Natural Birth Using HypnoBabies: Leopold’s Story
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Part Two: My water broke! Getting to the hospital and my time in the delivery room.
Let’s recap where we left off:
(If you’re just joining us, check out Part One before you read this one!)
“I woke up on the morning of September 29th, 2015 feeling the same as any other day. At the time I worked ‘reduced full time’ at my job and I only had to be at work by 10 am so I was dragging my feet that morning. I was feeling extra tired and my puppy was being very clingy. He and I were cuddling in bed right until the last minute that morning. It was almost time for me to leave for work so I reluctantly got out of bed and felt water running down my leg! Or, was it pee?”
I stood by my bed in shock for a moment. Is this what I think it is? This was not part of my plan! I was supposed to start feeling contractions first, and then labor at home for as long as I possibly could before I went to the hospital. This was not the plan. I was going to sit in the tub and listen to my hypnosis tracks. Eat some snacks. Bake some goodies for the nurses (okay I was going to do this but probably not while I was in labor. But again, he was much ‘earlier’ than I expected).
Waddling to the bathroom, I kept dripping. I don’t feel like I’m peeing! I got to the safety of the tile floor and there was another small gush of liquid. It was pinkish, so definitely not pee. I was starting to feel nervous and excited and totally clueless as to what to do now.
Obviously I did the most logical thing I could think of. I took a photo of the puddle and posted it to my “October Baby” group. Most of the girls were still pregnant since it was September, but it was my most trusted resource. I also sent a photo to my mom and called her saying “um…my water just broke?” Then I called the midwife’s office to get their advice and they told me to go to the Emergency Room.
Mom was as shocked as me but she used to be a Doula and was used to being ‘on call’. She had just gotten dressed so she said she would be over as fast as she could. After checking back in with my girls on Facebook and hearing a resounding ‘Yes girl! Go have your baby!’ I called in to work.
“Hey guys, so I guess I’ll see you in about 12 weeks or so, sorry for the short notice!”
In my head it was more like ‘PEACE!’ At 38 weeks pregnant I was much too irritable to be working in customer service anyhow.
Next I let my sister know so that she could come down and be with us in the delivery room. She turned out to be my biggest help for the entire process! Of course I called my husband as well. It was his very first day at his new job so we decided he should stay until things got more exciting or until he got off.
While I waited for my mom to arrive I started to load up the car and grab all of our last minute necessities. Charger, headphones, Hypnobaby materials, pillow, my bag, Leopold’s bag, the boppy, and way too many other things. I definitely over packed. Turns out the hospital is actually prepared to greet babies and they have things like diapers, blankets, even baby clothes!
It also turned out that I am not one of those gorgeous mamas you see rocking perfect hair and makeup before and after having their baby.
I didn’t have a monogrammed hospital robe, or cute slippers. I took my night shirt and some other things but honestly after I had Leopold I just let everything hang out in the robe they gave me. It was so glamorous. Also, mesh panties were absolutely my best friend while I was there. More on that fun topic later!
My water broke, but other than the nerves, I wasn’t feeling any different. I packed up the car and changed my pants two or three times and I took care of my puppy’s needs for the day. My mom arrived and we made sure we had everything and got ready to go. I was driving a Fiat stick shift and she wasn’t comfortable driving it so she asked if I would drive. We laughed over the fact that I was driving myself to the emergency room!
On the way, we grabbed some breakfast at McDonald’s. I was about to push myself past my comfort zone physically so I deserved a biscuit and a frappe, dang it. If I had remembered I would have taken my 38 week photo with Niko but we got one outside the Emergency room instead.
I was so prepared to wait and have them test me that I brought a pad with the amniotic fluid on it (in a Ziploc bag) so that they could test it to be sure that’s what it was. They told me they wouldn’t need that, and they were finding me a room. It was a pretty easy admittance!
Some of you may remember that September of 2015 there was a ‘super moon’ and the very beginnings of hurricane Matthew.
Part of me thinks that these two things may have had something to do with Leopold coming early and the fact that Labor and Delivery was packed!
They found a room for me and got me settled fairly quickly. My nurse was a curt, straightforward older woman who didn’t have time for my jokes. She lightened up a little as the day went on. She teased that she didn’t think I had a husband. We kept telling her he was coming and he was never there when she came in.
