In honor of my son's 1st birthday yesterday I'm posting his birth story. Its kinda long and lengthy but I've been working on it a year. Feel free to contact me if inspired. ENJOY!
Why did I choose Hypnobabies?
Hypnobabies was the answer to my prayers. It didn’t make sense to me that God would give women the gift of bringing life into this world yet at the same time sentence her to incredible amounts of pain. The thought of an epidural seemed unnatural. I knew there had to be some other way. Through a friend I was introduced to the concept of orgasmic birthing. I began researching the topic on the internet and finally came across a news clip of women on You Tube who claimed to have had orgasmic births. The women seemed to possess such a deep sense of peace and faith in the birth process. In the middle of my first trimester I was very scared at the idea of giving birth and wanted to somehow move toward attaining my own sense of peace and trust. Some of them said they had used hypnosis to get there. This lead me to Hypnobabies. After listening to the founder speak of how women in other countries from all over the world give birth naturally and peacefully I began thanking the universe that I had been presented with this option.
A little about me…
I am a first time mother and I started studying Hypnobabies at the beginning of my 3rd trimester. I listened to Hypnobabies everyday sometimes two to three times a day. I should also mention that I had gestational diabetes. After doing a lot of soul searching and attitude tweaking during my pregnancy I have come to reflect that the last two months of my pregnancy has been one of the most spiritually healing times of my life, leading up to the birth of my baby. Here is our birth story.
I woke up around 6AM Sunday morning with sensations in my belly that I dismissed as constipation. At one point I thought to myself I'm going to have a baby today, but shortly thereafter either my Hypnobabies training had worked alittle too well or I had entered a state of denial because my conscious mind had forgotten that thought because I had no recollection of it when I awoke four hours later. That afternoon my women’s choir was having their final performance of this seasons concert. Even though I was still feeling sporadic constipation sensations, and was feeling pretty lethargic I was bound and determined to attend the concert. During the concert the sensations became so intense that sitting straight up become uncomfortable so I swayed my body from side to side, as I sang along to the music, while I patted and rubbed my belly. At one point I thought, “Wow this baby is really enjoying the music, its almost as if he remembers it.” At one point I thought this baby is going rock and roll right out of me. At intermission my fellow singers who had noticed my movements asked me when I was due and I nonchalantly replied in two weeks. As I was driving home I asked my friend to describe what early labor felt like, and then blew a sigh of relief when I determined that her description was not what I was experiencing. After I got home I ate some dinner my hubby and I were planning on running some last minute errands, when we were interrupted by my water breaking at about 7:20PM. As I felt the liquid gush I could feel my conscious mind catching up with my subconscious and my body. There was a part of me that expected to feel fear, or anxiety since this was my first labor, birth and child. But there was another part of me that felt complete peace and I knew that everything was going to work out perfectly, better then what my conscious mind could conjure or hope for and I had to trust in knowing that I had already put in the work through my Hypnobabies training. I was now prepared to surrender to this experience moment by moment, to allow my body to open and bring forth my beautiful little son. When I called my midwife, Stephanie, to let her know my water broke she asked me if I was experiencing any contractions and at the time I was still unsure because the intensity had lessened since the concert, and I was not feeling much at the moment. She encouraged me to go to the hospital in order to test the fluid to ensure it was my waters, and then went on to explain hospital procedure to help me know what to expect. On our way to the hospital we stopped to pick up a bottle of water, and minutes to the hospital I felt my first definite contraction, it wasn’t very intense. I kept chanting the mother’s chant that I had learned in Centering. “I am opening up in sweet surrender to this beautiful baby in my womb.” Over and over to myself.
Arriving at the Hospital
We checked into the hospital at 10PM. Our admitting nurse escorted us to our room as I informed her of what had happened over the past couple of hours. I had forgotten my birth plan so I informed the nurse of the preferences I could remember from off the top of my head. It was all the normal stuff to keep mobile which included, preferring a saline lock, eating and drinking, and intermittent monitoring. At the end of it I informed her that I had been studying Hypnobabies over the past three months and as part of my training to refrain from asking my pain level, and using the words labor and contraction. I also told her that this would probably not be a typical first time mother birth and that it will probably go faster then anticipated. I could feel her thinking. “Yeah right that’s what you think.”
