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A Couple Working Together: A Birth Center Birth Story

A Couple Working Together: A Birth Center Birth Story

When I was 6 months pregnant, my husband took a job in South Bend, Indiana. This was fortuitous because it meant we could move out of Chicago and we would be only 1.5 hours from my family, instead of 3. The move from Chicago to South Bend also meant we could afford to buy an actual house with a backyard – something we couldn’t have dreamed of in Chicago. The transition from Chicago ended up being complicated and drawn out. Brett started his new job and I transitioned out of mine. We only had the chance to attend one Hypnobabies class in person before we had to move. We had to self-teach the remainder of the class by following along in the book and listening to scripts. Unfortunately, the total lack of stability during this time resulted in us being a bit behind the Hypnobabies schedule. I comforted myself with the thought that we would be able to catch up once we moved into our new house, long before the baby arrived.

We eventually closed on a house on August 12 but decided to immediately hire out some drywall/ceiling repair work prior to moving any belongings into the house. We knew once the drywall work was done we’d be able to paint (all of the rooms in the house were in desperate need of painting). We figured it was wise to knock out all of the big projects before the baby came and before we got too settled in the house. Our baby was “due” around September 25 so everything seemed perfectly timed. So as the contractor took up the bottom half of our house, we essentially camped out on a mattress on the floor and lived out of a suitcase. I spent most of every day painting the upper floor while Brett was at work and then we worked on other parts of the house when he got home. I kept telling myself that once the house was in order we would buy all the items we needed for the baby and make sure the space was ready for him by late September.

On August 23rd, I finished painting the trim in our bedroom and went to meet Brett at work where a mass and student/staff picnic was being held to celebrate the start of the school year. I remember being self conscious about my incredibly swollen feet and ankles. Following the picnic, we went to Lowe’s to pick up supplies and then went home. We worked on putting our bedroom back together until midnight and then went to bed.

I woke up at 3am with the sense that I needed to go to the bathroom. As I walked to the bathroom, I felt a leaking sensation but was too sleepy to think much beyond “What’s going on with my bladder?” I sat down, urinated, wiped and then wiped again and again. Why did it seem like I needed an endless supply of toilet paper? I stood up and a bigger gush of liquid flowed out of me and I panicked, shouting into the bedroom. “Brett, I think my water just broke!” Brett leapt out of bed and (probably hearing the panic in my voice) said, “Okay. It’s okay.” I frantically tried to recall what week of pregnancy I was in – determined I was 35 weeks and 3 days – and realized I didn’t know if it would be considered safe and normal to go into labor that early.

Brett is not typically clear-headed immediately upon waking, but he was laser focused in this moment. He called the hospital and put them speakerphone. When the front desk person picked up, he explained that my water had broken and I interjected that I was “only 35 weeks along”. The woman asked what color the liquid was and I answered that it looked clear. She then asked if I had felt the baby moving. I had only been awake for a few minutes and hadn’t felt anything in that time but the baby had been really active right before I fell asleep at midnight. She asked if I was experiencing contractions and I realized that I had been experiencing mild tightening sensations. She said to come directly to the hospital to be checked out.

Brett hung up and I choked back a sob and said, “This is too soon! We’re not ready.” Brett stopped me, hugged me, and assured me again that everything would be fine. He took the dog outside to go to the bathroom and I bumbled from one (completely disheveled, partially renovated) room to another trying to think what we would need at the hospital and locate it. Of course we didn’t have a hospital bag packed! I remembered a phone charger, my phone, earphones and Hypnobabies materials. The few baby clothes we had were still packed away somewhere in the garage. Brett reminded me that the hospital would have the necessities.

I put on a maxi dress and grabbed a towel to hold between my legs. I called my mom’s cell phone but she didn’t pick up so I tried my dad’s. He groggily picked up and I said “Dad, my water just broke so we’re going to the hospital and we don’t know if everything is okay.” my voice broke halfway through. He said something calm and comforting, although I don’t recall what exactly it was. He sounded so confident that I recall feeling he didn’t understand how early I was.

Brett and I headed downstairs, through the virtual construction zone of our 1st floor, and into the car. Brett opened the car windows and turned on the air conditioning as he drove (something we managed to remember from Hypnobabies) the 5 minutes to the hospital. I texted my sister that I had gone into labor and she replied that everything was going to be okay and that she loved me. I felt my belly contracting during the ride but I wasn’t mentally collected enough to time the waves. My mind was racing not really able to slow down enough to think clearly. I just felt fear. Mostly because I feared something was wrong with the baby and that’s why my labor started early. My secondary (but very real) fear was that we hadn’t finished our Hypnobabies material and that I wouldn’t be able to manage labor without medication. It felt like everything had spun out of control. For some reason it had never occurred to me that I might go into labor early. We had only been to two midwife appointments and had just toured the hospital’s birth center four days prior.

We arrived at the birthing center and walked to the front desk. There was a couple in their pajamas ahead of us, talking to the receptionist. They turned around and smiled at us, saying “It’s a good night to have a baby”. I felt a spark of annoyance and hardly responded – I wondered how to explain that we weren’t sure our baby was okay or would be okay. The couple was led back to triage and I sat down on a couch through a wave.

Moments later, we were taken back and brought into a triage room. I immediately felt a little more in control. At least we were in the right place and we were able to get there promptly. The nurse came in and attached the monitor to my belly. A few seconds later she located the baby’s heartbeat and assured us that it sounded fine. She gave me an internal exam and announced that I was about 3 cm dilated. This surprised me, considering I had just woken up 30 minutes earlier. The nurse also said, in an off-hand way, that our baby didn’t have any hair on its head. The nurse had placed an absorbent pad underneath me, which she whisked away for testing to make sure the liquid was indeed from my bag of waters. The nurse kept coming in and out of the room, asking us if we had ever been to the hospital before since they couldn’t find any of my records. This went on for a while until they determined they would call the midwives once the office opened.

My birthing waves were beginning to demand more of my attention so I began to practice my finger drop technique at the outset of each wave. Between the waves, Brett and I would incredulously remark to each other how crazy this was. We were actually going to be having our baby. It was also during this time that Brett realized he must have stepped in dog poop prior to leaving for the hospital. I was too distracted to notice, but our triage room had been filling with a bad smell. Brett went into the adjoining bathroom and did his best to remove the offending poop. This situation provided us with some much needed levity.

A few minutes later we were brought back to our birthing room. I was relieved to see it had a birthing tub. I asked Brett if he wanted to grab some coffee and something to eat. He took this as me being selfless but in reality I knew I needed him with me and didn’t want him to have to leave me to hunt down sustenance when I was further along in labor. An OBGYN entered (the midwife had been called but hadn’t arrived yet) and asked how I was doing. He asked if I had any questions and if I had intended to utilize any pain medication. I told him I didn’t want any. He watched me during a wave and commented that it looked like I was handling them well and then he left the room. I appreciated how low key and considerate he was.

After the midwife entered and introduced herself as Susana, I asked her if I would be able to birth in the tub. She advised that since the baby was pre-term, he was too susceptible to losing body heat being birthed in water. She said I could labor in the tub but would have to move out for the birthing. I was content knowing I could be in the water for at least part of my labor.

Susana also advised that they would have to treat me as though I was Strep B positive which meant I would have to have two IV treatments during labor. The nurse inserted and secured the needle and then started the first course of antibiotics. I initially got settled on a birthing ball but I started experiencing really intense sensations in my lower back during each wave and it dawned on me with mild horror that this was a symptom of back labor. I asked Susanna if there were positions I should be in if I was having back labor. She set out a yoga mat and suggested that I move to all fours during each wave. I found that I had a hard time dropping into hypnosis in this position because I was having to hold myself up and wasn’t able to relax as effectively. I dropped onto the mat and laid on my side with the Hypnobabies recording playing in one ear. I spoke as little as possible from this point on. Susana was holding a heat pad to my back and belly and Brett had his hands on my head and shoulders. I was in this position for a while, but I’m not sure how long. I started to shiver uncontrollably and the midwife brought over warm blankets to cover me. At some point, during a particularly strong wave, my eyes were still closed but I felt a wave of strong emotion (a combination of sadness? self-pity? fear?) and tears started to stream down my face. Brett and Susana comforted me.

After a while, the noise I was making during birthing waves changed from hums to low moans. I asked when I could get into the tub – although I worried I was using up my one comfort measure too early. Susana got the tub ready and told me I could get in. Partway to the tub I felt a contraction coming on and could only get out an “uh oh” before starting to sink to the floor. Brett caught me and slowed my descent. When I got into the tub the water felt incredible. Brett sat at my head and kept the earphone in my ear and made sure the iPhone didn’t get wet.

Susana’s end of shift came at 7am and she was relieved by Mercedes. Mercedes came over to the tub and introduced herself. She said, “You’re having your baby early, and I’m sorry about that.” Mercedes had an almost unnervingly direct way about her and I think she was making an effort to put words to my emotions, even though I hadn’t said anything. The nurse hooked me up for my second dose of antibiotics. Mercedes watched me through a few waves and then went into the adjoining room to wait with the nurse. My entire time in the tub is hazy in my memory although I know that with each wave I would lean back with an arm on each side of the tub and moan through the wave- trying to keep my mouth wide open and relaxed – getting louder at the peak and tapering off to silence at the end. I would immediately rest my head on the side of the tub, close my eyes and drift off until the next wave came. The nurse would monitor the baby’s heart rate during waves and that really irritated me but I didn’t say anything.

As I got louder Mercedes came back into the bathroom and observed me. I told her I was starting to feel a full sensation and “thought” I kind of wanted to push. I remember thinking that maybe it was all in my head because I just wanted to move to the next step since I felt overwhelmed. She told me if I felt like pushing I could do so really gently and see how it felt. I did this through several waves but wasn’t certain if I was pushing enough or if it was doing anything. Pushing definitely didn’t bring relief as I hoped but I believe that was mostly because of the back labor.

I don’t recall if I asked to move to the bed to continue pushing or if Mercedes directed me to. I got on the bed and laid on my side but Mercedes asked me to lay on my back. She checked my dilation and discovered a lip that she was able to push back during the next wave. Then she and the nurse each held a leg and encouraged me to push through each wave. This continued for a while but Mercedes wasn’t happy with my effectiveness. She asked me why I seemed to be holding back. I told her didn’t know but honestly I didn’t feel I had the energy (or breath) to explain that I was avoiding the pain pushing caused in my lower back and I hated that it felt like I was going to poop with each push. She must have sensed the poop concern because she outright asked me if I was afraid of pooping and then she said, “If you poop, you poop!”

