Evolution of My Attitude Towards Childbirth

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in My Pregnancy

My attitude towards labor and delivery has changed DRASTICALLY from the time before I got pregnant, then pregnant, then VERY pregnant, to NOW.

Before I was pregnant, birth was a hypothetical painful dreadful experience that we all have to deal with one day. It’s not something I wanted to think about at the time.

Once I got pregnant, that attitude changed to “yes it’s going to be horrible, but whatever it takes to bring my little baby into this world”.

After I watched some less-than-PG13 youtube videos of birth, I was horrified and was CONVINCED that the only way to do this was to “hook myself up to an epidural and try not to look down”. Once the fear passed and I got used to the idea of birth and the imagery of it, I was dreading it less, however I strongly felt that there was no reason for me to try natural birth, since we have things like epidurals that will keep you comfortable with minimal risk. I don’t know my pain threshold and I didn’t want to exactly test it ( I still don’t) and with everything that I read about an epidural, while I’d love to avoid it, I  just didn’t feel like the side effects justified going through so much pain.

There are some things that I can be strong about and blow people’s mind with my willpower, and there are others that I just don’t think I can do (running is a great example). We all do what we know we are capable of and I did not think I was capable of going through the pain of childbirth without an epidural. I also knew I definitely didn’t want any pain relievers aside from an epidural, so I figured I’d deal with the pain until I could get an epidural and hopefully I’d get it around 5 cm, so  it wouldn’t stall my labor.

I continued reading books about birth and relaxation techniques. I read the Bradley book along with the Bradley Partner book and found the information invaluable but not enough to change my mind about the epidural. It did help me understand the process better and that it’s natural and the mechanics of contractions and not to fear them as much but to relax during them. It really really helped me understand what really happens when the uterus contracts. I felt like that knowledge would take me to my 5 cm until I could get an epidural. I also loved reading about the emotional signposts of labor rather than going by dilation to judge the progress. It just made sense. {I’d be very curious to hear from any of you who knew about the emotional signposts going into labor , whether you recognized them  and whether it helped you know where you were at}

However, nothing in Bradley method made me think that I would want a natural birth, nothing promised it’d be roses and champagne and the best experience of my life, so I still wanted an epidural, BUT now I was willing to have a wait-and-see attitude. I wanted to see if I could do it naturally with the tools the Bradley book provided me and if not, I was perfectly ok with an epidural.

A few weeks later, I was reading one of the million pregnancy books I read weekly and they mentioned hypnobirth. I had been seeing the name “hypnobirth” and “hypnobabies” as ads on random birth related websites, but I always steered clear of them because 1.) I thought “hypnobirthing” had something to do with laboring under hypnosis and 2.) “Hypnobabies” just sounded strange… Babies under hypnosis? I didn’t even realize it was a labor technique. What do babies have to do with it?  I didn’t even want to look into it- I thought it was weird.

That was until one of my books mentioned hypnobirth saying that it’s a relaxation method for unmedicated birth and that some people swear they have painless “pleasant” experiences. I was intrigued. I instantly jumped on my iPhone and looked up some information. There was a lot of “sales pitches” online, so i was still skeptical even after I read about how it works. That was until I decided to look for videos on youtube, in case someone filmed a hypnobirth. Of course, someone did and I just kept watching hypnobirth video after hypnobirth video and I couldn’t believe that these women were completely relaxed, not screaming, not writhing in agony ( which is what we see everywhere else), not blaming their husbands for knocking them up (lol). One woman was so relaxed that her midwife completely missed the baby slipping out of her with 1 single sound “Agh”!

So the days of watching hypnobirth videos and researching began….

If I can have a natural birth without the agony that everyone else promises, and all you have to do is put some work and preparations into it (hello? It’s my specialty),then I am all for it!

To make a long story short, I settled on Hypnobabies program. If you know what hypnosis birth is all about, then skip the next part, but I wanted to write a bit about the concept of these programs for future mamas.

