Ali & Amy took my Hypnobabies class in Fall/2018. Ali came to our first class with a lot of fear about birth, but as is usual with Hypnobabies, that fear was transformed into calmness, confidence and happy anticipation (with the amazing support from her wife, Amy) as they anticipated the birth of their first child. Here is their birth story.
Amy & I are incredibly grateful to Ricky for being such a fabulous teacher, and opening up to me a tool to use in my birthing time that I was at first skeptical of, then cautiously optimistic of, and then (after the fact!) deeply grateful for.
My water broke at 2am on Tuesday morning, October 16. It was pretty obvious! We thought my water had broken previously (before our last class), but once the real deal happened, I laughed because it was really obvious We knew it was the day! I was at 37 weeks exactly, and we’ll never know why baby knew to come out early, but she sure did want out – and it’s a pretty cool feeling to know your baby and your body are just doing what they instinctually know is right.
I went immediately into intense birthing waves with no breaks between them. Amy turned on my hypnosis tracks right away, and they played 100% of the time until baby was born just several hours later. I found listening to just the music was very helpful; I was vocalizing non-stop through the continuous birthing waves with ahhhhhhs and ooooooohs, and I think the music as well as the other tracks helped me deeply focus outside of my body. I did not have a pain-free birth like some experience, but I was able to use hypnosis and other tools I’ve learned over the years to embrace the waves and try to “use” them and relax into them.
By just 5:30am it seemed clear I was not too far from transformation. I called my midwife, and just as Ricky had warned, I managed to stop vocalizing, focus very hard on just having the 2-minute conversation, and as a result, sort of fooled her. She said I must not be in active labor because I could talk to her and breathe through birthing waves, and to call back when I was farther along. Wellll… we called back 30 minutes later I called and just put the phone down and allowed myself to keep doing my thing to get through the birthing waves. She listened to me and told Amy we should go to the hospital right away. No fooling her this time I put my earbuds in and listened to the birthing day tracks on the drive to the hospital which were very helpful in focusing my mind and vocalizations.
I was in transformation when we arrived, around 6:30am. The waves were quite intense, still with no breaks, and I just continued there to use my hypnosis and vocalizations, changing positions when possible and trying to continue embracing them and relaxing into them so they could do their work on my cervix.
By 8:30am, for a number of reasons, things in the room became more complex (I don’t recall this very well, but heard the details after from Amy and the midwives). I sort of had one chance and not much time to try to get her out on my own before intervention would be required, because baby’s heart rate was slowing after birthing waves. There was a lot swirling around me, but I remained so focused – which I do believe is in part to the focusing of my mind using hypnosis and other tools – that all I knew was my baby wanted out, so I’d get her out. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t really see the teams and complexity around me at all. Pretty amazing in hindsight.
I never felt the urge to push which people describe, perhaps because I still had a cervical lip. But my care provider told me I had to get baby out quickly and coached me to push (I wasn’t able to do the breathe my baby out and listen to my body during this phase because it wasn’t safe for her); Amy considered using the “Change of Plans” script, but noticed that the “Pushing Baby Out” track was really helping me. Baby was OP and her head was tilted. With the midwife pushing the lip of my cervix out of the way, I rotated her into an optimal position for birthing and pushed her out completely naturally in 1 hour. Winter was born at 9:41am.
There could have been a lot of different outcomes, depending on that last critical phase of baby’s birth. I am incredibly grateful for Amy, who did every single thing in that room which I needed, which I imagine was incredibly hard. Amy says she used the skills learned in Hypnobabies class to remain a calm and focused birth partner when she heard baby’s slow heart rate.
Lastly, I wanted to comment on the idea of empowerment. I’m not sure I knew entirely what that meant before going through this. I went from someone who (no joke) was scared enough that I wanted a scheduled C-section, to someone who was incredibly determined to birth my baby on my own terms, under my own power, in far less than ideal circumstances. October 16 ended with me feeling truly empowered.
~Ali & Amy Criscitiello~