Catalina’s Birth: “I didn’t want to make a mess!” by Gisela Bardossy

Gisela, Jose and Catalina
November 19, 2011: Welcome Catalina!

The plan for the day was to drive to Virginia to check out a car. However, while I was preparing breakfast I started feeling some waves that were more intense than usual (“wave” is the term for contraction in Hypnobabies) but still quite mild. The dealer was 45 minutes away from home in the opposite direction from the Birth Center, which was already 45 minutes away from home. For my first son, we didn’t make it to the Birth Center in time so I was taken to a hospital on the way there.

The waves were 5-6 minutes apart and 1 minute long but very mild. I just needed to pause for a minute while I was having them. However, after that, I felt perfectly fine and continued doing whatever I was doing. Just in case, we called one of our friends to see if she would be available to look after our son if needed. She was available so it seemed the perfect time to run to the Birth Center and get checked.

The waves at 2:30PM were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, so around 3:30PM we called the midwives. I was pleased to know that Joanne was on-call. She was also at the Birth Center waiting for another mom so it was not a big issue for her to just check me. Also Joanne was well aware that I was using Hypnobabies and judged it wise for me to go even if my waves felt very mild.

We called our friend and asked her to come over. When she arrived, Joaquin woke from his nap and was happy to see her. I continued to have waves on my way there but they spaced out. I wished there was a script that said ”every bump on the road, you relax more and more”or “every stop and go on the way, you relax more and more.” I remember joking about that with my husband after each wave. We arrived but by that time I felt completely ridiculous. I had to stop what I was doing but between waves I was completely fine. Joanne told me to go to my room. I refused, I preferred to go to her office and be checked there. I was ready to go back home to wait a little longer. We went to her office. The other mom arrived and Joanne ran to open the door for her. The other mom was quite loud. My husband and I started laughing, not at her but at the situation, I felt even more ridiculous. I put my pants back on. I was ready to run out of the door. After a while, another midwife, Niki, came to see how I was doing. I was doing great! I had waves but between waves I was laughing, talking, joking, and walking. We told her not to worry about us. We could wait and obviously the other mom needed help much more than we did.

We waited there for another 20 minutes or so, until the other mom had the baby, and Niki came to check me. She said that I was 5-6cm dilated. I asked if I could go home and come back later. She said that I could be admitted or I could go for a walk close to the Birth Center. We decided to go check out another car that was close by. We went back upstairs and decided to settle down before leaving. Quickly our plans started to change. After a few minutes I decided that we would just walk around the neighborhood, then just around the parking lot and finally, just inside the building. All this time I was in a great mood and laughing about how our plans kept changing. As the waves got closer it was funnier because I had to pause a minute and then I only had a minute or so to walk. I went to the bedroom and kneeled on the floor against the bed in a praying position. I found this position to be the most comfortable. It released any pressure on my pelvis and allowed me to rest and relax on the bed. While in the praying position, I recalled all the things that I have read in Ina May’s Childbirth Guide. I repeated to myself “open, open, open” and I would visualize my cervix opening and my baby descending, I would relax my jaw, and breath calmly and deeply so I could open up with every wave.

This time around, I didn’t enjoy the (Hypnobabies) scripts much. Often, I was battling the scripts because she would tell me to relax, and I would get very deep when I actually wanted to move around. I was ready to get my street clothes off and put some comfy PJs on. I did but the second I pulled my pants on, my bag of waters broke. I was not happy. I panicked! I had no other clothes to wear! Jose called Joanne and I ran to the bathroom where I sat on the toilet. I could envision a big mess and I didn’t want that. Joanne told me to get my butt off of the toilet and stop pushing. Pushing? Less than an hour had passed since they had checked me and admitted me into the Birth Center. I was fully dilated! I could push BUT I needed to get back to the room and on the bed. I fought her a little bit on that, I didn’t want to make a mess and the toilet felt quite comfortable and safe (mess wise).

I did eventually go to the bed and got on all fours. Jose sat by my side and rubbed my shoulder. I pushed one time. Joanne could see her head. While I was getting ready to push for the second time, I stared at Jose’s eyes and I told him “this is it” with a very big smile. I pushed one more time and Catalina was out. She was so beautiful and perfect. I turned around to get on my back and put her on my chest. The feeling was surreal. Everything went so fast, again, and smoothly. I was filled with joy. I could feel the hormones running through my veins. I was completely in love with my newborn daughter, I was so happy and I felt so radiant. She was born at 6:58PM. We waited until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing and Jose cut it. I nursed a few minutes until I felt I needed to push again and expel the placenta. Joanne found that I had two small tears. You might think that I have a very high pain threshold. Hell, no!

 

After that Joanne and the nurse left us alone in the room so we could enjoy the moment in the privacy of our family. An hour or so later, Jose left to get dinner. We were starving. I asked the nurse to hold Catalina for a few minutes so I could go to bathroom and shower. I got dressed and had Chinese food in the kitchen with Jose while the nurse completed all the tests on Catalina right there in our presence. I already knew she was tall. I could feel it in my belly. Around midnight we packed everything in the car and left to go home.

 

Our friend welcomed us home, met Catalina and left. Our son was sound asleep. We went to bed as well. We would introduce Catalina to Joaquin the next morning. So we did. He was extremely happy. I made Sunday pancakes.

I had the most wonderful birth experience. We think that we arrived at the Birth Center around 4:30PM so it was also very fast. (It took me longer to write this birth story than the actual birth.) I am deeply thankful to Ina May Gaskin and Kerry Tuschhoff (founder of Hypnobabies) for leadership and guidance on childbirth. I’m still amazed by the empowering effect these two people that I have never met had on me. We named our daughter Catalina May in honor of Ina May.