Welcome Oliver Thomas

Birthday: June 1, 2015 @ 2:05pm
Weight: 9lbs 4oz
Length: 23 inches
Head Circumference: 38cms

Birth Photography by the wonderful and super talented Jozi Grant Photography

Let me start by saying that I ENJOYED my birth!

 

Yes, you read that right – I am already looking forward to doing it all again! Most people reading this (especially if you're familiar with Hypnobabies) are likely thinking “ok, so you had one of those really easy looking births that I've seen on YouTube” and the answer is no actually (although I've seen several of these first hand as a doula and have heard from many students who have had those births!! Read some of their stories here).

But me, no. My birth story in fact is one that has people looking at me with wide eyes and even in disbelief at times when I tell the story. It is a birth story that many people would qualify as “difficult”, but not me. I think of my birth, I smile and am PROUD, happy and yes satisfied. Some say “but your birth didn't go as you planned – Hypnobabies didn't work!” and this couldn't be farther from the truth.

 

You see Hypnobabies doesn't promise any particular birthing OUTCOME (ever). What women do gain is a solid set of tools and education that gives them a pretty darn good chance of having the birth of their dreams but that also empowers them if things change. Hypnobabies allows a woman to feel great about her birth, whatever the outcome.

So here is my story:

Firstly, I did take a full 6 week series with another local Hypnobabies Instructor. I was often asked about this since I basically did teach the classes entirely from memory given that I had taught the course over 100 times (literally) by the time I was pregnant myself. I was so excited to actually BE a hypno-mom, to do all the practice myself, etc. My personality does better in a live class setting and I was excited to see how another Instructor shared the information but the main reason we took a full live 6 week class (rather than me doing the home study) is because of the birth partner involvement (read more).

My husband, like many newly expecting dads, really didn't know much about birth which was especially intimidating for him given this was MY world. One of my favourite things about being a Hypnobabies Instructor is watching the couples go through the program – watching the dads' confidence grow and the couples becoming a team as they prepare to welcome their babies. I think it's so special and LOVE that the babies are getting this attention from both parents! Personally, I especially loved watching this growth of confidence in my own husband. It was so nice connecting with him

and feeling my own confidence *IN HIM* grow as well. I was super excited to

really feel like he was fully on board and really well-prepared to support me in

welcoming our son.

Looking back now, I can see that there were signs that things were about to start...

of course I had no idea of this at the time! It was actually 4 days before my

Guess Date of May 30 and being my first baby, I  had every expectation that

I would be waiting at least 1 week to 10 days into June (if not longer) before

I met my little prince. So much so that when people asked me when I was 'due',

I'd vaguely say "June" or even "mid-June".

My water broke on May 27 around 9:30pm. A couple of days before this, my dog Maggie, had become especially protective and clingy to me. A bit of background about Maggie – she was a stray we adopted when she was nearly a year old and had come                                                                                  into the shelter with a litter of puppies. Having been a mom herself, we think she                                                                                had some instinctual warning that the baby was coming. She just chose to stay                                                                                really close to me (even when it came to breakfast which for anyone who has                                                                                    ever adopted a stray, you know that mealtime is the BEST time ever!). My                                                                                          husband and I joked about whether she knew something was going on but I still                                                                                didn't believe it could even be possible: I didn't want to have any expectations of                                                                              him arriving earlier than when he was ready...I had been saying “if he comes                                                                                    before mid-June, we'll be ready and just happy to meet him” but I never believed                                                                              it would actually happen!

The day before my water broke, I also spent the afternoon getting my office

organized and a few other small things sorted. I also joked about this – how I

might have been “nesting” but again, didn't really believe it!

On May 27th, we had friends visiting for the day and actually had a BBQ with a

few people over. The last of our friends left around 8:30pm and I told my

husband that I was pretty tired so we went to bed to rest & it wasn't even an

hour after our company left when my water (dramatically) broke! There was a

lot of fluid so there was no mistaking what had happened. I was immediately excited and definitely shocked. I was also grateful that our company had all left since I didn't want anyone to know that my birthing time was happening when it was time – I wanted my team focused on supporting me and staying in our little “birthing bubble” rather than updating others, receiving calls/texts/etc.

