Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hypno What?

HypnoBirthing and HypnoBabies are the methods I'm choosing to birth baby M.

Maya and Mason were born using HypnoBirthing. I have lost my HypnoBirthing CD's, so my friend Julie let me borrow her HypnoBabies CD's to practice with, so I'm combining the two. They are basically one in the same.

What is HypnoBirthing and HypnoBabies (HB)

HB are natural virtually pain-free birthing techniques. Women's bodies are made to birth babies, and women all over the world birth easily and comfortably. The Western World has this infatuation with birthing stories, it is equivalent to men's fishing stories. The fish is bigger and bigger each year, just as our birthing stories get worse and worse. Deep down most of us have these fears of birthing, what if this or that happens, the pain, c-sections, the needle of the epidural etc. As we start to labor we experience fear, is it going to be painful, how long is it going to last? Our bodies go into a fight or flight mode. As this happens, blood is rushed to our extremities and away from the uterus where we need the blood and oxygen the most. The cervix is trying to open up and due to lack of blood, oxygen, and our tense muscles, it can't open without pain.

With practice, you can release your birthing fears and teach your body how to quickly get into a very deep relaxed state. As labor begins, it is important to get your body relaxed, and the contractions feel like a tightening and nothing more.


I remember going into labor with Reece and calling my mom at 3 in the morning. I was in excruciating pain, she told me to lay down, take some deep breaths and relax. It seemed to help. At the appropriate time, we went to the hospital, they checked me and I was at a 3. I was in excruciating pain at a 3??? I was never planning on delivering natural with Reece, I received my epidural when I was at a 5 and bawling because I didn't think I could lay still through a contraction. They warned me that I could be paralyzed with one wrong move of the needle. WHAT?!?!? I have to lay perfectly still through a contraction or I could be paralyzed? In the end, I had a beautiful amazing birth with Reece and I wouldn't go back and do it any other way. But, I knew for my next baby, there had to be a better way to birthing.

I am not anti-epidural, please don't get me wrong. For some women, it is the only way and the only option, I'm cool with that. There are a lot of possible side effects from an epidural, and after looking into them and deep down I knew that there had to be another way. For me, natural child birth is just that, a better way.

Natural Child Birth

Maya was my first natural child birth baby. I still remembered the pain accompanying Reece's labor, and in the back of my head I never really forgot that or convinced myself that natural child birth could be pain free. Michael was working late the night I went into labor. I was sitting with the neighbors on the front lawn, making sure to be focused, calm and relaxed. They were timing my contractions for me and writing them down. The contractions got close enough together to go to the hospital, they convinced me I needed to call Michael to come home. I was thinking that if I went to the hospital at that point, for sure they would send me home, none of the contractions hurt. It had to be false labor. I finally called Michael. I told him to wait maybe 30 minutes, then come home. As we were about to say good-bye, my water broke, I told him to come home right then. The neighbors were trying to convince me to let them take me to the hospital. I brushed it off, just knowing I had plenty of time until delivery. Michael wanted to rush me to the hospital, just because it is very rare that you get the excuse to speed somewhere. Luckily he drove fast! We got to the hospital and since it was after hours the doors were locked and there was no valet. Talk about a time to need a valet! (Do a google search for Brian Regan's comedy bit on this!) Michael dropped me off to go park as I'm ringing the intercom telling them to let me in, I'm having a baby. About 10 minutes later, Maya was born. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! The euphoria afterwards is like nothing else I have experienced, multiply runners high by about 100.

I had learned my lesson with Maya and was determined to go to the hospital earlier when delivering Mason. I wanted plenty of time at the hospital, I didn't want to be transitioning in the car, or worse yet, deliver in the car on the freeway. Again, contractions were close enough together to go to the hospital, but there was no pain involved. We got to the hospital and I had plenty of time to relax and get settled in. The nurses didn't think I was very far along so they asked me if I wanted to get into the bath. I did. About 5 minutes later I was ready to push and by that point it was to late to get back into the bed. Mason ended up being a water birth. Total time at the hospital before birth was 2 hours. The nurses were shocked and amazed that I delivered him and had no clue I was so far along. It was again, such an amazing experience.

What are the benefits?

The biggest benefit for me was the recovery time. I was up and walking around just minutes after delivery and able to see the babes get their first bath. With the epidural I was bound to the bed for hours after the effects wore off everywhere but my left leg. The weeks following delivery were so much easier as well. An epidural birth, the doctors/nurses tell you when to push, you could be at a 10 for an hour, waiting for the doctor to arrive so you can push the baby out. With natural child birth, your body is able to tell you when it is time to push. There is also the expense of the epidural, of course we have insurance, but we still would end up paying a portion of the bill. My natural child birthed babies have been much more alert than Reece was.

What does HB entail?

Well, each morning I listen to affirmations that help release any fears that I may have and help me focus on staying positive. I listen to it while I'm cleaning the house. The kids like to repeat phrases to me such as, "I love my pregnant body". I think we will each have it memorized by the time I have this baby. At night I practice the relaxation techniques with my ipod. There have been a few nights where I have decided not to practice and there is a considerable difference in how I sleep. Nights I don't practice, I toss and turn, I'm not as comfortable, and I don't feel as refreshed in the morning. Delivery day, you can expect a faster labor, a very calm environment in your room, and a very exciting, beautiful, natural delivery.

What about being induced?

I would allow the doctors to induce me as long as it was medically necessary, and that would be the only reason. Babies are born when they are ready and a chemical called Oxytocin which start the contractions is released. Pitocin is a stronger synthetic form of Oxytocin and is used when inducing babies. It has been said that it causes stress on the mother's body as well as the babies. There is also a higher risk of c-section when Pitocin is used. Pitocin and epidurals also work against each other. Pitocin will increase the intensity and duration of contractions, while an epidural will often slow them down, causing the need for more pitocin, causing a downward spiral.

Natural child birth is NOT for everyone or for every situation. We have modern medicine, and thank goodness for it! Hopefully if you have ever thought about natural child birth or had questions about it, this post answered some of those questions. Please don't feel that I judge anyone in their choices for childbirth, it is a very personal choice and everyone will do what is best for themselves. For me, this is what works best.


Rich and Nichole said...

I still remember the driveway "almost birth"-- and it still makes me smile. You are an amzaing woman and such a good example to your daughter. What a gift for her to have a mother so intune to her body and one who loves her body. Good luck with it all! I will be looking for the post that baby M is here!

Jamie said...

How exciting that you're getting close to the end. Thanks for that thoughtful post. I'm sure everything will go great for your delivery and then we will all get to see some darling pictures of baby M!

Holly | Reed Photographic said...

Very interesting post! I sincerely wish I could do it naturally. Even if it hurt, I'd take any amount of pain to avoid the five day hospital stay after the c-section. With Robbie I spent about 22 hours in "natural" labor with a non-functioning epidural. Epidurals are NOT perfect! I am just glad they replaced the epidural before the c-section.

Jennifer said...

I think this is awesome and applaud you for how conscientious you are of other women's decisions, in concert with their doctors. Perhaps modern natural birthing gets a bad rap for how fiercely "my way or the highway" so many of its proponents are. I really wanted to do hypnobirthing or a water birth with #3, but my doctor said that after my emergency c-section with #2, he said he'd have me on so many monitors that being in the hottub was out of the question.

Ultimately I didn't have her natural. Sigh. She was overdue and I had to be induced. I think there's a lot to it about introduced oxytocin making labors harder. While I did need an epidural for her birth, I think the relaxation methods I'd practiced during her pregnancy helped a lot when I had to have a version procedure a week earlier to turn her from being breech. Two doctors pushed and twisted with all their might to turn her around. Ouch!

Which reminds me . . . tell your babystrology widget that it's breech and better get a move on!

Kim Sue Ellen said...

Totally awesome post...thank you! My friend is doing this Hypnobirthing...I just wish I had jumped on the train faster...I worry that I wouldn't have enough time to get myself where I need to be...your experiences sound wonderful.

Tay and Teigan said...

Hey Marisa . . . Congrats on baby #4. You look great! I have been wanting to look into hypnobirthing . . . any recommendations for books or good ways to prepare. I am 31 weeks along . . . do you think I could be ready in time?

marisa said...

Kim and Teigan, it isn't too late to do hypnobirthing. I would say you only need about a month to practice. You could start by reading Hypnobirthing: A Celebration of Life by Marie Mongan. For a first time hypnobirth, I would definately take a class, for additional babies after that you could take a refresher course or just re-read the book and practice with the cd's. Good luck in your pregnancies and deliveries!

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