Friday, August 7, 2009

I really believe it now...

I'm so excited about how well my daughter's birth went that I just have to share the details. I want everyone to know how Hypnobirthing is responsible for making this a wonderful experience!

I finished working on June 20th, nine days before my due date. I expected my daughter to be late and hoped for a July 4th baby (her name is Scarlett and I thought that would be a great birthday for her). The next day I packed a suitcase for the hospital and that night I felt her drop so low that I had to really waddle when I walked. The entire pregnancy had been wonderfully uneventful- so much so that at the end when people asked if I was ready to not be pregnant anymore I told them that I wasn't. I wanted to enjoy a bit more time with her in there, especially after I was done working. I wanted time to finish getting ready for her arrival and relax. I did, however, finally realize that night when she dropped why people weren't so jazzed about being pregnant the last couple of weeks. I remember thinking, now this is probably what they're talking about- I finally feel uncomfortable. But I think I can make it a couple more weeks.

The next day I swore I had a bladder infection. I was feeling like the baby was moving onto my bladder and then off again. I had an appointment with my doctor that I moved up in the day because I was feeling like I just needed to rest. It was my husband's and my 7 year anniversary and so he had taken the day off. We did some errands (bought some last minute things for the hospital suitcase) and I kept having to walk a little more slowly when the baby moved back onto my bladder. At the doctor's office the doctor told me that what I was experiencing probably wasn't labor because that always starts high in the stomach and moves its way down. Also, most women can't tolerate it and I was able to have a conversation without needing to stop talking. He told me that he delivers 12 year olds, unfortunately, and even they know they're in labor. He said I would just know. And that no, I didn't have a bladder infection. I was one centimeter dilated, which could last for weeks, and I think he said I was 90% effaced. He told me he'd see me next week.

My husband and I went home, choosing to forego any other errands (what perfect anniversary plans for the day, huh?) and I immediately got into bed. I slept a while, then decided that I might actually be in labor. I started to use my Hypnobirthing breathing and listened to my relaxation CD's. Then I decided to start timing the "bladder infection-like feelings." All the while my husband was working on his dissertation on the computer which is in our room now... must make room for Scarlett! He thought I was sleeping until I asked him to help me time the cramps I was feeling. If I remember right they were around 4 minutes apart at this point, and lasted for a minute or two. All I remember specifically is that I had about a 2 minute break between them. I called my mom, who lives about 2 hours away and was planning on being at the hospital for the delivery, to tell her that I was possibly in labor. Near the end of the conversation I told her to hang on a minute. She asked if I had to stop talking during the "cramps" and I told her yes, I had to concentrate. Later she told me that she knew I was in labor at that point, even though I didn't. I just thought it was supposed to hurt more. At one point I remember taking in a deep breath and trying to fill my abdomen as big as possible, like we're taught in Hypnobirthing, and I felt a pop. I thought, oh darn, I broke my water. As far as I was concerned I had done that myself on accident because of stretching everything out. At this point I knew I was in labor for sure. I told my husband and then he finally believed it too.

I checked the fluid to see what color it was, again something learned in Hypnobirthing classes. It was a tree-green color and I knew that my little darling had pooped in there. I later found out that my husband called my mom back to let her know we were going to the hospital. He said, "We're going to the hospital... miconium!" We got a chuckle out of that later. I now realize that my Hypnobirthing affirmations that I listened to every day were more of a help than I expected- normally I would have panicked at the realization that there was miconium (sp?) in the amniotic fluid. The possibility of panicking wasn't even a thought in my mind.

The car ride was a bit more difficult because I wasn't able to concentrate fully on relaxing. My husband is quite a unique man. He does things differently. The ride was pretty much the opposite of what you'd expect from a worried husband and soon-to-be father. He stayed in the slow lane and cussed and yelled when cars had to merge in front of him. I told him that he wasn't helping me to concentrate and could he please get into the fast lane. Of course, I was much more calm than he was which I later realized was another unique part of this Hypnobirthing experience.

