Debbie’s Second Birth: Unassisted Home Hypno Water Birth!

February 10, 2014

The Birth of Elizabeth Jean

As soon as we found out we were going to have a baby, we just felt it would be Elizabeth. The due date was July 30, 2013, so of course we hoped for the 28th (her daddy’s favorite number, and exactly one month before her older brother would turn two).  We had been planning for Elizabeth’s birth since Michael was born! We had so many regrets from his birth that we knew the only way to heal emotionally would be to do it right the next time!

Choosing our Midwife

We knew we wanted a home birth this time around, and I was pretty sure I wanted Melody Pendleton Dicken to be my midwife (based on another girl’s birth story that I heard after Michael was born.)  When we met with Melody in person, we were sure that she’d be a great midwife for us, and she was! I can’t believe the difference in care from a midwife, compared to a group of OBs, or even a group of CNMs!  It was so great to meet with one person each time, and build a relationship with her, and learn from her. Melody spent about an hour with me at each appointment and taught me so much, and really prepared me physically and mentally for this birth!  It was also nice to have her cell phone number and be able to call her with any concern, day or night!  After telling her that my last labor was 36 hours, she suggested a few different herbs to shorten labor and boy did they ever work!

Waters release!

On Sunday July 28th I woke up at 12:45am because my water had broken.  It was more of a trickle than a gush, so I wasn’t sure at first, but when it kept trickling as I walked or moved in different positions, I was pretty sure it had indeed broken, so I woke Will up to tell him, and he was so excited!  (He kept telling me I’d have the baby on Sunday, but I was pretty sure I was going to go past my due date this time.) Since I wasn’t having contractions at all yet, Will headed to WalMart to get a few last minute things that we needed, and I tried to get a little rest.  I texted Melody & Laurel (our doula) to let them know, and then I texted Mandy & Jocelyn (my sisters in law who were going to take pictures for me) Just to give them all the heads up, then I turned on my “Visualizing Your Ideal Birth” track that my Hypnobirthing teacher Laura Curtis made, and tried to fall asleep. After about 45 minutes, the braxton hicks contractions started to turn into real contractions, though they barely felt different than the Braxton Hicks and they were about 8-10 minutes apart.  By the time Will got home from WalMart, they were getting much stronger, and a little closer together, so he was running around the house getting everything ready that was on the list from the midwife, and running back up to help me through the contractions.

Our Doula Arrives

By about 2:30 am, I really wanted Laurel to come, but I didn’t want to call too soon, and have her here all night AND all day, but finally Will said to me, “do you want two people here to help you?” and I said yes, so he called Laurel and asked her to come when she could, but it wasn’t urgent. She got here at about 3:30, and at that point the contractions really picked it up a notch and got closer together, so I was really glad to have both Will & Laurel helping me! The contractions were all about a minute long, and anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart, so they were really manageable, especially with Laurel reminding me to relax. I even remember a few really intense contractions that she told me to tell my body to “bring it on!” which reminded me that I could handle it, and I was in control of things!

With every contraction, I tried to relax my entire body like I had learned in Hypnobirthing, but with such a huge muscle contracting, it was very difficult to know if I was indeed relaxing, still I never gave up, and Laurel helped by reminding me of all the things I had learned and practiced.  It also helped a lot having Laura’s birth track, that I had listened and relaxed to for months, playing in the background! Laurel also kept the peppermint and lemon oils handy, to help with the nausea, and she knew the pressure points and counter pressure to help ease the contractions. Will was also so wonderful through each contraction! he gave me the support I needed and said the right things to help me through the hard work I was doing.  It was so comforting to know he was going through this with me and working almost as hard as I was ;)  For the first hour or so, we’d all chat between contractions, and it was a very enjoyable time, but then I got very tired and the contractions were getting much stronger, so I tried to just rest between them. Thankfully the contractions never got to strong to handle, or I never got too tired to handle them, like with my last labor.

 Breathing Baby Down

At the point when Will called Laurel, I thought he had also called Melody with the same message, to come when she could but it wasn’t urgent, so after a while of very strong contractions, I blurted out, “when is Melody going to be here?”  Will actually hadn’t called her, he was waiting for me to ask him to, so at that point he did call her.  The problem is that only about 4 or 5 contractions later, my body pushed, and suddenly I felt Elizabeth’s head come down.  I said to Will and Laurel “Oh crap, she’s coming!” Laurel asked what I was feeling and I said “a head, I feel her head!” so they immediately helped me off the bed, to move me to the tub, but at that point, the contractions were so close together, and the pushing urge so strong that I couldn’t move at all during them, so it took 4 contractions before I finally could get into the water! The most difficult thing about these contractions was that my body was pushing so hard and I was trying not to let it because I knew my body needed to stretch out more before the head would fit through. I have to admit I was not so quiet during these pushing contractions because I was fighting them so urgently! One of my fears was to tear because I had been given such a huge episiotomy last time to accommodate the forceps birth, that healing was very painful & difficult!

