At 3:15 A.M., on August 20, 2007, I woke to what felt like a release of pressure in my lower abdomen, followed by a gush of water. I poked my husband, saying that my waters had just broken and I needed towels, lots of towels! |
As he changed the bedding, I had a shower and let the warm water run down my body, feeling as though the contractions would start very soon because I was so relaxed. I had been enjoying a restful sleep and felt alert yet calm.
Above: Maddie's daughter, Lily, at age 1
Even so, I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary, so after my shower, my husband showered and we both went back to bed, knowing we would need the rest.
At 4:30 A.M., mild surges began, and I timed them at 10-13 minute intervals. I began the relaxation breathing that I had been practicing for many months already.
By 7:00 A.M., the surges were approximately 8 minutes apart so I got back into the shower where, on hands and knees, I practiced my visualization exercises. This seemed to speed things up a great deal and the surges took on a life of their own. Once I got out of the shower, we decided to head to the birthing center, which is only a 5 minute drive from our house.
When I got there, they put the monitor on my belly and did an internal check to assess dilation. The midwife said that I was not in active labor and only 1 centimeter dilated. So we went back home.
We arrived back home at about 9:30 A.M. and by about 10 A.M. I got back into the shower, and again on hands and knees practiced my breathing and visualisations. The warm water ran straight on my back and I went deep into my birthing body. The kneeling position was ideal for me as it took pressure off the rest of my body and helped to ease things along at a more manageable pressure.
I got out of the shower at 11 A.M. as my surges were 4-5 minutes apart, and we decided to go back to the birthing center. Walking into the birthing center at this point was difficult and uncomfortable. They showed me to the delivery room and after they checked me, I immediately knelt down onto some pillows on the floor where I carried on breathing and visualizing. I was 4-5 centimeters dilated and filling that big balloon in my abdomen (using deep breathing). I concentrated on visualizations that kept my cervix soft and healthy.
The midwife was encouraging me to take gas and air, but because of the mouthpiece it confused my breathing technique, so I refused it. My husband explained that I was using the Hypnobirthing technique and didn't want any pain relief.
While I labored on hands and knees, the staff filled the birthing pool. Around 12:30 P.M. I was able to go into the water birthing suite and was able to get straight into the pool. This was amazing and wonderful. Again I went onto my hands and knees, holding onto the hand grip at the top of the pool with my right hand, and my face toward the water. This position allowed me to focus on my breathing.
By 1 P.M. my cervix was 9 centimeters dilated and I was moaning through the surges. Making this noise allowed me to relax my whole face and jaw. As the surges grew in intensity and frequency the moans became roars, wonderfully expending much of the discomfort of the transition surges. It felt great!
I heard the midwife comment on what a powerful delivery this was and how she couldn't believe this was my first delivery. My husband continued to gently remind me of the opening flower and how relaxed and open my birthing path was. He also brought me ice water, which helped keep my hydrated, alert and refreshed.
The midwife intermittently monitored the baby's heart rate. It was continually strong and steady.
Finally, around 1:20 P.M., I put my fingers deep into my birthing canal and felt around. I could feel her head with my finger tips. I began massaging the perineum and all of the tissues around the opening. Once I touched her head, the intensity and discomfort simply vanished. The whole process became all about delivering her safely and calmly.
Every surge felt stronger and I began breathing her down, with much roaring into the water. At one stage it became impossible not to push, so near the end, I was pushing but trying not to hold my breath, even though the midwife had been telling me to push and hold my breath. My husband intervened and told her that I didn't want that kind of coaching so she ceased mentioning it.
I eased my baby down the birth canal for about 20 minutes with strong breathing, and my hand on her head the whole time. I stroked it with my fingers to let her know everything was OK. Finally, at 1:39 P.M. I eased her head out past the perineum and the tissues folded out just nicely. I was in a squatting position by this point and my hand guided her head out. I was also pushing the perineal tissues around her head gently in a circular motion so that I wouldn't tear as she came out.
Once her head was out, I leaned back onto the seat of the pool and with the next surge, her body slipped out into the warm water of the pool.
The midwife helped me move to the bed while they cleaned her off and I was able to get into a clean gown. Then I put my baby to my breast and she latched on right away. She weighed exactly 7 pounds. A healthy, beautiful girl!
She didn't cry for several hours and has remained a very calm baby.
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