Former HypnoBirthing Student

For a long time I thought I was just having practice surges triggered by a stomach virus, since it all started for me with nausea and vomiting, but after a day of breathing through the surges at home in the tub trying to see if they would stop (since I was a little early after all), at 10:15 my water broke. We headed to the hospital because we hadn't felt the baby move to reassure us she was tolerating this well, and it's a good thing we did because she came so fast! Cassandra checked me at 11:45 and I was 6cm 100% effaced, and +1 station. I think everyone in the room was surprised because I seemed so calm and I was really feeling able to breathe through the surges--with my birth companion there counting and comforting that is! Our baby was here only 2.5 hours later!


All that afternoon the midwives had asked on the phone if the surges were getting more intense, because they were pretty irregular, and I kept saying no, and I really credit hypnobirthing for that, because I had strategies to get through them one at a time and relax between them. And I had a lot of trust built up with my birth companion too. We always felt good after leaving your classes--feeling hopeful and confident about the birth and about our family. I like the way the class focused on the role all 3 of us had to play, like the birth was something we were all going to do together, and the care providers were there to support that. That really helped in the moment to trust what was happening when it was all happening so fast!


Photo Credit: Jenn Elfner Photography












Miranda Jones Inspirational Words


I have nothing but good things to say about Sharon. She was a true blessing.


In early January, 2014, my husband contacted Sharon to set up a meeting for a quick or abbreviated version of the hypnobirthing/birthing class for fear release per my midwives recommendation. I was having such a hard time with the reality of being a mother and the fear of the actual birth itself- and my due date was rapidly approaching. As soon as my husband contacted her, she made a great impression by being very kind and accomodating. She offered to come to our home in the evening on our schedule. As soon as she arrived her personality shined. She had a sense of deep calm and compassion that honestly put me at ease- which was exactly what I needed. As she explained what was happening to my body, she taught me the greatest skill that truly got me through my labor- how to view things as a sensation and not lump everything into a negative connotation such as pain.


Now, previously, I was terrified that I would freak out, buckle under the pressure and believe as though I was dying with labor pain. However, Sharon's words stuck with me and it all made sense to me. I truly had a choice. I could feel the sensations as they came and breathe through them -OR I could freak out, tense up and believe the worst and fear every contraction. I found strength in Sharon's words and I truly found myself in her meditations.


When she left my home, I felt renewed. I felt as though I actually COULD do it. I realized that I just had to get out of my own way and let my body do it's thing.


Almost a week later, I went into labor. Can honestly say that I remained calm throughout the entire labor process. I didn't cry or exclaim I couldn't do it- not even once! After 32 hours of labor and 4 hours of straight pushing, I gave birth to my 8lb 6 oz son, (who came out swimming!) in a birthing tub in my living room!! I have to note this though: my husband loves to brag about how strong I was to give birth naturally but he never leaves out the part where in the midst of a double peak contraction, I yelled "IM A F***ING FLOWER!!!!" - so even in the most intense of moments, Sharon's affirmations helped me through!!


I will never forget how amazing she was in my time of need and I feel so grateful for her help. Sharon truly is the BEST!



Lianne Recay's Inspirational Words:  

No words can express how much you helped me through labor and birth. Your love, passion, dedication, knowledge, acceptance, and peace got through to me and I am forever grateful! I listened to your recordings over and over and loved every second. They took me to amazing places! I was confident, brave and full of peace the day Jack was born and you contributed to his wonderful birthday! He is a beautiful calm and chill baby. I hope you get to meet him soon!! Thank you and love to you! 2013


Natalie T Romanello Inspirational Words:

Sharon provides a very unique service to expectant parents. HypnoBirthing has prepared me and many of my friends for a birth with no fear. She helped empower us as mothers to have the birth we envisioned. My husband and I came to Sharon's childbirth classes and had a great time! We left feeling at ease and confident. We used the methods she taught us for our second birth as well. Sharon is always available for support and she is very knowledgable. She teaches from the heart!" 2013


Melissa Paxton's Inspirational Words: 

