December 2nd, I got up and went to work. All week long, I had been experiencing lower and more-intense B-H contractions, and had some bloody mucous, so I knew things were definitely shifting. That day, things felt different, though. Stronger, longer, more uncomfortable cramping was happening. It continued all day, all evening, and I finally thought, hmm...maybe we ought to be timing these? By 11:00 that night, we realized this was it. We called the midwife and our doula B. Midwife G. was on-call - our most favorite, wonderful, awesome midwife - so we were keeping our fingers crossed that she'd still be on by the time we made it to the hospital. She advised us to stay in bed and rest as long as possible, but it soon became evident that this was not going to happen. The waves started coming on more regularly, strongly, and frequently. I mostly laid on the bed, or bent over the bed rocking back and forth - never did it feel unmanageable, but perhaps inconveniently uncomfortable to do anything with but breathe, breathe, breathe, and rock back and forth. I had been using the Hypnobabies homestudy course, so I put on my headphones and let the relaxation exercises guide me through each wave. It kept me focused, calm, and easygoing. I was very, very quiet during this time, still able to talk to S., but we decided that sooner than later, with my waves increasing in frequency, it was time to get this show on the road. We called our doula and midwife back around 3:30 a.m., and by 4:00 started moving downstairs to get ready to leave for the hospital. We stopped into Theo's room to give him one last kiss as a family of 3, and I remember thinking how different everything would be the next time we saw him.
S.'s mom came over for Theo, helped us pack the car with our bags, and then we were on our way. I kept the headphones on throughout the ride, but it was becoming more and more uncomfortable to bear each wave sitting down. We met our doula B., and made our way down the hallway, to the elevators, up to the birthing center. We were lead to the same room that Theo was born in---we thought surely this was an excellent sign! It was 5:00 a.m.
My intake appointment went well--I remember being very chatty and upbeat with the nurse while the waves continued. I was hooked up to the EFM for just 20 minutes. Midwife G. came in to check my progress and -- holy cow -- I was already 8-9 cm dilated. This was beyond awesome news, but at the same time, I knew in the back of my head that meant the hardest work was yet to come. I was unhooked and left to move freely. I chose to spend the majority of the time bent over the hospital bed on pillows, rocking. Eventually the rocking got paired with moaning as B. massaged my lower back, gave me washcloths scented with ginger for my nausea (I hadn't been able to keep anything down for hours), and S. held my hands.
As the waves grew stronger, I felt myself spinning out of control. B.'s touch and S.'s "om"ing in my ear reminded me to stay focused, to turn inward, to keep my tones low. This, coupled with cool cloths and ice chips, got me through what I knew was transition. I wondered how long it would go on before I would feel like pushing. Eventually, I was moved into the bathroom to sit on the toilet, but I hated the feeling. I know now that G. was trying to use gravity to get my urge to push stimulated, but all I wanted to do was get off. I even remember saying, "I don't want my baby to be born on a toilet!" We walked back over to the bed, where I finally got on, side-lying, my legs supported by S. and G. I waited and waited for each wave to help bring my urge to bear down on, but it never happened with the force I expected. Suddenly I was being instructed to push, to focus my pushing in one place, and sure enough it started to work. I can honestly say I never felt that "urge to push" most women get, but I knew it was time for that baby to come out.
Soon, G. said, "reach down and feel this - your baby is still in his sack." I reached down and said, "That's so weird!" My water had never broken - I had in the back of my mind been waiting and waiting, but it never did. The baby was born in his caul, with his bag of waters intact, a very rare thing indeed. Of course I never felt it, but G. broke the bag as he was coming out to help him breath, and before I knew it or even felt him come out, my screaming little peanut was resting on my chest, healthy, hairy, and loud. It was 7:29 a.m., 2 1/2 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and less than 10 hours after labor started in earnest.
I feel positive that using Hypnobabies allowed me to stay at home for as long as I did and labor in comfort for as long as I did. I had the exact birth that I wanted, was supported by wonderful and amazing people, and now have the little family of 4 S. and I had been dreaming off since this process began last year. I have no other words other than to say that I am so lucky to have been able to do what I did, to have who I have in my life, and to have a healthy little baby to show for it all.