Courtney has baby #2
I started feeling mild surges about 10-15 minutes apart later that day, and into the next day, though I slept through the night and wasn't in much discomfort. The surges really weren't painful at all, even when they started coming every 5 minutes--just an uncomfortable cramping feeling.
All day Tuesday I kept feeling these surges and wondering if it was actually labor or not! I kept in touch with my midwife since we live about 40 minutes from the birth center where I would deliver, and my first labor had progressed pretty rapidly, so I wanted to make sure I was on top of what was happening. She also agreed that based on what I was describing (regular surges, but they didn't feel very painful/strong), it sounded like early labor, but I didn't need to rush in yet. So I went about my day, walked around, picked up my daughter from daycare, etc. I was so confused and slightly frustrated about whether the baby was going to come that day or not! My water hadn't broken, no bleeding or other signs.
Around 5:30 that evening I decided to lie on the couch and listen to the Rainbow Relaxation recording. I was breathing through each surge, and actually paid attention to how my uterus was rising with each one and how I could help the process through deep breaths. I must have fallen asleep at the end of the recording, because all of a sudden I jolted awake with a very strong surge--totally different and deeper feeling than all the earlier ones. I definitely knew what this was! I told my husband we needed to leave for the birth center--NOW! He was in the middle of feeding my daughter dinner but I told him we needed to get into the car ASAP. I didn't think I could wait to call my in-laws and have them drive to our house to pick up our daughter, so we took her with us to the birth center.
The car ride was challenging, but I listened to the recording again and kept breathing. The surges were strong and uncomfortable but I was able to stay pretty calm. I kept having vague fears that we wouldn't make it in time, but I also remember having this trust that my body knew what to do and it didn't want to give birth in the car :)
We got to the birth center around 7:30pm. I went into the delivery room and my husband stayed in the waiting room to take care of my toddler (my father-in-law was on the way to pick her up). I was totally focused on labor at this point and didn't really care or notice that my husband wasn't there with me :) The midwife checked me and I was 9 cm. I then laid down on my left side and almost instantly felt my surges change into transition. The surges felt very intense and expulsive, and I had to moan through them. I started to feel a little scared at this point because I remembered how overwhelming transition felt when my first daughter was born--it's so intense and strange. But interestingly, while each surge definitely felt intense and even painful, it was not as bad as I'd remembered it. I kept getting the to the end of a surge and expecting it to feel stronger, and then thinking "is that really it?"
After a few more surges my midwife told me the baby would be coming soon. Again, I couldn't believe it was happening quite so quickly. My midwife suggested I open my pelvis more to create more space for the baby to come out, so I ended up pushing while flat on my back with one leg braced on her shoulder--kind of a weird position, but it worked. My husband made it into the room right as the baby was crowning (he was pretty surprised!) I felt the baby crowning and my water finally broke. My midwife told me to hold back from pushing until the next surge came. This was hard, because I was feeling so much pressure/intensity, but I managed to hold on till the next surge. I think being in the position I was actually helped to slow the baby's descent, which may have helped me not to tear. Then out came the shoulders, and suddenly, I was holding a squirmy little baby! In the moments afterward, I felt so much elation and surprise that it had all happened so quickly, I actually asked if it had all really happened--it felt like it could have been a dream. I had no tearing or even a "paper cut" according to my midwife. All this happened within about 45 minutes after arriving at the birth center (and after only about 2 hours of strong labor)--I was so grateful we got there in time!
So, that's my birth story! I truly felt that I was able to use the tools and techniques I learned through Hypnobirthing to help me experience what really was a gentle, quick birth. Sure, it was intense, scary and even painful at times, but overall I felt in control and able to respond in ways that allowed my body to do what it needed to do.
Going through childbirth for the second time was definitely a different experience. I felt more aware of what was happening and more trusting that my body knew what to do. There was a familiarity to the experience, both in terms of what was happening in my body and also in the setting (I was in the same room where I'd given birth to my first daughter, so something about the comfort/familiarity of that space definitely had an effect.) It was interesting how once I fully relaxed (by listening to the HypnoBirthing recordings), my labor really kicked in.
Thank you for helping me to have such a wonderful experience! You're an amazing teacher and it's awesome that you help so many women have positive childbirth experiences.