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Friday, December 20, 2013

Londons Birth Story!

My Natural Hypnobabies Water Birth:

WARNING: This is probably the longest blog post I have ever written! I will be shocked if anyone actually reads the whole thing! But if you do make it to the end…enjoy!
Also, There are pictures of me right before and after she was born included, they don't show anything, just me in a sports bra, but if you think thats weird then you can stop reading if you so choose =)

It has been over two months since London was born and sadly it has taken me this long to sit down and write out her birth story. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to or thought about it on a very regular basis, the problem is I have had a major case of writers block. I hope this doesn't come along with being a mother, because blogging and journaling will never get done! The other problem is, when I sit and think about putting her birth story into words, there is no way to write and express in words how I feel about it and how it went. Not because I am drawing a blank, but just because it is impossible to convey the beauty, feelings and emotion behind the experience. That has led me to avoiding it all together. But I want to make certain that it is documented, 
so here is my bleak attempt to write it out.

My due date was October 1. There is room for debate on that date, and here is why. That number is based on my last cycle. When I had my one and only ultrasound at 20 weeks, he determined that it was about October 3rd, but kept it at the 1st since it was so close to the third. At one of my last few appointments one of the midwives said the 6th…I have no idea where that date came from, and finally, I wasn’t 40 weeks until the 4th so I guess technically that should have been the “due date”.  In the end the due date did nothing but drive us all crazy because all those days came and went. My mother in law flew in on Sept 29th thinking that for sure in the week and a half that she was here she wouldn’t miss the birth. She was here for conference weekend, and you better believe in between sessions I was walking, and playing at the playground with our niece and nephew and doing whatever I could (naturally) to get this baby here while she was here. Unfortunately that did not happen. London decided to come on Saturday October 12th. Exactly one week and one day past my due date (or at least one of them!). Interestingly enough, the average first time pregnancy for low risk mothers is also one week and one day! She came when she was good and ready.

looking at these pics is hilarious. i was HUGE!

Side Note:  For our birth we used hypnobabies. This birthing method uses different terminology for things like contractions (pressure waves), and labor (birthing time) and transition (transformation).  The purpose is to replace terms that generally have a negative denotation attached to them. I will be using this terminology. I will also mention things like using my “lightswitch” I may do a separate hyponobabies blog post to talk about what some of these things mean and the techniques that are used. Until then, some of what I say here may only make sense to people who are familiar with hypnobabies.

Here is how it all went down…..
On Thursday (the 10th) we went to bed with no sign of any change. I woke up at about 2:30 in the morning to use the bathroom and felt something I hadn’t felt before…..a pressure wave! Not just Braxton hicks, this felt different. So I knew right away that things were going to start happening! I started timing the pressure waves. They were about 13 minutes apart. After I had timed several pressure waves, I decided to go out into the living room and refresh my memory of what will be happening from here on out with some reading from my hypnobabies books and also write in my journal. I wanted brock to be able to have a good nights sleep so I didn’t want to wake him up just yet.

Here is what I wrote in my journal:

“Well I think today might be the day! I’ve been up since about 2:30am (didn’t check the clock till about 2:50am) with what I believe are pressure waves! (just had one as I wrote that!). I’m not sure if I lost my mucous plug when I went to the bathroom at 2:30. I felt a tiny something that may have been it, but it was barely noticeable, I was half asleep and the light was off. I started checking the time at 2:50am, and my pressure waves were 13 minutes apart. I think now they are about 10-11 minutes apart. Brock should be up soon (his alarm goes off at 6am), so I’ll break the news to him then! J I wanted him to be able to get as much sleep as possible. At about 3:30 there was a little bit of pink mucous stuff in the toilet so that’s a good sign! Other than that, I just have crazy pressure in my lower back with my pressure waves. I’ve tried turning my light switch off during them, but have found that they are soooo much more bearable if I flexed my butt! (weird, I know!) Not sure if that is normal, but it helps! I know I’ve still got a while to go though cause we don’t have to call the birth center until pressure waves are 5 min apart, each lasting more than 1 min and I can’t walk or talk through them, for at least an hour. It’s funny cause I think Brock got the nesting urge last night. I wonder if subconsciously he knew that the baby was going to come cause he cleaned up dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, did some laundry, hung up the last shelf in the nursery and was just getting lots done around the house! I’m glad it’s all done too cause we won’t have to worry about doing any of that today or when we come home with a baby!”