The nurse preceded to collect my amniotic fluid and left the room to turn in the results. I informed my husband of the vibes I was feeling from her. The nurse then appeared in the doorway and announced that the fluid was indeed my waters and that we were staying put for the night. She then asked me my pain level. I gave her a look, that replied “come on!”. Then thought back to the two birthing waves I had on the way. The first was about 15 minutes to the hospital and the second about ten minutes after. “Well I’m not having any right now, I don’t know, a two maybe?” I asked her if she had checked my cervix while gathering the amniotic fluid. She said that it was way too early to do that. I wondered if she just heard what I had told her a few minutes ago. She replied that she when she looked at it, I was maybe dilated one centimeter, and at this rate I probably wouldn’t be delivering until the morning. I nodded my head and thought, Ha! That’s what you think.
I had a feeling that things were going to get very intense very quickly, and I was right. By then it was about 10:15 and the I felt the first intense pressure wave. I then had my husband put on a relaxing music CD and proceeded to sit on the toilet the pressure waves were much more intense and coming much more frequently. I then asked for a birthing ball and sat on that for a few minutes. We then tried implementing a few doula comfort techniques with a scarf that we had learned in classes. That didn’t do anything for me so I entered the bath tub. Around 10:30 I had the first birthing wave in which I let out an intense wail and then asked my husband to start timing the contractions so we could inform the nurse how fast things were coming along. It turned out that they were consistently coming less then three minutes apart. Shortly before 11:00, I was getting out of the bathtub as my nurse and her overnight replacement, entered the room. They asked me how I was doing and I replied stating “It feels like I’m going to throw up. Is that normal?” My nurse said “Yes, when your in transition.” I overheard the new nurse saying to the other, “I’m curious to see how far along she is now.” “Well lets do a check! I said. “Right now I‘m feeling like this kid want to be born by midnight!” The overnight nurse did a cervical check and told me I was at nine centimeters. I shouted to my former nurse, “You didn’t believe, did you!? I told you this was going to be quick!” In response she sheepishly smiled, nodded her head and shrugged her shoulders as she walked out the door.
Now was the time to start listening to my Hypnobabies Joyful Birthing Affirmations. As the pressure waves kept coming I continued to move around the room seeking the most comfortable position. I asked for a birthing bar to hang over the bed, thinking I could somehow replicate the feeling of sitting on a toilet, but then preceded to lay my head on the birthing ball while on all fours on the bed. A that point I was sweating so I changed out of the hot hospital gown into a blank tank top with a big pink peace sign on the back. While listening to the CD I had my husband repeat the peace cues over and over again. By now the pressure waves were minutes apart and so intense I moaned and wailed as they overtook every muscle, nerve, and fiber of my body. While resting on the birthing ball I was aware that I had become so relaxed, I was snoring. I then realized that I was not only extremely relaxed between and during these enormously intense bodily sensations, but having been a psychology major I knew that I had become the observer of my own experience. There was a part of my mind that was the active participant engrossed in everything that I was feeling, thinking, and experiencing, and then there was the other part of me that merely observed the experience and knew this was a direct result of the Hypnobabies training. It was only months later after further studying hypnosis I learned this split in consciousness occurs in deep trance states.
By 12AM the next pressure waves were so intense I asked the nurse if she could give me a little something to take the edge off like Tylenol. She informed me that this would be all over before the it would even hit my system. I asked the nurse if they were going to do another cervical exam. She replied that I was already at 10cm. “Oh, you told me I was only at 9cm because you didn’t want the baby born before my midwife got here. Did you?” I responded. She nodded her head and smiled. I started becoming self conscious when I heard farting sounds coming out of my rear end and I wondered if I was defecating all over the bed. The nurses and my husband assured me that I wasn’t and I kept responding “ Your not lying to me, are you?” It was then some people entered the room and I wondered what they were doing there. When I asked the nurse she stated they were preparing the room for the baby. Ha! They did take me seriously!. The next few pressure waves were so intense a part of me felt as though I needed to brace myself for them so I stood on the bed grasping the squatting bar. It was then I heard a voice say “Callie I think I know what your trying to do, would you like a stool?” It was my midwife. About time! “Finally, nice of you to make it” I said. The stool was the answer to my prayers! Since my first instinct had been to sit on the toilet, I knew this would be the ideal position. She did another cervical check and it turned out that I had some kind of flap covering the vagina that needed to dissolve. “Its not quite time to start pushing.” I braced myself for another pressure wave and let out a loud high pitched squeal. “Callie, just let them come to you.” Another wave and another high pitched squeal. Stephanie then she looked at me and said “Callie, you are amazing! You are a powerhouse. In my 20 years I’ve never seen a first time mother come in and do what your doing. There are five other women on this floor tonight, and you’re the rockstar of the floor!” At the time I really, really, really appreciated the ego boast, but I also had no idea what she meant. Didn’t everyone do this? Whatever this is? Isn’t this how its supposed to be? What does everyone else do anyway?