I realized I was only making birthing last longer by not pushing with all of my might. So, from then on I pushed with everything I had (and pooped with what felt like every push, unfortunately). Mercedes started to have me try different pushing techniques. She tied a knot in a towel, handed it to Brett and had me pull against him with every wave. She asked Brett to take the leg the nurse had been holding and had me grab under each knee when the wave began and pull my upper body up as I pushed. This went on for a while.

Mercedes would check the baby’s progress and reported that the baby was moving forward and then slipping back. I was really discouraged to hear that. The frustration was compounded as I also was struggling to catch my breath sufficiently before the next wave hit. Mercedes asked me what I needed to hear. I told her I didn’t know but I didn’t feel like I was making progress and I felt like I was “pushing uphill.” She lifted up the back of the bed and attached a bar for me to grab onto, pull myself up and squat while pushing. When the wave subsided I would fall back onto the bed and try to breathe as deeply as possible as I waited for the wave.

It was around this time that the baby’s head started to emerge. Mercedes, Brett and the nurse were cheering me on through each push. Mercedes asked me what I was feeling and I described the discomfort in my lower back. She removed the bar, rolled up a towel and placed in under my hips. “This is called the ‘California Roll’,” she said.

She and Brett got back into position bracing my legs and I pushed through another wave. “How did that feel?” she asked.

“Terrible,” I responded.

“Good. You’re making progress.”

I continued to push in this position. At one point Mercedes consulted the monitor and told me the baby was getting tired and I would need to get him/her out soon (I later put together that this was at 4 hours of pushing). This struck fear into my heart and I pushed with absolute abandon. A nurse came into the room shortly after to relay a message to Mercedes and commented that “that baby’s holding on by its toes”. My spirit was somewhat buoyed by that observation. Mercedes started applying oil to my perineum and told me I’d be feeling the ring of fire soon and to keep going. I did feel burning a few pushes later and howled through that push – the baby’s head came out the rest of the way, followed by his shoulders.

Mercedes instructed Brett to slide his fingers under the baby’s armpits and helped guide the rest of the body out and onto my belly. Mercedes had to remind Brett, “what is it, dad?” and Brett announced that we had a boy as the baby howled. I looked down and saw our baby boy with his daddy’s nose and – hilariously – horseshoe pattern baldness (which Brett also had at birth). So the triage nurse was partially right about the baldness. Brett and I looked at each other tearfully – absolutely bursting with love, pride and relief.

I pulled baby Simon up to my chest and he stayed there as I birthed the placenta and was examined by Mercedes. She informed me that I had no tears. She also showed me a true knot in his cord – which i still regret not taking a photo of. Brett took him for skin-to-skin as Mercedes massaged my legs and scalp with oil which was incredibly relaxing after all of that strain. She hugged me and told me I did an amazing job and I should be proud. She commended Brett and I for the way we worked together. The nurse said she was glad to have been able to witness such an “interesting” birth. The birth lasted 9 hours and when Simon was weighed he came in at 5 lbs 7 ounces. Besides jaundice, he had no complications from his early arrival.

We felt so supported and cared for throughout Simon’s birth. I spent years reading Birth Without Fear birth stories so I know how differently our experience could have gone. I feel that I have BWF to thank for educating me on how to empower myself and increase my chances of having a pleasant birth. I’m so grateful for all of those stories!

Story and photos submitted by Anne B. 

Fast HypnoBabies Birth {Drug-Free, Pain-Free}

Fast HypnoBabies Birth {Drug-Free, Pain-Free}

“When I was pregnant with Siriana, I was like most of American society and saying, “I’m getting an epidural! I don’t want to feel anything!”.

There’s this girl, Chelsey, that was 4 months ahead of me in her pregnancy and was planning an all natural childbirth; I loved reading her blog. It was so inspirational to me. The day finally came and she had her baby. Her birth story was beautiful and it sounded so amazing. I would cry every time I read it. I wanted to experience something like that, but I didn’t know if I was prepared enough. When my water broke with Siriana, I said I would see how long I could make it without an epidural. My contractions started 3 hours after my water broke. They were manageable at first, but being in a hospital, I was stuck to a bed, hooked up to IV’s, and laying on my back, so they could do all this monitoring.

It started to become too much for me to handle. No matter how many times I said no to the epidural, I kept getting pressured into getting it or some kind of other pain relief. The nurse caught me at a vulnerable moment and said, “Quit trying to be a hero and just get the epidural!”. I totally caved and through tears said, “Fine. Give it to me.” Siriana’s heart rate started dropping after a couple of hours. Once it came time to push, my whole left side was complete mush! Michael had to hold my leg up for me. After 10 minutes of not really knowing if I was pushing right or not, the doctor scared me into letting her vacuum suction Siriana out. Despite the unnecesary interventions, my baby girl is here, she’s beautiful, and she’s healthy. It was one of the best days of my life! But I knew that when I gave birth again, things would be different.

Fast forward to being pregnant with baby #2. I was at home and my best friend, Nancy come over. We came across a documentary on Netflix called “The Business of Being Born” and we decided to watch it just to see what it was. WOW! So happy I watched it! My whole vision of the way that birth should be completely transformed. I realized just how cheated I was while in labor and birth with Siriana. I went back and read Chelsey’s birth story about her son, Elliot, and I decided right then and there that I was going to birth this child all natural and out of the typical hospital set up.” – Kashema

Last night (3/19), I told Michael, “When the time finally comes, I feel like I’m going to give birth to Jaxson early in the morning.” Little did I know, Jax agreed with me!

I had been having false labor for a week and I was so over it! I had a woe is me moment (again!) and cried while asking God to bring my baby to me, IF he was healthy and ready to come out. I laid in bed earlier than I usually do (around 8:30pm) and cuddled with Siriana until we both fell asleep. I think my body was trying to tell me something and I’m glad I listened. Sure enough, I woke up to some consistent contractions at 2AM this morning (3/20).

They were very strong and back to back almost instantly. I was in denial for a little while, so I didn’t bother Michael. He woke up on his own though because he heard me moaning into the pillow through each contraction. He asked what was up and I said, “I think I’m really in labor this time.” The contractions were 45 seconds to a minute long and coming every 2 to 3 minutes. Sometimes shorter durations. I quickly started to remember what contractions with Siriana felt like and I laughed at myself for thinking I was in labor a week before. After 45 minutes, I was certain that THIS was it. I decided to call the birth center and Michael got up to get our stuff ready. I told the operator that I was pretty sure I was in labor and she said the on call midwife would call me back. I called my mom and told her to be on stand-by because my best friend, Nancy (who lives only 5 minutes from me) was SUPPOSED to come get Siriana, but she didn’t answer her phone (go figure). After about 5 minutes, Jasmine called me. I had to put the phone down while a breathed through a long contraction. Once it was over, she told us to come in as soon as we could because it sounded like I was already in active labor.

I called my mom back and told her she had to get to our place ASAP because this baby was coming fast! Another contraction hit after I got off the phone and I had Michael to get behind me and squeeze my hips together. He humped my butt and it made me laugh while I was in the middle of a hard contraction. That man, LOL! I appreciated the good laugh. After 20 or 25 minutes, my mom arrived at our place. Siriana woke up from all the noise, so I took her out of her crib. I held my baby girl during a few contractions while swaying my hips and it actually took my mind off of the intensity that was starting to build up. She was hugging me and rubbing my back. So sweet. I love that girl! I walked her to my mom’s car, told her I love her, kissed her bye-bye and told her I’d see her later that day. I went back inside and grabbed my iPod, so I could listen to my HypnoBabies scripts on the way there.

The car ride wasn’t too bad. Only took 10 minutes to get there. About 2 minutes before we pulled up though, I wanted OUT! It was 4AM at this point. We had to go through the emergency entrance since it was after hours. The front desk lady immediately pointed to the emergency room door, until she looked down and saw my belly. She said, “OH! Birth center or labor and delivery floor?” I quickly answered, “Birth Center.” I was beyond answering any other questions at this point and my headphone was in one ear, so she spoke to Michael. He ran outside to park the car. I stood there for a few minutes with my head down on the counter, moaning, swaying my hips, and saying “peeeeeeace.” Michael ran through the door with all of our stuff and we made our way to the elevators. It felt like enternity waiting for those elevator doors to open!

We were greeted by the midwife (Jasmine) once we got to the 4th floor. She started to ask me a question, but stopped as soon as another contraction hit. Once again, Michael squeezed my hips together and I leaned into our midwife while saying, “peeeeeeace.” It was SO nice and quiet. I was the only woman in labor. After the contraction was over, Jasmine showed us to our birthing suite. I absolutely loved how calm and peaceful the atmosphere was. Everyone spoke in really low voices. Our room was perfect; very big and beautiful bed, huge amount of space to roam around, relaxing, and the lights were dim. The nurse (Stephanie) checked me and I was dilated to 6cm already! Saweeeet!

I asked if I could use the tub to labor in it, so they started to fill it up. I sat on the birth ball during a few contractions while we waited… ehhhh I didn’t care for that position, so I stood in a squating position and leaned into the side of the bed. I yanked my headphones out of my ears because there was no way I could pay attention to what was being said in the HypnoBabies scripts anymore. I had on a comfy dress that I really like and Stephanie knew it was going to be ruined soon, so she said, ” You should prooobably take that dress off.”, so I took it off and walked around with just my bra on. I told Stephanie, “Uhhhh, I need to go to the bathroom..” But, she told me, “No, it’s just pressure from the baby’s head.” (She was right) But, I still thought differently, so I went in the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and that was seriously heaven! Just sitting there relieved so much pressure during each contraction. Michael and Stephanie were both in the bathroom with me because I DID NOT want to move from that comfortable spot. I didn’t want Michael to leave my side, but at the same time, I didn’t want him in the bathroom because I was still convinced that I had to go to the bathroom. He kept laughing at me. I eventually got to an ‘I don’t care’ frame of mind because if it was going to happen, it was going to happen, and Michael was going to be in there with me. Stephanie left us alone and we just talked and laughed in between a few contractions while I sat my happy self on that heavenly toilet.

All of a sudden, the urge to push completely took over my body. Pushing felt so good and pushing through contractions while sitting on that toilet was a-maz-ing! (I always read that some women loved the pushing phase and other hated it. I loved it!) I told Michael to, “Tell Stephanie I’m pushing! I can’t help it!” Before he could turn to leave, she stuck her head in the bathroom and said, “I’m here. I heard you grunting.”

