I remember my first pregnancy with Allie (now 5). I was terrified the entire nine months—terrified to give birth. I thought, How in the hell am I supposed to push a freaking watermelon out of my hoo-ha?
I wanted to go unmedicated with the fewest medical interventions as possible. But here’s where I went wrong … I was tough, right? I mean, I’m an athlete. I’m a badass and can totally take the pain, no problem. I walked in the hospital thinking I was super woman and could do my damn thing without practicing or preparing at all. If only I could go back five years ago and warn myself.
I felt like everything went wrong. I wanted to labor at home, and it didn’t happen. I wanted to labor in the tub (didn’t happen, either). I wanted labor to progress naturally on its own without Pitocin. I did NOT want an epidural, and I got one. I wanted to do immediate skin-to-skin and wasn’t able to. Not to mention, I was freaking starving! I was in labor for more than 20 hours and wasn’t allowed to eat anything. (True story: As soon as I had Allie, before even asking to hold my baby, I asked for the box of crackers next to my bed.)
Let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience, and I always had a lot of guilt because of it. So, when I found out I was pregnant this time around, I knew it was going to be different.
This time I was ready to educate myself and prepare for the birth I really wanted. I was super stoked when a friend of mine told me about HypnoBirthing and some classes she took here in Salt Lake City called The Curtis Method. My husband and I signed up, and I’m SO glad I did!
It was three days after my due date. They say you go earlier with your second baby—yeah, right! I woke up around 1:30 a.m. with contractions. They felt different than the ones I had earlier that week. I don’t know how, but I just knew it was time to go—heck yes! I woke the hubby to say, “Hey, we’re having a baby today!” He was awesome and got right up, asked me what I needed and was there to support me when asked.
The plan was to stay busy by doing something to help keep my mind off things. So, I sat down at my handy dandy sewing machine and worked on orders that needed to go out. My hubby thought I was crazy.
“What the heck are you doing? You can’t work while you’re in labor,” he said.
I told him to watch me! It was actually the perfect project because it kept my mind off the contractions and helped pass the time. I finished my open orders, got them ready to be shipped and called it a day. Perfect timing because the contractions were starting to get intense.
Around 3:30 a.m. I got in the tub, which was heaven-freaking-sent! I could barely feel when a contraction was coming. The warm water was magic. I told the hubby to go get some rest because I was going to need him fully energized when things hit the fan. I got out of the tub and laid back down in bed to let him sleep while I relaxed for about an hour and a half.
When the contractions started getting harder to get through, I woke him up.
“I need ya now, babe.”
Around 6:30 a.m. I called my mom and doula to let them know that day was the day! My mom was our designated nanny for Allie. I knew I wanted Allie to be there for the birth, so my mom’s job was to keep an eye on her throughout labor and delivery and take her out of the room in case of an emergency. (Side note: I made sure my mom brought me something to eat on her way to the house. I did NOT want to starve again.)
I labored at home (thanks to my hubby and doula) for the next few hours. Around 11:30 a.m. we decided it was time to head to the hospital—go time! Once we got there we signed in at the front desk. The nurses didn’t believe me when I told them I was having a baby soon. (They said I was too calm and relaxed.)
“We’re sure it’ll be a little while,” they said. Ha! Little did they know …
I got a cervical check once we got checked into the hospital. To their surprise, I was 6 centimeters dilated. I hauled what seemed like a weeks’ worth of luggage into the room, and my doula got everything set up—she was amazing! I wanted a peaceful, dimly lit room that was super quiet, so I could focus on myself. I brought fake candles, an oil diffuser, bath bombs I made with wild orange oils (I practiced my relaxation tracks with wild orange, so I was sure to bring them) and my gender reveal blankets. (While on family vacation in Amsterdam, I bought some awesome fabric—one in pink and one in blue—to reveal the sex of the baby.)
Seriously, having a doula was amazing! Even though my husband was my No. 1 supporter, we wanted a doula there to help take care of things, so Pete could be by my side 100 percent and take a break if he ever needed one. He totally rocked it, though. Then my mom pulled out the snacks—yes! I totally had food there. I gave my mom a list of food I thought I’d want while in labor. Now, I know they tell you you can’t eat once you get to the hospital, but seriously, labor is like running a marathon. How in the world do they expect you to deliver a baby without any fuel? It’s the most physically challenging thing you’ll ever do. You need energy to finish the job, homie. I’m not saying go eat a hamburger or bean burrito. My mom brought sacks that were easy to digest like yogurt, fruit, nuts, etc. It was food that was enough to keep me going, yet not heavy enough to stay in my tummy for days.
When we checked in, I specifically asked for a room with a tub. I knew I wanted to labor as long as I could in there. Again, it was magical. This is when I really zoned out. I dimmed the lights, turned on the candles, used my bath bombs with my oils, put on my headphones, turned on my relaxation tracks and zoned out.
When things would start to get intense, I’d open my eyes and see my husband and daughter. At one point, I looked over and Allie stroked my face and said, “You’re doing amazing, mama.” My heart swelled, (insert ugly cry here), and I got my second wind to keep going. Although, things weren’t so bad. I mean, I was completely relaxed … even smiling and laughing between contractions. I was truly amazed. This was nothing like what I had seen in the movies with women screaming in terror. I was in control.
I’d been on the search for some wireless headphones that would help drown out the outside noise and help me focus. I was super excited to find these headphones from Sudio Sweden just in time. Oh man, these headphones were key. They were wireless with an amazing sound quality (while also drowning out the noise), and they were cute … just an added bonus! At this point I was dilated at 8 centimeters.
I labored in the tub until I felt ready to push. Our hospital isn’t licensed for water births, so you can labor in the tub, but when it comes time to push that baby out, you have to move locations. Boo! I was at 8 or 9 centimeters when I felt ready to push. The plan was to move into the room and deliver there, but we didn’t quite make it.
Contractions were pretty major at this point, and I couldn’t quite walk through them. My doula and hubby helped get me out of the tub, and I sat on the edge of the tub to help pass another contraction. My midwife didn’t think I could quite make it to the room yet, so she suggested I move to the toilet for the next contraction (slowly moving closer to the room).
Well, I never made it to the room. I was sitting on the toilet, and it was time to push. A contraction was coming and I started to push. I could feel tons of pressure and burning, and I knew I needed to slow everything down or I was going to tear. My midwife confirmed it. She told me to slow down, wait for the next contraction and then slowly do little pushes to help get this baby out. I just remember opening my eyes at this point and seeing Allie with the biggest smile on her face—too precious.
With the next contraction, my doula lifted my leg while my husband helped keep me up, and we slowly pushed this little babe out. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever experienced. I was holding this little babe, looking into his eyes and feeling like a million bucks. It was a boy, and I was incredibly in love! I felt like super woman.
I moved to the bed, held my little babe for the next two hours, had uninterrupted skin-to-skin bonding and told the hospital staff they could wait to do any checks—that couldn’t be done while he was on my chest—until after my two hours of snuggles. Allie was so excited to meet her little brother, and our family felt complete.
We had the most magical, beautiful, life-changing birth. It went exactly how I pictured it would go. I’m so glad I did it differently and educated myself this go round. I practiced and prepared my mind and body in order to do the one thing my body was made to do, give birth. Welcome to the world, Koda Daniel White!
I can’t thank my husband Pete, doula Mari, midwife Lindsay and HypnoBirthing teacher LauraLynn enough for making this one of the most incredible moments of my life. And thank you, Shailynn, for capturing the moment.
HypnoBirthing is amazing!
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!