For the past 9 months I have been meaning to do a little write up about the type of birth we are planning. Must admit these past 9 months have been quite interesting with all the moves, starting a business, and adding the baby into the mix. I’m in the “home stretch,” baby Schwartz will arrive any day now. Mild contractions have been coming and going for the last few days pretty consistently, so I know labor is on the way and I couldn’t be more excited!
When we found out we were pregnant back in January, after the initial shock wore off (not going to under exaggerate… it took us at least a week to accept the fact that we were truly pregnant, that I was actually healthy enough to conceive!), I remember that moment when we looked at each other, got that stir of excitement in our stomachs and we knew we were both on the same page about how we wanted to bring this child into the world. It was a no-brainer for me, ever since I started on the journey for the last 3 years to heal my body to be “baby ready” I have wanted to do a natural home birth. Dave was right there with me. Of course he played the sweet husband card and asked, “Are you sure this is what you want? I will support you wherever you will feel the safest and most calm.” And as we were moving from Orlando to Charlotte, we did play around with the idea of birthing at a birth center with a midwife and doula, but over the last few months I’ve really learned a lot about birth, the process, different techniques, and for me it just feels right to do it in the comfort of our home.
As these last few weeks have been flying by (haven’t they?!) and the day I get to meet my baby has been closing in, I have been growing more and more excited not only to meet baby but to actually DO THIS. We will work together, the three of us, and it will be the most extraordinary experience of our lives.
I want to share a little about the birthing technique we have chosen to use. And this isn’t just for a home birth, it can be used anywhere you would like to birth. It is called HypnoBirthing. It was developed by a woman named Marie Mongan, however the techniques have been used innately by women since the beginning of time. HypnoBirthing is a special alternative technique to traditional Lamaze or Bradley Method classes that many moms-to-be take. Now, the name “HypnoBirthing” might sound a little…”out there”… to some. But it’s just in the name. The basic premise behind HypnoBirthing is that it is a “unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques.” (www.HypnoBirthing.com) For me, being a Type A personality always on the go, striving to be perfect perfect perfect..I really needed to work on relaxation and ways to self-relax. HypnoBirthing sounded fabulous to me and after talking with numerous friends who used the technique in their beautiful home births, I was ready to explore more into it. Sounded like exactly what I needed to have a successful natural birth.
The first step for us was purchasing the HypnoBirthing book which I found pretty inexpensively on Amazon.com. It comes with a preparation CD in the back of the book with affirmations to listen to as you begin to condition your body to go into a relaxed state by yourself. As we were deciding where to live and where we’d be for the birth of baby S, whether it would be Orlando or who knows where else, we stuck with reading the book on our own and doing the conditioning techniques outlined in the book. It is highly recommended to take a set of courses from a HypnoBirthing instructor (just like with a Lamaze or Bradley course). So as soon as we found out we’d be in the Charlotte area, I sought out a HypnoBirthing instructor who I found thru HypnoBirthing.com.
I can’t tell you enough how great the sessions were for me. Dave and I did them together, and did 4 sessions in total. Some instructors will even do 5 or 6, depending on your needs. They were so informative and powerful. Learning the philosophy behind HypnoBirthing has changed my entire outlook on birth and the 9 months leading up to it. Everything we have learned just makes sense to us — it’s supposed to happen the way God intended it to.
Basically what mom learns is how to get into a meditative, relaxed state during child birth, which can help the mom to better cope with it. You can look up a few videos on YouTube, there were some really good ones on there. Most women usually look like they’re having a nice, relaxed birth. In a number of cases, you wouldn’t even know they’re experiencing child birth. It’s quite interesting to watch that for the first time and wrap your head around the possibility! And when it comes down to it, whether HypnoBirthing can work for you or not all depends on one important thing — practice, practice, practice. The old saying runs true, “practice makes perfect!” On a daily basis you need to practice your breathing, listen to the CDs (you get more supplied by your instructor) and do the conditioning exercises with your spouse. The more you practice, the easier it is for you to enter into a relaxed state, and the better your odds that you can do it on birthing day.
And, on a side note, the techniques you learn on how to relax translate over into all areas of life! Like I said, it has changed my life. After being supplied with the steps to acheive self-relaxation, I am now able to relax in any given situation. It’s going to stick with me forever, and I can see these new skills coming in very handy once baby is here and is throwing his/her first tantrum. :)
Here is a break down of just a few of the differences HypnoBirthing offers, to give you an idea of if it’s right for you:
1.) Language: There is a preferred positive language that should be used. For example, we say “surge” instead of “contraction” and “birth companion” instead of “coach”. We say “birth breathing” instead of “pushing” and “birthing time” instead of “due date”. There are more, but you get the idea. Personally, I really like the word suggestions and we’ve been using them thru my pregnancy. I feel much more relaxed saying the word “surge” or “pressure” instead of “contraction” or “pain”. The HypnoBirthing language relaxes me and the medicalized language tenses me. Once I got about a month in, it was clearly apparent that I respond better to the positive wordings.
2.) “Emergency Room” vs “Healing Room”: These are not actual rooms, but rather states of mind. The book does a great job of illustrating this — in life we should strive to only be in the emergency room (stressed, high alert, tense state) for about 2-5% of our lives at the most, during those rare instances that legitimately require a fight or flight response such as emergencies, etc. The rest of our time should be spent enjoying the “healing room”. Most likely, in today’s times, we all spend more than 2-5% in the emergency room, but being aware of this and making an effort to increase the time we spend in the healing room is a good start. When we’re in the healing room, our breathing is deep and relaxed, our digestive system is relaxed and running efficiently, and we feel good. When we’re in the emergency room, we’re tense, on alert, breathing is labored, digestion is put on hold, etc.. And this is extremely important during child birth because if a woman is in the “emergency room” state of mind, her cervix can tighten making birthing more difficult and increasing the chances of complications/intervention.
3.) Visualization and Surrounding myself with Positive Birth Stories: Our instructor explained the importance of hearing positive birthing stories, and how it can do more harm than good when people share their birthing horror stories. She said that as baby grows and my pregnancy becomes more obvious, I might be surprised how family members and strangers will feel compelled to share their “not so great” stories. And, I must admit, she was right! Dave and I learned we needed to simply walk away, often excusing ourselves to use the restroom or whatever convenient “out” we could think of to save our minds from hearing a negative. And on the other hand, I sought out positive natural birth stories from my friends and watched some fabulous documentaries and movies. And what I’ve come to form now is a constant visualization of what I want our birthing experience to be for baby and me. You know the common saying, “What you think about, you bring about.” I truly believe that the universe supplies what you bring upon yourself. So I am doing my best to SEE and walk thru my birthing experience every day. Not to say it will happen like that 100% just as I see it, but it’s the main basic points, like seeing baby’s head clearly approaching, and seeing our first feeding taking place…those are the visuals we want to make reality.
So these are just three of the basic differences HypnoBirthing offers. It may not be a technique for everyone, but it really resonated with me and I am excited to put these last months of practice into action soon! If you’re not sure if HypnoBirthing may be something for you, I encourage you to email or call a certified instructor in your area and talk to her/him about it. They’ll be able to determine if it is something you and baby would benefit from.
Have any of you tried HypnoBirthing before or heard of it? I’m always interested to find out who has used it before, often mamas I would have never expected!
Looking forward to announcing the birth of our baby soon!