In honor of Matthew’s first birthday, which was Sunday, I am reposting his birth story. I feel that when you are pregnant there is so much emphasis placed on the things that could go wrong rather than the joy and love of birth that I could do no harm by reposting the story of Matthew’ lovely birth, which went on without a hiccup. It was truly an amazing labor and birth that I hope will inspire any pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant mommas out there.
Matthew Lonnie Peters was born May 29 at 11:31 AM at Woodwinds Hospital. He weighed 8lb 8oz and was 20.75 inches long.
I am now three weeks post-partum and am finally starting to feel more like myself. Being a first time mom, I did not know what to expect post-partum and was surprised by the amount of recovery that your body needs to heal after giving birth.
Other mothers and my midwife told me that my body would need time to repair itself after birth, but I wasn’t sure what that restoration would entail. There was part of me that suspected that because I sailed through pregnancy without incident that my labor and post-partum recovery would follow suit. For the most part, this has been true.
Allan and I chose the HypnoBirthing method as our approach to natural childbirth. HypnoBirthing is described on their website as “a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. HypnoBirthing® provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing.” We took classes in February at Blooma, practiced affirmations and relaxation techniques nightly before bed, had a weekly Tuesday baby night that included one hour of labor and birthing practice and religiously performed daily perineum stretches. Suffice it to say, we felt completely prepared for delivery.
The following were our goals for labor and delivery:
- To experience a quick labor and delivery with minimum discomfort and pain
- To equip Allan with the tools necessary to be an amazing birth companion and partner
- To bring Matthew into the world without the aid of pain medication or medical intervention
- To avoid perineum tearing or the medical need for an episiotomy
At my 39 week midwife appointment, just two days shy of my May 19 due date, I was progressing nicely and my midwife suspected I would go into labor soon. The following Saturday, labor-like contractions began (surges to my fellow HypnoBirthing mommas). They were 8-15 minutes apart and lasted 1.5-2 minutes. However, 13 hours later they just went away.
My labor rested for one week and the following Saturday, 10 days past my due date, labor restarted. I awoke at 5:30 AM with a full bladder and upon returning to bed I felt a strong tightening in my lower back. The sensation was very similar to the surges I had felt the previous Saturday, but this time they were even more intense. I woke Allan up and told him that I thought I was in labor. After the previous week’s experience, Allan told me to try to lay down and get some more sleep. I then insisted that he wake up because I was having another surge.
Half an hour later, the surges were still 4-5 minutes apart and lasting 2 minutes. Allan called the midwife on call and she told us we could stay at home a bit longer. Allan quickly gathered the final items that we would need at the hospital and placed our suitcases into the car. At 6:30 AM we decided that it was time to go to the hospital and Allan called the midwife again to let her know that we were on our way. By 6:45 AM we were in the car.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was admitted to the water birthing suite and my initial exam showed that I was already dilated 7-8 cm, but my water was fully intact. After the mandatory 20 minutes of fetal monitoring, I decided it was time to get into the water birthing tub.
Laboring in the water was amazing! The water was very relaxing and the surges were easily managed. A couple hours later, my water had not broken and I was getting anxious to meet Matt. I asked the midwife about our options for getting my water to break. She suggested that I take a bathroom break, have my water sack checked and consider having it broken. I agreed.
Upon her exam, she found that I was fully thinned and opened, but my water was still intact. I asked her to break my water. Upon rupturing my membranes and examining the amniotic fluid, the midwife found that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, which meant that I could not have a water birth because of the risk of meconium aspiration syndrome.
Soon thereafter, I felt the urge to breathe my baby down. In my opinion, this is one of the elements of HypnoBirthing (and regular delivery) that are the most elusive. I was determined to stick to my HypnoBirthing practice of birth breathing, but at first was not exactly sure how to effectively move baby down the birth path to crowning and delivery.
The midwife suggested that I move from the bed to the toilet and use it as a birthing stool to better engage gravity. Allan stood in front of me and I leaned on his stomach as I bared down while breathing through each surge. It was an amazingly powerful feeling to be held by and to in turn hold my husband as we worked together to bring our baby into the world.
I soon felt a change in my birth path sensations and decided to check the progress myself. To my delight and amazement the head of my baby greeted me.
I quickly moved to the bed to deliver Matt. At this point, my surges switched from lasting 2 minutes each with 1-2 minutes between to lasting 45 seconds each with 2 minutes between. I found this to be quite frustrating because at this point I was super excited to finally see my baby face to face and the switch of the surges delayed the progression of his birth.
However as with most HypnoBirths, time distortion had set in and before I knew it Matt was crowning and entered the world with a vociferous cry. The concern over meconium aspiration syndrome was unnecessary and Matt was moved to my chest immediately for bonding. Our little baby was in our arms at last – the wait was over. The moment that we first saw each other will be fused in my mind for the rest of my life.
By and large, I feel like we accomplished all of our goals for labor and delivery:
- To experience a quick labor and delivery with minimum discomfort and pain. I was able to manage each surge with peace and grace. My labor and delivery were calm and quiet aside from the occasional midwife encouraged grunt during delivery.
- To equip Allan with the tools necessary to be an amazing birth companion and partner. Allan was calm, collected and assertive during labor and delivery. He was able to anticipate all of my needs and quickly adapted as labor progressed.
- To bring Matthew into the world without the aid of pain medication or medical intervention. Through HypnoBirth breathing techniques, an amazing birth companion, and a great medical team I was able to have a natural birth free of pain medication and unnecessary medical interventions.
- To avoid perineum tearing or the need for an episiotomy. I did not experience any tearing. I walked away from delivery with a small labial abrasion, similar to a rug burn, along with normal post-labor labial swelling that was most likely caused by the birthing of Matthew’s shoulders.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with our labor and birthing experience and would definitely recommend HypnoBirthing to any expecting mommas out there looking for a birthing method.