I do want you to know that I had a much better birth experience this time. I believe, as a result of the hypnotherapy techniques that you taught me, that I was able to control the blood-flow that had caused a problem in the past. Therefore, I had much less bleeding postpartum and my recovery time was also much shorter. I actually felt well enough to truly enjoy the bonding time for the first few days, up to week, after Fisher was born. My previous births resulted in so much blood-loss that I was down for several days after birth. I must say that I have always been a "believer" in the power of the mind. However after this experience, I truly believe in the power of hypnosis. Thank you so much for your help. You will forever be in my heart ♥".2013


Beth Vargo's Inspirational Words:

The class was extremely informative for my husband and I, going through our first pregnancy. Getting a better idea of what to expect and how I can prepare has given me a sense of peace and eased the anxiety of birth. Sharon was wonderful at answering any questions and truly wants everyone to have a great birth experience. 2013


Katie Beard's Inspirational Words:

I did not have a doula for the birth of my first child and ever since I wished I had. I didn’t realize how valuable it would be to have a support person in addition to my husband. When we began planning for our second baby, I knew right away that I would want a doula. We knew Sharon from taking her Hypnobirthing® class in preparation for the birth of our first child and were thrilled to find out she was now a doula as well. She was wonderful! She took the time to get to know us and talk about how we hoped this birth would proceed. On the day of, she did exactly what we needed her to do. She offered ideas of comfort measures when I needed them and talked me through the most intense contractions. She was supportive and helped to reassure me that I was doing a great job. I am so pleased with how the birth went and I believe I owe a lot of that to Sharon’s calming, confident presence. 2013


Gretchen Taylor's Inspirational Words:

Sharon had a tremendous impact on our birth experience. My husband and I met Sharon through her Hypnobirthing instructor role when I was pregnant with our first child; we adored Sharon for her knowledge, compassion, and thoughtfulness, so when she began offering doula services, we jumped at the chance to work with her for the birth of our second child.  


Before the birth, Sharon came to our house to talk to us about expectations for our experience, reflecting on our first experience, discussing how we envisioned her role, and then talking us through what we hoped for the birth. Sharon didn’t just prepare us for the physical aspects of childbirth; she also helped me think hard about things like how I manage stress and how my husband and I communicate, things that have huge implications during birth but that I would never have thought about on my own. Sharon also helped us develop a postpartum plan, another idea that we would not have done on our own. Thanks to Sharon’s guidance, my husband and I were well-prepared to come home and grow into our expanded family, and we knew that if we needed anything, Sharon would be there for us physically and emotionally.


During the birth itself, Sharon was both our rock and our soft spot. Sharon’s knowledge about birth is completely solid and scientifically based, and she was so helpful talking us through the risks and benefits of choices we made during my 24-hour labor. At the same time, she was a tremendous emotional support for me. Sharon was ready to hold my hand when I needed her, to hand me the perfect stress ball at the right time, to remind me to relax my shoulders and breathe, to offer me remedies for my nausea, and to help my midwife position me to move labor along. Sharon worked so well with the midwife, and as a team, we were able to get my son to turn from his posterior position.  


Sharon’s background as a Hypnobirthing instructor is as a fantastic and unique asset to her doula practice, because she was able to offer us during birth relaxation strategies that kept me calm during a long stretch of unmedicated labor. I felt confident -- and physically able -- to work through contractions because Sharon offered my husband and me so many strategies to ease the discomfort and keep me calm. I do not see myself as someone with a high pain tolerance, nor am I comfortable with even simple medical procedures, so this sense of peace is a true testament to Sharon’s gifts!  


It sounds crazy, but my husband and I truly look back on this birth -- the length, the intensity, the positioning challenge and all -- with fondness. Sharon’s presence added an element of celebration and warmth to the whole experience; she even presented to us a detailed timeline of the birth, which we will always treasure. Sharon’s services are a priceless investment in transition to a growing family, and we cannot recommend her highly enough. 2013



Monette Friedlander's Inspirational Words:

I stumbled across Sharon and her Hypnobirthing class while searching online for natural birthing classes in Columbus. I knew I didn't want to take the typical Lamaze class, as I didn't want to have a medically assisted birth, if I could help it. My husband wasn't completely on board with the whole idea, but played along (since I was the one bearing our child, lol) and agreed to meet with Sharon to learn more about her services. Sharon did an absolutely wonderful job of communicating her services to myself and my husband. In fact, she won him over so much, he now advocates her services to all of his friends!


