Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I have now become a horrible blogger. :(  I fear that I will have even more trouble keeping up in the near future as E becomes more and more mobile.  He is a roly poly boy now.  Play mats and foam squares for the floor are pretty pointless, but we still make an attempt at using them at least for now.  I had wanted to post ages ago (like right after he was born 5 1/2 months ago) about my experience with hypnobirthing, but never got the chance to put my thoughts into coherent sentences.  I think now is as good a time as any to finally post about it.

It's been important to me to at least try for as natural a birth as possible with each of my children with the hopes of going med free.  I hold nothing against the drugs as I've had three epidurals and various other medications while giving birth and my children are perfectly fine happy and healthy with no ill effects.  I think I want to do it for me, to prove that I can work with my unborn wee one and my body and just do it.  I know it's also better for baby and my own recovery to avoid as many drugs as possible while pregnant.  That said, I have yet to have a completely med free birth, but it isn't for lack of trying.  With my first I was young and naive and thought Lamaze would work.  You know the breathing- "Hee. Hee. Hoo. Hee. Hee. Hoo." you see on movies?!  Ya, that doesn't work, at least for me.  When I was pregnant with M I read The Bradley Method of birthing and would've loved to take the 12 week course on it, but alas A.R. had graduate school classes back then and I discovered the classes when I was already too far along to sign up.  I did read the book and practice the exercises at home and I used several of the labor positions and techniques, but ultimately ended up with an epidural after the Pitocin kicked in full force.  Towards the final days of my pregnancy with M, I heard about Hypnobirthing and really wanted to give it a shot when/if I got pregnant again.

When I found out I was pregnant with E, I looked into Hypnobirthing courses (not to be confused with Hypnobabies which is different and a self study course) and found that the hospital I birth at actually offered a course with a certified instructor.  I signed up for the course in early April 2012 for my June 5th due date as I wanted time to practice the techniques after the class before I gave birth.  I never did tell A.R. exactly how much the course cost (about $250), but I think it was worth every penny and he never would've agreed to it had he known.  The first day I practically had to drag A.R. with me, but we soon found we both really enjoyed it and actually looked forward to the next week's course and doing our homework.  We were both a little sad when the five weeks of courses was over.  On the last day of class our teacher even had a little birthday party for all the babies.  The class size was small- just five couples, including us.  The beginning of class we spent watching various hypnobirth videos and techniques, then we'd discuss that day's lesson, and then spend the last half hour or so practicing various positions/breathing techniques and go over a hypnobirth track on the radio.  It was so incredibly relaxing and even the Dad's were encouraged to partake in the hypnosis exercises.  A.R. actually started snoring during one of them!!

Our course fee also included tons of handouts from our teacher, the book, and two CDs with hypno tracks on them.  You can buy additional tracks online as well.  Every night as I laid down to go to bed I'd put my head phones in and listen to one of the tracks.  Falling asleep during them was perfectly fine and a good sign that I was able to relax using them.  Soon after our class began, I was discouraged to find out I had gestational diabetes and polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) and would most likely not be allowed to go all the way to 40 weeks which could mean having to endure an induction.  I knew that, for me, induction would mean Pitocin and having had that awful drug my previous two births, I knew I wouldn't be able to go natural if I had to get it.  I spoke with our hypnobirth instructor several times about her experience with hypno moms with gestational diabetes and it was certainly encouraging.  When the time came and I did end up having to schedule an induction date (add in an aging placenta to my list if issues) at 39 weeks 1 day, I phoned her once again to get her recommendation for a good accupuncturist to try to see if I could self induce labor.  My attempts were futile, so it looked like I would have to get Pitocin once again since my polyhydramnios and E being so high up still rendered breaking my water too dangerous (risk of cord prolapse) as a means to start labor "naturally".

I didn't give up on hypnobirthing despite the induction and I'm so glad I didn't.  I wrote a Birth Plan based off the guide in our hypnobirthing book and my fabulous nurse was excellent in advocating all aspects of it for us throughout my labor.  I did have to get Pitocin, but was able to labor a good 7 hours drug free.  They never asked what my pain level was and let me move into various positions (while still hooked to a monitor) every hour or so as I desired.  I couldn't get into the shower, unfortunately, as E wouldn't stay on the monitor.  I was able to alternate between bed, rocking chair, and birthing ball and even use some of the Bradley positions and techniques I had learned while pregnant with M.  I was pain free for all of the first 7 hours and things only intensified when my water was broken.  I was able to put my headphones on and listen to my hypno tracks for 3 hours through the intense Pit contractions before I knew that I just couldn't handle anymore unless I was close to the end.  After a quick cervix check it was clear I still had awhile to go (I was 3cm), so I decided I needed the epidural.  Within minutes of it being administered, I was fast asleep...just three hours of intense labor had exhausted me.  I didn't feel like a failure, I knew I went (pain) med free for a lot longer than I have with any of my other births and I gave it an honest effort considering the Pit contractions were off the chart and I was close to the maximum Pit dosage possible (in the end I was on a dosage of 18, max is 21). In the end, I went from 4cm dilated to 10 in less than 40 minutes, but that was still another three hours after my epidural was administered.  I never would have had enough strength to push him out enduring the intense pain of Pit that long.  In the end, my epidural failed because I progressed so quickly that I did end up feeling everything below the belt during E's birth.  I also used a mirror (HIGHLY recommend this!) and got to watch my son be born.  He's the first of my babies, I've seen born and I will, for sure, use a mirror again. 

When we have our next little one, I'll definitely use Hypnobirthing again to help me during labor and I highly recommend it if you are considering it.  I know nothing about Hypnobabies, but I prefer the classroom setting to learn the method versus reading it myself and doing self study.  I think you get a lot more out of it.  I also truly feel that if I had a natural labor with no Pitocin, I could go med free using the hypnobirthing techniques as I was doing fine before the Pitocin kicked in.  I have faith in my body and my baby that we could have done it, but the Pit was just too much.