Molly was my second pregnancy with Woman Wise. Karen and Christy were very attentive, informative and supportive during both pregnancies. They were always available to answer questions, relieve concerns, find needed information, and give advice. For my second pregnancy, my husband Don and I took a HypnoBirthing class with another former client of Karen’s, April Coburn. The classes were great, and I think having Karen and Christy as our labor and support team and HypnoBirthing as our birth preparation was a perfect combination.
My water started leaking at about 5:30 in the morning. My water also leaked with the birth of my son, and he wasn’t born until a day and a half after the leaking started. We called Karen to let her know and she told us to keep her updated. I had some contractions, but they were pretty mild. In fact, sometimes I had to feel my abdomen to see if was in fact tightening in order to tell if I was actually having a contraction. Karen called to check in later that morning and I told her the contractions were about 6 minutes apart, but still pretty mild. She told me to call and check in sometime during the afternoon, and said the baby would probably come in the next 12 to 24 hours. At this time I was still pretty much going about my normal activities, trying to rest up a little for when labor got more intense. At 4 p.m., I called her back and reported that the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, and becoming a little more intense, but still not that bad. Around this time I started to use the HypnoBirthing relaxation techniques a little more. Shortly after talking to Karen the contractions started to get pretty intense. I was still using the breathing and visualization techniques, imagining everything opening. They got to be pretty intense, and I started to think that maybe the HypnoBirthing wasn’t working. During labor with my son Joshua, I used a labor ball quite a bit to help manage contractions. So I thought maybe that would be helpful this time. I got the ball and started moving around on it during a contraction. Interestingly enough, when I used the breathing and visualization that HypnoBirthing teaches, the contractions were very intense, but they would rise, peak and subside, having a distinct beginning and end. When I was on the ball, the contractions were not as intense, but I felt like I got stuck in them – I felt as if I were having one long contraction that had no end. I started to panic, thinking that things were becoming unmanageable and I had my husband call Karen and a friend of mine who had agreed to be there for Joshua (then 2). I finally told myself that I need to relax, so I put on the HypnoBirthing CD and lay down on the couch. Almost immediately I felt better, more relaxed and calm. I even told my husband that I thought I had over-reacted and that maybe he should call people back and tell them not to come just yet (thankfully, he didn’t agree). Shortly after, the contractions were extremely intense, and I decided to get into the birth tub. I asked my husband to help me through it and he used words from our classes and the book. I can’t remember what he said, but it did help. After two or three more contractions, I felt the baby coming down. I kept asking my husband when Karen would arrive, telling him that the baby was coming. I used the birth breathing, and I remember talking to the baby during the surges, encouraging her to come down. About ten minutes after I got into the tub Karen arrived. She was bringing in her supplies and getting set up. I told her I needed to push, and she said I probably still had a while to go. A few minutes later I started to tell my husband that I thought something was coming out, but by the time he would get around to feeling, the head had retracted, and he kept telling me that there wasn’t anything there. I don’t think either he or Karen really believed that the baby was actually coming out as fast as she was. Later they both said that they thought I looked too relaxed to be pushing out a baby. Finally, I got my husband to look during a contraction and he immediately called out to Karen (who had just left the room to use the bathroom) – sure enough the baby was crowing! Karen quickly came and helped guide the baby out and to me (my husband was helping to support me in the tub). Our daughter was born at 6:07pm on June 3, 2007 – 15 minutes after Karen had arrived! Our son was there and saw his sister’s birth, and I am so grateful that he saw her being born in such a gentle and natural way. I know he probably won’t remember the details, but I hope it will leave an impression on him of how birth should be. Afterward, my friend who was there with him told me that I made it look so easy. After Molly was born, I felt very aware – not at all exhausted. It was an amazing, beautiful birth, and Karen really gave us the freedom and support we needed to have the birth we wanted.
Both of my births were relatively uncomplicated, and labor came naturally. While Karen and Christy were extremely supportive during labor (more so during my first birth, giving position suggestions, helping me to remain relaxed and avoid becoming tense, and giving me encouragement when I needed it) I loved having them around after the birth. Karen is extremely nurturing, and takes excellent care of you during your first few hours with your new child. Nothing is ever rushed or done on a schedule, and she always made sure both me and my babies were healthy and happy before leaving. She was also very helpful over the first few days, visiting and calling to check on me and the baby, and to make sure I was taking good care of myself (and letting others take care of me). I’ve never had a hospital birth and after receiving care from Karen and having such calm and serene births, I can’t ever imagine doing so.