Mauro is 11 weeks old and I am just now getting around to writing his birth story. He has needed a lot more help adjusting to the world than his older sister did, and I also have had problems with breastfeeding and my breasts, including thrush, and we are just now settling in well.
After our daughter was born 13 years ago, I had tried for 10 years to get pregnant again, without success and without being able to find the reason. I was 33 when I had her, so it may have just been decreased fertility with age, but of course I know many women who had no trouble getting pregnant after 35. We live in a small town in the Patagonian region of Argentina, and had just about given up about ever having another child until we heard a couple of years ago that there was a new fertility clinic in the nearest large city, about four hours from where we live. We went there and began IVF treatments, and after the fourth try, we got Mauro!
Although my daughter’s birth had been very easy, I was very nervous about Mauro’s birth, because of all the trouble I had gone through trying to get pregnant and during the pregnancy, and because of my age (46!). When I got the Hypnobabies home study course and started practicing in my 31st week, I became much more relaxed. I wished I had gotten the course sooner, because the deep relaxation every day would have been so helpful, especially during the first trimester!
I had great faith that self-hypnosis would work for me, because of my personality and the way I usually handle painful or stressful situations, and because of the way my daughter’s birth had gone. I wasn’t so convinced about the visualizations, though, mainly because I didn’t think I was doing them right. I would always get hung up on details when I tried to do it, and often fell asleep before I finished. But several things were always consistent—1) I wanted Mauro to come between 39 and 40 weeks, on a weekday and during the day, because then the obstetricians and pediatricians would be at the hospital (after-hours and weekend births are attended by whatever doctor of whatever specialty happens to be on call), 2) I wanted him to be born in the morning, between 8 and 12, because then I would only have to spend one night in the hospital after he was born, rather than two, 3) I didn’t want the birthing time to last more than about 4 or 5 hours, 4) I didn’t want an episiotomy or serious tears, and 5) I wanted the birth to happen in the labor room, or even in the emergency room when I first came in—I didn’t want to go to the delivery room and have to get up on the delivery bed because I was afraid it would be more difficult for me to control the situation there. I was hoping to arrive at the last minute, after spending most of my birthing time at home peacefully with my daughter and husband.
At 33 weeks, Mauro had turned breech, which is an automatic c- section here, and I got very worried. I started doing the Hypnobabies breech baby script, though, and was shocked that he turned almost immediately, I think after about the 2nd or 3rd time I listened to it, although I continued to do it every day until my next doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, he turned again at 35 weeks! So, I started over with the breech baby script, and this
time I think he turned the first time I listened to it. After that, fortunately he stayed put.
The other possible kink in my plans was that I was GBS+ and the obstetricians wanted me to be at the hospital in time to get two IV doses of penicillin, four hours apart. For that reason, I needed to try to get to the hospital when I thought I might have a few hours left until the birth. This ruled out the emergency room delivery!
On Thursday of my 39th week, I was having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions, but this had happened to me other times during the last few weeks. Whenever I had a lot of them, though, I did get a bit anxious about the possibility of it being my birthing time, because with my daughter that was all I really felt until I reached transition. By evening, I knew that the nature of the birthing waves had changed and that it was indeed my birthing time! I told my husband and daughter that Mauro would be arriving either that night or the next morning. I went to bed and slept until about 2:30.
When I woke up the birthing waves seemed more regular and stronger, but when we timed them they weren’t that regular. I listened to the Easy First Stage CD while my husband got dressed and ready to go. When I finished the CD, though, I was very relaxed and the waves had slowed down and I told him I didn’t want to go yet, as it hadn’t been my plan to have to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night. I went back to sleep and when I woke up at 5:30 I knew that now it was really time!
We only live 5 minutes from the hospital (everything in town is 5 minutes away because it is so small!), and I had my bag mostly ready, but it still took us over an hour to get to the emergency room. We had to get our daughter up and take her to a neighbor’s house, and I continued to listen to the CD while she and my husband got everything ready. We arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 7 a.m., and I was having powerful birthing waves. The doctor on call palpated my abdomen during a birthing wave and said they were very strong. He and the nurse couldn’t believe how totally relaxed I was, and were completely respectful of what I was doing. My husband always asked them to wait and do things between birthing waves. I listened almost constantly to the CD with my iPod, taking out the earphones only when I had to answer something that my husband couldn’t.
