Dear Kristin,

Hope you are doing well. My birth was such an amazing experience!!! It was life changing! Thank you so much for everything! We just constantly love our little man. I just break down crying every time I think about how much I love him and what a miracle birth is. I’m attaching my birth story and feel free to share it. It is a bit long, but there was so much to say.

Take Care!

I woke up at 1am the morning past my due date to use the bathroom. I noticed a slight hint of blood and immediately thought “this is it.” I got back in bed and did not wake Jason. I started have very mild period like contractions through the night. They were coming about 10-11 minutes apart. I was able to sleep through them, but not able to sleep well because I was so excited at the thought that this was going to be our baby’s birth day! Every time I used the restroom I began to notice more and more that I was losing my mucus plug. That was a confirmation to me that I was starting early labor. I woke Jason up around 6am to tell him the good news. He got up and made us breakfast in bed. We laid in bed together and fell back asleep until 10am (not without a desperate search through my favorite birthing books for last minute reminders and advice). I remember reading in Birthing from Within to take labor contraction by contraction and even breath by breath and to remember non-focused awareness. I read over my Birthing Through Hypnosis breaths and relaxation techniques, reminded myself of the fear-tension-pain syndrome and listened to my birth affirmations.

Around 11:30am I started to feel the contractions in my lower back and they would radiate to my hips/thighs. My husband and I took a short walk with the dogs and he brought in my birthing ball. I sat on my birthing ball at the end of the bed and laid my head on a stack of pillows. This ball seemed like a miracle ball and felt so good. I was able to open up my pelvis and just relax. The contractions were mild and I was talking in between them. One of my doulas came over and suggested I go for a long walk. I did not want to do this, but trusted her anyways. Walking was great. It got my mind off of just sitting on the ball waiting for the next contraction as we were timing them to see my progress. I would stop on the walk when I would have a contraction and sway my hips from side to side. I wouldn’t let go of Jason’s hand the entire time. After the walk we came in and I had some chicken and rice for lunch. Everything I was trying to eat was going straight through me (nature’s process) so Jason was constantly reminding me to drink water and Gatorade. Labor progressed nicely for the next several hours. Around 5:00pm, I started to have hot flashes followed by chills and knew from all my reading this is a sign of going into active labor. I was ready to make our way to the birthing center. Mary (one of my doulas) was still thinking it was too early, but I knew to listen to my body and she trusted me this time.

The ride to Sutter was 45 minutes. I wore an eye mask and listened to the Birthing Through Hypnosis audio tracks the whole way. I could not talk during or in between contractions at this point. I was just extremely focused on relaxing my mind and body and surrendering to this lovely process. I had a tiny fear that when we arrived at Sutter, they would check me and say it was too early to admit me………but when they checked me I was 6 cm!!!! That news gave me a second wind and I was ready to go on! The nurse took one look at my chart and said, “Amber, I see you are using hypnosis so I will direct all my questions and concerns to Jason.” I was so pleased at hearing that. We didn’t even have to explain or tell them anything. I was really dehydrated and they wanted me to have some IV fluids. I remember the nurse rubbing Lidocaine on my hand so she could give me my IV. I even joked with Mary saying “this doesn’t count does it?” It seemed to lighten the atmosphere at that point. As soon as the nurse got the IV in, Jason filled the Jacuzzi tub and prepared it for me. Immediately when I got it I felt such relief. I even remember smiling during contractions thinking to myself “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.” We turned the lights out in the room, lit our battery operated candles, and Jason turned on the music I had picked out for my birth. There was one song that was just the sound of rain…really hard rain. I remember picturing myself in Hana. Picturing that Jason and I had just went into “our bedroom” at Cannon’s parent’s house to take a nap. You have to understand Hana to understand what this did for me. All we do in Hana is relax and not a day goes by without a 2-3 hour nap which usually involves a beautiful afternoon rain. Jason wanted to put the song on repeat, but I squeezed his hand and shook my head no, I didn’t want him to leave my side and he didn’t the entire time. I knew I wasn’t alone in this, he was there with me, and couldn’t let go of him not even for 5 seconds. I had hit the point in my labor where I was ecstatic on the inside totally relaxed on the outside. The thought of meeting this baby made me wanted to get up and start jumping up and down (a little impractical at the moment). I labored in the tub what must have been 3 hours or more. The nurse suggested I change things up and get out for a while. Again, I didn’t want to do this, but just went along with it. Jason kept recommending the birthing ball to me, but all I could do was make it to the bed and sit on the side. I couldn’t break my focus by even responding to people’s suggestions or questions. Jason was so in tune with me that he knew what I wanted by a simple look or hand squeeze. Sitting on the side of the bed brought me to the point where I thought I could no longer do this. The contractions were so hard, but I remember talking myself through them and almost playing a game with them. I would say to myself “okay – try to be even more relaxed during this contraction than you were the last.” It was amazing how well this worked.