Sharon helped empower myself and my husband as first time expectant parents that we could indeed have the calm, peaceful birth we hoped for (with minimal medical intervention). My husband fed off of me having less anxiety throughout the pregnancy. I became more able to look ahead to our birth and was less caught up in the moment, which I feel helped me concentrate my energy not on our anxieties, but on staying healthy, calm and passing along my extra energy for growing our happy, healthy, sweetheart. 


Not only did Sharon help affirm that we would be great, loving parents and that nature intends for us to be able to handle our own births, but she turned out to be our #1 information and contact resource throughout our birth planning. Through Sharon, we found our wonderful doula, (and then Montrice-now a licensed (registered?) midwife), Alison Diaz and our Nurse Midwife, Rebecca Wagner, through Women's Contemporary Health. We have found a lifetime friend in Sharon and our other birthing professionals. It's wonderful to find professionals who do what they do not because of the pay, but because they have genuine passion for what they do.


I am looking forward to our next birthing experience and fully intend on including Sharon and her many services offered in the experience!!



Kelly Dillion's Inspirational Words:

My family and I are indebted to Sharon Gourlay and Sacred Beginning for the confidence, faith, and assurance in our abilities as a family she instilled in us as our Hypnobirthing instructor. Sharon came into our home and lives with such a gentle essence and loving spirit. My husband was especially skeptical, but supportive of my desire for a natural childbirth with our second pregnancy. After just one session with Sharon, he saw the real application of her techniques in not only childbirth, but child rearing and interpersonal communication. We never did see that natural birth due to complications, but using the techniques and tools Sharon taught us, our stress and worry were minimized during and after surgery. I still employ many of the techniques Sharon taught us when our toddlers, work, or just life in general, make it difficult to focus and de-stress. We believe wholeheartedly in Sharon’s vision that we have recommended our friends for her services in infertility and childbirth. I am honored to call Sharon my teacher, but blessed to call her a friend. 

~Kelly Dillion


Ada Overstreet's Inspirational Words

07/28/2010 User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Sharon's services were invaluable to my husband and I for learning how to birth my first child. Her calm, soothing demeanor and vast knowledge about natural childbirth are a great resource for your questions about having your child peacefully and naturally. She has a true passion for teaching this method of childbirth. I highly recommend her over taking the hypnobirthing class through the hospital here in Columbus.



Katrina Whipkey's Inspirational Words:

Sharon Gourlay has been so helpful and willing to go the extra mile and in my case the extra miles. She traveled almost two hours, three different times, in the winter, to teach us Hypnobirthing. She was so helpful and made the end of my pregnancy so much easier. She willing able to adapt her teaching styles to fit what we were comfortable with. She was very understanding and not the least bit judgmental or pushy. Even my midwife who had seen Hypnobirths was surprised at how easy my labor went and she commented on how beautiful our birth was.  

~Katrina Whipkey D.C. 


Becca's Inspirational Words:

Thanks you so much too. I will let you know when we are home and maybe you could stop by at meet Lucas, maybe you can bring the girls they would probably like to meet him too. I would love to meet them. I will write down my birth story for you when I get home and situated. It was an amazing birth and only took 5 hours like I wanted it too. It was very tolerable I don't know why I was so scared. I pushed him out because that was what my body was telling me to do but he still came out only with a little whimper he was very calm it was so Amazing how relaxed he was and how so ready he was to come meet mommy and daddy. I will talk to you soon.



