Thank you to our Cyber Tuesday winner Amanda Mason for sharing her story with us!
"I used the finger drop technique, which instantly helped my whole body, head to toe, to relax, which I think is part of the reason my labor progressed so quickly and smoothly."
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When I became pregnant with my third child, I started looking for an OBGYN again, figuring it was all the same anyway, so what difference did it make. At around 16 weeks, I heard the term 'doula'. I had no idea what a doula was, but the idea of a woman, experienced in childbirth and natural birth, who would come and support me throughout my entire labor, thrilled me to pieces. I spent the next few weeks interviewing 4 different doulas in my area, and 3 of the 4 listened to my birth stories and basically told me, in so many words "I'm so sorry that all happened to you. This birth can be different. I'll be there for you." While this was encouraging (and I still greatly respect those women), the 4th doula's attitude was different. Katherine Stanglin, CD(DONA) of Ancient Hearts Birth Services told me that this birth could be different if I made different choices. She told me about my options. She asked me who my OBGYN was and gave me insight into her experience with him and her concerns about him being supportive of the type of birth I was looking for. She told me she'd support whatever decision I made, but that if I was serious about wanting a birth without an epidural, I had options. She told me that she would help me become aware of my options and that I would be able to better make informed decisions. I tried to hire her on the spot, but in her wisdom, she told me to think about it for a day or two so I could be sure of what I wanted. After hiring her, she helped me to form a list of questions for my doctor and told me about some local midwives who delivered in birth centers. I brought my questions to my OB and his answers were inadequate. I could tell that I wasn't going to have the birth I wanted with him or his office. So I searched through my new-found resources on midwives and birth centers and found a wonderful midwife, Pamela Wright, LM of Baby Bliss Birthing, who would work with me on payments and attempt to take my insurance (Insurance companies aren't always supportive of birth center/home birth midwives). By 26 weeks, I was seeing this fabulous woman full-time. Every concern I had, my midwife and doula were there to help, ease my fears, and answer my questions. I'd finally found the birth team I needed to give me the best chance to have the birth that I wanted. My doula inspired me and helped me to research natural birth, medicated birth, issues, benefits, risks, etc. It was like I was taking a college class the entire last month of my pregnancy. And it was fantastic. She encouraged me to try Hypnobabies as a form of relaxation and childbirth education, and I did the home study course, which I believe greatly helped. My midwife wanted me to feel comfortable and when the typical prodromal labor started, with which I was familiar, instead of suggesting induction she offered to let my husband and me stay the night at her birth center, sans children. She encouraged me to relax, thinking that might kick-start things. She was right. We arrived at around 7 pm, she gave us a key and went home. My husband and I set up in one of her upstairs rooms, watched TV and played cards and board games until we went to bed around 11. My water broke at 3 am and I called my midwife and my doula, very excited, but told my doula she didn't necessarily need to come yet. I knew it could still be a while. My midwife arrived, checked my blood pressure and listened to the baby's heart-rate through a contraction. She said I was free to do whatever I wanted, as everything looked good. My doula arrived (even though I told her she didn't need to. I guess she was excited, too or maybe she just knew me better than I knew myself) and told me her recommendation was for me to try to rest since things were going to get going soon and she wanted me to have my strength. I actually took a nap until 6. I woke up having regular contractions, and she helped me to use Hypnobabies methods, several other comfort measures, and spinning babies. By 10 am, I was just starting to feel like the contractions were becoming very intense. I wanted to get into the birth pool. The assistant midwife recommended I have my first dilation check since getting into the pool can slow down labor if one isn't progressing. I was at 8 cm. I got into the pool, surrounded by loving women and tons of support and almost exactly an hour later, my son was born. It wasn't 'pain-free' but the level of pain was far less than the pain I felt with my previous births. I felt so much more at peace and comfortable. We went home a few hours later.
Not only did Hypnobabies help me to stay on track during pregnancy, with a positive attitude, relaxation and nutrition, but I used it throughout my entire labor with my doula. During pregnancy, the pregnancy affirmations track was a huge help in keeping me focused and excited about my birth and uplifting my spirits even when I was having a bad day. Once labor started, I use the finger drop technique, which instantly helped my whole body, head to toe, to relax, which I think is part of the reason my labor progressed so quickly and smoothly. My doula played the birthing day affirmations that kept me in a positive mood. She frequently used the relax cue but honestly I don't remember how often because I was already so relaxed and at peace that I kinda zoned out through most of it, especially after transition and I got into the birth pool. Up until transition, mostly hypnobabies helped me to stay positive, and after transition started and during pushing, I relied heavily on the relaxation methods of hypnobabies (the finger drop, hypno anesthesia, and relax cues) to make it a much more comfortable experience than my previous birthing experiences.