Kimberly, Tom and Baby Henry 12.27.11
In December, 2011 my husband and I were blessed with a 9lb baby boy. During the pregnancy we participated in Rebecca's Hypnobabies class.
The Hypnobabies program is an amazing resource for any mother to be!
The idea of being hypnotized was a little intimidating to me at first, but the program is so much more than hypnosis. It’s really all about learning techniques that help you relax your muscles to minimize the discomfort during your birthing time. It also taught me how to naturally eliminate anxiety and fear during my pregnancy and made me confident in my ability to have a completely natural childbirth.
The program also educates you on the growth and development of your baby and the changes occurring in your body throughout pregnancy. I was so impressed with Rebecca’s love for babies and her knowledge about pregnancy and the birthing process that I asked her to be my Doula. Thanks to the relaxation techniques I learned and the assistance of Rebecca during my birthing time, I was able to give birth to my first child (who was a very big boy) without the use of an epidural! Rebecca’s kindness, knowledge, and passion for natural childbirth changed my pregnancy and birthing experience entirely!
Jess, Ryan and Baby Harper 4.9.2012
It all started with my sweet Hazel Bear. Hazel Rose was brought into this world by scheduled cesarean section on July 27, 2010. I was embarrassingly uneducated as far as the whole 'birthing' scene went. I was unaware I had choices, that I could say no. I did exactly what the doctors told me to do. Hazel was transverse, and we did nothing to try and turn her. Along with a few other medical problems, I was essentially told I was unable to give birth naturally to her. So, this is what started my adventure to birthing my next baby naturally. After a horrible birth experience with Hazel, I was determined to educate myself in every way possible to have the birth that I wanted - natural, pain free, drug free.
In March of 2011 I had a complete thyroidectomy due to cancer (complete removal of thyroid). I was told after the surgery that I would not be able to conceive until my levels had reached the ultimate goal of 1. At this time, my levels were at 165 (insanely high, the highest my doctor has ever seen). We weren't planning on having more kiddos until a few years down the road anyway, so this was fine with us. In August 2011 I was feeling pretty off so decided to go to the doctor. I had a feeling something was up, but was having a hard time wrapping my head around it. After a blood test, it was confirmed I was pregnant! Crazy how your body just 'knows'. I had somehow managed to conceive with a thyroid level of 147, which is, well, unheard of. God definitely showed us that day that he has a plan for our family. Ryan (my husband) and I were overwhelmed with joy. Our doctors did warn us that it would be a rough pregnancy, because of not having a thyroid to level out certain hormones. We were prepared for whatever was ahead of us.
The next 9 months would prove to be hard, but needless to say, worth every second. In the first trimester, we were warned that I had a good chance of miscarrying just because my thyroid levels were so high. I put all of my faith in God, knowing that he would not have made this happen if it wasn't meant to be. I developed hyperemosis, which is basically morning sickness to the enth degree. I had this with Hazel, so I was a little more prepared this time around. I resorted to natural methods to control the symptoms. Oddly enough, natural remedies did a lot more for me than the prescription drugs ever did. Ginger had become my new best friend. When I hit the second trimester, the hyperemesis calmed down, and I was starting to feel better. I think it helped that I had a toddler to distract me this time around! So far, I had had a normal pregnancy, with a healthy baby.
I joined ICAN of Lincoln to help me get over my fears of having a natural birth. I had to get over the traumatic birth experience of Hazel before I could go on to give birth naturally to this next baby. I was able to get so much information through this organization. I essentially found the doctor who I had hoped to help me achieve my goals, which were unrealistic to most doctors. Most doctors in the area will not perform an un-induced, drug free VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I had to travel to Bellevue to achieve this goal, but in my eyes, it was worth every mile. I went through four different doctors before settling on the doctor that would be assisting me with my birth.
I knew I wouldn't be able to have a natural birth without the proper 'coaching'. This is when I started looking into the different classes that were being offered for mom's who wanted a natural birth. I knew I wanted to try something that would help with the pain aspect of it. That's when I found Hypnobabies. Hypnobabies is a form of hypnosis used during childbirth to help 'ease' the pain and stay focused and calm during your birthing time. The idea sounded foreign and silly to me at first, but I felt like I didn't have much to lose. I read a lot up on it, and only read positive birth stories. I decided to look for an instructor, and that is when I met Rebecca. Godsend...is about the only word I have for her. Without her, I'm not sure I would have been able to achieve what I did. After the first class, I was a little skeptical, but we decided to keep on with the classes. After much practice, I had taught myself how to relax during contractions, and how to be focused on my main goal. Birthing would be a cinch after this!
