Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hypnobabies training experience

Great to hear a couple of your experiences with Hypnobabies and hypnotic childbirth in general. It has re-inspired me on the concept - and I deeply appreciate it.

I was hesitant to post here that we'd done the Hypnobabies course, because what if my labor is difficult and I need an epidural? What will it feel like if I've annouced that I think (hubristically?) that I can do this most challenging thing without medication? I felt like by telling anyone I might set myself up to fail.

And then a couple of things happened that made me doubt that hypnosis could work.

I came down with food poisoning part way through the hypnosis course (the night before my 3 hour oral glucose challenge test). I had simultaneous diarrhea and vomiting, starting suddenly in the middle of the night. My whole middle section seized up from my pubic area to my breasts. As I sat hunkered in misery on the toilet at 4am with the trash can in front of me, I had several self-defeating thoughts. I thought that this is maybe a little what labor is like. I thought - you know what, let me do the hypnotic self-anesthesia. And I tried. And it helped some - mostly to allow me to relax rather than tense up around the pain. but I was still in pain. And the main thought I had (that really scared me) was that I didn't think I could endure the type of pain I was in for 24 hours (my guess that night on a length of labor). That I was in too much pain. That I "couldn't stand it."

And then I got the gestational diabetes diagnosis, and my doctor told me she plans to induce if I get to 40 weeks with no baby. That final bit of news really took the rest of the wind out of my sails. I started to doubt I could do an induced labor without pain medication. I started to doubt everything.

To back up a bit, Will and I recently attended a series of six classes in Hypnobabies, which is basically a medical self-hypnosis course to help women and their partners achieve an "easy and comfortable" childbirth. It was cool and useful. Overall, we felt the particular class that we took offered maybe less hypnosis training than we were hoping for and much more "medical" advice on childbirth in general ("Medical" in quotes because the instructor had no medical training and her teachings were often incorrect in their details, one-sided, or non-evidenced based). Because of that, I'm thinking of finding a new individual instructor to coach me further on hypnosis and we are also planning to take another short and more general class to learn about some of the medical aspects of this. The goal of a second short childbirth course is perhaps more for Will - you may have picked up by now that I'm an obsessive researcher about some of these things... And Will is not. For me, the only utility of a second course (maybe a weekend course) is to try to get an unbiased view of what our hospital-based birth experience is likely to be like and how to work with the system we have chosen to deliver in, rather than against it (our Hypnobabies instructor gave birth at home and seemed to have a limited understanding of the hospital system).

We've also hired a doula who was recommended by my OB and who was also Will's sister's doula for her three non-medicated deliveries (two at the hospital where I will deliver). I really, really liked her and her partner when I met them, but I still hope to get a better sense of what the "rules" will be at my hospital and how to best maximize our chances for a drug-free delivery while still getting all of the medical monitoring (and intervention, if necessary) we also desire.

And I've met someone now who had an induction and made it through pain med-free, so it was good to hear that it can be done.

Reading your thoughts on hypnosis and unmedicated childbirth has been really helpful. Please keep 'em coming! I welcome any thoughts and experiences - whether it went well or not so well...and any tips you'd have on navigating childbirth for those of you who've been there, done that.


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  1. Hi Mo,

    I read often but haven't commented lately. Time is going by so quickly! Can't wait for your little Inez's arrival.

    I have 3 kids (2 IVF babies, 2 losses and then a surprise pregnancy.) My first birth was a C section after 29 hrs of labor, my second was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with a small amount of pain meds and I was induced with a foley bulb to due low fluid (levels of 3-4.)

    My last birth was my easiest. I did study hypnobabies and have a doula for the second time which I HIGHLY recommend. I went into labor on my own 2 days after my EDD and had a 3 1/2 hour labor from start to finish (!) and no pain meds. I used the tub to help with pain, pushed on all four's and turned over to deliver my son in 3 pushes. Oh and he was by far my largest baby at 8lbs 13oz and almost 23 in (he is still super tall!)

    Anyway, his labor was the most intense, but easiest experience because I went into labor naturally and it went so quickly. I think hypnobabies helped, but honestly it went so fast that I just kept thinking "This is my last baby and last chance to get the birth I have always wanted." and I did. I think hypnobabies would have helped with my first 2 births that were longer (29 hrs and 9 hrs) but my advice is listen to your body, don't let them break our water if they don't need to (mine broke right before pushing and as I was pushing and this really helped provide a cushion for me as the pain for intense), and know it is ok to get pain meds if you need them.

    Hope this helps, sorry it is such a long comment lol.


  2. I meant little one's arrival, not little Inez haha! Darn spellcheck!

  3. We have some experience here. My partner was induced at 37 weeks because of preeclampsia. The induction started at noon on a Friday and labor didn't really get going until Monday morning. So despite using every labor induction option the hospital had to offer (cervidil, more cervidil, balloon catheter, pitocin, more pitocin, misoprostol and pitocin (our winning combo)), my partner actually delivered "naturally." Once labor started it went fast. Fern wanted to avoid an epidural but would have used one if the pain was unbearable. It got close for her, but it was bearable because it felt productive. The two things that helped hugely were having a doula and being in the water. The water eased the labor pain tremendously and Fern went from 3-9cm in 90 minutes in that tub.

