William Thomas’s Birth
To start Will’s story, I have to say that after the birth of my daughter 21 months earlier, I was determined to VBAC and wanted to do anything in my powers to make that happen. I found a practice that was willing to perform VBACs (not a small feat in New Jersey) and even boasted a 67% success rate. I then also focused on having a manageable labor where I could feel more in control than I did at my first birthing (a 48 hour long induction that was followed by c-section after pushing for 2 hours). So, I diligently studied Hypnobabies every night and felt as though I could handle any discomfort that would come my way. The one thing I was not able to accomplish was envisioning my child birthing vaginally – my mind had no problem, however, spontaneously conjuring up the image of a repeat c-section.
As I approached 40 weeks, I began to feel anxiety about whether or not anything would happen the way I hoped or if I was going down the same path I had with my daughter. I was still only 40% effaced, 2 cm dilated, and baby was in -1 to -2 position. As 41 weeks came, my OB recommended an induction as the best odds for my successfully VBAC’ing. I really did not want this to happen because it reminded me of the initial step in the downward spiral of my first birth. After making the difficult decision to allow an induction, I went to sleep praying that I would go into labor and not have to call the hospital in the morning to find out what time to come in for the induction.
Alas, that did not happen and I went to the hospital at 9 am to check in. My OB recognized that I was very ambivalent about the procedure and requested the most “seasoned” nurse who enjoyed natural childbirthing to help me along. She hooked me up to the IV and was responsive to my requests for “as little fluid as possible” since I blew up so with my daughter while on the IV. At a little past 10 am, the Pitocin started and my doctor wanted to break my water. I requested to wait and see if the membranes ruptured on their own. By 1:30, there was not much change (4 cm and 40% effacement) and I consented to the amniotomy. From there, things really took off. Within an hour I was 6 cm and 100% effaced. The pressure waves were consistent and beginning to be much more intense. Within ½ hour (2:30-3 pm), I was begging for an epidural because I was thinking I was nowhere near the end and it was very intense – I could not get my thoughts together quickly enough between the contractions to prepare for the next one. I began to feel as though I was losing control. My husband (Rusty) and my doula (Judy) encouraged me to “get through one more wave…” despite my attempts to calmly request pain meds. A nurse popped in and turned down the pitocin, which lessened the intensity of the waves, but I still wanted the meds. Again, this was a disappointment because I felt like this was potentially another negative step, but I was prepared to accept the consequences of the decision.
As I was trying to manage the pain, I began to feel as though I needed to have a bowel movement – a classic sign that I ignored because I thought I had hours to go still. When I told Rusty and Judy this, they encouraged me to “just let it happen.” I was loathe to go in the bed but something had to give! Well, of course that wasn’t the sensation that was actually occurring – my baby was coming. Judy noticed that I changed at this point (either my sounds, or my body movements, whatever – I’m not sure) and she went to get the OB. When he came in and checked me, he found that I was now 10 cm and the baby was coming out! Needless to say this was a surprise to everyone since 30 minutes earlier I was just over half way there. So, there was a mad dash to get everything into place and prepared for the baby’s arrival. Just at this moment, the anesthesiologist entered the room, but my OB told him we wouldn’t need the epidural since I was ready to go. At first I didn’t realize that it was time for me to push – then when I understood that it was, I had a hard time believing it! Five relieving pushes later, Will came to us at 3:15!
Will’s birth was an amazing experience that I feel so grateful to have had. I had the joy of surprising myself with both my physical and emotional strength. In discussing our experience, my husband and I felt that we didn’t use either Judy or the Hypnobabies training as we intended, but were grateful to have had both. I think we were expecting a longer process where we would have the opportunity to utilize more of the hypnosis techniques and benefit from Judy’s experience. We agreed, though, that both contributed to us having a beautiful birth. Judy told us that Will’s birth was the “second best” she’d ever been a part of – the first going to her best friend, whom she helped deliver (I’ll take second to that!). She said from her perspective I was calm, focused, and at ease. I would recommend Hypnobabies to anyone who is looking to have a similar experience.