What is hypnobabies?

It’s been a little over two months since my fabulous, natural, hypnobabies, home birth. When I was preparing for a hypnobabies birth, a lot people asked me what hypnobabies is, how it works, etc. Now that I’ve used it successfully I feel like I’m qualified to talk about what it is and how it works.

complete control

 

^^I made a bunch of signs to hang around my room and bathroom to encourage and remind me during labor.

What is Hypnobabies?

[My own definition] Hypnobabies is a form of pain management to use during childbirth. It uses hypnosis techniques which is essentially mind over matter: using your mind to calm yourself down and tell yourself how to feel. It’s a way for you to go inside your head to your ‘happy place’ and take a break from what’s going on in the real world. It’s also helpful to change your mind about the way childbirth should be and release any fears you may have about what will happen.

But hypnosis isn’t as weird as it sounds. It’s not “When I snap my fingers you will quack like a duck.” Hypnobabies is self hypnosis. You can’t be ‘hypnotized’ if you don’t want to be and the things you’re telling yourself are more about how pleasant childbirth will be and less about quacking (let me be clear, there is no quacking involved.) We all do self hypnosis nearly every day. It’s as simple as when you zone out and forget what you were doing. Or when you’ve been driving on the freeway and realize you missed your exit because you were just in your own little world. All versions of self hypnosis.

Hypnobabies involves a lot of visualization. Like imagining you can see your breath enter, fill, and exit your body. You could imagine that each breath is cleansing or calming or strengthening, whatever you need it to be.

peace

During labor, you visualize your breath pushing your baby out and it helps keep you calm during contractions.

Speaking of ‘labor’ and ‘contractions’, in hypnobabies they use different terms for those things as a way to make it sound more comfortable. Labor is ‘birthing time’, contractions are ‘pressure waves’, transition is ‘transformation’. Perception is reality. So once you believe that childbirth can be comfortable it’s more likely that it will be.

How does Hypnobabies work?

You can take a self taught home course or go to a physical class. In the class you learn all about childbirth and pregnancy and healthy things to do and all that jazz. But you also learn about self hypnosis and how to do it correctly and practice. The biggest key is that you have to practice or else you’re body won’t know what to do when you’re trying to hypnotize it.

calm confident at eas

Having never done self hypnosis before, I opted for the physical class. I will say that the first part of the class where we learned about natural childbirth was a tad boring for me because I’d already had a natural child birth and taken a class on it and knew how it works and what to expect. But I did feel like it was important for me to be in class for the hypnosis practice.

The in class practice was a lot like guided meditation. The teacher reads a script that has you get comfortable, relax, breathe deeply and the rest of the script just talks about the comfort and excitement of childbirth.

All the scripts that we read in classes plus some others are given to us in the form of Mp3s and we’re encouraged to practice on a daily basis.

release and relax

Honestly, the daily practice was like the best part of the whole thing. I’d put Evelyn down for her nap and climb into bed and turn on one of the tracks and get relaxed into a nap. I pretty much fell asleep right away. It was such a nice sleep too.

Hypnobabies during Childbirth

So after a few months of practice, I felt pretty calm for the big event. As soon as I knew that my labor, or birthing time, was really happening I turned on a hypnobabies track and got comfortable.

open

For each contraction, or pressure wave, I would close my eyes, breath deeply and focus every inch of my energy on the voice on the hypnobabies track. The words would remind me to breath deeply and relax. It would encourage me to breath my own ‘anesthesia’ to the places that I was feeling discomfort.

Between the hypnobabies and the comfort of the bathtub my pressure waves were more than manageable. The only true uncomfortable part was when I got out of the bath and walked the stairs because I forgot to bring my hypnobabies tracks with me.

Chris cheat sheet for birth

During pushing, I had Chris turn on the pushing track. I only kind of heard it in the background but I think it really helped Chris to remember how to prompt and comfort me during pushing. In the end that was even more helpful because I appreciated my comfort from my husband.

Hypnobabies: Final thoughts

I would absolutely recommend hypnobabies to anyone who is planning a natural childbirth. The class is great for learning what childbirth actually is and the hypnosis/meditation is key for keeping discomfort during childbirth under control.

smile

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask. I’m no expert but I’d be happy to share more about my experiences.

Remington’s Home Birth Story

This is a long and detailed post on my home birth experience with my son. If you don’t want all the gory details, you’re welcome to skip this one. I won’t hold it against you. 

When you’re pregnant, do yourself a favor and when they tell you your due date, go ahead and tell yourself that it’s actually two weeks after that. And tell everyone else that too. That way if your baby comes anytime before the last day of being 42 weeks, it’ll be before you were expecting it.

I was so certain he was coming early. So when my due date came and he didn’t I was beside myself. I had been having contractions that were more than braxton hicks but not quite strong enough to do anything in the days leading up to my due date so I thought that had to mean something was coming soon. But I was so very wrong.