Laura Wingfields Inspirational Words:

Hi there Sharon! I just wanted to let you know that we had our baby on Wednesday, Oct. 8th. We had a a beautiful baby boy, 5 lbs, 8 oz.; 18 1/2 long. Little guy! Labor progressed very quickly and from start to finish it was only 4 hours! I really feel that with my relaxation techniques and practice, it really helped me cope with the very intense contractions. We even had to wait to breathe the baby down for about 15 minutes until the Midwife got there since it all happened so fast! I just wanted to thank you for making the drive to Kenton to instruct us and give us the confidence that we could do it. and we did! I really think my only issue was that I didn't have my headphones right away (since we didn't know it was going to happen so quickly!) so I didn't go into the delivery in the relaxed state that I thought I would have.  


Anyway, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your talent and your knowledge. All the nurses were just amazed and I've even been asked to supply your name and email/phone to one of the nurses and a few friends that are expecting next year. I really feel I have a great birthing story and it wouldn't have been possible without Hypnobirthing.


Audrey Melzer's Inspirational Words:


Sharon Gourlay's services were a blessing for my family. With her patience and flexibility, we were able to come to her home for a session in HypnoBirthing. Without her help we would not have the opportunity to take the course. She's kind and caring and still keeps in touch, which I very much appreciate. And when I was suffering from post-partum depression after a traumatic birth experience, she went out of her way to research options for treatment and found someone to help me in my area. I would recommend her services to anyone.

~Audrey D. and John Melzer


Calin Jack’s Birth Story

We found out we were expecting our first child on December 15th 2009. I had mixed feelings about the pregnancy. I was excited for this new chapter in our lives, but I was also very apprehensive about my ability to give birth and be a good mother. So many of the birth stories I had heard from friends and family were full of complications – I had scars from the forceps used in my birth until I was a teenager. This was all very scary to me.


Luckily, my husband Chris was very supportive throughout the whole process. He understood my misgivings and was patient with me when I felt like I couldn’t do it. We talked about a home birth from the very beginning, hoping that this option would reduce the potential for some of the complications I feared. We even met with the homebirth midwives at 8 weeks, only for me to decide shortly after that I felt I couldn’t “do” a homebirth. I didn’t have faith in my ability to have a successful birth and handle the discomfort of the process. We planned for a hospital birth with the goal of as natural of a birth as possible. As part of our preparation, we took a Hypnobirthing class to help with pain management. Although I learned relaxation techniques and the process of natural labor, the most important thing I gleaned from the class was confidence in myself and my body to be able to birth my baby.  


Our Hypnobirthing instructor Sharon encouraged us to hire a doula to support us in the hospital to help with a natural labor and birth. We met Alison, a doula-monitrice, who encouraged us to think about all of the alternatives and methods to support our birth wishes. When we realized that many of our “wants” could or would not be supported in the hospital setting, we revisited the homebirth option. I was 36 weeks pregnant at this time.  


Luckily, the homebirth midwives were willing to take us on as clients and began to perform prenatal care in tandem with my OB. We continued to see our OB as backup in case of last minute complications, although we had not told them about our plans for homebirth as the practice did not support that choice. At 40 weeks, the OB began to pressure me into induction, although myself and the baby were doing fine and I have a familial history of 42 week pregnancies. I decided to break ties with the OB at that time. Next came 2 long weeks of waiting (I had taken off work after my due date) and wondering if I was EVER going to have my baby.


Pre-labor finally began on the evening of September 1st, although contractions were easy and 10-20 minutes apart. This continued and I finally asked Alison to come over at 2am on September 2rd. She and her apprentice Suzan stayed until that morning, and finally left after I showed no progress. The evening of September 3rd I called her in tears, exhausted and wondering whether things would ever start. She advised I try to “stop my labor” by getting in the birth pool and relaxing so that I could get some rest that night. It helped and allowed me to sleep a few hours – I spent the rest of the evening in the rocking chair using my Hypnobirth breathing to get through contractions. I got up, just as exhausted as the day before, and called the midwife Audra over to check me to see if I was progressing at all. She measured me at 4-5 cm and I was so relieved! Shortly after that, labor began to pick up and the rest of my support team, including the second midwife Kelley, came to the house.


