Our birth story began late (11:00 pm) Friday June 27 as I began to feel some abdominal cramping while attempting to sleep. After about ½ an hour, I realized that the cramping was occurring at regular intervals (every 8-10 minutes for approximately 30-40 seconds). Not sure if this was labour or Braxton Hicks, I continued to time them for about another hour. At 12:30 am I woke my husband and told him that I thought that I might be in labour.
At 1:00 am I called our Doula, Sheri Sentes, to explain the sensations that I was experiencing. Our Doula confirmed that this was the early stage of labour. She suggested that I relax in the bath, eat something and try to get some sleep. My husband ran the bath and I relaxed in the tub for an hour; but the cramping sensations remained consistent at 8-10 minutes apart. At 3:00 am I decided to crawl back into bed; however, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Instead, I dosed on and off between surges. The cramping/surges continued at this pace for much of Saturday. None of this was painful, only mildly uncomfortable. Much of Saturday was spent running errands, walking and laying on the bed listening to the relaxation CDs. Throughout the day we kept in contact with our Doula.
At about 7:00 pm on Saturday evening, while my husband and I relaxed and watched a movie, the surges increased in intensity and became closer (3-5 minutes) and longer (45-60 seconds). I could no longer concentrate on the movie as my mind retreated inward and focused on the sensations I was feeling in my body. The sensations had shifted from a mild cramping to an opening sensation. At 8:00 pm, my mucus plug released. At this point we phoned our Doula and made the decision to go to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital and met with our Doula at about 9:00 pm. Upon arrival we were placed in the assessment area prior to being admitted. At this point, time became irrelevant to me and hours felt like only minutes (fortunately our Doula recorded the timeline of events for us). At 10:30 pm the intern Doctor performed the initial check. She found that I was fully thinned but only 2 cm dilated. As a result, the intern’s decision was send me home. However, my surges continued to intensify and the rest interval became shorter. The nurse working in the assessment area observed that the surges were coming more quickly and suggested that I spend some time in the tub to encourage further dilation.
I got into the tub at about 11:30 pm. At this time, I focused inward, relaxed and breathed through each surge. The sensation of each surge moved through my body like a wave hitting the shore. I continued to feel an opening sensation as I internally chanted, “I’m opening up in sweet surrender to this beautiful baby in my womb”. The room was silent, except for the occasional words of encouragement and reassurance from both my husband and our Doula.
At 1:45 am, I got out of the tub and was checked again. We were all delighted that we would not be sent home and were admitted into a delivery room as I was 5.0-6.0cm dilated. At this point, I was feeling relaxed, but starting to feel fatigued as I had not slept in over 42 hours. The most comfortable position for me at this point was laying on the bed either on my back or side. As we settled into the delivery room, my husband placed the crowning rose picture on the wall opposing the bed. This image provided me with a focal point for visualization. During the surges I continued my internal mantra and used the picture to visualize the opening of my body. It allowed me to continue to relax into each surge and focus as they moved through my body.
At 2:45 am, I made the decision to get an epidural. I made this decision based on the potential of reaching complete exhaustion after being up for over 42 hours and the unknown in terms of the energy and time required for “pushing”. I received the epidural, but was still aware of the continued opening sensation in my body and each movement of my baby downward.
At 3:20 am I was checked by Dr. Miller. He found that I was fully dilated and the baby was quite low. Anticipating a few hours before the actual delivery, Dr. Miller went home; however, by 3:55 am he was called back to the hospital. At this point I felt the need to bear down and push. I breathed through a few pushes and within minutes our baby girl, Dylan Paige Linford, was delivered at 4:05 am and place on my abdomen. I will never forget looking down at my baby girl for the first time. Seeing my daughter filled my body with a sense of joy and love beyond what I have ever known or felt. She was then moved onto my chest and we lay skin to skin for awhile before she nursed. She weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and was 18 inches long.
My birthing experience was so incredible and a very positive experience. My yoga practice and hypnobirthing provided the path for which this positive experience was achieved. Prenatal yoga and hypnobirthing allowed me to fully embrace the physical and psychological changes that I experienced during my pregnancy. Following my breath allowed me to focus inward and be truly within my body during the birthing process. So much so that I was often unaware of who was in the room with me during labour. Hypnobirthing equipped me with numerous tools for labour, including the ability to deeply relax, focus inward, and most importantly the ability to enter this journey with no fear. The hypnobirthing prenatal visualization and preparation was invaluable and allowed for the cultivation of inner physical and mental strength. I feel that my labour and delivery allowed me to experience the true unity of my mind, body and soul.
Written by Corie White, November 2008