What an inspiring birth! Nikkala is a great story teller! Nikkala and her husband took Hypnobirthing classes, hired a doula and had one of the best care providers in town. She tells how her confidence levels skyrocketed while attending classes with her husband. Nikkala mentions what they learned in Breastfeeding and Newborn classes helped to strengthen their relationship and prepare them for the postpartum time. They created an incredible support system through their pregnancy and had a beautiful birth experience AND it was a cesarean birth! Is that possible? To have a beautiful cesarean birth? YES! And this family explains how.
While they prepare for their now for their second baby, a VBAC(vaginal birth after cesarean) birth, see the steps they took to own their birth experience and keep the vibe high along the way. Education and connection creates just what you and your baby need for the best birth experience possible!
– Hi, I’m Nikayla and this is my husband, Justin. We are pregnant with our second baby but wanted to take a little bit of time today to share our story of the birth of our first daughter, who’s eight months old and our experience with Hypnobirthing and how it really helped us in our first journey, getting our daughter earth-side and well it didn’t go the way we wanted. We feel that given the techniques that we’ve learned with Hypnobirthing we’re gonna be able to have a successful VBAC and excited to share that if things don’t go the way that you planned how magical stuff can be.
So we started our Hypnobirthing journey, I am a very type A person, so I actually knew like days after getting pregnant that I wanted to do Hypnobirthing. And it was through my good friend, Dr. Mallory Snyder, she’s a powerful therapist and she just had the most wonderful things to say about Care. So we had a lot of guidance early on to find the doctor that we had who was Dr. Cap, knowing that we were a high risk case because I have something called ITP, which means that my body doesn’t clot well because I don’t have platelets, enough platelets.
So I knew that we had to deliver into the hospital although I did go and look at different birthing center options, found out what they can’t do that. So with the next best route I went to Dr. Cap, we also knew that we wanted to have as natural and birthing center like experience and so we knew that doula was so important for that and so maybe at week six I had a doula. We found out we were pregnant in October and by mid January I had dragged my husband to it the Hypnobirthing class. And I guess you can, the introductory class, you can talk to them how he felt about the Hypnobirthing introductory class.
– It was a lot and I was sort of mentally prepared but also it caught me off guard. I mean a lot of vagina talk. So yeah, when we first went to class, it was a little bit overwhelming but I think that we realized that the tools of visualization were gonna be key for us having a successful labor and birth. And yeah, from that moment on I was on board and we both used all the techniques, brought them home, practiced them, so that when it was game time we would be prepared and ready to go.
– Yeah and for me I think it was more, I think a big thing that they don’t really talk about in the introductory class Hypnobirthing is getting both partners on the same page. For me it was invaluable to have him understand everything a woman goes through, during her prenatal term and then her also for postpartum and for him to understand that after every single class that we had every Tuesday, he just left with just such like an admiration for what I was going through and a deeper understanding of like this journey that I had to embark on. Thankfully not so like I heard him, he actually said to me one time, although I’m not sure if he needs it now, that he’s actually a little bit jealous that I get to have this experience because the way that Hypnobirthing frames it, is it’s just such a deeply connecting experience and that is a hundred percent true. And it’s unique to a woman and it’s something that we can only experience. But it was just nice to have my partner understand that but also understand all the hurdles that we were gonna have to jump over and just be there and on the same page because I didn’t have one moment in Hypnobirth where I didn’t feel like he was in lock step with me.
I thought that for my labor, I had been leaking or everyone kept telling me I was a peeing but I had like a little bit of a leak for a couple of days, so I had a feeling that something was gonna happen really soon. I was just shy of 39 weeks and at 2:00 am I woke up and I went to the bathroom and I actually woke up in a small pool of water, nothing like actual water breaking went to the bathroom and I lost my mucus. I knew that something like actually was starting. I went and told him very calmly like, I think something’s happening, I’m not really sure I have mild contractions but it’s nothing like where I couldn’t operate normally.
