From the beginning of the pregnancy, we were planning on this being a different birthing experience than the typical hospital and epidural one. Roger's birth was that way, and everything went fine, but I wanted a different experience this time. I had a friend that used Hypnobabies and a water birth for pain management and her experience sounded so magnificent to me. She was able to relax during childbirth without any medication and enjoy bringing her son into the world, 100% naturally. I was amazed, and after looking into it, decided I wanted to have the same experience for myself. Initially we were planning on just doing a hospital birth with hypnosis, but after looking into it some more decided to go for the whole experience and have a water birth at Better Birth, a birth center located in Orem, UT.
Is This It?
My "due date" (or guess date as I learned to call it in Hypnobabies, since rarely are babies actually born on that specific date) was March 15th. I had convinced myself he would be born two days late, so I wasn't worried when the date came and passed. At 2 am on March 17th, I woke up to my first contraction. The amazing thing about this is that's the exact same time I woke up to contractions with Roger's birth, 2 days after his due date. However, although these ones lasted all night, they disappeared by the time I woke up.
I continued having braxton hicks for the next few days. I soon learned to give up thinking they would ever go anywhere. On Friday, March 20, we went to Rita’s for free italian ice (happy first day of Spring!), something I initially didn't think I'd be able to do because I'd have a newborn to be caring for that day. Afterwards, at 7:30, we went to the park to let Roger play for a little bit before taking him back home to go to bed. However, as soon as we got there and I sat down on a park bench, I felt a nice gush of liquid!
Me: "I think I just peed my pants! Wait, I don't do that. Or my water just broke."
Nathan: "You're not going to be one of those stereotypical women who says they peed their pants, are you?"
Me: "but that's what it felt like!"
However, no amount of kegels kept it in, and it just kept coming, so I knew that this was the real deal.
After realizing that we were going to have a baby pretty soon, we drove back home to figure out what our next step would be. Since we were doing the birth center, there wasn't a need to go right in, especially since my contractions hadn't started yet. As long as the amniotic fluid was clear and I didn't have a fever (sign of infection) it was okay to labor at home. We let my mom and doula, Miranda Merrell, know what was up and put Roger to bed. The timing worked out perfectly, really - Roger slept right through all of the craziness and my mom was able to stay at our home while he slept. Once Roger was asleep, Nathan and I went through the first recommend Hypnobabies script together - Fear Clearing - to get rid of any last jitters we had about the childbirth. During this I felt a few contractions, but since I'd been feeling them all week they didn't phase me quite yet. I then went upstairs and went through a deepening track to deepen my hypnosis even more, and by about that point my mom had arrived.
My contractions were now coming about every 10-15 minutes. I called the hotline for the birth center to let them know what was up. They recommended that since it was about 10 pm to try to go to sleep until the contractions got stronger. So that's what we did - Nathan and I started our bedtime routine. While in the middle of reading scriptures, however, I felt like things were starting to get stronger and I needed to focus on my hypnosis instead (I figure it's an okay reason to skip scripture study, right? ;) ).
Here's where I wished I had gone with my gut and stuck with hypnosis scripts from the first contraction instead of putting it off. Once I was trying to deeply relax, things started progressing very quickly. It didn't take very long for my contractions to be at 3 1/2 minutes apart. I had Nathan call Miranda, and then the midwives. They wanted to talk to me and see how I was doing. I said I was doing ok, they were getting strong but my hypnosis was helping me be relaxed. I later learned they didn't realize I was doing hypnosis, or they would have recommend I come to the birth center earlier, since being so relaxed can make you go quicker. They said they could get there in an hour (after hearint that is when I got really worried!) and to call back if I felt like pushing, since they had someone who could get there quicker if needed. However, let's be honest, when contractions are happening every 3 minutes or so and lasting at least a minute long, I'm not going to be thinking about passing any message on like that to anyone, especially when I'm trying to be relaxed through each one! So yah, that never happened.
At some point things were getting so powerful, and I hadn't gotten as deep as I needed to, that I started losing my hypnosis. My body was shaking and everything was so strong that I started crying and giving into the pain, instead of imagining it only as powerful hugs around my belly, which would have made things easier!
