On Friday night on Feb. 26 2010, I started having regular contractions about 7 minutes apart before bed. I knew they could just as likely fade to nothing, but my husband Brandon and I got a few things ready for action anyway. Though I was able to sleep for a few hours, the contractions continued. I woke up at 1:30am and knew they were getting stronger and closer, but stayed in bed until 2:30am. At that point, I timed some contractions and saw that they were 2-3 minutes apart! I started to panic, since we live about 45 minutes from the hospital, so we quickly got things loaded up, dropped our son off with friends, and got on the road as I listened to my Hypnobabies birthing tracks on my iPod. It was a bumpy ride — I remember feeling every little bump we hit in the car!
We arrived at the hospital around 4:15-4:30am. When they checked me (sidebar: one of my nurses was someone who went to college with me, halfway across the state! Small world!), I was dilated to 7cm! I was surprised and so relieved – the entire time, I was worried that they would tell me I wasn’t in labor and it was just gas! He was still at a -3 station, so lots of “moving down” work to do!
After some monitoring, I was able to get unhooked, change into more comfortable attire – a nursing bra and sarong – and walk around the room. I tried sitting on the birthing ball, but it didn’t feel right to me. I mostly just walked around the room until a wave hit and I would grab onto something sturdy, close my eyes and lower my head, and Brandon would put counter-pressure on my lower back – worked wonders! I couldn’t believe how quickly I was able to “come back” after a wave was over. I listened to soft music, an album of worship songs that sound like lullabies. (Spencer listens to this all night while he sleeps now.)
My parents arrived around 9:30am and things were starting to pick up, so I asked to be checked again. At this point, Mom didn’t know I was planning to do give birth without any meds. I was still 7-8cm, but he was still a little high up. After this, I tried getting on my knees on the bed, with the head of the bed raised, leaning against it. It was in this position that my water soon broke.
I cannot believe how quickly things happened after that. It was immediately after my water broke that my contractions got very intense – one after another, hardly letting up. I was doubled over at the edge of the bed with a trash can beside me because I felt like I was going to vomit. I remember thinking to myself “Don’t panic, this is just Transition. This means he’s almost here.” I don’t think it was 20 minutes later that as my nurse left (from cleaning up the mess from my water breaking), she said “Call me as soon as you feel the urge to push – I mean it, as soon as you feel it!”
About 5 minutes later, I felt it. Strong.
I remember saying “I don’t know if that’s what it is, I just know it’s different!” I think they could tell I was indeed ready. Very quickly, the room started the Delivery Transformation – lots of people, lots of stuff being moved around. My midwife came in (so glad she was on call this weekend!) and got us started in the pushing phase. No stirrups, but I was on my back. I tried it on my side but was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t handle it.
I don’t know how long the preliminary pushing took before he was crowning. My mom said from start to finish, the pushing was 30 minutes. I swear it was 3 hours! It’s amazing how different they are – epidural pushing and natural pushing! It seemed to take forever, but it felt so good to push. My midwife kept reassuring me that he would be out soon and I begged her to promise me that it would be soon! My mom (who had never been in a delivery with anyone before and had a C-section herself) was to my left, crying quietly – she couldn’t handle seeing me in pain. Brandon was on my right, getting his hand nearly squashed by my grip. He was amazing though. Totally in tune with me, especially at the end.
Eventually Spencer was crowning, and very quickly he was out!! The team was great – put him right on my chest and let him stay there for a long time! I recall my first words to him as “Hi buddy! I’m so glad you’re out!” They suggested letting the cord finish pulsing, and Brandon did cut the cord, something he hadn’t wanted to do. We tried nursing right away, but Spencer wasn’t taking the bait (and struggled to get the hang of it for a few weeks). As soon as the placenta came out (odd feeling, by the way!) they weighed him and did a little “fixin’ up”. My midwife discovered that I had torn, a simple (barely 2nd degree) tear and as she prepared to do stitches with Lidocaine, she had me hold Spencer again to distract me while she did it – it worked like magic. My mommy hormones were flowing!
Spencer’s first birthday is on Sunday and he truly is a blessing. We were met with many emotional challenges during the pregnancy and he is a bright light during a cloudy time for me. As I look back on our Hypnobabies birth, I remember feeling peaceful at the end of the pregnancy and knowing that he would arrive when the time was right. The time was right on February 27th, and he shares a birthday with his late Grandma Val (Feb. 27, 1960 – Dec. 18, 2008), who would have celebrated her 50th birthday on the day he was born. In my mind, February 27th was always his “due date”, and I’m glad that even though Val will never get to hold him, that they are bonded through the date of their birth.
Tomorrow we will celebrate Spencer’s life with cake and balloons and I will delight in being his mother. Beautiful one, you are a treasure.
Interested in how Hypnobabies childbirth hypnosis can help you have a better birth? You can get two free Hypnobabies tracks here!
Just for fun, here’s the video we posted on Facebook to announce our second pregnancy! I said “Here’s a fun video of our vacation that you really want to watch!”