 30th we did a membrane sweep and I was dilated to 2. I had lost my mucous plug on Wednesday November 1st during the night so on Monday, November 6th at 8:30am we went in for our prescheduled Non-stress test and Ultrasound with my weekly prenatal appointment right after. I had not slept well the night before, I hadn’t eaten anything, and again, I was over it. Before the NST started they took my BP. From what I remember it was 144/88. Not good. But my nurse said to give it a minute because I’d just come in and we had been walking around so it could be high from that. I go to my prenatal at 9:30 hoping my BP is back down. No such luck. We are then told that we need to go to the hospital because with my BP being high we need to induce. We are informed that because I need to be monitored for my BP I can’t go to the ABC and will have to be in Labor and Delivery. After a good boo-hoo in the room I compose myself and we head to the car. 

We were given permission to run home and get our hospital bag, see our dog, and get a bite to eat. I take a bath and practice my hypnobirthing to calm myself. We grab a bite on the way back. I’m in triage at St. John’s by 3pm. My BP is still high and I’m getting grumpy. They ask for a urine sample and the lab came back saying there was blood in it. So they had to take a sample directly from my bladder. So I learned what a catheter feels like (not my favorite). After this I decide to put in my headphones and listen to my rainbow relaxation and try to shut my eyes to get some rest. At 7pm I am officially admitted into Labor & Delivery. I meet with Sarah Maguire, my midwife for the night. She’s amazing and gets our humor and we come up with a game plan. I am not preeclamptic, I have Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH). So although we are getting the ball rolling, this is not emergent. So we decide on a Foley Bulb Catheter induction. She does a check on me and my cervix is soft and I’m still dilated to 2. She tells me to order some food from the kitchen. So we eat and enjoy our last moments as just us.

 At 9:30pm they place the Foley and give me an Ambien to hopefully get me some rest before the roller coaster leaves the platform. I send my husband home to get some sleep, because let’s face it, there’s no comfortable place for him to rest there. I lay down around 11, fall asleep around 11:45.

At 12:30 I wake up to pee and the Foley comes out. I call the nurse and now I’m amped up, no way can I fall back to sleep now! 

At 2:30 Sarah comes in and checks me and says I am at 4 and am in active labor. I should call my husband and Margaret. James gets to me by 3:30. My contractions are coming every 10-12 mins. By 5:30am they’re 5-1-1.  

Margaret gets to the hospital at 6:45. I’m in the flow of contractions now and I’m laboring in the shower. I wanted the tub since that was how I had practiced all of my hypnobirthing, but their portable tub was leaking. So I made due with the shower. I’m falling asleep between contractions and holding myself up with the bars. I remember feeling cold because I was wet, but the warm water felt so good on my lower back. 

At 10:30am Lee (the midwife) checks me and I’m 5-6cm. 

At 1pm she checks me again and I’m at 7. We’re moving right along! 

Then back labor starts. I’m in a lot of pain and I’m trying to focus on my breathing. Margaret is helping me through everything. She’s keeping my breathing tones low, she’s keeping me hydrated, when I’m out of the shower she’s doing hip squeezes and compressions on me. We decide we should break my water and find out there is thick Meconium. I am put on constant monitoring now. Margaret does Rebozo on me to help with my back labor. After that James takes this time to run and get a sandwich. 

At 4:19, while he’s gone the baby’s heart rate goes down into the 70’s and I’m put on all fours and an oxygen mask. Margaret text him to tell him to get back asap and he nearly takes out an old lady to get back to the room. The heart-rate levels out and the oxygen comes off and I’m back to laboring on my feet. 

At 5pm Lee checks me again and I’m at 8cm. 

At 6pm we check and my cervix is starting to swell. 

At 7pm Sarah is back for her next shift. She’s not too happy to see that I’m still there. I’m having a hard time, I’m exhausted and I feel defeated. I truly just want it to be done so I can go to sleep. Sarah checks me and my cervix has swollen so much I have actually regressed in my labor and am at a hard 7 now instead of a soft 8 like I was. Margaret and Sarah discuss options, and we all decide to give Pitocin a try. Since I’m so depleted though, Sarah recommends giving me a small dose of Stadoll to take the edge off so I can get some sleep before the Pitocin starts. I will need it for the last leg of this journey. Margaret and James position me in the bed with a peanut ball (I couldn’t lay or sit this whole time because it was too uncomfortable). They don’t even get all of the Stadoll in my IV and I’m out. 

I start to wake up about 45 minutes later as the Pitocin waves start to crash into me. I am also feeling the gentle rub of Margaret doing reflexology on my feet. (Have I mentioned she’s amazing?) The Pitocin is kicking my ass, though. Whoever invented it did not have a uterus. 