And then... (poor Nathan)... I went carnal. I'd heard of women doing this, but I figured my personality is so calm I'd never do something like that. Never underestimate your body's ability to act like a wild woman! I had no control over the sounds that came out of my mouth. I was very much in pain and apparently wanted the whole world to know. I also started feeling nauseous, though I couldn’t figure out it was at the time. I remember saying how thirsty I was, then how hungry, but I didn’t want to eat anything. Then I decided to start crawling to the bathroom to throw up in the toilet. And to couple that, I suddenly felt something pressing down on my pubic bone like crazy - I felt the need to push!
At this point, Miranda arrived. My mom couldn't figure out how to open the door with our locks, so my dear Nathan ran downstairs to open the door, leaving me vulnerable and alone for a few seconds, though I’m thankful he did. I was so relieved to see Miranda when she appeared at our bedroom door! Nathan was doing a wonderful job at helping me relax, but knowing I had someone there who had gone through this and helped many other women do the same gave me the extra comfort I needed.
The first thing I remember her saying was, "look at you, you are so skinny!" Here I was hanging out on my hands and knees, shaking, and that's what she comments on. But as silly as it was, that comment helped a lot, as it brought me back to the present, and somehow helped me remember this would pass quickly and we would soon be back to normal life, making silly comments about how skinny we were. I let her know how I needed to push, and she told me that we weren't having that baby there, and to stick my butt up in the air (a little anti- gravity help I suppose) and relax. And miraculously, I did!
After that, we "ran" to the car as quickly as we could. I'm pretty sure I must have woken up the whole neighborhood with my wailing and whatnot, but no one has admitted that to me yet! Once I got to the car with Nathan's help, I lay down in the front seat. I tried to relax as much as possible, though by now it was a pretty mute point. The urges to push kept coming and it was almost impossible to resist. That baby wanted out and he wasn't going to let a car ride stop him! Along our drive, I let Nathan know that I felt the baby crowning. I think this was when he realized how close we really were, and so he ended up pulling over to the location where our baby would be born: at a Chevron gas station.
Hold The Baby!
Miraculously, the gas station was closed, so there was no one there to watch us in our crazy moment. Immediately Miranda was at my door. I told her how the baby was coming, so she helped me rip off my gauchos (comfiest clothing item of birthing choice) and underwear (no shame when you're about to have a baby! And there was no way I could do it myself under the circumstances). And then... one push, and the baby slid right out! I was so confused I didn't realize what was happening, and it took several times of Miranda telling me to hold the baby before I realized that our little August had arrived. She gave him to me, I put him on my chest, and somehow ended up with a snuggie wrapped around me and the baby (I hate those things, but I am incredibly thankful it was in our car to help us have some sort of decency!). Our sweet little Auggie had arrived!
Let me tell you, even though August wasn't actually born at the birth center, the care we received there was phenomenal. First off, the birthing suite has a queen size bed, so both Nathan and I were able to lay down in it, without being awkwardly positioned like you are in a hospital bed. Second, the midwives were so sweet and caring with every little thing they did. We were able to just relax as a family and enjoy the beauty of the birth of our son before any measurements or tests were performed. Only when we were ready did they stitch me up (just a couple small tears) and take care of August's measurements. They were enjoyable company, too. We just chatted and laughed about the craziness of the whole situation while normal procedures were done. And, when everything was taken care of, they let us be alone, with just one person outside the suite to help us if we needed. One of the best parts was being able to go home very soon after as well. August was born at 1:15 am, and we left the birthing center at 7:15 am to continue to rest at our home.
All in all, the whole night was beautiful. I know most people wouldn't dream of going all natural, let alone doing so at a gas station, but it was our experience and I loved every minute of it. August is here healthy and strong. I appreciate all the help given by my mother, the midwives at Better Birth, my amazing doula Miranda Merrell, and especially my wonderful husband Nathan, who, though initially probably thought I was a little crazy wanting to go this route, supported me 100% despite it. I totally want to go natural again, though next time probably at home so we don’t risk another car birth!