I still call back some of the techniques I learned in hypnobirthing in my everyday life.
I never thought I’d be into the idea of having hypnobirth. When I saw those two little pink lines for the first time in my life, I was shocked. Happy—yes! But definitely shocked. I mean—I knew nothing about being a mom. Or raising a child. Or giving birth. Nothing at all.
And the birth part made me nervous right away. I liked being pregnant, but the actual having the baby part? The contractions, the pushing, the crowning? Well, those words made me tense up pretty quickly.
My fear quickly turned into research.
I needed to find out everything there was to know about giving birth. I logged many, many hours on Google and spent a lot of time watching documentaries. After all my research, I decided I wanted to try for an unmedicated birth. That seemed like what was calling to me.
Another thing I learned in my research phase was that I couldn't go into giving birth willy nilly. I decided that I needed to do my research and educate myself and then make some sort of a loose plan—but stay flexible when birth day actually arrived, because things may not pan out how I envisioned them to.
The women who had gone before me told me it would be good to mentally prepare for my ‘plan’ to go awry. (And if it didn’t? Great! But if it did, then I was already kind of ready for that.)
So, I knew I needed a strategy of some sort to help me on this journey. I had read about hypnobirthing after my sister used it with one of her pregnancies, and I felt an immediate connection to it. Hypnobirthing is a birthing philosophy which helps you eliminate fear from your mindset and instead—encourages you to focus on specific relaxation and calming techniques that will help you manage pain during labor, while also tapping into your natural birthing instincts. It seemed right for me and the unmedicated birth I was hoping for.
What mostly drew me to hypnobirthing was the ‘eliminating fear’ part. I was scared, but I didn’t want to be scared. I needed something to help me calm down.
Pre-hypnobirthing, I would literally cry on the spot when I thought about going into labor. Post-hypnobirthing? I felt empowered, strong, prepared and very ready to birth my baby. It transformed my mindset completely.
With the help of the meditations and affirmations used in hypnobirthing, the fear of the unknown that I had before the course started shifted into the ability to truly trust that my body and my baby were going to do exactly what they needed to do to bring my little one safely into this world.
When the big day finally arrived, my goal was to labor at home for as long as possible, which ended up being about four or five hours. I had planned on making it a little longer, but as a first-time mom, I was anxious to just get to the hospital to be with my midwives. (I had to remind myself that the first step was being flexible—things weren’t going to go exactly according to plan.)
By about 3:30 a.m, we arrived at the hospital. I was 4 cm dilated, and my midwife said it would be about 12 hours from then that our baby would be with us. And guess what? She said this at about 3:45 a.m. Saturday morning, and my daughter arrived at 3:49 p.m. Saturday afternoon!
I was the only one in the labor and delivery wing giving birth in those wee early morning hours, which was really nice. The whole floor was quiet and peaceful—the perfect setting for the birth I envisioned.
I had a diffuser going in the room pumping lavender essential oils through the air and a soft but inspirational music playlist humming in the background. The lights were dimmed, and both my husband and mother were right there with me.
I used the shower on and off throughout the labor process which was incredibly helpful for my body—especially because I dealt with back labor. Using the tub during the transition phase helped me feel a sense of relaxation—which was important to me because I didn’t want my body to tense up during this important time.
I was able to focus on breathing my baby down and picturing her making her way down my body into the birthing canal—each surge, each wave brought her closer and closer to my arms.
When it came time to push—oh the relief of pushing!—I think I may have injured both my husband and my mom’s hands in the process. What can I say? I was ready to meet my baby! My midwife, Barbara, let me actually pull Maggie right out onto my chest which was one of the most incredible feelings in the world. She was breathtaking.
As I watched my newborn baby girl find her way to my breast, I felt the happiest I had ever felt in my life. I think I was still shocked. Shocked that I was a mom, shocked that I just did that, shocked that this was my girl I carried for 40 weeks.
Somehow, after all that hard work I had just gone through, my energy came back, and I felt like I could climb Mount Everest if you dared me to. I felt amazing. Invigorated. Inspired. And might I add—pretty impressed with what my body could do.
I’m so glad hypnobirthing taught me how to trust myself and my body because it’s a lesson I have carried with me over the course of my motherhood journey.
I’m four years in, and I still call back some of the techniques I learned in hypnobirthing in my everyday life. I quickly learned that a calm mindset is not only needed in the labor and delivery room but also in the living room, at the park, in the kitchen, in the car…you get my drift. ?