Sunday, December 9, 2012

Atley's Hypnobabies Birth Story (Jami's Perspective)

Atley: 9lbs.3oz. and 20in. long - Our beautiful chubby baby girl!

Reader's Digest Version:
  • 7:00pm on Friday night - strong crampy pressure waves begin.
  • ~9:35pm - Arrive at birth center, and settle in. Dilated to 4 1/2 centimeters.
  • ~10:45pm - Got in birth tub.
  • ~11:20pm - Dilated to 8 centimeters.
  • After 10 minutes of pushing, Atley was born on December 7th at 11:59pm and 50 seconds. Officially a Pearl Harbor baby and 10 seconds shy of her "due" date.
  • Atley's water birth was pressure-filled but pain-free (minus only the burn during pushing - which was still very manageable.) Hypnobabies is incredible! Baby Girl's birth was the birth of dreams for me. Still feeling giddy about it.

I set myself up for a difficult end of pregnancy by expecting her to be born early, just like her brother. Yes, I know no two pregnancies or births are alike. But, it's hard not to compare them to each other - especially when so many things are similar. She was measuring 2-3 weeks ahead, just like Lincoln did. He came a week early - so she would too, I had confidently thought. I was predicting all along that she would be born 5 days early on December 3rd - her Grandpa Hepworth's birthday. Though with all the false starts I'd had, I started to get excited that she might come even sooner. But December 3rd came and went. On December 4th, I had an appointment with the midwife, Fran. I told her it was nice to see her and all, but that I was disappointed our visit hadn't been cancelled due to me already having had the baby. She laughed and was pleasant even in the face of my obvious impatience. She gave me a paper with suggested natural induction techniques which I half-heartedly looked through, fully aware of all the standard suggestions on that list, and fully aware of the fact that I really just needed to be more patient for my baby girl to come. She would come eventually . . . right? 

My mom had arrived on Sunday evening, and we’d been keeping busy with Christmas shopping and other baby preparations each day leading up to Atley’s birth. Every day, we cooked, cleaned, decorated, organized and of course - waited. On Thursday, I stopped in at Michael’s to snag a few more Ashland Christmas stems at 50% off so I could finish the wreath I’d started for our front door. At the checkout the cashier, Monique, talked with me in her faint German accent about when I was due. She guessed correctly that I was going to have a girl by the way I carried. “Oh, I carried that exact zame wey,” she informed me. I told her briefly about my dismay that my baby had not yet come. She left me with these parting words, “Well. I predict that your baby will come tomorrow! Bring her in and we will give you a special prise!” I didn’t know if she was talking about free crafting products or extra discount coupons, but I hoped either way the prophetic declaration from the German cashier at Michael’s would be fulfilled. If there is anything I learned from my study abroad in Austria, it’s that those native German speakers - they say what they mean and mean what they say!

Later that night, I crafted and laughed while my mom chanted a pretty catchy made-up tribal birth song. I actually felt strong pressure waves begin pushing baby girl down into position. I started to get excited – “Maybe tonight is the night!” I thought aloud. Instead, I told myself and my mom, “Who am I kidding? This baby is never coming!”

Birth Story:

Friday was a beautifully lazy day. I’d needed it with the lack of sleep I’d been getting the past few nights. I finished up the Christmas wreath, hung it on my front door, and later managed to get in a 3 hour nap during Lincoln’s blessedly unusually long nap time. I’d mostly come to terms with the fact that my baby was never going to be born – or at least not any time that I wanted her to come and I felt ok with that. There were still projects mom and I could work on. . .

My finished Christmas wreath.
When the pressure waves began around 7:00pm Friday night, I felt them and knew - this really was it. As long as they continued to come, tonight really was going to be the night. Squire and I went on a quick errand to drop some things off at a friends’ house together while my mom watched Lincoln and did some last minute cleaning and straightening of the house. When we got home from our errand, Squire started to pack the last minute items into the Birth Center bag, and I hopped into the shower. My self-hypnosis techniques worked wonderfully on my pressure waves (contractions) and I was able to walk around in happy excitement, call my wonderful friend Amanda to pick up Lincoln, and to help Squire pack a few items in the bag as well. I had my mom snap a couple pictures of my belly before we left. 

Belly shot: 39 weeks, 6 days :)
As we drove to the birth center, I listened to my “Birthing Day Affirmations” while intermittently chatting happily with Squire and my mom. I was so happy and excited to being so close to meeting my baby girl. 
We walked into the birth center. I looked in the two available rooms quickly to refresh my memory about which one I liked best and to see if that still held. I picked the room with the calm blue walls and sage and tan d├ęcor, and we all walked in and got settled. Squire put away snacks and food in the fridge while mom and I got comfortable in the room. Misty, a student midwife, and Fran – the midwife who I’d seen earlier that week - were there to assist me for the night. Misty took all my vitals and checked me. I was dilated to a 4 ½. “Perfect!” I thought. One of my worries was that I would arrive at the Birth center ready to push, as I done with Lincoln, and that I would have a hectic end of birth experience.

I got into a gown and had Squire put in my Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” track. I listened to it while I rested and rocked on a birth ball. 