It is now 9:30 and Sarah checks me and I’m still a hard 7 and my baby’s head is OT (Occiput Transverse, google it). 

At this point I tap out. I tell them I can’t handle the Pitocin and they need to shut it off. Sarah and Margaret explain that if I stop the Pitocin that means I’m done dilating and our only option would be a C-Section. I say that’s fine, I truly couldn’t find it in myself to go any further. 

This is when Margaret became even more priceless. She made sure this was taken slowly. Without worrying me, or making me think, or letting me make unnecessary decisions because I was not myself at the moment. This wasn’t an emergency C-Section, she knew I truly didn’t want one. I think she knew I just needed a little more time. She told them only one person at a time. So first came the OB on call. Then one anesthesiologist. Then the other. Then the paperwork people. One at a time. I’ve now signed my life away, the room has been cleared out, and everyone is looking cute in their blue bonnets and booties. It’s very melancholy though, my labor has died and we’re all pretty bummed about it. 

This is also the point where I tell James to call our family and let them know what’s going on. If I’m having surgery they need to know we’re here. I talk to my mom, my dad, and my sister-in-law. They’re all a little confused and sad that that is what is happening. They wish me luck and we promise to call once it’s all done. 

There’s a wheelchair in the hall waiting for me. 

At 10:25 Sarah tells me to go pee before we head out the door. They help me out of the bed and get me to the bathroom. Margaret is right there with me. 

As soon as I sit down my body starts pushing. I can’t make it stop. In my head I’m terrified. I don’t know what happens if you push through a hard 7 cervix. After about 4 pushes I look up at Margaret and she can see the fear in my eyes, I strain to tell her “I… can’t… stop… PUSHING!” She runs out into the hall and yells at Sarah “Sam can’t stop pushing!” She then runs back to me and tells me that I was fine on the bed, just get me back to the bed. I am convinced that I’m halfway through a bowel movement and I remember thinking “I need to wipe first.” But they’re pretty adamant about getting me back to the bed. So shoot, if they wanna see that, that’s what they’re gonna see. I stand up and waddle my hot mess of a self back. I lay back down and Sarah checks me to see what is going on.

I’ll never forget her face “Ladies, she’s complete plus 2.” (Whaaaaaat?) 

They slap a monitor on my belly and baby’s heart tones are low (I’m ignorant to this happening) all I know is Sarah looks me square in the eyes and says “You need to push NOW.”

So I start pushing. James is on my right, Margaret is on my left, Sarah is down at the end of the bed with both hands holding the gates open. This part is a bit of a blur to me. As that is unfolding, I’ve pretty much shaken the hive and there’s all sorts of buzz happening. My dear nurse, who had just cleaned out the room; cause ya know, I was leaving; is now frantically ripping open sterile packets of implements. 

Next thing I know I have a baby on my chest. I’m immediately relieved, instantly in love, and promptly urinated on by this tiny person (twice). I look up at Margaret and mouth “WTF?” She has an amazed look on her face with a huge smile. She shrugs her shoulders as if to say “No clue how all this just happened!” We didn’t find out the gender beforehand, as Sarah is tending to my downstairs she referred to our baby as a “he” a couple times. James chimes in and calls for a time out. “So is it a boy or a girl?!” Sarah stops, lifts up the swaddle that’s lightly draped over the baby, and says “Girl!”. 

I asked for delayed cord clamping and traction for placenta delivery. James assisted in the cord cutting when it was time. As I’m mesmerized by my new baby girl, Sarah is starting to tug on my cord to deliver my placenta. Lucille Dawn was 8lbs and 21.5 inches long. We had skin to skin for a long while, then I was transferred over to the ABC for recovery. Since they had no laboring mothers and I technically had a natural birth I was able to go there. (Opposite of how that typically works out!) I was able to take a shower while James got skin to skin time. I soaked in the birthing tub, which felt wonderful. And I got to sleep next to my husband in a nice, cozy bed with our new baby by our bedside. We stayed 2 nights in the ABC and then went home. It was an amazing and surreal experience. It was perfect.”

I love re-reading Sam’s birth story especially because she is expecting her second little one this August! Sam and James hired me (Danielle) for private hypnobirthing classes in their home and we hit it off immediately. We honestly had a much longer class than most because we chatted about everything anf anything. But I love reading this story in Sam’s words because you can get a sense of her in this birth story. She is funny, warm, thoughtful, and quick witted and I cannot wait for her to start teaching classes this September/October!