I actually continued to work, nothing was really faced. I went and got acupuncture that day. Things were gradually increasing throughout the day but nothing to a point where we wanted to like shut everything down quite yet. It wasn’t until about 9:00 pm that night, where I was like, okay, I think I need to go into my den, we need to darken things up a little bit just because I didn’t wanna be around lights and TV and anything, I wanted to really turn inward and focus on the labor. So I got into the bath, I think I was really, really starting to get into my labor journey at that point. So it was about probably 15 hours in, from when I actually like lost my mucus plug and I shut everything down, like we didn’t have any text messages, I didn’t have anything, I gave Justin my phone I didn’t wanna be, I just wanted to be connecting with the baby. And that’s one thing that we learned in Hypnobirthing.
I’m typically the kind of person who’s like live updates on everything, let’s tell everybody and I knew from early on after going to Hypnobirthing that how important it was to turn inward and then to focus on me and the baby, to not create that amount of pressure or to create just like expectation and people asking, even for him too, I just knew it was so important that we had that privacy and to be able to honor our experience of our daughter’s birth. And so
– It made all the difference. We would walk, we just connected, we put on music, lit some candles and just made it, it was really special. And I think I was a little taken back by the whole, like how intimate it was.
– Yeah it was really beautiful. We went into our room actually my sister was here watching Disco and we’ve turned our Hypnobirthing tracks on, we had just amazing music in the background, really dimly lit candles, I was on the ball, we had him like rubbing my back and just doing all these different positions, Care is completely right, whatever that you think you liked in the class, you will do the exact opposite of, when you were laboring, so just get comfortable with all the different positions. One of my favorite parts of labor was like, your body is so intelligent. You have an ability to, what you think you’re experiencing, for me at 2:00 am with these contractions, is nothing like what you’re gonna experience minutes before you deliver your child. It is in much different level of just intensity, emotion, everything but your body has an amazing ability to recalibrate.
So, I didn’t really know my pain scale or anything or how that shifted until the baby was actually here. But looking back, it was just like, I would have certain contractions, I would have certain levels of pain and what I thought was this severity and then I would look at the clock and six hours have passed and the things felt equally as intense but you’re at a whole new level and your body is just so powerful. So I think one of the things for me in this next time around is kinda just surrendering to my body and kinda just letting it take the lead and not trying to overthink of like, oh you probably have this much longer to go or you have, you’re prepared for this, your body will do it for you.
And that’s one thing that was so invaluable for me to have that knowledge of Hypnobirthing to like go into and there’s the pamphlet that care gives you that talks about a euphoric birth, that talks about how your hormones work together and how an unmedicated birth is just so powerful because your hormones will again do it for you. You’ll have oxytocin that will then trigger the pain mitigation hormone and then everything it’s really strong ripple effect that I lived here. After we labored at home for a total of 48 hours and I didn’t until the last two hours actually feel like, okay, this is to a point where I think I need to go and be in the space that I’m gonna be in to deliver this child but hey, I wish I could have had a home birth because I think that things would have gone a little bit differently and I would have felt a little bit safer but given the circumstances how it worked out was fine. But this next labor I know that my body can do it because hormones are so amazing, even postpartum hormones are crazy but they’re so, so amazing if you can feed and treat them right.
And having that like knowledge, now looking back to where we were in our room it was very magical. And just that like, I would have those contractions and Justin would be there hugging me, rubbing me, loving me and then after it stopped, we’d look at each other, we’d be crying and then you start cracking up. It was like this level of intimacy and connection and we were just like I’ve never wanted him more in my whole life. And I was like, oh but we have to be safe because I think my water’s broke so like I don’t know. It was just such an interesting experience just to have and it was just so powerful to go through that and like I said we did that for about 48 hours at home, I would say 24 hours.
