Lisa's first two labors were short and intense, with none of the usual build-up typical of most labors. "I started in transition and stayed there." A 6-hour labor for the first, 3 hours for the second. She hoped hypnosis would give her some added tools for this third labor.
This one started quite differently from her previous two. She lost the mucus plug and began having regular contractions, approximately every 15 minutes. Like their previous two births, they had planned for a home birth and knowing her previous track record for fast births, they called the midwives right away at 5 am. The contractions continued closer together, strong enough to get her attention, too strong to want to walk through them. Lisa and Michael used the relaxation and breathing just as they had practiced, the music playing in the background. She found the long slow inhales really felt good with the contractions and described this part of her labor as painless. Sometimes after a contraction, she would ask her husband if she looked like the women in the videos, because that's how she felt.
Shortly before noon, her labor stopped, and she had the chance for a nice long nap. Most of the birth attendants went home for the time being to wait for labor to start again.
About 4 p.m., she had one really strong contraction, but no more until almost 7:30 p.m. The rest of her labor from 7:30 p.m. until the birth at 8:55 p.m. remained intense, with the contractions very strong and very close together. At this stage, she found that what worked best for her were low guttural moans that vibrated deep in her chest. She adopted a hands and knees position, focusing on the exhale with each contraction and making the moans resonate low and deep throughout her body. Allowing the muscles of the uterus to do all the work, she breathed her daughter Ahmae into the world without any active pushing. The head slipped gently through the rim of the perineum. The cord was wrapped twice around the neck, so the midwife tilted the head carefully to one side in order to let the body fold out behind it, then once completely delivered easily unlooped the cord from the neck. Helping Lisa to turn onto her back, they laid Ahmae on her stomach. From the first the baby was calm and quiet, her eyes wide open and taking in the world around her.
Afterwards Lisa thought back on her experience. She believed that hypnosis might have helped her slow her labor down, allowing her to use the tools she had practiced. She described the last hour and a half as painful, but no more than she had skills to cope. She thought that perhaps if they could have slowed the labor a little at the end, with warm water, that maybe she have continued using the breathing and relaxation as they had practiced. But with the intensity she experienced at the end, she was able to release and trust her body, finding the low instinctual moaning to be the better tool for her to cope in that situation. She chose not to use the imagery during her labor, saying that she knew she could use her imagination to take her somewhere else, but that there was no where else she wanted to be in that moment.