Candace’s Quick Water Birth

June 30, 2011

Even though I know that no two births are exactly alike, I somehow operated on the misconception that my second birth would be similar to my first. Because of this thinking (and the awesome HypnoBirthing techniques Laura taught me) I almost missed my entire labor. But let me explain what happened with our first daughter.

Our first daughter was born in 2009. I wanted a natural birth, and my OB was not supportive. We gave birth at Utah Valley Regional, and it was a fight from beginning to end. My water had broken around midnight and they administered pitocin several hours later.

I made it to 7cm before I asked for something to take the edge off the pain. I did NOT want an epidural… just the thought of a needle in my spine makes me sick. Even though I did not want an IV (I have a fear of needles), they said it wasn’t optional, that I had to have one.

I did not want to labor on my back, but when I tried to get up and move around, I could feel the needle in my hand move (shudders). I begged to get into a different position during transition, but the nurses/doctor said I had to give birth flat on my back with the stirrups. When it came time to push, the nurses told me no (yeah like I had a choice in the matter). I pushed anyway. I was breathing through my pushes, and my doctor told me to hold my breath (I responded with a big fat “NO” of my own at that point).

The final cherry on the cake was that I received an episiotomy that I didn’t want. We also had to fight the nurses to keep the baby in the room with us at all times. Although it was a wonderful day because we received a very healthy baby girl and were new parents, it was also a bit of a disappointment for my husband and me.

So we decided to try a different route for our second. Our neighbor had given birth at BellaNatal twice when I approached her about midwives. She shared her experiences and gave me the information to contact them. A few months later, we were on our way to a completely new experience.

I knew I wanted to do HypnoBirthing again (I adopted the breathing techniques from the book the first time around, but wanted a more in depth experience). A quick google search turned up Hypnobirthing Utah. By reading the testimonials, I knew this was the right choice for me. I took the classes, met some wonderful people, and practiced almost every night leading up to my labor.

It all started in the early morning of June 6th. The surges started about 1:30am. I welcomed each one, knowing (as Laura always told me) that each surge of practice labor was one less of active labor.

That night, my dreams were laced with surges, as was the rest of the morning. They were short and mild, and easily manageable. My husband came home at lunch and stayed with me for the rest of the day. We went on a walk during which we laughed, touched, talked, and tried to figure out if I was in labor. I timed the contractions, but they were completely irregular in time and duration. They gradually became stronger, but not overpoweringly so. I breathed deeply during each one, and concentrated on relaxing my body.

I was unsure if I was in labor or not so we decided to take a nap around 3pm. When I laid down, I couldn’t sleep. My surges became stronger (the kind when you KNOW its doing something) but they also became further apart. I got up an hour later and decided it was time to call the midwives to see what they thought. I got ahold of Suzanne and explained the situation. She thought it sounded like I was in labor and told me I should come in just to make sure.

While we were talking I was on my hands and knees moving my hips as the surges kept coming. (BTW that position really HELPS!!) Suzanne asked me if I could be at the birth center in an hour (5 PM). I wanted to at least shower and get ready so I asked if we could come in at 6 PM. She said that was fine.

I went upstairs to wake up my husband and tell him that we are going to the birth center. I jumped in our bathtub and labored in there for a while (which felt so good!) We got everything ready to go and got everything in the car. (I totally did my hair and put on makeup. Dang it, this time I was going to be ready for pictures! HA!)

By 5:30, my contractions were super close and intense. When I told my husband it was time to go, and he responded with a “why? lets just take our time.” I responded with my own, “No honey, we have to GO!” So I went to labor in the car while my husband took our daughter to the neighbors. We promised them, and my mom, that we would let them know if we were staying at the birthing center or if they were going to send us home.

This was such a different experience from my first kid that I STILL wasn’t sure if I was in labor. On the way to the birthing center, Daryl would do light touch massage on my arms and talk in a soft voice as I was having surges (which were closer and much more intense). I was concentrating on breathing, but sitting in a car is not the most comfortable position. I was anxious to get to the birthing center so I could be on my hands and knees.

We arrived at the birthing center at 6pm. I was having a surge right when we pulled into the parking lot so my husband and I sat there holding hands and breathing together. He then helped me inside where the midwives had everything ready and were waiting for me. They checked me and told me I was a 7 or 8. I was like “really? awesome!! I missed the worst part!”

The midwives started filling up the tub for the water birth. As I slid into the warm water, I felt like I was in heaven! I continued to labor on my hands and knees, and within two surges I started feeling like it was time to breathe the baby down. I told my husband to let the midwives know it was time. I don’t think they believed him at first because they continued to peruse our birth plan.

During the next surge, I started having to push and then I felt a pop as my water broke. That was the point things started getting really intense. Up to that point, the only way my husband knew I was having surges was the surge breathing. This was a whole different ball game. I changed positions because hands and knees just didn’t feel good anymore.

With each surge I could feel the baby coming. At this point I was wishing I could have been relaxed in a deeper state, but as things happened so fast, I wasn’t able to get to where I wanted to be. I lost focus several times, but my husband always brought me back. He was constant with the light touch massage down my arms and back while whispering that our little baby was going to be born soon. It was the sweetest thing to hear my wonderful husband’s voice so joyful and full of confidence in me.

While breathing the baby down, I was much more vocal than I thought I would be, but I did what felt natural. It was minutes later that I started feeling the pressure of my baby’s head. She was coming like a freight train and I knew that if I didn’t want to tear, I would have to slow her down. So I was breathing in short, quick breaths trying to slow down that extra energy that was making her come so fast, but she kept on coming.

This was the point where things felt like they were falling apart. I just couldn’t concentrate on my breathing. I was panicking and telling my wonderfully calm husband that I couldn’t do it anymore. It was also around that point that my legs started going numb. The midwives were jumping in at that point and calmly telling me to slow my breathing in between surges, slower out than in. That helped a lot and soon I was able to refocus and breathe. I was able to relax more and allow myself to stretch. The student midwife offered to help support the perineum. This was very welcome since I wasn’t able to support it myself. One more surge and her head was out. The second half of that surge yielded the rest of her body. I was able to catch her as she came out and pull her onto my chest. She was born at 6:56pm, less than an hour after we arrived at the birth center.

I can’t explain the relief and overwhelming sense of wonder that I had at that moment. Both my husband and I were in tears as we looked into the face of our newborn baby girl. The midwives started rubbing her back and within seconds we heard the beautiful sound of her first cries. She was perfect and healthy and beautiful. I didn’t have to let go of her for 20 minutes. She was able to feed immediately and we were able to keep the cord intact. My husband cut the cord just before I delivered the placenta. He was able to have some alone time with our little baby as the midwives cleaned me up and checked everything out. All the hypnobirthing techniques paid off because I didn’t tear! WOOHOO!

It has been three weeks since that wonderful day and we are so happy to have that beautiful little girl so healthy and happy. I look back and know that experience was one of the most empowering of my life. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wonderful husband and his belief that I could have this birth the way I wanted to. I’m so grateful for the midwives as well and for their calm support. It was so nice having exactly three people in the room with me and not having to worry about a constant parade of nurses and doctors. I’m grateful for our Heavenly Father who gave me the strength and love to banish all of the fear I had about giving birth, gave me a wonderful man as a soulmate, and gave us two healthy children. And finally, I am grateful for this beautiful little spirit who was born in her own special time, and in her own special way: our Myabella.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nicole September 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

What a beautiful birth story! It brought tear to my eyes!

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