My nurse was panicked. I could hear it in her voice each time she asked me to change positions. No matter what I tried, his heart rate wasn’t rising. It was in the 50s and they were out of time… he had to come out.
A Code Pink was called and off they ran, pushing me down to the operating room. I did the queen’s wave as we passed my family and friends in the waiting room. I remember the confusion on their faces, as I wheeled past smiling.
I arrived at the OR and made small talk with the surgical team, oblivious to the chaos around me.
“Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”
I was in hypnosis, so relaxed and blissed out, enjoying every moment leading up to the birth of my first child. I was completely calm, the polar opposite of what I had been experiencing not long before, when I was having contraction after contraction, sucking so hard on the gas I was getting light-headed.
I was 13 days overdue, with no signs of his arrival. I was induced that afternoon, and was told I’d see them (the doctor) the next day; but just a few hours later, we walked back to the hospital with all our stuff, practically ready to move in. Everyone met us there, my mom came in from Victoria, my sister, my in-laws, friends, and Doula / Hypnotherapist. I had a full cheering squad but didn’t want anyone in the room other than my husband, Doula, Midwife and hospital staff, as that was enough.
When my water broke, the contractions came hard and fast. I had zero time to catch my breath, let alone go into hypnosis. I started to panic. I’m a Certified Hypnotherapist, I can do this….but I couldn’t! I would guide my thoughts to my training momentarily, only to be wiped away with pain and the irrational thoughts of a woman in labour.
I had been working with Jude, my Doula/Hypnotherapist for months, diligently preparing for this day. Even though I knew I was going to use hypnosis for my labour and delivery, I still prepared myself mentally that I might require an epidural, and worst case, have a c-section.
I had heard about some new moms being so disappointed that they couldn’t do it drug free. We can’t always predict what will happen (unless you’re my sister who is clairvoyant and predicted the c-section), but you can prepare for possibilities. I made the decision that no matter how it happened, whatever path my sons’ birth took, that it was right for him. I believe delivering a baby is an amazing experience and one to be proud of, any way it turns out.
So here I was getting lightheaded from sucking on the gas, which didn’t seem to do anything other than distract me into taking long deep breaths. In my panic, I finally took control and changed my thoughts to I want an epidural, and repeated it in my head over and over and over again. It was something I could focus on. So when I was ready, I spoke out loud “I want an epidural”…and this was the moment it changed for me.
Time stood still and then disappeared. Calmness came over me as I reduced, then ultimately stopped breathing the gas. I don’t know how long it took for the anaesthesiologist to arrive, but as I sat on the side of the bed, while he swabbed my back, I didn’t feel a thing. I didn’t feel the high intensity contractions. I didn’t feel the needle going into my spine. I didn’t feel anything other than great!
I remember my husband commenting “you realize he hasn’t started the epidural yet, right?” “Yep.”….and yet I didn’t even notice I was still in labour. The contractions didn’t ease up, they got more intense, but I no longer noticed them. I just sat back and watched as my Doula came to me, felt my belly, watched the monitor and looked back at me in awe saying “you’re having a full on contraction” (or something like that).
Fast forward, I don’t know how much time, because it distorts when you’re in hypnosis (which is awesome for labour). His heart rate drops and I’m now in the OR with my husband and midwife beside me and watch as my baby gets taken and looked over. I’m ok. He’s ok. We’re both ok!
Honestly, we don’t really know why his heart rate and oxygen levels dropped. I have my theories, but nothing concrete. My son was a healthy 7lb 7oz baby, born 3 years ago today!
He is a happy, healthy, intelligent little boy that blows me away every single day. This kid makes me a better person.
I love my birthing story. I got the well-rounded experience of the breathtaking pain of active labour contractions, and the zen state of hypnosis labour, but I didn’t have a “natural” birth. I don’t know what that would have looked or felt like in my state of consciousness, but I do know that when my son’s heartrate dropped, when they couldn’t get it back up and stress filled the room, I remained calm.
If you’re pregnant and considering hypnosis for childbirth, I would highly recommend it! Don’t wait until the last trimester though, start early, start soon after you find out you’re pregnant. It not only helps with the fears and discomfort of labour and delivery, but it helps manage other symptoms you experience during pregnancy including nausea and heartburn! What’s there to lose by giving it a try other than some of the not-so-great “side effects” of growing a human being inside you?