Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bridget's Birth Story

Okay, ok I may have exaggerated, the birth story may not be really exciting. But I can promise you it's as exciting as a normal natural childbirth can get.

I can completely understand why some people don’t wish to share the birth stories of their children. It is intensely personal and intimate. But as I was deciding if I was going to share or not I remembered how grateful I was to read other people’s birth stories and how some of them ultimately helped me to get to the decision of how I wanted the birth of my baby to go.

So if my story could be of any value to someone else in deciding on a natural, non-medicated delivery I would be happy to have it out there for the world to read. I also made a pretty big deal about the hypnobirthing method and so I need to share how its practice aided me in my labor and delivery.

WARNING: I am not holding anything back. If blood, lady parts, and descriptive words (and pictures) make you squeamish don’t proceed.

Friday morning September 23rd came like every other morning. Literally every other morning, Trevor teaches seminary every other day and therefore gets up at4:30am on those days. Some days I wake up with him, some days I let him kiss me as I sleep through. This particular morning I got up feeling completely normal ready to get some loose ends tied up at work so I could have my baby sometime the next week. Exactly 10 minutes after Trevor kissed me goodbye I had my first “contraction” (I will call them “surges” from here on out.) It mostly felt like period cramps but it was different than the pre-labor and braxton hicks I had been experiencing for weeks before. I took note of the time and continued on with my morning.

Each surge was coming about 10 minutes apart with what I would describe as a mini-surge in-between each surge, just minor pressure. Because of its consistency I decided to call my mom to make sure what was happening was real labor. She confirmed that it sounded real to her and that she would be over in about an hour.

At 8:00 I decided to call Trevor to tell him I was in early labor but to not worry. (What I didn’t know is that I called him right as his second class was starting and he happened to be getting evaluated by one of the main directors. Whoops. I don’t know how well he did teaching that class… he may have been slightly distracted.)

By 9:00 I called my midwife to give her the heads up. She told me to call her again when my surges were 4 minutes apart and I couldn’t walk or talk through them. I was calling her by 10:30.

We got to the birth center at 11:30. By this point each surge was about 3 – 3.5 minutes apart lasting well over a minute each. With the hypnobirthing method, I practiced going into a deep state of relaxation. It was particularly important for me to breath slowly to make sure my uterus and the baby were getting enough oxygen through each surge. But that also aided in letting all tension out of the muscles in and around my abdomen and pelvis. As I concentrated on my relaxation I am sure I appeared asleep, or at the very least, comfortable. But being completely honest I was not comfortable. Each surge was not pleasant by any means but at the same time there was nothing horrible about them either. It felt like I had bikini bottoms on that would swiftly grip my insides with an incredible force, tighter and tighter.

After we got to the birth center my midwife, Trinette, checked to see how things were going. I had obviously been in real labor and it was becoming more intense with each surge so I wasn’t concerned about my progress.

The verdict was in:
I was 90% effaced (paper thin) and dilated to a…2.

Excuse me? A TWO?! I have been dilated to a 2 for two weeks already!

As it turns out the baby had dropped so low and so fast that my cervix was back behind her head and not lined up with the birth canal,therefore unable to dilate adequately.

Trinette suggested I get on my hands and knees during my surges to try and get the baby to slide back so my cervix could move into place, and then perhaps they would send me home to get a little further. I got on my hands and knees and knew that what was going on in my body was too powerful to send me the 30 minutes back home.
A picture of the room we were in.

After about 45 minutes on my hands and knees, my mom relieving pressure on my lower back and Trevor making it so I could be completely limp while talking me though each surge, my cervix was about three quarters to where it needed to be. Because I was on my hands and knees for a lot of it, it was hard for me to go completely limp and relax, so Trevor held my shoulders basically holding my body weight so I could relax. 

He was a gem, but unfortunately I was kind of mean while in labor. I shouldn't say mean, I just had zero patience and not one filter. Because his face was in my face and with my senses heightened I asked him several times if he could get a breath mint. When one time he responded that he had six Altoids in his mouth I responded with "Well there's gum in my purse."

At that point I decided to try laboring in the tub. It was nice; the water relieved some of the pressure. After about an hour I got back out of the tub because although I was now dilated to a 5 my cervix had slipped back a little. 

So back on my hands and knees I went.

It was around 2:00 and things started to accelerate rapidly. As soon as I got out of the tub my surges were coming about every minute and really the only way I can describe them is intense! I was very aware of my thought processes, I remember thinking “I can see why people would get epidurals.” But I never had the thought that I couldn’t do this.

When Trevor and I would practice the hypnobirthing techniques; or relaxing and visualizing the previous months before Bridget was born he would mostly do a light touch massage that, when practicing would put me so deep and so relaxed. But we also would practice him talking me though visualizations or would say positive affirmations about the birth, my body’s ability, Bridget, etc. All of that was very good to practice but I want you to know what really worked for me, plain and simple: Trevor’s voice.

Because we had practiced before, when he would talk to me through each surge I was able to focus and any pain I felt would be abated. Most of the time I had no idea what he was even saying but the sound of his voice was what I needed to ground me. Even the light touch massage wasn’t as effective because I felt like every nerve in my body was on high alert so it wasn’t as soothing. If you decide to do hypnobirthing the best advice I can give you is to practice, and make your birth companion practice with you, you will need them.

As each surge rolled through my body I felt as though it was one continual surge and at that point I became a moaner. It’s true, I moaned; loud, low, and long. It was actually a natural reaction I didn’t even realize I was doing it but it really helped me to slow down my breathing and concentrate.I also got really hot and sweaty with each surge and surprisingly I was nauseous. I never threw up but I thought I was going to the whole time.

By 3:00 I was complete and had the urge to push. That’s when my water broke. Well at least the part of the sac that was ahead of the baby’s head, Bridget’s head plugged up the rest. My legs were closed and I was lying on my side as I announced my water broke and I was ready to push. They opened my legs and the real show began.
When the baby was crowning Trinette asked if I wanted to feel the baby's head. I responded with a forceful "No!" Not because I didn't want to but I just wanted to keep going, get the baby out, then I would feel her head. But I do feel bad because after everything Trevor told me that when Trinette asked he started to move forward to feel it but as soon as I said "no" he retracted. I would have loved it if he had been able to feel her head, I just didn't want to. So I need to be sure that next time he knows he can definitely feel the babies head even if I opt not to.

Between each surge and push Trinette would check the babies heart rate because I wasn’t hooked up to any monitoring. 

After several surges the babies heart rate started to go down and Trinette announced “April we need to get your baby out right now, we are going to use gravity.” 

At this point; I do not care. Do whatever you need to get her out. They moved me to a birthing stool in the middle of surging / pushing. I declared: “It BURNS” I am pretty sure that’s when I tore, because there was fire down there, the "ring of fire" is no joke, oh baby it's real. But it was so worth it. Some breaths and a few screams later, I was holding my little girl.

But not before the rest of the amniotic fluid that Bridget’s head was plugging up came spewing out hitting people’s chests. 

I am not exaggerating; Trevor was standing behind me and got a bunch on his pants that ricocheted off my midwife. My mom found some later in her purse. 

Sorry guys.

They then moved the birthing stool, laid me right on the ground and finished everything up; as I cooed, cried, and laughed at this sweet baby in my arms that was all mine. She had just come out of me. It is the most amazing feeling in the whole world.

We then moved back up to the bed where Bridget started to nurse and we just hung out, talked, and stared at each other for a long, long time.

I was in active labor a total of 5 hours and I pushed for 12minutes.

After a few hours she was weighed and measured and everything was perfect. 

Then Bridge fell asleep and all I wanted was to get some food and sleep in my own bed. 

So that’s exactly what we did. 

We left the birth center at about 8:30 dropped by Olive Garden for some take out and headed home. 
We all slept so well. 

Saturday was perfect with just the three of us lying in bed, bonding and resting all day.

I don’t tell you this next part to toot my own horn but just to illustrate the recovery: We all went to church on Sunday. Just to Sacrament Meeting, but the fact is, I was perfectly fine and capable of going.

Now, just over a week since her birth, I can hardly recall what the surges felt like. Honestly I can hardly recall what life was like before her.

I want to thank everyone for your well wishes and support over the last week. She truly is amazing and a literal gift from God.

And because I'm sharing everything, here is a very graphic picture of Bridget's home for the last 9 months:
amniotic sac, placenta, and umbilical cord

If you are interested:

My birth center and midwife: Better Birth in Orem, UT. 
They also have locations in SLC, West Valley, & Magna
They don't take insurance but the most expensive they are in the birth center is $2600 and that includes all prenatal visits and 3 post natal visits. 
Because that was about what our insurance deductible was and I for sure wanted a natural birth we figured it was our best option.
It was way cheaper than having her in a hospital and it was a really neat experience. We have an Health Savings Account so I think we paid $40 total for Bridget out of pocket.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to help.


  1. That last picture is so gross, but CONGRATS you guys! I am so excited for you and for your little girl!

  2. It's so weird but reading that makes me so want to have another baby. Luckily I have an IUD, I don't think I'd want them 13 months apart, 18 months is hard enough!

    Great job birthing that beautiful little girl girl of yours!!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I really like reading birth stories. You gave me a lot of things to think about as well. I am so glad you and baby are doing well. Congrats!

  4. April...You Go Girl! I'm so proud of you! Having had all 5 of mine naturally and much the same way you did, leaving the hospital just a few hours later, I don't have anything to compare it with, but I do know I loved having natural births. It felt so much more personal without such a need for machinery, gear, etc. for Dr.'s. It's just so much more peaceful and calm to allow your body to take it's own pace and to allow the baby to come at his or her own pace. There is such a beauty about it and you can't miss the hand of a loving Father in the entire process. How Blessed we are. I'm so tickled about your newest blessing and thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure you will inspire many!! Hugs to all of you!!

  5. I am so proud of you for making it through with hypnobirthing. You are an inspiration. I loved reading your birth story too. Congrats on your beautiful baby girl.

  6. how exciting!! i love reading birth stories. i never saw the sac/placenta when i had D so im seriously staring at your picture in aw that your baby was just in there.. haha. Congrats again! she is gorgeous!

  7. April, I love the way you tell stories. I was hoping you would have ended it with "and then I found 5 bucks"

    I am so glad everything went so well, and you were able to have the birth experience you wanted. That is crazy you went to church! Having a baby is the best excuse not to go, haha-kidding! Bridget is so cute and I am so excited for you. Hope your recovery is going well, and enjoy all of those newborn moments. They go too fast!

  8. OK, You've almost convinced me to have this one naturally. I can't believe how fast everything went! You better zip over at the first sign of labor with your next because the first seems to always be the longest- but I'm sure you knew that.
    Congratulations!!! I am so happy for your little family. There is nothing like having that baby. Ooooh how sweet. Enjoy this first 5 weeks because it doesn't last long enough.

    I may sound dense but I knew you were having her at a birthing center but I didn't understand that meant just a regular room, just as simple as can be. That is amazing. I love the idea of Hypnobirthing. Thank you for sharing fully and completely I love the warning at the begining and the all inclusive account. I love that you stopped at Olive Garden on the way home and went straight home. You are incredible. I cannot wait to meet Miss Bridget and to hug you and Trev. You are two incredible people.

  10. Love you all so much and you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Oh my gosh, I have to ask... is that sack like thing really inside us? That is INSANE!

  12. What a FABULOUS story!! Oh, my gosh, I'm so proud of you--all three of you. Please, please allow me to put a link on the HypnoBirthing page on my blog--would you? The pictures are absolutely gorgeous too. And that placenta looks wonderful--btw. So that everyone knows--the baby is in a lovely, clean, watery environment the whole time. The blood comes from the separation of the placenta from your body--and is not what the baby is in while you are expecting. You did soooo beautifully. Thanks for being such star pupils and for taking the practicing seriously. You guys totally proved that HypnoBirthing rocks! But more importantly--so do YOU!!
    Congratulations my friends!

  13. Good going April!!! I have known a lot of people who try but aren't able to finish this way. That is so cool you did it!!! Great story!