I advised my doula and birth photographer in case they got a call in the middle of the night and then went to sleep. I woke up                                                                                 Thursday to nothing happening. During my pregnancy, I had debated testing for                                                                               GBS (Group B Streptococcus) and in the end decided to test since I was                                                                                           confident in my decision regarding the results and I have to say that I was very                                                                                 grateful that we did test since it had come back negative so there was really no                                                                                 pressure whatsoever to 'get things started' and we just took it easy, resting and                                                                                 waiting for my birthing time to start.

                                                                           Friday came and one of my midwives came by in the morning to listen to baby                                                                                 and also to do some acupuncture. Finally, that afternoon my pressure waves                                                                                     started! I was taking a nap and was woken up by some mild waves; I remember                                                                               being SO excited! I texted hubs to let him know what was going on and just continued resting, using my lightswitch and listening to my Hypnobabies tracks for a little longer.

My waves continued into the evening, through the night and then into the next day but every time I thought they were really picking up (they'd progress to 3-4 minutes minutes apart, sometimes even every 2 minutes) and I thought we'd be getting ready to call our team, they would space out again. This is actually a very typical pattern for a posterior baby (not an ideal position).

As a side note, it is funny to me now that having a posterior baby was actually the

only fear that I had with regards to my birthing. I was excited about every single

other thing about pregnancy and birthing but as a doula had attended some long

or more challenging birthings with posterior babies. I was exceptionally diligent

throughout my pregnancy with my daily Spinning Babies exercises, rest smart

positions, leaning forward constantly, never crossing my legs, etc & I even got

the “Turn Your Posterior Baby" hypnosis session as a precaution ... and he STILL

ended up in a posterior position! In hindsight, I can look back and see how I

actually had been focusing (unconsciously) on what I DIDN'T want! For anyone

reading this who has taken a Hypnobabies class, we talk about this and how it's

much more powerful to focus on what you DO want. A lesson I knew but obviously still had to learn for myself! :)

Saturday came and went with the same pattern – the waves would pick up and then space out and then pick up again. I was still in good spirits and very comfortable. I rested whenever the waves spaced out and continued using my tools with every wave. I                                                           must have listened to every track at least a dozen or more times! I was still happy to wait as                                                             long as was needed but was definitely starting to feel ready to meet this baby and also was                                                             starting to get pretty tired considering I hadn't really slept since Thursday night. 

                                                       It was also becoming really difficult keeping the fact that I was in my birthing time from                                                                     everyone – I had decided before I was even pregnant that I didn't want to spend any time                                                               worrying about making sure that other people were being updated on my 'progress'. I have                                                             been to births as a doula where the partner has to keep leaving mom (physically or even just                                                           emotionally tuning out) to give updates or make phone calls, etc and it can be really                                                                         distracting. Also since all of our immediate family lives literally thousands of miles away, I                                                                 knew this would affect me (worrying about them being updated) & might be tough on them so I                                                      asked my team to keep the event just to ourselves.

So on Saturday, we decided to see what the night brought and make Sunday the “let's get things

going” day. After another sleepless night, I was ready & determined to help this baby make his

entrance!

Around 7am on Sunday May 31, I took my first dose of the “induction cocktail” (consisting of

fruit juice, almond butter, a tsp of castor oil and lemon verbena). We went for a walk (trying to

hide my tired state and the fact that I was having waves from all the neighbours we ran into on

the way – not an easy task!), then I proceeded to spend time on my hands and knees, leaning

forward, lunging (between AND during the waves), climbing stairs, doing the miles circuit, lots

of rebozo-ing with my doula, acupressure, abdominal lift and tucks, etc all in an attempt to get

the baby to turn: I knew his position was what was holding things up.

                                                                           Once things really started ramping up (with really consistent and even stronger                                                                                 waves), remember bursting into tears of joy...yes, you read that right! I was so                                                                                   thankful and happy that the waves weren't petering off again. My team was                                                                                       assembled and we continued doing everything we could to keep things moving                                                                               and still encourage the baby to turn. Several hours later (later in the day), my                                                                                     midwife did an internal exam (one of very few) and surprisingly found a bulging                                                                                 bag of waters...you might remember that this journey began with  a dramatic                                                                                     gush of my waters. Fluid even continued to leak throughout the days that followed                                                                             so we were all surprised at this

                                                                           discovery. I agreed to have this bag

broken in an attempt to speed things up since it was day 4 of the process!

