What happens when your birth takes an unexpected turn?

October 14, 2011

This post has been a long time coming. It is something that needs to be addressed in a sensitive way, because we always want to “focus on the positive” in HypnoBirthing. However, the beautiful thing about the universe is that sometimes the greatest good comes from our greatest trials.

I have had three very different births: The first was long and difficult and painful, but it was an empowering experience, and I never suffered. My second birth was comparatively short, but it was traumatic, painful, and my baby and I both suffered, physically and emotionally. My third birth was free of pain, free of trauma, free of suffering, and was the most amazing and life changing experience I’ve ever had.

I don’t talk a lot about my second birth, because I only want to pass on my positive birth stories to the moms I work with. But the truth is, the birth of my second son made me who I am today. It started me on a path to find a better way to give birth. In a way, my precious Noah has saved a lot of other babies from the suffering he had to bear as a new little human. The reason I teach passionately is because I have seen both sides of birth. I know how terrible it can be under the wrong circumstances, and I know how ecstatic it can be when everything goes right.

Every now and then, one of my wonderful HypnoBirthing couples has to face complications and special circumstances that they would have never imagined. These mamas may struggle with disappointment and grief over their birth experiences, just as I did. But we have a secret: our difficult births brought angels into our lives who make us better people every single day. For these little ones we have wept, we have struggled, we have sacrificed, we have lost countless hours of sleep, we have worried and hoped and prayed. And every night when we look into their eyes we know it’s all worth it.


Jen’s Story: Medical complications, fearless mama!

My husband and I were planning an Hypnobirth, ideally a water-hypnobirth at our local birth center. We were seeing a doctor until halfway my second trimester, then decided to go with a midwife after taking Hypnobirthing classes. I had pre-term contractions around 28 weeks, in which I was monitored at the hospital for awhile, then sent home. I hated being on those ridiculous hospital beds, and vowed I wanted a more comfortable, controlled birth when the right time comes.

When I was 37 weeks along, I started having braxon-hicks surges at work. I ignored them at first, as they were irregular and didn’t distract me too much from my job. After a couple hours, I noticed they were getting consistant, about 7-10 minutes apart, and they were starting to get strong enough that it was hard to concentrate during the surges.

I left around noon for a prenatal with the midwives. I mentioned the surges, but was only a centimeter dilated. At home, they remained consistant, and became harder to deal with. Of course, I went full force in my Hypnobirthing techniques at this point. My mom came over as she was convinced I was in labor. We went back to the midwives that night, and they could tell I was dealing with strong surges, but I was still a centimeter dilated.

The surges then became irregular again, varying in strength. Over the next few days, it was the same thing, irregular surges, varying in strength. Unfortunetely, the surges were strong enough that I couldn’t perform my job, so I decided to go onto maternity leave early, convinced I was going to deliver in the next few days.

At one point, the surges start to get so strong that I couldn’t talk, they felt like heavy menstrual cramps. We headed back to the birth center, they said I’m still two centimeters dialated. They pulled me aside and told me perhaps I should go to the hospital because they feel something might be wrong.

We headed to the hospital, they gave me a morphine shot for the pain, and sent me home. At this point the surges were almost unbearable. We kept using the hypnobirthing methods non-stop, and I took tons of baths/showers trying to manage the pain. Something was wrong, I felt for sure this was labor, but I felt like it was not progressing as I had hoped.

The next morning we went back to the hospital, at this point I didn’t sleep for a couple days because the surges, which was anywhere from 3-7 minutes apart, 1 minute long, and strong. I didn’t eat much either, as I threw up each time I did eat anything. I had to force the liquids in, which was hard. They gave me another morphine shot and sent me home, again.

The next day I about had it, the morphine shot didn’t work, something was wrong, and I felt like I shouldn’t be going through all this pain, for almost a week, and be turned away from the hospital again. We went back to the hospital, and they gave me a third shot of morphine, and then a nurse suggested I take a urine test. She found out I had a really bad UTI, which was causing all the pain. She says because I’m almost 38 weeks they can’t induce me quite yet, due to hospital policy. I was about 3 centimeters at this point. She said the UTI will clear up in about 4 days and sent me home.

