spectating participant

March 18, 2010

Welcome Charlotte Minerva Daniel - Born March 16, 2010

Filed under: family — suzanne henderson @ 1:24 pm

Charlotte Minerva

Name: Charlotte Minerva Daniel
Date: March 16, 2010, 11:05am
Weight: 10lbs, 9oz
Length: 22.25 inches
Head Circumference: 15 inches

Charlotte was born at home in the birth pool with Mom, Dad, and midwife present. Older sisters Alex (14y) and Sara (20m) were playing downstairs and welcomed her shortly after she arrived.

Birth Story, for those interested….


I decided I wanted to try something different to prepare for this birth. With Sara’s wonderful homebirth, I remember feeling like I wasn’t really in control of the experience as much as I wanted to be and that there was more I could have done to make it more empowering feeling. It certainly wasn’t a bad birth, heck, Sara was 10lbs,1oz born at home with no tearing, but I still remember feeling like I could have done better for some reason. So this time I decided that I wanted to try the Hypnobabies hypnosis program that I’d heard recommended many, many times.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and was nervous that I was going to be out a lot of money for something that might end up being useless. Also, because we decided to go with this program, we chose to not have our awesome doula from last time come for financial reasons — that was a hard choice to make. I started using the program at 30 weeks and was diligent about doing the practices every day. Luckily, having a napping toddler made it fairly easy to get the daily tracks in. The last couple weeks, I was usually listening to things twice a day and had learned some wonderful relaxation techniques that helped me get some decent sleep when my body would allow.

I was very excited about going through labor again, which I attributed to the hypnobabies programming (aka brainwashing, but hey - it’s a good kind of brainwashing). This was also a very easy pregnancy - very little to no morning sickness, no overwhelming exhaustion, and mostly SPD-free for the entire pregnancy too. People kept telling me I was having a boy just because it was such an easy pregnancy compared to Sara’s, but I wasn’t so sure. I had boy thoughts during the beginning of pregnancy, but towards the end I noticed that all my baby thoughts were “her” and “she” based and figured we were having another little girl — though I wasn’t as sure as I was with Sara.

Labor, or not?

So labor started in the middle of the night on Monday or the Thursday before - depending on how you look at things. Thursday night before, I was having very consistent contractions 10 minutes apart all night long. I really didn’t want labor to start then, though, because 1. it wasn’t the 20th yet (my preferred birth date) and 2. Chris and I were supposed to meet his visiting friends from high school for lunch. Friday morning came and the contractions went… and so the pattern began that I’d have contractions each night that would mostly vanish during the day. By Sunday, I was getting pretty frustrated with this pattern because it left me feeling unsure about when things were going to happen and anxious to get going. I didn’t like feeling impatient about birth and preferred being comfortable waiting for it to happen. Monday, during the day, I had more contractions than before, but again, it wasn’t going anywhere. Before leaving work on Monday, Chris wanted to know if he should bring is laptop home (in case labor started, he could work from home as needed), and while I didn’t think anything was going to happen, I figured it was a good plan just in case.

Even though the contractions I was having were pretty inconsistent, I knew they were doing something. I figured my body was slowly dilating and effacing in the on-again-off-again ordeal. I also had a mucus plug that would not end — I joked about how much came out, sometimes clear and occasionally streaked after a few stronger contractions.

Labor and Hypnosis

Monday night. before going to bed, I was reading up on birth stories and the Hypnobabies listserve stuff and ran across a reminder to be using hypnosis for the small contractions and to be careful of not waiting for the things to get serious before starting. This perfectly timed reminder helped wipe away the apprehension about the program that had developed, mainly because I hadn’t been using hypnosis for the random, sometimes sharp contractions. Once reading that ad practicing with smaller contractions, my confidence and excitement returned.

