Thursday, June 9, 2011

Declan's birth story

On Friday, 29 April 2011, my family was blessed with a new addition--Declan Rhys Philip.  Below is the story of his actual birth.  I chose to use hypnosis to help me manage my comfort, so some of the terminology may be a bit foreign.  To help, where first mentioned, I have added a “translation” in parenthesis.
I was convinced that I would have an early baby.  His father was born early, as were all of his siblings and nephews.  It just seemed appropriate that Declan, too, would be a 36 or 38 week-er.  But when week 36 turned into 37, soon followed by 38 with no signs of labor, I did begin to feel a bit disappointed.  Granted, I wanted a fully-formed, ready-to-birth baby.  THAT was always most important to me.
By week 38, though, I was really uncomfortable.  Nothing extreme, I confess, just normal pregnancy discomfort; but my patience--already in short supply at the best of times--was running dangerously low.  I downloaded a new hypnosis track to help encourage baby to come out just incase he was ready.  I began pumping my breasts at least once a day.  I pestered my poor husband for uh... “service.”  But week 39 came along just the same without change.  This baby was going to be born on HIS schedule, so while I may have complained a bit about my continuing pregnancy, I was certainly going to accommodate the baby’s schedule.
Towards the end of week 39, on Thursday, I awoke to mild pressure waves (contractions).  Perfectly manageable, but regular at about six minutes apart.  Our midwifery asked to be informed when pressure waves were at six minutes, so my husband paged the midwife on duty at about 7:30am.  Since I already had a prenatal appointment scheduled for 10:30am, we decided to keep with the plan, and check out our options at the appointment.
By the time we made it to the midwifery for the appointment, my pressure waves had slowed and were still mild in intensity.  The midwife suggested that she strip my membranes, something that I had previous thought I would decline.  As I was now getting concerned about the possibility of having a late baby (which could put me at risk for a hospital birth), I agreed to the procedure.  
I had heard that membrane stripping was very uncomfortable, so I allowed myself to ease into a mildly hypnotic state.  When the midwife was finished, I was honestly a bit shocked the lack of discomfort that I felt.  Hypnosis success!
While there, she had checked my cervix.  It was quite favorable, being more anterior, thin, and about two centimeters dilated.  All good signs that my body was preparing for my birthing time (labor).  
After the appointment, I did not want to head straight home just incase the membrane stripping kicked things into gear.  We decided to take advantage of the discount movie house nearby and saw Tangled: 3D.  (Cute movie, by the way.)  But my pressure waves never resumed a steady, predictable pace.  After the film, we grabbed lunch and headed home to relax.
For the rest of the day, I experienced mild and random pressure waves.  I went to bed hoping that again I would wake to something more productive.  I wouldn’t be disappointed.
At about 3:30am Friday morning (baby’s guess date), I awoke to that now all-familiar pressure wave sensation.  Still mild, though a bit stronger than the previous morning.  For the next hour, I timed the waves and found that again they were about six minutes apart.  Unfortunately, they were only averaging six minutes.  Some were as few as two or three minutes apart, others are far as eight or nine.  I stopped timing, and went back to a light sleep.
I was partially awake at about 6:00am when I “heard” a “pop” in my lower abdomen.  I immediately thought, “Did my water just break?”  Sure enough, I started to feel a tell-tale trickle.  
I woke my sleeping husband.  Poor guy seemed somewhat in shock at the news--probably because he was still so asleep.  But the adrenaline must have kicked into gear for him quickly as he sprung out of bed to fetch towels and the telephone.
Our midwifery had instructed that, in the case of membrane rupture, to lie down and remain still until the midwife was notified.  I did my very best, but was feeling a mix of excitement and fear.  Excitement from knowing that I’d meet my baby soon.  Fear at knowing that now we were on a time schedule.  If birth did not occur within twelve hours or so, I might have to be transferred to a hospital.  Thankfully, this mix of emotion was easily overcome as I had to focus on getting ready while not leaving a trail of fluid.
My husband phoned the midwife and we were given clearance to allow me to move again.  I will save the reader from the laughable description of how I managed to get to myself into the bathroom.  Let’s just say that I waddle in a rather amusing fashion when trying to walk with a towel stuffed between my legs.
After packing up the car, I decided that it was worth heading south towards the midwifery.  It was about 7:30am at this point and I wanted to miss commuter traffic.  I figured that if we arrived and were not allowed to be admitted, we could just check into a local hotel.  
We arrived at the midwifery just prior to opening.  It was about 8:00am and my pressure waves were averaging about four minutes apart and had increased in intensity to the point where I was actively using my hypnosis techniques to relax.  In particular, my sacral area was uncomfortable--suggesting that the baby may have turned from occiput anterior to occiput posterior.  
My hypnosis must have been working well, though, as our midwife suggested that we still had a few hours before we should check into the center.  (Hindsight being what it is, I now realize that here is where I should have insisted that we stay.)  
We left the center and headed over to a local hotel to relax until our birthing time progressed to the point where we needed the center.  Our doula and my sister-in-law joined us there and I spent most of the time in the shower (midwife said no tub yet).  By about 10:00, I knew that we should head back to the center.
Once back at the center, the midwife checked again for “progress.”  I was dilated to about 4 centimeters and given clearance to get into the tub at about 10:30.  (Hallelujah!)  The warm water felt terrific and I was able to deeply relax and just give in to what my body needed to do.

Finally in the tub!

At this point, the passage of time became rather fuzzy.  I was very well attended by my husband and doula.  I did my best to relax through each pressure wave.  As they grew in intensity, this became more difficult, but in between the waves I felt terrific.  My difficulty in maintaining a relaxed state, I believe, was due to all the hustle and change caused by leaving the center to go to the hotel.  
Eventually, my body began to contract and push.  The midwife asked to check my cervix to verify readiness.  I was still only dilated to about a 7, but felt so pushy that she held open my cervix and allowed me to push.  This certainly put my hypnosis to the test and certainly did feel uncomfortable--however I was still able to focus on the task at hand and breath my baby down.

Cheesy little baby

While pushing felt like it took longer, I later learned that I was in second-stage labor for only two minutes!  While the midwife held my cervix, I pushed with each pressure wave.  I never felt any significant discomfort, nor any “ring of fire.”  I was simply focused on tuning in to my body and allowing it to do its job.  I found it much more comfortable to push on hands and knees, so was unable to see the birth, but once Declan was out at 12:17pm, I was able to recline and take him immediately to my belly.  We then delicately moved from tub to the bed to easily birth the placenta while my son began to nurse.  


While we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, the midwife and staff left the room to allow our new family to bond.  We had a blissful hour all to ourselves to catch our breath, snack, and--of course--admire Declan.  When the staff returned, they weighed and measured Declan (8lbs 9oz, 19.5in long)  I did end up with two or three minor tears, but these were easily stitched up.  The rest of the visit was spent cleaning up, finalizing paperwork, and toasting our little lad with a bit of Guinness.

Chubby cheeks

Declan meets Big Sis' approval


We were able to leave by about 3:15pm.
In short:
6:00am--Membranes ruptured
10:15am--Admitted to birth center
12:15pm--Pushing stage
12:17pm--Declan Rhys born
3:15pm--Allowed to leave birth center
Pretty spectacular!  


  1. Wow, what a great birth! He is SO cute too. :)

  2. What a wonderful birth story. Takes me back to mine. Thanks for sharing!



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