I guzzled down a ton of cranberry juice, and my mom-in-law came over to watch me. Later that night, I was in so much pain (from the UTI), that I went to sleep on the couch in the living room, as my husband slept on the other couch. I felt a strong surge, and I breathed and forced a smile (which seemed to be the only thing that helped the surges at this point), and I noticed my water broke. I calmly told my husband we were going back to the hospital. He got up to get dressed.

I went to use the bathroom and to clean myself up, afterwards as I stepped out of the bathroom I had another strong surge. I fell to the ground, it was like my legs quit on me. Could this be transition? I thought. I told my husband to call 911. He tried to get me to stand up, and I couldn’t. I started to black out a little. At this point, keep in mind, I didn’t eat or sleep for about four days straight because of this UTI pain. He called 911 and a police officer rushed over. He told me that this is completely natural (you think?). Then the paramedics came and loaded me up in the ambulence to take me to American Fork Hospital (which was another hospital closer to home). The whole ride was a blur.. I was so out of it at that point!

I was so against getting an epidural, but for the fact I was dehydrated and needed to be hooked up to the IV, and I was running a low fever, plus I really needed sleep,I felt like it was the best option. I could have kissed that epidural man, all the pressure and pain from the UTI from the last few days just went away. I got little sleep though, I think my husband was way too excited. My parents also hung out in the room with us wanting to view the birth.

I went from 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters in about 5-6 hours. When it was time to push, we found out that my baby was posterier. Because he was sitting so low, they ruled out a c-section (yay!), and said I could push, in which I ended up pushing for about 2 ½ hours. At this point, most of the epidural wore off, but I didn’t mind. With surge breathing I was able to manage the surges, and I felt in control. The one thing I didn’t like was the fact the nurses and doctor wanted me to do the hold breath pushing. That didn’t feel as nicely as surge breathing.

At 2:50 in the afternoon, my son Braedan came into this world, at 6 pounds, 3 ounces, and 19 inches long. They placed him immediately on my stomach, and my husband placed his hand on his back. When they took him to get him cleaned up, my husband kept his hand placed on him the whole time. I believe this created an unbreakable bond between the two, he’s such a daddy’s boy! Afterwards, they allowed me about 40 minutes of skin-to-skin contact with my son before giving him his first bath. I felt that wonderful rush of natural oxytocin, and I am so happy my little boy is here.

I struggled for awhile after the birth feeling like I had failed my Hypnobirth, but then I remembered something Laura said. A successful Hypnobirth is not a birth without drugs, it’s a birth without fear. Now that I’m pregnant and expecting baby #2, I realize that I have no fear at all about the birth or the surges. From this last experience, I know now what to expect, I know I’m much more confident to have an umedicated, natural birth. I call that a success!


Tiffany’s Story: “A friend loveth at all times.” – Proverbs 17:17

As I sit in our family room with little Maxwell in my arms I canʼt help but think back on the last week. It has been a full week since I was admitted into the hospital, and has been a week full of pure love for our new baby boy.

Last Thursday, June16th, I woke up feeling weird. Will had slept through his work alarm, and I ended up startling him out the door. I on the other hand tried to sleep a little while longer, but ended up watching “A Bugs Life” instead.

Maxwell has always been a mover inside my belly. His favorite was butt up, legs stretched out. But this morning I hardly felt him move. I waited for a bit, drank sugary juice, drank tons of water…nothing. So I called the doctors office and they got me seen right away. Tanei and Nohea accompanied me to this appointment. I had vitals looked at, a stress test run, and constant monitoring of babies heart rate. Turned out that my blood pressure was again high, and the baby was not surrounded by enough fluid to keep him safe. Conclusion: Off to the Hospital.

Will came home from work, Tanei and I dropped Nohea off at Jake and Katʼs, I grabbed something to eat, and got all my stuff ready for the hospital. To say I wasnʼt scared would be a lie, but knowing I had Will and Tanei there for love and support I knew in my heart it was going to be okay. Although NOTHING could have prepared me for the days ahead.

