Holly’s Birth: Calm, peaceful 5-hour labor despite medically necessary induction

 What a great story! This couple prepared so well for their birth that they were able to have a short, 5-hour unmedicated labor despite having to be induced early due to pre-eclampsia. I’m so glad they chose a high-risk care provider that supported their wishes and that they were able to have the birth they wanted!

I was told by several women who have had natural births, that if you want to have a natural unmedicated birth, you can’t just want it and hope for the best when you go into labor. You need to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. I had heard about HypnoBirthing a couple of years ago, so when I became pregnant, I looked into it further and felt like it would be the preparation I needed to have the calm natural water birth that I was looking for. 
I attended a HypnoBirthing class, read through the entire book, and did the meditations regularly. Later in my pregnancy, I took Evening Primrose Oil to help naturally ripen my cervix for birth and started doing the perineal massages. With all of the preparations, I felt confident that I would be able to have the birth that I had planned on. 
Sometimes our plans have to change, whether we want to or not. I went in for my regular 37 week prenatal appointment at the Birthing Center and for the first time during my entire pregnancy, I had high blood pressure. The midwife told me that I needed to come back again the following day to retest my blood pressure. When I came back, my blood pressure was even higher than the previous day. I was told that I needed to go to a hospital immediately for further testing. Within 24 hours, I was no longer a candidate for delivering my baby at the Birthing Center since I was considered high risk. The OB at the hospital was talking to me about a C-Section, which was definitely not in my plan. I went to my Certified Nurse Midwife that I was seeing earlier in my pregnancy. She only delivers at St. Marks hospital, and since I needed to deliver in a hospital now, I called her to help deliver my baby. After further tests in the following week, I went from just having high blood pressure, to having preeclampsia, which was quickly turning into HELLP syndrome.Even though I felt perfectly fine, the lab work said otherwise. After consulting with my Midwife and understanding the seriousness of my condition, I realized that I needed to be induced for medical reasons since my condition was worsening and could negatively affect me and my baby. At 38 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital and given cervadil to help ripen my cervix, and then about 12 hours later I was given pitocin to start my labor. 
The entire time I was in labor, I continued to meditate and focus on breathing and relaxing my body – just like I had been doing throughout my pregnancy. When surges became more intense, I sat down on a birthing ball to let gravity work for me and I had my husband help do pressure points on my back – both were things we had learned in our HypnoBirthing class and book. Every time I had a surge, I did everything I could to just breathe through them and completely relax my body – including my face – rather than tense up. It wasn’t too long that I told my midwife that I felt the urge to push. My midwife checked me, and in just a couple of hours I was dilated from a 3 to an 8. My midwife was shocked that I was progressing so quickly considering this was my first pregnancy and because I was induced. Not too long after that, I was dilated to a 10 and felt my body getting ready to birth my baby. Even though this was my first time giving birth, I trusted my body completely and followed my instinct. I labored for a total of about 5 hours, and before I knew it, my healthy baby girl was welcomed into the world! 
I ended up getting a couple of stitches, but I (thankfully!) didn’t need an episiotomy, which I credit to the perineal massages and listening to my body during labor, rather than forcefully pushing or pushing when my body wasn’t ready to do so. 
My midwife told me afterwards how impressed she was with my baby’s birth. She explained that she had never witnessed a natural birth where the mom was in so much control of her body during surges and delivering the baby. I definitely give credit to HypnoBirthing for helping my gain confidence in myself and preparing me for having the natural unmedicated birth that I was wanting to have!
Holly Patiño

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