Should I try hypnobirthing?
Posted Monday 9th January 2012 By Ericka Waller
Ok, so when I was pregnant with my first baby, my friend lent me a copy of her hynobirthing CD Effective Birth Preparation
At the time I was mourning the circuit classes I'd had to give up in pregnancy , and found the whole idea of hypnosis a bit "jingly jangly"
I listened to the CD anyway, but never seemed to hear past the first sentence without falling asleep.
(Note: This alone may be invaluable for helping with insomnia towards the end of pregnancy -- as your body "prepares you" for your baby's night time habits).
I thought all my Boxercise classes had made me tough. I thought pain was for wimps. I thought I was going to sail through labour.
I fell at the first hurdle. The pain I thought I was bigger than, was bigger than me. I shouted at it, it laughed back in my face.
I hid under the bed and begged for an epidural, something I had vowed I would never ever do.
I don't regret that epidural, because it was what I needed at the time. I was scared and I was exhausted. Iíd lost control.
I do regret having an epidural the second time I gave birth however.
Because I was induced, and because an epidural was on offer, I took it. I did not need it. I was not as scared or under-prepared. I was actually doing just fine. It was a mistake.
So when I fell pregnant for the third time I resolved to have the birth I'd always wanted. The one where I told the pain who was the boss. The one that made me feel all ìI am woman, hear me roar!
I'd done a lot of running to get back into shape after my two previous pregnancies, and in doing so had already worked on breathing control. It had helped me get past "the runner's wall"
I wondered if it would help me in labour.
Inspired, I ordered another copy of the Effective Birth Preperation CD. I even read the brochure this time. I did not just fall asleep.
(OK, sometimes I did, but not all the time.)
The CD suggests breathing in a beautiful glow, and breathing out the pain. I liked the simplicity of the idea. It taught how long to breathe in for, how long to hold for, and how long to let go for.
I listened to the CD most nights for the last five weeks of my pregnancy, and practised the techniques.
I finally went into labour a week late, having had a sweep from a nurse on induction ward.
I went from no signs of labour to full on established labour in five minutes. No sooner had they sent the husband home, than they were calling him again and telling him to hurry up.
As the pain ramped up, the technique I'd practised kicked in.
I breathed in a yellow glow as the contraction built up. As it peaked I held my breath. As it went I breathed out the pain!
And it worked.
I gave birth with no pain relief, not even a sip of water.
I gave birth with no medical intervention. No one even touched me. The midwife said later it was one of the most controlled labours she had ever seen.
My husband was open mouthed with awe. Was this the same wife who had told him to get her a beeping epidural or sheíd snap his beeping fingers off not three years before?
By focusing on my breathing, I remained calm. By remaining calm my body could focus on doing what it needed to do.
Giving birth to my third daughter was the single most empowering experience of my life.
It's changed me forever. It's made me realise I am stronger than I thought.
I now run longer, because I know I am capable of it. I realise I am capable of anything.
I am amazing.
And so is hynobirthing
(For getting you off to sleep if nothing else.)