When Will and I first found out we were pregnant our good friend Tanei recommended we use Hypnobirthing as our birthing method. After doing research we decided as a family this would be a great fit for us. We attended classes and learned how to relax, breath through contractions, work together as a couple, and enjoy the birthing experience. The classes were informative and gave us the tools to help us with birth. Will and I practiced the Hypnobirthing techniques and felt prepared as a couple for the birth of our little boy.

Will, Tanei and I headed to the hospital on Thursday afternoon and arrived at 2:30pm. By 3pm I was in a hospital gown, had my hep-lock placed, and the doctor started me on a drug that would help thin my cervix. This was the major problem my cervix was not softening, and therefore I wasnʼt dilating. The pill was given every three hours, and would slowly start contractions with the hope to bring on labor naturally. The average person only needing 3 doses…I needed six. I was having pretty regular and strong contractions at this point, and when they checked me after the six dose, 18 hours later, I was at last dilated to a ONE!

At 7am on Friday Morning they started me on pitocin and I continued to have regular contractions. I was using my breathing techniques and trying to relax during contractions. Tanei would rub my back and Will would hold my hand, both speaking quiet and encouraging words. We watched the Jetsons, listened to music, ate lime flavored ice chips and keep a happy and upbeat atmosphere in the room. This phase lasted a long time, but eventually I reached a dilation of FIVE. My body then stalled and I was stuck on a five four hours. At this point it was early Saturday Morning, and I was
in “active labor” for about 18 hours making my total about 36 hours. I was getting tired and my contractions were getting stronger and stronger. I was given a mild pain medicine in my IV to take the edge off the contractions.

Tanei took a little break to go home to be with her family and our good friend Stooph came to take Taneiʼs place for a bit. Together at 2am, Stooph, Will and I decided that I needed an epidural to calm the contraction pain, This was not something I had planned, but after about 40 hours of labor my body was tired and needed relief. Even though this was not in my plans, I had to change my outlook on my labor and delivery and realize what matters most was the healthy arrival of my baby boy.

The epidural did bring mild relief but I could still feel the contractions pretty strong. Tanei came back and most of the day on Saturday we spent in the room quietly breathing through each contraction. It was a long day. We went through many wonderful nurses and one nurse we had twice because we were in the labor and delivery department for so long. Then at about noon I was dilated to a seven. Feeling hopeful we kept plunging forward. The doctors were trying to avoid a c-section at all cost. But more frustrating news came to be, I was spiking a fever and my blood pressure was on the rise. Little Baby Max was still strong in my tummy, and his heart beat gave everyone hope that he was going to come into the world safe and sound.

I called a very close family friend in New Jersey, Fran Caswell (Mom #2), and asked her to start saying prayers, and prayers she must have said because within an hour I went from a seven to a ten and on my way to pushing baby Maxwell out. Prays work, always. Sometimes they just come in ways that we least expect it. My Mother and Heavenly Father were paying very close attention to me and I could feel their love all around me, it was astounding.

I pushed for 2.5 hours. I pushed my little heart out. I tried my best to get him out and in my arms. But after all the pushing we could only see the crown of his head and we were at a standstill again. The doctor came in a few times to check on my progress, and when he realized that his little head wasnʼt moving anymore he checked an Max had flipped his little body over and was posterior. Now we had to make some decisions.

1. Stop all medications and go dry turkey to try and get him out.
2. Get me preped for the OR and try to use forceps to flip baby over so I can still deliver vaginally. If there was problems, I would have an emergency c-section.
3. Have a c-section. This was a last resort for everyone. The doctor didnʼt want to perform a c-section at all.

Will and I decided, in between my tears and fears, that we would try to flip the baby and push him out.
I was prepped and in the OR. The doctor had Will sing “Come Come ye Saints” while the forceps were going into my tummy. And EVERYONE in the OR room cheered Max on to flip. I kept saying “Do it for Mommy!” And guess what – He FLIPPED! I pushed TWICE and he was OUT!

Max was born with Meconium all down his lungs and had to be in the NICU for about 17 hours. He had breathing problems, and needed to be monitored closely. They said it burned his esophagus and lungs because of the amount of time the meconium was in his little system. But we are extremely grateful that it was only that long, and feel blessed that he made strides in the NICU to be able to be with us on the mother/baby floor soon thereafter.