We didn’t sleep at all that Thursday night because contractions and he was texting our doula and just letting her know what was going on. And we got up the next morning and we went to our doctor and found out that we were nowhere near as far along as that we thought that we were. So he suggested we go home and we kinda just chill and let labor take its course. So we did that, we came home It was a little bit discouraging just because after you’ve been what you think labor for so long looking back now it was such an enjoyable experience, it wasn’t like anything to be upset about but you’re so eager at the time. We came here, we chilled out, I think we watched a lot of rom-coms. And then again, like it was about four or five I went back into our room because I just had to be like the dark space, the den, I just knew that I needed to feel like very safe. And that’s when things really, really picked up for me.
And again it was a very similar to the same thing we did the night before, it was a lot of time in the shower. I now know that I was having a lot of back labor ’cause my daughter was posterior and so it was a different type of pressure and pain than with what’s described. And so it created us to be a little bit confused, some of what we were progressing pain is much higher it’s in your back so it’s not like the lower pain. And so I am very stoic and so if I can give anybody advice is to really just listen to your body. I think a first time moms, laboring moms, are kind of quick to rush to the hospital. We probably could have been a little bit more along on that side but it helps a little bit. So yeah, we did that until about 2:00 am when our doula like came over, who wanted Justin to get a little bit of sleep, which I think I gave him about 22 minutes before I decided to come out and tell him that I needed him and that I think that we should go to the hospital now because things are starting to feel a little different.
And I knew that I needed get some sleep and I wasn’t sure how it was gonna do that at home, because my issue I couldn’t really have any medicine so they could have given me something to like relax and help me sleep. And so at that point in my labor just because I was so exhausted I hadn’t slept, we made a decision that if we went to the hospital, that’s the amount of medicine that we would take, just to hopefully get baby where she needed to be and labor to progress where it needed to be. We had a very intense drive to the hospital, luckily it was 2:00 am so it was very fast and no traffic. We showed up to Encinitas and we were put into the room.
The hospital to be fully honest, wasn’t the most amazing experience coming from your house but I do think that’s because when they did check me I was nine centimeters dilated. So we showed up and kind of put everybody there into like a state of urgency. And so things just felt a little bit more rushed than they needed to be. It felt a little bit rushed by till I get where they’re coming from just because I was nine centimeters dilated and at that point, if labor was to progress, how it does in the textbooks, then the baby should’ve been here pretty quickly. From that moment on, I was in my own world, I was laboring, I was contracting.
– We put on our own music, we kept the lights low, made it as comfortable as we could. But I think that they were expecting the baby to come any second so things were pretty hectic and just nurses running around. It was just a matter of us trying to keep each other calm.
– And we were, I think that was like the most interesting part is when, one of the things that they tell you is in labor that’s scary is you kind of absorb whatever feelings your providers are giving you and it didn’t phase us. We were able to just because we had the training that we did and like knew the breathing and I looked to him, he looked to me, we knew how to communicate. That’s, again one of the things that during Hypnobirthing like we trusted each other so much in this experience that it was just like, I could look at him, I could read his face immediately and if he was calm and collected, like I was calm and collected. And I think that he’d even look at me and he wouldn’t mirror me, which was good, ’cause I think that I gave him a little bit more, now I know I gave him a little bit more stress then.
– I think that’s important. There was also the fact that your platelet issue, they were gonna give you anesthesia or a spinal block like there was a lot of other concerns that were on my mind and so it was important for me not to communicate that to you or so.
– So we got to the hospital at 4:00 am. We had another three hours passed, no baby had come. So at nine centimeters, that’s a little, what we now know, is just a little strange just because the baby should, when you’re progressing that quickly the baby usually comes. And so, we had been tipped off a little bit that something might not have been going according to what we wanted and so when Dr. Cap showed up at seven, they came in and I will admit that I had way too long of a birth plan, it was definitely a double sided. And I think we scared the nurses who walked in because of it. I was very particular about everything. And one of the things that we did was just kind of shift and jive. And we took the information that we were given looked at each other and made a decision that worked for us.
