Heidi Gagliardi’s 2nd Non-Medicated Birth

36 Weeks – Doctor appointment – 0cm dilated, 0% effaced.  Had inconsistent practice surges, LOTS of them especially on our 2 day trip to Disney (Practice Surges = Braxton Hicks in Hypnobirthing language).

37 Weeks – Doctor appointment – 2cm dilated, 50% effaced!!! Progress!!! I was shocked and thought labor would happen within the next day or two and at the latest over the weekend.  Still had lots of practice surges with a few night of being up from 2am-6am with consistent surges. HYPNObirthing relaxation

38 Weeks – Doctor appointment – 4cm dilated, still 50% effaced…I’m still pregnant, lol, but more progress!!! Yay!  And yes, still having many practice surges.  I was beginning to get a little confused on how I was going to tell when I was really in labor because I was having them all the time.  My friend/doula continued to reassure me that I would know when the real time was here.  Acupuncture sesh

39 Weeks – Doctor appointment – 4 almost 5cm dilated 70% effaced.  OMG, I am in disbelief that I am still pregnant!!! But yay again for more progress!  Acupuncture

39 Weeks 2 days –

Saturday 4/11 – 3:00am – Waters start to release (waters release = water breaking in Hypnobirthing language).  Was not 100% sure that’s what was happening yet.
All Day – My mind began to wonder and fret about the timeline of events.  If my waters were releasing, I was going to need to birth the baby within the next 24-48 hours for safety reasons for us both.  And not wanting meds, I knew that if I didn’t have consistent contractions, I would need something such as Pitocin to get labor going.  After talking to Crystal about my fears, I made up my mind that was the worst case scenario and that I would still have Pitocin without an epidural if need be to get contractions going.  Also because of Crystal and her encouragement, I would force myself to go back to thinking, this is going to work Heidi, don’t fret.  Your body is slowly prepping for labor and you will birth in the appropriate amount of time.
All Day – Waters continue to release with other pre labor discharge (so gross, lol)
6:00pm – Acupuncture at my house with Crystal Fedele.  Total relaxation and natural high.  I had not experienced this with acupuncture before.  My mother in law was there and she said I began to talk funny and act loopy.  Hahaha!

8:30pm – Was sitting in bed, got up and waters released in a large amount.  Confirmation that my waters had released!
10:30pm – Some surges started (surges = contractions in Hypnobirthing language)

11:45pm – Woke up to surges that were noticeably stronger, but still very inconsistent time wise.  I did not get excited because of the last two weeks and being teased with practice surges/labor.  I asked my husband Mike, to assist me to the restroom.  I wanted to get rid of bowels just in case I did go into labor.  As I was sitting on the porcelain throne, consistent contractions about 1 minute apart starting coming on strong and hard.  I felt as though I was stuck on the throne!  It was awful and my husband was concerned for me!  I told him I wasn’t sure what was going on and that we may need to call Crystal soon.

Sunday 4/12 – 12:45pm – Finally was able to get off the porcelain throne and was traumatized for a bit.  My practice surges became real and they came on strong and hard every 3 minutes apart.

2:00am – I made sure they were consistent before calling Crystal to come over.  Mike and I were concerned that maybe we should just meet her at the hospital.  I decided we would wait for her to assess me and then all decide together.  Mike was super helpful during each surge.  I did not have all back labor this time, but did have some and he would press my hips together to relieve surge discomfort.   Mike and I need to throw some stuff in the car, so I would waddle behind him and yell at him, “I’m having one, drop it” so he could come over to press my hips.  I also, labored standing on the floor at the edge of the bed in our room squatting through the surges, while he pressed my hips.  I began to lose it, telling Mike, I can’t do this, this hurts so bad.  In my mind I was beating myself up for choosing this type of birth and not getting an epidural.  I knew I had to stop thinking this way.  I told Mike, “Tell me something good, tell me I can do this”.  He then reminded me that I had done this before and that with each uncomfortable surge I was getting closer to meet my Sweet Sofia.  I then, began to talk to Sofia during each surge, telling her that I was excited to meet her.  This helped so much in my struggle with the discomfort.  It’s vital during this time in a natural birth to find your stride, your comfort zone.  For each person that will be something different.  For me, it was talking out loud to my unborn baby, wanting to work together with her to get this done.