Michael was standing behind the toilet. I wrapped my hands around the back of his neck for support and hovered over the toilet while my body pushed down. I still didn’t want to move back to the bed, so Stephanie came in the bathroom, sat on the floor, and flashed a light up my hoo-ha whenever my body would push during a contraction. The baby was descending more with every contraction. She stood up and said, “Yeaaa, you’re not going to make it into the tub. I’m going to go get Jasmine.” My doula, Marissa showed up but everything was happening so fast, that she didn’t have much to do. I came out of the bathroom and made my way back to the bed. It was 5:08AM at this point. I had one leg up to get on the bed, but had to stop and squat down while holding on to the top of the bed post. I could feel him moving lower and lower. I didn’t want anything on my skin now, so I snatched my bra off and tossed it on the chair. I felt completely free. I finally made it onto the bed and leaned into a mountain of pillows while pushing down and moaning through the contractions. All of a sudden, my water bag broke and amniotic fluid gushed down my legs. Michael got on the bed from the other side. I leaned back in between his legs and started pushing more. I moved where ever I felt my body telling me to go.

Jasmine wanted to check me to make sure I was completely 10cm dilated. I laid down and she checked me really quick. In her sweet voice, she told me, “There’s only a little lip of cervix left around the baby’s head. Could you TRY not to push during the next contractions?” The thought of trying not to push made me want to cry. I said, “You’re crazy. There’s NO WAY that’s going to happen!” She laughed and said, “It’s ok, there’s only a little bit of cervix left, so you can keep pushing.” Well good, because I couldn’t stop my body from pushing even if I tried! I was trying to get up and lean into the mountain of pillows, but I only made it to Michael’s lap before I was in another hard contraction and pushing again.

Michael was so wonderful to me! He kept kissing my forehead and telling me how much he loves me and how amazing I was doing. He kept reminding me that it was only pressure (HypnoBabies script), not pain. Here’s where it got really exciting and SUPER intense! The baby’s head was starting to make its way out. I was on my side, laying on Michael’s lap while moaning so loud (apparently, I wasn’t as loud as I thought I was in my head. They said they’re used to women screaming.). I lifted my left leg up and started to “Ahhhhhhhh” the baby out. I wasn’t in pain at all, but the pressure of feeling him go lower and lower was so freaking nuuuuuuuuuts! (Thank you, hypnobabies! Pain free!).

Once Jaxson’s head was starting to crown, Jasmine looked me in my eyes and said, “Ok, Kashema. You’re going to want to push really hard, but you need to find your center and let your body slowly ease his head out, so you don’t tear.” It took everything in me to not want to push with all of my strength and just get him out, but I listened, found my center, and went completely limp as if I was sleeping. I would have a contraction, my body would push, and I could feel his head come out more. Once the contraction was over, I would hold his head there with my muscles, until the next contraction (that was intense!) and then slowly push it out a little bit more. Jasmine said, “Put your hand down there and feel his head!” (Sweet, sweet Jesus, it’s almost out!) I loved all the excitement I could feel in the room and as I reached down, I said, “Oh my God, Am I about to hold my baby?!” I didn’t feel the ‘ring of fire’, but I felt my vag streeeeeetch and then there was some super intense pressure. I seriously thought my butt was going to explode. Then his head popped out. Oooooh my GOODNESS, it felt SO good! I thought his whole body came out! The rest of his body was a piece of cake. They had me turn around though so my midwife could move his hand from being by his face. She told me I only had one more big push!

He slid out, I turned back around and leaned back in between Michael’s legs and they laid Jaxson on my chest (5:49AM)! NO STITCHES NEEDED! Hooray! I burst into tears and just kept saying, “I did it! I did it! Hi baby!”.


They waited for his cord to stop pulsing, so they could clamp it. Michael cut the cord. I pushed out the placenta. They cleaned us up. Jaxson nursed (like a champ!) and laid on my chest for an hour before they took him to get measurements.



The emotions you feel after you push a baby out with no drugs, is overwhelming (in a great way) and so amazing! You instantly forget about any “pain” you felt prior to that and you’re stuck in this euphoric moment. I didn’t want it to end.


I went into this birthing process, super confident and knowing God was on my side, and that there was no way this wasn’t going to happen naturally. I never had that moment of feeling like I was dying or wanting to beg for epidural. I don’t even remember when I hit transition. I was VERY vocal. Crazy primal sounds were just coming out of me (it helped me relax my body and to not tense up), and it probably sounded like I was in an immense amount of pain, but I wasn’t. Thank you, God! And once again, thank you HypnoBabies! Jasmine, Stephanie, my doula, and Michael kept telling me how beautiful our son’s birth was and how amazing I did. It was truly amazing. I did make it over the biggest wall I’ve ever had to climb and I would totally do it all over again. Ahhhhhhhhh, Jaxson Grey is HERE! Our family is complete now.


Estimated Due Date: March 31, 2013 | Born: March 20, 2013
Weight: 7lbs. 7oz | Height: 19 1/2 in
3 hours and 49 minutes from start to finish!


After Two Years TTC: Vaginal Birth of a Transverse Baby Repositioned With Help From Midwife

After Two Years TTC: Vaginal Birth of a Transverse Baby Repositioned With Help From Midwife

Josey shares the story of the conception and birth of her beautiful baby.

“My husband and I were only 27 years old when we decided to try to conceive, and we had no reason to think that we would have any issues. Nearly two years later, Infertility had taken its toll on us – both on our relationship and on my faith in my body. Thankfully, we finally found success with an injectibles IUI cycle done by a Reproductive Endocrinologist who lived six hours away from us.

As the pregnancy progressed, I slowly started to allow myself to dream and prepare for my ideal birth experience. This was the key that really helped me begin to heal and reclaim faith in myself and my body. I know that no birth goes exactly according to plan, but I can tell you that having a husband and a care team around me that supported my wishes 100% while my baby was being born into this world – that was a powerful and healing moment for me.

I truly believe that all women deserve to have nothing but love and respect surrounding them as their child enters their life for the first time – be it through adoption, vaginal birth, or a Cesarean. Birth without fear!


Tuesday night (37w5d), Charlie and I had “relations” in the hope that it would start things moving in the right direction. Maybe it did, I don’t know! I had a tiny bit of spotting throughout the day on Wednesday, but I figured it was probably from an irritated cervix.

Wednesday morning I went to my chiropractor to try to get some relief from the carpal tunnel and lower back pain I’d been having. She got my pelvis and hips aligned, and then massaged and stretched on my lower back. She told me that my lower back pain was actually muscular in origin and not because of any vertebrae being out of place, and she used kinesio tape on it and my forearms to try to alleviate some of the swelling and back pain. (I vaguely remember tearing that tape off my back and arms between contractions that night – I wanted everything touching me OFF and spent the majority of the time naked!)

Wednesday afternoon I still had no indication that my birthing time was anywhere on the horizon. I was carrying really high and feeling normal, and I just hung around the house most of the day and made lists of baby-related things I wanted/needed to get accomplished on Thursday after my 38w midwife appointment (like packing the hospital bag, buying a few last items from the baby registry at Target, making some casseroles to freeze, etc). HAHAHA.

09:00/09:30pm – Charlie falls asleep, but I’m not tired so I decide to watch a little more TV. One of my favorite new shows (Revenge) is on the DVR, and normally I can’t take my eyes off the show. But I’m having what I think are Braxton Hicks contractions that are really aggravating the back pain I’ve been having all week, and by just a few minutes into the show, I have to turn it off in order to listen to a hypnobabies track on my iPod and use my self-anesthesia and “off switch” to help with my back.

09:45 – This is the start of the first PW (pressure wave) I track on my phone app, and I’m really only tracking it because my back is hurting so much and I’m trying to distract myself.

10:00 – I get into the tub downstairs in the guest bathroom in order to help with the back pain. I am listening to my hypnobabies tracks on my iPod and using my release, open, and peace cues to relax through the pressure waves, which I am still thinking are Braxton Hicks. I am only at 38 weeks after all! After 20 minutes, I glance at my “contraction log” on my phone and am surprised to see I am averaging minute-long pressure waves about three minutes apart. They really aren’t hurting, just giving me feelings of intense pressure, and I talk myself into thinking that I must be tracking wrong, because the PW have been happening for less than an hour and that seems really close together, so how can that be right? Denial. What a funny thing.

10:25 – I suddenly have the urge to vomit ASAP. I jump out of the bath and puke between pressure waves. This is the moment I think, Holy crap, is this really happening?!

10:30 – I get into the shower to wash my hair, because I remember reading somewhere that it could help relax me and it might be the last time I shower for awhile. In retrospect, I’m glad I took the few minutes to do this. The whole time I am in my middle-switch position for hypnobabies and just deep breathing through the pressure waves. My back is still hurting me though, and it is definitely interfering with my concentration. In retrospect, I wish I had tried harder to direct the anesthesia to my back instead of just my stomach.

10:45 – I head back upstairs and ride out the next pressure waves while leaning over my birthing ball. I am low moaning through them because it feels better to make noise, and eventually it wakes Charlie up. He asks if I am peeing (um, no?), and then he wakes up a little more and realizes I am on the floor on the ball. He asks if I am in labor, and I tell him I have no idea, I’ve never done this before… but maybe?

11:00 – I call my midwife to see what I should do. Shawna (my favorite midwife!) and I talk for 30-40 minutes. I am pretty calm, though by this point I can’t talk during the pressure waves (or maybe just don’t want to). Things are pretty intense, and Charlie is running around gathering the things on my hospital bag list. He is not a night person and is nervous about the whole birthing time thing to begin with, so he is stressing out. I help him pack the baby stuff between PWs and tell him to just do the best he can with the rest of the list and to quit asking me questions during my pressure waves. Poor guy.

I am spending every pressure wave either on the toilet or on the floor on my hands and knees (with my head on the floor on my open hands). The PWs are still feeling okay, especially when I sit on the toilet, but my back is ripping in two, even between waves, so I have Charlie doing counter pressure, belly lifts, etc., which really helps. Being on all fours is really the best position for my back. Looking back, I suppose because it was getting Miss Stella off my spine and tail bone.

11:25 – Second puke… I don’t want Charlie to touch me anymore, and I am sitting on the toilet, peeing and having runny stools, while I puke into the trash can. in hindsight, this was probably transition. When I wipe, there is more blood, too. I’m not sure if that was when I lost my mucous plug (or if I ever did?), but I am definitely thinking, Whoa. I am still on the line with my midwife and tell her what just happened. She can tell I am getting more nervous, so she tells me to head into town since we have a 30 minute drive.

