••This post comes all the way from Canada, shared with permission from Carlie Condon (Mom) and Jenn King, a fellow Hypnobabies instructor and all around great human!••
Let me start off by saying in no uncertain terms that I credit Jenn and the Hypnobabies program with the beauty and peace I experienced during the birth of my second child, Farrah Rosalynd. Her birth is singularly the most awe-inspiring feat of my body and mind that I have ever accomplished.
Farrah is now almost six months old and this is a re-writing of my original birth story that was quickly typed out during a newborn’s nap. This edit affords me both the luxury of reflection and the accuracy of detail in sharing with you my experience. I found great comfort and inspiration in the reading of other women’s Hypnobabies birth stories during the lead up to Farrah’s birth. I hope you do too.
Farrah was born three days before her due date on September 1st, 2011 at 2:57am in our bedroom in our home. The anticipation of her arrival was overwhelming. My first daughter, Ella, was born three weeks early and I assumed that Farrah’s gestation would be of similar length. The long hot August days stretched for miles.
I had been having practice pressure waves since the first week of August and had thought on a few occasions that my birthing time had begun only to have the pressure waves trail off. On August 31st, I attended my scheduled 39 week appointment with my midwife group. When my midwife offered to check me, my curiosity won out and she informed me with a slight look of shock that she was unsure just how I had not yet gone into labour. My cervix was dilated an encouraging 5cm. My practice birthing waves were handily put into perspective and I was immediately glad for their easy lead-up.
Confident that Farrah’s arrival was imminent, I strolled down to our local park to meet my husband and eldest daughter after my appointment, hardly able to contain my exciting dilation news. There was new bounce in my heavily pregnant waddle that afternoon and while at the park my pressure waves began again. They continued through dinner and past Ella’s bedtime. The pressure waves were mild and of medium duration. By the time I finally got into bed myself that night, I knew my birthing time had come. It was 10pm. Slightly hesitant from the many practice birthing waves of the previous few weeks, I said very little to my husband, encouraging him to go to sleep and get some rest. After about an hour of laying awake in bed and listening to the Hypnobabies ‘deepening’ track, my pressure waves were of significant enough strength for me to assume my favorite position that I used during my practice of the Hypnobabies techniques. We have a lovely big reading chair in our bedroom and I sat there, cross-legged and fully supported by pillows, while listening again to my ‘deepening’ track. I turned myself ‘off’ and felt flush with peace and purpose. I was so excited, not only for the arrival of my beautiful baby girl, but also for the chance to use the skills I had acquired during my diligent practice of the Hypnobabies techniques.
At 11:45pm, I switched myself to ‘centre’ and woke up my husband. My pressure waves had increased in strength and duration and I knew it was time to rally the troupes. My husband switched quickly into ‘birth partner’ mode, calling our midwives and support people, and completed a few last minute tasks of preparation. While he did this, I sat quietly in my reading chair in ‘off’ and listened to my ‘birthing time’ track. With each pressure wave, my confidence in my ability to achieve my goal of a Hypnobabies birth grew exponentially. Each wave spread like a warm hug across my belly and filled me with strength and intention.
The birth of my first daughter was a much different affair. Allow me to slip into non-Hypnobabies language for a moment. Throughout my entire pregnancy I had heard not even a whisper of hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies. My preparation has consisted of yoga classes, prenatal education at the hospital, and many, many books. My water broke at 10am on April 2nd, 2008 and the contractions had come on hard and fast. My husband rushed home from work and by 1pm I was admitted to the hospital and 5cm dilated. I laboured until 8cm at which time I grabbed my nurse by the arm and my husband by the collar and insisted that they both get me an epidural immediately. The pain had not increased substantially in that moment but mentally, I had reached my limit. At 5pm, my gorgeous daughter Ella came into the world at 7lbs 6oz. She was incredible and perfect but my experience during her birth left something to be desired.
And then, three and a half years later, there I was: perfectly relaxed, controlled, and confident in my ability as a women to give birth naturally and comfortably. By 12:45am, my midwife had arrived and as she set up her equipment, my mum and two best friends arrived as well. My birthing team had been assembled, candles were lit, and in between pressure waves I switched to ‘centre’ and chatted and joked with the people I love the most in the world. Our bedroom was buzzing with a silent energy of love and anticipation. Ella slept soundly in her bedroom down the hall.
