When I reflect back on my labor day it seems so unreal to me. How was it that I accomplished that? I am amazed at the beauty that now lies in my arms. His soft skin, sweet smell and gentle breath fill me with motherly love and pride. He is perfection made real.
My husband, Steffen, and I awoke on March 17th, St. Patrick’s day, our little babies due date, with much excitement. We had a lazy morning of sleeping in and coffee cake to celebrate. I had some signs of labor the day before but didn’t want to get too excited so thought nothing of it. We strolled around our block leisurely in the wintery air and came home to our warm inviting house for a nap. Earlier that day Steffen and a good friend, Jim Wilson, gave me a Priesthood blessing ensuring me comfort and confidence whenever labor came (little did I know it was coming that night!).
After our nap (around 4:30 pm) I began to feel steady “cramps” – which I now know were my surges – but wasn’t sure what to think of them since this was my first time. As they began to reoccur with more rapidity we both looked at each other with excitement and anxiety – we had never done this before, should we begin timing them? Steffen began timing and helped me breathe through each surge. He used many of the HypnoBirthing prompts to guide me through like, “Breathe into my hand”, “Your stomach is like a balloon fill the balloon slowly, now watch it float away…”, “Baby and Mommy working together”. It was very exciting. So much preparation and thought went into this very occasion and here we were working as a team and keeping a cool head! It was working! I felt calm cool and ready.
Steffen was wonderful and kept me calm through each new wave. Once the surges were around three minutes apart and powerful I decided that I was ready to move our labor to the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital (around 9 pm) we were ushered into triage. Our nurse, Jenna, complimented me on my cute tummy and was very encouraging as I went through my surges. She checked my dilation and I was disappointed to hear I only at 4 centimeters – I really wanted to hear I was further along, was I going to make it? Hospital policy required me to be on fetal monitoring for at least twenty minutes before admitting me into my labor suite. This was frustrating to me, I don’t like being tethered down and prefer moving during my surges, but we had no choice. It was awkward trying to move around freely with the monitor attached but we worked with it. But boy, did I move around!
The surges that were coming on now were overpowering I could hardly keep to my slow steady breathing patterns and began to make vocal sighs and groans to help stabilize myself. Steffen’s prompts and support were so vital to me, especially during the peak of my surges. Little did we know I was actually beginning to go start my transformation (transition phase), and in an hour I would be fully dilated! I used many of the positions we learned from Hypnobirthing to help me survive my transition. I especially loved hanging on Steffen like we were slow dancing and moving my hips from side to side, and also squatting on the side of the bed.
When we finally arrived to the delivery room I was relieved but began to experience some anxiety and doubt. The surges were VERY strong now and I was scared. I was still managing to stay on top of them, but only with the help of Steffen. I couldn’t have asked for a better birth companion, he was right there with me to help me through each one, giving me confidence and love with each new surge.
I moved around a lot during my contractions switching to a new position for almost every other surge and listening to my relaxing music. During one of the last final surges of my dilation phase I was standing up doing a “slow dance” position with Steffen. The surge took over my whole body and filled me with doubt and fear and then all at once my body began to want to push! Holy cow – what was happening?! This was a whole new sensation. Steffen tells me that during that particular surge my vocal “sighing” was more like a cry and scream.
The nurse must have known something was up because she asked if she could check my dilation again – “Well! Good news”, she says happily, “you are fully dilated and I can feel your bag of water bulging down!”. I’ll be honest, the desire for an epidural began to flit across my mind at that last surge, but hearing her say that made me realize there was no turning back now! I reached the birthing phase!!
Nurses and one of the in house Doctors rushed into the room getting everything ready. I’ll admit it was fun to hear the staff sound so shocked and pleased that a first time Mom had progressed so quickly. It made me feel confidence in myself and in my body once again. “I can do this, I can do hard things”, I kept thinking to myself. My doctor was contacted and he was very surprised to hear of my progression, he literally said over the phone, “Wait…. What?!”. My bag of waters was bulging out by the time my doctor, Dr. Finazzo, arrived. The in house doctor, Dr. Mehall, draped a blanket over my legs because she said it could pop at anytime! They were afraid to get sprayed in the face.
Dr. Finazzo knew my birth plan and honored my request of no interventions. He didn’t prompt me to “push” but let me breathe through my contractions and handle my own birthing experience for the most part. Near the ending of my birthing stage I began to feel pressure from the nurses and Doctor to move things alone more quickly. At that point I began to feel anxious and started to rely on pushing the baby out rather than breathing. Pushing did help achieve the desired result but I feel strongly that if I hadn’t pushed I would have avoided tearing.
In between my contractions I was able to stay calm and sleep. Unlike my transformation phase, I had long resting periods in between surges, which was very nice! The room boiled with excitement and I was boiling over with it as the baby’s head began emerging. “You’re so close Em, so close”, Steffen continued to tell me. I felt the baby’s head myself and was surprised to feel how wrinkled and soft it was to touch! Excitement continued and I began to feel extremely “pushy” and started to grunt and yell with each surge. I did feel a strong stinging sensation and I knew that meant my little man was coming! When the head finally passed the baby just shot right out! What an immense feeling of relief and joy I had at that moment. The nurses gave him a quick wipe down and handed him directly to me. He was so perfect – he stopped crying almost immediately once he was on my chest and we just lay there together in total bliss.
I am so in love. My little baby boy Calvin fills me with amazement and butterflies. The instantaneous bond I felt with him cannot be described in words. Motherhood is truly glorious. I plan on using the hypnobirthing technique for each of my babies. I never thought I’d be able to have labor naturally but with hypnobirthing I feel like a confident woman in control of her body. It’s completely natural the birthing process and our bodies are made to do this! Woman are amazing!