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March 20, 2014 / daryleverett

The Birth Story of Breannabelle {A Hypnobabies birth}


I know this is an off-topic post but I really want this to be shared for other families to read.  Grab a cup o’joe and a tissue and read on. ~Daryl~

As late as 38 weeks, our little one was turning breech and oblique giving us some anxiety as I had been having hours of contractions every few days since around 35 weeks. We had planned a home birth but if she was breech or transverse when she decided to come then we would have to transfer to the hospital.  When she was transverse at an appointment with my midwives, one of then let me know that if my water broke while baby was transverse I needed to immediately get on my knees, put my head on the floor and call 911 because the cord could prolapse, or come through the birth canal before the baby. I tried all sorts of positions to encourage her into optimal position for delivery but there seemed to be no direct relationship between my efforts and her position aside from a peppermint oil rainbow causing her to turn head-down from breech within an hour or so.  With all of the false starts, I joked that I would know it was real labor when I felt a baby head coming out.
On January 30, 2014, I called the midwife to tell her that my contractions were so close that I couldn’t wash the potatoes for my soup. She said that it sounded like early or maybe later labor and that I should call my doula to come time contractions. Liz, my doula, came and timed contractions with me for about 6 hours but nothing was changing. I decided to listen to the birthing day track from my Hypnobabies course. Still nothing. Around midnight Liz decide to go home. The following week was business as usual: a few hours of contractions every few days but nothing different than the last 4 weeks. I was checked on Monday at 40 weeks gestation and there was basically nothing happening. I told the midwife that I didn’t really care to know numbers because I’d just be mad that all those weeks of contractions were not doing much. I had checked myself a few times and knew there wasn’t anything to write home about happening up there.
Since I was postdate, I needed to have an ultrasound to be sure everything was still alright inside the little world in my tummy. We scheduled the sonogram for Wednesday.  Everything looked fine but the sonographer couldn’t get good measurements because of the baby’s position. At one point she said, “That can’t be right.” My husband and I questioned what she meant as I was nervous about the baby’s heart rate. She replied that her machine estimated the baby’s weight as 11 pounds 5 ounces but that she was remeasuring because she thought the baby was just too squished for good measurements. The cord was lying across her face. Chet questioned me about the cord on the way home and I assured him that it was nothing to be concerned about.
I didn’t have many contractions that week until Friday, February 7. On Saturday, I decided to hang a picture that I wanted on my bedroom wall during the birth. It was a picture from my engagement session and in nine and one half years it hadn’t made it on the wall. My nieces and nephews came over for a few hours and I had them help me make some decorations for the wall too. I was having contractions but it seemed to be the same as any other day. Everyone left and after a little while my eldest niece messaged me to ask if it was OK for her sister to stay the night too. I said it was fine and she came back.
I went to bed to try to rest through the contractions.
Around three in the morning on February 9, I woke up and couldn’t sleep because the contractions were about 3 minutes apart. I moved to the living room to watch the Olympics. After an hour or so of this, I called my doula. We decided that I would alert the midwife and we would all try to rest as long as possible. I went in the bedroom and told my husband that he should text his sergeant when he woke up because he was not going to work.
I managed to sleep for 50 minutes before the contractions wouldn’t let me sleep any longer. The next hours are gone from my memory completely. I grabbed a mask and spray painted the decorations I had made while my husband trimmed the hedges out front. My husband and son were going to my mother-in-law’s for Sunday lunch. Since my son wouldn’t eat the chili with beans, I set out to make him some beanless chili between contractions. I recall responding to my husband at one point with “I’m not done with his chili yet. You’re all worried about going to lunch at your mom’s but I’m worried about having a baby over here!” He responded with “you’re not havin a baby.”  They went to lunch and I hung the decorations with my niece. She and I decided to eat the rest of the chili. Somewhere in there I had called the doula and the midwife to let them know contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and affecting my focus. The midwife said to let her know when they remained that way for an hour or so. 