    The point of my long story is to say that induction doesn't necessarily dictate the rest of the labor and birth. We were very nervous about induction and extremely fearful it would result in a c-section, but that wasn't the end to our story.

    Oh, make sure you request the telemetry fetal monitor if you need to be on one. It made all the difference - Fern could get out of bed and get in the water. No one thought to offer it to us until the labor started but it would have been nice the whole time.

  4. I had a totally different birth than I expected. I did not have a drawn up plan, other than having a healthy mom and baby at the end. I wanted a vaginal birth with as few meds as possible. What I got was an epidural, and a trip to the OR. But I still feel good about my birth experience because of my doula.

    I also highly recommend a doula! But make sure they work in the hospital. Most of the doulas in my area do home births only, but I found one who mostly worked in the hospital, and she was great. She knew the nurses on the unit, and could advocate for good nursing care, and good nurses! She really made it a beautiful and loving experience, despite all the complications.

  5. Hi Mo- I commented on the prior post about our pain-free hypnobabies birth, and I know that feeling you're posting about - FEAR it wouldn't work for me - as I had horrific back pain during my pregnancy and that made me fearful that hypnobabies wouldn't work in my birthing time because it wasn't working with the back pain. Clearly that fear was unfounded for me. I did tons of fear-clearing sessions on that very fear. I found what helped me more than the fear clearing sessions was reading positive birth stories, and only positive birth stories. I am a research scientist and am someone who needs to know ALL the data, good and bad, so not reading negative birth stories was really tough for my nature. Ultimately however, for me at least, I knew it was entirely too easy to focus on the negative and I think it was a good decision. Here are some positive induction stories if you haven't seen them already:

  6. I had to be induced due to a marginal placenta previa and wanted to try to go med-free throughout my whole labor. I was open to an epidural, but wanted to last as long as I could without. I made 18 out of 22 hours without meds. Finally I gave in, but I don't regret it, because it was the right choice and what I needed at the time in order to give me a little rest.

    My piece of advice is to go in with a plan and stick with that as much as you can, but if you need to change it, be flexible and don't beat yourself up about it. Be easy on yourself because labor and delivery is hard enough as it is!

    Wishing you luck!

  7. My only advice - and I had an epidural, so take this with whatever grain of salt you wish - is to be kind to yourself, and give yourself the freedom to make whatever decision you need to in the moment. I went in with very few expectations and I think that helped me. I wanted to go as long as I could without medication, which I did.

    Which is not to say that advance planning is bad - the more tools, the better - but just don't let the planning rule the day. However is happens, it happens. You can do whatever you need to in the moment.

    I had a wonderful birth experience. Really, really wonderful. And I have every hope that you will too. Yay, Magpie and Mo!

  8. I took a Hypnobirth class and hired a doula. I had planned on delivering at the in-hospital birthing center, where they could not provide any med/anesthesia. You'd have to move to the regular ward to receive anything.

    I've had chronic pain since age 15, and meds weren't really available until recently to treat my fibromyalgia properly. I had to learn to live with it. I often used meditation techniques to try and dissociate from the pain at its worst.

    When I had my son, I had no choice but to be induced, as he stopped moving and was in distress. I was afraid that the pitocin would make everything even worse. I actually labored 24 hours without medication, and was fine. To me, having labor pain was easier than chronic pain. I knew there was eventually going to be an end to it, and even a break in between the worst pangs.

    My son was posterior and I had back labor, but my fibro was so bad at that point, I couldn't really tell much when a contraction began and ended. We tried to get him to turn anterior by having me lay way over on my left side, but when doing that it was too much to bear. I also have scoliosis, and laying on the left had been difficult throughout my pregnancy. After 24 hours with no progress, I asked for an epi. Without it, I could never have spent a half hour at a time on my left side. My doula was very supportive of me with this change. She really was the one who helped me feel not so bad about tryong something that could help get my son out. In the end, I was in labor 36 hours and had to have a c-section, as kiddo's heartrate started looking bad. So, from both angles, of nonmedicated labor and medicated, it really was OK. Every mother-baby dyad and every labor is unique, and you will just need to get in there and find out what works best for both of you.

    When I had my daughter, she had a bit of a previa, so it was a c-section for us ultimately, but I labored 13 hours unmedicated before that lip of placenta began to bleed. I did not find it bad at all. My back was less inflamed due to regular massage therapy before and during pregnancy. My meditation practice helped greatly again to dissociate from that pain.

    I was very happy with both experiences even though they did not go as planned. Please make sure you hire a doula who is supportive of whatever birth outcome you experience. As with conception and pregnancy, anything can happen, and we can;t always control the outcome. I am so glad I was able to start motherhood without experiencing guilt that I did not birth like I was "supposed" to.

  9. Please don't feel as if you are "failing" if you decide to get an epidural. I had one and I am so glad that you did. If you wish, you might want to read "Epidural Without Guilt" by Dr Grant. I found it very helpful.

    I think you want to remember that you have lots of people, knowledge, and tools available to you during this experience. Arm yourself with everything from hypnobirthing knowledge to a supportive network to a world class hospital, and then choose the assets that best work for you in the moment.

    Good luck.

  10. I thought that this is maybe a little what labor is like

    I went through labor last November, and had a bout of food poisoning in May that had me throwing up for the first time since I was 10.