2:30am – Crystal arrived at my house.  Her presence is incredible!  She comes in with the calmest energy I’ve ever seen or felt in my life.  I remember sitting there, having strong uncomfortable surges, looking at her thinking… I could never do what she does as a doula.  This is awful to watch women struggle like this.  Obviously, I have/had been contemplating being a doula.  Crystal also informed me that since my waters had released, everything was going to feel more intense with each surge.  This also helped me to cope with what I was going through.  I knew it wasn’t going to subside until I pushed Sweet Sofia out.  Crystal gave the cue and said, “Ok, honey, we need to make our way to the hospital.”  Music to my ears!  I was about to meet my baby!

2:45am – Leave for Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center.  Mike and I called my doctor on the way.  I had not called yet because it was the weekend and I wasn’t sure if my doctor, Dr. Gilmore, was on call.  I didn’t want to get worked up over not having her and I also, wasn’t sure that my waters had released until later that night. To my surprise, Dr. Gilmore was on call!  During a break from a surge, I screamed in excitement, WAHOO!  This definitely boosted my positive mind frame efforts. I also road to the hospital facing backwards in the front seat on my knees holding the head rest with a pillow under me.  Nothing about that ride was comfortable or fun.  I just continued to try to breathe through the discomfort and as Crystal had coached me, through my pelvis, down to my toes.  Really, help each surge reach its maximum potential of opening and softening my cervix.  I saw the beautiful moon and then the hospital was in sight.  We made it, Thank You God!

3:15am – Walking through the E.R. and all the doors were closed to try and get to the 4th floor birthing unit.  I was familiar with the hospital and was upset at this.  The security guard was caught off guard and I was grunting and being my usual dramatic self through each surge.  I told her, “This is my second baby, I need to get to the 4th floor and quick.  She ran over and opened the doors to let us through with her badge.  She then followed us and watched me have a surge.  I was grunting through them at this point feeling like I wanted to push.  She said you need to sit in a wheelchair.  I quickly responded, I am NOT going to sit in a wheelchair.  Mike and Crystal chuckled and as she radioed for help (bc she thought I was going to birth there on the floor) we waddled into the elevator and quickly closed to door away from her.  Mike was saying hurry, hurry, she’s coming.  I wanted to laugh but I couldn’t.

3:20am – We made it to the 4th Floor Birthing Unit!  They took us into Triage and checked me, I was 8cm and fully effaced.  This is called Transition!  Yay!  This was really going to happen!

3:25am – We were put in our birthing room and I hated having to switch beds, every movement was difficult.  I wound up laying on my left side and calmly laying through each surge with Crystal’s help.  I was holding her hand and staring into her eyes and truly trying to let go and let my body and baby do the work.  This is one of the hardest things for me to do.  To release my mind and control and surrender to the natural part of birthing.  I asked Crystal a few times, am I doing ok and do I look ok?  She would smiley gently and say yes honey you are.  The wonderful nurse Sharon was telling me to breath through wanting to push because the doctor was not there yet.  I didn’t mind her saying that because she was nice and she didn’t bother me.  She mentioned that she had done natural birthing herself so she was on my side (lol).  I quickly had Mike pass around my birth plan so they could see my wishes with my Sweet Sofia after she was born (that of course had been approved with Dr. Gilmore and signed off on).

3:50am – Dr. Gilmore arrived.  She was her usual, calm, half asleep, yet happy self.  I felt the urge to push.  I pushed and immediately backed off and in my mind thought, oh gosh, that sucks.  So, I was determined to get her out on the next push no matter what.  I took a solid minute to gather my strength and bared down to push again.  I was able to get her head out and took one more deep breath and birthed the rest of her body out.  Wahoo!  Immediate relief, thank you Jesus!

3:55am – Sweet Sofia Michelle was born 4-12-15 a healthy 8lbs 6oz and 19.75in long.

We took the first hour after birth to bond.  I just starred at her in awe of God’s miracle he made.  The nursing staff wanting to take her and do their normal things, but I said I am going to bond with her for a while, so you may want to come back later.  They were kind and my wishes were granted.