Around 12:30 I was seated on the stool I began listening to the Birth Guide. My husband was on one side me holding my hand and my nurse was the other side holding the other hand. By now my midwife was coaching me to bring my high pitched squeals down a few octaves to help keep my body open. I thought of the sweet low voices that I listened to earlier that day as my baby and I sang along to the wonderful melodies of African Women’s freedom songs. I tried to emulate those low tones and turn them into growls of strength and power. At that time I had come to realize that each wave was simply a moment that would soon pass. I could not resist it, nor run from it. Here in the now was the gift of the present moment, minute by minute, second by second staring me in the face and all I could do was let every cell, every thought and every feeling within my body and mind relax into the holy instant with complete surrender. I knew that this was how we were meant to live every moment of our waking lives completely immersed in the present, and attuned to our own inner spirit which bestows the grace and power to ride each wave of life that might visit us. When I finally surrendered to this grace and power it felt as though time had somehow shifted. Even though the waves were coming faster and more intense, I felt that they were no longer as intense as before and that I had more time to rest between them. After a few more waves and at about 12:45AM I was given the go ahead to start pushing because the little flap that covered my cervix was now gone. After a few more intense contractions and guttering pushes I could feel some resistance welling up from deep within. After a few more contraction/pushes. I could feel the resistance traveling down my legs and settling in my calves. . Through out my pregnancy I would wake up with charlie horses early in the morning. I became afraid that I would get a charlie horse now and I thought a contraction and a charlie horse at the same time would send me over the edge. I asked my nurse and my husband to rub my legs to prevent cramping. I gulped down as much water as I could and I said the peace cues over to myself as I envisioned pink light relaxing my leg muscles. I quickly thought of the first time I experienced a charlie horse, the pain was excruciating and terrifying and I thought I would never move my leg again. For me “labor” didn’t even compare to that. I trust my body, I trust the process of birth. I am opening up in sweet surrender I reminded myself over and over. The charlie horse had not come. No use worrying about it. Time to focus on the task at hand. Once again I found relief in the present moment again, here was my saving grace. I centered myself and realized that my Hypnobabies CD had stopped. I looked around and asked if someone could replay it. I expected one of the three people sitting on the floor to do it. But I don’t think they heard me. Stephanie asked them but no one responded. She then got up herself and flipped it over. I was kind of annoyed these people were in here. There they sat, not doing anything. I didn’t even know why they were there. Maybe they wanted to witness my power. Who knows? At least one of them could flip over a damn CD. A few more contractions and I tried to lighten the mood of the room, if I was going to have an audience I might as well make the most of it. “Am I shitting all over the floor?” “No,” they reassured me.” Are you sure. Your not just saying that are you?” “This is how you know your pushing correctly.” “Boy, I never though constipation and taking a dump would ever prepare me for childbirth!” I kind of expected a chuckle from the room. But no one responded. I suppose no one understood my sense of humor and I think Dan was too scared to even think. Poor guy. I chuckled to myself, thinking that this would be a great way to explain to my girlfriends how to prepare for this when their time came. Another contraction/ push. Still annoyed by three people sitting on the floor I looked at them and said “Who are you people and what you doing here?“ A few more contraction/pushes and I forgot about them, focusing again on my mission. I looked at Stephanie and said “When is this going to be over?” “Whenever you and your baby want it to be, Callie.” I looked at the clock and it was just past 1AM. It had been over an hour past I thought the baby would be born. I was renewed with a sense of strength and determination. With each hard contraction I pushed harder and longer letting out gut wrenching moans of strength of primal strength and willpower. I realized I was working my abs harder than I had ever done in my life. The sit ups, crunches and twists I had done to try to tone my belly in the past were nothing compared to this and I would have no problems getting my body into shape after this. As I felt the pressure on my bottom I could feel the resistance welling up again. A part of me wanted to turn back and run from it, but there was no escape. I was nearing the end of my journey all I had to do was open the door to a new beginning. I looked at my midwife and said “the baby’s going to get stuck!” “He’s not going to get stuck, there’s no way he’s going to get stuck. You just need a few good, hard pushes.” I looked at her in desperation. “Are you sure?!!” “Yes, the baby’s’ not going to get stuck, you’re very close.” After a few more pushes Stephanie grabbed my hand said “Callie reach down, feel how close he is, he’s right here.” I felt a big wad of goey wet hair. “Holy shit, he’s right there!” Wow! This little being was really coming out of me!!! I was really determined now. One more big, long, loud, growly push/groan. I heard Stephanie say “Callie, reach down and catch him.” I wasn’t prepared to catch him, and shook my head so she did. When Baby Boy first came out came out and my first thought was “Wow! He looks just like his ultrasound! My next thought was wow this umbilical cord is super long. How did all of this stuff come out of me again? Someone once told me that childbirth felt like razors prying you open from the inside. No razors. In fact it didn’t feel like prying. I thought it actually felt great, like the feeling after taking a big dump. Relief, but a little sore. No more contractions and no more pressure, the work was finally over!!!……. or just beginning.