    Labor was hard work and painful. It wasn't especially pleasant, but once it was over, I started feeling better remarkably quickly, and the seriously, "I'm not sure I can do this" painful part was only about 1-2 hours.

    Throwing up 4 times in three hours, along with diarrhea, was infinitely more unpleasant (except not as painful), and I felt mucky and icky the rest of the next day, (and not back to my normal self for a few more days after that), to the point where I was not sure I'd be able to go through with my travel plans of flying from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and then taking the train on to Sweden until about 15 minutes before I left for the airport.

    I hope that your bought of food poisoning is likewise as much more unpleasant than labor as mine was.

  11. I thought that this is maybe a little what labor is like

    I went through labor last November, and had a bout of food poisoning in May that had me throwing up for the first time since I was 10.

    Labor was hard work and painful. It wasn't especially pleasant, but once it was over, I started feeling better remarkably quickly, and the seriously, "I'm not sure I can do this" painful part was only about 1-2 hours.

    Throwing up 4 times in three hours, along with diarrhea, was infinitely more unpleasant (except not as painful), and I felt mucky and icky the rest of the next day, (and not back to my normal self for a few more days after that), to the point where I was not sure I'd be able to go through with my travel plans of flying from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and then taking the train on to Sweden until about 15 minutes before I left for the airport.

    I hope that your bought of food poisoning is likewise as much more unpleasant than labor as mine was.

  12. I had the daycare stomach bug from hell a few weeks ago. Way worse than labor.

    I had an excellent birth experience at your hospital. Truly joyful. Yes, I had pitocin, an epidural, and a c-section. But I believe they were all necessary. I had very manageable pain, and recovered from the c-section quickly. None of those interventions interfered with nursing at all. You're going to meet a new love of your life soon. It will be wonderful! xoxo

  13. My partner and I did a hypnobirthing course here in the UK, and it definitely helped to keep me calm and positive in the weeks leading up to the birth. When it came to the actual labour we didn’t end up using many of the hypnosis techniques, which I think was because my labour didn’t start properly until around midnight, and for some stupid reason I was trying to wait as long as possible before waking my partner up, in case I ended up having a really long labour and he needed to be awake all through the next night aswell. That was my first big mistake, as by the time I woke him things had got really intense and I wouldn’t let him anywhere need me! Next time I’ll definitely start the hypnosis as soon as I know I’m in labour, as I think that would work much better.

    I certainly didn’t have a pain-free labour, and at the time felt like we’d ‘failed’ a bit by not really using the techniques we were taught, but looking back it was actually a very straightforward labour with no complications, I was already almost 10cm when I got to the hospital (that was the second big mistake - listening to the four different midwives I spoke to throughout the night who all told me I wasn’t in established labour yet, which was obviously just based on the fact that I wasn’t making enough fuss!), and did the second stage on just gas & air. I’ve heard a lot of stories of labours stalling and slowing down and having all sorts of complications, and we didn’t have any of that, which I think was partly down to the positive thinking and calm that I got from the hypnobirthing. When I listen to people describing how terrified and out-of-control they felt, then I know that the hypnobirthing worked, because despite the pain I felt calm and in control the whole time.

    Also, I didn’t get to have the waterbirth I wanted, but have heard lots of (non-hypnobirthing) people say that water is the only thing other than drugs that really helps with the pain, so try for that if you can. Oh and don’t expect to remember ANYTHING once you’re in full-blown labour about your birth plan or the different options available to you – I completely forgot that I wanted a waterbirth and my sister completely forgot that epidurals existed, and never asked for one even though she had a really long difficult labour. Make sure that Will knows what you want and acts as your memory to remind you what’s available, as you may well be on another planet by the time it matters!

    Best of luck when the time comes, just go in with an open mind and remember that it is worth every second when they hand that little bundle to you at the end of it all. I’m currently pregnant with our second, due in January, and can’t wait to do it all again, there’s nothing else in this world like it. So excited for you!

    P.S. Re the pain thing, my baby was back-to-back which is renowned for making labour more painful, plus I didn’t actually really use the hypnosis techniques properly, so don’t be disheartened that hypnobirthing didn’t make it pain-free, it does for lots of people.

  14. Take this with a grain of salt, because I wound up having a C-section for reasons that were related to the baby's long-term breech positioning and my reluctance to try an external version. Prior to all that, though, I did an at-home Hypnobabies course, which was great. I wound up thinking of it a lot like I think of distress tolerance techniques in DBT- not so much "I am going to make this pain go away right now" as "I can tolerate this pain without additional fear and frustration about the fact that I am in intense pain in the first place." I think that that eliminated a lot of the anticipatory anxiety around the pain, which was a help in letting me listen to my body and what it needed moment by moment. In the end, the spinal sucked, the c-section and recovery were basically pain free, and none of it matters a bit with the boy safely at home.

    LOVE that you're in this phase of things, by the way.

  15. Hi Mo - I'm a long time reader but this may be my first time commenting. I'm also a doula and have had one baby. My two pieces of advice: 1) move your body in labor as much as possible. It really is so much easier to be working with gravity than against, and whether or not you are going for an unmedicated labor, movement is helpful. 2) one of my favorite quotes(both in labor and otherwise) is Ina May Gaskin "Your body is not a lemon." Just remember that you CAN give birth - epidural, unmedicated, c-section or otherwise, and believe in your body and the process. Good luck!

