Stacey and Sean’s Story
The Birth of Cole
At 3:30pm, November 28, 2007, Cole Joseph entered our world with the grace of an angel.
On Wednesday night, Stacey commented that she was feeling a bit “crampy” with a few mild practice labour urges, similar to what she’d been feeling for the last few months, but they were mild and she ended up going to bed and having one of the best sleeps she’s had in a long time. At 6:30am she got up to do her morning yoga stretches and halfway through felt as if she was about to wet herself. Turns out that her waters had released (and they continued to release over the next couple of hours as we hung around the house – hanging pictures in the baby’s room and getting excited that we were going to have a baby soon)!
From 7:30am to 10:30am the surges that Stacey felt were pretty irregular and mild, but she used the time to practice her relaxation and have a shower. The surges started to become a bit more frequent (2-3 minutes apart) and intense around 10:30am when Stacey announced that it might be time to go to the hospital – things were moving faster than we expected.
By the time we got to the hospital, her waters were releasing with more gusto, causing her to have a few embarrassing moments at the admission desk. When we finally made it to the triage unit at around 11am, the nurse checked her and found her to be 5 cm dilated and told us we’d have to wait until they could find us a delivery room. An hour and a half later, we were still in triage and Stacey was finding it somewhat difficult to focus on her relaxation, knowing that this was not the room that she would birth in. Nevertheless, she was making great use of her slow breathing and the three of us were working together beautifully in spite of less than ideal circumstances.
By 12:30pm Stacey’s surges were turning into urges, and sure enough, when the resident checked her again, she found her to be fully open. THEN they gave us a room!! Stacey declined the wheelchair and walked to our birthing room – smiling on the way at who would turn out to be our nurse for the delivery. (Later the nurse confessed to us that she couldn’t believe this was HER fully dilated “patient”, smiling and walking herself to her room. She then proceeded to ask us more hypnobirthing. HA) The doctor who would be performing the delivery came in and told us that the baby’s head should be a little lower before we should begin any big pushes. So, Stacey assumed a few different positions, but found that being on her side worked best for moving the baby along.
Maybe 30 minutes later, the baby’s head was low enough. While the lights remained dimmed, the team of medical staff watched in awe as Stacey commenced with her breathing down with each surge. The chief resident told her it would be more effective if she held her breath while she pushed. This is when I spoke up and mentioned that our preferred technique was to breathe down and exhale with each push. After a short while though, Stacey did decide to try holding her breath while pushing through the first part of the surges – she said that it just felt like what her body was telling her to do.
I was so proud that it became her decision to do so when she felt it necessary. I think that reaching down and feeling where the baby’s head also helped reassure her that the baby was actually as far along as everyone was saying. Nearing the end, I could see the head appearing and then receding slightly. After a couple of rounds of this, the doctor suggested an episiotomy. He strongly advised it since he felt she would tear in a way that would not be good. So, Stacey and I discussed it after the next surge and decided to proceed with his suggestion. I think we were happy that we did. Cole arrived at a whopping 9 lbs 2oz, even if he was two and a half weeks ahead of the guess date.
The overall experience was extremely positive. We gained our affirmation from comments like “wow, you were in such control” or “I’ve seen many births over the years and I’ve never seen anyone as relaxed as you.” Apparently the whole ward was talking about us!
Stacey wanted to make sure that I mentioned a few things – specifically, that this birth was not “easy”, but “easier.” She didn’t feel “pain,” but more like intensity and pressure. And the breathing really works – especially the slow breathing for opening up the cervix.
We really feel that we owe this magical, natural and gentle birth to the Hypnobirthing philosophy in general and to Jennifer’s wonderful instruction in particular. We wish all of you the same amazing experience.