My guess date was April 5th, but I had convinced myself I’d be early, about a week. I had this notion that 2nd pregnancies usually come earlier. I was staying with my sister during this last stretch, wanting to deliver in Saskatoon, a few hours away from my home in rural Saskatchewan. Even though I expected a natural, uncomplicated birth (like my first), I wanted to have access to all the expertise and resources that a tertiary care hospital has to offer. This was my 2nd baby and my 2nd Hypnobirth. I joined Marie for a “refresher” earlier in my pregnancy and was committed to utilizing all the Hypnobirthing techniques. (Reflecting back on my first pregnancy, I always felt I could have used more of the techniques and for the whole birth. I never had a chance to use the CDs as I was in the shower and hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to operate a CD player. It was a long and hard labour that lasted about 14 hours, but I was able to do it without any drugs and my baby was born healthy.)
Lara Faith was born at 1:39pm on April 17th, which was 12 days later than expected. Leading up to that day, I had seen my midwife on my due date and was just 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was very disappointed. So the waiting game began and I didn’t do as well as with my first baby (who was just 4 days later than expected). I called my husband who was back home on two occasions thinking I was in actual labour – both times I experienced menstrual-like cramping and tightening throughout the night for 5-6 hours. At one week past my guess date I met with my midwife and was found to be just 2cms, which prompted the “what do we do if she doesn’t come on her own” discussion. Midwives promote natural labour, but neither of mine wanted me to go more than 10-12 days over. With my first baby being 9 pounds 4 ounces I was a little afraid of waiting too long, thinking the baby would be very large. They offered me some tincture from Germany, sweeping of the membranes (which she tried, but after 30 seconds I told her to stop as I didn’t like the uncomfortable sensation), and acupuncture; the other two options I decided against. I REALLY wanted to go in labour naturally without any intervention so I stuck with raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, and walking. On April 15th, 10 days past my date, I was checked once again and found to be 3cms dilated and 75% effaced. Progress! The midwife actually told me that she was able to quite easily stretch my cervix to 6cms, which meant that once the head hit the cervix I would go fast. At this point, Lara’s head was engaged but still at minus 2. For the last 3-4 days of my pregnancy I honestly felt like the baby was about to just fall out of me! I had so many sensations and felt so full, but yet had very few “practice contractions” unlike my first pregnancy where I had several every hour.
The night before Lara was born I spoke with my midwife. We agreed that since it would be 12 days over my date that we would need to induce. I didn’t want a Pitocin drip, which could put the baby into fetal distress and lead to a C-section if we had to remove the drip if the baby wasn’t tolerating it well. My midwife suggested breaking my waters since I was 3cms and my cervix was ready. We planned to meet at 10am the next morning at her clinic. That night I ate at a buffet-style supper and felt yucky and was certain I had gotten food poisoning. All night and the next morning I felt like I was going to have diahhrea, which concerned me as who wants that while you are in labour. At my appointment I was extremely happy to hear that I was 5-6cms dilated and 80% effaced; interestingly 2nd time moms don’t even need to be fully effaced to deliver (I learned this from my midwife). I guess those nights of mild cramping did the trick and gave me a really good head start on dilation! Debbie told me to grab something to eat, then phone her as soon as I went into “active labour”, since I wasn’t actually having contractions. I left her clinic at St. Paul’s hospital and stopped at the Tim Horton’s for some soup and coffee (energy!). 20 minutes after leaving Debbie (my midwife), I told my husband I wanted to phone her and tell her I was going to RUH. I really didn’t want to be walking through the hospital in full labour.
I stopped at a relative’s house on the way and filled up 2 hot water bottles with the hottest water possible – they were INCREDIBLY comforting through my labour, I wish I would have done the same with my first. This way I didn’t need to sit in the shower and could put one on my lower tummy and one on my back. (During my last labour I had intense back labour and had heard another mom say she used an electric heating pad.) My contractions were about 5 minutes apart as we reached the hospital at 12 noon, but the intensity was fast-increasing (although some were relatively light and were more powerful). I had my CD on the whole way and breathed as deeply as I could (20 in and 20 out). I found that if I started my breath at the very first sign of a contraction that the breath helped soften the contraction even more than if I started it just after the contraction began. I went straight to my room and lay down on the bed, waiting for my midwife, and listening to my CDs with my 2 water bottles.
I fully utilized my Hypnobirthing techniques and went into a zone, not talking to anyone until about 1:15pm when the surges suddenly got much more intense. My husband helped me into the shower as I started to have back labour (which I was dreading). I was in the shower for 3-4 contractions when I suddenly felt I could not handle this anymore. At the same time I remembered Marie saying that this feeling of being overwhelmed was often a sign of transition and was a touched relieved, but skeptical. No one had checked me since we reached the hospital and I was praying I was close.
All of a sudden I had one huge contraction and my water broke. During this contraction I also groaned a little … if you have ever had a baby, you know it’s that earthy, animal type moan that tells you the baby is close! (Remembering back my midwife called to me in a sweet voice from the adjacent room “Keep that baby in there”.) As I recovered, about one minute later, I felt like I definitely had to use the toilet. I was sure it was the food poisoning (that I actually never had). I sat down on the toilet and had one more big surge and the baby’s head came out! I must admit that I freaked a little, not expecting that I was this close to meeting my baby. I stood up and grabbed my husband’s hand and said “I’m going to deliver this baby right now, right here on this floor!“ (on the floor of the hospital bathroom/shower room). Since the baby’s head was literally coming out, my husband lifted me up in the most awkward position (we still laugh about this) and carried me to the bed. The next 10 minutes were intense and I can honestly say that I lost all focus and utilized none of the Hypnobirthing techniques – I was too shocked and she came so fast that the pain associated with pushing felt more intense than with my first. Still I breathed the baby out, only “pushing” a few times. I felt the legendary “ring of fire”, which I hadn’t with my first. Then at 1:49pm, less than two hours after we reached the hospital parking lot, Lara Faith was born! She was a big baby like my first at 22 inches and 10 pounds.
My first was very quiet when he came out, but Lara yelled and cried lots. Her temperament is very content and soft since though, so maybe she was just as surprised as her mom at how quickly she arrived! During my last labour I had a postpartum haemorrhage (I felt partly due to the OBGYN tugging on my cord to deliver the placenta), but this time my midwife was extra careful and we did a slow delivery of the placenta and I had very little bleeding. I was happy to be her first Hypnobirth and afterwards she told me “…. that Hypnobirthing is some good stuff!” to which I agreed. 🙂
Written by B. W. in Saskatchewan, Aug 2011