  16. Ummmm. I had hideous menstrual cramps, vomiting vicious nastiness, totally incapacitating. Delivering both my babies (last was 10 pounds and head so big they thought at first he had water on brain but did not) was SOOO MUCH EASIER! I would have done it monthly with no baby at the end in my teens if I could have avoided the menstrual cramps I had. In labor, between contractions, I felt fine and normal. And I was FAST at it, under 6 hrs each time.
    Everyone is different but labor is NOT food poisoning. VERY different physically. Knowledge is powerful and knowing the rules and routines, and your right to say NO if you wish, is a huge help.
    Whatever happens and however it turns out your birthing experience is yours alone and 'failure' is a word with no reality in birthing.
    Good wishes

  17. There is no such thing...Birth plans are just that...plans...there is always an opportunity to change your plans. I had zero desire for attempting a natural childbirth. I knew I wanted to deliver vaginally if I could, but I was not going to do it with out meds. I have a bad history of kidney stones and according to my urologist gave birth to the equivalent of a 10 pound baby and I did that pain med free...uh no thank you for my birthing experience. I admire your desire and believe you can do it, and if you change your mind...that's perfectly OK too.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...

  18. I agree with Julia... I carried my whole pregnancy with the idea that I would do the natural birth. I had no plan, but I told my doctor if there was one thing I wanted was to experience was this child's birth without any pain medication interference.
    Well, after four days of contractions that were ranging from about one minute to five minutes apart (of which I found the contraction pain to be highly liberating because I can rarely be so focused on one task)... I ended up with a c-section. But, I knew that when my doctor told me, she was sure it was needed. I was disappointed sure, but a further complication would have been so much more disappointing.
    At my first week check-up, I confessed feeling rather inadequate, a failure, what-have-you about not being able to give birth... and the doctor (the emergency one who did my section, who doesn't have much of a bedside manner), snapped back, "well, this is the time you have to change your definition of what childbirth is."
    Anyhow, as unhappy as I was that I never got to experience childbirth that way, I have my boy, and her snappy bitchery has actually helped. We get what we get, I guess...

  19. My best friend is a Type 1 diabetic and had to be induced about a week before her due date. She gave birth to her son without pain medication-- she did, however, take anti-nausea meds, which she says saved her. And she had a great birth doula. So it is possible! However, she didn't feel that great sense of connection with other women that she was hoping for, her recovery was long and painful, she wasn't able to breastfeed, and her baby was jaundiced and had to be in the hospital for several days.

    Then I had my daughter via Cesarean section ten weeks ago, after spending my entire pregnancy preparing for a natural birth. (I planned to give birth in a hospital, but with a midwife and a doula, and using no pain meds.) Then, more than a week after my due date, it turned out that my baby was huge, her stomach girth was significantly larger than her head girth, and I had almost no amniotic fluid. My midwife recommended I have a C-section immediately. (When your midwife recommends a C-section, you listen.)

    I have no regrets. I recovered easily from the C-section, and my daughter is healthy and happy (and adorable). If I had been too attached to my plan, I could have made bad decisions, or I could have been crushed that my daughter's birth didn't happen the way I wanted. So my advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare... and then just go with the flow.

  20. Hello Mo,
    I am so happy for you and where you have managed to get in this pregnancy.... The little one will be here very soon!!!

    This post will be about my own opinion and experience. I have had four IVFs resulting in two live births and both were c/s. I did not have a birthing plan and to tell you the truth I never really was interested in having a "natural" birth. My thinking is that if there are meds available for any kind of pain you might experience, you might as well take them and feel a little bit more comfortable while going through it. In my opinion this holds true whether you get meds (anesthesia) to have a tooth extracted or to give birth.

    Giving birth is difficult, and once you give birth, you have to be back to 100% within a very short amount of time, in order to care for the baby. It's much easier to do it if you have a little energy left after the birth.

    And if you are wondering, I didn't get the c/s because I had meds. I had gone through a myomectomy before my IVFs and my OB considered it very high risk to even attempt a normal delivery. I was scheduled for c/s for both of my successful pregnancies at 39 wks. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. It was easy and very controlled.

    Yes, I might have missed out on the experience of birthing, but the bottom line of any birth is to have a healthy mother and a healthy baby.

    Go into your labor with an open mind. If you manage to do it without medicines, then that's great. If you don't manage it, please don't beat yourself up. Just enjoy the process no matter which way it ends up going.... Good luck :)

  21. I think it's always best to prepare for not being able to have pain meds for birth. Especially if you think you might want to go natural, but even if you're absolutely sure you want all the drugs. I've known too many people who thought, "Oh, this isn't so bad. I'll wait to go to L&D until I really can't take it, then get my epidural," then ended up arriving at 8 cm and didn't have time to have anything.

    I've always done a lot of self-hypnosis because I'm an excellent subject and it's cheaper than professional counseling. I breezed though the self-hypnosis for childbirth self-study (though now I can't remember if it was hypnobirthing or hypnobabies).

    I ended up being induced and I found that the hypnosis worked well at first, but wore thin as time passed. At about the 24 hour mark I started having a lot of trouble with it. Just a combination of too much pain, not enough sleep, and inexperience with maintaining a hypnotic state for extended lengths of time.