She told me later she thought I was probably at a three based on how I was talking and breathing and she didn’t want me discouraged when I got to the hospital, so she figured we’d hang out at her practice for a while. I’ve read this is a common “problem” with hypnobabies births – nobody realizes how far along you’ve progressed (or believes you if you’re telling them) because you’re not so anxiously vocal or in pain.

11:45 – I finally get down to the car between PWs and we head to town to meet the midwife at her office, across the street from the hospital. Charlie is doing a great job reminding me to listen to my hypnobabies tracks and to take long, slow breaths.

12:07 – I feel like I have to poop during my pressure waves, and it finally occurres to me that I might be farther along than any of us know. My back is still killing me, and I don’t think I can walk into Shawna’s office and then back out and over to the hospital, so Charlie calls and asks her to meet us at ER instead.

Shawna told me later that at that point, she told Charlie that he needed to drive faster. If you know Charlie, you know how hilarious that is. He is the slowest driver ever. He speeds up to 67 in a 60, being sure to slow down whenever we meet a car in case it’s a cop. I want to lose my mind on him, but I make every effort to concentrate on the hypnobabies track instead.

We miss the turn to the hospital. Oops. Poor Charlie is apologizing and I’m gasping that it’s okay – just take a left HERE and again HERE.

12:15 – We arrive at the hospital. This whole thing has only been going on for maybe three hours max, but the next pressure wave has me drop to my hands and knees in the ER entryway airlock to breathe through it. The staff are worried I’m going to have the baby right there (they actually bring Shawna gloves and lube in case she wants to just check me in the entryway!). She gets me a wheel chair and they rush me to the first possible exam room. She checks me and immediately says “Wow, you’re a 10, I can see your bulging bag of waters, and you’re ready to push, Josey! Good job!”

I’m at a 10? Completely dilated? Ready to push? What?! Wow. Okay. Here we go.

12:15am – They rush me up to the family center, get me into a room, and I spend one pressure wave on the toilet because I have to pee (not to mention it just feels better!). I am trying to poop too, just in case it’s really poop and not baby I am feeling. LOL

By the time my next pressure wave hits, I am on the bed on my hands and knees and just going with it and pushing, making my water break. Holy shit it is a lot of water, and it feels so good to push. I’m guessing this is when Stella finally drops.

As good at it feels to push, my back is still killing me. I have my “Pushing Baby Out” track playing on the iPad (totally missed “Easy First Stage Labor”), and Charlie is next to me, supporting me through every PW. I keep telling Shawna that my back hurts, so she decides to check me quick, thinking the baby is sunny side up. Turns out Miss Stella is completely sideways in there. SIDEWAYS. As in, it’s physically impossible to deliver kiddos sideways, and that generally means Mommas of sideways babies are headed for a c-section. Thankfully, Shawna doesn’t tell me any of this until afterwards – instead she just calmly tells me that we are going to have to do a lot of switching positions to get this baby out, and I need to listen to her.

I am so blessed that Shawna was my midwife that night. My nurse Alisa (also awesome) told me later that with an OB, I’d have been in a c-section at that point. Instead, I have these two wonderful, supportive women helping me turn, checking baby’s heart rate, keeping things calm, reassuring Charlie, etc. It’s awesome.

Every second pressure wave they have me turn, so I push for two waves on my back, two on my left side, two on my hands and knees, two on my right side, and repeat. Charlie helps hold my top leg up and back when I am on my sides, and I pull back on my legs while I am on my back. Being on all fours generally felt the best for my back, but I wasn’t making as much progress when I couldn’t see what was going on. Switching positions is the most painful part (because of my back pain), so Charlie is physically helping to push me into the next position. I’m focusing on the hypnobabies track playing and on taking deep, slow breaths between pressure waves. There is a huge floor mirror rolled over to the foot of the bed. I know that freaks some people out, but I found it so helpful to be able to see what was working. You really do just have to push like you’re taking a shit.

For most of the two hours of pushing, Stella’s heartbeat has been nice and steady. Alisa sticks an external monitor won my belly whenever I switch positions to check the baby’s heart rate before, during, and after the contraction to make sure the new position isn’t affecting her. Kind of annoying, but Alisia is as unobtrusive as possible, and it’s the only monitoring they do the entire time. Thanks to me arriving at a 10, they never even put a hep-lock in!

The final 45 minutes we can see the top of her head, but since she is still pretty sideways, it is slow going. Every time I push around the world, I can tell she is turning a little. They’re giving me oxygen now, so between pressure waves Charlie places that on my face and I have to concentrate on taking in all the oxygen I can for me and for the baby. Then when I toss it off, that signals that the next pressure wave is starting. It helps to have the enforced rest time. Shawna keeps telling me to relax and breathe. Since “relax” is a big cue in hypnobabies training and I am still listening to tracks in the background, it’s a great reminder to bring it all back to center and concentrate on allowing my body to open and get the baby out. The final few pushes I am on my back the whole time, but the bed is tilted up so that I am working with gravity instead of against it. Stella starts having heart rate decelerations, and Shawna tells me it is time to do some serious pushing and get the baby out.

Okay. No pressure there, like I wasn’t seriously pushing before?! What?

Each time a pressure wave starts, she tells me to take a deep breath in, release it, and then take another deep breath in so that I start pushing at the height of the wave and be utilizing its strength with my push. I tuck my chin and usually push to seven (the number I feel comfortable with), take a quick breath, push, quick breath, push. I’m pushing three or four times with each contraction. Every once in awhile she also asks me do a little push between pressure waves to help with the stretching/burning and to keep her down there.

I cannot describe how crazy it is to see her starting to come out.

The midwife asks Charlie if he wants to catch her (he answers something along the lines of “um, NO” and stays up by my head, though he is watching the whole thing in the mirror). So Shawna tells me to get ready to grab my baby. She calmly says that our baby needs to come out now, so the next push I am going to push with EVERYTHING I HAVE and get her head out, then just grab her and pull her up.

I mumble something like, “But I don’t know how” and she just laughs and says, “You just PUSH and then pull her up!”

2:12am I get her head out at the next push, grab it, push her body out, and pull her up onto my chest, all in one quick moment. I will never forget it. She is screaming, Charlie and I are in shock, and I am only thinking how absolutely perfect she is.

Neither of us cry (and oddly, still haven’t). I’m such a crier – for some reason I assumed I’d be bawling, but it is just such a happy, surreal, “calm after the storm” type feeling that washes over us. We are just… happy.


Shawna turns to Charlie and asks, “So what do we have, Daddy?” – and after a split second (and a second glance at the still attached umbilical cord), he exclaims, “It’s a… GIRL!” with the biggest smile on his face.

OH MY GOSH, I am so happy she is a girl. My little Stella.

The midwife told us later that if she had been straight on, that would have created extra pressure on my bag of waters, and we most likely would have had a broken bag of waters and a baby born in the car. As it was, it was just under two hours of pushing at a 10. Hard work but totally doable thanks to my hypnobabies training, my awesomely supportive husband, and the amazing midwife and nurse I had at my side for the entire time.

After her birth, poor Stella had a pretty oblong skull and a hematoma on the top of her head from where she’d been banging against my pelvis for so long, so we opted to do the Vitamin K shot to help with blood coagulation (which they didn’t do immediately, but waited until I needed to give her up for a second so they could switch out the sheets on my bed). Other than that, she was totally healthy and beautiful!


They waited to clamp the cord, skipped the antibiotic eye ointment, and generally followed my birth plan to a T. Thank you, MMH hospital staff! I can’t tell you what a wonderful feeling it was to feel so supported by everyone around me and to know they were following my birthing wishes.

I tore on those final two pushes (2nd degree). Shawna said that was because Stella still came out slightly crooked and those extra few millimeters of head circumference make a big difference. She turned just enough to make it possible to get her out, but not quite enough to get her out without tearing.

Let me tell ya, she was 100% worth it!

We got to spend every minute of those first two hours with her, which was beyond wonderful. She was alert and looking around and nursing. I’m incredibly glad that my midwife suggested asking for two hours instead of just one hour with her before any newborn procedures were done. We enjoyed every minute of those precious “firsts” with her!

Skin to skin with father

being weighed

Right after Stella latched on and started sucking for the first time, I could feel my uterus contracting. WOW. Shawna massaged my abdomen and told me it was time to deliver the placenta. They had given me a shot of Pitocin post delivery (after asking my permission) because I was bleeding pretty heavily, and between that and the natural oxytocin from the breastfeeding, I just pushed a couple of times and out came the placenta. I never did see it – it never occurred to me to ask, but I assume all was well since nothing was ever mentioned about it again.

At about the two hour mark, Charlie’s parents showed up (at 4am!), and my midwife returned from delivering another baby in order to sew me up. The timing worked out great – Charlie got 45 minutes with just his parents and Stella while I got to relax and laugh with the nurse and my midwife.

Family with grandmother

Shawna warned me that the numbing needle was going to hurt and that it would be followed by a ton of burning. I used my hypnobabies finger drop cue to drop back into self-hypnosis to use my anesthesia, and honestly, the needles weren’t bad at all.

I am so happy about how the entire birth experience went. It wasn’t perfect: she got a little stuck, the back pain was pretty awful, and it was hard work getting her out. But I never felt crazy out of control. I never felt fear. I never felt like every bit of pressure and back pain wasn’t all leading up to the most amazing moment of our lives.

Every single one of our birth preference wishes were respected and followed.

The Hypnobabies birthing method training we did was incredibly helpful and effective.

My support staff (husband, midwife, and nurse) were beyond supportive and amazing.

And above all, our beautiful daughter is healthy and here.

I am so happy and so in love.

Life is good.”

As a new family

Natural Hospital Birth, Midwife and Hypnobabies

Natural Hospital Birth, Midwife and Hypnobabies

Michelle Brown from There Must Be More to Life Than Dishes and Laundry shares the story of her son Orion’s birth.

“The end of pregnancy was rough for me. Being overjoyed at getting pregnant our first month trying, experiencing no morning sickness, watching my bump grow, and seeing my sweet baby on ultrasound had made first and second trimester a joy. By the end, I was just done being pregnant. My biggest complaint was insomnia. I think my body prepared me well for nursing a newborn 24/7.

My 40 week midwife appointment was on a Friday. Since I had declined to be checked I didn’t know if I had progressed. I was on the fence about having my membranes stripped: I wanted to give the baby time to arrive on his or her own but I wanted to avoid medical induction at all cost. The midwives would let me go to 42 weeks with additional monitoring before being induced. I decided to give the baby a few more days to arrive on his or her own and I made an appointment for Tuesday morning to have my membranes stripped.

