Valencia’s Birth Story I suppose I should start Valencia’s birth story at the beginning of my pregnancy. I had been taking ovulation tests for a couple months so that we could plan the perfect time to conceive. I was just finishing up school at Meredith Manor and didn’t want to experience morning sickness during school, so we timed it so that I would get pregnant right before school ended. Two days after I graduated, and on the day we arrived in Colorado we got the positive pregnancy test!
I scheduled an ultrasound at a local OBGYN when I was around 8 weeks. I told the doctor that I wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and told her that my previous birth was an induction with epidural and that I didn’t progress past 4 cm, which led to a cesarean due to non reassuring fetal heart tones. She told me that we could try for a VBAC, but I likely wouldn’t progress again and would need another cesarean. I left the office that day and immediately knew I would not be going back.
I did a lot of research on birth and decided that I wanted to go with a midwife practice and that I would love a water birth (baths are my go to when I need me time)! The problem was that there were no local hospitals that offered water births and I wasn’t yet comfortable with the idea of a home birth. There was, however, a midwife practice almost two hours away that worked with a hospital that offered water birth. So after some discussion with Jon we decided that was the best option for us.
We found out around 14 weeks that our baby was a girl, and shortly after that we hired our doula! When looking online at one particular doua’s page I saw that she taught something called “Hypnobabies”. I did a bit of research and it sounded wonderful! I was a little bit skeptical at first, but I knew I did not want an epidural this time around and was looking for other comfort measures. Upon meeting with her I knew that we had to hire her. We took her 6 week Hypnobabies class and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was life changing. It helped me understand my previous birth so much better and made me very aware of the pros and cons to various interventions. After the course I practiced the “maintenance” Hypnobabies tracks and awaited my birthing time.
As my due date came and went my anxiety began creeping up. I was so fearful of an induction due to my last induction ending in a cesarean, so I listened often to the “Fear Clearing” track. On November 21st, I had pressure waves (Hypnobabies word for contractions) every 15-20 minutes, but tried not to get my hopes up as this had happened the previous day as well. I had also had my membranes stripped the evening before, so assumed it was just cramping due to that. That evening around 10pm, we went to bed and I listened to my hypnobabies tracks. They started getting closer together, so I got up and took a bath, since I knew if it wasn’t really my birthing time the pressure waves would stop in the bath. They didn’t though! They continued to get closer together until they were about 7-8 minutes apart. Since we were so far from the hospital I showered, straightened my hair, and woke up my husband around 12am. We got called the hospital and Madison, our doula, to tell them we were on our way. We got to the hospital at around 3am, and since the pressure waves were around 5-6 minutes apart, I thought that surely I was at least 4-5 cm. It turns out I was only 2cm, but since we lived so far away they let us stay at the hospital. From the classes I knew that the number meant nothing, but I still couldn’t help but be disappointed that I wasn’t progressed further. Since I was up all night we rested some while I listened to my tracks. The next few hours consisted of walking the halls with my husband so that I could use him for support every time a pressure wave came. Since I was using my deep hypnosis, they truly only felt like pressure, and I would even venture to say it was relaxing. Madison helped me use the peanut ball to rubbed the pressure points of my feet. Around 3:30pm I felt a small pop and felt some wetness, which we later realized was my water breaking. At that point I was around 4cm and 75% effaced. I got in and out of the bathtub a couple times, which was really relaxing as my pressure waves had gotten stronger.
At 7:20pm I began feeling very pushy, and so I was checked and I was 4-5cm and 100% effaced. My midwife told me that since I wasn’t dilated I had to resist the urge to push otherwise my cervix could swell. That is when the most difficult part of my birthing time began. The bathtub and hypnosis helped me not push, but it was so physically and emotionally exhausting fighting what my body so naturally wanted to do. At that point I was only vaguely aware of everyone’s presence in the room. I remember my midwife offering an epidural to help me not push, but in my mind an epidural meant cesarean and that made me slightly panic. The voice of my first OBGYN telling me that I likely wouldn’t progress again came creeping back into my mind, and I rebelliously fought it by using hypnosis to resist the pushing urge. At 8:35pm I was 6cm, so I figured we still had a long road ahead of us. At 9:07pm I could no longer resist the urge to push and was checked and was fully dilated with a small cervical lip! I got out of the tub due to my baby having decels. I had the “pushing baby out” track playing in the background. I pushed for two pressure waves while leaning over the back of the bed on my hands and knees. The midwife offered to hold back the cervical lip to get things going, so I agreed and moved to my back. Right after the midwife told me that we had to get her out quickly due to decels and suddenly the room became very loud. Everything was a blur and I felt almost delirious from the lack of sleep. I remember my hips hurting from nurses holding my legs back. The midwife said she would have to use forceps and do an episiotomy if I didn’t get her out soon, which terrified me, so I had to constantly push, even between pressure waves, which was suddenly painful, now that I could no longer focus on going into hypnosis. I remember the sound of my own screams scaring me, and Madison gently telling me to try making low tones instead, like we had learned in Hypnobabies. I tried, but couldn’t do it with all of the intense feelings. At 9:43pm I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, with a nuchal hand. Valencia weighed 8lbs 4 oz and was 21 ¾ long. After she was born they placed her on my chest and she started nursing within a few minutes. I was overcome with so many feelings! A huge adoration and love for her, a sense of triumph that I did have a natural, vaginal birth, and strangely enough, a feeling of loss over the peaceful waterbirth that I had envisioned. As I cuddled my beautiful daughter on my chest, I realized even though I just went through the most intense day of my life, I couldn’t wait to try again for my peaceful birth.
I’ve had to do a lot of processing, which is why I’ve just now written her birth story over a year later. I can say without a doubt, that if it hadn’t been for my doula, Madison, and my hypnobabies classes, I definitely would not have been so calm and peaceful for the majority of my birthing time. Even though there are definitely some things I would do differently with the knowledge I have now, this still brought me my daughter, therefore, to me it was still a beautiful, unforgettable experience.