The doctor checked me out and said to my surprise (and his, too, because of how strong he judged the waves to be) that I was only 4 cm dilated! My confidence wavered a bit, because I was handling things fine at that point, but the waves were already so intense and powerful, and I thought perhaps I was in for a long birthing time and couldn’t imagine at that point being able to stay on top of waves that were even stronger! I did not experience
The waves were overwhelmingly intense sensations of tightening, which I am sure some would have
interpreted as p**n, but for me their predominant characteristic was their intensity. I’m sure that there are few other physical sensations we experience in our lifetimes that are so powerful and intense. What helped me and inspired me the most in the CD was when she says, “I am safe and my baby is safe, no matter how much power
flows through me”. I kept thinking about that when things seemed to be getting too intense.
They sent me to the labor room down the hall in a wheelchair, exactly as I had imagined in my visualizations. In the labor room the nurse had to put in an IV for the antibiotics. She tried four times, and I was so glad I was under hypnosis. I had to send my anesthesia to my arms more than to my abdomen.
After a short while I had to go to the bathroom and my husband helped me in. Then I had a hard time getting off of the toilet, because every time I started to, another birthing wave came. I had left the iPod in the bed and had to work hard to maintain my focus. I leaned on my husband’s stomach with every wave, and was so glad he was there with me then. (He thinks that was all he did during the whole birthing time, but his dealing with the doctors and nurses for me was crucial!) Meantime, the nurse knocked on the door, telling me the obstetrician had arrived and wanted to check me out. I knew I didn’t want to give birth in the bathroom, so after a few more waves I managed to make my way back to the bed.
When the o.b. checked me out I was 9 cm! He said he was going to break my water bag, and that then I could start pushing. I wasn’t entirely keen on that, but at that point, I was just eager for Mauro to come! In the birth of my daughter, I had hardly felt any urge to push, so I was shocked by the power of the waves that started after my water was broken. I immediately started saying “AAAHHH” with each wave, and letting my body do the pushing, and reminded myself that I and my baby were safe no matter how much power flowed through my body! Wow! What a power it was! Even though I had had a child before, I had never felt anything like it.
My husband, the o.b., and the pediatrician who had just arrived went to scrub and dress for the delivery room.
I was lying on my side, but when the doctor came back he wanted me to roll over so he could listen to the baby’s heartbeat (they don’t have a fetal monitor at the hospital). I had to wait through a few more waves because they were coming so fast and strong, and when I finally turned over, he saw that Mauro’s head was crowning! He told me to push with the next wave because the head was halfway out, but I went ahead and pushed between waves and the head slid right out, with the o.b. supporting my perineum. Another push before the next wave and out came the body, and the next thing I knew, there was the most beautiful little baby boy I had ever seen, lying wet and naked on my chest!
It was 9 a.m., so it had taken only two hours to go from 4 cm to birth. And we didn’t go to the delivery room. No episiotomy and only superficial tears that didn’t require stitching up! EVERYTHING that I had managed to visualize, had come to pass!
As he was lying on my chest, the o.b. saw that the cord had a complete knot in it! Fortunately, it wasn’t pulled completely tight, which could have been disastrous, especially in a place where they are unable to monitor the baby very closely. I’m sure that the hypnosis helped us there, as Mauro spent no more than 10 minutes coming through the birth canal. I think it would have been more likely to be pulled tight if he had spent a lot of time in the
In retrospect, after seeing how well the visualization worked, I wish I had spent some time visualizing what would happen AFTER the birth, which I’m afraid I was totally unprepared for. For a minute he looked a bit too blue and still, and the pediatrician took him to check him out in the delivery room where the incubator was. I understood that, but the nurse ended up having him in there longer than he needed to be. I had had a lot of trouble during the
first month nursing my daughter, but later went on to nurse her for two and a half years. I suppose because I was remembering those 2 ½ good years rather than the first month, I spent zero time during the pregnancy thinking about or preparing for nursing, and ended up making the same mistakes I had made 13 years ago, getting me off to a bad start again.
Both Mauro and I had complications during the first few weeks, and I was so glad that at least the birth had been
a breeze, and I didn’t also have to deal with recovery from the birth while I was dealing with my other problems. I have wondered if my thrush was related to the one IV dose of antibiotics they managed to get into me before he was born. Talking to the pediatricians later, it probably hadn’t really been necessary, because he spent so little time in the birth canal, which is where he would have been exposed.
I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to use self hypnosis for Mauro’s birth. Not only did it allow me to have the kind of birth I wanted for him and for me, but it also taught me the incredible power of the mind and the value of deep relaxation. I hope to be able to continue to use those lessons throughout the rest of my life. I also really appreciate the Hypnobabies list, which was a great help to me in my isolation down here. I got helpful advice the few times I wrote requesting help, both before and after the birth, and also got a lot out of reading about other people’s situations. So thanks so much from Mauro and me to Hypnobabies, and to Sheridan and all the other Hypnomoms on the list in the last few months!
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