I had been doing various home induction techniques: evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, walking, stretches, a local old wives tale about labor inducing spumoni – you get the idea. Walking is good either way so I kept walking. Since it was Friday night I suggested a family-friendly hike in the foothills and dinner out with the kids. The hike ended up being a lot more exciting than anticipated. I almost got bit by a rattle snake. Just what a 40 week pregnant lady needs, right?

It happened so fast that I didn’t have much time to be scared but hubby saw it much better and I think it freaked him out more than me. He said the snake was coiled up and ready to strike – good thing I moved away when I heard its rattle. I had never seen a rattlesnake in the wild and hope never to again. We continued on our hike.

We ended our night with dinner at Red Robin. I started having some contractions, only about 30 seconds long and 15 minutes apart. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks so I didn’t think much of them when they started (of course I hoped this was real labor). We walked around the outdoor mall and then headed home. Contractions kept coming but I wasn’t convinced this was it.

Once we got home I made sure the older kids were in bed and tried to settle down for the night. My midwife had said that if it was the real thing the contractions would not stop when I tried to sleep, so I tried. Around 10pm I went to the bathroom and noticed some bloody show, and I knew this was the real thing. I sent a message to my friend who was taking the older kids, warning her that we may be calling in the middle of the night.

Early labor was slow. Contractions gradually increased in length and intensity but at a snail’s pace. The bloody show continued and I spent a lot of time on the toilet while laboring at home. I just listened to what my body needed. After a few hours I took out my Hypnobabies materials. We listened to some of my favorite tracks, the deepening track, and ‘Easy, Comfortable Childbirth’. Once we were sure this was it, hubby and I did a fear clearing session and I took a shower.

My plan was to labor at home as long as possible and I ended up spending nine hours of early labor at home. Hubby and I had invested a lot of time in learning and practicing the Hypnobabies techniques so I felt prepared. I’ll admit that even the early labor contractions were more painful than I remembered. The videos of other Hypnobabies births showed moms remaining totally calm and relaxed even during transition, which is not what I experienced.

While at home I was able to relax through about 90% of my contractions. The ones I did not relax through were painful and tensing up made it worse. I would take some time to re-focus and get into deeper hypnosis before the next contraction would come. Hubby also helped me relax by using some of the cues we had practiced. I thought I would want to walk or spend a lot of time on the birth ball but when the time came I spent a lot of it just sitting upright in bed. That was most comfortable to me so I went with it.

Around 2am I called the midwife to check in. Contractions were about five minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds at this point. I remained really calm while on the phone and the midwife didn’t sound 100% convinced this was it, though I was. Nate called our friends to come pick up the kids. We weren’t ready to leave for the hospital but I wanted to make sure they were taken care of.

A little before 3am the kids were picked up and my contractions started lasting over a minute each. Around 4am, after an hour of contractions over a minute long and five minutes apart, I was ready to go to the hospital. Hubby tried to remind me that I wanted to labor at home as long as possible and didn’t think we needed to go yet. But I had made up my mind.

The contractions were getting much harder for me to relax through. In addition to my hypnosis I was breathing and vocalizing – if things were already this intense I did not want to do the drive to the hospital and have to check-in while in transition. Nate called the midwife to let her know. She called back so I answered and immediately got a contraction. I told her to hold on and tried to relax and breath through it. I told her we were headed to the hospital and she said she’d meet us there.

By the time we gathered everything, loaded the car, and drove to the hospital, another hour had passed. Since it was after hours we had to enter through the emergency room. They offered me a wheelchair but I declined and just said I would need to stop and focus during contractions as we went up to the third floor. Since my contractions were consistently five minutes apart I had one in the car and then we quickly went in knowing it would likely be five more minutes before another one hit. I continued to listen to Hypnobabies on my ipod and tune everyone else out.

Getting checked into labor and delivery is a slow, annoying process. In the midst of contractions they have a million questions to ask you. My midwife was there and came into the room to help us get settled. One reason we chose a midwife-assisted birth is that they will spend a lot more time with you in labor and it is a more personal experience. The midwives listen to your questions and spend time answering them in a caring, unrushed atmosphere. The nurse started in with her questions and I directed most to Nate. I did not want to be continuously monitored but was willing to accept the hospital policy of 20 minutes on the monitor when you check in and then intermittent monitoring via doppler.

As soon as I was on the monitor Orion had a heart deceleration – so the nurse wanted to keep monitoring me. Hospital policy is to get a 20 minute good strip before removing the mom off the monitor. Every time we’d get close to 20 minutes he’d have a tiny deceleration which kept me on the monitor. When the nurse left the room the midwife flat out told me she was not worried and his decels were small and not of concern. She thought I was fine to get off the monitor but the nurses and hospital policy were pretty strict. I had been there almost an hour and a half and asked to be put on the wireless monitor so I could move around. I had also declined to have an IV put in but consented to a buff cap which is a catheter put into a vein so IV or medication can be started if needed. It’s hospital policy.

The nurse took forever coming back with the wireless monitor. Once she brought it to me I asked to get into the tub. She started to run the water. I continued to listen to my Hypnobabies and relax and put myself into deeper hypnosis with each contraction. Nate was fading fast at this point since neither of us had slept since Thursday night. The midwife suggested he go get a coffee and some breakfast so he could stay awake. I asked her if she would stay with me while he went to the cafeteria and she did. Once he got back, I got in the tub. I immediately felt a sense of relief and was able to relax so much better. The hardest part was remembering to keep my buff cap out of the water.

I had only four contractions in the tub when my water broke and all hell broke loose. I felt a pop and immediately the baby descended and the length and intensity of my contractions skyrocketed. The baby descended so much so quickly I felt like I had to push. I started screaming and wanted Nate to get the midwife or the nurse because no one else was in there. Nate was very calm and told me he’d get someone but he didn’t seem to have the urgency I was feeling. I continued to scream and told him hitting the call button was not enough that he needed to go out to the nurses station and get someone now! My room was the first on the floor and Nate said they could all hear me screaming but didn’t seem concerned.

I was concerned with my lack of control and losing my Hypnobabies techniques now that I had hit transition. The midwife said I had to get out of the tub for her to check me. I had lost all sense of modesty at this point and the midwife and the nurse literally pulled me out of the tub and wrapped blankets around me. My contractions were lasting a minute and a half to two minutes with almost no break between them. They were very intense and I could not relax. The midwife said I was 8cm and not to push yet. She said the pushy feelings were likely from my water breaking and the baby descending.

I’ve heard that the quicker the birth the more intense, and what I experienced was quite… intense. I never asked for pain medicine but I did scream, “I can’t do this” a couple of times. It was 20 minutes from the time my water broke until I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. I pushed for a little over 20 minutes before Orion was in my arms.

In our Hypnobabies course we had talked a lot about mother-directed pushing, listening to your body, and doing what feels right. No coaching or counting from the nurses, no laying on your back. We had talked about and practiced various pushing positions so I had some ideas about what I wanted to try. What I ended up using most was a kneeling position draped over the bed. It allowed me to be supported but still upright, using gravity to help bring the baby down. Once I got to the pushing phase, my contractions were still intense but I had more of a break between them.

I was letting my body do its own work without forcefully pushing. I wasn’t making great progress and could feel the baby’s head get ready to crown and then go back up. I asked the midwife and she said to really bear down and push like you’re having a bowel movement. As the baby’s head crowned there were a lot of burning and stretching sensations. Pushing through them is a weird feeling but the midwife gently encouraged me to continue.

With two more contractions Orion was born. It was an immediate sense of relief. The pain and pressure was gone and my sweet baby was here. The midwife placed him on my chest and I saw he was a boy! Waiting until the birth to find out was such a great experience and I am glad we stuck with it our entire pregnancy.

His cord was around his neck which is somewhat common and accounted for the decelerations he was having earlier. The midwife was good about allowing his cord to stop pulsing before clamping and cutting it. Nate cut his cord and I snuggled him skin to skin. Orion started crying as soon as he came out but took some time to pink up. His nurse said she was a little concerned about his color and that if it didn’t improve she would take him to the warmer. His breathing was quite rapid but the nurse gave us more time because she knew that immediate skin-to-skin and delaying newborn procedures until we had a chance to breastfeed was important to us. Eventually his breathing regulated and he wasn’t taken off my chest until I was ready. That bonding time was so precious and I am so thankful I was able to experience it without interruption.

I had originally requested not to be given routine Pitocin for the delivery of the placenta and asked that the placenta be delivered naturally. I did have some bleeding and after watching and waiting for a bit the midwife said she wanted to give me a little bit of Pitocin to help stop the bleeding. I ended up having a bag of Pitocin but didn’t lose enough blood for any longer term concerns. I had one small first degree tear that needed a few stitches. The midwife said Orion came out with his hand up by his face and if it hadn’t been there I likely wouldn’t have needed stitches at all. The tear and stitches gave me almost no discomfort and I healed so much better than with Brennan, when I was given an episiotomy.


Orion stayed on my chest for two full hours, which was wonderful. Within an hour he was ready to feed and nursed great on both sides. There was a night and day difference between his first and second nursing session – by the second he was really sleepy and not that interested in nursing. This just further proves to me the importance of allowing mom and baby to be together within the first hours after birth. I am so thankful for this time because my earlier experience with Brennan was that he ended up being taken to the nursery and by the time I tried to breastfeed he wasn’t interested.

We all guessed he weighed about 7.5 pounds because he didn’t look that big but Orion was 7 pounds 15oz and 20 1/4 inches. He was born the morning of the super moon and it was a busy morning for deliveries. His nurse got called away to two other births so we spent over three hours in the delivery room after he was born, just finishing things up.


There are many amazing things about natural childbirth: an alert baby ready to nurse, a baby not so full of IV fluids they lose weight, a mom who feels almost back to normal within hours. Soon after Orion was born I was walking around the room and had showered myself and changed into my own clothes. I was hungry and tired but I hadn’t eaten much since dinner (at this point it was lunch the next day) and hadn’t slept in 36 hours. Above all we were thankful that both Orion and I were healthy and that we were able to have the birth experience we wanted in the hospital – all because the midwives and nurses were so caring and respectful of our wishes.

Orion’s birth story is unique to him and I am thankful I have a place to share it. With both of my pregnancies I went into labor on my due date and both of my sons were born the next morning. Despite being 12 years apart they followed the same pattern! Our lives have been so enriched by the new addition to our family.”