    At 42 hours in, I got pain meds. Glorious, wonderful Stadol that I still fantasize about to this day. :) Having some sleep and a break from the pain let the hypnosis work again when the next dose was late and eventually also when they cut me off from the meds as a last-ditch effort to avoid a c-section.

    I ended up having a c-section after 84 hours of labor and the hypnosis techniques helped a lot with the incision pain.

  22. Hi there ; ) My only assvice to you is to try and go with the flow & not get stuck (which you don't sound by the way) on everything going a certain way..hypnosis & med free could be completely awesome and doable, an epidural or meds might be something you need that day. Regardless of how you manage your pain thru the birth process, or how she enters the world, you & magpie being safe & as comfortable as possible is the only thing that will matter in the end ; )The birth of my son was a bit of a nightmare, I actually was diagnosed with post partum PTSD b/c it was that bad (physically & emotionally) After a very touch & go emergency OR visit for me (he was a vaginal delivery, I was in the OR after the fact) making it thru was all that mattered and meds/epi, etc...became much less important ; ) Every birth is different, only you will know that day what is going to be best for you & your girl- I will be sending lots of prayers & well wishes your way that everything goes as smoothly as possible & your sweet, squishy newborn girl is all the pain releif you will need!!!

  23. Loving the responses you're getting. Take them to heart. Birth is unpredictable. Your plan is great, but be ready to be flexible. I've never had to go through chemo or ivig, but I can't imagine labor and delivery being worse. You're a champ! Do not feel you can't say, "this is too much, what can you do for me?" Whether it's an epidural, pain meds, or antinausea meds. Magpie will be okay. I took the vicodin prescribed after my c-section on schedule, after my foot surgery four weeks later, too. Sunshine had no problem when I tapered down and stopped. As for me feeling drugged? I felt more dopey from the oxytocin from nursing than from the opiates. In the beginning, that hit me like a freight train about five minutes into a nursing session. (BTW, (TMI alert) have your nipples gotten darker yet? ;-))

    Damn, girl, I get weepy thinking about you holding and nursing your little girl! Your sweet miracle!

  24. In reading through the other comments, I'm glad to see that you are getting some supportive feedback. But I hope, that from all these varied stories, you begin to see this simple generalization..
    Having never been through labor and delivery before, there is absolutely NO way for you to know, or even predict, how you will react to labor, either physically or mentally.
    From that perspective, I think it is very dangerous for first time mothers to close the door on any option available to them.

    I don't agree with solely focusing on the happy/positive/ideal birth stories of other people. That's one extreme of this spectrum. The other is the horror stories. Research them all, but don't get obsessed with any. Chances are your experience will fall somewhere in between.

    On a more personal level, I fail to understand why the anti-epidural urge comes into play for women. Before I had my first child, a woman very matter of factly told me, "It really is THAT painful. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise." She wasn't trying to scare me, just warn me. Looking back, I appreciate that insight. I wanted to know what the pain was like. I found out. And when it got so bad that I was literally forgetting to all...I gladly accepted the epidural and was incredibly thankful for it. It is amazing how you can go from feeling like you're going to die, to no pain at all.

    I have had three labors, with epidurals. I have had some of the mild side effects that come with them - shaking, itching, spotty epidurals that didn't work well on one side. I would gladly take those again because the epidurals gave me the ability to get outside of the all-consuming pain and be more aware of the experience as a whole. In addition, I am now aware that I go through postpartum hemorrhage every time I have a baby (one of those things I could not have known the first go round) and even if I didn't get the epi for the labor itself, I want it for all the interventions that have to be done for me afterward. They are not pleasant.

    My realm of experience includes many friends and family who have given birth and a husband who is also in the medical field. None of them have had a major issue with the epidurals they have received.

    But I would also like to note - and this may be of some interest to you on an academic level - that for all of my friends/family that gave birth without an epidural, there was a very strong social component in their reasoning for doing so. I'd invariably hear that they had a mother/sister/best friend who did it without. There seemed to be so much internal pressure on them to be able to 'say' that they did it unmedicated. On the other hand, the two friends who did not get one because that's just the way their labor played out, felt no particular excitement about it, and both said they wish they had received one.

    I think it is helpful to step back from the debate and ask yourself just what it is that you want to get out of the birth. Do you truly want it to be unmedicated? Why? Or do you just want it to be non-epidural? And why?
    Because when women start nit-picking over "I'll take this drug and this drug and this method, but I won't do an epidural"...what's the point of that? I don't want to be insensitive to your situation, but you've had so much medical intervention up to this point, what difference would an epidural make if it could provide some relief and benefit?
    Make sure you know where you stand on those questions first before you get worked up over something like hypnosis. Because ultimately, hypnosis will just be a drop in the bucket of how you manage this experience.

    And maybe listen to your doctor, over a bunch of bloggers:)

    No matter what, get to the other side of this healthy (torn vaginas still count as healthy!) and happily holding that baby girl. It's all that really matters anyway.

  25. Anything you do to prepare is worth it in my book.

    I had 2 c-sections but I laboured pain relief free until the surgery both times. There is no doubting it hurt. My first was induced after some very mild labour after my waters broke 24 hours before, I then laboured 6 hours before surgery. I had a labour-like miscarriage for about 4 hours. My second baby was a labour that started by itself and ramped slowly from 2am until it got serious about 6pm that day, and laboured for about 6 hard hours until surgery.