One week before we had Harper, I started having contractions. At first they were about 20 minutes apart, and they weren't too aggressive. I was able to calmly breathe through them, walk around, talk, drink, all the things they say you can't do when you are in labor. After a few hours the contractions became stronger, and we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We packed Hazel up and headed to Bellevue. My doctor was out of town for a week, so we were transferred to the hospital in Omaha. I was in labor alright, but the doctor's didn't believe me at first. I was breathing, talking, walking, laughing through all of my contractions. At first they thought it was just Braxton Hicks, but after looking at the monitors they determined I was in true labor. I wasn't due until April 26th, so I was scared that Harper would have complications from birth. But then I was reminded that my sweet Hazel Bear made her appearance in the world at 35 weeks and was just fine.
After a few hours in the hospital with no progression of my cervix, we decided it wasn't doing me any good to stay in the hospital. I wanted to labor at home where I could be comfortable.
The contractions stayed about 20 minutes apart for the next 24 hours or so. Then they started to get more aggressive, with them coming every 10 minutes apart consistently. A few days went by and at this time I was about four days in with having consistent contractions, and having about 10 seizures a day from the stress on my body (I am epileptic, this was to be expected). We were in and out of the hospitals about three times during this time. They couldn't induce me to help things along because of a new law, but they wouldn't stop the contractions because I was too far along. I can't say I was pleased. I was extremely frustrated. For the most part, I stayed comfortable, exhausted, but comfortable. There were times when I thought I couldn't keep going, but I had to keep reminding myself that I had worked too hard to just give up. After 7 days, yes, 7 days of laboring, we finally went to a specialist who I had originally planned on seeing throughout the pregnancy when we found out we were expecting.
After only being able to dilate to 4cm during the week of labor, my doctor finally decided it was time to call it quits. I was devastated, but at the same time, relieved. My body was exhausted, I wasn't sure I had the strength to keep going. We decided it was best to go for a repeat c-section. They prepped me in no time, and by the time I knew it, I was sitting in the cold operating room. Part of me wanted to tell them to stop, but I knew my body wasn't going to allow me to birth on my own this time around. I had exhausted my body, and I just needed to give in. I remember putting myself into my 'bubble of peace'. I was scared and needed to calm down before we brought Harper into the world. I calmly breathed deep breaths and muttered 'peace'. As soon as I was in my bubble, something scared me out of it and I lost it. I broke down and cried, hyperventilated, was telling my husband I couldn't do it. I'm so glad they let Ryan into the room, because I'm not sure I would have been able to keep it together without him. He assured me that everything was going to be ok, that I hadn't given up, and that it was still going to be a beautiful birth. He helped me calm down and queued me back into my bubble. The spinal was given, and I almost immediately went numb. Again, being scared, I snapped out of my bubble and started crying, saying I didn't want to do this again. After the doctors and nurses calmed me down, they proceeded to deliver Harper. I didn't even know they had started when she was placed on my chest.
We welcomed Harper Grace into the world on April 9th. It was beautiful, sad, and exciting - all wrapped in one. It was not the birth that I had intended for, but it was not a traumatic experience, as I had feared. As soon as they cut her cord she was on my chest. I inhaled the sweet smell of my new baby, and kissed her sweet, soft cheeks as tears of joy ran down the side of my face. Everything went silent and still. It was just me and her in the room. This is what I worked so hard for. This sweet, little girl was everything that I had hoped for. The nurses took her away from me and she let out the sweetest little raspy cry. I've never felt so needed in my life. After she was cleaned up, weighed, and measured, she was placed back on my chest. I was all stitched up at this time and ready to hold my sweet baby girl again. We were allowed to have skin-to-skin time. There is nothing more amazing than holding your new baby so close to your heart. I let her 'crawl' to my breast to establish her first latch. I had such a hard time with Hazel, that I had just expected it to go all wrong. Let me say, having your baby latch on her first try is one of the most beautiful things. The feeling of providing for your baby is just something that I will never be able to put into words. This was the moment I was waiting for. I had longed for this with Hazel, and now I had achieved one of my most important dreams.
Although I was not able to achieve the birth I had originally planned for, I am grateful that I was able to labor, even if it was for a week! I'm so glad I was able to feel what it was like to try and bring a new life into the world. I feel that this helped me gain a sense of what motherhood is all about.