We were able to come home from the hospital on Monday night. It was the best feeling to walk through our condo door and know that all members of our family were home. Maxwell has changed my life in so many ways. I never thought I would be capable to love another human like I do him. He is a darling little man, and Will and I are so proud to be his parents.

“Just as Jesus used a child in His mortal ministry as an example for the people of the pure love they must and could have to be like Him, He has offered us the family as an example of an ideal setting in which we can learn how to love as He loves. That is because the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows we experience are in family relationships. The joys come from putting the welfare of others above our own. That is what love is. And the sorrow comes primarily from selfishness, which is the absence of love. The ideal God holds for us is to form families in the way most likely to lead to happiness and away from sorrow. A man and a woman are to make sacred covenants that they will put the welfare and happiness of the other at the center of their lives. Children are to be born into a family where the parents hold the needs of children equal to their own in importance. And children are to love parents and each other.”

-Our Perfect Example, President Henry B. Eyring First Counselor in the First Presidency

Thank you to ALL our friends and family members who prayed for Maxwell and I. We feel so lucky to have such a super support system.

Thank you especially to Tanei, without her support in the delivery room, and after, I would have never been able to have endured the long labor and delivery.

Max welcome to the world. You are VERY loved!


Holly’s First Birth: Learning to accept whatever turns birth, and life, may take

No birth goes exaclty as one plans it in their head. I am a first time mom, and I had very high hopes and ideas of what the birth of my first born would be like. However, because of circumstances that were completely beyond my control, I did not have the birth I had dreamed of. In fact, it was far from it. Why then am I writing a birth story? Because even though I had the most un-hypnobirthing birth imaginable, the techniques I learned in hypnobirthing helped me through my traumatic birth, and especially with the aftermath.

For some reason, my husband and I have always felt strongly that we needed to have our baby in the hospital. I visited birthing centers and everything, but something kept telling me I needed to birth in the hospital. This intuitive thought saved my life and my baby’s.

On September 8, two days after my due date, my water broke around 9pm. We had been preparing for this for months- we were so excited! I wanted to labor at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital. However, a few minutes after my water broke, something felt very different. Even now, I still can’t describe the feeling, but I knew something wasn’t quite right. I felt like I needed to go to the hospital now. We threw all of our stuff in the car, along with 5 copies of our carefully thought out birth plan.

We arrived at the hospital around 10pm, where I was admitted and checked, only to discover I was at 3cm. “That’s fine,” I thought, I’m in no rush. An hour after arriving at the hospital, things started to go downhill very quickly. I don’t want to plant negative thoughts in anyone’s heads, so it will be sufficient to say that everything that could have gone wrong in a birth went wrong. Our birth plan that we had such high hopes for was torn up, shredded, and tossed in the trash. I developed chorio, which is an infection of the placenta. Basically, my body began to shut down, as well as trying to abort the pregnancy at the same time.

My birthing story is unique in the sense that I did not have the type of birth anyone would want, especially one looking to birth naturally. However, I still consider myself to have had a successful hypnobirth, given our circumstances. Had I not practiced how to focus my mind and “calmly accept whatever turn my birthing may take,” my birth would (if possible) have been worse than it was. I am so grateful that I did practice how to relax, because every time the nurse would come in to the room, it was more bad news. Hypnobirthing taught me how to have a clear mind, and to make the right decisions to save myself and my baby. It allowed me to know when it was time to throw my birth plan out the window, realize my birth was going to have every “special circumstance” I had been trying to prevent, and when to allow modern medicine save my life and my baby. The most important thing in any birth plan is healthy mom, healthy baby.

I also would have severe PPD were it not for the breathing and relaxing techniques hypnobirthing teaches. My baby had to be in the NICU for a week after her arrival. I wish that experience for no mother. But remembering to breath, stay clam, and accept what was happening and focus on all the positive has helped me more than any medicine could. Even now, when she’s been home for two weeks and still on oxygen, I continue to use these wonderful techniques.

I’m so grateful for everything that I learned. I do not wish my birth experience on anyone, but I hope that my story is still beneficial. The most important thing is that I am alive, and I have a beautiful baby girl that I get to snuggle with every day.

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