If you were following my blog when I was pregnant, you probably remember how frustrated I was in the weeks before I went into labor. I had many labor signs that felt real & I was becoming emotionally drained from not actually going into labor. I actually worried I’d never be able to tell when I was going into labor because I had painful contractions for weeks. But it did happen and I did “just know,” like many other moms had told me I would.
I went into labor at 9 pm on Tuesday the 14th (39 weeks 4 days). The two days prior, I had been having some cramps that felt a little different. I thought things might be coming, but I was trying not to be hopeful due to all the false labor I’d had. I tried to go to bed around 10:30 but did not sleep at all due to contractions being painful. Finally, at 1:30 AM or so, I woke up my husband to tell him I hadn’t slept at all. He got up with me and started helping me through contractions by keeping me in a state of hypnosis and helping me relax through each contraction.
Then after a while of lying around and still having contractions, he thought it would be a good idea to time them. We timed them for about 45 minutes and they were 4 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds each. We figured it was time to call, but I was also sort of in denial about the whole thing just in case I wasn’t really in labor. We called and they said sure, come on in and get checked out, but I think because I sounded so calm, they didn’t really think I was in labor.
We started packing our (many) bags for the hospital. I had things only about half-way packed since most the stuff we were bringing was being used daily. After packing, we got in the car and left but then a few minutes into our drive we realized we forgot one of our Hypnobabies handbooks so we went back to get it.
We arrived at the hospital at about 4:30 AM. We got checked into one of the nicer labor & delivery rooms (for some reason they are all a little different at the hospital I went to). The walls were a nice lavender color and made me feel calm. As soon as we got there, a nurse handed me a gown to change into but immediately another nurse said, “No, no! Don’t give that to her! She has her own gown.” I was amazed! They actually read my birth plan & were respecting it!
I then got hooked up to the monitors. Baby looked great, but as soon as we got there my contractions started to slow down a bit, more like 5-6 minutes apart. After being all hooked up, the midwife came to explain to me that if I did change my mind and want any pain medication or an epidural, I’d need a saline lock or IV. They knew I didn’t want this but just wanted to let me know that I’d need a whole bag of IV fluids to go through me before I could get any drugs. They just wanted to make sure that I knew I couldn’t wave a magic wand and get drugs instantly. I still declined the saline lock, which they were fine with. I think this was a great decision in following through with the all natural route instead of creating a “back up plan.”
Then they let us chill out for a while before they checked my dilation. I started to get a little worried that we came in too soon and that my labor may stall out since things slowed down. I got checked and was 5 cm though. The midwife who checked me was very surprised! Again, I think it’s because I was calm and not moaning through the pain or anything. They said I was for sure being admitted then. I was so excited that this was finally it!
I continued to labor without any interruption. The nurses were pretty hands off and let us be, which was nice. I had a power bar and some yogurt since it was getting to be about breakfast time & drank some water and juices. I listened to a Hypnobabies track, took an hour-long shower while swaying my hips back and forth (that felt so good), sat on an exercise ball, and layed on my side to try to rest. I got checked about four hours later and was still 5, “maybe 6” cm dilated. Again, I got a little discouraged that things might not be going well and worried pitocin or other interventions I didn’t want would be needed. I thought maybe I’d deliver her by late afternoon (3-4 PM) and hubby thought more like 7-8 PM that night based on how things were going.
Before coming in, we had decided we wanted to tell our parents when I went into labor. Since things didn’t seem to be progressing all that quickly, I wanted to wait a while until I was 6-7 cm dilated so I wouldn’t be bothered all day if labor took that long. We never did get the chance to tell anyone I was in labor until afterward though, since things picked up rather quickly.
After laying in bed for while and getting uncomfortable, I decided to get on the exercise ball again. I sat on it for about two minutes and then felt like something kicked me inside but it wasn’t the baby. Then I realized my water broke! I’m so glad my water broke on its own because the doctors kept offering to break it for me to speed things along if I wanted, but I wasn’t sure if that was a good choice.
After my water broke, things got intense fast. Earlier when talking to the midwife, I said I wanted to use the tub to labor in. I asked her when the best time for that was and she said “when you feel like you can’t do this anymore.” This was that time, so I told hubby to tell the nurses to get the tub ready.
He left the room to tell them but by the time he came back, I had the urge to push. I felt like she might be coming out right then. My husband realized that we needed the staff now so he pushed the call button for the nurses. For about 15 minutes I had much more intense and closer together contractions. I started shaking and felt like I was about to throw up. I had a bag at my mouth the whole time but never did actually throw up. Two nurses came in & immediately started prepping the baby table & things. I think my main nurse just knew that this was happening fast. She wanted to check me and told me to lay down to do so (I so didn’t want to), but when she did she said her head was right there!
After that point, I pretty much had my eyes closed and was in the zone until she was born. It was a total out-of-body experience. I could hear what people were saying but I wasn’t really responding and was just listening to what my body was telling me to do, which was to push this baby out. The urge to push was incredibly strong and felt relieving. I felt like my body just took over and did what it needed to do. I held onto my husband and he supported me the whole time, cuing me to relax between contractions. My body literally went completely limp a few times when I wasn’t having a contraction (which is exactly what Hypnobabies teaches you to do). Before I knew it, they said her head was out & in one more push her whole body would be too.
I finally opened my eyes when she was placed on my chest. She was so alert and didn’t cry too much right away. I thought I would be very emotional or cry when I first saw her, but I felt like I was so focused during labor that it was a relief to just chill out. My husband and I looked at her face, held her tiny hands, and looked in her eyes when she finally opened them. She was perfect!
From the time my water broke to the time she was born was only about 30 minutes. I was in transition with the really intense contractions for 15 minutes and then pushed for 15 minutes, which honestly felt like five minutes to me, if even. It all happened so fast. Looking back on it now, it’s hard to even remember it in much detail anymore.
After she was born, they let me hold her on my chest for about ten minutes before weighing her. They even asked if it was okay to take her to weigh her and do other newborn procedures. Our staff was honestly the nicest medical professionals I’ve ever dealt with. They honored all my wishes, asked me before doing anything, were so supportive during pushing, & just so nice.
We stayed in the labor & delivery room for about two hours after she was born before moving to the maternity ward. She nursed right away, we ordered some lunch, & called all our family to tell them she had arrived. I was on such a high after she was born. I had been awake for about 30 hours at that point but I didn’t feel tired at all. I just wanted to hold her & soak it all up.
Looking back on her birth over a week later, I’m so thankful for my birthing experience. Things couldn’t have gone any better. Hypnobabies worked wonderfully as a relaxation tool during labor and really helped me overcome fears about childbirth. I felt so confident and calm during the whole process. My husband was an amazing supporter during labor – he seriously blew me away with how well he helped me. He was calm the entire time, helped me relax, change positions & get comfortable. It was a really great experience to share with him that I’ll always look back on fondly.
In total, my labor was around 14 hours from the first contractions I got to meeting Claire. That sounds long, but it didn’t feel long at all. I was in the hospital for six hours before she was born. I would say of the whole 14 hours, only the time from when my water broke to her being born was hard. And even so, it was really more intense than painful. Yes, birth is painful but it never felt like I was dying or couldn’t manage since I knew the pain would end.
I would without a doubt have another baby in a heartbeat. In fact, I’d rather give birth again than be pregnant for nine months again! Pregnancy was much harder in my opinion. I found birth to be very empowering and motivating. Dare I say I actually thought it was kind of fun? Her birth is definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Thanks so much to you guys for following along during the whole process & being so encouraging toward the end. I’m excited to share my journey into motherhood with y’all now 🙂