Liz, my doula, arrived while I was eating. The contractions had spaced out and I’d have some random ones that were 6 or 8 minutes apart. My niece, my doula and I took a walk around the neighborhood from about 5:00pm until about 5:50. While we walked the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I had to stop a couple of times to let them pass.  Thinking we might have made progress, we returned home. No success. They spread back out to 5-7 minutes. My sister sent someone to pick up my niece who had wanted to attend the birth. Thinking nothing was going to happen soon, I told her to go on home and we’d see her later. I was tired and sort of disheartened. It would be another day of “psych Mommy!” I remember asking Liz if it was hot and telling her that the contractions seemed stronger. We decided it was perception since I had been dealing with them so long without sleep.  We decided nothing was happening soon so I would nap and she would go grab supper. I wondered quietly if I was entering transition and that was the reason for my hot-cold and the spacing out of contractions. I decided it was worth the break whatever was happening and went to lie down. My husband’s sister and her little girl stopped by to check on me. I decided to call the midwife and let her know that I was going to bed. As I scrolled through my calls to find her number, my phone rang. It was her. She was in the area and since there were two of us in labor, she wanted to stop by and get an idea of where we were. She’d be there in an hour. I messaged the photographer and doula to let them know the status and told them that it would be morning before we needed them. My husband was in contact with our eldest niece and told her to go ahead and eat her supper because nothing was really happening so we didn’t need her to watch our son yet. Everyone was gone but my husband and four-year-old son. I lay there for an hour fading in and out of hypnosis with contractions reliably 5 minutes apart. Bree, the midwife, arrived around 8:30pm. We chatted and she checked me. I remember she looked confused and said she wanted to check during a contraction. I told her how many minutes were left until the next one. She checked my dilation during the next contraction and calmly stated that baby was really high and slightly to the right but I was 8cm and effaced. I said,”hmm so now do I want to sleep while I can or get up and get gravity working to get her down so I can get this done?” She said she wanted me to do squats during the contractions and that she was going “to stay for a while.” I asked if I should call the doula and photographer, trying to judge how much time I actually had. She said if I wanted them there I should call them. I got up and changed clothes while helping my husband find the list of people to call and text. I managed to call my mom since my husband had tried to reach her my text but she doesn’t get them.
I tried leaning over a ball to squat and that was a no-go. We decided I would get into the tub to squat there while using the side for support. I was hot so I asked for a cool bath. During my bath, the birth assistant arrived, as well as, Liz, Sam, Gracie and the photographer. I was trying to use my hypnosis light switch to remain calm during the contractions. My son and niece went in and out asking questions. My son brought a flashlight to check for his baby. I was getting shaky and at one point I knew I was going to miss my “light switch” during the contraction so I dispatched my son to blow up the birthday balloons with Aunt Sam just so I could send him out without scaring him. Sometime in the tub, I mentioned wanting to just have her out with no work or just leaving her in there since being pregnant wasn’t too awful. My husband and Liz did hip squeezes during contractions. I could feel my body pushing her down. I really thought we were almost there.
Since I was shaky the team suggested I warm my water up. I agreed and that felt pretty good.  Bree said something very close to “your baby could come out if you weren’t sitting on her head.” It wasn’t rude at all, though it might sound that way. In fact I chuckled about it. I changed positions a few times to see if I could get in a good spot to start pushing her down further into the birth canal. No good. We decided to move. I think we tried the bed but I wasn’t able to make that work out so we went to the toilet. By now it was around 11:00pm. I was still bearing down to move her down, feeling like I was treading water. Then whoosh! Oh sweet relief, my membranes ruptured. Bree started checked for the baby.