If I ever lost my focus and ability to relax, the contraction would be a lot more painful. Jason was constantly reminding me of my “balloon breath.” It is amazing how you forget to breath. I had to have his constant reminders. I even remember him praying for me and telling me God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. I also kept praying for God to give me strength and to get me through each contraction. My midwife came in and wanted to check me. When she did I was 100% effaced and a 9 +. I couldn’t believe it. I will never forget when she said in the sweetest, most calm voice, “Amber, do you want to get back in the tub.” I couldn’t believe this because I just knew she would want me to stay in the bed. I kept thinking to myself “does she want me to have a water birth.” I was a little confused, but couldn’t voice it and none the less very happy about it. I remember asking my midwife, Meredith, in the office one day about water birth and she said they typically don’t allow it (hospital policy), but if the baby is coming out she’s not going to make me get out. After getting in the tub the most intense part started its course. I remember reading in Ina May’s book about the “horse-lips” breath. I would almost chuckle when I would read that and think to myself….”I won’t use that”…..well, that was the only breath I could do and it worked like a gem! It completely relaxed my pelvis. I could hear people in the background talk about how amazing I was doing and how gorgeous the labor was going. They have no idea I could hear them, but that was huge for me. Kim, my other doula, came in right before they put me in the tub. She was sitting in from of me squeezing both of my hands and Jason was right to the side of me giving constant encouragement and telling me how much he loved me. I will never forget what Kim was saying…she just kept say “you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful”……and she was right. A laboring woman has to be the most beautiful sight in all of nature. She’s working so hard to bring her baby into this world. She would talk me through the contractions like we were climbing the mountain and say “you’re almost to the top, you’re at the top, you’re going down” it was great to know that I was climbing up, up, up…but was about to go back down.

It seemed like a matter of minutes before I had the urge to push. I pushed for maybe 3 contractions in the tub and my nurse said “we need to get out when you are ready, Amber. Meredith has the birthing stool ready for you.” Get out! Was she serious? She wanted me to climb out of the tub? Once I overcame the hurdle of climbing out of this tub…which I jumped up and did as fast as I could for fear of having a contraction on the way to the stool, I was so relieved she mad me do this. The tub was hard to push in because it was just me in there and I felt I was sliding all around in it. I actually had planned on using the birthing stool. When I sat down, Jason got on the bed behind me and I leaned against him. He was my strength! I even remember just kissing him in between contractions. He was telling me again how much he loved me and that was just what I needed at that time. I remember being a little scared about pushing, but reading everywhere how great it feels because you are actually working with your labor now and your baby is only moments away and then it hit me……….I’m about to find out what we are having……I couldn’t wait…bring on the pushing! All of the visualizations I had of how my birth was going to go, I never once pictured me being loud and vocal in the end….we’ll I was! It felt great to bear down and grown, moan, yell….whatever I needed to do. Meredith kept telling me to “save my voice”….”save that energy” I remember thinking….”why will I need my voice later”…Jason was trying to explain to me that she wanted me to take that energy that I’m using in my voice and put it all into pushing out my baby. He kept reminding me of my “Top-Down Breath,” but I’m not even sure I was breathing at all. I kept thinking I had “lost control,” but now realize it is just what I had to do to birth my baby. In all the “commotion” (at least what I thought was) I remember this weird focused attention I had. I was so focused on Meredith, my midwife, and the nurses. I trusted what they were telling me. I remember noticing everything in the room. There was a screw on the wall above my midwife that I noticed and thought there must have been a picture there. I was looking all around the room at everyone and although they were cheering me on, it almost seemed for a moment that their mouths were all moving but it was total silence. When I began to push the head out I remember the pain surprised me. My midwife was putting hot compress on me and stretching and massaging me with mineral oil. It helped tremendously. At one point she told Jason and I to reach down and feel the head. I said “Oh my God”! That was such a great feeling. Everyone kept saying they saw lots of hair and Jason said “Did you hear that, it has hair!!” This was a big inside joke with us because at one sonogram the technician said she didn’t see any hair and we would always joke about our “bald baby.”

I only pushed for a total of 13 minutes. The pain was immediately gone! I remember my midwife telling me to reach down and pick up my baby, but I was in such shock she had to lay him up on my belly. Jason was behind me and we were holding our new baby together. The way he felt amazed me. He was so warm! We were just staring at him and he was crying. I was shushing him and trying to calm him. We almost forgot to look and see what the sex was. I rolled him over and saw it was A BOY!!!!!!!! I must have whispered it, because then Jason yelled it……..”IT’S A BOY!” It was the most incredible moment of both of our lives. Jason was amazing and I couldn’t have done it without him. He kept me at the place I needed to be and the day and our beautiful baby boy have changed our lives forever!!!!! Thank you, God, for such a beautiful creation.