The Beautiful Birth of Emerson {Mother Lead Hospital Birth}

The Beautiful Birth of Emerson {Mother Lead Hospital Birth}

This is the story of how we welcomed our daughter, Emerson, into the world. It’s a beautiful story, but also a bit graphic. You’ll also need to know that my husband and I prepared for our birthing time with Hypnobabies, so some of the terminology we use is a bit different than what you might normally hear: Birthing Time = Labor ; Pressure Wave, Birthing Wave = Contraction; Transformation = Transition.

In Hypnobabies, we practice visualizing our birthing time and teach ourselves to expect a calm, peaceful birthing. In all of my practicing, I saw myself baking cupcakes for the nurses during my early birthing time, and then moving quietly throughout the house as my active birthing time progresses. I saw myself quietly shifting positions from the bathtub to the birthing ball, and from the bed to my husband’s arms. I imagined arriving at the hospital and convincing the nurses I was actually in labor, and having them find that I was already 8 to 9 cm dilated. I imagined myself breathing and “ahhhing” my baby out with just a few quick pushes. I also imagined myself using our self-hypnosis techniques with mastery and confidence.

Here’s how it really happened:

On May 31st, my husband and I drove up to the Mt. Sneffels wilderness (one of our favorite spots) and hiked around for awhile taking pictures of butterflies and my large full-term belly. With our car parked next to the river, we plugged in our “Fear Clearing” track and listened to it together. I sent my fears downstream with the snow melt. It was perfect.


Later that evening, Brad and I watched a movie together, cuddled on the couch, and decided to finally put ourselves to bed at around 11:30 after I said something along the lines of, “I really should make sure I’m getting enough sleep these next few days so that we can be sure I am rested when my birthing time begins.” So we went to bed.

At 1:00 am, I woke up and went to the restroom and discovered, with certainty and joy, that I was shedding my mucous plug or experiencing “the bloody show.” I was thrilled. When I stood up from the toilet I also noticed that I was feeling what I identified at the time as “cramping.” This made me smile. I went back to bed and hovered over my husband with ear to ear grin: “Brad, I just lost my mucous plug. Go back to sleep.”

As I was lying in bed, I realized that my “cramping” was coming at fairly regular intervals. This is when I got really excited. About an hour later I grabbed my phone in case I wanted to time them and sent a quick text-message to our Doula (who was also our Hypnobabies Instructor). Sleep was futile. At about 3:00 am I rolled over and asked Brad if he was awake. He offered a very quick and alert response, “Of course I am.” So we both got up, repacked our birthing bags, put away the clean laundry, made the guest bed up for my mom (who would be staying with our dogs), and made sure we were ready for what was coming. I also began timing my pressure waves to find that they were about 7 minutes apart and over a minute long. At this point, it was very clear that there would be no early birthing time of making cupcakes and taking a stroll with my husband. It was also becoming very clear that I needed to start using my Hypnobabies techniques.

Over the next few hours, my pressure waves became longer, closer together, and certainly more intense. With each wave, I used my “finger-drop” technique or “release” cue to go immediately into a deep relaxation. I listened to my Birthing Day Affirmations and Easy First Stage tracks, eventually just listening to the affirmations over again. At some point, I had a pretty forceful bout of vomiting and diarrhea and it really hit me that I was going to meet my little girl soon. This was it. The time had come. I had Brad call the midwifes and let them know that would be there eventually and to gently remind them that we were using Hypnobabies and to please review our birth plan.

We were instructed to head to the hospital when my pressure waves were 5 minutes apart for over an hour. By the time he called, we had already met these criteria, but decided to stay home a little longer. Brad and I waited until they were about 4 minutes apart. And really, I would have loved to have stayed at home longer, but I was anxious to see our Doula who was thankfully already in Montrose. (Montrose is about 30 minutes away from our rural town, and about 60 minutes away from where our Doula lives). Although my pressure waves were still very comfortable, I was ready and looking forward to her support. So at 12 pm on June 1st, we left home for the hospital. I was certain that I would be meeting our little girl very soon.

By the time we were checked in through admissions and arrived at the Family Center, the nurses hooked me up to the monitors to get a good baseline and ensure I was in labor. I was excited when the nurse said the contractions were 3 minutes apart and thought to myself, “We’re so close.” And then there was the vaginal exam…

I was ready for her to say 8 cm just like I had visualized. Instead, what I heard was, “Just a dimple or about 1 cm.” Sigh. I can’t remember how we spent the next hour, but when they checked again, our nurse said that I was 2 cm and they would officially admit me. (I secretly think that I was likely still at a 1, but that she was kind enough to give me the extra centimeter for the sake of admission and to keep my spirits up.) I really didn’t have time to think about it or let it discourage me as I really needed all of my focus to continue practicing my Hypnobabies techniques.

After listening to the hypnosis tracks, practicing the scripts with my husband, and listening to the Joyful Affirmations every day, my subconscious must really have accepted that each 20 minutes will only feel like 5 minutes, as the next 6-7 hours are really a blur to me—the things that stand out are those that I didn’t expect to be a part of my birthing time. My husband and Doula are likely to have different accounts of this time period, but this is what I remember:


First, I didn’t expect the intense nausea and vomiting. I knew that nausea was common during labor, but I wasn’t prepared for how much of a role it would play during my birthing time. It was as though my transformation stage was lasting hours (which I later learned it really was). After every pressure wave, I would have an overwhelming surge of nausea followed by a spell of deep retching. In hindsight, I think this alone was my biggest challenge during my birthing time. One, because it was exhausting. And two, because it made it much more difficult for me to keep focus on using my Hypnobabies techniques.

Although there are many videos of Hypnobabies births were the mamas are blissfully quiet, the program certainly does not discourage vocalizing and is clear to note that noise does NOT equal pain. Well, I made A LOT of noise and I can tell you this is quite true. I recall chanting the cues, and even “orange, orange, orange,” as I pictured my hypno-anesthesia moving throughout my cervix and abdomen. I am an extremely competitive person by nature, so I would be lying if I said I didn’t want my birthing time to be anything less than the blissfully quiet, modest, relaxed women in the Hypnobabies videos. In spite of myself, that really wasn’t how my birthing time was meant to be. As it turned out, I spent the majority of my birthing time completely naked, dripping blood and god knows what other bodily fluids wherever I was, and being VERY vocal.

And in truth, despite priding myself in how much I had practiced and despite thinking I would be a self-hypnosis master during my birthing time, I had some difficulty staying in hypnosis and really needed my Doula and my husband’s help to keep relaxed. I remember thinking to myself that I was completely relaxed, until my Doula would put her hand on my shoulder and say “Relax” or “Release” and then I would truly feel my body go limp and loose.

I remember looking up at my Doula and trying to explain that my pressure waves were piggy-backing on one another. (In other words, when one was ending and I thought I’d have a moment of reprieve, another peak would suddenly rush up on me and I’d have two contractions together). Thank the good lord that she was there, because whatever she said was encouraging and empowering. There were a few moments during this time when I felt defeating thoughts creep into my head. I recall repeating (out loud of course), “Bubble of peace.” And on several occasions I reminded myself that all I needed to do was to “choose” to continue using my Hypnobabies techniques. It worked, with a few adaptations here and there.

After spending what was probably a long time in bed just breathing through my pressure waves and vomiting into a seemingly endless supply of towels, I was ready to try a different position and my Doula suggested the tub. Yes, the tub!! She drew a bath for me (equipped with tea-light candles and everything) and left Brad and I alone for some time together. I’m not sure if this is when my transformation came to an end, or if the water offered the soothing affect we were looking for, but I finally felt like I had regained control of my birthing time. Although I was still a little nauseous, I had stopped retching with each wave. While in the tub, I tried various positions throughout my pressure waves and felt myself relaxing with each one—it was enjoyable.

After getting out of the tub, it was evident that my birthing time was finally progressing in the right direction. I remember not wanting to put back on clothes. Again, this surprised me since I’m not typically comfortable just “letting it all hang out.” I had brought a cotton skirt and a loose t-shirt to change into and remain modest, but the idea of anything touching my skin just seemed insane. An honestly, the thought that anyone would be judging me for an unshaved bikini line and dimpled thighs was absolutely absurd (Incidentally, I think the fact that there was no room for vanity during my birthing time had a significant contribution to making the experience more wonderful and indirectly made me less insecure than I have ever been in my life).

My husband tells me that I pushed for two and half hours. I’m not entirely sure I believe him. I recall standing next to the bed and feeling the “involuntary pushes.” Somewhere around that time, my bag of waters also broke, but it wasn’t until after the delivery that we were certain of this fact as only a small amount released. The rest gushed out with Emerson’s earthside arrival. Anyway, this phase of my birthing time passed quickly for me, and I can say sincerely that while it was not necessarily pain free, it was at times extremely enjoyable. The pushing felt good and purposeful. The biggest challenge for me was at the end of each pressure wave when I tried to reign-in the pushing to conserve my strength. I pushed standing next to the bed, on all fours using the birthing ball, and eventually on my side with my husband holding my upper leg. I’m not sure how it would have progressed if my birthing time was attended by an OB, but our midwife was comfortable allowing me to direct my pushing entirely. In fact, I think I only realized that my midwife was even in the room when she encouraged me to change my position slightly so that my pushing would be more productive. Of course, it helped to have my Doula as a coach and cheerleader.


When it was clear than Emerson was ready to emerge, my midwife positioned herself for the final pushes. When the head began to crown, she held my wrist and helped me to feel her head. (I didn’t have the heart to tell anyone that I couldn’t feel it, as I had lost all feeling in my hands due to CTS). After awhile of the 2 steps forward 1 step back progress, it became evident that Emerson’s had positioned her fist next to her ear. This didn’t even register to me as a challenge at the time, only later when I thought about. So, the next few pushes felt the best and with a rush of amniotic fluid and a head to toe and deeply concentrated sensation that was like a climax or a high, Emerson made her entrance.

I did it. She was here. And I was instantly in love.


Her cord was a little short, so as she lay upon my stomach, head between my breasts, my husband and I dried her off with our own blankets while her umbilical cord remained unclamped. I noticed immediately how calm she was—and while it’s hard to explain, I also sensed that she wasn’t afraid. Of course, the nursed want to hear her cry, and she gave into them a little bit, but mostly remained very calm. Not only did the midwife and nurses allow the cord to stop pulsing, but I think my husband actually asked several minutes later, reminding them that we had yet to clamp or cut.

Although I had hoped that breastfeeding and our initial latch would be completely instinctual, I was overwhelmed when I realized that my breasts were about twice the size of her little head. Fortunately, my Doula helped us get a very strong latch almost immediately after trying. (While I can confidently say that I had no fear about giving birth, I was extremely anxious and worried that I would fail at breastfeeding).