At some point in the middle of the night, I realized that contractions were picking up consistency and intensity. Hypnosis was still keeping me very calm but falling in and out of dreams was making things confusing. I started to wonder how close together things were, but wasn’t coordinated enough to use hypnosis, watch the clock, and stay awake. I tried waking Chris at one point, probably about 5am I think, but when that failed I just headed to the shower. I have no clue how long I was there, but I know I was very grateful for our endless supply of hot water as I refilled the tub at least once. While in the shower, I trued to check my dilation; all I could determine was that I ws probably about 50-60% effaced… at least something was happening. I thought.

I was still curious about the spacing of contractions, so I finally headed back to bed to wake up Chris for real this time. We laid in bed a bit timing things and he was reporting that they were 4-6 minutes apart and I got a little nervous… that was “call the midwife” kind of timing. So, we ended up getting out of bed a little before 7:00am because it was time to test if they were going to fade away again like before. Being up and around didn’t run them off and I was able use the online contraction timers to get better numbers for how far apart things were: 3-5 minutes apart.

Monday I’d called my mw’s office to check up on our scheduled homevisit and was told she had 2 ladies going. I figured not being in labor then was a good thing, but I’d hoped those women had delivered and she’d gotten a chance to sleep. I had planned to call her at 8am, but the timing was making me nervous. I was really torn at this point — using hypnosis, I was very comfortable during contractions. I honestly had no pain in dealing with them and all the cues I’d learned were working wonderfully. My logical brain was telling me that things were pretty close together and I better have her head over, but I was worried it’d be a false alarm.

I caught my mw as she was on her way home from a birth — so no, she hadn’t had any sleep yet. I apologized but said that I was going to need her as well, but we’d have a space for her to nap until we really needed her. She altered course (she was in the car) and showed up about 8:40am. I was sitting downstairs when she arrived, listening to my hypnobabies Easy First Stage track and enjoying contractions that were now about 3 minutes or less apart. We chatted as though nothing was happening in between contractions and I’d flip totally “off” each time one would approach. I was still a little nervous about things stopping or not being the real deal because I was so comfortable.

While waiting for the midwife to arrive, Chris began filling our new birth pool - a 100-gallon stock tank. For Sara’s birth, we’d used a kiddie pool that lots of homebirth mom’s seem happy with — but it wasn’t a success for me. In the kiddie pool, the water didn’t even cover half of my belly, which basically defeated the point. In researching new birth pool options for this birth, I’d come across some photos of a stock tank that had been padded with pillow/cushioning and lined with a white sheet and plastic (to make it easier to see bleeding and such since the stock tank is black). It looked like the perfect option because it was cheaper than other pools of a similar depth by more than $100 and we would be able to find a use for it later.

After 30 minutes or so of chatting with mw, we headed upstairs to do a heartbeat check and I went ahead and had her see how far along I was. This was a scary point for me, because while contractions were coming pretty fast, they weren’t painful — surely this was all a joke of some sort and I still had days to go or something. But my mw was very happy to report that I was already at 8cm, 100% effaced, with a bulging bag of waters! I was ecstatic, that was great news! With Sara’s birth, I remember her telling me I was at 7cm and being devastated because I felt like I was reaching the end of my rope and there was still so far to go. With 8cm and still no pain, I knew things were going just as planned.

I hopped in the pool and it felt blissfully wonderful! The midwife went off to nap and let me do my thing. I was so happy and excited at this point. Chris would come and touch my arms or face when I’d turn off for a contraction and just be there next to me. It felt wonderfully loving and connected this time because I was in such a happy state of bliss at this point. I knew that if I wanted things to kick up a bit more, I could try breaking my water, but I enjoyed the bit of snuggling I was getting, the perfectly warm water, and working with the contractions as they came.

Laboring in the tub, I selected positions I’d purposely avoided last time because they felt too intense. Using the hypnobabies cues, I wasn’t worried about the intensity at all and was excited to meet our baby. The tracks really helped me stay focused - during a contraction, if I’d start to feel a little overwhelmed there would always be a perfectly timed suggestion that would help me refocus and stay comfortable. About an hour into the tub, I felt a gush of water and realized that my water had broken. I figured that pushing would start pretty soon and was anxious for Chris to get back to me — at the moment he was looking for options to drain out some water because it’d gotten a little chilled and the hot water we added put the water level a little closer to the edge than we wanted. When he came back, I let him know that my water broke and that solving the water level problem wouldn’t be an issue since our little one would be arriving soon.

