A month before my due date, my husband Fernando and I took HypnoBirthing classes with a doula where she taught us relaxation techniques, visualizations, and deep breathing methods. Each night I had homework, which included reading a HypnoBirthing book and listening to a CD of affirmations and guided imagery. The affirmations included positive sentences you repeat to yourself, such as:
I put all fear aside as I get ready for the birth of my baby.
My muscles work in complete harmony to make birthing easier.
I put all fears aside and welcome my baby with happiness and joy.
It pretty much sounded like this.
Okay, so back to the story… earlier in the day, before I went into labor, I was doing a TV segment on Telemundo, and I remember everyone telling me, "Wow, you look like you're ready to pop." I was 38 weeks pregnant, and although I was already considered "full-term," my due date wasn't for another week. That same night, on January 4th, 2013 around 12:30 PM, I was woken up by some cramps. At first I thought it was Braxton Hicks, but still I decided to wake up the hubby. He immediately took out his cell phone which had a contractions timer app, naturally, and started timing my contractions. At that point they were about 5-7 minutes apart, so I tried to go back to sleep.
Around 5 AM, I called our doula Vivian and told her how close the contractions were. (That morning, oddly enough, I was suppose to have my last HypnoBirthing class-which never happend.) The doula arrived at my house around 5:30 AM. The contractions were getting stronger, but they were still bearable. I remember just trying to relax and breath through each one. I did a lot of walking around my house and took a hot shower. My water had not broken yet.
I tried to stay at my house as long as I could before it was actually time to head to the hospital. At 1:30 PM, once my contractions were getting closer together, we headed to Mount Sinai Hospital. I remember putting on my headphones and listening to my hypnobirthing affirmations on my iPod for the entire 10-minute ride as my husband drove me to the hospital. Once we arrived, I was only dilated 4 cm. I walked around the hospital and was finally admitted around 2:30 PM. My plan was to try not to have an epidural, but at the end of the day, if I needed one I wasn't going to kill myself over it.
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The entire time my doula and my husband were super supportive. They massaged my back and kept encouraging me the entire way. I was also very, very quiet. I kind of felt like I was in "the zone," listening to my iPod with my affirmations, so anytime I talked, I immediately got out of it. For me, HypnoBirthing didn't take the pain away completely, but it did help me concentrate and release my fears. Also, my labor wasn't like a scene from the movies where you see women agonizing in pain and screaming for meds. Like I mentioned, I think I barely made a peep. The pains started getting stronger and stronger. At about 8 PM (20 hours after going into labor), I had only dilated 7cm. I was so bummed. A nurse finally had to break my water.
At this point, we were worried that my labor was not progressing fast enough. So at 10 PM, Fernando and I discussed getting an epidural, and we thought it would be best. The epidural did not take away the pain completely either. I remember reading how some women feel no pain at all after getting an epidural, but that definitely wasn't the case for me. It wasn't as bad as before, but I still felt the contractions.
The next morning, at around 7:50 AM, the doctor checked me again and I was finally at 10cm. It was game time. At this point I was also running a low fever, but I was ecstatic that it was time to push. In a few minutes, I would finally get to meet our son. The little baby I had dreamt of. He would finally be in our arms. I started pushing and the minutes started going by sooooo slooooow. I remember thinking to myself, "What's going on? Why isn't he coming out? Why is this taking so long?" 30 minutes had passed and nothing. Fernando kept cheering me on and saying, "You can do it sweetie! We're finally going to meet our baby! C'mon Carmen push!"
Finally almost an hour later, AN HOUR of pushing his little head started to show. I gave one final push, and at 8:57 AM, our beautiful baby boy was born. The nurses cleaned him up and put him in my arms. He weighed 7 lbs. 12 ounces. They also took his temperature and realized he had a bit of a fever so he went to the nursing unit, and Fernando went along too. He didn't leave the baby's side for one second. One hour later they brought him back, and thank GOD his fever was gone. He was perfect! Our baby boy was perfectly healthy. The overwhelming feelings of emotions kicked in immediately.
HypnoBirthing definitely made the experience a little less frightening and the breathing techniques helped so much when it came to controlling the pain.
Have any of you tried HypnoBirthing? Do you think that you would ever be interested in trying it out?
-By Carmen Ordonez