Our Little Girl Slips Into the World

imageWhen I was finally in the water, I felt such relief! The water felt so soothing and the stretching didn’t burn as bad, and my body was supported more so I was able to relax.  Will was in the water with me, and after only one or two contractions, Elizabeth’s head forced it’s way out, but it really didn’t hurt too badly, it was more of a relief to have her coming out.  Will was so excited and was cradling and petting her head.  I reached down and felt her chubby little cheeks, and I could actually feel her hand poking out  near her neck.  I was afraid to let my body push for the next contraction because I knew I had torn, but then I thought “oh well, now her body will come out more easily, so it will be fine” besides that, Elizabeth was trying to get out! She was kicking and pushing herself out, so then with the next contraction I just went with it and out she came like a rocket into the water! Will said she came out Superman style, with one arm aimed forward.  He was ready to lift her out of the water, but I reached down at that moment and turned her face down (like Melody had prepared me to do, so the water wouldn’t rush into her nose) and lifted her out of the water and onto my chest. It was the MOST AMAZING moment of my life!!!!

Daddy Gets to Fall in Love

image-1There we were, Me, my dear husband and our tiny newborn baby in a tub, in our room, just the three of us together as a family. It was so personal and perfect! Elizabeth was wiggling and blinking and then she started to cry. Laurel placed a towel over her, so she’d stay warm and then Will asked if I had checked to make sure she was a girl.  I hadn’t checked, I was just concerned that she was breathing and well, so I asked him to check.  He opened the towel and sure enough she was a girl.  She also had the cord wrapped around her leg, so he untangled it and covered her back up. She was so perfect with a ton of dark hair and a chubby little face and she was tiny, just like her brother was.  I couldn’t believe I had done it, and it was only 5:55 am.  In just about 5 hours from the time my water had broken, I actually had dilated to a ten and delivered my little baby!  I had never been checked, not once in my entire pregnancy, and my body had done all that it was supposed to in order to bring a baby into the world all on its own!

Our Midwife Arrives

Although we knew the labor would be shorter this time because of the herbs that Melody had me taking, we did not think it would be that short, so we had not called the midwife in time, or my sisters to take pictures!  So a minute or two after her birth, we were teaching Laurel how to use the iPhone camera.  About three minutes after Elizabeth was born, Melody arrived and set to work making sure we were all OK, preparing to get me out of the water and into bed, and a million other things. Then a couple of minutes after Melody’s arrival, my mom got here. She opened the door and her jaw dropped and her eyes got very large!  She was not expecting to walk into the room and see Elizabeth already born!  Her face was a priceless mix of shock and disbelief! Then she finally uttered “already?”

 Birthing the Placenta

At this point, Melody said if my body felt like pushing again, to go ahead and the placenta would come out.  I actually had felt more contractions, and it hadn’t occurred to me that I still had this to do, so on the next contraction I gave a little push and out it came.  Melody wrapped up the placenta and Elizabeth together and handed the precious bundle to Laurel as Will got out of the water to take a shower, and I got out to get dried off and into bed.  At this point it was getting quite light outside as the new day was dawning, and I was a new woman! I had faced my doubts and worries about my body’s ability to birth a baby without medical intervention and would forever be empowered by this “unassisted” birth!

 Family Bonding Time

image-3Around this time Mandy arrived to take pictures, and Michael woke up to meet his new little sister. My mom brought Michael into the room where Will and I were in bed with our new little daughter, and Michael joined us.  We explained that this was the baby that was in Mommy’s tummy and told him that it was his sister Elizabeth.  He seemed to understand, and then he said “silly baby!” We spent a little time with our two children and then my mom took Michael home with her for the day so that we could spend time with Elizabeth and rest up.

Newborn Exam

image-5The day was amazing! There we were, in the comfort of our own room with our little family and these amazing women taking care of everything for us! After a little while, Melody’s daughter arrived to help with the newborn check, and it was time to be stitched up.  Will and Mandy stayed with Elizabeth while she had her cord clamped and Will cut it, then they weighed and measured her. She was 6 pounds 6 ounces and she measured 18.5 inches.
Melody spent a few more hours cleaning and taking care of all the things we needed. I can’t say enough about how wonderful a midwife’s care is throughout the pregnancy and birth!  I am so, so glad I had planned on a home birth and that Melody had prepared me so perfectly for it!  I was never afraid, even when Melody did not arrive in time because I knew what to do. As I look back on things, I’m really glad I had planned on a home birth because that is what I would have had either way!  I never would have thought to go to the hospital that soon!
Elizabeth’s birth was the perfect healing process I needed and had hoped for. Now I will always look forward with excitement to the births of our future children!

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