Shortly after I wrote this, I went in and woke brock up (he thought he had slept through his alarm). I told him “I think you might need to call in sick today, I’ve been having pressure waves for the last 4 hours..” He then replied, “are you serious? How far apart are they!?” I told him 10 minutes and his response seemed surprised that this was serious enough to even be timing them and that I knew they were 10 min apart! So he got out of bed and our (Fri)day began!

40 weeks 1 day

 We pretty much just hung out all day and my pressure waves were consistently 10 minutes apart. Brock had a previously scheduled lunch with a couple of his buddies to talk business at noon, so I told him you should still go. Nothing is changing here, and there isn’t much you can do so go ahead and go. Plus he was going to café rio and I really wanted him to bring me some  ;). He said are you sure?! Yep! So he went for a couple hours and while he was gone I worked through my pressure waves and was actually able to sleep in between them thanks to my use of hypnobabies! That was nice, since I didn’t get a full nights sleep, and I wanted to feel rested when I actually went into my birthing time. Brock got home, and I had some yummy café rio. My sister showed up to pick up her coat, and was surprised to see brock home. We had planned not to call and tell anyone when I went into labor because we didn’t want a bunch of people calling/texting the whole time wanting updates and to see how we were doing. We just wanted to be able to focus on the task at hand….having a baby! And not have to worry about updating everyone. This was especially important to use in the birthing choice we made with hypnobabies because it is all about concentration and relaxation. But when molly showed up we let her know what was going on. She ended up staying and hanging out with us for a few hours. At about 7 pm we all decided to take a walk to see if we could get things moving along. Brock and I played a game of monopoly and then decided to go lay down in bed and try and get some rest since there hadn't been any real changes. Im not sure what time that was, because I had no sense of time whatsoever. Time went by so fast throughout my whole labor. It was probably about 7:30 or 8 pm (we are still in Friday). Brock read, and I just laid in bed and was able again to sleep in between my pressure waves. Brock was so good at making sure I was drinking water after each pressure wave and changing positions every 2 hours. So at about 10pm I changed positions. I started getting really uncomfortable and the change in position helped a lot. At this point I had Brock start timing my pressure waves again. There was one that was about 8 min then the rest were about 5 with one that was like 3 and one that was 4, so things had changed quite a bit in the time that we got in bed. One funny/interesting observation I had was that throughout the day I was also peeing like crazy. I went through a whole roll of tp! I guess that was from the combination of drinking a lot and the baby moving down and putting more pressure on my bladder. I just remember thinking how crazy it was how much I was using the bathroom lol! 

40 weeks

We stayed in bed, Brock fell asleep at 11:45pm for a couple hours and I started getting increasingly uncomfortable so I tried a few positions on the birth ball but sitting was very uncomfortable so I started walking around the house. I literally just started doing laps around the kitchen and that helped tremendously. I just walked through my pressure waves. About 1:30am I had to use the bathroom (again!) and I started feeling pushy, which had me a little lot concerned! As I was on the toilet, my body kinda just took over and pushed…..and my water broke! I know what you’re thinking….oh, perfect place to have your water break, right? Nope, it actually went all over the floor since I was pushing right when it broke so it was more of a burst! I called into Brock and he came in to help. I jumped into the shower and my sweet husband cleaned up the mess I just made on the floor J The warm water felt SOOOO good, I didn’t want to get out! Brock said what are you doing! And I just told him it just feels so good! So I finally got out of the shower and got dressed and we called the midwife. If you recall from earlier I mentioned that they have you call when your pressure waves are 5 min apart, each lasting more than 1 min and you can’t walk or talk through them, for at least an hour (I was still walking and talking through mine!)…..OR your water has broke.  

