Can an anxious, overly-thinking, in-your-head, type A person have a natural labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a type-A person who is very concrete, very organized, very much "in my head." I have depression and anxiety as well. I have a very hard time "letting go"... when I get stressed or feel out of my element, my brain actually ramps up. When Ina May writes things like "have your monkey do it," I literally have NO IDEA what that means. I mean, I intellectually understand, but have no concept of how to shut off my brain and actually get to that place.

Is it possible for someone like me to have a drug free birth?

With DS, my water broke and nothing happened for 24 hours. At that point, I was started on pitocin (although I don't think it was the merciless, huge doses some mamas here have had). I lasted 11 hours but was starting to really struggle, got checked for the first time and was only at 4 cm.

I flashed back to something I read that said that up to 4 cm was "early labor," and I figured that if I wasn't even in active labor yet then I was doomed. SO I got an epidural and delivered DS about 5 hours later.

I didn't attend any CBE- I did a ton of reading on my own, plus I had a very complicated pregnancy and was too sick to attend classes. I did do the Hypnobabies home study, but looking back I think it was the WRONG choice for me.

The only part of Hypnobabies I was actually able to do was one of the first lessons about finding a "secret, safe place" and visualizing it in your mind in detail. I could do that. And that part was actually helpful during labor (and even now if I can't sleep, etc) But the finger drop technique? And moving anesthesia throughout my body? NO WAY. It was very weird- as I would listen to the tapes, I would be doing the exercises at the same time that I was arguing with myself about their ineffectiveness, then I would yell at myself internally for not attending to the tapes. It was just a massive head game to me, which was not good for someone who is so much "in her head."

I never finished the entire Hypnobabies course because DS came so early (35.5 weeks), and during labor I didn't even try the HB stuff nor did I listen to any of the tapes.

We did have a doula during labor, but even then.... she pushed my hair back a certain way during contractions, and even though it felt good and even though I was in pain, I was also worried about how it made my hair look ugly. She had me hang on her, and I was thinking about how weird it was for our boobs to be touching in that way. She and DH really wanted me to try getting in the shower, but I was too self-conscious about being so naked, wet, and vulnerable and how I would look and what people would think of me.

I know many of you mamas are probably thinking to yourself, "Well, she must not have been too far in labor or she must not have been in too much pain if she could be thinking thoughts like that." BUT I WAS. That's just it. That's how my brain works. When I'm stressed or there's a lot going on, my brain attends even MORE to little details like that, and those thoughts get louder and louder like static the more uncomfortable I am.

I actually liked pushing. I think it's because it was something concrete for me to do and concentrate on. It was a skill for me to learn, so I focused my energy on doing it right and well, and making progress. I had no feelings of self-consciousness then (worrying about being exposed or how I looked) and my brain was calm. It took less than an hour, and it only took that long because DS had a nuchal hand.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE that I was getting in my own way during labor, and that's why I didn't progress more or faster. Even though DH, the nurse, and the doula all reported that I APPEARED very calm and centered during contractions and was breathing through them well, in my head I was basically yelling at myself the whole time.

Once I got the epidural, my body could get my brain out if its way and get on with the contractions, which it did relatively quickly.

Is it possible for someone like me to do it without drugs? Or will my hyper-braininess always get in my way? How do I overcome that?

Thanks for reading- I know this is long.

Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#2 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 03:09 AM
 
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I think it's possible for any one to give birth without drugs.. it just might be harder for some than others!

it might be a good idea for you to read a lot about labor and how the body works and also about common interventions and how they work.. i highly suggest the book Active Birth. It has some great information and might help you keep your mind on things you can be doing to help your labor along!

Amanda~ mommy to Brayden (06/05), Noah (08/07), Alex (11/08), Lucy (09/10) and Kara (10/12)
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#3 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 03:17 AM
 
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I'm very analytical, anxiety prone, and obsessive (diagnosed with OCD)... and I had a drug free birth. I also feel the same way that you do about hypnosis. I am very obsessed with control. Here's what helped me, maybe some of it would help you too:

x. I spent most of my labor in bathrooms. At home either on the toilet or in the shower. At the hospital mostly on the toilet or near it. (The hospital shower had issues so I didn't like it.) I was in the bathroom alone. My husband would occasionally come in and check on me, bring me drinks, etc. but his main role was to guard the door. A nurse came in once or twice to check the baby with a doppler, but that was it. Whenever I left the bathroom I had trouble getting comfortable. I felt much more centered and uninhibited in the bathroom and others seemed more inclined to give me space. If you think about our cultural attitudes this makes sense. From a physiological perspective, various bathroom-related activities help you to relax and "let go." Hot water on your backside encourages some of your body's largest muscles to relax. And sitting on a toilet seat... well the association there is pretty obvious.

