Apr 23, 2011

Hypnobirthing, Part One

cdr4A good friend asked me to videotape her most recent birth. This is probably because I don't have a problem looking at other people's naked selves, and because pretty much the only thing I talk about are my kids and birthing. There are not a lot of people I know who are totally comfortable hanging out with naked people for hours on end. Lets not talk about what that says about me. Let's talk about the birth!

About 8pm the day of the birth I got a call from my friend, asking me to come over. Her husband was gone and she felt like she might be in labor. I'd been expecting this call since about 4pm when she called and said the world was fuzzy during her contractions, but she didn't know if it was "real" labor.
Between the 8pm phone call and my getting there, her water broke.

At this point you need to know a few things. First, HypnoBirthing mommas birth FAST because they aren't scared. Second, this was not this particular momma's first time at the racetrack. Third, I live maybe 5 minutes away.

When I got there, she was talking normally to me, but about every 5-7 minutes, she'd stop, put her hand up, bow her head and close her eyes, shimmy her hips for 40 seconds or so, and then resume our conversation. She had me pack speakers, the birthing tub, and a few other odds and ends. We called the babysitter for the other children (a hunky 21 yo blond German who totally deserves his own post at some point) and the midwife's on call service to let them know she was coming to the hospital.

When her husband arrived, he asked if I'd been timing the contractions. Um, no. I was busy packing. But they were at that point 5-6 minutes apart. I'm guessing that was around 9pm. I had my car packed and was about to drive off to the hospital ahead of mom and dad when I decided to go back in the house for one last interaction. I said a quick little prayer to calm down because I was getting antsy. Not being sure we'd make it in time, and all. Last I'd checked, mom was still in the bathroom. Upon entering the house, I find out she hasn't left the bathroom.

Uh oh. Admittedly, I started to get worried at this point and decided to stick close in case we didn't make it clear to the hospital. She did come out and get into her car and I followed them to the hospital. I could tell when she was having contractions because the car would speed up. This happened four or five times.
In the parking lot of the ER (this hospital makes you check into the ER, which is totally stupid) we all pile out and she says, "I just finished a contraction." "Great, lets get inside before you have another one." Um, no again.
Mom has TWO more contractions before we make it to the entrance of the ER. During the second one, I headed inside to try to check her in while Dad (who was acting as doula, which is SO cool) stayed with Mom.
I told the ER nurse, "There's a multiparous mother with ruptured membranes just outside. Her contractions are two minutes apart. Can we get her upstairs?"
"No. We have to check her in."
"She's pre-registered. Her name is ___________"
"When is she due?"
"In a week, roughly. Although I'd say she's due in about 40 minutes."
"When is her birthday?"
"What year?"
"I have no idea."
"Who are you, exactly? We can't check her in without this information."
I left. Went back outside and dad and I switched places. This didn't seem to help. The ER nurses wanted her to SIT DOWN inside and talk to them.
Um, no yet again. Hypno-mommas in transition don't SIT and they sure as heck aren't very willing to talk. Mom tried to come inside, but the thought of 50 people (the ER was PACKED) watching her contract on hands and knees did not appeal. Strange, I know. She walked back outside and I walked with. This is when I videoed the only tape we have of her fully clothed and having contractions.
Then the transport guy came out with a wheelchair.
"Let's get you upstairs" he says.
"In that!?! I'm NOT sitting in a wheel chair" mom replies.
I chime in with, "This would go faster if you let her walk upstairs. She really does not want to sit."
The crabby ER nurse says "It's hospital policy. We can't have you deliver standing up in the hall."
Mom turns to me and says, "If they talk to me like that upstairs, we are LEAVING!"
I'm thinking, Yeah. Right. Like we have time to get back home! I guess we could deliver in the car, if you're serious, though. 
I asked if we could use the stretcher that was sitting right there and wheel her up kneeling on the stretcher. That idea was also shot down as "Unsafe". More unsafe than delivering a baby outside the front doors of an ER? OK. Whatever.
Through this entire encounter, Mom is cool as cucumber through the contractions and only gets testy when the hospital staff say unreasonable things, like "sit" or "wait".
Finally mom agrees to sit if they promise to take her directly to the OB floor.
Dad is still checking Mom in, so I go with her. At the elevator, Dad missed making it onto the car by a nanosecond. I just was not fast enough pressing the Open Door button, which I still feel bad about. Instead of taking Mom to a room, they dump her in triage at 10pm. I tried again to let them know exactly how close she is to having a baby.
"Mom is mulitparous, membranes have been ruptured for two hours, and she's a fast birther. Her contractions are stacking. Are you sure we can't go to a room?"
"Who are you?"
"The videographer."
"Let me show you to the waiting room."
I've since learned it's best just to say I'm the sister. Sisters don't get kicked out near so often.
Pacing outside the (locked) entrance to labor and delivery, I call The Hubs and have a very testy conversation wherein I lament the fact that I'm going to miss the birth and this will be the only birth Mom doesn't have on tape because of stupid nurses and even more stupid hospital rules.
To Be Continued

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