May 21, 2011


One year at the Alaska State Fair, there was a hypnosis show that my siblings, cousins, and 4-H friends would go watch whenever we weren't working in the barn with our animals. 
It was entertaining.
Especially when I watched my brother get hypnotized and then firmly believe that he was being attacked by a dog every time the hypnotist scratched his nose.
Joey, you were great. :)
Despite its entertainment value, I've always thought hypnosis was a bunch of phooey.  I mean, really??  Joey, did you really think that you were being attacked by a rabid dog!?  
Being the skeptic, I figured that hypnosis would never work on me because, well, I've never been completely convinced that it's legit in the first place.  But it sure was hilarious and a great escape from barn duty....

Fast forward to nursing school.
Labor and Delivery class to be exact.
My professor was strict, kind of scary, completely awesome, and a firm believer in something called "Hypnobirthing".
I think I giggled a little when she first mentioned it, because the visual of stage hypnosis combined with childbirth is just comical.  
Remember, I had always planned on having unmedicated births with my own children and I believe in the woman's ability to birth "naturally" without any medical intervention (for the majority of cases), but the Hypnobirthing claim that childbirth doesn't have to be painful!?  Um, do we all remember how small of an opening that ginormous head and body has to squeeze its way through?  Can anyone tell me how that physiologically isn't supposed to hurt!?
Anyway, I was introduced to the idea during class one day.
I saw videos of women giving birth without making a peep or looking like they were at all uncomfortable.  
My professor explained the physiology behind how this is possible when you are completely relaxed, let go of fear, and let your body "do its thing". 
Mostly, I just chalked it up to that the fact that these women who could birth that way were just like my mom: freakishly tough and really good at tolerating and/or hiding pain. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.
I'd been wanting to get a doula to help me through this next labor.
But doulas can be pricey and any "doula budget" that might have existed went directly into the "fixing my vandalized car" budget.
And then I met my friend Calista who just moved into the area. 
Somehow we got on the topic of childbirth and I mentioned how I had wanted a doula but that it might not work out this time around.....and then she said, "Well, I'm not a doula, but I'm working towards it and I'm a certified hypnobirthing instructor." 
My interest was peaked, she sweetly offered me a big discount on her classes, and volunteered to be there at my birth (free of charge) to help coach me and Garrett.  Sweet!  
I was mostly excited to have someone there at my birth to help me "get through it", but I figured the classes would be interesting too (even if I was still a little weirded-out by the idea of hypnobirthing). 
I did tell her right away that I have always been a little skeptical about hypnosis in general and wasn't sure that I really believed childbirth could be (or should be) painless.
She immediately responded by telling me that most hypnobirthing mothers' experiences aren't "pain-free", but that their perception and definition of pain completely change during hypnobirthing, making it a calmer, more controlled experience.
She also reassured me that hypnobirthing is far different from the "stage hypnosis" that I loved to watch and laugh at during the Alaska State Fair shows.  The hypnosis in hypnobirthing is more about being deeply relaxed, focused, and in control during labor.  
Okay, a little less skeptical.....

.....and fast forward to today.
I'm having my last hypnobirthing class tonight, and I have to admit I'm coming around to be a believer in this stuff.
Calista is awesome. 
She's helping me learn how to relax in general, which is a life skill that I definitely need some work on.  
As my Braxton-Hicks contractions have begun to get painful and keep me up at night, I've learned to breathe and relax through them, making them much less annoying and very tolerable.
I'm not quite nervous or scared for labor like I was a few weeks ago.
I feel like a stronger, more confident person in several aspects of my life.
I have really learned so much in the past few weeks, and not just about how to relax during childbirth.
All in all, it's been a great experience,
and now I'm interested to see what my labor will be like after all this.....
.....but I'm pretty sure that I will still leave the "stage hypnosis" stuff to my brother Joey :)


Laura said...

Hypnobirthing is the most common method I see in our unmedicated patients at AF :) and I think it can actually really work very well. I hope this delivery is a great experience for you :)

The Faustino Ohana said...

I took hypnobirthing classes before my first was born, and was surprised when I was in labor and realized it wasn't near as bad as everyone had told me it would be. One of my teachers told me to think of any pain as more of the type of exertion you get when you are working out really hard- our muscles are contracting and working in labor, and this help me do what you described to change the perception or definition of the pain during labor. I loved it and hypnobirthing has helped me have three unmedicated deliveries. Hope it helps you too!

Taffy and Tony said...

Wow! I've never heard of this before. I'm going to have to do a little reading or something. Let me know what you think after all is said and done. I, too, really want to have an unmedicated birth, and so far, I'm 0 for 3 and somewhat frustrated about each experience.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...