One of the things that we kept doing was, risk versus reward and constantly weighing that and even when you’re that deep into labor and you’re at nine centimeters, at that point especially after 52 hours, it’s not that you want the baby out, you want the baby to be safe and you want the mom safe. That’s a pretty long labor, it’s pretty taxing. And so at that point, they came in and asked me to break my water. I thought it had already broken about four times, apparently it didn’t, so they broke my water and then we started pushing for about three hours. or just practically looking back that’s probably one thing that I would’ve held off on a little bit longer only because knowing that my child had the biggest head and she was a nine pound three ounce baby, I think you needed a little bit of water to shift her where she needed to be.
Regardless, we did it we pushed for a very long time, for three hours and then at the end of those three hours we were at about the 56 hour mark. And because my platelets issue is and the exhaustion, we decided that for the safety of the baby and for me that it was best to go into a C-section. And that is when I think the level of intensity really went up, not because it was like a operating room it’s because of the risk of my platelet issue. I will say that everything, that was the calmest of our hospital experience, was actually going through and through the OR. I can’t say enough wonderful things of the hospital staff that is actually we were most reassured, we had such, such wonderful support, we were educated on every element of it, like what we were getting into. It was just my personal risk of going under. Dr. Cap was absolutely amazing and helping get us the right team that we needed. And I think we started pushing at about 10:45 and all I did was ask Dr. Cap, please cut me in a way that I can have vaginal delivery and I would love to just have a gentle ceasarean. And Dr. Cap usually has those standards, he’s one of the best doctors for more than natural mamas that have to deliver in a hospital. And so when we went into the OR it was high stakes type of experience but I felt so calm.
Again, it was just like, I had so much faith in my body and just the whole idea of people do this all the time, like mom’s labor, babies come, like obviously things can change and make these high risk but at no point did I feel high at risk and I think that’s actually why my body responded the way it did. It did what it needed to do. Dr. Cap who turned into a surgeon at that point, the anesthesiologists, everyone was just so amazed. Justin was able to come in and our daughter had meconium in her lungs and she had a little bit of umbilical cord wrapped on her, it was dropping, so I didn’t immediately get to grab her but Justin did. So they, everything on our birth plan from that element, went straight to dad. We got let the cord pulse for a little bit, all of those things still stayed. And then as soon as I was done in surgery, he brought her over I was able kiss her as soon as the surgery was done I went into the room and they put the baby on me and that was amazing. So it was definitely like a wild experience, it didn’t necessarily go to my birth plan by any means,
– Which is life.
– Yeah, which is life. I joke with my daughter that that she’s like our little Buddha, because she taught me so much before she was actually even aware of what she was teaching me. And that’s one of the biggest lessons that we’re taking into this next birth is like total surrender. You have to, Care to be just around all of her classes that you can only do so much until it’s up to the baby and the baby will decide the route that she wants to come in side or break the door, whatever you call it. You can only control so much up until the baby decides to take over. And that’s one of the things for me that I’m really embracing this pregnancy is kind of just release and control and enjoy the things that you love about your pregnancy and taking those tools.
So for us in this pregnancy, we’re doing a lot of breathing or I am doing a lot of more workouts that actually strengthen my abdomen and my transverse just so I can help push when baby does want to tighten hug baby throughout my pregnancy connect. We will be doing the Hypnobirthing tracks at night to help get me in the state and when I hear it, it’s just very relaxing. We are gonna do a refresher course with Hypnobirthing. It feels like we just did it. I think for us it was like a no brainer, that going into it, like the second plan practically are we gonna do a VBAC.
You know people are like, oh my gosh why would you do all these things? But for me it’s so important because it’s not my birth, it’s my baby’s birth. And I don’t want to take away the experience of her having that. I think the reason that Wiley, our first daughter, has thrived so much is that she went through like a full labor, she got all the hormones that she needed to from my body. After 56 hours we did everything but her push her out. And so that whole, again, like the hormone connection with the mom and baby everything, she got almost everything she needed in that. So I’m hoping with this baby we have a very similar experience and actually complete that cycle, just because I do believe it’s so powerful.
And I think medicine is and especially after having a spinal block, I think it’s insanely valuable for people but for me it’s just so important that the baby gets to come into the world as aware and as natural and as connected with mom as possible. And so that’s for me and for the baby I’m very much looking forward to that experience of pulling my second daughter out and just putting her on my chest and having that like golden hour where there’s just no bright lights, no anything. Yep, anything else?