x. I focused on what I could control, mainly my breathing. I focused on my thoughts and allowed myself to think as much as I wanted. I thought a lot about the physical process that was taking place in my uterus and how that would lead to the baby being born. I didn't try to NOT think. For most of my labor this let me feel really in control.

x. Pretty much no one and nothing touched me. Toward the end I wanted to lean against my husband and have him rub my back, etc. but it was physical contact that I initiated. I didn't have any monitors strapped to me (except for admission and pushing) and the doppler checks were kept to a minimum. I didn't have any vaginal exams (again except for admission and pushing). I also didn't have any needles in me, not even a heplock. For most of the time we were at the hospital only my husband was in the room with me. I think the lack of people and lack of stuff helped me to feel less watched.

x. I will admit that despite the above points I did have a feeling of being "trapped" and "watched." I wasn't oblivious to how much effort my husband was putting into making hospital staff leave me alone. I guess it was "enough" solitude though for me to ignore it and turn inward.

x. I had no updates on my "progress" between being admitted and feeling the urge to push.

I don't know if any of that helps you. I think it helps to have an environment that, as much as possible, allows you to "be yourself" during labor. I'm not very social normally and when in labor that's amplified. Childbirth isn't the time to try to change or work on your neuroses and/or do what works for other people.

You also mentioned that you had a complicated pregnancy and that your labor was pre-term. Honestly, that probably effected your experience too and automatically gave you less autonomy. I'm not at all trying to imply that that was your fault, but once you have a legitimate need for one medical intervention it becomes harder to avoid others and your experience is going to be different from one that's less complicated. Your next birth could be quite a bit easier if the pregnancy is uneventful and goes to term, regardless of you type A personality.

daughter #1 10/13/07
daughter #2 10/08/10
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#4 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 03:23 AM
 
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I am an "in my head", type A, process through thinking, introverted person. I felt completely in control for my entire unasissted birth, and I spent all but the last hour of it completely alone.

Here's my birth story (long! ) maybe it will resonate.

Her birth followed two hospital vaginal births with pit and epidurals, both failure to progress... and both went FAST after the epi. I felt timed and watched, and just couldn't relax enough to let labor happen until I was able to be alone with my thoughts and allowing the process.
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#5 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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I think we may be quite similar personalities - we even had pprom around the same time (DS was born at 34w6d) - and may have had fairly similar birth experiences. I needed the epidural quite early into my induction because I was told to labour lying on my left side and not to make a noise due to signs of fetal distress, but I remember liking the way the epi basically knocked me out and helped me to relax.
I am hoping I will not need an epi this time around, and a lot of friends who have had epis/pit/CS for failure to progress the first time around have told me amazing stories about their fast and manageable labors and intervention-free subsequent births. So I am trying to go in there open-minded. I am still getting more and more anxious as I realize that I am in unknown territory again with this birth, as I have never been through those last draining weeks, and never had a term birth before, but am telling myself realistically it can only get better, and if I need an epi again so be it - at least I know that it's possible for me and that my spine and body handled it well.

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
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#6 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 08:32 AM
 
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On a related note that may resonate for you: I've heard it said that while Type A people are the most likely to suffer from heart attacks and other health issues associated with being so 'driven', that they are *also* the most likely people to recover from an adverse event and go on to live longer healthier lives than other types! This is because (it is thought), the very qualities that put them in the hospital in the first place, can well be harnessed to put them in much better health once they've had their wake-up call.

And I've seen this in a few people in my life. These people became just as attentive to, and 'driven' about their health as they always were about anything else, sheesh my FIL had chronic hypertension and serious associated problems, but he changed his diet, became devoted to exercise--and worked well into his 80s, not dying finally until his 90s, whereas in his early 60s when his health first reached crisis there was a lot of doubt if he'd see 70.

so yeah, put it to work for you

The other thing is to use the parts of hypnobabies that work for you. The deep relaxation seems to be the most-universally helpful element from talking with women...and I have to say that whole anesthesia thing would just not work for me (and I'm more type A-B). But deep relaxation sure does, and it sounds like it does for you, too--and I think it's the one thing that helps women the most to handle labor well enough. Taking steps to get there and remain there is something some of us can relate to as concrete enough; and of course for anxious/tense types, deep relaxation is so needed.

