I got an epidural with my first child and went natural with my second. I debated the first half of my third pregnancy if I would have a natural childbirth experience again or if I wanted the epidural. When I went natural with my second, the pain was unbearable and I thought I was going to die–literally. Just thinking of the pain would sometimes make me feel panicky. I was so hesitant to get the epidural, though, because I knew that it could really lead to complications and make the recovery a lot harder.
A friend of mine told me that she did hypno-birthing and that I should look into it. I kind of wrote it off because it sounded expensive- you have to buy the program and possibly hire a doula- none of which insurance would cover, but insurance would cover the epidural. After a while I decided that I would at least investigate on the internet. I stumbled across the “Hypnobabies” webpage and I read what they had to say. There were great success stories of women using self-hypnosis to control the pain of childbirth. I found a video on “youtube” of a girl who used hypnobabies and when she was dilated to 9 cm and about ready to push, she looked like she was asleep. On the video she dubbed her voice in and said, “You can tell I am having a pressure wave here because I breath deeper.” I thought that was amazing because when I hit 7 cm with my second, I was shaking, screaming and squeezing my husband’s hand so hard that he was squirming to get away from me.
I found a doula in Rexburg (Kelly McKamey) who was “hypnobabies” certified so I called and asked her all the questions I could think of. This idea of using deep relaxation and allowing my body to accept what it was experiencing was intriguing to me. I then made a pros and cons list of getting the epidural or learning the hypnobabies program. I determined that if I was going to go natural again, I had to do something different. I would need to go into the labor equipped with tools. I came to the conclusion that the epidural would be the easiest way, but had the potential to create problems. The more I considered hypnobabies I realized that it would be a lot of work and preparation, but would have the biggest payoff. I thought about how proud of myself I would be. I saved the money, scheduled my doula and ordered the home study program.
It took planning and effort to make sure that I did all of the practice and preparation, but I did it. My original due date was August 9th. In July Kelly called and told me that she had an emergency and needed to see her daughter in California and would not be back until august 1st. She really apologized, especially because there is no one else in the area that is trained in hypnobabies. I began to worry because my second came 8 days early and she wouldn’t be back until 8 days before my due date. It is very interesting to note that one small aspect of the program is to visualize your birth, down to when you would like to begin labor. In my subconscious mind I always told myself “not any earlier than August 1st.”
Saturday, August 1st I went into the midwives office and was checked. I was dilated to 2 cm and 80 % effaced. She stripped my membranes and told me she wouldn’t be surprised if I went into labor that night. I went home and worked as hard as I could to get the garden weeded. I started feeling my pressure waves, but I kept on working hoping to get done. My husband was out dirt biking but he kept texting me to make sure I was okay. I didn’t finish weeding before I realized if I didn’t go into the house right then, I might not make it in because my pressure waves were getting pretty intense.
It was about 6:00 pm when I went in. I laid down to do some hypnosis. Jaron made it home with a pizza and he put the kids to bed. I ate a little bit, but I mostly laid still on the couch down stairs and listened to my hypno-babies cds (on my I pod). I tried calling Kelly to see where she was at about 9:30-no answer. I moved up to my bed and just kept listening my I pod. I tried her again at 11:30 pm and she was home. I was sooooooo relieved!! I told her what I was experiencing and she advised me to get up and walk around every so often because sometimes when you are in hypnosis you don’t realize how strong your pressure waves are. I got up and walked from my bed down the hall. I barely got to my daughter’s room and had to sit on her bed because my pressure waves were so strong. I called Kelly back and we agreed to meet at the hospital.
We got there about 1:00 AM and checked in. I was dilated almost to 6 cm. Kelly was such a strength and comfort to me. Every time I had a pressure wave she would put one hand on my forehead and one on the back of my head and gently speak words from the hypnosis scripts. We walked around and bounced on the birthing ball. I laid in the Jacuzzi for a while. Kelly would pour warm water over my stomach each time I had a pressure wave and she had a sheet of paper that my husband could read mini scripts from. It was cool to hear his voice.
At this point I kept feeling like my labor was slowing down. I kept feeling like my pressure waves were getting further and further apart. I was worried that my labor was stalling. I got out and we walked around. The midwife Rachel said that she had to assist with a c-section and after that we would break my water. I knew once my water was broken that I would go really fast. I started to get really nervous because I remember transition (in hypno-terms: transformation) with Hudson. That was the part of sheer deathly pain. I asked Kelly if she had any mini scripts she uses that were from the “fear release” session. She said, Why don’t you get comfy in this rocking chair with pillows and listen to the full “fear release” session on your I pod. That was tremendously helpful for me.
Immediately after, my water was broken (I was at 8 cm, 5:30am). The pressure waves became extremely strong, but there weren’t as many as I thought and I was able to mentally control the pain. I began pushing and I pushed the head out. Kelly said, “Brooke, reach down and feel your baby’s head.” So I did and when I brought my hands back up Rachel the midwife said, “Brooke, reach down and catch your baby.” I actually reached down and caught her and brought her up onto my chest!! Isn’t that amazing?
Kelly was so wonderful. She stayed to give me a foot rub afterward. The midwife and nurses clipped the cord, but they didn’t clean her or weigh her. They just left (after my placenta had delivered, which was a piece of cake-with my second I had complications with my placenta delivering; another thing I attribute to hypnobabies). I nursed and just held my baby for about an hour. Kelly left shortly after, but came out to the house a week later to see how everything was going.
It was so fun to visit with Kelly about the birth and have her insight on things. The whole time during the labor I kept thinking that the midwives and Kelly must think I’m not in real labor because my pressure waves were so short and far apart and not very painful. In talking to Kelly afterward she said that quite often because of the hypnosis, moms don’t actually recognize when the pressure waves start and end very accurately. Kelly shared something with me that I didn’t remember happening that I thought was so awesome. Right before I was about to push, my midwife Rachel said to Kelly, “You’re going to have to tell me when she’s having a pressure wave, because I can’t tell.” That is amazing to me because with my second, the minute they broke my water (at 7 cm) I was screaming and writhing in pain! When I thought back, I was a mirror image of the girl I saw on “youtube”!!
Also, my after labor cramps and pains were un-noticeable, the nurses kneeding my stomach was something I remembered being horrible, but this time was nothing to speak of. I was so alert and had so much energy! About an hour after, I was up and showered and feeling fantastic! I give all the credit to hypnobabies! I felt so good when midwife Helene was checking me out of the hospital the next day and she said that Rachel told her I was a perfect model of what a hypnobabies birth should be!
I used hypnosis to help with sore nipples from breastfeeding. I continue to use it to get to sleep at night.I have such a special spot in my heart for this birth experience and Kelly for her help. I am so proud of my self.
This was the equivalent of completing a marathon for me.