I was so glad that things were finally revving up, but the contractions were much stronger. I tried using the Hypnobirth breathing to manage them, but I found that vocalization was much more effective for me at dealing with them. We walked, I took a shower, and then decided to get in the tub at the suggestion of someone, I can’t remember who now. The tub was great – the contractions were just as strong but the heat helped to take the edge off and allow me to relax in between. Chris was in the tub with me the entire time, providing hip compressions during every contraction. I remember thinking “he must be getting tired” but I was so thankful to have his constant support. At one point, I asked him to start counting breaths throughout my contractions. I found that if I could get to 30, I would be through the hardest part and could manage the rest.  


The midwives had brought a birth stool and suggested I try a few contractions on it to help move things along. It was so hard to leave the warmth of the pool and position myself on this awkward stool, but I wanted to try. After the hardest contraction of the entire labor, I declared I was done with the stool. I remember the absolute worst moment of the entire labor was standing up from the stool – it was the only time I recall crying out in pain, rather than just using the “really loud” moaning to manage.


At around 3 pm, I asked Audra to check me again. When she said 7 cm, I wanted to cry. I thought, “8 hours of labor and only 2-3 cms gained!” She suggested I try walking up and down the stairs; I thought stairs sounded like a horrible idea. I did it anyway with Chris’ help, and 30 minutes later, I found I couldn’t get through a contraction without wanting to push. Another check at that time and I was 10 cms and ready to push- so happy this time. Pushing was good…I tried in the pool for a while, but didn’t make great progress. Audra suggested that d**n birth stool again, stating “it gets babies out.” Although the baby’s heart rate was fine throughout, it had started dropping closer to the 100’s and I was encouraged to get the baby out sooner.  


The birth stool was so much better for pushing. I did not feel the pain like during the contractions, and I felt I could get traction during the push. Chris sat behind me, encouraging me the entire time. After an hour total of pushing, the baby finally came out at 5:37pm, September 4th. The moment was agony and ecstasy in the same instance. We hadn’t know what we were having – it was such a great surprise to wait until that moment. It was a boy! He was crying from the first moment and required no suctioning. I held him immediately, then the team helped me up and over to the pull out couch we had prepared. After making sure I delivered the placenta and my uterus was contracting down, the team left Chris and I with our little man for an hour of bonding. He was a perfectly healthy handsome boy.  


The only other surprise of the night was when the midwives weighed him – he was 9 lbs 12 ozs, a big boy! Audra had guessed between 7 and 8 pounds at our prenatal visit earlier that week, so I never suspected he would be so big. The midwives were right about the birth stool – I’m not sure I would have been able to push him out, especially so quickly, without it. I had 2 minor tears that did not require stitches. Other than being sore, I immediately felt better after the birth than I had for the latter part of the pregnancy. We spent that night together in our own home with our new baby.


I was fortunate to be a good candidate for home birth. God blessed me with a low risk pregnancy, and a healthy baby in a good position. We had a wonderful support team that encouraged us, made us eat and drink throughout to keep up strength, and offered suggestions to help manage the labor and delivery. We were able to have the natural, gentle birth we had envisioned, reducing the risk for interventions and sedating effects of medications on the baby. Although it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I have nothing but positive memories of the experience and a new found confidence in my strength and power as a woman.


Tracy Kelly's Inspirational Words/Birth Story.  


E's Journey into this Big World!

Giving birth...one of the most natural life processes known to man...or is it? Is it still a natural process or a scheduled, inconvenient medical procedure?


Noah and I decided to start a family in January of 2013. After several months of trying, we got the 'positive' news in July 2013...we would be expecting a bundle of joy around March 14, 2014. Before we conceived, I knew I wanted a natural delivery with little, to no interventions, medications, etc. Our parents did it, so why couldn't we? 


A few weeks into the pregnancy, I began looking for childbirth classes, other than the standard Lamaze. We were first referred to a Bradley Method Class. After doing some research, I decided that I liked what they stood for and what they teach, however the 12 week program did not fit our schedule. Then I came across HypnoBirthing...forget where I discovered it, but it really resonated with me right off the bat.


