In January, I did the most terrifying, amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I gave birth to my first child. I survived, there were almost no complications, and he is a happy, healthy five and a half month old. All's well that ends well.
However, hormones aside, during my pregnancy I faced a multitude of feelings regarding labor and delivery. In the early stages of my pregnancy, I told myself "Don't worry about it. Its future Lainie's problem. Let her deal with it when the time comes." But as I found myself closing in on 8 months, I began to realize that "future" Lainie wasn't so distant now and at some point my growing boy was going to have to find his way out of my body. I was growing anxious and every horror story I've ever heard about the pains of labor were resurfacing. Not to mention, my intense fear of needles and desire to use the epidural weren't compatible.
The answer to my anxiety was clear to me; in a family of hypnotherapists, I could utilize hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing is an incredible tool that can stand in place of using an epidural. Some clients feel no pain at all; others feel discomfort but are able to remain calm and relatively relaxed. Labor isn't like the movies; it begins slowly and the contractions are noticeable but mild at first. During this time, it is completely manageable to go into the hypnotic state and begin deep relaxation techniques. Without using the epidural, your labor isn't slowed and you are given the option to move around which can speed labor. During delivery, you aren't confined to your back, which makes delivery easier and quicker. Its natural, so you don't have to be concerned about passing drugs onto your baby and both of you are able to stabilize quicker after birth.
Unfortunately, for the best success you begin working with your therapist for 6 sessions before your baby is born. By the time I began working with my mother, I was in my eighth month of pregnancy and my son was born two weeks early. I opted to get the epidural because I wasn't equipped to stay in the a relaxed frame of mind under lengthy hypnosis. I did manage to use hypnotic techniques while the epidural was being administered into my back, and I did not feel a thing. My needle phobia disappeared. Staying still and calm was not difficult for me; it was a smooth process.
Unfortunately, the epidural didn't take and I did end up feeling the entire experience by the time my son was ready to start making his way into this world. I would love an opportunity to have a true hypnobirthing experience. The hassle of an epidural that ended up futile in the end was frustrating. There are many benefits to hypnobirthing, and even if you use an epidural in the end, it can still help. It made me feel more prepared and it lessened my unease about giving birth. It gave me more control and I felt that I had more options. In the end, I'm happy I attempted it and hopefully in a few years I can write about what its like to have the full experience.