My husband and I planned to use the hypnosis techniques we learned in a Hypnobabies class in addition to a doula in hopes for an unmedicated birth. I imagined that our little girl would come late, because she was a first baby, and that when the contractions started, they would be mild, 30 minutes apart, and slowly and predictably ramp up. My husband and I would celebrate the early part of labor with a glass of wine, then I would sleep, and upon waking, the intense contractions would send us to the hospital.
Well, nature had a different plan in store for us! A week before my due date, on a Thursday night around 10 PM, I began to feel very strong contractions that were three to four minutes apart. I was completely exhausted from a long day and a vigorous prenatal swim class that afternoon, and I had a very hard time using any of my hypnosis techniques. By 2 AM, when our doula arrived at our apartment, all I could focus on was getting an epidural. For the next 7 hours, our doula and yoga got me through this early labor at home, which I found very challenging. Yoga was really the single most effective ‘tool’ for me during that time — physically and and mentally.
We arrived at the hospital around 10 AM. I hadn’t slept at all since the labor started, compounding my exhaustion. I immediately requested and received an epidural. Though I hadn’t wanted one before going into this, I was so grateful for it and I really believe it helped labor progress. When we arrived at the hospital, despite those difficult 12 hours at home, I was only 3 – 4 cm dilated. I slowly became more dilated until at one point, after an epidural ‘top off’, I was able to take a nap. Over the course of the roughly one hour long nap, I went from 5 cm to around 8 cm, and everyone began preparing for the pushing phase. Dr. Worth reminded us that the Mt. Sinai Hospital epidurals are quite mild and this worked out well for us — the ‘top off’ was just enough to help me really relax, but short enough in duration that once it was time to push, I had enough feeling that I could push effectively.
Pushing was the best part! Dr. Worth and our doula were completely in sync with each other as pushing coaches. Dr. Worth in particular was just phenomenal at this point — direct with instructions, hugely encouraging, and gave clear feedback so I could push even more effectively. She was so calm yet determined — almost six weeks later, my husband and I often reminisce how we felt more than 100% safe and confident in those moments when our baby was on her way out. I can’t stress how important this is because I was so physically exhausted by this point that if it weren’t for Dr. Worth’s coaching and encouragement, I may have asked for a C-section. Instead, she helped me see I was stronger than I thought I was in those moments.
I truly can’t imagine being in better hands. Dr. Worth is unique in that she was completely supportive of my original plan to have an unmedicated birth, but we also felt that if a C-section was necessary, she would be the best person for it, and, we would trust her judgment. Ultimately, I came away from this birth so grateful for the epidural, with none of my fears about it materializing. I have healed very well and quickly post birth (all those kegels during pregnancy seem to have helped) and had no negative side effects from the epidural. Rather, I know it helped the birth move along by helping me to relax and rest before the final stage of labor. And because I felt very strong sensations when pushing our baby out, I didn’t feel it made me any less present during birth.
A huge thank you to and endorsement of Village Obstetrics!
She was 6 lbs 7 oz when born and already 8 lbs 13 oz and very healthy!