I was so scared when I found out I was pregnant with my now 2 year old daughter. I wasn’t scared about how I was going to raise her, or what I was going to do once she was born, I was scared about how she was going to get out of my body. All I had heard my whole life was how horrific birth is. I had heard my mother’s stories, which sounded more like war-stories than real life, and I had seen movies on t.v. of women screaming like someone was cutting their arm off. So, I wasn’t super stoked about going through this, but now I was pregnant, and there was no way out but through it. I couldn’t press pause, I couldn’t stop and change directions. This time I had to barrel through.
So I started searching on the internet, and watching a lot of “The Baby Story” and any other program that could tell me anything about what in the heck I was supposed to do here. I knew I didn’t want to birth the “traditional” way, because I hadn’t heard too many great stories so far going that route, and I definitely knew I didn’t want anyone sticking any kind of needle near my spine; that scared me more than the pain. I was searching for a way that was natural and non-horrific. I knew it had to exist.
At one point, I came across a clip from a credible news channel that had done a segment on pain-free birth. The method was called, “hypno-birthing.” The word “Hypno” reminded me of something hokey at first, but after watching the two women in the segment go through incredibly calm, natural labors, I was on board. I attended the hypnobirthing classes, read the book, and listened to the cd, and I was so ready. When the time came, I felt like I had gone through the motions a hundred times in my head, and not even being transported from the birthing center to the hospital in the middle of labor fazed me. (I was transported because of a Florida law regarding how many centimeters you have to be at a certain point in your labor at a birth center.)
When I got to the hospital, I met my delivery doctor for the first time, popped in my super-calming Indian music, and I was off dilating. About six pretty calm hours later, my hypno-baby daughter was born. I’m not going to say that the labor was pain-free. In hypno-birthing, they use the word “uncomfortable.” And that’s all it was. I had some back rubs during transition because I had heavy back-labor, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. It definitely wasn’t the labor I had heard about from my mother and the movies. And I’m so glad for that.
I had found the calm in the middle of my most terrifying storm. And the post-labor happy hormones? They were definitely real and well worth the work. They made me feel like Super Woman.
Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I’ll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I’d love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.