I have to start this birth story by writing a little about my first three birth experiences. I didn't choose to educate myself about birth when I was pregnant with my first two children and I had very challenging births as a result. My first son, Jack was born via cesarean and even though it was difficult I felt that the cesarean was truly necessary. My second son, Sam was a VBAC in the hospital with an epidural--his birth was full of unnecessary interventions and was quite traumatic. After his birth, I felt like my body was broken and I couldn't even fathom the idea of ever wanting to have another baby. After 3 years I did want another baby.
When I became pregnant with Ben, my third son, I hired a midwife, Cyndi Johnson, took the Hypnobabies course, and gave birth at The Birth Sweet. My perspective on birth completely changed after Ben's birth. I experienced how birth is meant to be--gentle, kind, and peaceful. It transformed me in such a powerful way. I think I was on a birth high for a year! I wish that I had more eloquent words to describe the way I felt after his birth. I am so grateful for Cyndi's quiet confidence in me--it empowered me in so many ways as a woman and a mother. I am also grateful for the Hypnobabies program for helping me to let go of my fears about birth and to feel confident in my body's ability to give birth.
This is the story of Jane's birth; my forth child, third VBAC, second Hypnobabies-baby, and first home birth.
The night before her birth, I went to bed having pressure waves (Hypnobabies lingo for contractions) and even woke up during the night with more pressure waves, but then I would fall back asleep. This was typical of the past 3 weeks, so I tried not to get my hopes up about this being my actual birthing time. But, around 5:30 a.m. they were starting to regulate and at 7:30 a.m. they were about 7-10 minutes apart and over a minute long. I decided I should call Cyndi. I also sent my doula a text. She told me earlier in the week that she was going to be out of town. I asked her if she had left town yet. She had already left, but I wasn't worried; everything happens for a reason and I knew I was in good hands. I sent my mom and sister a text telling them that it was finally time and I hoped it really was this time (I had a few false alarms in the past month)! My midwife arrived around 8:30 and my mom and sister shortly after.
It also just so happened to be my 6 year old, Sam's birthday. I asked him, before everyone arrived, if it was okay if his little sister was born on his birthday. He thought about it for a minute and then said, "Yeah." I was glad he was okay with it--because I don't think he really had a choice!
My mom got to work making Sam his birthday breakfast and Cyndi got set up and timed my pressure waves, did counter pressure and rubbed my back. She told me that my waves were much closer than 7 minutes apart and more like 3 minutes apart--I was surprised, but was glad that things were progressing and that I was enjoying my birthing time. I really was too. I had a massage appointment scheduled for that afternoon and I remember thinking, would I rather be getting a massage right now or be doing this? And I thought--Giving birth! I guess I really love birth!
Cyndi's assistant, April came about an hour later and she took over doing counter pressure and rubbing my back. The mood was still pretty light and we would talk a little bit in between pressure waves and Jake would come in and make jokes and sit near me. The house was unusually quiet that day, especially with three little boys at home--I think they must have sensed the special event that was in progress.
I spent most of my birthing time rocking on the birth ball on my hands and knees. As Jane dropped deeper into my pelvis, I had to empty my bladder more often. After a pressure wave ended, I would get up and hurry to the bathroom and then before I would make it back to the birth ball I would have another pressure wave--they were that close together! So I would drop to my hands and knees--it just felt so much better to be in that position. I had my Hypnobabies Easy First Stage playing out loud on my phone right next to me during my whole birthing time--it was a huge comfort and I felt so much more relaxed when I could hear it.
At about 11:00 a.m. I decided to get into the bath tub. I floated on my belly and worked with the pressure waves. About 10 minutes later, I could tell that the waves were changing--becoming more powerful as Jane began to move her way down my birth canal. April showed Jake how to massage my back and it felt so good! As a pressure wave would begin, I would start to groan and become vocal, then Jake would massage my back and within seconds it would help me to relax and refocus. Cyndi, would say just the right words at just the right time. I hadn't really discussed any of the Hypnobabies cue words with her because I had planned on having my doula there, but she picked up on them and would say, "Release." The Hypnobabies cues really helped so much to keep me relaxed and focused. Sometimes, as I could feel a wave approaching, I would say, "Talk to me Cyndi." Her voice and words were so calming.
At one point April asked me if I felt like pushing. I told her "No, not yet." But sure enough, with the next pressure wave I started to feel pushy and I told her so--it's pretty amazing how a good birth team can become so in tune with a birthing woman. After pushing through a couple of waves my water broke. Wow, what a cool thing to feel under water!
I could feel Jane moving down even more with each pressure wave and it made me emotional, we had waited and waited for this day, and now she was almost here! Soon I could feel her crowning--I reached down and could feel her head. When the pressure wave ended, she would slip back up--in a two step forward, one step back fashion. Cyndi's words were so encouraging. She said things like, "Perfect pushing. Good job. Just like that. You're doing it just right."
After a while I turned from floating on my belling to sitting reclined against the back of the tub. At 11:40 a.m., after pushing through a few more pressure waves in this position, Jane's head slipped out. A moment later her body slipped out. Then I pulled her up to my chest. It all seemed to happen so quickly and it took me a little while to process it all. When I looked down at her she was so beautiful! I told my sister to go get my kids so they could meet their baby sister. They were there almost instantly. They all came in so quietly-- they somehow just knew how to reverence the sacredness of her arrival. It was so sweet and wonderful to have them all there.
Just minutes after her birth, Jake said, "That was so easy!" Everyone laughed and Jack, my oldestsaid, "Dad, you didn't have to do it!" But, he was right--it just seemed so simple and natural to be at home, surrounded by those that I love. It didn't feel like a big, dramatic affair--it was just how I hoped it would be; no, it was better than I hoped it would be.
Jane's birth was so beautiful. She was born on her brother Sam's birthday. It was such a tender mercy that she decided to come on that day. There were so many things that I wished would have happened differently at Sam's birth and many things that were painful for me to remember when I would think of that day. My heart is so full of gratitude that God had a perfect plan. My pain was so deep, but now I feel exquisite joy and gratitude. The difficulties of Sam's birth, 6 years ago, is what propelled me to seek for something better and I am now grateful for that experience. Jane and Sam's birthdays will hold an entire new meaning for me--a new birth in so many ways.