It was Tuesday morning, February 19th and I woke up feeling not especially well rested. I had found myself waking up frequently and uncomfortable during the night, but I was always able to fall back asleep by using my relaxed breathing and some visualizations.
As I was getting ready for work. I noticed that the surges were a bit more intense than I had experienced before. I paused for a moment, wondering if I should even go into work, but I was bound and determined to not use any PTO that had been scrimping and saving for my maternity leave. So my husband, TJ, dropped me off at the hospital where I work (and also where I planned to give birth).
It was about 8AM and I was trying to prepare for a meeting. I noticed that I actually had to pause and stop my work in order to properly breathe through the surges. I pressed on and headed into my meeting. At this point, I hadn’t started timing the surges, but during my meeting there was a clock right in my visual field. I started making marks on a sheet to track how often I was having surges. In about 15 minutes, I had four or five of them. Two lovely coworkers gently urged me to leave the meeting as I had been observed closing my eyes and breathing through the surges. I politely excused myself at 9AM and called my husband to come and pick me up and take me home.
That’s right - take me home.
I could have just walked down a few halls and taken the elevator up two floors to get to the birthing center, but I had planned to do most of my laboring at home. I also think it hadn’t sunk in just how far along I was. You see, I thought I was just starting labor, since I had only really been noticing it for a couple of hours. And I had heard and read that first-time moms tend to have longer labors. So even though the data and my symptoms showed that I was further along, I was convinced I was just starting.
After getting home, I popped in my earbuds and threw on the guided hypnobirthing recordings, but found that I couldn’t get into the deep zone I wanted to before another surge would hit. I ended up moving my body, breathing, and sighing my way through some intense surges, while TJ texted furiously with our Doula (the brilliant Rhonda Fellows). After many failed attempts to get comfortable (in/out of the shower), around 11AM I found myself saying “I think we need to go now”.
I was dropped off at the ER and transport brought me up to the room while TJ parked the car. I was left alone and in that short time, I felt a sudden urge to use the bathroom (hello transitional phase sign!). While sitting on the toilet, my membranes released. Still completely alone, not having been even checked in, I pulled the call light and called out for support.
There was no time for the birthing tub to be filled. No time to check to see how far I was dilated. No time for cervical checks. No time for my Doula and birth photographer to make it.
Just enough time for TJ to get there.
And Everett Abel was born at 11:47AM that morning.
My doula later shared with me that it is not uncommon for hypnobirthing mamas to completely miss the early phase of labor, because they are able to be so relaxed. I believe that is exactly what happened for me.
Thanks to Erin and the hypnobirthing method, as I reflect on the birth of my child, I have nothing but positive feelings. Such a beautiful, intense, and empowering experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
~ Andrea, TJ, and Everett
Flutterby is located in the Twin Cities, and provides Hypnobirthing as well as other classes and services for expectant families. Erin Stertz-Follett, Flutterby's Owner, is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Certified HypnoBirthing Educator, and Certified Birth Doula who has taught and assisted hundreds of families. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Sharing is caring!
Erin Stertz-Follett, Owner