Simon was six months old yesterday. He has brought so much joy to our lives and we can’t imagine our family without him now. I thought it fitting to share my birth story at this time. After his birth my HypnoBirthing instructor asked if I was interested in writing out my birth story. She was interested in using it for her future classes. I was honored and am so grateful of her request because I now have a record of how those moments unfolded for us. For those of you who aren’t familiar with HypnoBirthing, it is a combination of relaxation, visualization, and deepening exercises that help the mother to have a calm and peaceful birthing experience. The techniques worked wonderfully for me. To learn more click here.
*So that you can understand the story clearly here are a couple of terms:
J-Breath: a breath which does not include the traditional pushing during labor; rather it is a slow inhalation followed by a purposeful exhalation which helps to “breathe the baby down.”
My Birth Story
3:30 AM I am gently awoken to surges. I lie calmly in bed and time them, 5 minutes apart. I start practicing my surge breaths. For the first time, I understand how to work with my body during a surge. I can do this.
4:00 AM I wake my husband and ask that he time the surges, still 5 minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds. My husband goes back to sleep and I continue my slow and surge breaths, focusing on my belly, thinking about how I will get to meet my baby today.
5:30 AM I sit up comfortably in bed and turn on my birth affirmations, as this seems to be what I need. As I listen to them I picture each in my head and calmly breathe. I check to make sure my hands are relaxed, my face is relaxed. I remember my anchors: I am calm. I am peaceful. I am in control.
7:30 AM We arrive at the hospital and get checked in. I immediately sit on the bed and close my eyes, focusing on my breath
and belly. I now want background ocean sounds. Derek finds it on the iPod. I am calm. I am peaceful. I am in control. I begin to use my visualization: a beach we backpacked along years ago. Derek answers most of the nurse’s questions and sets up the room. I am vaguely aware of what’s happening. I know my midwife is on vacation this week. The nurse says the other midwife is not on call today; a physician will be in soon to check on me. I am calm. I am peaceful. I am in control.
I wonder what time it is, but realize I don’t care. Derek says, “I can’t tell when you’re having a surge. What can I do?” I hold his hand. Eventually, each surge is intense enough that my breaths become deeper and more purposeful. Derek begins to use light touch massage or cue me to visualize. He says, “Picture the baby’s name. Write it out.” We hadn’t decided on the name yet! I picture “Simon,” one of the three names on our list. His name is written across the sky in white clouds and blue ribbons. The sand on the beach tickles my toes and the water calms my nerves.
Pain in my lower back becomes too strong. I change positions to sitting on the ball with my hands over the bed. The pain decreases. The physician enters and introduces herself. As I try to interact I lose focus. I close my eyes and I’m back at the beach. I am calm. I am peaceful. I am in control. Nurses try to place an IV but have trouble. Five tries. The lights are so bright. I bury my head in the bed and return to the beach. I notice when I lose concentration I become tense and the pain increases. Derek lifts my wrist and gently reminds me to relax.
The surges become so intense. I feel like I need to push. I’m breathing smoothly, the best I can, and all of a sudden my water breaks. Relief. I tell the nurse I feel an overwhelming need to push. She says, “We’re getting the doctor. For now, try not to push.” Yeah right. I know I need my J-Breaths. The surges come so fast and are so intense. My breaths are not calm, but I’m doing my best. I ask to put the bed in chair position and I kneel at the foot and lay my arms over the top.
I’ve been using J-breaths for a while, I don’t know how long. The physician says, “The baby is close. How about laying back on the bed.” I start to move. Derek leans in and asks, “Are you okay with this or do you like the position you’re in?” I know he’s worried about me ending up in stir-ups. I can’t think for myself. “Yes, it’s fine,” I say. As I turn over, I open my eyes and see the stir-ups being attached to the bed. My mind is sad but my body seizes my attention as another surge begins to rise.
“Your baby is almost here. During the next contraction, I want you to breathe in, hold your breath, and try to push,” the physician says. Derek leans in close to my ear and whispers, “J-Breath.” I focus all my attention on the J-Breaths but sometimes I’m pushing. It’s so hard not to.
Two surges, then an empty feeling in my abdomen. My wrinkled, wet baby is on my chest and, for that moment, nothing else exists but love.