Actress Anne Dubek, who plays Betty’s smoking, pregnant BFF on Mad Men, gave birth to her second baby this week and she tells the amazing story on her blog.
The highlights: She’d hoped for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and prepared by hiring a doula and taking hypno-birthing classes that are designed to help moms cope with pain in labor sans drugs. One key aspect of hypno-birthing is re-framing birth as a positive, powerful experience. Contractions are “pressure waves” or “rushes.” I’m pretty sure the actual word “pain” is verboten. So what happened???
Check this out:
“I was already 4 days past my ‘due’ date when the contractions… er *pressure waves* started. I had prepared for my VBAC by learning hypnosis for childbirth, and was convinced my *birthing time* would be relatively quick and easy. I listened to a very sweet woman’s voice on my hypnosis tracks ensuring me I would have a fast easy comfortable birthing time, so I was really looking forward to it. Fast, easy. Comfortable.”
But then the labor stopped (as it does sometimes!)…
“So, frustrated, feeling huge, feeling very hormonally emotional, feeling like my body had played that “psych!” game, I called my amazing doula, Mandy, who brought me another hypnosis CD called “Baby Come Out”, or “come out baby” or something like this. And again, in the middle of the night after listening to that nice woman on the cd, I had some more contractions!- sorry- *pressure waves*… Even when they had started to not be so comfortable, I felt like actually, it was just pressure, a big hug, as that nice woman in my hypnosis liked to say….”
Eventually the labor gets way more intense:
“I finally checked into the hospital late that evening, after about 10 hours of contractions, and I wasn’t at all close to having the baby. It was really, in all honesty, no where near comfortable anymore. It was agonizing. I might have been able to see 8 hours, even 10 hours of this as comfortable, but when I was looking at 20+ hours this was going to turn uncomfortable at some point. Really uncomfortable. Fucking insane, actually. And it did. I had a much welcomed epidural, and after about a total of 20 hours of contractions, my birthing time was no longer fast, it wasn’t easy, but with some drugs that I felt totally guilty taking, it was finally comfortable.”
The epidural relieved the pain but during the pushing stage a fever spiked (this is a common side-effect of epidurals that are in place for more than a few hours) and there was talk of a c-section. But she pushed through:
“… I actually DID like my OB yelling things like ‘you’re so strong! that’s it!’ and I would ask Mandy if she thought I could push the head out with the next push- and she always said “yes!” Like, 20 times. And sweet Matt’s gentle voice quietly telling me I was amazing…finally the head of labor and delivery who came in to tell me I needed another c-section left, and I did push Saskia out, and it was one of the weirdest and most intense things I could ever imagine. I reached down and put my hands under two tiny armpits and pulled her to me, huge cheeks bright red, her little eyes darting about, my sweet love. Welcome to the world Saskia.”
SOB! What a great story with so many elements of what it means to give birth in this day and age. I love the candor. I love all the nuance in her descriptions of both medications and the hypno-birthing. And what a long labor to power through. Good on you, Anne!