We had requested that we have two uninterrupted hours of skin to skin contact before removing Emerson from my chest. In reality, they left us alone for nearly two and a half hours, only interrupting us to let us know that they needed to switch out the beds. Our intent was not to bathe Emerson at all, but after a HUGE meconium blow out that covered both me and her, my husband escorted her to the nursery to get a bath while I made my way to the shower. During this time, she weighed in at 6lbs 12oz, and 19.5 inches long. They swapped the beds and it was no time at all before we were back together, chest to chest. All newborn procedures (Vitamin K and PKU) were put off until right before we left the hospital.

At about 2:30 am, we placed our Hypnobabies “Relaxation Music” on repeat and settled in, my husband falling asleep immediately and deeply. I might have closed my eyes for a couple minutes, but I was still humming from my birthing time. I carried Emerson to the nursery to feed so her crying wouldn’t wake my husband, and spent some time chatting with the nurses. When it was all over, I had managed maybe an hour of sleep before we started packing up our bags to head for home. At 17 hours old, we loaded Emerson in her car seat and made our way home. I would spend several days “processing” my birthing time, replaying each magical moment in my head over, and over, and over again.

Never before have I experienced such a wonderful, intense, and joyful journey. Days later when a friend asked how it went I said, “I can’t wait to do it again.” Because Brad and I had prepared with Hypnobabies, and because we had decided we could benefit from the presence of a Doula, I had accomplished the natural and peaceful birthing I had set out to achieve. Again, I wasn’t the still, quiet, and graceful mamas from the Hypnobabies videos. And while I cannot claim that it was pain free, it was a challenge that I was prepared to meet without fear. For me childbirth was tantamount to nothing—truly the most beautiful, raw, pure, and serene joy I have ever felt. It left me with a confidence and self respect that I had never felt before. And yes, I cannot wait to do it again.

Empowering Hospital Birth with HypnoBabies and Massage

Empowering Hospital Birth with HypnoBabies and Massage

September 28th, 2012.

I was a week overdue and I had been in false labor for over a week. Things were getting frustrating and the pressure was on from the doctors to induce once I went past my due date. I knew that Peanut was just fine in there and was not willing to accept that my body would just stop doing what it had been doing for nine months. It’s amazing how much doctors will bully you to try to get you to induce when it isn’t medically necessary. So on Friday, the 28th, because I was 41 weeks and refused to induce, I had to undergo some testing. I was sure I was in labor this morning when I went to the hospital. I went in for a non-stress test, which measures contractions in relation to the baby’s heart rate. This was pretty easy and normal. It took all of 30 minutes, and then I was sent in for my fluid check, where Kyle met up with me. We watched the ultrasound and saw our beautiful baby’s feet, etc. Then the ultrasound tech started to measure my fluid. She looked at me and said “Your fluid is low…they’re going to need to induce you.” I quickly got upset, as did Kyle. I knew the baby wasn’t in immediate danger and that induction was not necessary. This was a cop out and an excuse from the doctors to get me in and out. Just as the ultrasound tech burst out of the room, a nurse from the NST came in and asked me, “Ma’am… are you feeling your contractions?” I answered with a yes. “We need to send you to labor and delivery to get your cervix checked. We believe you are in labor.” Well then of course I have low fluid…my body is almost ready to be done!

My birth had just become a race against my body and the hospital. But I was going to do everything to be sure that the race was won on Peanut’s time. A doctor came to get us and as we were walking down the hallway he casually said, “So, Mrs. Francis, would you like to have a baby today?” I looked him straight in the eye and said “Not if my baby is not ready.” I don’t think he expected that. He chuckled condescendingly, “Well, I think you’re ready. We like to have them out by 41 weeks.” They tried to admit me and I just stood there laughing, “You mean you aren’t even going to let me go home and get my stuff?” They assured me that my husband could do it. I assured them that they were wrong. They all kept worrying I was going to go AWOL and leave the hospital. They brought in about 5 different doctors to talk to me and tell me the same exact things, but couldn’t give me a straight answer when I asked them why it was necessary to pump me with drugs to induce when my baby was not in distress. In the midst of the doctors coming in and out, I was texting and calling my friend Stacy, a PA who assured me that my baby was fine and the hospital was putting me through the ringer, just as every hospital does. She encouraged Kyle and me to stay strong and stick to our guns.

Then a nurse came in with a bunch of tubes and wires. She smiled at me and said “Hello, Kimberly, I’m the nurse who will be performing your induction today.” Only a split second later, Kyle jumped out of his chair and said, “WHOA!!! No one is inducing labor right now. We are weighing out our options.” It was really scary to us how pushy the hospital was. Finally a midwife came in and talked to us. She agreed that there was no immediate danger and that she would work with my birth plan. She agreed to let me go home, get my stuff, and even encouraged me to eat lunch. We then decided we were going to try to induce with acupuncture and a Foley bulb, since it was apparent that my body had already started to labor on its own.

So Kyle and I went home, ate a brownie sundae with our neighbor, Amy, and gave instructions to care for our house. We called those who needed to know where we were going, went for a nice long walk together, and then calmly drove to the hospital. Upon getting to the hospital I was checked, and was 1cm dilated, 50% effaced and -2 station. Things were moving along…slowly…but moving. The Foley bulb was placed in and the acupuncturist started her treatment. The midwife told me that if these methods didn’t work that they’d have to use Pitocin. I broke down crying and she asked me why I had so much fear about Pitocin. “Did you watch that Business of Being Born documentary?” she asked. “Yes I did, but the reason I fear Pitocin is because of the birth my mother had,” I told her through tears. She was understanding, but not really willing to change her position on the need to use Pitocin. I wasn’t allowing it to happen until this was an emergency.

After this, my doula Tana showed up. She kept me relaxed. She put glow candles in the room and played the soothing music she used when she gave me prenatal massages for the past 9 months. I was calm and I was ready to labor. Tana did pressure points and massage as I got through every contraction. She asked me to tell her when I was getting one, because she couldn’t tell when I was having them, my face was so calm. The only thing that was letting people know they were happening was the monitor I was hooked up to. They were about 5-8 minutes apart at this point.

After the Foley bulb fell out and two treatments of acupuncture, I was dilated to 3 cm. I had made progress. Contractions were still the same though, and the medical staff didn’t want to wait around for my body to naturally make them pick up. They started to again, push Pitocin. It was 2:00am at this point and I was exhausted. I kept telling them that I needed sleep before even thinking about inducing a labor. (Not that I was going to anyway, and I think the midwife knew that.) She annoyingly stated that all I was doing was buying time, and that we really should do it sooner rather than later. I knew I was buying time and I didn’t care. My baby was fine. I knew what was best for Peanut and I didn’t care how scary or threatening these doctors were going to get.

The night was long. I didn’t sleep much because of how much I was poked and prodded at. They kept pressuring me about Pitocin and it truly stressed me out. I watched as Kyle and Tana slept and prayed that God would show me why this was dragging on so much. I wanted it to be over, but I knew what I needed to do for Peanut. I continued to stay strong. In the morning, a new midwife came on staff. She again suggested Pitocin and I declined. I told her that if she would just let me walk the hallway, I could probably get things moving, but she insisted I needed to be hooked to the monitor to make sure baby was okay. I could feel Peanut moving! I didn’t need a dang monitor! I was getting so frustrated.

Finally, after checking with multiple doctors they agreed to allow me off the monitors for 30 minutes. That was all I had. I walked and walked and walked with Tana and Kyle. We walked around the entire floor. Then, when they hooked me back up to the monitors I walked some more and swirled my hips with every surge (contraction) to try to work baby down. When the midwife came in to check me, she was upset to find that I was only 4cm dilated. “You only dilated a centimeter more in three hours.” I was upset. I knew it wasn’t in 3 hours. I knew I did that dilating from walking in the half hour I was free. I knew things would move along if they would just let me do what my body needed to. But instead I was a prisoner, hooked up to all their tubes and cords.

Despite the fact that the monitors were on me for 24 hours at this point, and showed everything to be fine, they still told me how ridiculous I was being. I stayed strong and wanted my body to do this on its own. I told them that if they would just let me rest, then maybe things could move along. But if they kept stressing me out and mentioning Pitocin, of course my labor was going to stall! Our nurse was horrible and every 30 minutes kept coming in and mentioning that we needed to decide soon. I was exhausted; I felt defeated and truly wanted to punch her in the face at this point.

I knew I was never going to sleep in this damn hospital. I knew they were going to win eventually. They were going to give me the Pitocin and then I was going to need an epidural due to my exhaustion. And then there was the question of if I’d even be able to push the baby out. I was flirting with a c-section at this point. I sat on my birth ball, looking at Tana and Kyle, and just started to cry, “I just don’t know what to do.” Kyle asked if I wanted him to call Sunshine, our Hypnobirthing instructor. I declined. I asked him to call Stacy.

Stacy answered her phone and agreed that the doctors were being unreasonable. She was upset because she knew that if I was just able to go home and get some rest that I would probably have the baby by midnight. She assured Kyle this and told him that he had to get me out of there. As I talked to her on the phone I told her I was giving up. She encouraged me to go with my doula and sit in the bathroom. I did this, and Tana locked the door so the medical staff could not come in and bother me. Kyle then went to the midwife and informed her that he didn’t care about her policies, and didn’t wish for her to discuss it with me at all…but that we were going home. I was going to get some rest, and we would return when my labor was more advanced. The midwife actually agreed with Kyle, (and of course couldn’t say it) but told him we would have to sign a waiver because it is against the hospital’s policies.

She came in, said nothing to me, handed me the form, and I signed. I looked at her and apologized. I could only imagine what the medical staff thought of me for being so pushy. She just encouraged me to come back if my water broke or I felt decreased movement. She also said that, either way, I should come back in the morning for another non stress test. I agreed. The pushy, mean nurse came in to take out my IV and I apologized to her for wasting her time. “Oh it’s okay,” she said, “I think you’re doing the right thing. I think it will be what is best for you.”

My jaw dropped. The nurse who was pushing Pitocin on me for HOURS was suddenly on my side? It’s just crazy how the legal system and policies turn these people into such bullies, but once you sign your life away they completely change their professional opinions.

As I stepped out of the hospital in my own clothes, I felt AMAZING! I was free and I knew Peanut had the chance at a beautiful birth. We were going to do it. We called my Hypnobirthing instructor, Sunshine, and told her that I checked myself out of the hospital. She laughed, “I would have never thought to do that.” She said. She was proud of us though. I slept for a couple hours on the couch and then Sunshine came over to see me. I also got to take a nice hot shower while she was there. It felt so good through all the surges I was having. Sunshine ate dinner with me and just talked to me about her past births.

