Alexander’s birth: an 82 minute labor!

June 23, 2010

Here is the remarkable birth story of one of my HypnoBirthing moms (who also happens to be my beautiful sister-in-law!) Much like my own birth of baby Asher, no one realized Crystal was in labor until she was nearly complete. Her surges were erratic and completely painless and she spent the evening chasing her two-year-old around the campfire! My only regret is that I wasn’t there to witness the birth of my adorable, 9 lb 7 oz nephew.

Sunday, May 30th was the day before Memorial Day, so we headed up the canyon with camping chairs, blankets, a flashlight and marshmallows to enjoy the campfire and dinner with the family. Around 4 PM, as we loaded up the car and began to drive, I noticed I was having surges. Just like with our first son Bradley, the surges were not intense and there wasn’t pressure which led me to believe they were still practice surges. They happened frequently enough that I started timing them. The entire drive up the canyon I was letting Allen know the frequency of surges. At that time, they were around 8 minutes apart. Shortly after arriving at the campsite they went down to 5 minutes apart, and then 3 minutes apart. Still not intense and without pressure. I felt energetic, happy and normal so we all went about our day as usual. Bradley ran around the campsite, requiring Allen and I to take turns also running around after him. Family kept asking if I was in labor, to which I responded “eh *shrug*, I don’t know, probably not”. I explained how I was feeling and they all suggested I wasn’t in labor yet and that I would know by the intensity when I was.

By 11pm we were ready to go home. On the way down the canyon I began to feel some strangely intense pressure. I didn’t feel the urge to push, or any stronger surges, but I felt as though the baby might just fall out on his own in the car. Allen and I laughed about the idea of actually going into labor that night and how ironic it would be considering his entire family was up at the campsite still and we weren’t able to reach any of them.

We decided to take showers to get the campfire smell off of us and then continued to time surges. I was unable to accurately note when they were beginning and ending at times and they were still not consistent, so we decided to go to bed. At this point it was around 1am. At 2:30am I awoke to use the bathroom and noticed there was more pressure, but still nothing I couldn’t sleep through, so I went back to bed.

At 3:30 AM I woke again but this time I felt that the intensity of the surges had increased, so I woke Allen and had him help me with the HypnoBirthing techniques. Our plan was to labor at home as long as possible before heading to the birth center. A minute later he started a warm bath for me to relax in. He lit candles and placed them all around various locations to make it relaxing. As I was waiting for him to prepare the bath, my water broke. I could tell the baby was going to come fast. I began to panic because Allen’s family wasn’t around to come watch Bradley. It made it very difficult to relax and focus on breathing. HypnoBirthing is all about relaxation. I had Allen call our good friend Jordan Clark to watch Bradley. Thankfully, he answered our calls and was here in minutes. We rushed out the door as soon as he arrived.

On our way to the birth center, Allen and I did our hypnobirthing breathing and it worked beautifully. The drive to the birth center was the best part of the entire labor in my opinion. When we arrived I instantly felt the need to push. My midwives quickly checked to see how far along I was, and I was already dilated to 9cm. I had gone through all of labor and transition in my sleep that night. Apparently hypnobirthing really worked for me! I was completely relaxed and without fear allowing me to progress naturally through the night without pain. There wasn’t time to get the birthing tub filled with water since I was pushing from the moment I entered the birthing center. In hypnobirthing you are taught to breathe the baby down, and not necessarily “push”. However, the urge to push was so strong that I couldn’t keep from pushing. 20 minutes later Alexander was born. Labor was 1 hour and 22 minutes.

They put him directly on my skin right away. Alexander pushed himself up to self attach for breastfeeding. Many people don’t know that it’s a natural instinct for a newborn to self attach to the nipple. With an epidural or other anesthesia, babies aren’t able to do that. Not to mention in the hospital you generally are wearing the hospital gown so the baby isn’t skin to skin right away, and more frequently the hospital staff will take the baby away to weigh, clean and do their tests before giving the baby a chance to breastfeed.

It was beautiful to have the opportunity to hold my newborn the instant he entered this world, to watch him naturally self attach and bond with him right away. The midwives delivered the placenta, wrapped it up and put it on the bed next to us before ever cutting the cord. There wasn’t a need to suction him. He naturally cleared his airway with a couple coughs.

Unfortunately since his delivery was so quick I had 3 tears that needed stitching up. That entire time I just held and nursed him. It wasn’t until after they were done with the stitches, about an hour later, that Allen cut the cord. Alexander was healthy and perfect. He weighed 9 lbs 7 oz, and was 21 inches long. He never got jaundice and I truly believe that was because we were able to delay cutting the cord as long as possible.

Our little Alex is now just over 2 weeks old and weighs 10 lbs 5 oz. The doctor had to ask to confirm his age, saying he looked like he was a month old. He looks tiny to me, but I guess he’s the expert!

I do wish I could have had the waterbirth I’d been planning, but overall it was an incredible experience and I’m so grateful I was able to give Alexander the best start in life I possibly could.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sara Wells June 23, 2010 at 10:32 pm

This is an awesome experience, I loved readng it!! So cool!! Congrats!!

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