We arrived at the hospital and my husband was a bit stressed (he didn't practice the relaxation techniques like I did) and so he didn't want to bring in the suitcase with us. He just wanted to get to the room as quickly as possible. Of course our birth plan, etc, was in the suitcase. At least I convinced him to carry the pillows. Most important. We got to the desk at the labor and delivery floor and I was asked why I was there. I told them I was in labor. They took their time getting me to a room, which I later realized may have been because I didn't seem too uncomfortable. Once in the room they checked me and realized I was 9 cm. dilated. They then started scooting around to get things ready. It was quite funny to me. I was using my Hypnobirthing breathing and had my eyes closed, concentrating. One of the nurses decided I needed coaching and kept telling me to just blow out the candle. I ignored her because that wasn't the way I was taught to breathe and my breathing was working. (I remember thinking, hey, I've got this! I can totally do this! I AM totally doing this!!) Later my husband, bless his heart, couldn't think of anything reassuring to say to me so he told me to blow out the candle. I calmly told him, during a surge (contraction) mind you, to shut up because there was no candle. Poor guy. But he was doing everything else he could think of that he was taught to do to help during Hypnobirthing classes. Oh, and by the way, the rest of the nurses, especially the main nurse who was there with us, were phenomenal. They were very supportive of the way in which we wanted to do things.

About 2+ hours later I was pushing that baby out- without a drop of medication! I remember thinking that I swore I had heard that pushing the baby out was more uncomfortable than the contractions and I was surprised that it was actually easier for me. I also remember hearing nurses whisper to my husband that I must have a really high pain tolerance because I was doing so well. I laughed to myself because I knew it was just the breathing and Hypnobirthing training. At this point, when my baby was crowning, my mom finally arrived. She was so surprised to enter the room and see the baby about to be born. I was fully aware of everything going on, so much so that I saw the doctor (not mine, by the way- he didn't answer any of the pages) filling up a syringe. I asked him what he was doing and he looked up, kind of surprised and amused that I was able to have a conversation with him this point. He told me that it was a local anesthetic and he might have to do an episiotomy. I asked him if it wouldn't be better if I tore, as I was taught in Hypnobirthing, and he said that if my baby's heartrate dropped he'd need a way to get her out quickly. I stopped, listened to her heartrate (as I opted to keep the heartrate monitor on- I know, not an especially Hypnobirthing-approved choice) and realized that it was slowing. I calmly told him, "Okay." Later I realized that again, this was a time I would normally have freaked out- hearing my baby possibly be in trouble. He did do the episiotomy, a small one that wasn't all the way through, and I didn't feel a thing. Not even the needle for the local. I pushed Scarlett's head out and had to stop at that point so they could suction her nose and mouth to prevent her from breathing in the miconium, and then I was able to push her the rest of the way out. She was born on June 22nd at 7:21pm. She was 6 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces (she would have been 7 pounds if she hadn't decided to poop!), and was 19 3/4 inches long. What a 7 year anniversary present! (I guess its totally okay that we didn't have time to get each other gifts this year...)

Because of the miconium, they had to take her to the side immediately and a respiratory therapist made sure there was none if it in her airways. It can be very dangerous if the baby ingests it or breathes it in. Despite this, Scarlett didn't cry. She didn't cry for the whole first day. She was very calm and just wanted to look around. Her color was PERFECT- she was a pretty pink from the beginning. Her head wasn't especially out of shape either, as I expected might be. I thought that it would be a little more mis-shapen than it was, but I guess she wasn't in the birth canal for long enough for that to happen. She scored an 8 and a 9 on the apgar scale. I think it only goes to 10.

This baby has been a perfect little angel. She is happy, calm, super healthy... she actually gained a pound by her two week appointment and apparently babies usually just get back up to their birth weight by then. We had no problems with breastfeeding, even in the very beginning. This little one knows how to be a baby! She just knew exactly what to do. Basically, she is a perfect example of a Hypnobirthing baby. A calm, loving environment from the beginning of conception and on after delivery is nothing to sneeze at. I think there is definitely something to the idea that her personality was influenced by the world she lived in even in the womb. She could hear and feel everything that was going on, even then.

Thanks for taking the time to read my detailed account of my successful Hypnobirthing- I'm a detail-oriented girl. ;) I'm so proud of myself for what I was able to do and I have the ultimate respect for my body. Its true that we were made for this and I just KNOW, especially now, that what I learned during the Hypnobirthing classes was INVALUABLE!!! It was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. Another smart decision was choosing Sheri Uhrig as our Hypnobirthing practioner. She was wonderful! Thank you, Sheri!