    No jokes, the endorphin rushes from the induced labour were the best even though the birthy science is not there for that! The next "best" was the miscarriage and the endorphin feeling just didn't happen for me at all with the last despite it building gradually and not being augmented or anything. Pain wise, while it wasn't "less" pain the first induction at least got me high off it LOL

    I think the only wasteful learning beforehand is if it doesn't suit your inclination ... if someone is cajoled into a course supporting unmedicated labour when they really desire the drug relief, waste of time. If you want to birth without drug relief, setting yourself up as best as you can, anything may happen from screaming for an epi in the first hour or having a painless birth, or having a painless birth because of the epi in the first hour ;) Or it might hurt like holy hell and you manage it anyway. Good on you for exploring it all.

  26. I am just so tickled that you're planning for your baby's birth! Woohoo!

  27. Hi, Mo! I am a long-term reader and infrequent-commenter (I know! It's poor form, I'm sorry!) that really wanted to comment on one thing in this post. Do NOT get hung up on the pain you felt with the food poisoning; labor will be nothing like that. Physiologically speaking perhaps the two are comparable but emotionally and mentally they really aren't.

    My intention was to go med-free, and although I ended up getting an epidural (after 20ish hours of labor), I felt in control of my labor for the most part. I didn't do any specific birth classes and credit the positive experience I had solely on reading the book Birth Skills by Juju Sundin. It made things so clear to me and the ideas I learned in that book helped SO much. Specifically regarding the comparison of labor to food poisoning or the like, the message is this (taken from the notes I wrote out to pass on to the husband): "Labor pain is healthy pain. It is productive pain. It is not about illness or disease or injury. It is the result of a working muscle reaching a state of fatigue. It is the result of the natural processes of my body and the intelligence of nature. My physiology is working FOR me, not against me. The pain is supposed to be there, just as an accomplishment such as lifting heavy weights or running a long run often results in pain, so does the accomplishment of pushing a baby from my uterus out into the waiting world."

    "Labor pain is healthy pain," was my #1 mantra during my labor at home and it so helped to keep things in perspective. Cramps from food poisoning or pain from a broken leg or torn muscle is SCARY because you don't know what is going on. Labor doesn't have to be!

  28. I was induced (I had pre-e) with my first baby at 40+1 weeks. Its not as horrid as people seem to make it out to be, or at least it doesn't have to be anyway.

    My Dr didn't like to use drips to induce such as using pitocin so he applied the 'tape/gel' twice, 4 hours apart, to soften my cervix first. This worked very well and got me to 1cm with very mild contractions. He then broke my waters to get labour started, meaning no drips and fully mobile.
    I was in established labour within 20 mins and used the shower as pain relief, then walking and rocking against bed before getting up on the bed on all fours. I also had heatpacks and massage to relieve pain and pressure.
    After 6 very full on hours of piggy backing contractions I wanted an epidural but because I was already over 8cm I opted for a shot of pethedine which was wonderful and I gave birth in a total of 8hours to my 9lb baby girl. No epi, no drips, no monitors.

    I went on to have another 2 spontaneous labours, both 10hrs long, without an epidural and using the shower 90% of the time for pain relief.

    My best advice to anyone is always to remain as mobile during labour as possible.
    Gravity is your Friend!
    I was never strapped to a monitor as seems to be the norm in the US, they just used the doppler periodically to check on baby.

    All your research will pay off and the hypnobirthing seems like it will benefit you greatly!

    I'm so excited for you! Good Luck

  29. I am glad hypnobabies worked so completely for me and was not merely a drop in the bucket as another poster insinuated it would be for anyone who tries it. We are indeed all different and need to stop minimizing each others experiences. Whatever happpens will be fine, but there is nothing wrong with allowing yourself to hope for your own positive ending so it has an opportunity to happen! Best wishes Mo.

  30. I had GD and due to low fluid, had to be induced at 40w. No insulin, but amniotic fluid low enough to make the doctors say "we induce NOW" on 40w0d.
    So I had cytotec, I think. And that was all. I was lucky to have short labours (~6 h and 4.5h the second time). I had to wait around 12-14 h before labour started, but then everything went fast. I never thoughtor planned to have a med- free birth,or even water birth, but I got them. I was also lucky to give birth on Germany, where doctors and midwives worktogether and encourage all women to go the non-surgery way. And to breastfeed and all things women put in their birthplans in US.
    So, my point is that you can't know before hand. Birth is very unpredictable. And unique. And perhaps it is best to have some ideas but not too many, so that to not get disappointed.
    Congratulations on reaching a new milestone!
    Not long left now. :-) And then you're gonna ask for advice on nursing and sleeping. :-) Great things are waiting for you!
    Take mane pictures, you will want to remember this.

