On Patience and Letting Go

Dear London,

I have said it before and I will say it again- you are my biggest adventure. 

My biggest life lesson.

My biggest lesson on patience.

My biggest teacher on learning to let go of control.

On Monday morning we had a scheduled appointment for a non-stress test to make sure you were doing well and staying healthy at 41 weeks. They hooked me up to the monitor with one strap monitoring your heart beat and another strap to monitor me and record any contractions. They strapped me up and left me and your dad in the room for 30 minutes while we listened to your sweet little heart beat. While we were listening, I noticed that my stomach was for lack of better words, balling up and moving up high. I thought that was you trying to get away and move up from the heart monitor because you always seem to wiggle away when they listen to you. I remember exclaiming to your Dad how intense it felt and how strange it was for you to move up like that. Every time “you moved” the line on my monitor would shoot up like a mountain. When the midwife came back in, she looked at the print out of the test and said “Girl, you are contracting!”. I looked at your Dad in disbelief and laughed. I wasn’t in any pain, it was just extremely uncomfortable and weird feeling. The midwife needed to monitor us a little longer so she once again left the room. While she was gone, I begun to recognize the rhythm of the pressure waves and they seemed to be getting more and more intense. Once she came back in, she asked if I would like to be checked (for dilation) and I agreed. She declared that I was 50% effaced and 2cm dilated, almost 3. I was a little disappointed by that but glad that there was some change since the last time I was there. She asked if I wanted my membranes swept to encourage more dilation and said that since I was already contracting that this would be a good time to try to kick things into gear. I agreed once again and almost immediately regretted it. I was not expecting the extreme amount of pain that followed. I had not prepared my mind for it. I had read up on the procedure before and it was described as a gentle sweeping of the bags of water from the cervix. I thought it would feel much like a dilation check. I was very wrong. It tried breathing through it but totally forgot to turn to my hypnosis because it happened so quickly. I quickly began doubting that if getting my membranes swept was this bad that there was no way I could give birth to a big ole’ baby! Once she left the room, I crumbled into your Dad’s arms and cried. Partly, because I was in a lot of pain but mostly because I felt like I had already failed and surrendered to a medicated birth.

He reminded me that I didn’t use my hypnotherapy and that I was contracting while she was sweeping my membranes. He gave me a major pep talk and reassured me that I could still do this and be true to my birth plan and hypnobabies method. That Dad of yours, is true knight in shining armor.

By the time we got the car in the parking lot, my pressure waves were so very intense and I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive home. (Your Dad and I drove separately because he was supposed to go to work straight after.) I wasn’t even ready to be driven home; the thought of riding passenger while these pressure waves were going on was unbearable. So your Dad and I sat in the car for a good 30 minutes and waited to see what would happen. Finally, I realized we just needed to get home so that I could stretch out and get more comfortable. So off we went, and by the time I got home the pressure waves were still consistent but not as intense. I soaked in the tub for a while and listened to my hypnobabies tracks and instantly felt relaxed and calm. I really begin to enjoy the fact that I could identify when a pressure wave was starting and when it started to roll away. It gave me confidence that I could anticipate them and get into the rhythm of them. I also got excited because I really felt that you were coming soon.

This went on for hours and hours. I moved around and practiced different positions but I was surprisingly most comfortable when I was laying on my back. I felt like I could focus better and control my deep breathing better. The intensity of the pressure waves varied. There were waves of very intense, long pressure waves, sometimes coming in 2 at a time- before one would dissolve another surge would rush in. Those were especially exhausting because I didn’t get to rest in between them. Others would be weaker and not as long. Around 4:45 I noticed them coming in quicker and more intense. They were a minute or less apart and lasting about 3 minutes. That’s when I told your Dad to go ahead and pack up the remaining toiletries because I felt like the real deal was going to happen. I wanted to make sure that this was in fact the real deal so we waited a couple more hours and kept track with pressure waves. They remained the same rhythm and so we called my Mom and let her know that she probably should head our way because we were thinking about going to the hospital soon. Your Dad was great about calling the midwives and communicating what was happening. Once Mum Mum got there, my pressure waves had reached a new intensity and the pressure and sensations were no longer confined to my abdomen but ran all the way into my legs and were rolling in quicker. My Mom and Lucas knew it was time to go and without saying anything Lucas left the bedroom and called the midwives and I broke down in tears. I cried not because of the intensity I was feeling but because I allowed fear to creep in- I was nervous for what was to come and in my mind I knew it was time to go to the hospital.

The midwife told us to come on over so she could check me to see if I had dilated since that morning. So in record time, we all calmly got in the car. Your Mum-Mum sat behind me and massaged my shoulders and hummed which kept me calm and collected and I continued to listen to my Hypnobabies tracks. We checked into Triage and I was pretty disappointed in how we were handled. I was told that I was already pre registered since I was a midwife patient and that all I would have to do is let them knew who I was. That was far from the case. I barely could focus enough to fill in the form and then a gruff man that wreaked of smoke begrudgingly led me through a series of electronic forms to sign. This is not what I expected and standing through my pressure waves while trying to be conscience enough to sign my name a million times was proving to be difficult. I was then led by a nurse to my room in Triage where she asked me to put on a hospital gown. I had decided a long time ago to wear my own clothes for various reasons- self empowerment, not feeling like a sick patient, comfort and I didn’t want my ass to be hanging out when I wanted to walk the hallways. The nurse immediately was taken a back from my request (I asked if I could wear my own dress) and she told me it would be easier if I wore the gown. The usual passive Sydney would have relented and would have put on the gown to avoid conflict, but Mama Bear Sydney came out and I looked her in the eye and politely told her that I would be more comfortable wearing my own clothes. She again was taken aback by my assertiveness but didn’t challenge me about it again. I surprised myself a bit but was glad that something in me was able to communicate my needs. Mum Mum and your Dad were not happy how I was treated by the Triage staff either but all became better once the Midwife and Midwife student came in. I was totally reassured by their peacefulness, genuine concern and communication. The mood of the entire room changed and I knew I was in good hands. They monitored us both again with the non stress test and I continued to have pressure waves, though they seemed to be dwindling in intensity. The midwife checked my dilation and I was still at a 2. I knew then, that this wasn’t real labor because the 8 hours of pressure waves hadn’t caused me to dilate. They asked me to walk the hallways for a hour and come back to be checked again to see if there was any change. I accepted then and there that I would be sent home and didn’t think walking the hallways was necessary but I followed their advice for good measure. Once the nurse and midwives left the room, my Mom commented on how different the attitudes of the triage staff were compared to my midwives- she said she could tell the midwives genuinely loved what they did and were passionate about it whereas my nurse seemed to be just counting down the hours to her paycheck. It definitely was a night and day difference and who knows, maybe I came in at the end of a shift change and she had had a long day but nonetheless, I was thankful and reassured by my decision to be cared for by the midwives.

Your Dad and Mum Mum walked around the hallways for a hour with me while I stopped and breathed through pressure waves. I could feel them lighten and roll in further a part. We got a good idea of the layout of the 4th floor though and peeked in a few of the postpartum rooms. When the hour was up we went back and I was checked again and just as I had expected, there was no change but she did say that your head had come down further. She said that she recommended a sleeping pill so that I could get some rest and sleep through the pressure waves so that if real labor was to start, I would be well rested. She also ordered me to eat a meal since I had only snacked on little things all day. So, I agreed to the sleeping pill and we stopped and ate before we headed home. Once my head hit the pillow, I was out and only got up a couple of times (compared to the 5 or 6 times I usually have to go) to use the restroom. When I woke that morning, the pressure waves had gone and I knew I had officially been faked out. Mum Mum had stayed the night in case labor was pending so she decided to stay with me the entire day and go walking with me to try to jump start things again.

So off to the Franklin Square we went and we walked and walked and walked. It was unbearably hot so once we walked the entire down town of Franklin, we decided to walk in the cool air of the Cool Springs Mall. Again, we walked and walked and walked until I could walk no more. We headed home where we both crashed and took a nap. Your Dad took the day to spend with Gramps (his Dad) and his cousin. I was glad he was able to have some guy time after being so involved and hard working the day before. Once he came home Mum Mum decided it was time for her to head back home and told us to call her if she needed to turn around. I knew you wouldn’t come last night.

As we laid down to go to sleep last night, you became more active than I have ever felt you before. Your movement as of late has slowed down and changed because the lack of room but last night I suppose you decided to test your confines. You kicked me hard and dug into my ribs and pelvis and it felt as if you were beating me up from the insides. At times, I yelped out loud because of your aggressiveness. Your Dad couldn’t believe how wildly you were moving and how you made my stomach contort every which way. This continued for quite some time and there was no way you were going to let me sleep. Thankfully, you settled down and I must have crashed. I woke up this morning feeling defeated and feeling the time constraint of your impending medical induction.

2 more days. 

I never ask for prayer but last night as your were practicing kick boxing, I called out in a lonely Facebook status for prayer that you would come on your own.

strongly want nothing to do with a scheduled induction for so many reasons. I really don’t want to start medical induction that could very well lead to the downward hill of many interventions. More than anything, I do not want Pitocin because of it’s many horrible side effects to baby and Mom. And with Pitocin, natural pain free labor is nearly impossible and I have prepared and prepared to have you naturally because I really believe it is what is best for us. I do not judge anyone who has gone the medicated route one bit. For some, it is the best way to go for their situation. I do not want others to think that I think I’m some how above medical intervention because if it comes to it then I will have to submit and let go. It won’t be easy for me, especially since I feel so passionate about letting nature take its course but I will trust my guidance from the midwives and our carers. I just want to give you the best possible start to life- I realize how important that is. I also realize that there are completely wonderful and healthy moms and babies born every day that under go medical intervention. In fact, the majority of American moms and babies do.

Letting go of the control is just a very difficult lesson for me to go through. If your anything like me, you will come to these mountains and have to face them too. Right now, it’s hard for me to see the peak but I’m trying to let go and trust. For someone who doesn’t believe that “everything happens for a reason” it’s hard to hear the comments that this is all God’s plan. I don’t sign up to the theology that everything is predetermined and we are just puppets on a string being played out by some god. I believe God exists and lives within each of us and when we recognize this we become active participants of bringing forth the Kingdom of God on Earth. Ultimately, it is our decisions and the way we live our lives that cultivates the love of God in our communities and homes and makes God alive and real. So, at times, it’s very hard for me to just be side lined and say God’s plan will prevail. I do understand though, that there is a balance to be found. That although it is I who can directly accept the God in me to live through my life and callings, that I also must submit to the Spirit’s whisper, quietness and calm. Because I am a go-getter and I push to make things happen, I have to be so intentional about allowing God to move within me rather than trying to make God move. It’s my stubborn nature that gets in the way of being patient and letting myself go to God’s spirit and I already see my stubbornness in you. Your poor Dad has no chance!

So as I’m learning one of the hardest life lessons, I see and feel the God in me more than ever. I recognize the phrase “Namaste” which means the God in me sees the God in you in a completely new and deeper way. I understand better that the God in you is already cultivating a deeper relationship to the God that lives in me and is challenging me to be more receptive of the God spark that resides in each of us.

My dear little one (although the midwife estimates that you will be at least 9 pounds of wonderfulness!), I hope your Dad and I and our community as a whole allows you to cultivate the God spark within you in the way that you can relate to and understand. I hope we can find the balance of not forcing our views and beliefs on you but give you the tools, confidence and curiosity to pursue your own truth.  I hope you don’t allow your stubbornness hinder your opportunities to love deeper, understand better and trust within. But if you do, I hope that when the real hard life lessons present themselves, you choose to let go and be patient with yourself and others and allow yourself to learn.

Whether you come on your own, or medical induction becomes necessary, I know that I will have my sweet London June in my arms by this weekend and that gives me great joy and victory.

I thank God that you are my greatest adventure, my biggest joy and my best teacher. 

See you soon little one,

Mom xo

Fashionably Late: On Community & 40 Weeks Update

…just like your Mama.

Girl, we can never be on time and it drives your Dad nuts. I have a feeling you will be following my free spirited philosophy about being prompt and on schedule. My due date has come and gone and I am now 40 weeks + 4 days.

This is what I know:

Babies very rarely come on their due date.

The average 1st time mom has her baby 40 weeks + 5 days.

You are safe and healthy.

I am safe and healthy.

You will come when you are ready.

Knowing all of this, I still found myself curled up in a ball crying because you didn’t come on a specific, estimated date. I know it is silly, and as I was crying I knew it then too but I still could not control the tears. Since then, I’ve shed tears more times than I would like to admit. The reason for my tears is a mixed bag. Sometimes, I’m not really even sure why I am crying. I think a good deal of them is because:

+ I’m a little scared. Scared of the huge change that will occur once your here. I’m nervous about how the dynamic of your Dad and I’s relationship will change. Again, I know it will be  beyond words wonderful once you’re here but the unknown is still nerve wrecking.

+ I definitely feel the pressure from loved ones that are sooo excited about you. One day in particular I had a ton of people check in on me and wanted to know when you would be here. I feel so appreciative that I have such an awesome support system and a community who reaches out to us. However that day, I felt the weight of anticipation of everyone else and combined with my already out of control anxiety of not knowing when you would come, I crumbled. I turned off my phone and cried. I just couldn’t face another question or labor inducing suggestion. I already feel on edge not knowing the minute you will decide to join us and some days the introvert in me does not know how to handle community. So I always default to withdrawing. Sometimes, I just need to shut down in order to remain sane. Thankfully, this just lasted a day and I was able to bounce back the next morning and welcome my community back into my life. Little London, always welcome community. However, if it all seems too much sometimes, just like Jesus, we all need to retreat for some quiet to regain our composure so that we can go back nourished in Spirit, ready to dance with our community again.

Here are the two biggest emotions I have been dealing with:

+ I am sad to let you go. This sounds funny, I know. I was reading about how sometimes mental walls can delay labor. Our own sub conscience fears can actually send signals to our body telling us that we aren’t ready to give birth. At first, I scoffed at the idea and thought that there was nothing standing in the way of me wanting you here. But a few days passed and I found myself in deep reflection and quiet and I quickly realized that I indeed had some mental blocks and fears. I realized that I am nervous to let you go from the home you’ve built inside my womb. I have really come (and in the beginning, I never thought I would come to this place) to love being pregnant and having you inside my tummy. I have loved feeling you grow and change. I have loved being able to feel you wrestle, twist and turn. I have loved being able to know how you are positioned and always feeling you stick out that little booty of yours every day. I have loved feeling you hiccup and kick Daddy in the ear anytime he lays his head on my tummy. I have loved feeling you dance anytime I play music. I have loved that you are with me no matter where I go. I have loved seeing a little bit more of God within me. And of course I realize the better part of the deal is about to reveal itself, but I will miss this type of relationship with you. It’s so very fleeting in comparison to the time I will have with you on this side of the world. As this time slips away, I am faced with both sadness and anticipation. I have been praying a prayer of release- asking God to give me the courage and wisdom to gracefully accept the change that will inevitably happen.

+ I am so ready to hear you take your first breath. While I am sad to let you go from my womb, I am so ready to hold you and be done with the waiting game and constant anticipation and the anxiety that accompanies it. I want to feel you in my arms and see your Daddy get his turn of holding you after all this time. I want to kiss you and count your rolls and smell the top of your head. I can’t wait to breastfeed and give you the nourishment you need. I can’t wait for your family to meet you and fall in love with you. The past few days I have really come to terms with the next step of meeting you and releasing you from me. I have prayed for release a thousand times and I am so ready for you now.

No pregnancy book or experienced mom can prepare you for these feelings because no one pregnancy is the same. Sure, you hear stories but creating your own that directly affects your dynamics of life can not be taught. Others stories can be helpful and sometimes even hurtful to your own depending how you decide to hear hear it. Living in community can be difficult and it’s the farthest thing from perfect but it can be wildly beautiful too. Being pregnant pushes introverts like myself in direct contact with community whether you pursue it or not. It forces you to vulnerable with people you never intended to share some of the most vulnerable parts of your story with. For me, I definitely struggle with my new relationship to my community- it has come and continues to come with a lot of growing pains. When I want to slam the door to relationship, I find people knocking that door down and I am humbled. Sometimes, I think I could do this on my own and that it would be easier and more efficient if I just locked myself from community. I realize now though, that not only do I need community, I want it. I have come to even love it. Sure, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes but that’s just part of its wild and beautiful nature. So, my little London, you have introduced and helped me find my place in community. You have given me the courage to open the door and say “yes” instead of slamming it shut and saying “no”. I’m glad to welcome you to the community I have struggled to be vulnerable with. I am glad you are a part of my community.

So along with all these feelings, emotions and reflections I thought I would share a 40 week update:

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At 40 weeks I am:

+craving cold cubes of watermelon. I can not get enough of it.

+having severe sciatic back pain whenever I put weight on my left leg.

+walking a lot which funny enough seems to help with the sciatic pain.

+1 cm dilated which I was happy to hear since the past two times I wasn’t dilated at all!

+scheduled to be induced  the night of June 28th (right at 42 weeks). This is absolute latest they will allow me to be pregnant

+praying that I won’t have to make that appointment and that you come on your own.

+trying every possible natural induction technique there is- walking, spicy food, sex, acupuncture and even doing handstands in the pool! Image

+your daddy and I had a “vacation” day yesterday- he could see that I was slipping back into a funk so we went to our midwife appointment,

ate at our favorite coffee shop FidoImage

actually convinced your Daddy to get a pedicure with me (!!!!)

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had lunch with my family,

read at Barnes and NobleImage

and then ended by going to Aunt KK’s and cousins’ house to celebrate your Gramp’s father day with yummy dinner

A funny, short video clip of your cousins!

So my sweet baby, until you arrive I will try to remain in vulnerability with my wonderful community, continue to pray for release and rest in the love of our maker. I love you. Always. Forever.

Love,

Mom xo

Acupuncture

Dear London June, 

Today, I went in for my second acupuncture appointment to hopefully induce labor! Again, I had a great experience. Since leaving, my lower abdomen has felt quite crampy and you seem to be a little lower again. This time, I brought my headphones so I could use my Hypnobirthing tracks and this made my experience even better! I have an appointment tomorrow but we shall see if I will make it- perhaps you will decide to arrive on your due date!

So, what is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest ways of healing and originates from China, where it remains common practice. Acupuncture is used to heal an array of medical issues ranging from migraines to treating infertility by inserting very thin steel needles to certain points on the patient’s body. This is believed to help realign the body by stimulating nerves, muscles and connective tissues. So depending on what your are being treated for, the acupuncturist will place the needles in the places you specifically need them for healing. For us Westerners, it all sounds a bit hokey pokey but it is proving to be a more common practice because so many are experiencing spectacular benefits.   

So, why did I choose Acupuncture? 

After reading a post from a lady who was 41+ weeks and seeking suggestions for natural inducing techniques on the Vanderbilt Midwives Facebook page several mamas suggested acupuncture. I was surprised how many people suggested it so I decided to be nosy and investigate. A lot of these moms testified that they went into labor 24-48 hours after their last treatment. I was intrigued and read up about it and made sure it was 100% safe. I started looking online for clinics and found that it was quite pricey for just one visit, let alone a series of visits. Thankfully, a mom on the page suggested East Nashville Community Acupuncture. This clinic treats in a “group setting” instead of private rooms. At first, I was a bit skeptical by this but kept reading and found that this is how most acupuncture is done in China- it is more of a community healing process. I’m sure this is how they can treat far more people and keep their costs and prices so affordable. They use a sliding pay scale so the customer pays what they can afford. You choose whether you want to pay $15- $35 for each treatment. Because acupuncture is most effective if practiced regularly the average person simply could not afford a $65 private session on a regular basis. Their mission is to provide this healing service to as many as possible and I think it is pretty amazing that a local business is offering such a wonderful gift to their community. The other amazing benefit of going to their practice is that you get to stay as long as you like. Your session is not timed but if you need to be somewhere you can simply tell them to let you know when you would like to be reminded to head out. I love that they allow you to rest and soak up the treatment as long as you need to. I ended up taking a 2 hour nap my first visit and a hour nap my second!  It’s the best rest I have ever had too. 

So, what was my experience like? 

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(Yes, that’s me! I snapped a picture quickly and I promise it didn’t hurt at all- if you look the actual needle is much thinner than the top part of the needle- they are flexible and sorta springy if you accidentally brush them) 

Heavenly. By the moment I walked in the door, I was greeted with sincere kindness. On my first appointment, I was asked to arrive 10 minutes early so that I could fill in the paperwork. It was much like the paperwork you would fill out at a doctor’s visit. They wanted to know all about my existing conditions and medical history which made me feel good that they were being thorough. I listed what I wanted to be treated for (Inducement of Labor and Sciatic Nerve Pain) and then met with the acupuncturist. He went through my history and talked with me about how the treatment would go. He was very friendly and answered all my questions and made sure I was comfortable. I was never blind sided or nervous about anything. I walked into the room and it was dreamy. It was cool, dim with relaxing lighting and soft music. You choose your recliner which has a fresh blanket and rice bean bag on the seat. You then remove your shoes and place them along with your belongings in a basket provided next to your seat. The acupuncturist comes over almost immediately and talks to you for a bit, helps you recline and makes you comfortable. He or she asks if you are ready and then they start placing the needles. I was surprised that I didn’t feel them go in at all; only in two places did it slightly pinch for just a second. The placing of the needles only takes less than a minute and then they leave you and you will indeed fall asleep. I caught myself snoring a few times and was a bit embarrassed but no one seemed to notice. When you are ready to leave you let your chair sit upright and the acupuncturist comes back to dispose your needles. (They are disposable and never used again.) You gather your things and leave feeling like a new person! 

If the acupuncture doesn’t induce my labor I feel satisfied with just being able to escape and relax for a hour or 2 each day and getting the best rest I have gotten in a very long time. It is also said that those who practice acupuncture during pregnancy have a very reduced chance of having a c-serean. If anything, it has helped my mind relax and given me the rest and energy I need in my 40th week of pregnancy! 

So, I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone especially my local friends and loved ones that are struggling with medical issues but want an affordable option. For $15 bucks it  is totally worth it! 

 

 

HypnoBirthing & My Birth Plan

Dear London,

You are still comfortable in my tummy and I am happy to make you feel at home there for long as you need. Of course, I am ready to count your leg rolls and kiss your cheeks too. Whenever your ready sweet love…you are the best teacher of patience I have ever had. 

I wanted to share today about my “planned” method of birthing you. After watching “The Business of Being Born” I started to completely re-evaluate my preconceived knowledge, ideas and perception of how I pictured my pregnancy, labor and delivery experience. I used to just instantly assume I would want an epidural and that was pretty much the extent of my plan of birth. I just assumed I would arrive at the hospital, ask them to hook me up to the good stuff and let the doctors take it from there. Since then, I have consumed myself in research, reading and asking a lot of moms who all had very different births a lot of questions. From there, I started researching what type of birth would be best for me and my nature. I no longer wanted to just blindly trust the doctors and hospital with this because A. they don’t know me B. I don’t know them C. I feel like I should be highly involved in the planning of my birth.

I’m pretty sure I have planned this more than I did my wedding. And girl, did I plan my wedding.

My first best move was to pair with the Vanderbilt Midwives for my prenatal care. When I first became pregnant we decided not to share our news with anyone until I was 12 weeks. So, finding prenatal care was a little lonely and difficult since I couldn’t ask around without giving away that I was pregnant. So off to the internet web search I went. I searched high and low of  reviews of countless OBs and it just didn’t feel right. And then I stumbled upon a glowing review…several reviews about how wonderful and unique the Vandy Midwives were. At first, I wasn’t really sure what a midwife was or if it would be the right fit. After visiting their website and reading tens of birth stories and their philosophy, I knew I wanted to meet with them. I was blown away by the amount of care and concern they had for me and baby Blueberry and I loved that I could talk to them woman to woman instead of doctor to patient. I continue to be amazed by the calming spirit they provide and the reassurance they give to me that my body was made to birth and that labor doesn’t have to be a scary medical emergency.

I would say half my pregnancy (until about week 20) I was still all go for an epidural as my birth plan. Honestly, I was so focused of growing you that I intentionally blocked out delivery because it scared the life out of me. But the more I read and researched and heard story after story of women birthing healthily, the more confident and curious I became about my own delivery. Also, I realized that I would have to face it eventually, so I better go ahead and plan it-this isn’t something you procrastinate on. I started researching different pain management options and labor techniques and it was a bit overwhelming because there are SO many options today. Bradley Method, Water Birth, Alpha Childbirth, Lamaze and Hypnobirthing to name just a few.

Hypnobirthing kept drawing my curiosity in and I was really compelled by other couples’ testimonies and birth stories. I was highly skeptical also. So I bought a book about it and began reading (HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan) and by the second chapter I knew this was the right method for Lucas and I. It just made sense to me. As someone with knowingly very low pain tolerance, I surprised myself (and continue to do so) that I even considered a natural method of pain management, especially something like self-hypnosis and deep relaxation techniques.

So what is Hypnobirthing?

Basically, it is a really fresh but natural way to view pregnancy, birth and delivery. The first thing about the philosophy of Hypnobirthing that caught my attention was this idea: When there is fear, there is pain. When there is no fear, there is no pain. The author went onto to explain the physical aspect of this theory- when we are scared what do we do? We tense our muscles which can lead to unnecessary pain. Such a simple but revolutionary idea. As a society that views labor has a scary medical procedure via T.V. shows, youtube clips and exaggerated scenes on comedies we subconsciously internalize the fear and pain that is played out and we believe it. So when we birth, we go into it fearing the very worse. And when we fear….we tense up…and when we tense up we end up laboring far more painfully than need be. So hypnobirthing is less about techniques (although it does provide some wonderful mediation, relaxation and positions) and more about a complete revival of our view of birth. Hypnobirthing advocates that birth can be a life altering, beautiful, healing and even comfortable experience. They advocate that with enough positive mindset women can achieve birth with OUT pain. Yes, you read right. And although, I sometimes have my doubts because the way I have been conditioned to view labor negatively and the horror stories I have heard have affected me, I have also heard countless accounts about how amazing this method truly works for millions of couples.

Just a few weeks ago, I was reading the book while waiting to be seen my the midwives when a husband of one of the women also waiting shared how it truly works and how he or the hospital staff could not tell she was having contractions by her state but only by the machine that monitors them. He went on to gush about how wonderful and calming it was for both of them and their baby. After talking with them, I just became more confident that I could do this! Little ole me that tears up when she gets her eyebrows waxed might just have the chance to birth naturally.

Am I above an epidural? Absolutely not. But do I want to try to birth without any medication? Absolutely. If anything, I just want to give it my very best shot and surprise myself. There are many obvious health benefits of not using interventions too that I am too intimidated to go into in fear that this post will end up being 20 pages long. And if I end up asking for an epidural, then Hypnobirthing has been totally worth it just for my pregnancy. As a very anxious person, I have surprisingly been very calm throughout my pregnancy. I have actually enjoyed and embraced it. I listen to my self-hypnosis (and at first, I was totally turned off by them because it sounded SO cheesy but I let go and allowed myself to listen past that) almost daily and nearly every time I fall asleep because it relaxes me so much. I always wake up after feeling refreshed with energy and I have a more positive outlook on the rest of the day/evening. Because of the hypnosis tapes and book, I have gone from having zero confidence that natural birth was a possibility for me to believing that I absolutely can with the help of Lucas and regular practice of self-hypnosis and deep relaxation.

And although I can’t share the outcome of my birthing experience yet, I already highly recommend it to pregnant couples just to feel empowered and relaxed through out your pregnancy. Never, and I mean never did I think I would even investigate natural birth plans, let alone pursue this path but Hypnobirthing has completely won me over and I am really looking forward to my birthing time. I am not scared or nervous about it at all and that is enough for me to click my heels and exclaim about it. That is a huge accomplishment for me. I think if I hadn’t pursued this path, I would be suffering some major anxiety/panic attacks.

If you are curious about this method, I highly recommend watching this video of an actual hypnobirthing. You will hear them refer to “Pressure Waves” and that is just a Hypnobirth term for “Contractions”. Another way to change your mindset of birth is to change the language associated with general births which can have deeply negative connotations.

So now that you know a little bit of Hypnobirthing, (I feel like I gave a very inadequate summary of it so I challenge you to research it yourself) I wanted to also include a copy of our birth plan. We have already gone over it with one of midwives and she really liked it and scanned it so that it will already be on file when we arrive at the hospital. A birth plan is just that: a plan. It exists so that all the nurses, midwives and staff can be on the same page of how they couple wishes their birth to be like.

Sydney’s Birth Plan

 The people who will be present during labor and delivery are Lucas Hutson (Husband) and Heather Dawbarn (Mother).

 

Hypnobirthing

We have chosen Hypnobirthing as our method of birthing. Because we have chosen this method we ask that there be as few people in the room as possible in order to maintain calm and deep relaxation (No students please). We also ask that when communicating important matters you speak with Lucas first and he will communicate to Sydney. 

 

Environment

 

  • Dim Lighting
  • Soft Voices
  • Music
  • No Speaking During Actual Delivery. (Unless Necessary)

 

Induction

If induction becomes necessary I would like to try natural induction techniques first.

 

  • Walking
  • Breast Stimulation
  • Enema
  • Castor Oil

 If medical induction becomes necessary we would like to avoid using pitocin and only use it as absolute last resort. 

 

Pain Relief

 Please do not offer pain medication options unless I request them. I am attempting to manage pain using natural methods. If I choose to use pain relief I would like to use nitrous gas. An epidural would be a last resort effort.

 

Second Stage Labor

 As long as the baby and I are healthy I prefer to have no time limits on pushing. Please no staff lead coaching or cheering while delivering. When cervical checks are performed please relay information to Lucas and not Sydney. 

To help prevent tearing please apply hot compresses and perform perineal massages.

 

Delivery

 

  • I would like the room to be silent as our baby is born.
  • We would like our voices to be the first ones our baby hears.
  • I would like to touch my baby’s head as it crowns.
  • I would like to push instinctively and would not like to be prompted to push.
  • My husband will be catching our baby and cutting the cord after it is allowed to pulse.

 

Newborn Procedures

 Golden Hour

 We want to bond with our baby by using the Golden Hour.

 Administration of eye drops

Please do not administer eye drops to my baby. I am willing to sign a waiver form if need be.

 Vitamin K

Please do not administer Vitamin K to my baby. I am willing to sign a waiver form if need be.

 Immunizations

 I prefer all immunizations be postponed to a later time.

 Bathing Baby

 We would like to give our baby her first bath using our own baby products.

 

Thank you for respecting our birth plan. We appreciate all that you do.

You might have noticed that we are denying the Vitamin K shot, eye drops and postponing the Hep B vaccine. If you have any questions, please ask but please do not attack our decisions. We decided upon these huge decisions after a TON of research, consultation with our midwives and deep personal conviction. I would love to share why we decided the way we did if you are curious! We really feel like we are making the best decisions for our family which may look different than yours and we think thats perfectly okay. 🙂

Your Name

Dear London June,

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant with you and never have I been more excited and less patient. Every jab of pain, discomfort or Braxton Hicks contraction makes me wonder if the onset of labor is here. Even though, I am very uncomfortable these days, I am still not at the point that I have heard other mothers recall where all they want to do is “get it out!!!”. Maybe that phase is on the horizon but more than anything I am just so anxious and curious about when you will come and how. Your arrival could begin before I start typing the next paragraph or it could be next week. Your Daddy is so ready- he is willing you into existence every day. Last night he suggested we do the typical suggested natural induction techniques (spicy food, walking etc.) but I told him to just be patient. He is just so excited to meet you and he still reads to you nearly every night. So very sweet.

photo-106

Well I’ve moved onto the next paragraph and you still haven’t started labor which is good because I would like to get in a couple more blog posts before you arrive. Today, I wanted to take time to explain why we chose your name.

London June.

I have loved the name London far longer than you were thought of. I love it because it connects you to my heritage. My grandparents and Mom’s side of the family are from England. I lived there for 3 years and feel deeply connected to that culture. My Mom (your Mum Mum) is both an American and British citizen. I can’t wait for you to meet my Grandparents- they are some of the most interesting people I know and you will surely be intrigued by their accents that now have a bit of Tennessean peppering some of their words. I also liked the name because it links you to a place just like my name links me to a place. I was named after my Great Grandfather (my Mom’s Grandfather) who lived in England until he moved over to the states- he was named Sydney because his brother moved to Sydney, Australia.

When we tell people your middle name they instantly assume we chose “June” because that’s the month you are due. However, we chose this name a very long time ago, again before you were thought of. It’s just a beautiful coincidence and stroke of grace that you will also be born in June. Your middle name is honoring Lucas’ Grandmother, Verla June and I think she is quite smitten about it. She has been busy the past month or so creating you a beautiful quilt, just as she did for our wedding. It will be something you will treasure and cherish forever.

I can’t wait to hold you, London June and see all the little ways that make you who you are and who you will be. I can’t wait to see my biggest dream brought to flesh.

I have a feeling you will be arriving sooner than later and I don’t think that’s my wishful thinking talking. My body is definitely trying to tell me that you will be here soon and preparing for labor. My spirit has followed suit and I find myself nesting like crazy and trying to prepare for you in every way.

In the mean time, I have been listening and practicing my Hypnobirthing techniques and deep relaxation methods. Your Dad has learned how to help prompt and guide me through it and is so good at motivating me to practice. We have a full moon coming up and it is said that lots of women go into labor on a full moon. June 8th (next Saturday) the moon will be in full swing and who knows you might be too which I would love because 8 has always been my favorite number, silly I know.

I hope to do my next post about Hypnobirthing and perhaps you will wait until I can do that. But, if not, I guess I will have to post about my biggest adventure and proudest joy. I think I might just be able to manage that 😉

Love you so,

Mom xo

 EDIT: I went to the midwife today and she checked me…not dilated at all! She said she would be surprised if you came next week. So, it looks like I have a week or two to enjoy you in my tummy- just the two of us. Soon, I will have to share you with the rest of the world and although that excites me, I will miss feeling you move inside me and having you with me wherever I go. 

Shining Light on Honesty & Doubt

Dear baby,
Today I come with honesty and struggle. I woke up at 4am with a stunning migraine and didn’t go back to sleep until 8 and then slept for another hour. The migraine persisted through out the day so I laid in the bedroom, curtains drawn, covered in blankets. I thought about crying but knew that would aggravate my head even more. So, I laid there for hours alone with nothing but my migraine, my thoughts and you.

Fear crept in.

For the first time in my pregnancy I had a moment of thinking “What am I doing, what have I gotten myself into, am I really ready for this, for you?” Even though I’ve yearned for you for some time, I never expected to get pregnant so soon. After we told everyone, a common response was “You’ve only been married a year?! Wow!” I have suppressed that sting of judgement but it all surfaced today when I rested in silence. The reason that response stings is because it lifts the veil and shine lights on my own self doubt.

Is this too soon? Are we ready? Have we had enough time as a married couple before we bring you into our lives?

I can try to justify and defend myself when people respond with that scary reminder that your dad and I have built a very strong relationship for six years in the making. But the fact of the matter is that there will always be someone judging someone for whatever reason. What I have to focus on is not the responses and judgment of others but of my own self judgment and self worth. I need to remind myself that God is in the midst of my fear and struggle- both physically and mentally and that this is now a part of my story. Struggles, fear and the joy of it all. The Glory.

I could write letters to you that only shared the positive and exciting things but I would be robbing you from the fact that life needs suffering and joy. Labor will truly be an example- my suffering will bring joy (you) into the world. When Jesus gave his entire life and ministry to the ones suffering around him, he labored tirelessly. In doing so, he brought life and joy into the world. People ridiculed judged and eventually murdered him. It was there on the cross, that he faced doubt- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was there on the cross, where he gave us permission to question and hold our suffering and doubt to the light. No longer, do we have to pretend that everything is okay and going well. We had been freed to be honest with our hearts.

My dear baby, I hope you learn this sooner than I did. I hope you know it is okay to question your faith and your thoughts. I hope you know that I will love you no matter what you believe or how you believe it.

I hope you truly know and feel loved. Always. I pray your Dad and I do a good job making sure you do.

So, even in my struggle and doubt please know that I want and love you through it all. I have days where I feel so prepared to be your Mom and then I have days like today where I swim in doubt. And yet, you are a part of me now and a part of our story.

Love you always,
Mom