So the Hypnobirthing book I had on hold for the last few months finally came in for me at the library and I thought well, I am only 39 weeks pregnant, what is the harm of introducing an entirely new birth philosophy this late in the game? Ha ha.
Anyway, I've read the book now and am really excited to have a new set of visualization/relaxation techniques at my disposal. Since I had my DD just 23 months ago without any drugs/interventions and with a midwife at a birthing center, most of the ideas introduced in the book aren't new to me and are a lot like the way I birthed my daughter.
With one big exception: the total commitment to zoning out and letting my body be, rather than doing things, however natural, to help the baby out. I'm probably not explaining this really well, but last time, with my daughter nearly two weeks late, we were using every natural method in the book to get her out. My membranes were being swept every other day, I was going to an acupuncturist, lots of sex, nipple stim, etc.
In early labor I was not resting, I was squatting and lunging around like a madwoman trying to get things going. It really seemed to help. I was really convinced that my labor would have just stopped in the absence of all of my efforts. It wasn't until well into transition that I finally felt like I could just let things happen and when I finally let myself go into the zone.
But even then, I remember my midwife suggesting I squat or sit on the toilet, or move around. I really didnt feel like doing those things. In the end I had only a 12-hour labor, with only Five hours from 6 centimeters to baby in my arms, so it wasn't like I ever stalled or anything.
The hypnobabies philosophy is particularly hard for me to accept in the birthing stage. I am all about woman-directed pushing, and that part of my labor was actually very mellow and totally driven by me. I pushed only when I reallly felt like it, sometimes resting through several contractions with no protests whatsoever from my midwives or hubby. But hypnobabies takes this so much further, suggesting you don't really need to push at all, just relax and breathe down and let the baby move down. Will that really work?! Don't I need to push a little?
I've already retraced my birthing steps quite a bit, and definitely want things to be less forced and more mellow than last time. (I am planning a homebirth this time, maybe in my birth tub). I want more moments of quiet in early labor, and I want to relax more and not feel like I'm sprinting around the whole time. The whole hypnobabies idea of staying so deeply relaxed really, really appeals to me, but I'm just so scared that if I really let myself relax that deeply and take such a passive role in labor it won't start/progress/end. Obviously I can just try this path and then get more active if I need to, but I'd really love some input from you all.
I really feel like this philosophy differs fundamentally from a lot of what I've read in the natural birthing world, including major players like Ina May Gaskin, who has many stories where women were told to walk around, move around, have sex, etc., etc., etc. Also from every prenatal yoga and natural childbirth class I've been to, where the emphasis is as much on optimal positioning to speed labor along as it is on relaxation.
Oh, wise women of the June 2011 Ddc, please tell me what you think: if I feel like just curling up in a corner and breathing deeply, will my baby really be able to come "without me?"