My doula said this is where things got scary; I really didn’t know it was that soon after my water broke. I heard Bree calmly but firmly tell me not to push. I thought the baby was coming too fast and I was ripping. Then she said that I needed to go to the bed and get on my hands and knees. I complied with help from my team.  Once I got on the bed, Bree instructed me to put my head down. Having educated myself on birth, positioning, causes of stalled labor and how to disengage baby to get a better position, I immediately knew we were undoing my last 2 hours of work. Something was wrong. Bree quickly explained that she could feel the cord and was calling rescue to transport us to the hospital. I was not to push. I knew from the warning at my appointment that this was serious and I had to find a way not to push. “How do I not push?” I asked. I heard someone say, “Just breath through the contractions. Short breaths.” Ok. Liz said that I asked calmly, “Can you move it?” to which I remember her replying, “I think that’s what she’s going to try to do.” My mind went back to the car ride from the ultrasound. I could see in my mind my husband thinking, “We should have known.” I could hear Bree calmly saying to the 911 operator, “I am a licensed midwife. I am at a planned home birth. I have a suspected cord prolapse. I need an ambulance.” Three times she repeated this before giving my address. I had seen my eldest niece, my mom and my brother’s wife come in at some point and now I was going to have to go to the hospital. It was something no one could have expected. Something that virtually never happens. I wanted my family there to see that I was not crazy for having my babies naturally even though they were big. I wanted them to experience birth the way I know it can be, not like you see on television, not like you experience with doctors intervening without need and causing complications. Now this happened: something rare and unpreventable completely unrelated to our location, my long gestation, my body or her size. Now all they would see from this amazing experience was that I shouldn’t have been stupid. They would see that I had to transfer after all and I almost killed my baby in the process. They would wonder why I as so stubborn and out to prove a point at all costs. None of that was true but that’s what their minds would encode from it. I realized all this wasn’t helping me. I wasn’t pushing. I could see everyone grabbing their bags and I imagined the caravan that would follow me. I imagined everyone in the waiting room as I was in the OR. I knew I had done everything right and this was not my fault. It wasn’t because of my birth choices, it just was in a plan that I couldn’t see yet. I knew if I was tense I would push. I knew I was tensing up. How would I relax? Fingerdrop. Light switch off. Light switch center so you can answer Daryl. Release. Release the fear. Yes your biggest fears all at once even though you got her head down it’s still happening. You can’t control everything. Just let it go. Release your fear, it is what it is. Liz said that she heard me say, “Release your fear.” The next thing I heard filled me with disbelief. “I don’t feel the cord. I’m comfortable with you continuing here if you want. You can push.” What? This doesn’t happen. I asked something like “Really? I can push?” “Yes if you want to.” Let’s do this! Let’s get this kid out quick. Beat the ambulance. Let’s go. I flipped onto my back, my husband behind me, my doula and my eldest niece keeping my legs from sliding. I tried to sit up so gravity could help. Wait. Bree checked for the cord again. All clear. Chin down, mouth open “ahhh” as your mouth is so is your cervix. Walk the line Daryl between purple pushing and getting her out quick. Ambulance is here. Oh poo. Well we tried. Bree held them off. She explained to us that she can sent the paramedics away and we can safely deliver the baby at home. I gave another response of disbelief and then a response akin to “of course we are going to finish this here if I have a choice.” They quickly checked with my husband who said the decision was mine. Bree explained to the paramedics what had happened and that we had decided to stay. They of course needed my vitals and a signature in order to leave me. They went to the living room and got my name and address from Sam. None of the medics wanted to come get my signature or my vitals. I guess they had never seen a vagina. Finally someone came in for my signature and they left.
After that it was back to business. Pushing on the bed was not working. I said that I wished I could get in the tub but my water had broken so I couldn’t. “Girl, yes you can! Get in that tub!” Bree said. The team set off to fill the tub. I think I said something about needing to urinate so we moved to the toilet. More spontaneous pushing ensued. Something moved inside. I thought it was weird. Then came the pain.
It’s the ring of fire. Yes! Almost there. She’s crowning! Push Daryl push!