She told me about how she did have to take Pitocin and that it was an intense birth. She said that sometimes it is medically necessary, but that in my case she agreed it wasn’t. We hung out, laughed for a bit, and then at 8:30pm she told us she had to leave. I got up to let her out the door and as I stood up I felt a gush of fluid. Was it my water? I had no idea. I went to the bathroom, and upon looking at the fluid I noticed it was green. I started to stress, wondering if it was meconium in my amniotic fluid. But the gush was so small; was it really my water? I didn’t want to go back to the hospital after all that work to get out of there. I felt Peanut moving and just knew that it was okay. I needed more sleep at this point and I knew that. So after talking to Stacy again, who reassured me that if something was wrong my instinct would kick in and I would know, I decided to get some sleep. I slept for about 6 hours.

Around 1:00am, I sat up straight in bed and began to freak out. I woke Kyle up and he looked at me. “Babe, we need to go to the hospital now. Something is wrong.” He was a little confused after all the hard work we had done to leave the hospital. “I just need to go there,” I told him, “I will feel a lot better if we do.” So we got our bags together yet again and headed to the hospital. I called on the way over to let them know I was coming. The midwife was at the front desk when we came in.

“You’re back?” She asked, “I was so confused when they told me you were coming back. I thought you were waiting until tomorrow morning.” I looked at her worriedly, “I know, but I think my water may have broken and I just want to make sure my baby isn’t in distress and get checked out; better safe than sorry, right?” She agreed. She took me to triage where I was hooked up to monitors again and Peanut still showed a good, strong heart beat. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart. She checked my cervix to find it still at a 4. She then looked further.

“Oh…your water did break!” she said. “I can see your baby’s head now and there’s a bunch of hair.” It was real now. She pushed the head to the side and there my water went a gushing out on the table. THIS was what I envisioned when I envisioned my water breaking. The midwife then realized that, yes; there was meconium in my water. The baby had passed the first bowel movement in my womb. When your water breaks, you are already on a 24 hour time clock to deliver, but with the meconium, we had to act fast. I knew this and knew that I had to surrender to the fact that an intervention was needed. I agreed to the midwife’s decision to start the Pitocin. I felt defeated, but tried to stay as positive as possible. I looked over at Kyle and pleaded with him, “Whatever happens, please don’t judge me.” We called Tana and Sunshine, and they headed to the hospital.

As the nurse started the Pitocin, I blocked it out in my mind. I continued affirming to myself that the contractions I was having were getting stronger because they were my own. I convinced myself that there were no alterations in my labor and that I would stay relaxed. Tana massaged my feet while the contractions started to get stronger and I breathed through them with ease and comfort. We had gotten into a good rhythm.

Then the nurse came in to check on me. She watched me having a contraction and started to up the Pitocin. Kyle asked her why she was doing this and she said “Your wife doesn’t appear to be in any pain, so we need to give her more.” Kyle got very upset with this and went to talk to the midwife about it. I wasn’t appearing that way because of the hypnosis! They continuously asked me to rate my pain, and I declined, telling them that I didn’t want to focus on pain. This made the nurse rather angry and uncomfortable as well. To top this off, the monitors were not working. I would be having a contraction and the monitor would be flat. But no one bothered to look into this. They just continued to up my dosage until I was at 10 ml/hr. The nurse told me I would want it to be high because then I wouldn’t have to have a pressure catheter put in to prove I was having contractions. At this point, the freaking catheter sounded better than the amount of Pitocin being pumped through my veins.

About an hour later, Rosemary, the midwife, came in to check me. I was 5cm dilated, but they were still confused about my surges and because I didn’t appear to be in pain, had to put in the catheter to make sure the Pitocin dosage was accurate. What they found was shocking to them. My contractions were literally on top of each other. Rosemary, and one of the nurses felt my belly and realized it never stopped contracting. Rosemary grew nervous. “Turn off the Pitocin!” She said sternly. They turned it completely off, and I continued to labor on my own for 3 hours with no Pitocin.

I labored in the bed for awhile because of the stupid pressure catheter they put in me. It was bearable, but I was really squirmy and dying to move around. The nurses agreed that if I was comfortable I was welcome to. I stood up and labored holding onto the squatting bar while Tana and Kyle alternated pushing on my lower back and hips. I breathed with each surge and imagined a hot air balloon filling up until I could not inhale anymore. Then I blew the balloon away off into the sky. My balloon changed colors every time. I must have gone through hundreds of them during labor.

Sunshine was watching me breathe and encouraged me, telling me that I looked very relaxed through my surges. I thought I was going to need more tools than this but counter pressure from Tana and Kyle, along with the balloon visualization, seemed to be all I needed for most of the labor. Tana also had some really soothing music on which reminded me of more comfortable times when she gave me my amazing prenatal massages.

The midwife came in to check me and I reluctantly laid down on the bed again. The exams started to get less and less uncomfortable though. She looked up at me and said, “You are a 7…almost an 8. You are so close!” I still felt discouraged. If I was only going to dilate a centimeter every three hours I didn’t know how I could keep up with this. I was getting tired, and though I didn’t feel any pain, the pressure was getting intense.

I sat in a chair on a bed pan to try to get more relief and Tana and Kyle continued to do the counter pressure. This went on for a good while, until I finally stood up exclaiming, “This needs to stop.” I started to tell Tana and Sunshine that I could no longer do this. They helped me get onto the bed on all fours, and Tana pushed on my hips, while Sunshine fed me ice chips and tried to talk me through it. Kyle was also rubbing my back and helping to push when he was able. I should mention things got really fuzzy at this point and I have no idea where anyone really was, I just felt their presence.

I wanted to cry, but no tears would come out, so I just pouted my face. I looked at Sunshine and told her I could not do this anymore. “You are doing SO great!” she said as she smiled back at me. Tana also continued to affirm that I was doing awesome. Apparently at this time, Sunshine looked over at Kyle and gave him a thumbs up. She knew I had hit transition and that the baby was so close to coming out. She went and got the nurses, who mostly left us alone at this point. Sunshine and Tana had me under control.

Sunshine smiled and said, “Kimberly, you’re going to get your sapphire! Your baby is going to be born today, so soon! You are close!” I glared at her, “Don’t lie to me,” I pleaded with her. “I’m not lying!!” she said as everyone laughed a little. Kyle was behind me watching the entire thing. I suddenly heard his voice saying “Wow, this is so amazing.” He apparently could see my pelvis open and the baby start to descend. Hearing how much awe he was in really inspired me to stick with my plan. I could do this; and although I was not comfortable and ready to be done, at no point during transition did I ever think I’d rather have a needle in my spine to numb what I was feeling.

The midwife came in to check me, and Tana and Sunshine let me know she was here. “I’m not laying down, I can’t.” I said. “Honey, you can stay right where you are! I think she can check you from here.” Sunshine said. The midwife checked me and told everyone, “I don’t see a cervix.” At the time, I thought this meant she had no clue how far along I was, but what she was really telling everyone was that I was 10 centimeters and ready to push. I stayed squatted on the bed and used the squat bar to pull myself up when I had a contraction to push Peanut down. I continued to hear Kyle’s voice, just in awe of what was happening. It was more encouraging than anything seeing just how amazed my husband was at his child coming into the world through my body. Sunshine and Tana continued to do awesome at getting me through everything and focusing me.

Before I knew it, Sunshine had me turn onto my back in a sitting up position with my legs spread. I held onto my legs and pulled them up with each contraction as I pushed the baby out. The midwife was ready to receive Peanut, but I still had no idea she was there. I didn’t know where anyone was. I heard voices and knew there were tons of people in the room…but I was only aware of me and Peanut in this moment. The pressure was intense and I just wanted Peanut out at this point, so I pushed with everything I had.

Suddenly the midwife got my attention, “Now, Kimberly, your baby is sunny-side-up, so you’re going to have to push a little harder to make any progress.” She must have under estimated my strength, because I started to push with everything I had and before I knew it she was trying to get my attention again. I focused in on her stern voice finally, “Kimberly!!!” I looked down at her. “Now I need you to listen to me, Kimberly. If I tell you to stop pushing, you need to stop.” At this point, I knew the baby was almost out, but really just wanted Peanut out. I couldn’t stop.

She started to make me grunt to avoid tearing too much. I did this for a good while. Everything was so blurry and fuzzy at this point. Before I could even focus on what was going on, Peanut was out, and a little slimy human body was placed on my belly. The midwife looked at Kyle, “Tell us what it is, Dad.” Kyle looked at me and told me it was a boy. I was in shock, but so, so happy! We announced to the room that his name was Tristan Michael Francis. They took him to the other side of the room to suction him from the meconium and make sure all was okay. Kyle followed, cut the cord and then put on his first diaper.

They brought Tristan back to me where he nursed right away and later on Kyle and I were able to have our own moment with him. Everything was absolutely perfect. Nowhere near where we’d planned, but still so perfect and so meant to be!

After the birth, I had an amazing burst of energy and euphoria. While I was waiting for Tristan to be handed back to me, I looked around the room in shock at what I had just done and uttered the words “Holy s***.” Everyone laughed. I also joked that someone had better go get me a blizzard from dairy queen and a shot of tequila. I was full of jokes, and it was so not like me. But I was on cloud nine. It’s amazing what your hormones do when you don’t numb them, and I’m still in disbelief at how interactive my son was in the first few hours of his life. I know a birth like this is not for everyone, as people have their own beliefs and values, but after my experience, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I hope my story can show women that there is nothing to fear in childbirth. It is not a medical experience, it is a natural one. I heard so many horrible, heinous birth stories before my baby was born and I just don’t understand it. My whole experience was just so cool. As women, we have got to stop fearing something that is so natural. It is my only wish that everyone can feel the way I did about my birth.

Thanks for reading!

A Contracting Uterus, Crowning and More: Pictures

A Contracting Uterus, Crowning and More: Pictures

Lindsay McCoy is a Hypnobabies Instructor, birth doula, and prenatal yoga instructor in Minneapolis, MN. She captured these pictures at the birth was at Morningstar Birth Center in St Louis Park, MN with Catherine Mascari, CNM.

The mom loved being on the toilet for the majority of her birthing time.  When it came time to push the baby out she asked the midwife if she was going to have to move and Catherine assured her that where she was at was just fine.

Here is the amazing mom’s and the midwife’s expression upon finding out it’s a GIRL (everyone except Lindsay guessed boy)!


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