When I mention my work as a birth doula andKansas City Hypnobabies instructor, often women respond, “I wouldn’t choose a birth without medication! I want an epidural – I’m such a wimp!” I never thought of it that way! I’m not really much of a tough cookie myself. I recently asked Kansas City Hypno-mom, birth doula, and self proclaimed Wimp, Sunny Schaffer, about her own experience giving birth unmedicated. ~Lauren
I sat sobbing on my floor, unable to tolerate the pain, tears rolling down my rounded belly.
But I wasn’t in labor. I glanced down at my throbbing foot, certain it was broken (it never even bruised), wishing I could take something stronger than a Tylenol. As my husband dropped a bag of frozen peas in my lap, he snorted. “And you think you’re going to have a natural birth.”
My name is Sunny, and I’m a wimp. I don’t handle pain, at all. This was problematic, because I was determined to give birth without any pain medication.
While expecting my first daughter, I browsed various labor techniques and picked and chose what I liked and figured I’d try to labor naturally as long as I could. Her labor overwhelmed me. I was unprepared for the sensations I was feeling and I eventually got an epidural.
My second pregnancy, I knew I wanted a different birth experience. I decided to dig deeper into hypnosis since those techniques seemed to work best. I found Hypnobabies and signed up for a 6 week course.
Each week, we dove in depth about various education topics related to pregnancy and childbirth, and practiced our self hypnosis techniques. I practiced faithfully, and became more and more confident of my ability to comfortably birth my baby. I loved that Hypnobabies did not promise my birth would be painless, but that by using the techniques, could be comfortable. My mindset changed from “I’d like to try to…” to “I can do this!”.
My birthing time began on a warm Sunday afternoon. I had taken a bath earlier that day with my Relaxation track playing in the background, then settled in for a nap. I woke with painless waves coming exactly every 3 minutes. I thought nothing of it until I realized they were coming closer, every 2 minutes now. I could walk and talk effortlessly through them, but suddenly I knew it was go time. I called my midwife, who remarked I could come in if I wanted, but I hadn’t had any contractions during our 10 minute conversation. She was surprised when I said I’d been having them regularly, I was just comfortable. We checked into the hospital, apologizing to everyone I came across that I wasn’t sure if I was “really” in my birthing time. To my surprise, I was dilated significantly! I began using my peace cues during waves- they felt like a big, tight, warm squeeze, just as suggested in my hypnobabies scripts. Everyone who came into the room remarked that I didn’t “act” like I was in labor. I’d pause occasionally to breathe and make gentle sounds thru the increasing waves, then go right back to conversations. Looking at my doula and husband I kept asking “Is this real? Am I really doing this?!”
I napped in bed with my husband until my nurse announced I was 8cm, so I decided to hop in the tub. Suddenly, something broke my concentration and I panicked, but my husband reminded me to use my cues as an intense pressure came over me. They scrambled to turn on my Pushing Baby Out track, and just like that, my 8lb 13oz baby girl was born- quickly, peacefully, and comfortably!
I felt every sensation, I was aware and present in every moment, an active participant in my birth. I, the wimp, had enjoyed a comfortable birthing time!
Since then, my Hypnobabies techniques have seen me through injuries, dental work, doctors appointments, 2 surgeries, and even stressful days at home. The techniques I learned gave me the tools to not only enjoy a comfortable birth, but a more comfortable life.