Basically, the concept is the following ( whether it’s hypnobirth or hypnobabies or any other hypnosis program):

It is a self-hypnosis technique, where you get yourself into a state of relaxation and “hypnosis” while staying completely lucid and awake. You feel the same, you feel normal, just really really relaxed. It is achieved via a lot of training and practicing. According to these programs ( and many birth stories I read), childbirth doesn’t have to be painful. It is often made painful by the fear-tension-pain cycle ( which makes sense based on the stuff I read in Bradley books on how the uterus contracts). We have been conditioned to think that childbirth is super painful and it is what we expect and thus it is what we get. When a contraction comes in, we dread it, tense up (which is a completely natural reaction), make uterus muscles work harder, pull harder, creating more pain than we need to. If you fully relax your body, you will feel pressure, discomfort but not pain. However, this full relaxation doesn’t just come easy. It requires weeks and weeks of practicing, concentration and most importantly weeks of changing your attitude towards what childbirth SHOULD BE like.  Not expecting pain, but expecting tugging pressure sensations.

I did find it very true that just the simple expectation of pain (fear) makes you so tense and it’s such a normal reaction you don’t notice it. It first rang true with me when we started doing perineal massage (more on that later). Fighting the fear is really really hard. I’m sure anyone who has gone through “painful” contractions will tell you how you start DREADING the next one.

All this made sense to me. I was still a bit skeptical, but I was convinced that if I had any chance at unmedicated childbirth, this is it and I might as well give it a try. Oh and there are people that undergo surgeries with hypnosis techniques without anesthesia (those that can’t have anesthesia), so if that’s not an argument to give this a try, then I don’t know what is.

Next came picking the program… from what I understood Hypnobirth was the original hypnosis based birthing program with a book and a CD and Hypnobabies is a refined hypnosis childbirth class that takes you step by step to learning how to relax using self-hypnosis (you can buy the whole home study package here). It is much more expensive, but very convenient in how structured it is. I went with Hypnobabies because I didn’t have time to mess around ( I think I was 26 weeks or so).

So I’ve been working this program for almost 10 weeks now and my attitude towards childbirth is very different now. I am looking forward to it, I am more or less confident in my ability to handle it, I am DEFINITELY NOT afraid of childbirth anymore. The realist in me keeps wanting to continue being skeptical about the efficiency of this program, however I am set on following the program, and doing what it says, believing what it says and not second guessing myself  or over-analysing everything (which is hard). One of the big parts of the programs is staying away from negative imagery and stories about childbirth (because they perpetuate that fear-tension-pain cycle) and truly believing that it’s going to be a wonderful experience. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

Obviously, I haven’t gone through birth yet to tell you whether this program is effective or not, whether it worked for me or not, but I feel that training and preparing is the least I can do to hope for a more pleasant experience.

This is getting to be way too long of a post, so I’ll stop right here and will have to continue in another post about the training that I’ve been doing, what it entails and other non-hypnosis preparations for childbirth, our birth plan (wants and “do-not-wants”) and our baby hospital plan.

 

Resources mentioned in this post:

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

Husband-Coached Childbirth (Fifth Edition): The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

Hypnobabies Home Study Course for Expectant Mothers Plus 2 Bonus Cds

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition)

 

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Comments (48)

  • Ally

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    “{I’d be very curious to hear from any of you who knew about the emotional signposts going into labor , whether you recognized them and whether it helped you know where you were at}”

    My husband and I took Bradley courses in preparation for my homebirth. Being aware of the emotional signposts was really helpful. It was reassuring to know what my body was doing even when it felt so out of control. My MW did not do any internal checks thoughout the course of my pregnancy or during L&D. There came a point after about 9-10 hours of active labor that I started to wonder how much more I could handle. A little fear started to creep in– would my labor last 10 more hours? Would the contractions continue to get stronger and last longer? Or was this transition? I shared my feelings with the MW and she was sure that I had hit transition and would be ready to push within minutes. And I was, the urge to push came soon after that and then my baby was in my arms.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Wow that’s really amazing and encouraging! I’m not planning on having routine cervical checks either so it’s nice to know that as I start doubting my ability to do this, I am getting closer and closer.