Pre-Cursor to Heidi’s 2nd Non-Medicated Birth

I would like to give a little insight as to why I chose this type of birth twice.  I was fortunate enough to be my younger sisters birth partner in 2010.  She chose a non-medicated birth.  She followed HypnoBirthing®: the Mongan Method and began researching and studying all about it.  I was concerned for her because I was not knowledgeable, but supportive nonetheless.  I did not read the book at this time.  I was really quite freaked out and afraid that she was going against the norm for birth.  I didn’t understand why someone would want to feel discomfort and pain.  I talked to several people close to me about this and they also shared my same thoughts.  Although I did not understand at that time, I felt a strong, raw woman energy and power from her as she spoke about it.  I trusted her intuition as a woman about to become a mother for the first time.  I was in amazement at her strength and lack of fear, it drew me in and I was addicted to that energy.  After seeing my nephew born into the world in a birth center with no medicine that solidified it for me.  It was amazing, it was peaceful, it was beautiful, it was nature at its finest and I was hooked even more than before.  My sister did an amazing job and I was honored to be able to help her through it.  She labored peacefully for 17 hours and birthed an 8lbs 13oz healthy baby boy with no medicine.  She did it and I was there right by her side every step of the way!  Now I wandered, could I also succeed at a non-medicated birth or did I even want to?  Hmmm, that was the question.

After actively trying, we became pregnant in March 2012 with our first daughter Giana Marie.  I started planning my natural birth by calling Crystal Fedele to see when I should sign up for HypnoBirthing® Classes.  She was kind and chuckled because I was only 12 weeks pregnant at that point. My sister and I had gone to her class together and I was excited to share this experience with Mike.  Choosing this method wasn’t easy, especially with a husband in the medical field.  He did not understand why I would want to feel discomfort and pain (sound familiar?).  He said to make sure that I wasn’t just trying to compete with my sister.  This was a good point because I am extremely competitive in everything that I do.  After doing some self checks, I assured myself that I at least wanted to try and attempt this non-medicated birth.  If I wanted, I could always change my mind.  Yes, yes, I could always change my mind and get the epidural if I wanted.  I am also terrified of needles so this helped in my efforts to try this type of birth.  Through my research and discussions about a non-medicated birth, I learned many things.  Some of the things that truly encouraged me to keep going forward were that people who had opted to get the epidural said it did not take and they felt everything!  In my mind I thought, if that happens to me, then I will at least be prepared for it a little and not be in shock for what I’m about to experience.  Then, I also read that many people had negative lasting effects from the epidural.  Things as little as headaches for a month or longer and other side affects more dramatic like not being able to walk for 6 months.   Again, encouraging to at least attempt without the epidural.

The whole pregnancy with Giana, I was active working out 4-5 times a week.  I did cardio and yoga and ate a healthy diet of course treating my sweet tooth as often as I wanted.  I gained 32lbs that pregnancy and felt that was a healthy amount.  I really, really wanted to make it to 40 weeks with Giana.  I felt it was really important to carry full term.  I did make it, made it to 41 weeks!  I then became concerned about when I would go into labor naturally and not wanting my doctor to tell me I needed to be medically induced.  I was dead set against that.  I called Crystal and she prescribed some Chinese herbal tea along with some other homeopathic remedies to help encourage labor without needing Cervadil or Pitocin at the hospital.  It worked!  I went into labor on a Thursday evening and after 36 hours of back labor, birthed my first born daughter on Saturday morning at 2:17am with no medicine.   I did it! Giana was a nice healthy baby.  She weighed 8lbs 9oz and was 21 inches long.  I did not invite anyone into the room family wise.   Only me, Mike, my doula Crystal and the amazing Dr. Gilmore and other hospital staff.   My mom was mad and worried the entire time.  I was not able to communicate well to either side of the family because back labor needed some serious focus and concentration as well as calming from Mike and my doula Crystal! I was also extremely afraid of failing and getting the epidural and did not want anyone else to see that. Although I did not have my mom or any other female family members in the room with me, it was still an amazing experience.  I was so incredibly happy that I had succeeded and accomplished a very important goal.


Moral of this pre cursor is do not judge a non-medicated birth until you research and become more knowledgeable on the subject.  I learned first hand that knowledge is power and I am forever grateful to have experienced two non-medicated births.  Truly amazing and inspiring events in my life.

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