HypnoBirthing teaches you "how to achieve relaxation, free of the resistance that fear creates, and you learn to use your natural birthing instincts for a calm, serene and comfortable birth." (www.hypnobirthing.com) These classes were only 5 weeks...after the first week, I knew that HypnoBirthing matched my belief system. Why are women scared of birth? Why do we "need" meds when women have been giving birth naturally for 1,000's of years?! HypnoBirthing gives you the confidence that your body is made to go through childbirth and you can do so without being in absolute pain. It does not mean you won't end up with interventions (epidurals, c-sections, etc)...however it allows you to educate yourself enough that you can avoid these things if at all possible. It also educates you, so when you enter the world of "this is a medial event" versus a natural event, that you can make informed decisions and not be bullied into the now, so-called normal. After our 5 week HypnoBirthing course, we continued to practice what we learned up until the day I went into labor. Everything from breathing techniques, to relaxation cd's, and exercises. 


Over the course of my pregnancy I took multivitamins; 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening, as well as, fish oil pills. I managed my diet, eating reasonably (my cravings were grapefruits and cereal), but still gave in to ice cream here and there :-) During my whole pregnancy I played tennis 1-2 times a week up until 3 weeks prior to my due date. I also did yoga up until about 7 months. 


At about 6-7 months, I started having lower back pains (mainly after playing tennis), so I began seeing a maternity Chiropractor...he was a lifesaver. I highly recommend this for every pregnant woman and wish I would have started earlier in my pregnancy.


Around 36 weeks, I was told that I was 4cm dilated and that I could go anytime. She didn't think I would go until close to my due date being that it was my first pregnancy. As we approached my due date, I began to get nervous that I would go over and would be pressured into being induced, as that's the name of the game nowadays. My OB insured me that she would wait until at least 41 weeks before bringing up the topic of induction. On March 14th (my due date), I decided to start trying some natural means of inducing; Raspberry Tea Leaves, Eggplant Parmesan, long walks, etc. On Monday, March 17th I went in for my weekly checkup where an ultrasound and fetal monitoring was done to check that all was okay. At that time, all looked good and she estimated E to weigh about 8lbs...maybe 9.


Later that evening, around 11pm, I started feeling "crampy". I told Noah that I had a feeling it might be "the night". We went to bed and I didn't wake up until about 7:15am. 


When I woke up on Tuesday, March 18th, I was still having the periodical cramps, and they were getting slightly stronger and were about 8-10 minutes apart. I still wasn't sure if it was the real deal, as I had had false labor the month prior. The contractions were similar to bad menstrual cramps. Noah went off to work and I told him to be on-call, just in case!


Around 11:30am they started getting closer together, but it was hard to time them. The contractions were long (3-5 minutes), but then they were 5-7 minutes apart. It was difficult to tell when to time them because they were lasting so long. I called my OB office and they told me to go ahead and head to the hospital. I thought this was weird, because my HypnoBirthing class said to stay at home, as long as possible, because it's where you are most comfortable (and the OB had agreed at one point). I told them that I was going to hold off for a few more hours and then would head over being I was only 2 miles away from the hospital. The whole morning, I continued my breathing exercises and tried to relax as much as possible.


Noah was supposed to have a conference call at 1pm at work. I called and told him he might need to come do the call from home, as I was starting to progress. When he got home at 1pm, my water had just started to leak. At this point we started slowly getting the suitcases (that were already packed) and threw some items into a cooler (for my illegal snacks for during labor).


We arrived to the hospital at 2:30pm. We parked (I told Noah I wanted to walk in) and went to the service desk. I asked to be reminded where the maternity area was and the lady said, "Are you here to visit someone?" I said, "Um no, I'm here to have a baby"...haha Noah said to give her the benefit of doubt since he thought the counter was too high for her to see my belly. She replied "Oh" and proceeded to give us refresher directions. 