A couple things of note: At our birth center they are on call at night so they are not at the birth center. They will send you home if you are not dilated to at least 5cm. The birth center was about 23 min away. Also, we paid for the student program (cause it was a little cheaper) which means that a student midwife does all my checkups with the head midwife there supervising as well as the birth.

        So when I called in, I called into the student midwife and told her everything that had happened up to that point and she said ok, I’ll call the midwife and see if she wants to have you come in. My thought was I hope they tell me to come in cause I’m feeling ready, but I didn’t really know how far along I was, just that my water had broke and my pressure waves were 5 min and less apart. So while we were waiting for their call back, brock started packing up the car while I worked through some more pressure waves. I told brock, let’s just start heading that way so we are close to the birth center if they tell us to come in. I just wanted to get close cause I felt like I was getting closer to having this baby! So just as we walked out the door I had a couple of strong pressure waves that were preventing us from getting in the car. We had at least made it outside though and it was quite chilly out but it felt so good to this birthing mama! Meanwhile, the midwife called back and asked me a bunch of questions. The whole time I was on the phone with them I was having to make them hold on while I worked through some pressure waves every few minutes so they were getting closer and closer together. During one of my pressure waves I heard the midwife say to the student midwife, “maybe have her get in a warm bath for a little while” and that freaked me out a little bit because I felt like I needed to be leaving right away and I wanted them to say come in but I still didn’t know how far off I was and I hadn’t ever been through this so in my mind I don’t know if I would have said no I think I need to come in now and would have just waited until they told me to come in. After that pressure wave they told me that they wanted me to do a squat test, to make sure my water had really broken. To me, this was laughable for two reasons. One, I was SURE my water had broke…and two, I wasn’t about to squat. I felt that was near impossible in the condition I was in. I gave them a little guff saying “why do I need to do this, I know my water broke…I had a huge gush of water, and I’m not about to squat”. They said they needed to make sure what was coming out so they told me to put a towel on the floor and put a white paper towel over that so I could tell them the color of what was coming out. So I did what the midwife ordered and to my surprise I was able to squat just fine. She told me to bare down and tell her the color of what was coming out. Brock let them know that it was a pinkish color with some white-ish stuff in it and they said ok ya come in now! This was about 2:40 in the morning, about an hour after my water had broke. They told me that it would take them about an hour to get there and to meet them there at 3:40, but then she changed her mind and said meet us there at 3:20. So I went into the living room and waited for a couple minutes and had a couple of pressure waves and asked brock to give me a blessing and then we left. I was DREADING getting in the car because I was so much more uncomfortable sitting at this point during my pressure waves but just as we left, my pressure waves actually eased up a bit during the car ride thank goodness! I was starting to get a little bit nervous that I might have this baby in the car so after the vision of that flashed through my mind, I said a quick prayer that that would not happen! The roads were barren of course at this time of the morning, so you would think that with a laboring passenger Brock would have stepped on the gas a little, but no….my staunch husband who rarely drives over 75 was sure to keep the speed limit J. Little stinker. In fact there was a red light that we hit once we got off the freeway and I wanted to tell him to go through the freakin light, but then a car came so I didn’t.