      Reply

  • 04224199457326768034

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    My emotional signposts went out the window at about hour 14. I felt like I could manage my pain until then. I was in a really good place, controlling my pain and being vocal. Then I got really, really tired, and the pain got worse, and I had to get an epidural to deal with a cervical lip. I feel like everything went out the window at that point. I am hoping my next baby will be more composed! I was in labor for 24+ hours, though. Intense!

    Reply

  • Jamie

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    I delivered my daughter naturally. It is do-able. You can do it. I can’t wait to hear how your experience goes.

    Reply

  • Kat

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    I am very curious to hear how it goes! I didn’t go through training but I definitely had the wait and see attitude toward epidural. I knew about fear tension pain from a birthing class I took, but once I was more than halfway thorough labor, all my relaxation techniques went out the window. Maybe this will really work for you!

    Reply

  • Jenn

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    I will be VERY interested to hear if Hypnobabies works for you. I was strongly considering it for my first birth but it just ended up seeming too expensive considering I had no idea if it would work. I ended up just taking a Lamaze class (which was lame and totally useless) and doing a lot of reading, hoping I could wing it through a natural birth.

    I think it’s absolutely possible to give birth naturally, it’s what we were designed to do. Epidurals are relatively a VERY recent invention, and obviously still not available to every woman worldwide.

    That said, I only made it to 4cm before I hit a wall of pain I could not cope with. Your willpower is totally different when you know there’s an epidural 5 minutes away and all you have to do is ask, that’s (part of) why a lot of women who really want natural births go to freestanding birth centers or homebirth… remove the temptation. I ended up getting an epidural, and while it was still a great experience, I’m considering trying to go natural again this time. Obviously I need more than wishful thinking though.

    I REALLY recommend Ina May’s “Guide to Childbirth” for reading. It is very hippie-ish but is also very inspirational about “what birth can be” as you were saying.

    Reply

  • em

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    I love to hear about someone going into L&D informed and prepared! Be aware that hypnosis techniques only work to varying degrees on different people. I had a girlfriend who started her hypnobirth prep 3 months into her pregnancy, she was the most zenned out rockstar you could imagine. Unfortunately, she found that no amount of prep kept the pain completely at bay and so she was still breathing hard and doing counterpressure to relieve her 16 hour back labor! Good luck, and no matter what remind your self to be kind to yourself if things don’t go as you plan, labor and delivery are not events that are in our control and we mamas get real hard on ourselves if we don’t have the “perfect labor”.

    Reply

  • Jenny

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    I had my first daughter naturally at home – I didn’t want the temptation of the epidural. I wanted the full experience of birth and didn’t want to risk the other interventions that sometimes follow an epidural.

    I bought the Monagan Hypnobirthing book, but didn’t read it thoroughly or really practice the techniques. So I just followed my instincts during labor and yes, it was long and hard and sometimes scary because I didn’t know how long it would last – ended up being 21 hours and I had a 10 lb. 4 oz. baby girl – but the INSTANT it was over the pain was gone and I had a beautiful baby in my arms. I healed easily, only 2 tiny stitches, and I felt so proud that my body was able to do everything it did to birth my daughter.

    I am due to have another baby girl in 2 months, and while I think I may try to use hypnobirthing techniques this time, even if I don’t I feel confident I can do it again. I just have to breathe, stay present, and let my body do the work – and it comes to an end so beautifully. You can do it – and you and your baby will benefit so much from the hormones and reactions your body has during natural labor! And every body is different – some women have easier labors. Practicing the relaxation techniques ahead of time will help you SO much – good luck!

    Reply

  • Amelia

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    I faithfully listened to the Hypnobabies CDs and did the exercises, but was terrible about practicing with my light switch. I also read all the books you mentioned, Ina May’s and a few others. I was determined to give birth without any drugs. My labor lasted 36 hours and I was completely fine. I never tried to use my light switch, but just relaxed through contractions and my doula and husband both said it seemed as though I was very focused and going to a happy place. I got to a point where I was afraid I couldn’t do it anymore and told my husband and doula I was ready to go to the hospital. My doula asked me to think about what I wanted to do if I was still only dialated a few centimeters when we arrived. At that point I thought, then bring on the epidural, because if I’m not almost done, I can’t continue, but I also knew in the back of my mind that those thoughts likely meant I was in transition. When we arrived at the hospital I was fully dialated and gave birth, with no medication, to a perfect 9 lb baby. You can do it!

    Reply

  • Rachel

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    Preparing yourself with education and an open mind is the best thing you could do! Every baby is a different experience even with the same woman. If she ends up sunny side up or sideways, you will probably have more pain. Ive had both an epidural and a natural birth. A lot of anti-epi people will say “you can do it” but what if you have a 36 hour labor like I did? Around hour 26, I had enough and needed a break so I could actually push him out myself. I am so grateful for epidurals! I took a 5 hour nap and woke up refreshed! Then my daughter popped out in 3 hours total time. Completely different experiences!

    While I don’t advocate most inductions and getting epidurals at 1cm, your open mind will help you not get that feeling of letdown since you haven’t pre-written your birth. I think a lot of moms get stressed when it doesn’t go according to plan and them feel like they weren’t strong enough. Whatever your experience, you are bringing a child into the world to love and grow! What happens after birth is far more important than whether you can an epi :)

    Reply

  • 02754447004654848897

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    The thing that being in over 48 hours of active labor taught me was simply to try not to “plan” too terribly much. It’s good to go in with a plan, however, you can’t be hard on yourself for choosing a different plan mid-labor. That was my hardest part was when they told me about the c-section, I bawled and was really hard on myself. Just don’t do that. :)
    I am SO interested to see how this works for you! Good luck! Labor was a powerful feeling.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Aaaawww! That’s a sweet moment! Makes me almost feel what it’s going to be like for me. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

  • 12850272373711706002

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    as far as the emotional signs, here’s how mine went (we had a home-birth, 2nd baby, midwife didn’t arrive until I was at pushing stage so no internal exams along the way)
    woke up about 6am feeling crampy but otherwise fine, over the next 6 hours lost mucus plug and had nervous energy (i actually scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees at one point), took a walk with hubby with medium intensity contractions still feeling very positive
    Around 3pm contractions were getting strong enough that I couldn’t move during them and needed support to get through them, took a hot shower and bath to ease the pain some. About 4:30pm I started sobbing, and doubted my ability to handle the rest of labor. It was then I was thinking it could still be many more hours. But part of me remembered that getting so emotionally upset was a good sign of being in transition so I held onto the hope that it was almost over. Sure enough, I started getting the urge to push only about 30 minutes later and baby was born by 6pm. But I do remember thinking while pushing that I’d be begging for the epidural if it had been available, also knowing there was no way I’d have been able to let anyone touch me, move me, or get my body to quit pushing at that point so it didnt really matter. It hurts like nothing else but once you make it far enough, the body takes over and you just have to go with it.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      My mom had a 6 hour labor, so did my sister, so I am bit concerned about staying home for too long or until I hit the “self-doubt” stage, because like in your case, I could be ready to push within 30 minutes….

      Reply

  • Terra Cotta Momma

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    People have to much fear of labor, it isn’t that bad. Labor pain rolls in and out like a coaster, even the worst contractions have an end. Transition is difficult but my amazing doula kept me CALM which matters so much. I would not choose an epidural and if you do the proper research you will find they are not as safe as everyone thinks, and the side effects are far worse than anything birth throws at you.

    I was soooo happy when I went into labor (I had been fully effaced and 2cm dilated for 2 weeks) The first 5 hours were a breeze I made dinner, relaxed and watched a movie, and even went to the store. at about 10pm (6 hours into my labor) It was stronger, I was breathing through the contractions and having my back rubbed (helps so much) We walked to the hospital (it was about 3 blocks from my apt. and I was 5 cm! I laid in a hot jetted tub for two hours and then went into transition, the tub was amazing! I even slept in between contractions. During transition I felt a little blurry, the pain was intense but then I was ready to push and even the nurse wasn’t ready. She told me NOT TO PUSH, well without pain medication the urge to push is pretty uncontrollable. My doula said “No more not pushing get a doctor NOW!” (it was 1am may Midwife was on his way) My body was ready to push and I don’t recall the exact amount of times I pushed but it was only 5 or 6 pushes and my 9lb 11oz girl was born! Well worth not getting any pain meds, I didn’t use hypnobirthing I just took deep breaths and focused on the end goal.

    I understand that epidurals can help ease pain but people need to know they aren’t without there own problems. Birth should be experienced by every mother at least once, I am not saying it is for everyone but going in saying to yourself “I will get it if I need it” will almost always end up with you getting one. From the mothers I know who go natural about 99% of them want it again.

    AND YES I WILL COMPARE THESE TWO! You wouldn’t want an epidural for an orgasm would you? I know I wouldn’t, you will be robbing yourself of the ‘climax’ of birth if you get an epidural. I don’t recommend them and I always say DO YOUR RESEARCH you will find out quickly they aren’t that safe.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I think everyone’s pain tolerance and labor duration is different. I can imagine getting through at if it’s 12 hours, but I don’t know that it’s possible to handle it if it lasts 24 or more… That’s where the epidural isn’t the evil everyone thinks it is. Yes, it has its own dangers and risk, but so does everything including childbirth itself.

      I really hope that my labor is fast like yours and it probably will… but until it happens you don’t know.

      Reply

  • 07939969703878977566

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    I’m sure you will do great, you are doing such a good job preparing for the most amazing experience ever!
    I looked forward to labor and was open to epidural but wanted to try and see if I could go without it. The reason why I got it is loooong labor. I was up for 48 hours and seriously needed a power nap to be able to push. Two hour nap was a life saver for me! Can’t wait to hear your experience! Birth is the most magical moment ever!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Can’t imagine 48 hours! Yikes! I hope I’ll follow my mom’s and sister’s labors and be in and out hahahaha. Either way, it’s so exciting!

      Reply

  • em

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    I also wanted to add for your commenter who had natural births (oh my heroes! I wish I could have been in your ranks!) using expressions like “I wanted the full experience of birth…” and “Birth should be experienced by every mother at least once…” is pretty loaded language to use. There are a million and one ways to give birth and they should all be respected as a tremendous undertaking. Not only those women who labor at home without the aid of drugs, or in birthing centers with their birth plan followed to the letter, but those women who schedule c-sections, those women who get “talked into an epidural by the medical community”! Without respecting one another to make choices for ourselves regarding how our babies exit our bodies we will only continue to further the hurtful mommy wars that so consume us! Just a thought…
    Because after 2 emergency c-sections (one after an undiagnosed placenta previa, and one after a catastrophic uterine rupture when I was attempting a natural VBAC) I learned my lesson that I couldn’t control labor and delivery and “the perfect full birth experience” was incredibly rare. I celebrate with women who get the experience they wanted and I encourage women who feel that things weren’t perfect. It’s a marvelous thing to have a baby, no matter how you get there.

    Reply

  • 08992769878978346000

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    i gave birth using hypnobirthing techniques and it was the best decision i made for my labor. my labor and childbirth was calm, beautiful and brought my husband and i closer than we ever thought we could be. good decision!

    Reply

  • B

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    I read about Hypnobirthing and The Bradley Method. In the end I used a combo.

    For the first 5 hours of my painful contractions I would read or talk to my partner. When a contractions hit I closed my eyes and took slow deep breaths. I have to be honest, I did not want my partner touching me of talking during my contractions. I much prefered silence.

    I progressed to 6cm within the first hour and a half. It was hard, but in the end I think things moved more quickly because I was in tune with my body.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Hoping for a similar labor! That’s one of the biggest reasons for why I’m drawn to no epidural- faster progress.

      Reply

  • asdf

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    Glad to hear you considering natural childbirth. I was actually quite surprised that you weren’t considering this already. I’ve never understood the point of doing so much to stay healthy during pregnancy for the sake of your baby, then in the 11th hour, inject them full of narcotics.

    I used both Bradley and Hypnobabies and found the techniques very helpful, but they don’t call labor “Super Fun Time”–they call it LABOR for a reason. It’s hard work. You’re going to get sweaty and want to quit. You will feel emotionally and physically stretched to your limits. Just remind yourself that the urge to quit is the emotional signpost that progress is happening.

    And then baby arrives and you realize what all of the work was for. And as you watch that alert, non-drugged little bundle of joy explore their new world and connect with you it makes it all worth it.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      A lot of people asked me the same thing ( why I would go to such extent with safety during pregnancy and then have an epidural). There are a lot of reasons for why that was occurring. Everyone has their strengths. For some people, eating deli meats and sushi and drinking a glass of wine during pregnancy is perfectly acceptable and not smth they are willing to give up, while they’re totally set on natural childbirth. We all have limits of what we can do. For me, it’s EASY to stay healthy and limit myself during pregnancy even on super minor things, but the “pain of childbirth” was never something I was willing to endure.
      I always wanted to go natural, but simply didn’t see it happening for me. Now that I found a way of making it manageable, I’m all for it. But I still think it’s important to be open to other outcomes. I don’t think I’ll need to go there with the tools I now have and my husband being my birth partner, but I’m still staying realistic.

      Reply

      • Jenny

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        Even though I had a natural birth and am so glad I did – I really want to second the women who feel that all kinds of birth and labor should be honored. Even my home birth midwives would agree that an epidural can be a lifesaver to an exhausted woman who has no more strength to push and needs to rest to be able to birth her baby. I have friends who had just that experience. And c-sections save lives every day. We are all so lucky that babies and mothers have these modern tools to help them when needed.

        My sister-in-law had an emergency c-section after several days of labor – and she is still grieving and feeling guilty almost 6 months later, because she had such an ideal about what labor and birth were supposed to be like. That surgery saved her baby’s life – so I wish she had more support during her pregnancy for all the possible outcomes and to know that one is not more “right” than the other. I just want all women to have all the knowledge available to them about risks and benefits of different methods and options before they make their own personal decision…and to know that none of us know how it will turn out for any of our deliveries.

        Reply

  • Crystal - Prenatal Coach

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    What a great post! So excited you found Hypnobabies. I’m an instructor and hypno-doula and have seen beautiful births as well as heard great stories from my students. I’m so excited to finally be able to use it for my own birth in June! I’ll be blogging about going through Hypnobabies too :-)

    P.S. As a doula I’ve definitely seen the emotional signposts and other signs of labour progressing without knowing how dilated she is!

    Reply

  • Amay

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    I had a hypnobabies birth and my expeience was really wonderful, it wasn’t completely p*** free, but I was in control of my body and my mind. I actually had no idea when I was in transformation until my midwife told me I was, and we knew that baby was coming when my body started pushing, not from a pelvic exam. I really don’t think the emotional signposts are good indicators of progress with a hypnobabies birth since the mothers are usually so much more calm. Another great resource for positive hypnobabies vieos and birth stories is http://www.pregnancybirthandbabies.com. Best of luck!

    Reply

  • Holly

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    I love your evolution of thought.

    I wish I would have done hypnobabies instead of Bradley. Bradley was useless to us. We wasted class time talking about circumcision (we had a girl), how an epidural could make my baby grow up into a drug addict, and practicing techniques that did not work for us. My husband literally froze in the delivery room and every coaching tip he learned went out the window. Plus, I had an induction due to hypertension and it lasted 60 hours. At hour 57, I begged for my epidural and it was wonderful. I kinda-sorta regret it, but I am just happy that I didn’t get a C-section.

    For future kiddos, I want to go natural, but after experiencing that pain, I am scared to death. It was kinda traumatizing. I can’t afford the hypnobabies program, so I guess I’m just gonna wing it! That is, unless I find a friend to borrow the program from.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I think relaxation techniques work the best when there are hours of practice behind them ( or in a quick labor). What you could do instead of hypnobabies is hypnobirth book and cd ( the link is at the bottom of the post), it’s very cheap compared to the class and then you just practice on your own.

      I AM afraid that my hubby will freeze when push comes to shove. He’s used to be always knowing what to do and remembering everything, it’s a real fear of mine that he’ll just forget all he’s read about. But I guess I’ll have to see.

      Reply

  • Cathy

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    Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is full of really positive birth stories and lots of helpful techniques (like keeping your lips and neck loose will help relax your whole body. You can clench any sphincters well if your lips are loose, so blow out like a horse)

    The emotional signposts were totally true for me. Just when you think you can’t do it anymore, have them check you before you decide on an epi. If you’re at the end, you might find you can make it through.

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  • Sarah

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    I like this post, Elena. I think it is very important to remain open because you really don’t know what is going to happen. At the end, having a healthy baby and a healthy mom is what really matters.

    Reply

  • Sheridan

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    I love to hear how your thoughts about birth has changed. I used Hypnobabies with my last baby and it was pretty amazing. I now teach it and am a doula for Hypnobabies Moms and I love helping support them as they birth. I have a free e-book The Top Three Tips to Enjoy Your Birth and of course hypnosis is one of the tips. :)

    I can’t wait to hear how your birth goes. :)

    Reply

  • Sarah

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    I highly suggest the Labor Progress Handbook. I just finished reading it and while it is a bit overwhelming, there is quite a bit of talk about emotions during the whole labor progress. They are all hormone induced during the various stages and there are ways to help curb them a little bit.

    While I don’t suggest reading the book cover to cover (it’s a requirement for my doula certification) it’s a pretty good resource to piggy back any type of birth *method* you choose to use. It might even help you with writing out a birth plan if you haven’t done that yet.

    Reply

  • 83645

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    I used Hypnobabies and had a wonderful (and discomfort free) birth. It has continued to serve me well as a great way to ease migraines too. Have a wonderful birth!

    Reply

  • Caitlin Mallery

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    Those emotional signposts are very helpful, but everyone does have a different threshold, not only for pain, but also for strength. Quite honestly, labor is not necessarily painful, it is just the most demanding workout or job that your body will every go through. I was against the epidural, mostly because I am seriously scared of needles. Having a home birth and naturally was something I wanted to give a try, but I was not against help with the pain. I did most of my labor in the water (birthing tub) in order to help me relax as much as possible. I never even thought to ask for help with the pain, because I was concentrating so hard on my baby. The only part I can say was really painful was the ring of fire as I stretched when my baby’s head came through. That however is very short.

    My midwife was the one who recognized when I was in transition. I just knew I was getting more exhausted and more reliant on my husband to hold me up. He was the best support I could have a had. My true labor lasted about 8 hours and I pushed for 2, but the pushing seemed a lot shorter to me. After it was over I didn’t need any stitches, and was very exhausted but also happy. In fact, that was the first time in my life where I felt like I didn’t have a care in the world.

    Your birth story will be your own, and no one should every judge you for the choices you make. It is a special privilege to carry and deliver a child into the world. I am proud to be a woman, a wife, and now a mother. I hope you share those feelings at the end of the pregnancy.

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  • citymouse

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    Hey, good post! I really enjoyed reading other women’s decisions about childbirth.

    I never did Hypnobirthing/hypnobabies, but everyone I know who has done it, swears by it. I did prenatal yoga during my first pregnancy, and that worked great for me to labor med-free. I didn’t prep at all for my second birth, but remembered enough to deal with that labor. I think a big factor in achieving med-free birth is how fast your labor goes, and how little time you spend in the hospital in labor. My other plan of attack besides yoga relaxation was to ignore contractions until I HAD to deal with them – it worked out great, especially the first time, since I had easy/”ignorable” contractions for 24+ hours.

    Re: emotional signposts of labor, I distinctly remember my contractions getting really serious all of the sudden with my first, and having to focus on relaxing during contractions. I also threw up, and didn’t want to wear pants anymore. With my second, labor was all-around more efficient from the beginning. And again, when I hit transition, I HAD to focus on contractions and no longer wanted to wear any clothes. We got to the hospital when I was starting to push with him.

    One more thing: my first birth ended in an unplanned c-section. I pushed with my first son for 4+ hours, and didn’t have any drugs until I got the epidural for the c-section. I have barely any memories of laboring and pushing, it’s all very fuzzy, but I definitely remember the surgery. People don’t talk about one of the other benefits of going med-free is that all the hormones make you forget about how hard it is! Definitely an excellent side effect!

    Good luck! I’m excited to hear about your birth story :).

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  • Tara

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    I’m so excited for your upcoming posts!!!

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  • Alli P

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    My attitude toward labor and delivery was excited and never scared! I knew that my body was made for birthing children and believed in my body’s ability. I briefly read the Bradley Method book, but didn’t invest too much time into it because I knew that once in labor I’d forget most of what I had read. I fully planned to have a completely med free birth and I got it. I dealt with a natural 40 hours total and 5 hours of back labor. It’s absolutely doable with the right kind of support. My husband was a rockstar and I had wonderful nurses. There was never a point in my active labor that I felt I couldn’t do it. With every contraction I breathed and chanted in my head “I can do this.” My mom and grandma both had easy labors and births so it’s definitely in my genes and it sounds like you’re the same. You’ll do just fine! My advice to anyone wishing for a natural birth is to go into it with an open mind, believe in your body and be excited, you’re about to meet your baby!!

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  • Jess

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    I had an amazing natural unmedicated childbirth. I didn’t take hypnobabies, just the regular old prep class, did prenatal yoga which helped me practice relaxation techniques and exercised at the gym until 2 days before I went into labor. For me, that was all I needed. I was confident that my body knew what it was supposed to do and went with the pain rather than tensing up and trying to run from it. No matter how prepared you are, it’s going to hurt. You’re pushing a human out of a very small opening. Was it a horrible pain, not for me, but it was still painful. I never felt the ring of fire because my midwife was stretching me so much, which really hurt, but it probably the reason I didn’t tear.

    My labor progressed really fast. From the first contraction to holding my daughter in my arms was 6 hours. My legs were shaking uncontrollably when we got in the car to go to the hospital which we remembered probably meant I was in transition. I hadn’t had any internal checks and I was surprised to find out I was 8 cm and fully effaced when I arrived at the hospital. Less than 1.5 hours after arriving my daughter was born.

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  • Rachel

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    You know what Elena, it’s so funny. I did go through the emotional signposts. The funny thing is that while they were happening, I remember thinking in my head…this isn’t real. I’m not really feeling this, I just think I am because I read about it beforehand. Classic!
    I remember when it got to the point that I couldn’t talk at all. I just laid calmly in bed in my own little world.
    I remember transition very well. I was laboring well and calmly. All of the sudden my body started trembling and I was shivering and slightly fearful. That’s when I really remember thinking “this isn’t real, my body is just doing this because it thinks it’s supposed to because I read about it”…wow, the crazy logic during labor, LOL!

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