My midwife was having trouble gauging my “outward signs of labour progression” as she put it, and I wasn’t much help to her. This birthing time was nothing like what I had experienced with Ella and so, after a pressure wave had subsided, she checked my progress to see if it was time to call in the second midwife. Our second midwife showed up about fifteen minutes later.
Soon, the pressure waves increased to a strength which demanded my complete concentration and I remained ‘off’ in between waves. I moved onto my birthing ball and my husband massaged my lower back. Everyone in the room quieted in response to my intensified focus. It took effort and energy to remain as relaxed as I was and I found that my breathing was louder and much more intentional than it had been during my many practice session. It felt right and it deepened my relaxation and comfort.
From there, I moved to a kneeling position at the foot of our bed, supported again by pillows. This seemed like the perfect position and immediately my body relaxed into the experience. My husband continued to massage my lower back and my mum ran her hands through my hair. Having those sensations to concentrate on helped me to go deeper. It was at about this point that the words being spoken in the ‘birthing time’ track became unintelligible to me. All that I could hear was her soothing, familiar voice and the sound of my breath.
At about 2:15am, my midwife suggested that I use the washroom again. I had been drinking and peeing at regular intervals up to this point and this was the first time switching to ‘centre’ position and moving had proved a bit challenging. Once on the toilet, I found the position to be very comfortable and opted to stay there for awhile. My husband came in with me and my midwives sat on the floor just outside the door in case I needed anything. My husband knelt in front of me and supported my arms and head while I switched off for pressure waves. While seated on the toilet I felt my first desire to bear down during a pressure wave.
There was no doubt, transformation was already here. Could it have really been so, dare I say, easy, to get to this point?
In class, Jenn had modeled a particular sound, a guttural moan type of sound as one that was typically made during transformation. That exact sound escaped my lips and moments later I vomited. There was no doubt, transformation was already here. Could it have really been so, dare I say, easy, to get to this point? I had had very little concept of time passing but after that pressure wave I came to ‘centre’ and remarked to my husband on how well things were going. One of my midwives would tell me later that she had heard that comment while sitting outside the bathroom door and was awed by the calmness of my voice and the seeming effortlessness with which I had come to transformation. I, of course, was also awed by the realization that I was in the midst of my perfect birthing experience.
Having my baby on the toilet was not part of my perfect birthing experience and so I moved back into my bedroom and resumed kneeling at the foot of our bed. My husband sat behind me, my mum was on the bed in front of me, and my two best friends were on either side of me. I was encircled by love. With the next pressure wave I bore down and my water broke. Bill turned on ‘pushing baby out’ and I felt my body completely take over. In the moment, I had a fleeting thought that I was no longer in ‘off’ and that my body was simply doing its thing now. However, I quickly realized that I was still very much in control. I pushed when my midwives asked me to and did not push when they requested me to stop. As I delivered Farrah’s head, I felt very intense pressure and a mild burning sensation but I had come to this point without feeling the p-word. With every push I said “peace” aloud and felt peace within every cell of my body. The feeling is beyond any words that I might have.
A speedy twelve minutes after my water broke, at 2:57am, beautiful Farrah was born into the waiting hands of my midwife. She let out a hearty cry and we all rejoiced in the miracle of her. The birth I had visualized played out exactly as I had hoped and the sense of accomplishment I felt was incredible. My healthy baby girl weighed in at a bouncing 9lbs even! The room erupted into cheers at her weight announcement and as I looked around at my loved ones in our room, they stared back with love for me and for Farrah but also with utter amazement at the way in which I had brought her into this world.
My inner labia required one stitch for what my midwife described as a “skid mark”. I opted to have it put in without any freezing. My husband stepped in to help get me into the ‘off’ position before my midwife began. I did not even flinch and the procedure was quickly over. I hardly remembered it the next day. On a follow-up visit, the midwife who stitched me up remarked to me how incredible it was to witness my birthing time. She said that she has delivered hundreds of babies but had never seen anything like my experience. Of course, this was her first Hypnobabies birth! The most amazing part of my birthing time for her was how well the hypnosis worked when she gave me the stitch. I had to laugh at her for that one. I had just pushed out a 9lb baby with ease and comfort using Hypnobabies and she thought the stitch was the most impressive part?
I will be a life-long advocate for the Hypnobabies program and so too will the people who were with me to witness Farrah’s exceptional birth. It is one of the proudest moments of my life and Hypnobabies is to thank. I hope that you’ve found my story to be inspiring and I wish you the best on your own journey.