Thursday, March 1, 2012


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.
No matter how much you convince yourself a normal healthy pregnancy can go to 42 weeks, the clock really starts ticking once you hit that due date, and since I wanted to have a VBAC, not another cesarean, I was well aware that my chances decreased with each day past that due date.
I was getting a little neurotic, a little panicked that maybe, as much as my pregnancy was totally normal, there might be something wrong with me where actually, my body would NEVER go into labor- er, have a *birthing time*. Thats a little like what happened with Akiva, my water broke but then... nothing happened. So this seemed like a possibility. I might be pregnant. For. Ever.
So when I had pressure waves at night I was very excited and boy did they seem easy- even comfortable! I guess I really had hypnotized myself! Until they stopped in the morning, and nothing happened for the rest of the day.
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* which culminated in a sort of popping sensation and something like what I thought could totally be my water breaking! wasn't.
This was OK, because at least something was HAPPENING, and at least I wasn't even 41 weeks yet, and I was very excited anyways that my pressure waves were so easy and comfortable. 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. I was very excited for my totally natural unmedicated easy birthing time, even after hours and hours if it was looking like it wasn't going to be *fast*.
I'll spare you any description of the hours spent all day listening to my hypnosis tracks, doing my best to stay comfortable, or how my when my water did actually break, it was about 10 feet outside of my OB's office, so I had to walk into a waiting room with my massive, overdue belly and sopping wet pants, grimacing through my *pressure waves* terrifying a newly pregnant couple who was waiting there for the last appointment of the day.
NOTE: if you are in labor and your water hasn't broken, don't leave the house without a fresh pair of pants. Obvious, right? Not to me. Yes, I had to sit in wet pants in the car the whole way home...
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.
My OB suggested turning the drugs off so I could push, and this seemed like the right thing to do, but it since I ended up pushing for 3 and a half HOURS this was easier said than done. I have heard stories of women pushing for 3 and a half minutes. Of babies seemingly falling out of their bodies while in a taxi or the shower. I knew that my chances of having that happen were slim, but I did not expect to spike a fever, have the baby's heart rate skyrocket, and have the head of labor and delivery march into my hospital room to pull the plug on my whole VBAC. Well, actually, my amazing OB fought for me. And I began to ignore the nurse who was counting ONE TWO THREE FOUR....! as I pushed, but 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.

*** I do still maintain that hypnosis for childbirth is absolutely worthwhile and one of the best things I could have done to prepare for having my baby. I strongly encourage women to have drug free births, the fever I spiked was most likely a result of the epidural and if it wasn't for my outstanding OB literally arguing against the hospital, that epidural would have directly resulted in another c-section for me. VBACs have their own issues, and my hypnosis did help me tremendously!***


  1. congratulations on the baby, the hypnosis and the VBAC (mostly on the baby, though!)

  2. Hi - Many congratulations to you! I absolutely love your work and hope to see you back on big or small screen soon - after some time home with your little one, of course!

    I pushed for like 3.5-4 hours (gets hazy, doesn't it?). When I hear about "three pushes and the baby was out!" people I just sorta screw up my face and think "how is that even POSSIBLE?"


  3. This is beautiful. I had my first baby via c-section - she was footling breech. I have since had 4 VBACs all at home. I remember that feeling when I was pushing and I could feel the baby coming down, thinking, "I can not believe I am doing this!".
    Don't beat yourself up about getting an epidural. You did great. You are a rockstar, don't forget it.
    Congratulations on your sweet new baby!

  4. Congratulations! I'm so glad you had a doctor who was willing to go against the grain for you. They're so rare. I hope you will not feel too bad about the medication. I know how hard it is to plan a natural birth and have things go awry, but you did an amazing job! Be proud of yourself. Thank you for posting your story.

  5. Congratulations! I've had 2 VBACs (after 2 prior cesareans) myself. You should become the celebrity spokesperson for ICAN :) Enjoy that VBAC high, warrior mama!

  6. Congratulations!! I've been listening to hypnobabies in preparation for my own vbac (any day now!) and your take on it made me LOL. It sounds like you were quite a trooper, and that you really had to hold your ground. Way to go!!

  7. Awesome story! I also used Hypnobabies during my first VBAC pregnancy. It was incredibly calming during pregnancy, but I kind of flipped out and didn't use it in labor (I did get my VBAC though). Still worth it, though, and I am going to try again for my next baby. Congratulations on your VBAC and baby!

  8. All these hypnobabies mamas! It is super relaxing and wonderful right? And VBACs too! It makes me very happy to know women are making such healthy choices for themselves and their babies. VBACs are tough, right? Congrats to you all!

  9. Beautiful story! It's honest and candid and wise and, again, just beautiful. And I love how your humor shines through in it too. Congratulations!!!

    I second the call to become a celebrity spokesmama for ICAN! :-)

  10. Anne I am a huge fan of your work, I am a jaded TV watcher but your death ep on House was the first and last time in a LONG age that I sobbed and sobbed at something on the small screen. Amazing. A friend tipped me off that you'd just had a VBAC and I had to come congratulate you as I know how hard that can be in our current birth climate. I had a cesarean and then two VBACs and it was so amazing to just do little things like stand up straight to take a shower after the VBACs instead of doing the "c-section hunch". Thank you for sharing your experience with the world and letting other women know that VBAC can be a great option for most women. I love that your OB advocated for you and said you were strong.. you were! How easy it would have been to just have another cesarean and never know what your body was capable of. Loved your story. :-) Enjoy getting to know your new baby!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your VBAC story. You are an inspiration! I'm sure many mommas will be encouraged by your birth story. Congratulations on your VBAC and have a beautiful babymoon!

  12. Your body rocks, and YOU did it! I had an hbac in 2009 and am still on the birth high. Thanks so much for sharin your story. I am an active iCAN member, and clicked the link from their Web site to here. You're an inspiration!

  13. Congratulations!!Nothing like a VBAC-such a different recovery with the natural endorphines and hormones kicking in. Don't you feel like you can do ANYTHING now? How is your pelvic floor w/ 3+ hrs of pushing?? Enjoy your sweet girl

  14. Anne, I've always heard VBACs are extremely difficult. Congrats on getting through this so well. It's hard to avoid C-Secs these days, it seems. Doctors push them on women... perhaps at times sensibly, and at times not so much.
    It sounds like a hard birth, but I am so glad you're through it safely and have a lovely little girl.
    Look forward to seeing photos of Saskia. I hope she and Akiva get on well. My best to Hope and Jeff!

  15. Anne,

    On behalf of the entire ICAN organization, (International Cesarean Awareness Network) I would like to congratulate you on the birth of your daughter and your beautiful birth story! So amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your story here and for being an inspiration to so many women.

    I'm a VBAC mom myself and it was through ICAN and the support and resources they gave me that I was able to have my own VBAC.

    I would love the opportunity to talk more about your experience. I head up the Publications for the non-profit org. ICAN and we will be doing an entire issue of our quarterly publication (The Clarion) on VBAC. If you are interested in talking more please feel free to email me: publications at

  16. I was linked to your story from the ICAN | Blog. Congratulations on your sweet baby girl, your VBAC and of course, on your *birthing time* actually coming!
    I can relate to the Sopping Wet Pants Thing. Every baby shower I attend, the expectant gets a cozy pair of yoga pants to take everywhere, "just in case."
    ;) Blessings! Enjoy your babymoon.

  17. congratulations on your new baby, and on your VBAC!
    it's been so fun to read your blog and discover that you're nothing like the two roles i've seen you in.. cutthroat bitch in house and super crazy cutthroat bitch in big love :)

  18. Sweet Mama Anne,
    This is an amazing, powerful, beautiful story, but there is something missing. Speaking as someone who had the honor of being a part of this process, and knowing your humble, sweet soul- since you didn't make enough mention of it, I will.
    Anne, you worked your patooty off to make this happen! You insisted on a supportive care-provider, were pro-active again and again and again throughout your pregnancy and birth, researched, invested in Hypnobabies classes so that you AND your partner would be in this process as a team (and what an awesome birth partner you had!!), hired a doula, asked lots of questions, and so much more that I won't even mention here. YOU had a VBAC dream and then made that your reality. YOU never gave up! YOU proved so many nay-sayers wrong! YOU inspired me...and I know that as you continue to share your experience, your actions and story will continue to inspire other women as well.
    You are a marvel of a mother and oh, what what a role model for other moms who are on their paths to VBACs!

  19. Congratulations mama! What a beautiful story!

  20. Congratulations on your VBAC! You did an amazing job. :)

  21. I'm so glad you are opposed to people hitting kids and are fiercely judgemental when you hear of it! I, and all of us really here at Quarry Hill, feel the same way.
    Many good days for you and your lovely children and talented husband. Hope to see much more of you as an actress in the future.