This moment will be etched in my cellular memory throughout this lifetime and possibly into the next. Words fail me as I try to accurately convey the next section. A moment like this is beyond words and outside of description. It is all feeling and raw experience. There he was laying on my tummy. I watched in amazement as he instantly he lifted his head. He was so alert, peaceful, and responsive. Our eyes locked squarely on each other. I will always remember and cherish that moment. Here it is a year later and I remember it like it was yesterday. There I was finally meeting my little companion who shared every aspect of my life, my journey over the past nine months, every taste, every song, every thought, and every feeling. “Look at you! Look how bright, shiny and strong you are!” I said to him. “Hi Kai! He looks like a Kai” I heard my husband say next to me. In response Kai started to dig his little feet and hands into my tummy in an attempt to crawl towards my face and chest. It was if I could hear him communicating to me “It’s now my turn mommy, you did your part now let me go the rest of the way.” His little hands and feet moved as his head never wavered and his eyes remained steadily fixed on mine. “He looks like a Kai!” I repeated to my husband. In that moment I knew that in order to love this little being fully and completely in the way he deserved in the way every human being deserved, I would have to learn to love and accept every aspect of myself even the parts I buried or locked away out of fear or rejection. At that moment I could no longer wait I scooped my baby boy up into my arms and kissed and kissed him. It was the first time our eyes had wavered from each other. He was so soft, so delicate, so tiny. At first I felt a little awkward fearing in my clumsiness I might drop him. But it was so satisfying, so beautiful. I was so in love. This is how life is meant to be lived and experienced.
The Rest of It
The rest of the story is just details. I don’t think there’s much left. I did end up tearing. I don’t know how many stitches I had. When I asked my midwife she responded by saying one long stitch. That didn’t help me much. I did overhear her telling the other midwife if I would have been laying down I mostly likely would have had third degree tears rather than the second degree I had experienced. They took Baby Kai to the other side of the room to do the tests and the weight and I overheard the nurse say that he was born at 1:18AM, the date was 1-18-10.
I received mixed messages when telling others I planned on using hypnosis for childbirth. Most people who know me, believe in the mind, body, spirit connection and respected my alternative approach however few of those people had direct experience with childbirth, more of the mothers that I spoke with either thought I was giving it a valiant effort but would eventually change my mind when I got there, or tried to convey their not so fulfilling experiences on me. In the end I think I helped inspire and give faith to mothers who fear the birth process and their bodies, and I reconfirmed for others the power of intention, faith and the body, mind, spirit connection.
My midwife said she had never witnessed a birth like Kai’s and would remember it for a very long time. She also said that there are so many things to be learned spiritually and psychologically within the process of birth that when learned and applied to our lives will help us to become better mothers. If everyone birthed like I did we could change the world in one generation. I asked her how other births were different she responded by saying it was the way I listened to my body.
The techniques that helped me the most during my birthing time were the affirmations and the visualizations. Whenever fear attempted to enter my conscious mind I defaulted back to my programming over and over by repeating I trust my body, I trust birth, I can do this, I am safe…..ect.
Hypnobabies helped to give me the tools to experience one of the most definitive moments of my life with peace, confidence and trust. From this experience I regained faith in myself again and I know that whatever life throws at me with the right perspective I can faithfully walk through that experience know that I am safe and fully present.
I’d like others to know that fear, resistance, and drama are huge contributor to pain, prolonged labors and complications. I think the reason our society makes childbirth to be this big dramatic event is because we’ve somehow taken the holiness out of the miracle of childbirth. Let’s bring it back. I live in Minnesota and we just had the world’s largest blessing way. Let’s set the intention for paid time off for a year following the birth of a baby like they do in Europe. Mother’s lets learn to trust ourselves and our bodies again.
Thank you Hypnobabies for giving me the tools to trust and have faith in myself again.
Callie M Amiday