I pushed with the contraction with everything I could muster. Relief. “Is she out?” I asked hopefully. “No but she’s close.” rang the reply. “Not close enough.” I half snarled. I couldn’t do this much longer. “Daryl. Give me your hand.” Bree said firmly. I did. She guided my hand to feel the baby’s head. It was wet, soft, and wrinkly like a Shar Pai puppy. “That’s her head. She’s coming. You’re really doing this.” said the voice in my head.  I pushed at least once while I held my fingers against her squishy head. A moment of clarity as time stood still. This was actually happening. I called my husband over to let me hang on him for support so I could concentrate on pushing instead of not falling off the toilet. They assured me that we were close but I needed to push. Ugh really can’t I just “ahh the baby out” like in the hypnoscript? Let’s let my body do its thing. I mumbled something about needing the team to just let this be over. I skipped a contraction. I was not going to push that time. Somewhere around this point they declared that we had a head and a hand. “The hard part’s over!” they said. Bree needed me to push. I said “I can’t. Can you pull her?” I knew it was not a great idea to mess with the baby on her way out but at the time, the risks were outweighed by the potential to get her out quickly. “No” “Yes but I need you to push with me.” I felt a contraction coming but my husband had disappeared. I waved for someone, anyone, to come over and hold me up.  I wrapped my arms around their necks. “1, 2, 3!” I counted aloud as I lifted my feet from the ground and pushed. I later learned they weren’t quite ready for me to do that. Bree took a quick look around, I think to check the tub. “Let’s go to the bed.” Another contraction. “Contraction! 1, 2, 3.” again I said and again dropped my weight onto the team. When they say they “supported” me in labor, they mean it literally. I’m sure it was a sight to see: me hanging from their necks with a baby hanging from me and a midwife making sure the baby didn’t go anywhere as we travelled around the doorway. “Just go to the floor.” Bree said. There we stopped with people tossing waterproof pads onto the floor under me. I went onto my hands and knees then leaned back onto my heels in a half-kneel to let gravity help during a push. Bree leaned me forward. I wasn’t fully aware of the fact that the baby’s head was completely delivered. Another contraction. Another push. I had to get her out. We had come too far to fail now. Someone called for my son.
I felt a release. There was commotion and someone told me to take off my shirt, pick up my leg and sit up. I was confused but complied. There was a sound behind me.  Bree leaned around me as I lifted my leg. Something was being handed to me. Wait. What? She was here. My son came in. I asked if he wanted to touch her. He didn’t but he wanted to come sing to her. He said we should sing “Happy Birthday” and so we did. The rest is unimportant details. After we cut the cord, I moved to the bed to deliver the placenta. Unexpectedly, a large glob of bloody stuff splashed onto my caramel-colored carpet. I said, “well I guess I won’t be encapsulating that.” Bree said she wasn’t sure that was the placenta. It wasn’t. On the bed, I sprung into wanna-be-doula mode and asked for water with one-half teaspoon of Natural Calm and some food.
What a night. She was born just after midnight. She weighed in at just under 11 pounds.
Daddy said he needed to know her name so that he could tell everyone she was here. I said, “Well, is it Breanna Leigh or Annabelle Leigh?” He said he liked Breanna. Those around us had mixed responses. “She looks like an Annabelle” they said. “Tell them why you picked Breanna.” replied those who knew the story. We explained that my best friend, Breanna, had been lost to CF one year and two months prior. Now they couldn’t decide either. Big brother liked Annabelle Leigh and went to tell Daddy. Daddy entered and said something about me needing to hurry up and decide. Half joking, I said  “Well what if I just combine them and call her Breannabelle Leigh?” Daddy’s face lit up, “That works.”
After everything calmed down the next day, Daddy and I chatted about what happened. I am thankful we planned a home birth. If we had planned to deliver anywhere else, we wouldn’t have been there. I was lying down for the night when Bree came and discovered that I was in active labor despite my contractions not following the plan. If we had planned to deliver elsewhere, we would have been at home or in the car with no help when the cord prolapsed. Things would have been very different.


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  1. Elizabeth Richard Luke / Mar 20 2014 12:19 pm

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