I agree with the others--get the privacy you need with labor, set the scene as much as possible with your own needs in mind. See what works for you, rather than feel you have to follow a program in every detail--and you better believe it, as a Type A, of course you can do ANYTHING!
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#7 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 10:43 AM
 
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If I were you I would also take a look at something other than Hypnobabies. I have been reading some of Birthing From Within, and I find it resonates with me in a way hypnobabies did not.
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#8 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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Yes!

For me, the determining factor seemed to be my decision to view my brain/mind and body as one entity. I wasn't "giving up control" to my body- I was with it the whole time.

I used a lot of what I learned from my induced/medicated labors to reframe my thought process. Each intervention TOOK AWAY my control (physically and/or mentally), and I didn't want to repeat that voluntarily.

I also found midwives who understood my thought process and embraced the control freak that I am. And they never questioned my plan or put doubts in my head.

I've personally never had or desired a doula b/c I would have similar thoughts running through my head. Fortunately, dh takes my sharp "Back off!" very well!

As far as preparation, Bradley books helped me a lot, and I just picked and chose what parts resonated with me. It made me feel proactive. While I've never looked into hypno-anything (so I can't give a fair review), the concept never appealed to me. I tend to think of anything hypno-related as relinquishing control.

Finally, I do spend a lot of time thinking through non-ideal scenarios. For me, this takes away some of the anxiety. I like knowing that I have a plan for everything, and it definitely came in handy when things didn't go perfect with my 4th delivery.

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#9 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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The instant I saw your title, I knew I had to respond. That is totally me! I'm type A, analytical, "in-my-head" type of person & I had a natural birth.

I agree, Hyponbabies is not for me. I know I just can't alter my consciousness & perception of reality in that way. I know it's great for many people & I actually recommend it, but it's just not for me. I probably would have had an experience similar to yours.

DH & I took Bradley training & another friend of mine took it as well. (Different instructor.) She said her instructor said, "Bradley women are type A." I think she's right about that.

I will say, however, that I can sorta relate to the "let your monkey do it" phrase & I AM able to sometimes get out of my head - but it's rare. I'm able to do it with exercise - running with music used to do it for me. (knees & shins started to bother me, so I don't run anymore.) I'm pretty focused doing boxing & weightlifting. I'm able to feel a "runner's high" with exercise & feel the rush of endorphins, so I think that really helps.

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Originally Posted by Belia View Post
I actually liked pushing. I think it's because it was something concrete for me to do and concentrate on. It was a skill for me to learn,
I thought I would prefer pushing for that reason as well. I have a "job to do" during stage 2. But I tried to think of stage 1 as "getting out of the way" to let my uterus do it's job. That was my "job to do." I've always hated the term "surrender to labor." How can I surrender (which means relinquish control) to my own self? Since labor IS my own body? Thinking of "surrendering" made me feel helpless. I liked thinking I still had a "job to do" & "get out of the way" was that job (relax my body physically.)

I absolutely think it's possible for you to have a natural birth! First off, having preterm labor & PROM would make NCB hard for anyone! I would have been worried about my baby at 35.5W - so it would have been hard for me to think of it as a joyous occasion & look forward to the birth with that worry in my head.

Personally, this is going to sound weird, but I think you would need to chose your CBE, doula & books very carefully. I would recommend steering clear of things that talk of "surrender" & "let your monkey do it" because not only does that not help you, it's only going to reinforce your sense of doubt. So you probably don't want to read more Ina May Gaskin. (Something I've never said before!) I've heard "Birthing From Within" is all about being a "strong birthing warrior" so maybe that would resonate with you? (haven't read it myself.)

I also agree that laboring alone is probably ideal for you. My labor went so fast (5 hours for 1st stage) that my doula hadn't arrived yet before I felt the urge to push. When she arrived, I was moaning through ctrx & she said, "Keep it low, grunt."

So I changed the noise & immediately remember thinking, "Oh, yeah, that's right, Ina May said higher-pitched noises can actually inhibit cervical dilation. I have to make sure not to scream."

Ya know what, F THAT! I'm so glad I labored without the doula. If she had been giving me that sort of feedback all through 1st stage, I would have felt, "I'M NOT DOING IT RIGHT! I would have looked to her for approval. I would have felt self-conscious. I would have sought her "approval" that I was "doing it correctly." (perfectionist side of me.)

Considering I did the majority of my labor completely alone, I didn't have any of those concerns, & I think that was much better for me.

I'm thinking perhaps self-consciousness & a lack of self-confidence might be more detrimental than being "in your head." It might be worth talking through these feelings with a counselor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belia View Post
I know many of you mamas are probably thinking to yourself, "Well, she must not have been too far in labor or she must not have been in too much pain if she could be thinking thoughts like that." BUT I WAS. That's just it. That's how my brain works.

I was the same way. I was "lucid." I remember talking with my Bradley teacher about monitoring in labor & asking about monitoring my blood pressure. I said something like, "Ya know, I can really honestly feel when my BP goes up, so I don't think that I'll need them to actually take BP readings while I'm laboring. I will know if it gets elevated."

She actually laughed at me. (no kidding, laughed out loud.) & said, "You will be so out of it! You'll have no idea."

Funny. It reminded me of how so many people, when I said I was planning an NCB said, "Oh, you'll be begging for that epidural."
It's the same sort of statement, "Meg, you have no idea what you're talking about. You're clueless. You haven't BTDT (labor) & you're expectations are so realistic & stupid." Nice, huh?

Anyway, she was wrong, I was right! hehe

I was "lucid" - I mean, completely lucid the entire time. I never got out of myself. I never thought, "Oh no, I can't do this!" The worst I ever thought was, "Man, I can see why people want drugs for this!" (not that *I* want them, but I can comprehend the desire that others have.) That was transition for me.

Point being: It's different for everyone! & if you think you know yourself pretty well, and you're pretty confident you'll react to labor a certain way, well, I think odds are good that you will be correct!

I remember reading in the great book "Pushed" by Jennifer Block, one HB MW said, "A woman meets herself in labor." Well, I already knew myself pretty well. Labor confirmed for me that I was who I thought I was. There was no "new Meg" to meet.
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#10 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 12:12 PM
 
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Yes, Yes, YES!

I am very similar. I can get in my own way so very easily.

But you know what the good thing about our personality is? When we find the right things to focus on, we ROCK.

I would also rec Birthing From Within. And Ina May's chapter on Sphincter Rules was very helpful to me. I had not been in labor, but I had dealt with all sorts of poop issues (IBS, consitpation) and thus I could relate labor to something I had been through.

I was really worried about getting in my way - I once almost passed out and threw up because of a tiny little scratch that I *thought* might have been a bad cut. I knew my brain could focus on bad things, what ifs, and go into panicy "I can't" mode. So, I spent most of my pregnancy focusing on "I can!"

I had a home birth though, and thus I was able to control my environment. I did not bark out orders, but I was able to just do waht felt right at the time. I think that is HUGE. Turns out, I was a very solo laborer. I was in the bathroom on my ball/toilet/hands and knees. Not talking, just being inward.

Mom to two intact boys, born at home. DS1 11/07, DS2 9/10
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#11 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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You can do it. I did. Use your brain to keep you focused on a mantra (my favorite is the Litany Against Fear from the Dune books) and also think about the sphincter rule and making low sounds. These three things kept me calm and focused.

DS1 2004 ~ DS2 2005 ~ DD1 2008 ~ DS3 2010 ~ DD2 born at 31 weeks Oct. 2014
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#12 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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I'm also very much an 'in my head' person. I, like a pp, thought about what was going on. Contraction = sway, call for husband, sway with husband, on knees, double hip squeeze, etc etc. One contraction at a time.

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#13 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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i am TOTALLY like you and i did hypnobabies the at home course i had an all natural extremely calm and organized labor lol im def going to do it for all my pregnancies it was seriously amazing for me

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#14 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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Although I can't help you with the birth aspect of things, as I'm currently pregnant with my first, I just wanted to share. I'm generally very analytical and self-conscious. One thing that has really helped me to feel more 'in touch' with my body is to exercise regularly. It's really changed the way I see my body, and my relationship with how I feel in my body (as in, I'm now MUCH more conscious of actually feeling 'in my body' instead of just 'in my head') I don't know how pregnant you are, and whether exercise might be an option for you.

I've been able to get to that 'animal' place through exercise when I push myself physically to a place that my thoughts just kind of stop, and I focus instead on feeling the strength of my muscles and the breath in my body. I've also found it in music, and in yoga/meditation.

I really think that 'turning off' that critical part of the brain is a learned skill, and you can get better at it with practice. Maybe you can find some ways to feel more like a physical body rather than an analytical body and be ok with that feeling - yoga, or exercise - obviously not super-intense if you don't exercise regularly when not pregnant - before you go into labor.

Of course, feel free to take my input with a grain of salt, because I've never given birth before....
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#15 of 29 Old 08-09-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I'm very much like you, from the sounds of it, and I found that analytical, mind-always-spinning side of me was why Hypnobabies worked so well for me. I used my stubborness to tell myself that my mind's only job was to get out of the way and let my subconscious hear the suggestions. I think that's why I slept through 95+% of the practice. My mind knew that was the only way to get me out of the way and let me accept the suggestions, and it worked great.

But whether you choose to use Hypnobabies this time or not (and based on your description of your birth, it sounds like you had accepted many of the post-hypnotic suggestions and responded well to them, even though you chose not to actively use the skills), one concept that you can take away from it and really change your experience of the birth is the idea of focusing on what you WANT, rather than strengthening your expectations of what you don't want by dwelling on it. I had big issues with the idea of yelling, or thrashing, doing or saying stupid things during my birth. Loss of dignity was a big issue to me, no matter how deeply I had sunk into my birthing self. I was always aware of such things, just as I thought I would be. But I did use my analytical mind to recognize how detrimental it was to dwell on the thought of me losing control and acting crazy during my birth. Instead, every time I had a thought like that, I would block it and turn my thoughts to how I would LIKE to be percieved during the birth. I would see myself relaxing deeply during the more intense moments of my birth, and lifting my head with a smile as the sensation went away. I "heard" people telling me how amazingly calm and collected I was and imagined myself thinking, "Yes, I really am totally comfortable and calm, this is great!" And in the end, my births were exactly that way.
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#16 of 29 Old 08-09-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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I think so. I'm very high strung and I have issues with anxiety and ptsd. I did end up getting one shot of a narcotic during my vba2c (I started having a panic attack) but I think I could have avoided that if i had been prepared for the possibility of a panic attack and had a plan.
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#17 of 29 Old 08-09-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudonk View Post
I'm very much like you, from the sounds of it, and I found that analytical, mind-always-spinning side of me was why Hypnobabies worked so well for me. I used my stubborness to tell myself that my mind's only job was to get out of the way and let my subconscious hear the suggestions. I think that's why I slept through 95+% of the practice. My mind knew that was the only way to get me out of the way and let me accept the suggestions, and it worked great.

But whether you choose to use Hypnobabies this time or not (and based on your description of your birth, it sounds like you had accepted many of the post-hypnotic suggestions and responded well to them, even though you chose not to actively use the skills), one concept that you can take away from it and really change your experience of the birth is the idea of focusing on what you WANT, rather than strengthening your expectations of what you don't want by dwelling on it. I had big issues with the idea of yelling, or thrashing, doing or saying stupid things during my birth. Loss of dignity was a big issue to me, no matter how deeply I had sunk into my birthing self. I was always aware of such things, just as I thought I would be. But I did use my analytical mind to recognize how detrimental it was to dwell on the thought of me losing control and acting crazy during my birth. Instead, every time I had a thought like that, I would block it and turn my thoughts to how I would LIKE to be percieved during the birth. I would see myself relaxing deeply during the more intense moments of my birth, and lifting my head with a smile as the sensation went away. I "heard" people telling me how amazingly calm and collected I was and imagined myself thinking, "Yes, I really am totally comfortable and calm, this is great!" And in the end, my births were exactly that way.
I'm a control freak, so Hypnobabies was the only thing that even remotely appealed to me. Being able to control my sensations and emotions helped me feel calm throughout my four births using hypnosis (even the painful, complicated one). For me, hypnosis was the only way I would plan on having a natural birth because it gives me confidence that I can handle whatever happens and still maintain a sense of control over the experience. I never lose my sense of awareness over what's going on the way some mamas seem to (I wear at least a sports bra throughout ). As someone who prefers to do things myself, I also appreciated that I was in control of entering and deepening my hypnosis, which allowed me to be more comfortable. I didn't have to rely on dh or my mw or an anesthesiologist because I could do it myself.

That said, if you don't feel like Hypnobabies is the right fit for you for this birth, Birthing from Within seems to be a good fit for moms who aren't interested in hypnosis. I chucked it across the room when I read it because I didn't like the author telling me that I WOULD feel pain, but that it didn't need to be suffering. I still can't wrap my brain around pain not being suffering, but it seems to make sense to the moms who don't want a hypnosis approach.

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#18 of 29 Old 08-11-2010, 04:57 AM
 
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I was so "in my head" for my first home birth that I pretty much missed the actual birth. I am very analytical, very concrete, etc. In my first birth, this worked out pretty well for me because I dealt VERY well with ctxs. I labored at home a long while, went to the hospital, was not even offered pain meds because I was doing fabulously (AND it was on my birth plan, etc.), and kept myself together pretty amazingly well, even when I got stuck with triple-peaking ctx in transition that never brought on an urge to push. I was NOT good at listening to my body (which was telling me to change positions) because I was thinking about the hassle it would be to move the stupid cords and lines and all of that around. And when I did, eventually, come out of a pitocin/IV-drug induced stupor with a serious urge to push, I thought that (A) no one would let me out of the bed to the bathroom if they knew I meant I had to go to the bathroom THAT way; and (B) that it didn't really matter since they were already prepping for the c-section (because of "FTP") and that I was so tired, anyway, that I probably couldn't push effectively. Bah. I got one good push in on the OR table before they knocked me out for an unnecessary c/s. Your head can definitely do you in, and I learned that I needed to listen to my body more, too.

So in that first home birth, I was, again, very cerebral. I remember saying, "This is the part where people say they can't do it anymore." I knew I could and didn't have any problem with it, but I knew I was in transition and that that's what other people would say! Then, when I was pushing, I told myself it could be hours. When I felt the ring of fire, I told myself that couldn't be what it was, because we weren't there yet. The MW and my DH said they could see the head - and I thought, "Yeah, but it comes out, slides in, comes out, slides in again... It'll be a while." I was *shocked* when my MW told my DH to pick up his baby! I had NO IDEA I was done! I was so in-my-own-head that I was, again, not listening to my body's very obvious cues as to where we were and what was happening. However, I *did* have amazing support and achieved a natural, drug-free, home VBAC.

Birth number three I purposed to be more aware of. And my body didn't let me do it any other way. I ended up with a precipitous trek from 6cm (when my water broke) to holding him in a matter of 17 minutes. But I was able to allow my body to push him out (once I stopped freaking out that I was going to hurt him by pushing "early" - when what I really was meaning was hurting ME, which my MW assured me was not an issue if my body was pushing him out already!), and I got to experience everything I missed in the other births - the crazy, awesome, amazing feelings of having him descend; touching the squished-up head; feeling the ring of fire (and knowing what it was!); feeling the relief of pressure as his head emerged; and giving a final push before catching my own baby.

You CAN, absolutely, have a wonderful birth even if you're very cerebral, analytical, etc. Sometimes, your body may force it on you. Other times, you need to make a conscious effort to listen to your body and your body's signals. I really think that is when labor is most effective. Do what your body says, have an awesome birth team to support you in whatever you need, and go with what *feels* right at the time.

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.

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#19 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much, mamas, for reading my rambling thread and responding so thoughtfully. You have no idea what your thoughts and words mean to me.

It's very comforting to know that there are so many other MDC mamas who are like me!! I'm a bit of an introvert, which can lead to feeling isolated at times. Hearing other similar perspectives is great, esp those of you who have BTDT.

I'm actually shocked that several of you had Hypnobabies work for you. It seems to be so counterintuitive to us type-A types. One of you mentioned falling asleep during the tapes... well, I was so scared to fall asleep because I thought I read that it wasn't as effective! Hm!

Oh yeah... did I mention that I'm not even pregnant?!? Or really even close to TTC?? That's how freaky-in-my-head that I am.

Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#20 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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With DS, my water broke and nothing happened for 24 hours. At that point, I was started on pitocin (although I don't think it was the merciless, huge doses some mamas here have had). I lasted 11 hours but was starting to really struggle, got checked for the first time and was only at 4 cm.

I flashed back to something I read that said that up to 4 cm was "early labor," and I figured that if I wasn't even in active labor yet then I was doomed. SO I got an epidural and delivered DS about 5 hours later.

.......

Once I got the epidural, my body could get my brain out if its way and get on with the contractions, which it did relatively quickly.

this was me, twice. well, the first time, and the 2nd time i was induced.. but thats how my labors went and i've often wondered if i COULD let my body do it ..NOT having pitocin and not having cervical exams i am hoping will make a HGUE difference i am planning a homebirth for this baby.. i have been planning to do a lot of the things others have mentioned - i'm planning to be alone..with my midwife and DH etc. in another room for much of labor.. i think i just need to do my thing and not feel so pressured .. the clock, all the wires, being afraid of a c-section etc. really messed with me..

- Staci, Mommy to Mollie (3/06), Jamie (5/08), Annie (9/10) and Bently (2/13) chicken3.gif
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#21 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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I had to respond to this thread, because I am just like you, and I have had two natural births. I think that for me, the key was having a care provider I trusted and laboring at home. (My first birth was in a hospital but I was well into active labor by the time I got there).

Unlike MegBoz, though, I was NOT lucid during active labor. I can't account for her story, but when I read yours I thought, it was likely the pitocin that threw a wrench into the natural process. My understanding is that the natural labor process releases powerful painkilling chemicals in your brain (esp oxytocin) that don't allow you to feel pain to the extent you would without them. Because pitocin goes directly into the bloodstream and does not go through the brain, you don't get that "high." That's all I can compare it to, being high.

Like a number of other responders, I also labor alone. I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't want or need anyone touching me, I just go inside my head and do my thing (mainly rocking back and forth and vocalizing). I can answer basic questions if I have to, but I can't hold a conversation. All of this DESPITE being a highly anxious, worrywart, type A personality. In fact, the day before my second son's birth, in fact a few hours before early labor started, I had a total breakdown about the fact that he was posterior. And then the whole thing turned out fine -- once I was in labor, I didn't have the ability to get in my own way anymore.

I didn't consciously do anything in order to have this happen -- it was involuntary. As long as those contractions are coming, I can't overthink anything. Now, in my first labor, I had stops and starts, and I did start thinking during one of the stops (ctx had slowed to every 15 min) and got very discouraged -- this was after laboring for 12 hrs. At that point I went in to my midwife's office to be checked, and she told me I was at 6. From that moment, with that encouragement, my labor picked back up, and an hour later at the hospital I was totally out of it (thank goodness ... more on that in a minute).

My "thing" about labor and birth is that I am terrified of interventions. Having a C-section is one of my worst fears in the world. Having something done to me without consent -- like amniotomy, episiotomy, vaginal exams -- scares the hell out of me. So, that's why having midwives was so important for me ... and I had my second at home, and I think that helped me too. This is not to say you should have a midwife or give birth at home, just to say that feeling safe and respected and listened to, wherever that may be, is, in my view, extremely important to being able to relax in labor.

Hope this is somewhat helpful. Hypnobabies was not for me, to weigh in on that question -- I cannot suspend disbelief like that, it's a little new agey for me. I wish that it was something I could get into, because it sounds great! But like others above, I found Birthing from Within more helpful. And also the Sears Birth Book -- for me, knowing what was going on, having facts and numbers in front of me, was comforting. But I am a nerd that way!

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#22 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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I'm actually shocked that several of you had Hypnobabies work for you. It seems to be so counterintuitive to us type-A types.
Not true at all! Being type-A can be a great thing when learning self-hypnosis! It's all about making a choice and sticking to it. Who does that better than type-A people? A woman can choose to focus on reasons that it won't "work" for her, and all the reasons she may not be doing it "right". Or she can choose to do the practice as explained, accept the suggestions, and use the skills. There are FAQs in the Yahoo group, and this is what it says about type A personalities and Hypnobabies:

"Q) I've been told I'm a type A personality and that due to this I will have trouble being in hypnosis. Is this true?

A) Absolutely NOT. There is no such thing as a "bad subject", just a person who really doesn't really feel safe entering and staying in hypnosis. Usually this is due to a fear of lack of control, which actually never happens in hypnosis. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You *choose* to enter, stay in and come out at will. When people don't really know all about hypnosis and are not feeling a rapport with, and completely comfortable with either the person who is the hypno-guide, or hypnosis itself, (this is essential to letting go and having a real hypnotic session) they will choose not to enter hypnosis. This can change with education and practice.

Q) But I am a VERY typical type A person, always thinking - over thinking. Is there hope for me?

A) Of course there is. Some of the best births I've seen have been with women just like you, who are so strong minded, and very invested in making it work. It may take a bit more effort, to just let go and not analyze, but it is well worth it and you will do that if you really want it.

Two things will help:

1) Listen to every word of the CD, very carefully, following along with every word exactly as it is being said, as if you were repeating it in your mind. Since you cannot think two conscious thoughts at one time, your mind cannot analyze or criticize anything it is hearing, and soon, it will simply accept the messages unconditionally.