 

As I already mentioned, I was ready to do everything I could to encourage

this baby!

The next several hours as the day became night all seemed to melt together but I

distinctly remember being surrounded by my wonderful birth team. I am so glad

that we chose to have birth photographer present to document the process as

she caught some pretty amazing moments and it really brings me back to the love

and support I felt with everyone surrounding me...even my dogs were close by!

                                                                          It was sometime before midnight as we were moving into day 5, after about 60                                                                                  hours of pressure waves and going into my 3rd sleepless night that we had a really                                                                  frank talk with our midwife. I was progressing (yay) albeit very slowly, and I was                                                                                still doing really well with the waves, so she was happy to continue supporting me                                                                            at home: the big considerations at this point were that my baby was still posterior,                                                                            my bag of waters had been broken for several days and I was exhausted. My                                                                                    waves were powerful and consistent and I

                                                                          distinctly remember thinking that I just needed

                                                                          a rest (I'm pretty sure I even said those words).

                                                                          I was still breathing through the waves,

vocalizing deeply and rocking my way through each one but the exhaustion was definitely a

growing concern.

We then made the really tough decision to transfer to the hospital. This was tough for me

because I really wanted to have my baby at home.

 

The reality though was that my birthing time could have easily continued for several more hours

(or even another day) without help & looking back now I honestly don't think that I would have

had the energy to push my 9lb 4oz baby out without some rest. I also wanted to continue to

enjoy my birthing time and wanted to be able to look back on it as a positive, empowering

experience and the exhaustion was simply changing the game for me at this point.

                                                                             So off we went and I got an epidural so that I could rest while getting oxytocin (a                                                                               drug form of the body's natural hormone to really ramp up the waves) to help                                                                                   the baby turn and move down. On one hand, I never would have wanted to be                                                                                 the Hypnobabies Instructor who “got an epidural” but one of the reasons why I                                                                                 LOVE Hypnobabies so much is that the program is super flexible and allows                                                                                     women to experience any kind of birth which can be a successful Hypnobabies                                                                               birth. We talk in class about the benefits of interventions when used as tools                                                                                     (rather than just because they are routine) and I know without a doubt that                                                                                         having the rest and getting my baby lined up allowed me to go on and have an                                                                                 empowering vaginal birth.

I am actually surprised at how calm and accepting I was and still am about the change in my plans (thank you Hypnobabies!!). Going to the hospital certainly wasn't how I envisioned my birth but I also always said that I'd be as flexible as was needed. I arrived at the hospital with my iPod and headset ready to go and actually just listened to a number of different Hypnobabies tracks the entire time I was resting/sleeping (mostly a loop of the Fear Clearing                                                           Deepening, Special Place and Turn Posterior Baby). 

The visualizations made me super grateful to be so connected with my baby and

helped me be open and trust that I was making good decisions.

 

I never once doubted.

By early morning I was fully dilated and my baby had turned (halleluiah!). We then

patiently waited another few hours for my body to bring my baby even lower while

my team reassembled.

 

                                                                             The energy was super positive, excited & relaxed. I felt determined and ready to                                                                               meet my baby. While we were waiting, we also let the epidural wear off so that I                                                                                 could feel my pushing efforts. THIS was such an amazing part of my birth.

                                                                             I remember distinctly when I started feeling Ollie moving down and was amazed                                                                               that it really did just feel like lots of pressure! Everyone laughs now about how I                                                                                 spent the entire FOUR HOURS of pushing (after several days in the process)                                                                                     actually smiling!! I loved knowing that my baby was moving down and (finally) coming to me.

I started pushing just before 10am and all 9lbs 4oz of my gorgeous baby

(and his 38cm head!) was born into his dady's hands just after 2pm. I had no

idea I had pushed for that long. The umbilical cord was left completely alone

until after the placenta was born as we had asked

(even when babe needed a bit of help after he was born – everything was done

calmly on my chest).

My midwife and the nurse were amazing – supportive, relaxed and just

encouraging me in the right way. The rest of my team of course was fantastic too.

There is one really amazing photograph (a bit too graphic for me to feel comfortable sharing publicly!) where Ollie's head is actually out and you can see this big grin on my face in the background.

I think that sums up my birthing experience really – it was an EPIC journey with a complete change in plans but my Hypnobabies tools still served me through to the end with a big smile on my face!

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