Today’s the first posting of a feature on our blog called “The Balance.” It’s where we get to share things other than food. Megan will probably share things about kids, exercise, and her favorite non-fiction read. Michael will probably share photography, fiction reads, and art. It’s all in the balance.
I want to share with you what I discovered during my most recent pregnancy and birth. If this isn’t of interest to you, come back tomorrow for banana bread.
Birth is such an individual thing. Whether you have found joy in birth with an epidural, at a hospital, without pain medication, at home, or anywhere in between, I hope you loved your experience. My firstborn was born at a hospital. I had an epidural (I needed it!). And I look back on the experience that made me a mom and I love it.
When we decided it was time to add to our family last fall, I was curious about birth without pain medication and began doing research as soon as I saw two lines on the pregnancy test. I ran across self-hypnosis as a strategy and although it felt oddly like strange when I first read about it, it soon began to make sense.
The first book I read was “HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A Natural Approach to Easier, More Comfortable Birthing”. Say that ten times fast. This book was full of good theory, but lacked practice. From reading it, I understood why self-hypnosis was a good strategy, but I didn’t know how to use it.
So I continued my research and found the Hypnobabies method. This was scripted (perfect), at home (even more perfect), well-reviewed course that I could do. I found a copy of KSL Classifieds and went to work about 8 weeks before the baby was due. I learned how to relax like I never have relaxed before and although I feel asleep every time I practiced, I knew my body and mind were preparing for the birth experience.
In the meantime, we hired a doula to support our birth. I LOVED having someone who was familiar and comfortable with birth on hand to talk to, and to give us encouragement. So worth it! I also exercised every day to build up stamina for the event. Yes, I still gained nearly 50 pounds, but that quickly disappeared postpartum. We also wrote a birth plan which was the best thing I could have done. No one asked me any questions that would have derailed me from my hopes.
When it came time to have this baby, the 21 hour marathon began. I labored at work, running errands, walking around the neighborhood, and finally at home. Thanks to the Deepening Track of Hynobabies, I actually slept during labor for about an hour, until I was rudely awoken by a puddle of fluid because the water sac had broken.
We moved to the hospital and I labored with my husband and my doula by our side. After a while, my labor seemed to stall. Even though I got nervous, I talked my body into getting things moving again. It was AMAZING to see the power our minds have over our bodies. Our doula was amazing, seeing to my every need before I had a need, which let Michael focus on helping me through each contraction by giving me Hypnobabies prompts to relax my body and let things happen.
Did you know that a lot of the pain women experience during birth is because we are fighting with our bodies, not helping it? I’ve experienced it both ways first hand. Super cool.
I felt relatively comfortable (despite a baby who was posterior, the whole time = back labor) and didn’t feel much “pain” until it was time to push. When that time came, I lost track of what I was supposed to do. But that only lasted for 20 minutes because I was sick of being pregnant and pushed at my own pace, which meant I pushed during contractions and between contractions as hard as I could.
Our sweet nurse was so impressed with the calmness that our little man was brought into the world with and that a body really could birth without any medications (I even declined the after-birth Pitocin shot). We didn’t follow the Hypnobabies birth outline perfectly, but it was enough to allow me the experience I wanted and craved.
Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! Having experienced both sides of the coin, the recovery and high I had after this sweet guy was born was like nothing I have ever experienced. I would love to have a home birth. Maybe next time?