I studied your online class in December and wanted to let you know about my beautiful little one, Baby E, and the incredible experience I had when she came into the world. Baby E is my second child; my first child was born with an emergency c-section and I was very emotional as I read your manual and practiced the techniques. Your words and the exercises in the class were extremely helpful to stay present with this second birth and to let go of the fears from my first birth.
You had asked to hear back from us with our birth stories. I have a beautiful story to report! Here it is: For weeks I practiced the relaxation exercises and took walks along the ocean visualizing my little one happily sliding through a warm cave onto a beautiful sunny beach squealing, “wheee!” I also read Ina May Gaskin’s book 3 times (no kidding) and had been doing the mantra, “I am getting huge,” since my 37th week. Anyway, I woke up on Feb 22 (2 days after my due date) around 5 am with contractions. I had been 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced for a couple of weeks already and I tried to not read too much into the contractions and find myself disappointed from a false alarm once again. I had been having “real” (I hate that term!) contractions for 4 weeks that never became regular.
I just let my body do what it needed to do and went out for a pedicure and tea with a friend that morning and had a very happy time. My water broke at 1pm when we got back to her place. My friend joked that the baby was excited to see Mama’s toes looking so pretty and wanted to come check them out! I had a scheduled midwife appointment that afternoon, so my husband and I packed up the car, prepared for whatever might happen. My contractions continued and seemed to be getting more regular and closer together, but the pain was very manageable. The midwife confirmed it was my water that had broken and that I was 4cm and completely effaced. We had something to eat and walked outside before checking into the hospital. The pain honestly wasn’t bad and my husband and I had a very joyful time knowing our child had decided to come that day. I checked in and was given an I.V. and monitored. Because of my first birth history, no one thought I was going to significantly progress until the next morning at the earliest, so they agreed to let me do intermittent monitoring and walk the hallways with the I.V. that Friday afternoon and evening. Basically, since I didn’t look like I was in pain, they left me alone which was exactly what I wanted.
Thanks to Ina May Gaskin’s good words of advice in her book, my husband and I kissed, cuddled, laughed, and danced as I labored. Can you believe that? As I write it, it’s hard for me to believe that what happened could actually be possible. The doula was super supportive of being present but also protecting time for my husband and me to just be together (if that makes sense). I wasn’t in unmanageable pain. I could feel the contractions, I could feel the baby dropping further and further down, but I felt ok. It sounds so crazy, but I felt good for the majority of my labor. I continued with the breathing and visualizations from the Birthing Through Hypnosis manual and felt connected with my body and the baby. Thinking about each contraction bringing my sweet girl closer to my arms and picturing her sliding out onto a warm beach with joy really carried me along.
We all agreed that my husband should take the time to get some dinner around 8:30pm since I seemed fine and the doula was there with me. The doula said afterward that she sensed something might be up because I kept repeating that I didn’t want my husband to go far away, to try to find someplace close to eat. Sure enough, as soon as he left the contractions started getting very close and increasingly intense. I couldn’t sit or lay down, I had to stand and sway my hips…I’m sure it did look like a dance! I began to sing a song to the baby that I had sung to my son and to her through my pregnancy. Eventually, the contractions felt like they were almost back to back and I hung onto the doula who did my hip swaying dance with me and locked onto my gaze with very calm and supportive eyes (big help!). That was truly painful! The doula said afterward that I was beginning to make the sounds that women make when they are about to start pushing…I felt like I had to go to the bathroom! The labor nurse came running in to see what was up and discovered I was fully dilated and ready to go! We had to call my husband who came running back just in time to jump behind me as I was already pushing around 9pm. Baby E was born at 9:27pm, 8 pounds, 1 ounce. She is doing great. We are all home and doing great as a family of four.
I am so very grateful for your class and for your encouragement. I will forever swear by the Birthing Through Hypnosis Method (the mock birth exercise acting out labor was really key for me) to work with that fear and find a different way to be present with pregnancy, labor and birth. I tell all my pregnant friends about your class and my Birthing Through Hypnosis experience. Thank you so much, Kristin!
My best wishes to you and your work,