We were admitted into triage where they did an initial exam. Much to my surprise I was still only 4cm dilated, but was almost fully effaced. Also, I was told there was meconium in my water (E had taken his first BM inside the womb...yayyy lucky me). At that time, I asked Noah to pull out our birth plan that I had printed off (I came prepared with my multiple copies). The nurse said she didn't need it, as our doctor had already sent it over..."Great!" I was so glad to see her being so proactive with our birth plan...until....the nurse said, "Your doctor is recommending Pitocin." I was so taken aback because we weren't even out of triage and were being told to pump in the meds. I told the nurse that I didn't want to do that yet and her response was, "Don't be afraid of the Pit". At this point, I was fairly upset, because everything seemed to be spiraling out of control so early on. We told the nurse we did not want to start Pitocin yet and after checking back in with our OB, she said she was willing to give us a few hours to see how we would progress.


Around 3pm we were checked into our room. When our nurse came in to administer an IV, I told her that I only wanted a port inserted. The reason we declined an IV is because it is easier to move around more freely during labor (and easier for them to pressure drugs). We knew that a port was important though in case of an emergency they would have quick access. 


From 3pm until about 9pm, I continued to have contractions and went from 4cm to 6cm. The contractions were getting closer together, but I was not progressing as quickly as we would have liked. I was on intermittent fetal monitoring (due to the meconium)...every time there was a break I would get up and move around, bounce on the birth ball, etc. 


Around 9pm, my OB stopped in to checkup on me. She said she was "still" recommending Pitocin and we asked questions about the pros and cons. At this time she proceeded to tell me that I wasn't in active labor because "I wouldn't be able to carry on a conversation with her due to the a pain." I told her that I strongly disagreed with that because we had been practicing for months our breathing/relaxing techniques to prevent being in "pain" and I had been physically active all 9 months, which is intended to help as well. After laying on a guilt trip of all the cons of not taking the Pitocin, Noah asked if we could discuss. She said to let our nurse know what we decided and that she was going home and would be back for the delivery.


Around 9:30pm our nurse came back in and asked us what we decided to do. I proceeded to say that I didn't want to do the Pitocin, but that's what she was saying was best, so we gave the okay. That nurse was getting ready to go off duty, so she said she would let the oncoming nurse know and that she'd be the one to start the Pitocin.


At 10pm the new nurse was up-to-date on what had occurred up to that point. She asked me about our decision and I said that we were agreeing to the Pitocin. She looked at the timing of my contractions and said she legally could not give me Pitocin at that time because the spacing of my contractions were too close together (about 2-3 min apart at that time). I said "great...I didn't want it anyways." She was very supportive of our desire to go all natural and encouraged me to try different positions and walking the halls to help progressing. I also kept up on my liquids (water and Gatorade) and snuck in my Clif Bars for some additional energy.


Around 1am (March 19th), our lovely friend, Back Labor, kicked in. Up until then, I could easily breathe through the contractions and zone out. The back labor contractions were 3-4 minutes long and 2-3 minutes apart (versus the 90sec-2min long they should have been). We tried many different positions on the bed and on the ball to get relief. Noah massaged my lower back during contractions and we even tried ice packs. I continued to breathe through the contractions, as well as, listening to my HypnoBirthing guided relaxation. The nurse also did a few internal exams to see how I was progressing and to see if she could "help" it along. I progressed from 6cm to almost 8cm during this time. (After the fact, we look back and realize we shouldn't have allowed the continuous internal exams, but at the time figured that was better than meds.)


At 5:30am, Noah finally looked at the nurse and told her that I needed an epidural. I was delirious and exhausted. I would fall asleep on the down times, but being that those times were shorter than the actual contractions, I couldn't get any recovery time. Noah looked at me and said, "You're getting an epidural." I didn't argue. I looked at the nurse and asked when the anesthesiologist would be there and she said he was on his way and would be there soon. As soon as she answered me, I asked the same question again...haha I was ready at that point.


The anesthesiologist administered the epidural around 5:45am and I was given relief and was able to rest until about 7am. I had heard an epidural could go one of two ways; it could speed up the process and you deliver shortly thereafter or you can regress...I regressed...dramatically. My contractions went from 2-3 minutes apart to 7-8 minutes apart. The nurses said they were going to start administering Pitocin to help the progression. At this point I was okay with the Pitocin since I already had the epidural (I have always felt that Pitocin at the beginning almost guarantees an epidural down the road).


