After all of these births, telling all of these beautiful stories, it finally hit me that I shouldn't be telling these stories at all. I should be collecting birth stories from my mamas. You, the reader, should be hearing it all from the mother's perspective before you see it from mine. I so often say that the mother experiences birth so differently from everyone else in the room, and I am kind of obsessed with hearing how women experienced their own birth. Now I am excited to be able to celebrate and share some of those stories with you here. I hope they will become a source of inspiration, reference, and direction for my expecting readers.
Kathryn has been kind enough to share, in her own words, her experience bringing baby Aislinn into the world at Baptist Hospital Pensacola, using Hypnobabies and with the support of Pensacola doula Amber Roman of Belly to Cradle. I have seen a lot of labors, and this one struck me as particularly long and difficult. The energy in the room was very subdued, and even after delivery things were very quiet and calm. It was eye-opening to hear Kathryn's side of the story...
Forty weeks and three days. That’s how long I had grown my baby, how long I had carried my miracle, when I was awoken at 1:30am. I thought I just had to go to the bathroom for the 100th time that night, like every other night in my third trimester, but this time was a little different. I felt like I wasn’t quite going to make it and when I sat down…gush! Water poured. Half asleep, and half in shock, I sat there talking to myself like any normal person- “Is this my water breaking? No, that doesn’t happen. I think this is my waters. My water broke. No, no it didn’t. It’s still going. This is it.” They say to remember that birth is nothing like what you see in the movies. The whole water breaking out of nowhere, then contractions starting, and rushing to the hospital isn’t a common reality. They say only 10% of women have their water break before labor begins. I guess I made the 10%. I climbed back into bed, woke my husband Luke, and then texted my doula. She called me and talked through what was going on with me, how the coming hours may play out and when we will need to head to the hospital. All things we had talked through in our meetings, but just a little different since my water broke first. I sent my husband to the guest room to get some sleep while I laid down to try and get any rest I could between contractions.
Let me pause to say, having a doula is the single best decision you can make for labor. Natural or medicated, vaginal or c-section, well trained doulas are life giving. My doula, Amber Roman of Belly to Cradle, is phenomenal. From birth education, to delivery, to postpartum, she was a rock for us and we are so grateful to her for her friendship and services. We decided that utilizing hypnobabies would be the best option for me and my personality when it came to labor techniques for birthing, especially considering my goal was to do this all natural. Hypnobabies trains the mind and body to remain extremely relaxed, yet allow the mind to also be highly aware and focused. The concept of self-hypnosis may sound super weird to you, but it was the best when it came to birth for me. I can’t talk about it highly enough.
Sometime mid morning, between 9 and 10 I think, Amber came over to help us get everything together and as always, present our options. Based on my contractions and the fact that my water broke, we went on to the hospital. This was it. We were going to meet our baby girl! From the second my water broke until the end of the transition phase, I was in my Hypnobabies zone. I was calm, using my breathing and mindset techniques during each contraction (or “birthing wave” if we use the lingo). I’m pretty sure my eyes were closed the entire birth and the concept of time was out the window. I labored in bed for while, with my husband and mom nearby providing great support. Amber helped me walk halls, massaged and applied counter pressure, cooled me with wet rags, let me smell peppermint oil for nausea, told me when I needed to change positions, reminded me of my options, made sure I was drinking water, let me know when I could get into the tub for pain relief, and prayed over me when it was the end and I was starting to lose my focus. I felt safe and secure. I was free to labor without worrying about anything else because I had my people.
I labored for 19 hours. It didn’t seem anywhere near that long to me. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks and stayed in my own world it seemed. Towards the end things were getting intense and my body started to push by itself so they asked me if I was ready to push her out. I pushed for an hour and a half. It was the toughest part for me, not because of pain but because of the effort pushing took. I’d say it was because of her position. Even though it was the hardest part to me it still only felt more like 30 minutes. With my eyes still closed, I remember feeling my husband lift my head up for each push, giving me a sip of water and then holding the oxygen mask over my face until it was time to do it all again. He was amazing. I remember my mother’s sweet and soft voice telling me she could see her head and that I was doing so good. I can still feel her calming touch. Amber held my leg and encouraged me all the way.
Born with arms crossed, hands on either side of her face, announcing to the world she had arrived, our sassy and beautiful baby girl arrived on January 8, 2018, at 8:25pm. Aislinn Rhys was placed on my chest and I was in love.
I know that my birth team and place of birth makes all the difference. I called them the dream team and that they certainly were. Doula: Amber Roman. Photographer: Natalie Zepp Weber. Midwife: Jenny Allen. OB: Dr. Allison. Birth: at Baptist Hospital. Basically, I tell everyone they need these incredible women for their birth, without question.
A final note, I’m so thankful we decided to spring for a birth photographer. Natalie was incredible and she captured moments I never would’ve seen or remembered. My eyes were closed, remember? Haha! These are images I will cherish for all my days. Thank you, Natalie
Are you considering Hypnobabies for your birth? Did you use it? We'd love to hear from you. Each person that comments helps Kathryn & Luke earn a free 8x10 mounted print from their birth session. They need 50 people, so leave a few words to get them there.
Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design.
Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography