I never wrote Jack’s birth story, because while I like to read other people’s birth stories, I just didn’t feel like I wanted to share Jack’s. Perhaps it was too private, but I think it’s more likely that I didn’t know how to tell it ironically and match the overall tone of my blog. Besides, at the time I was still laboring under the delusion that I was writing a blog about my time in grad school, and a birth story didn’t fit with that theme.
But now that I’ve given up on the grad school theme, I’m quite interested in sharing Nora’s birth story, if only because of the sharp contrast with Jack’s. You see, I went into labor on my own with Jack two days after his due date, and he was born 22-27 hours later, depending on whether or not you count the initial, essentially painless hours. With Nora, I was induced eight days after her due date and she was born five hours later. I KNOW. I was happy about that also.
For both births, I planned to use hypnobirthing to get me through without medication for as long as I could stand it. We took a class when I was pregnant with Jack, and I gave a lot of lip service to how I was really going to try to get it to work, but I always made sure to add that I would have an epidural if I needed one. I also decided that if I had to have Pitocin at any point, I’d definitely get the epidural.
Now here’s the thing. Looking back at my labor with Jack, I have to admit that I did not, in fact, really give hypnobirthing a try. Andrew and I had all these scripts he was supposed to read to me to help me go into my relaxed state, but we did not use a single script. I tried to relax, but I hadn’t really practiced that much, so when my labor stalled out at six centimeters, my doctor said she wanted to start me on Pitocin and I said, “Sounds great! Epidural, please!”
Now, according to our birth plan and the hypnobirthing philosophy, I should have said I wanted to try natural methods before resorting to the Pitocin. But although I didn’t admit it to myself at the time, I was looking for an excuse to have the epidural. My somewhat half-hearted attempt at hypnobirthing wasn’t cutting it, and I was tired and in pain and there was no end in sight.
I don’t regret having the epidural. My labor with Jack was long and difficult, and I ended up pushing for three hours, nine hours after getting the drugs. I don’t know how it would have turned out had I not been able to rest in the middle, and, of course, the main thing is that Jack arrived hale and healthy. I did, however, regret not giving hypnobirthing a genuine try, and I wanted to do better the second time around.
So this time, I practiced. We didn’t end up rehearsing with the scripts very much, but I took time most days listen to the hypnobirthing CD and practice putting myself in a trance. I did my breathing exercises at night and in the morning, and eventually got skilled enough to put myself under without the CD. I even got to practice under stress one night when I woke up due to nausea; after throwing up for about forty-five minutes I wanted to stop so I put on the headphones and made myself relax, and I was able to fall asleep. Very promising.
And with that, my fifteen minutes are long past, so I’ll have to wrap this up later.