I offered her my birth plan and she told me that if I gave her the paper, it absolutely would not go that way, so I should just give her a quick outline instead.
I explained my use of Hypnobabies and we hung our ‘disclaimer’ sign on the door telling people to speak quietly upon entering. All of the nurses that worked with us were told not to offer me an Epidural or even say the word (if I hear it, it will get in my head!) Don’t say the word ‘pain’ or ask for a ‘pain scale’. It isn’t a ‘contraction’ it’s a ‘wave’ or ‘pressure’. I was not expecting everyone to abide by my wishes, it was a lot to ask after all. The ladies who helped me out actually did a wonderful job of this though.
My water had broken but I was not dilated at all, not effaced, nothing. They decided to induce me and hook me up to a pitocin drip (this is not ideal). I had to be hooked up so they could monitor Leopold but I was able to use their new system which is a portable monitor strapped to my belly. Unfortunately I was still attached to the IV so I couldn’t go too far.
I was in an out of the bathroom what felt like a million times. Between my water dripping slowly and eventually the pressure waves, I constantly felt like I needed to pee. I used their birthing ball and sucked dum dums to try to help induce labor. I stimulated the crap out of my poor nipples. All the tricks I’d learned from my mom’s time as a Doula were tested out. Between that and the heavy pitocin drip I eventually started feeling the pressure (contractions).
I was admitted to my room around 11:30am and I probably started feeling uncomfortable pressure waves around 5pm.
While I waited to dilate I put on my headphones and listened to my hypnosis tracks and my affirmations. It wasn’t easy to focus with people coming in and out and having my family around me talking. I was dealing with major FOMO (fear of missing out) so I didn’t get as deeply into hypnosis as I would have liked. I did feel very relaxed in the beginning!
My sister went out and bought us a movie to watch while we waited and my husband arrived around 4:30 or so. He switched places with my dad (we were allowed three people in our room) and we sat down in a circle of chairs to watch the movie.
Right near the middle of the movie my pressure waves started getting intense enough for me to have to close my eyes and focus on my breathing and my affirmations. I lost the ability to pay attention to the movie because I really needed to withdraw into myself during these pressure waves.
My sister played with my hair and rubbed my shoulders, and James came to the bathroom with me in between most of my pressure waves. Once they started coming more quickly I would often sit down to try to pee and then have to throw my arms around James’s neck to breathe and rest my head on his shoulder.
When the midwife checked my progress I had dilated to about a 4, and that was around 9pm.
They showed us a few positions in our Hypnobabies class that were supposed to help bring the baby down the birth canal so we tried those when I wasn’t experiencing a wave. When a pressure wave came, the room stood still as I closed my eyes and took two, three, four deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. Almost done. Halfway there. In. Out. Done.
My sister could see the monitor that was recording my pressure waves and she would whisper to me ‘you’re almost halfway through this one’. In my head I knew that the monitor was slightly delayed so whenever she said that I was only one or two deep breaths from being done.
My mom and James were lingering there, ready to help if I needed it but not wanting to be in the way. Angela (my sister) was my main birth partner and I really don’t know how I would have done it without her!
I was checked again right before midnight and had progressed to 8 cm! I knew it could still be a while (with Hypnobabies they advise against finding out how many cm you are dilated because it might discourage you).
Around 12:30am my doula arrived.
Her shift started at that time which is why I had to wait so long. When she found out I was having Leopold without medication she said “If I had known that I would have come in early”! I believe she heard ‘first time mom’ and assumed it would be a long labor accompanied by an epidural. Typically having an epidural slows things down considerably.
Our introduction was brief because she had hardly introduced herself when I started getting a wave. I threw my arms around her neck to lean on her shoulders. After my pressure wave ended she went and dug up the peanut shaped birthing ball. I finally found a comfortable spot sitting in the recliner and was breathing through my waves.
The nurse came to check on Leopold and found that his heart rate was far too low. She said “You need to switch positions, we need to get his heart rate up”. The waves had started to get more intense and I did not want to move around. She made me get on the bed and lay on one side, then the other.
It was too much. The pressure was too strong, and I was absolutely miserable. I wanted to cry but I was trying so hard to focus on my breath that it was the only thing I could make sense of. In. Out. Change sides. In. Out.