I had Chris switch Hypnobabies tracks to the Pushing Baby Out and it seemed perfectly timed that the next contraction I began to feel the change in labor to some pushing feelings — just as the audio track commented on how labor would start to feel different. It took about 20-30 minutes to feel more pushing-like contractions, they weren’t super intense but I would vocalize through them and try to work with my body. One suggestion in the track was also that I’d be smiling either during or between contractions and I remember laughing at that because it was true. In between contractions always felt so calm and comfortable, I was willing to talk and chat and laugh. I had Chris wake the midwife up to join us because I knew when pushing got really serious, I wouldn’t want Chris walking away to get her then. I still feel like this was a painless birth experience so far and was still happy and excited. For one pushing contraction, when things were getting more intense, I reached down to see if I felt anything yet and ended up finding a huge gush of mucus and doubled over laughing, mid-contraction and all. Silly me had commented on Sunday that I didn’t think I could possibly lose any more mucus and my body continued to prove me wrong on that statement time and again.

I played around with different positions to push in to see what would be the most effective. The midwife set up a little area outside of the tub commenting that I also might want to get out and push — or might need to get out if we ended up with another instance of shoulder dystocia. I knew that I did not want to get out of the tub to push, so I kept moving around a lot during contractions. Finally, I stood up fully and the midwife commented that would let gravity help out and she was right… the contraction that followed was a no-joke, time-to-really-get-baby-out contraction… I went back to squatting in the water pretty fast once it hit and boy did it hit. There was no using hypnosis at this point, there was no gentle breathing baby out, there was just straight up pushing with the lovely yelling that helped get the job done. I yelled a bit about wanting to slow down a little just because I didn’t want to tear, but the babe’s head came out pretty quickly. And then there is the wait, the uncomfortable, awkward wait for the next contraction. I knew I’d really need babe out then and felt a bit reassured that her head was out in just one major push that things were going just fine — with Sara, it took many contractions and pushing to get her head all the way out. So waiting for the next contraction, I’m working up my resolve to push really well to get those shoulders out, trying to be patient as I’m in a most uncomfortable and awkward squatting position, and thinking about how there is no way that I’m going to be climbing out of the tub with a head between my legs (what would be needed if we felt her shoulders were stuck). The next contraction comes and with some good strong pushing, I feel that freeing gush of baby fully out — wow!

I pull her up from the water and carefully work so I can get in a reclining sitting position. She’s covered in vernix, more so than Sara was, and just looking as peaceful as can be. It was so nice to get to just rest there in the water holding her, watching her, getting to know this new little person. I took a moment to check her sex as I thought I’d felt boy parts as we were getting situated, but was happy to see that it was another girl that I’d been expecting. Chris eventually had to mention that while I checked, I hadn’t bothered to tell anyone else if it was a boy or girl, so I got to share that he had another daughter. Alex and Sara came in to see the new baby and Sara was all about saying “Baby! Baby! Baby!” and hasn’t stopped since.

We hung out in the pool for a bit, me mostly resting and looking at the vernix covered baby. I decided I wanted to get out of the pool to keep a better eye on the bleeding since I kept feeling lots of gushing while sitting there. Getting out of the pool with the baby and no energy was amusing since the cord was still attached and not exceptionally long — but we made it work. We moved to the bed to deliver the placenta and to rest some more. We waited a little while after the placenta was out to cut the cord this time and used ties instead of the hard plastic clamp.

I felt much more exhausted this time following labor and feel like my recovery has been a bit slower. But even being exhausted, I was certainly on a birth high of being just amazed at how well the hypnobabies worked. It was an absolutely amazing and comfortable birth!

We took a while to pick a name — something we hadn’t even discussed yet — because she didn’t open her eyes until about 7pm in the evening. We finally settled on a name and have been snuggling and nursing ever since.