– When you said you were gonna pull her out, I said I’m gonna catch.
– You know I feel like we’re a little bit of an anomaly in terms of our labor and our experience, I think generally they say that people kinda jump quickly to like go to the hospital and whatnot and I would say have a balance there. Trust yourself, you’re the woman, really trust yourself. You know so much more than you do. Your body is really powerful and will communicate with you and let you know, the moment that my mind and body connected and said it’s time to go to the hospital, was the perfect time for us to go to the hospital because we labored at home for so long, it allowed us to get to that nine centimeter mark. We showed up to the hospital and things progressed as they did, good, bad, right or wrong.
But it was an experience that for us at home was just invaluable and just connected us, made us so much closer and actually like looking back on our experience well, the 12 hours of labor that we had at the hospital wasn’t what we wanted before the 48 hours before were exactly what we wanted. So it was just really nice to have just the beautiful labor that we did and because we trusted ourselves so much, probably too much. ‘Cause I think you go for this next, one for us just knowing like what we went through, hoping that statistics are right, the second one is a lot faster but we’ll probably be a little bit more proactive and go to the hospital a little bit earlier but that’s for us like that. We have been able to learn and again it’s because of my high risk issues, if we didn’t have any of that, I would do the same exact thing again, show up at nine centimeters whatnot.
But now just because of, we know that I have to be on fluids, there are certain precautions that we have to take we’re gonna show up hopefully a little bit earlier, so that things are just a little bit more calm in the hospital. And then I would just say, I feel like one of the things that is really tough for moms just talking to friends that they’re pregnant just kinda getting their husbands or their partners on board for these. Hypnobirthing is five weeks, right? At five weeks, three hours on a Tuesday seems like a lot but it’s going to be the most important things you do for your relationship, for the birth of your child and just for you mentally, your confidence level is going to skyrocket. Like you are just gonna feel so prepared to go into this labor and so much of the fear is gonna be gone. Like everyone kept saying to me, like, aren’t you so scared to push the baby out? Aren’t you scared to push the baby out? I was like, no. I’m way more worried about day one with the baby and the experience of getting her here. Like I just felt so confident and so empowered through learning everything that I did and I felt like I could go into the hospital and own my experience. Like no one was gonna tell me, like you have to have this, this or that, I just felt so educated that I could be in charge in making the decisions of my experience. And I think he felt the same.
– I think that for a lot of dads, it can be this is mom’s experience but mom pays attention and she knows if you’re not connected. And it’s not gonna empower you or her or the relationship, if you’re just kind of letting her read all the books and do all the research. So take accountability. Maybe you read a book on becoming a new dad or any of the pamphlets that give you in Hypnobirthing. Yeah, because ultimately you want to connect, you wanna be there, you don’t wanna be absent in the whole process. And it’s not just during labor and during the act of birth but just the months leading up to it I think showing that you’re there, is gonna strengthen you, make you more confident, like you said but also just strengthen your relationship with your partner.
– Yeah, and in addition to Hypnobirthing, we actually did do breastfeeding class with Birth Education Center, we did newborn care, we did CPR and all of those classes helped us. Like one of the coolest thing goes is like, let dad like have their evening routine with the baby, like mom don’t get involved. And that was just so important for me to hear. Because it’s as he said, a lot of it is on mom in the beginning to kind of have that and we feel like we have to like own this whole experience but you don’t.
You and your partner should be sharing this. And that’s one of the things that Hypnobirthing just made us both come to realize is that this is such a shared experience. Like just because I’m carrying and just because I’m delivering, doesn’t mean I’m the sole provider, it doesn’t mean I’m the only one that’s working to get our daughter here, it was definitely a collective effort. Like I tell everybody I couldn’t not have done what I did naturally without Justin. So I think it’s just such an amazing testament just to let you do learning about Hypnobirthing and what you can achieve as a couple, if you implement a lot of practices.