Relaxed and comfortable on the birth ball.
In between pressure waves I talked with Misty about my previous birth experience, and a little about Hypnobabies and how I was going to go to a conference to become an instructor in May. She watched attentively and was careful and sensitive to my needs to keep things calm, quiet, and relaxed in the room. Squire spent about a half hour scratching my back while I focused on my CD. Fran talked with me about how I should be careful to wait a while before I got into the tub if I felt I could, as the water could sometimes stall things a bit. “But, do whatever you feel you need to do,” she reassured me. I followed her advice and waited about an hour when my pressure waves started to become noticeably stronger before I climbed into the warm full tub.

Relaxing in the tub, talking with Misty and Fran
The water was incredibly comfortable. Being in it helped me to relax even more and to go deeper into hypnosis. I rested and floated in the water and listened to the “Easy First Stage and Easy Pushing” tracks. My water had still not broken at the point I was in the tub. I noticed that the pressure was becoming more intense. While Misty checked the baby in the water with the doppler, I told her I would also like to be checked again just to see where I was at. She checked me and found I was dilated to 8 centimeters. I saw my mom’s eyebrows go up in surprise from across the room and heard her say, “Oh! She’s in transition!” It seemed Squire was also surprised. Everything was so calm and relaxed in the room that I really hadn’t needed much from anyone up to that point. Squire had played basketball very early that morning so he’d been able to rest a bit on the bed while I’d been progressing through my birthing time, and my mom had been patiently rocking in the rocking chair on the side of the room – watching me, texting my family with updates, and making light jokes here and there. The announcement of my progression seemed to get everyone stirring around a bit.

I had forgotten to put Squire's swim trunks on the birth center packing list, so Fran gave Squire a pair of scrubs to put on so he could be ready help catch the baby. After he had his scrubs on, Fran gave him some instructions. Shortly thereafter I saw him sitting on a chair, munching on a blueberry muffin. I told him from the tub, “Hey – I am having a baby right now. You should come over here and rub my shoulders or something! Do some of the peace and relax cues we practiced.” And so he did. 

Soon I was having incredible pressure with each pressure wave. My water had not yet broken but I was starting to wish it would. Misty was starting to take my vitals again. She had a thermometer under my tongue when I started to push as a very pressure-filled wave came over me. When everyone realized what was going on, she put the thermometer away and Squire hopped into the tub with me. And after another pressure wave or two, she nipped my bag of waters. The rush, and release of pressure felt wonderful to me. I heard her faintly mention to Squire about the Meconium present in the amniotic fluid. But, I was too focused to think much about it. The time to meet my baby had come and I needed to focus only on that.

Fran helped hold me up under my shoulders, and Squire helped hold me in the tub, as I propped myself up with my arms on the rests on the inside of the tub so my bottom wouldn’t be touching the floor when the baby came out. I shook with effort and noticed my breathing became much heavier as I listened to my body and pushed before and through the pressure waves. The last several pushes stung with a burn. Misty held my Perineum as I pushed, which felt uncomfortable at the time, but I realize now that she was doing what she could to help me stay intact as much as possible. When I pushed out Atley’s head I felt a strong burn. I rested several more seconds and pushed again with all my might. 

The burning sensations were quickly forgotten as my warm sweet chubby baby was placed on my chest. Ecstatically elated laughter and breathing escaped my throat as I held my little girl for the first time. 

She felt soft, warm, and padded. I noticed her beautiful full lips, and how similar she looked to her big brother when he was born. She did not let out a lusty cry at first. It took Misty giving her a couple pinches on the heel before she cried. But I wasn’t worried. She looked quite pink to me. She was just comfortable with her peaceful entry into the world, I believe. I smiled at Squire who was also smiling looking at us both. My mom asked me, "Alright, are you ready for your baby's special song?" I was worried she might burst out with another tribal chant. Instead she started to sing, "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you . . ." Laughter and smiles filled the room. The anticipation of this blessed event was closing, and a new chapter for our family was beginning in that very moment - our sweet Atley Wynn was born!

Posing for our first picture with Atley.
To read my husband's perspective on Atley's birth, click here:


  1. Love the name. Love the story! Good for you. Just so you know, your Lincoln story was my inspiration to get through birth #2. I thought about you the whole time.

  2. I'm so happy for you guys. What a wonderful experience! I can't wait to get to know Atley and watch her grow.

  3. I love hearing birth stories. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations!

  4. Awww congratulations! I'm a Hypnobabies instructor and had my first Hypno-Baby in June! We had a beautiful home water birth. All the best with your training in May!

  5. I saw the link on facebook (hypnobabies). CONGRATS! What a beautiful baby girl! So glad it went well. Are you going to MO for training in May? If so, see you there!

  6. I'm so happy for you. Wonderful birth story. Congrats to all of you.
    Janice (from pottery class)

  7. Congratulations, Jami! She's beautiful, and her name is so cute! I hope her and Lincoln are treating you well and that you are recovering quickly!

  8. Congratulations! :) Found your link on Blogher. I'm thrilled for you.

  9. I also used hypnobabies for my last 2 births and am planning to use it for my son due in Nov. Its inspiring to read others uplifting birth stories to keep me in a positive state of mind. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. I also used hypnobabies for my last 2 births and am planning to use it for my son due in Nov. Its inspiring to read others uplifting birth stories to keep me in a positive state of mind. Thanks so much for sharing!



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