  31. I took a natural childbirth class, was all prepared to labor at home and try med-free... And at 41.5 weeks (with a not-off-by-a-day due date, thank you ART), I still wasn't at 1cm. Induction for 48 hours, still not 1cm, water broke with dark meconium. Cesarean. I cried... and then they told me I'd had a 9lb, 12oz baby. God had a plan all along, which, thankfully, did not involve the major reconstruction of my girly bits. I'm at total peace with it now. Just know: however Magpie gets here, once she's here, the birth won't matter as much as it does now. I don't say that to devalue it, because it was ALL I could focus on before it happened, but afterward you'll be so thankful for your little miracle that her arrival will be just the way she got from inside to outside. So, if it doesn't go according to plan, that's okay :) (people told me that too, and I didn't want to believe it, but it is absolutely true.). That said, I thi k it is great to be prepared and have a plan. Also, take a BFing class, as much for Will as for you. My hubs assumed it was easy and automatic until he heard otherwise in class, and I ended up needing the support from him. Our hospital offered a good course; yours might too. *hugs*

  32. I've seen 10-15 deliveries and had two of my own (vaginal after induction, with epidural, and C-section for breech). My observations are these:
    1) Some women really do seem to have manageable labors. I remember a 16year old, no prenatal care or birthing classes, for whom labor and delivery seemed almost effortless. There's probably something about her anatomy, baby's size and position that made it that way--it wasn't a matter of her ability to withstand pain or her determination. She just never felt the need for pain relief.
    2) Hours and hours of excruciating pain is exhausting.
    3) I've come to see the emphasis on unmedicated childbirth as another facet of the "mommy wars" and as an accomplishment to be heralded. I bought into it too, until I went into labor with my second child and realized what "normal" contractions were supposed to feel like. I realized how dysfunctional my first labor was, and how it might be possible to delay pain relief for a lot longer. I had terrible rectal pain, slow progression, etc with my first child.
    4)An epidural is a beautiful way to relieve pain--try to delay it as long as you can, so it's not in for very long and so the interventions don't mount, and it's really a godsend. Rather than deliver a 50mg dose of narcotic into your whole body, it delivers a tiny fraction of medication just to where it's needed most. I slept the last three hours of my labor and it was simply the best thing I ever did.
    5) A c-section is actually the safest way for a baby to delivered--for the baby. It's NOT safest for the mother, and therein is the controversy.

  33. You've gotten a lot of great comments here, but I'll add my two cents.

    With my first baby, I had a flexible plan - I was going to go as long as possible without drugs and see how long that might be. My only goal was to avoid a C-section. To make a long story short, after 9 hours of intense labor, I opted for an epidural because I had only progressed from 1 cm to 3 cm dilation and I couldn't imagine being in that much pain for so many more hours. Fast forward 10 hours, I had managed to get to 9 cm dilation, but the baby's heart rate started dropping during contractions and I needed an emergency C-section.

    When I went for my post-partum visit, the midwife asked me how I felt about needing the C-section (since she knew how much I didn't want one). I said I was disappointed but I was so happy to be healthy and have my baby be healthy (which is true). She was glad to hear my answer because she said so many women who have rigid birth plans end up traumatized when it doesn't turn out the way they wanted/expected. She actually used the word "traumatized." So from that advice and the advice of the other women who have commented, be kind to yourself no matter what happens and be flexible. You cannot know what will happen, nor can you control much of it.

    With my second baby, I was *really* hoping for a VBAC but ended up with marginal placental previa and had to have another C-section (unscheduled, but not an emergency, due to bleeding at 37 weeks). We're done having kids now. While I'm mildly disappointed that I will never experience the feeling of a vaginal delivery and never get to "push", it's okay. Life happened and I rolled with it. And apparently, in doing so, I avoided being traumatized.

  34. Hi Mo,
    My two pennies worth:
    I have had two full term deliveries. I had no real desire for a natural birth over intervention before my first labour, mostly assuming that it would be incredibly painful and I would want some form of pain relief. I was induced for both of my labours due to waters breaking and no subsequent active labour. For my first pregnancy I laboured for four days, got through gas and air, two pervasive shots and finally an epidural, then had a ventouse delivery. For the second i was induced at 9pm and the baby was out four hours later, so quickly that my midwife did not even have time to put on her surgical gloves to catch him. My point is both these labours were so very different and they drove the pain relief I needed, it wasn't really my decision at all, I just went with what I felt I needed. I had more damage (serious tear) from the natural birth than the episiotomy I received for the ventouse birth but my natural birth baby had a great apgar score and was born more alert
    And able to nurse than my elder son.

    I think being relaxed through hypnotherapy or otherwise can help take the panic you may feel from the pain away and

  35. Sorry... And help you relax through your contractions which in turn will help your body open up and prepare.

    Also, I truely dread the annual bout of norovirus we get in our house from the babies more than labour. I had nausea in my second labour but no vomiting in either, I would take contractions any day.

  36. Ps, was supposed to say pethadine, not pervasive, silly predictive text !

  37. I've already chimed in with my happy birth stories, so there's no need to belabor that point, but I can say that I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it because I went in before my baby shower to have my eyebrows waxed and tried to use hypnosis and failed miserably. That didn't mean that I wasn't successful when it came to my wishes for a pain free birth.

    In regards to the desire for positive birth stories, I had a friend who wore a button which said "Positive birth stories only-- baby is listening"

  38. Hi.
    Congrats again!

    I had a med-free induced labor. Though my hardest laboring was only for an hour, it can be done.

    Everyone is different and no matter how much research you do, you may be surprised how things go on your girl's birth day. Whether you get that epidural or not, you'll be so happy.

    Good luck!!! Yay!