At 7:30am they began administering Pitocin and would "up" the dose every 30 minutes. 


Just before noon, I was told that I had only progressed to 8cm. My epidural began wearing off in my back, so the anesthesiologist was brought in to give me a "boost". At this time, I was also told that I had a fever of about 100 degrees. This became a concern because I had been in labor for 24 hours at this point, meconium in the fluid and I wasn't progressing. The nurses began administering antibiotics to treat myself and the baby, as the fever could be a sign of infection. 


Around 3pm, Noah and I began having the private conversation about a c-section because we had a feeling that was the direction we were heading. We decided amongst ourselves that if that was the route the OB suggested that we would be okay with that, because we were nervous about the fever.


At 4:30pm, the epidural began wearing off...again. I told them that we needed to know how things were going to proceed...was I going to be having a baby sometime soon? At this point I was progressed to 9cm but no sign of delivery in sight and the baby had been at a 0 (engaged in the pelvis) all day. They called my OB and she said she was on her way. At this point, they assumed we were going the c-section route and proceeded to give me a second epidural that would either get me through delivery or get me through a c-section.


My doctor arrived around 5:30pm and said she was recommending the c-section due to the fever I'd had since around noon. We said that we agreed. Due to the meconium being in the fluid, they said once the baby was delivered that if the baby didn't cry pretty much right away they would have to aspirate to remove any meconium in the lungs, but if the baby cried that he/she would be fine. In our HypnoBirthing class they talked about HypnoBabies sometimes not crying the way docs expected them to because of their relaxed and calm pregnancy and labor. I prayed that Baby E WOULD cry so no further interventions would need to be done.


So after 29 hours, "little" Baby E was brought into this world on March 19th at 6:10pm...crying! I told the anesthesiologist to tell everyone that we didn't want them to announce the sex, but rather for us to see ourselves (as the sex was a surprise). He made the announcement, but at about the same time a nurse proudly announced, "He's so chunky!" I say Baby E was "little" sarcastically, as he was 9lbs 15oz and 21" long....what happened to that 8lb baby they predicted the day before?!? He had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes and was HEALTHY :-)


After they weighed him and briefly looked him over, I requested to have him skin to skin for at least a few minutes. E began rooting around and bonding immediately. This made me feel MUCH better even though they had to take him for further testing due to the fever. Noah was able to go along with him and he later returned with good news that E did not have an infection and would be returning to the room very soon.


Although my birth plan did not go as planned, and I was pretty much mocked along the way for even taking the time to create one...I'm glad that I was prepared. I'm so grateful for taking the HypnoBirthing class, because without it, I would have given in to the assembly line they call birth. I would have been admitted to triage, had the Pitocin administered right then, and an epidural would have surely followed. I'm glad that I gave natural childbirth a chance and that I made it 15 hours and 7cm before interventions were introduced. I'm glad that HypnoBirthing not only helped me deal with labor, but also to stand up for our own rights and to not be treated as a rare medical procedure.


My next birth you ask?!? I will absolutely practice HypnoBirthing again and plan to advocate it. What will I do differently you ask?!? I will definitely be finding a mid-wife or doctor that absolutely, 100% supports natural childbirth. Not a doctor that says they support it and then changes the moment you step into the hospital. Not a doctor that enters our hospital room a day after delivery to tell me she did "not feel comfortable with my delivery" because we did not follow the typical routine and we asked about our options (the pros and cons) each step of the way. Not a doctor that tells me that since I had a c-section, chances are my next birth will be as well. The only thing that I was grateful for with my OB is, I was confident she performed an excellent medical procedure, the c-section...because that's her specialty after all.


All in all, we have a healthy baby boy and that's what matters the most. My biggest takeaway for myself and anyone else....if you do not ask questions, what your options are, and stand up for yourself, you are doing yourself a BIG disservice.


Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience! I would love to hear how you have handled similar situations. If you have any questions about HypnoBirthing I would love to talk to you about it!