              We made it to the birth center right about 3:25am. First thing, they wanted to check the baby’s heart rate and wanted to check me to see how far along I was. At this point I was having two pressure waves back to back, and then I would have a break of a few minutes so my midwife wanted to wait until that break to check me. The way it works on the student program that we were on, the midwife checks you first and then has the student midwife check you. When the midwife checked me she had a hard time finding my cervix (because unbeknownst to us it was fully effaced and dilated!) so when the student midwife checked she also had a hard time. At this time (right in the middle of the exam) I started having very vocal (my vocal was a deep grunting type of noise) pushing contractions so she immediately ended the exam and told me that I was fully dilated and ready to go! At this point they asked me if I wanted to have a water birth (I was still undecided about that until I got in the shower at home and felt how relieving and nice it was) and I told them yes and they started the bath. I had a whole birth plan written out that I had done weeks earlier with the expectation that I would have time to give it to them but that didn’t happen because things started happening so quickly once we got to the birth center! The birthing suite was upstairs, and at that point I had to get up there somehow. This seemed, at the time, to be an impossible task. I told them, I don’t think I can get up there. Looking back, I think this is when I hit transformation. Just as I made my way up the stairs my contractions eased up again and I had no issues getting up the stairs with Brocks help. I waited for the bath to fill the rest of the way and got right in. It was SO nice. I will definitely be having water births from here on out. It is so calming and helps so much with the pressure you are feeling in your lower body! Brock text my doula and our photographer saying “ Leave now! Not sure if you will make it!”

           And the pushing began!
          I stared having pushing pressure waves and they were intense! My body completely took over and just started bearing down and pushing! I was breathing very deeply and somewhat vocal. When you hear people talk about their natural births they frequently use the term primal in describing the noises they make during labor. My way of vocalizing was a sort of deep grunting sound I guess. My first position in the bath was a sitting position. I was in this position for a couple of minutes and then they had me change positions to hands and knees. This position was not allowing me to open and relax and I was doing the very opposite, and squeezing and tightening everything up while pushing. After a couple minutes of this, they could see that I was not opening everything up, my hips and legs and everything, I was just clenching up, so they had me change positions once more, this time to a semi sitting position. I’m not really sure how to explain that one.

my midwife giving some counter pressure on my back

          The midwives were just encouraging me and telling me that I was doing great. I was totally in the zone! I had no idea what was going on around me. Another midwife showed up as well as my doula and I had no idea until my doula came right up next to my head and started giving me hypno ques.  Brock had pulled out our hypnobabies “pushing baby out” soundtrack and had that playing and was askin g me what I needed and giving me water and helping me wher ehe could.  I was just so intently focused on what I was doing. ! I was letting my pressure waves do all of the work and my midwife told me that I needed to push through the pressure wave. I finally figured out what that meant, and my pushing became much more effective. Then came the ring of fire…she was crowning! I have read countless birth stories, and I always heard that term ring of fire and wondered what that would be like and it was just that, a ring of fire. It was like a stretching burning feeling. It was at that point that I actually thought I was feeling pain (for the first time through all my birthing time!). I remember saying oww a few times during those few seconds but looking back, I don’t think I was actually feeling pain, just that immense burning feeling and had to vocalize the discomfort somehow! The midwife said I see a lot of hair!! Which was a total shock to me. I thought for sure we would have a baldy come out!. Once her head was out the midwife went in and shimmied her shoulders out and after a total of 7 minutesof pushing, our baby was here! The midwife pulled her out of the water and immediately put her on my chest. It took us a few seconds to realize we still didn’t know if we had a boy or a girl so I took a quick peek. IT’S A GIRL!!!  I felt an immense sense of accomplishment and said “I did it!” Brock was right there to give me a kiss and look at our beautiful little baby girl!  I just kept saying is she ok? Is she ok?

