My “guess date” was October 6th, and I expected that I would be a week late, just like I was with our son. I planned to work through the end of September. My husband Josh and I had finished our Hypnobabies course a couple of weeks earlier, and we were anxious to put the technique to work. We planned to birth with a midwife at her small one bed birth center.
On Monday (September 28th) I had some mild contractions during the work day. They felt like strong braxton hicks so I didn’t think much about it. Around seven o’clock we started timing them. They weren’t strong, but we wanted to test my husband’s iPhone contraction timing application. They were 15-30 min apart at that point.
At 8:30 I decided to do a fear clearing hypnosis session. The contractions were getting stronger, and I was starting to have flashbacks from my son’s 32 hour labor. I needed to get my fear under control. It helped a lot and I calmed down.
At 9:30 I started to wonder if this might really be it. Contractions were still 15-30 min apart, but some were up to two minutes long and very intense. I can honestly say my initial thought was “oh crap…I still have so much to do at work before I go on maternity leave!” So I decided to work for a while (I work from home). I worked until 11:00 trying to close things out.
I got in the tub at 11:00 thinking it would slow things down so I could go to bed, but things only picked up. At this point the contractions were about 3-5 min apart and intense enough that I had to really focus to get through them. I was still in denial that this was the real thing, and then I felt a big gush and knew my water had broken.
Josh started getting our things together. We were very caught off guard and we hadn’t packed anything. He called his mom to come watch Ryker, and my mom and our midwife to meet us at the birth center.
We left for the birth center shortly after 1:00 a.m. The drive was about 15 minutes and we listened to the Hypnobabies Birth Day Affirmations on the way there.
Getting out of the car at the birth center I felt a huge wave of nausea. I didn’t throw up, but I remember thinking that I must be entering transition. I was shocked at how calm I was and how quickly I had progressed.
The atmosphere at the birth center was so calming. The lighting was low, and my midwife spoke in soft tones. She had the tub filled and waiting, and I immediately got in. We listened to her heartbeat and my midwife checked her position. She did not check me for dilation – she said that when it was time to push I would know. She also tested the fluid on my pad and confirmed my water had broken. Josh turned on my Hypnobabies script, but I felt like I needed a quiet room so I could concentrate so I had him turn it off. I did use self-hypnosis and Josh used the queues we had learned which helped me relax.
After about 30 minutes in the tub I started feeling the urge to push. My midwife said to go ahead and give it a try. I was lying on my left side and moaning deeply with every contraction. I could feel her moving down. Pushing felt so good!
I put my hand down and could feel her head covered in hair. The contractions were very intense, but I was able to recover and smile and talk in between them. I never felt out of control. I never felt like I couldn’t handle it anymore.
My midwife had me put my hand down to help stretch the perineum. She had me hoot like an owl to slow down on pushing so I wouldn’t tear. Then suddenly with the next contraction her head was out. I had a small break before the next contraction, then one more big push and she was out! She swam up to me and I pulled her up onto my chest. She was beautiful and perfect. It was 2:13 a.m. and only forty-five minutes after our arrival at the birth center.
It took her a minute to start breathing, but that was fine since the cord was still attached and pulsating. We sat and cuddled and massaged her for a minute and then she let out a little shriek. Once she was breathing well and the cord stopped pulsating my mom cut the cord. My midwife had me move to the bed to monitor my bleeding while I nursed Ruby and birthed the placenta. She latched right on and nursed for 45 minutes or so.
Ten minutes later I felt amazing and told everyone I could do it all again right then! The rush was unlike anything I have ever felt. I had a very small superficial tear that did not require stitching.
We measured and weighed her (8 lbs, 5 oz and 20 ¾ inches long). She got her vitamin K shot, and then we tucked her into the co-sleeper. Josh and I got in bed and went to sleep, my mom wet home, and my midwife went to the next room to sleep.
We woke up to the smell of pancakes being made in the kitchen by my midwife. It was the best meal I have ever eaten – I was so hungry! We had breakfast in bed and stared in awe at our little miracle sleeping away next to me.
At 10:00 a.m. Ruby and I had checkups and passed with flying colors, so we left and went home to begin life as a new family.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth
Birth is inspiring, amazing, and empowering. This website shares a collection of real natural birth experiences from you, the readers. Births the way nature intended. No pitocin. No epidural. Just the beauty (and intensity!) of the human body at work. Whether you've had one natural birth, five natural births, or are considering natural birth in the future, our hope is you will find courage and joy in these stories. Enjoy.
The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing