I believe our Hypno Pregnancy/Birth started long before we found out that we were growing our very own little life in my womb. I knew about four years ago that I wanted to seek out more information about the practice of hypnosis for child birth once I read an article in a random dental office magazine about hypnosis for successful natural childbirth.
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Although I knew that I would utilize hypnosis for childbirth techniques for the then “someday,” I had no idea where to find more information or where to start; and I really had no idea how much more wonderful the practice, education, and relaxation techniques HypnoBabies has to offer would really be.
Fast forward a few years, and just one month after my husband Chris and I got married, to the very beginnings of nausea, heart burn, not being able to stomach the thought of the smell of anything barbecued and all the questions that come with first time pregnancy and childbirth.
Luckily for us, my brother and his fiancée were about five months pregnant with their beautiful baby boy and had stumbled across a link to HypnoBabies in the reference section of a psychology book. They too felt that natural childbirth fit them, so I didn't have to look far when I was ready to start educating myself about all my options, alternatives, and decisions my husband and I would be needing to make in the next thirty eight weeks.
Also, in the back of my mind were the stories my mother, all five feet two inches of her, had shared with me about her experiences birthing her three children (including me and my little sister who weighed upwards of ten pounds) naturally, and as my pregnancy progressed, I found out that my mother-in-law also birthed all three of her children naturally. At that point I was more and more convinced that I had to seek every avenue and find every technique I could to try my best for a natural childbirth. I had no excuse why I couldn't at least try, if both of these very small but strong women in my life could do it!
Chris and I didn't start our official Hypnobabies classes until October of 2010 with our instructor Jill Tanner (Seal Beach, Ca.) whom we can't say enough about, but again, luckily for me, I was able start my HypnoBabies education earlier than October as my brother and his fiancée had already gone through their HypnoBabies classes, and they were generous enough to lend me all their materials.
Not to mention that I got used to watching them leave once a week in the evening with their pillows and blankets in arm, and coming back a few hours later looking completely relaxed and ready to fall asleep. It was definitely something I was looking forward to.
When our turn came around to start our classes, I was already semi-informed on some of the major issues in pregnancy and birthing, including the importance of healthy nutrition (The Brewer Diet was my favorite nutritional recommendation guideline to follow.), getting regular exercise, and avoiding negative birthing stories and/or people who were not supportive of my decisions to keep a healthy and positive outlook on birth.
The one person that I totally forgot to make sure was completely on board with me was the most important person to include in such a huge decision in our lives, my husband! Whoops!
At first when I mentioned the idea of hypnosis for childbirth and the Hypnobabies classes that I'd signed us up for, Chris seemed a little leary and wanted more information on what the classes would be like. He was afraid it would be a bunch of hippie type women wearing tie-dye and chanting in circles, something similar to what we'd seen in a recent Jennifer Lopez movie, “The Backup Plan."
It wasn't until our first meet with Jill and the other Hypno couple that we shared the class with that Chris realized what a magnificent tool hypnosis for birthing could be for us and that it was nothing like he'd imagined. He was impressed at the extreme state of relaxation we both seemed to reach with even our very first practice of guided imagery in class.
Following suit, the days, weeks, and classes flew by. Before we knew it, we were at week 38 and the anticipation to meet our little girl was building. I remember telling myself that she was going to be difficult and hang around until week 41 or 42.
Then on Thursday December 9th I had my 38 week appointment, and my O.B. asked if I would be okay with a cervical exam to see if there was any sign of activity, and being as anxious as I was, I agreed to one, but I did ask for no stripping of the membrane. I wanted her to stay warm and safe for as long as she wanted. I knew she'd come at her right time.
Little did I know that she'd be coming much sooner than I had anticipated! That night I remember waking up once about every hour with pretty strong but brief pressure waves. I got very excited and exhausted!
By the time dawn broke and the pressure waves stopped, my excitement faded, and I chalked up the nights insomnia and pressure waves to more practice. Nevertheless, I asked my husband to stay home “just in case,” and he took me on one of my daily walks with an added bonus to the local coffee shop (I stuck to some of the seasonal hot chocolate of course).
After we returned, I decided to relax and try to catch up on some of the sleep I lost during the night but then started to notice a little bit of nausea (which I hadn't felt since the early months of pregnancy) and the need for my body to clear itself out, if you know what I mean?
During one of my bathroom trips, I noticed what I thought could be my mucus plug, but I wasn't completely sure that's what it was so I just continued about my day. We ate dinner like normal, had a couple of chocolate chip cookies, and by 9 p.m. decided to go to bed.
We said “good night”....
Around 11 p.m. I was rudely awakened by a powerful pressure wave that lasted about ten minutes. At this point in my pregnancy, I'd been experiencing practice pressure waves since around 6 months, but this pressure wave was nothing like I'd ever felt before, nor had they ever lasted that long. Thankfully my Hypnobabies practice kicked in right away as I leaned over the bed and breathed the relaxation to center of my body.
It took me by surprise, and I knew right away, for sure this time, that Holley was on her way, but I still waited to wake Chris up until the next pressure wave came about 20 minutes later. Again it lasted about 10 minutes. I calmly woke him up, told him it was time and that I was going to get in the bath while he gathered all our stuff to pack in the truck.
He kindly played an appropriate Hypnobabies cd for me while I took my bath and got us loaded for our trip to Long Beach Memorial (where I was born), which happens to be an hour from our home in Lake Elsinore, Ca (I'd spoken to my OB a few times to make sure it was okay to plan Holley's birth so far from home, and he assured me it would be fine, and that he even had previous patients in the area).
I finished my bath, We made a last check to make sure we weren't forgetting anything, called my mom to let her know we were on our way to her house, and left by about 1:00 a.m. Chris already had my positive pregnancy affirmations track playing for me while he was driving since WE COULDN'T FIND MY MP3 PLAYER WITH ALL MY TRACKS ON IT!!!
When we left, my pressure waves were about 10 minutes apart. By the time we were 20 minutes into our ride to Long Beach, they became 5 minutes and shortly after that, 3 minutes apart. Chris was helping me time the pressure waves, and the closer they became, the faster I felt the truck move! That's something we both laughed about later.
We still had to stop by my mother's house to pick her up, as we asked her to be there for Holley's birth for support. I also thought for sure I'd find my Mp3 player at her house. After we got there, I lay down on the couch while everyone else frantically searched to find that precious little Mp3 player to no avail. Then we decided to try and bring a portable cd player so I could at least hear my tracks out loud, and it could provide a little extra calmness for all in the room too.
As it turned out, we couldn't find a working portable cd player, so after about 45 minutes at my mothers, I told them that I was ready to be at the hospital as I would be more comfortable, in case I would need to push soon.
We got to the Long Beach Memorial L&D ward around 3:00 a.m. and by the time a nurse came in to check me, I was at 5cm dilated and ready to check in to the room where I would birth our baby girl. We made sure to make the triage nurse aware of our plans to have a calm, relaxed birth so she could help set us up with a nurse that may have had experience with natural births or interested in working with us.
By this time I was still very calm, relaxed, and almost sleeping through all my birthing waves. Since there had been a change in plans and I didn't have my tracks/music to listen to, both my husband and mother took turns reading me scripts from the scripts booklet to help keep me focused.
We asked for intermittent fetal monitoring, a hep lock, low voices, low lighting, and a calm relaxed environment. Our birth hospital, nurses and staff were great and very supportive of our requests which made everything that much easier.
Each time our first night shift nurse came in to check on us, she could hardly tell I was having a birthing wave, as I would almost sleep through them! It was all going great, greater than expected after I knew I'd be working without my wonderful tracks.
As I got closer to a full 10cm dilated and transition, I admit that it did become challenging to stay focused, as we found out that my OB was not on call after all, and that I would be working with the resident doctor and/or another doctor.
Also, at this point, when the birthing/pressure waves were at there strongest, my bag of waters still hadn't burst on it's own so the resident doctor came in and decided to gross out my husband and stir things up a bit more for me. I had to remember that with “every breath I inhaled, I would be deeper and deeper relaxed”!
After the resident doctor burst my bag of waters, I still wasn't completely dilated or ready to start pushing so staying focused and going as deep inside myself as I could was the only thing on my mind. I sort of tuned everything else out and focused on breathing in to the count of 4 and out to the count of 8. That helped me tremendously.
Although, I requested limited to no vaginal exams during my birthing time, my L&D nurse was wonderful and very supportive and asked if I would be okay with a check to see how far dilated I was, so I agreed. Looking back now, I wish I wouldn't have agreed and just asked to wait for me to feel ready to push because I believe that our bodies push when they're ready even if full dilation hasn't occurred at the beginning of the need to push. At least I'll know what I'd like to do differently next time around.
Either way, as she did the final exam, she found I was at full dilation and decided to call for the head doctor who was to fill in for my OB, and he was nowhere to be found! Then I could hear the nurses calling for the resident and he came in and looked at me. Then the head doctor finally walked in! LOL! What a fiasco!
I know, had I not been as equipped as I was with all the hypnosis for relaxation and breathing tools, I wouldn't have been able to stay as relaxed and calm as I was while in the process of bringing my first child into the world.
After all was finally settled, I pushed for about a total of 30 minutes in a semi-upright (c-position) sitting position (that again, I now wished I would've done differently because I've had a hard time with the healing of my bruised coccyx), but at the time I was just so focused on pushing that I did forget a few details that I wanted to stick to. If I could go back, I think I would have stuck to side lying pushing or maybe squatting.
I didn't do as much of mother directed pushing as I planned on either (which I'm disappointed about because I feel like I wasn't quite 100% ready to push yet, but since it was my first time, I didn't know exactly how to listen to my body, and I feel like pushing before I was ready, and pushing on their command slowed Holley's descent slightly), but at the end of day, it was my first time birthing, and I had my beautiful baby girl on my skin before I knew it. I couldn't even cry out loud, I was so overwhelmed with emotion. I'm glad I was in a drug free, clear state of mind to feel it all.
We were also very persistent on reminding the doctor/nurse that we wanted to let her cord pulse for as long as needed, and then daddy cut the cord. That was something I wasn't sure he was going to be able to do! (Can you say vasovagal?)
All in all, our family's first birthing experience together was beautiful, calm, relaxed, and transcendent to say the least. My husband and mother were both completely relaxed and supportive through all the madness as well, as they focused on reading the scripts to me. I wouldn't have done it without them.
There are a few things, that I plan on doing differently whenever Holley's brother or sister decides to make his/her grand entrance, but I can't imagine our experience without the tools we gained from our Hypnobabies/hypnosis for childbirth classes. Birthing my baby and becoming a mother, in my opinion, truly is the greatest gift I've experienced in my life. Can't wait to do it all again! :)