           When babies are born in the water, generally they don’t cry right away because the transition from mother to water to being outside it much less traumatic on the baby then coming straight from the mother to the outside so she didn’t immediately cry. She did have a little trouble getting going though. She was pretty purple when she came out, which is normal to an extent, but she had a lot of mucus in her mouth and nose so the midwife wanted to start working on her to get her breathing better. I sat in the bath for a few minutes (I’m not really sure how long it was), but they wanted me to get to the bed so they could get to her better. They gave me a homeopathic to help the placenta pass and as I started to get out of the tub, It came right out. I didn’t even have to push it out and didn’t feel any contractions. We wanted to make sure the cord had stopped pulsing before it was cut so once that happened brock cut the cord and I made my way out of the bath and onto the bed.

cutting the cord

          The next 45 or so minutes were spent clearing out her nose and mouth and getting her breathing under control. She had to have some oxygen given to her and that helped and she started to pink up and breath better. Most of this was done with her on my chest but some of it was done on the bed. This certainly wasn’t ideal, but the midwives were so great and I never felt worried and was completely confident in their care. I did have a couple small tears so at this point they got me stitched up. I remember the midwife apologizing that they had to do that, because of the pain I guess? But I just chuckled thinking, I just had a baby with no drugs! What do you think is going to be so bad that I can’t handle after what I just did!

Once she became more stable, I was able to try nursing her. They gave us about an hour to ourselves to just take in our new little baby, and then they came in and did her wellness check. She was a perfect little baby! She weighed 8 LBS 6 OZ and was 21” long! She had a full head of crazy hair! We were shocked that it wasn’t red, but more the color of Brocks hair!

Things happened and progressed so quickly that my photographer didn’t make it to the birth so we only got a few (blurry pics) but to tell you the truth, I am ok with that because I’m not so sure that I would have liked to see me in them! I wasn’t one of those beautiful beaming bright birthing mothers. I had makeup all up under my eyes, I was a hot mess so I am ok with what we got!
We stayed at the birth center for about three hours after she was stable, sent out all the announcement texts, called brocks mom and told her how it all went, and then headed home with our new little bundle of joy!!

My feelings on how my natural un medicated birth went:
          It was perfect. I’m not sure I could have asked for a better experience. My hypno tools helped me tremendously and although I did experience immense pressure and discomfort, I was never really in pain. I am walking proof that a painless birth is possible and that my friends is amazing! I was in active labor for just over 7 hours and pushed for a mere 7 minutes! Brock was so amazing, supportive, helpful and encouraging! I wanted to (and still do) shout it from the rooftops that having a baby can be an enjoyable experience. That you don’t have to be scared and in pain and screaming and need drugs to get you through it. I feel like I can do anything after that experience. I have joined a very small percent of women who birthed their babies naturally with out any medical interventions. I did it. No one else. ME! It was a beautiful experience and I can’t wait for the next one!! J

And withour further adieu……

If you made it this far...thanks for reading my novel of a post!! 


  1. Ashlee I can't tell you how proud I am of you for going natural. I have with all 3 of my kids and I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't judge mom's who get an epidural but I just love how my labors have gone. I had to laugh. I had never heard the crowning called "the ring of fire" yet that is exactly the perfect name. That is the part I dread the most and when you hit transition and are so uncomfortable moving is awful and all you want to do is just push. She is beautiful and you did AMAZING. I also agree I was a hot mess too who are these birthing beauties?

  2. It was so fun to read this I have been waiting to here your birth story. I'm glad everything went well. Isn't having a baby the most wonderful experience! Weird thing when you were talking about the "ring of fire" everyone mentions that but I never felt it, maybe it was because everything happened so fast, Dash was born within 3 hrs from my first contraction and only 40 min after I got to the hospital so maybe I just missed it with all that was going on so fast (plus I was totally unprepared as I had not planned in a natural birth) anyway congrats she is adorable and it sounds like you did fantastic!

  3. Not sure how I ended up here other than following a bunch of natural birthing and hypnobabies links, but thank you for sharing this! I'm 18 weeks along in my first pregnancy, and really want to try this experience. If you don't mind me asking......it sounds like you're in Utah? Which group of midwives did you use? So far, I've just been seeing normal doctors, which has been totally fine, but I know they have midwives at their Orem office, and I'm thinking about looking into it. I'm pretty sure I will be delivering at a hospital, though, still going natural. I'm not sure what the options are for birth centers around here.
    Anyway, thanks again for sharing!