During week 40 I continued to have those light contractions and a few nights, the contractions got strong enough that I texted my sister, midwife and photographer to make sure they were ready just in case. Each of those nights I went to bed so I would be well rested when the time came and then woke up each of those mornings disappointed that I was still pregnant.

I tried plenty of ways to induce labor. But in the end, the baby was going to come when he was ready. When I talked to midwife about natural ways to induce she said that for labor to happen, all the stars have to be aligned. I have to be ready, the baby has to be ready, my husband and daughter have to be ready and we all have to feel calm and relaxed and happy and…well, ready.

In the days leading up to his birth, I was really starting to stress out. I was worried that I wouldn’t ever go into labor and I’d have to be induced and then (although I don’t condemn anyone for being induced, it just wasn’t what I wanted) I would feel like I had failed at the labor I wanted. I knew that was the wrong way to feel and that any way to get a baby into the world is the right way for you, but I just wanted the birth I had planned for.

I started to worry that my body was broken. I started to worry that my baby wasn’t okay anymore. I started to worry about pretty much anything that I could think of to worry about. I didn’t understand why my contractions kept stopping. However, my midwife explained that I lot of people labor this way. Labor can start weeks before hand and just slowly get you ready to give birth. It’s why so many women who are giving birth at the hospital get sent home time after time. My body was taking it’s time to dilate a little every day so that by the time I was in active labor, it wouldn’t take so long. And it was working. Three days before he was born, my midwife checked me and I was dilated to a 5.

But I continued to worry. The morning before he was born I had my midwife come and listen to his heartbeat and make sure everything sounded good. It did. She told me to stop worrying and stop Googling and just wait for labor to start.

My parents were set to get into town that evening. My midwife kept saying that she thought the baby was waiting for them to get here so they could help out or whatever. Turns out, she was right.

They got here, we went to dinner at Pizza Pie Cafe, I ate a ridiculous amount of pizza (like I was still eating while everyone sat there and watched me), and all the while I was having light contractions. Then when we got home I had a contraction that I couldn’t talk through. I got a little giddy and thought that this might be it. I sort of started timing contractions but I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. Everyone was in the backyard watching Evelyn play and I came inside to labor in peace. No one really seemed to notice I was gone.

I finally called for Chris to come in because things were getting uncomfortable and I wanted help. I assume that someone put Evelyn to bed, maybe I was there, I don’t actually remember. At 9:17 pm I texted my midwife that things had really starting picking up. I had Chris fill up the tub and take over texting so I could relax. He told her shortly afterward that she better come. We kinda figured things would go quickly.

I turned on my hypnobabies tracks and got comfortable in the water. With every contraction I closed my eyes and breathed through. I didn’t use pressure points or anything else. Between the tub and the hypnobabies guidance, the contractions didn’t seem too bad.

[Read more…]

5 Reasons I loved my natural birth center birth

I know I promised natural birth center birth details, but first a quick update on my growing baby girl:

two month 001

My sweet angel grows bigger by the moment it seems. She’s about 2 1/2 months now. At her 2 month appointment she was 9 lbs 7 oz. She’s just teeny.

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She still takes a lot of naps during the day but when she’s awake she’s so playful. She’s turning into such a little person with the cutest personality. Before she only randomly smiled like it was a facial tick but now when I talk to her and I smile, she smiles back and tries to giggle sometimes. It’s heart melting stuff people.

two month 003

She sleeps really well at night. She only wakes up once to eat and since I’ve mastered nursing while horizontal in bed I barely have to even wake up. The hardest part is going to be when Evie stops sleeping with us and we put her on her own bed. Not as hard for her as it is for us. We love cuddling with her and we don’t have to go far to ensure that she’s ok.

And now, as promised,

5 Reasons I Loved My Natural Birth Center Birth

1. It was all about me.

Since this is my first baby, I’ve obviously never given birth in a hospital. But from stories I’ve heard and read, I’ve deduced that you don’t feel like everyone is at your beck and call.

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Birth Decisions

movie collage

I seem to have forgotten what life is like without constant nausea. I have vague recollections of exercising, going into my kitchen, cooking meals, enjoying food, standing for more than 10 minutes consecutively. But those all seem like dreams now. Being nauseous is the worst. I feel like I would be so much more excited about my new baby if I didn’t feel so lousy all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m way excited! I just think I would be more so without the poorly named “morning sickness.”

In other news, the doctor called and all is well and good in the baby department. All the tests I did came out with a big fat smiley face so hurrah!

As pregnancies tend to go, at some point this child will have to come out and surprisingly enough there are a lot of options in this area: natural or epidural? hospital, birthing center, or at home? should I induce? Should I get a c-section? Midwife, doctor, doula or all three? And lots of other things I haven’t thought of having never done this before.

SO to correct my ignorance I have been doing my fair share of research. Mama Birth is a great resource and I just re-watched two documentaries: Pregnant in America and The Business of Being Born. And I have to say, I’m leaning toward a home birth.

[Read more…]