  39. When I had my son I had planned on a "natural" delivery with no meds. It did not go as planned at all. I found out quickly that I could not tolerate the pain, so I decided to have meds. I started with stadol (sp?) and then after a while I had the epidural. I ended up laboring for a total of 22 hours before having an emergency c-section....which they put me under for. I do not regret the meds, but I was disappointed that I did not get to have a vaginal delivery. I was even more disappointed that I was asleep and without my husband for the delivery. However, I did not feel like a failure, just disappointed. In the end, I was just glad to have a healthy baby and to finally be a mom! The most important thing is always that baby and mom are healthy and safe. Allow yourself to do whatever you feel is best for you at the time and even if nothing goes as planned, know that you are not a failure!

  40. I did Hypnobabies (at home training or whatever they call it when you don't take an official class and just use the workbooks). Made it through unmedicated, first child, just shy of my 41st birthday. Also had a doula (gets your husband off the hook.)
    We also took the basic birth class our hospital offered - for the same reasons you stated - to get my husband up to speed.
    Also, was told they would induce me if I went one minute past due date because of my "advanced maternal age." What is worse than "advanced maternal age"? When they call it a geriatric pregnancy! Really.
    To avoid a "western medicine" induction, I had my acupuncturist induce me. Worked perfectly. I wasn't even having braxton-hix and was not at all dilated, when she treated me. A day later I had a baby.
    However, my best friend also just had a kid using Hypnobabies - and had to use pitocin because her water broke but her labor never started. She also made it with no medicine. At the end she was calling for an epidural but when they checked her she was ready to push.
    It CAN be done, even if you are induced.

  41. I agree with many of the posters on here. Of course, prepare. But be flexible. Birth can't be "planned".

  42. I was induced at 39 weeks at age 46 and gave birth without pain meds. Best/toughest thing I ever did. Lots of details on my blog. Although we didn't do hypnosis, I really believe that the more you research, the more relaxed you'll be-- particularly at the crucial decision points. And prenatal yoga helps a lot too! Wishing you the best of luck.

  43. We took the Hypnobirthing course. I wanted to go med-free, but ended up taking Milk of Magnesia for constipation on the day I had my doctor's appointment at 41+3. Between that kicking in and the prostaglandin gel they put on my cervix later on that night to induce labour, I ended up in the bathroom with diarrhea for much of the evening. My poor bum was burning. Then I had falafel and tabbouleh for a night-time snack, and either because it was bad or because of finally going into labour, I ended up vomiting a few times as well. Nice. I wasn't great at practicing the visualizations and stuff. I did find the breathing really useful to help relax. After about 1.5h of strong contractions + diarrhea/vomiting (having to run to the bathroom in the middle of a contraction isn't fun, or having bowel cramps on top of the tightenings), I decided to see how far dilated I was and consider an epidural. I was only 3cm at that point (had been 1-2cm before the gel). I decided I needed a break at that point, and got the epidural. By the time it worked on both sides of my body, I was fully dilated.
    I think if I hadn't had all the GI stuff going on, I'd have been able to relax and make it through without the epidural. I was concerned about how long everything would take, given the induction, and the GI stuff put me over the edge. If I'd known it would only be a couple more hours, I might have held out.
    I have no real regrets about the epidural though. I said I didn't want to get one, but would be open to it. Really, my birth plan was to try hypnobirthing, but if plans changed, that was ok.

  44. A few things for you.

    Using your hypno-anesthesia for non-birth related things can help sometimes, but don't let it discourage you because it didn't. This link should help encourage your!

    I would say the average length of birth tends to be closer to 8 - 10 hours. :)

    As for induction... if a mom chooses to get induced, I have loads of positive induction stories to encourage moms.

    Hiring a doula is a great step too. :) Make sure she knows Hypnobabies stuff... Here is a link for her.

  45. I was induced with my first- at 41w5d. I made it for 24 hours on the pitocin before I requested the epidural. It was tolerable up until that point with pain management techniques my husband and I hard learned in our birthing class (not hypnobabies).

    However, my daughter was asynclitic (i.e. her head was crooked and she was stuck up in my pelvis) so I wound up with a section in the end.

    Had she not been asynclitic, I think I could have made it through.

    I went into it thinking that I was going to try for unmedicated, but wasn't going to rule out anything. I was going to leave myself open to making decisions as the birth progressed. I think it's unwise for women to make blanket pronouncements about what they are going to do when they've never experienced it- ya know?

  46. This is so much more than i needed!!! but will all come in use thanks!!
    hypnotherapy training

  47. Hi Mo,

    Lots of great stories and suggestions above. If I had to share my #1 point it would be that from my experience personally and friends & family the most likely way that you will end up feeling like a failure or dissappointed is if you get yourself so dead set on YOUR BIRTH PLAN and don't give yourself the ability to be flexible based on what you are presented with.

    If I had lots of time right now (which I don't because I am due 10-28 and working and you know a million other things...) I would instead spend my time researching breastfeeding and how to maximize my chances for a successful nursing experience with this little one after varying degrees of success with my first two.

    I PROMISE YOU ANY RESEARCH YOU DO ON BREASFEEDING WILL SERVE YOU 10X BETTER THAN PLANNING THE BEST BIRTH EXPERIENCE. You'll be breastfeeding about a million times more hours than you will be delivering Magpie and there are tons of ways to go wrong if you don't have the right knowledge or support.

    Best of luck!!!!!!

  48. How is the hypnobabies home study course different than the course you take with an instructor?
    hypnotherapy training


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