My Birth Story
As Long As the Answer to: “Are Mom and Baby Safe?” Is “Yes,” There Is No Reason to Interfere
Some practitioners would call the PROM (premature rupture of membranes) I experienced with my second birth a “complication,” a “concern” or even an “emergency.” However, I am incredibly fortunate that my midwife has such faith in natural birth and supports it so skillfully and wisely. Combining this with some safety measures: taking my temperature every hour and administering antibiotics every six hours as a precaution, we were confident that even as we approached 48 hours since the rupture had occurred, that infection, one of the main concerns with PROM, was not imminent. With intermittent monitoring on the baby, everything looked great. (Hypno-babies tend to look “happy” on the monitor because their moms are typically relaxed and calm!)
The reason that my water breaking was considered premature is that I was experiencing very minimal, sporadic birthing activity. Normally, water breaking is a sign that birth is just around the corner. Not so in my case. We stayed at home for as long as we felt comfortable with. In retrospect, because the risk of infection is greater at the hospital than at home, we probably should have stayed put.
Thankfully, we were not pressured for an induction (not even in the least) when we arrived at South Fulton Medical Center (now Atlanta Medical Center South Campus, which unfortunately doesn’t do births anymore due to a low number/profitability). The midwife on call was an absolute God-send. She recommended using the breast pump every hour for 15 minutes, in addition to the other safety measures. She said she had never known this method of triggering oxytocin (the body’s natural form of Pitocin) not to take effect.
For me, so far, nothin’ doin’. Little did we know my breast pump was not functioning at optimal capacity. I had left some batteries in the pack from its use with our first child that had begun to corrode! We discovered this weeks later.
Anyway, this was honestly the most comical birthing scenario you could imagine. We’re watching football, ordering Calzones, taking walks around the hospital campus (yes, they even released us from the floor)… everything but having a baby!
When we got back after our walk, it dawned on us that this kid was likely posterior (not facing mommy’s back as he should have been). DUH! Lightbulb moment. This was the answer to why I was having almost no contractions. Unfortunately the midwife who had done my last prenatal visit had mentioned this but not suggested anything to remedy it, so being in my suggestible state I allowed it to be “no big deal.” Thankfully, our doula had some tricks up her sleeve, including a very gentle method called Rebozo sifting which felt great, plus some other exercises and a technique we learned in Hypnobabies class called the Abdominal Lift & Tuck.
By the end of the day (we’d arrived at 8:30 a.m., 24 hours after my water broke), I was completely exhausted from all the activity trying to get the show on the road. About 11 p.m., the midwife checked in again and said she’d be back at 5 a.m. to put me back on the breast pump regimen for a bit longer before discussing a low dose of Pitocin. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that at that point in time, the only reason she recommended speeding along baby’s arrival was because she would be rotating off call by the end of the weekend. That tells you a little something about the back-up that a typical supportive provider receives from colleagues.)
I put on my Deepening hypnosis track and went right to sleep. My sleep was a bit fitful as I could feel some things happening. That “P” word must have been all I needed to hear. About 1:30 a.m. I awoke with some intense pressure in my back. Being on hands and knees while our doula used the “double hip squeeze” technique felt awesome and allowed me to focus and use my hypnosis tools again.
All of a sudden I had to go potty… bad! In the course of using the toilet, my body started to push a little bit involuntarily. I was experiencing some discomfort with this and I thought, “oh my… I need to get into the birthing tub, pronto.” Our doula reminded me to “push away the seat belt,” using my abdominal muscles rather than the muscles in my bottom, and this felt SO much better. In fact, pushing now felt wonderful! The nurse had to check my progress before they could let me get in the tub. Our awesome nurse Krystal checked me – while I was on the toilet, mind you – and I was 9 cm. dilated. (Thank you, Krystal!) I could not stop exclaiming, “I’M A NINE!” The birthing room was bustling now, our midwife had been called, and there were about 5 people attempting to get the tub ready. Sadly, the hot water was broken! 🙁
This baby had waited long enough and he was not waiting any longer. As the nurse changed the sheets and put down the supplies, I swayed through several intense waves of pressure and a nurse checked the baby’s heart rate. The second she was done I got up on hands and knees and began to gently guide the baby out. No one told me I was “complete” and could push; I just listened to my body and knew it was time. Before anyone knew what had happened, his head had emerged. Then very gently, the rest of him was born into his daddy’s arms! At that very second, our midwife arrived to see this occur and I honestly felt a little bad that she had gotten there as fast as she could and had still missed it.
Liam was born anterior (facing my back) with a nuchal hand (hand up by his face). I didn’t require a single stitch. Thank you to Hypnobabies, our hypno-doula Nicole King, and the staff at South Fulton Medical Center for supporting us during this incredible experience. Our happy, adorable son, born on October 16, 2011 at 2:36 a.m., is a joy and a gift from God.