2) The opposite: When listening to your CDs, just "check out", thinking of anything else than what you are hearing on the recording. Your work tomorrow, your grocery list, try to name all the people in your family's birth dates, etc. Your inner mind is listening to the CD messages, and your conscious mind does not have a chance to analyze or criticize.

Q) Also - is this an all or nothing thing? I mean if I do the work and it doesn't "work" will I at least be more relaxed? Maybe not hypnotized but relaxed?

A) Please be aware that it always *works* in that women who use hypnosis are automatically much more relaxed and comfortable, and *how well* it works depends on many things; things that change from woman to woman, and birth to birth. Here’s what I've seen:

You have a much better chance of having an excellent, comfortable, hypnotic birth if you:

1) *Really* want an unmedicated birth using hypnosis.

2) Take your birth hypnosis program seriously.

3) Practice religiously, every day.

4) Choose a supportive caregiver.

5) Use Pregnancy and Birth Affirmations every day and don't let negativity about childbirth in.

6) Make excellent, informed choices when it comes to your pregnancy, labor and birth. This includes choosing to let nature take its course (in the absence of complications) when possible, knowing that the introduction of unnecessary interventions can change the course of your hypno-birth irrevocably.

7) **Having, or gaining an unwavering trust in your body, mind and baby; that working together, they will produce for you the kind of birth experience you want."


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One of you mentioned falling asleep during the tapes... well, I was so scared to fall asleep because I thought I read that it wasn't as effective! Hm!

Oh yeah... did I mention that I'm not even pregnant?!? Or really even close to TTC?? That's how freaky-in-my-head that I am.
Falling asleep is fine. The recommendation is that you take the time to listen to each script while alert one time, to learn what suggestions are included. Then, you can sleep through it, guilt-free! Here is some information about sleeping while practicing:
http://www.enjoybirth.com/faq-sleeping.html

And you're not freaky-in-your-head, you just have foresight and a willness to prepare instead of procrastinate. That's a good thing! (I hope, because I made the decision to buy Hypnobabies for my second birth while in the process of giving birth to my first child! Honestly!)
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#23 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Hope this is somewhat helpful. Hypnobabies was not for me, to weigh in on that question -- I cannot suspend disbelief like that, it's a little new agey for me. I wish that it was something I could get into, because it sounds great! But like others above, I found Birthing from Within more helpful. And also the Sears Birth Book -- for me, knowing what was going on, having facts and numbers in front of me, was comforting. But I am a nerd that way!
I can understand why you might think you need to suspend disbelief in order to use Hypnobabies, but the way it works has a physiological reason. The hypnosis techniques allow you to release your body's natural painkillers (endorphins) on cue. More endorphins = less pain

Honestly, there's nothing that jumps out to me as New Agey in Hyonobabies at all. (I did think HypnoBirthing was New Agey, though). Hyonobabies worked for my personality because it includes lots of those wonderful facts and statistics on birth topics and it also taught real medical hypno-anesthesia techniques (much more powerful and effective than simple relaxation and imagery, which often feel very frou-frou). I knew that if I made the conscious choice to overlook the weirdness of hypnosis and just do the program as outlined, I would maximize my odds of having an easier, more comfortable birth. That's exactly what happened for me and many other moms.

ETA: I'd also like to point out that Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis does not require moms to believe that the pain of childbirth is only in their heads or that birth "isn't supposed to hurt". Other hypnosis methods do require those things/teach those things, which I think does a disservice to women and causes a sense of failure if pain is experienced.

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#24 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Maybe I am mixing up Hypnobabies with Hypnobirthing then ... I should check out the former next time around. From what you describe, it sounds very similar to the way I instinctively labored. Thanks for clarifying!

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#25 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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When Ina May writes things like "have your monkey do it," I literally have NO IDEA what that means. I mean, I intellectually understand, but have no concept of how to shut off my brain and actually get to that place.

[...]

I sort of understand, but don't like it. I like my over-analytical brain and don't want it shut off. I want it involved in every experience.

I know many of you mamas are probably thinking to yourself, "Well, she must not have been too far in labor or she must not have been in too much pain if she could be thinking thoughts like that." BUT I WAS. That's just it. That's how my brain works. When I'm stressed or there's a lot going on, my brain attends even MORE to little details like that, and those thoughts get louder and louder like static the more uncomfortable I am.

[...]

I had very clear, lucid thoughts during transition while on pit and after having my waters broken, lying on my back. My brain was working overtime and I was analyzing the myth of Eve and 'bringing forth children in pain' and the apparent fact that there WAS something ominous about matter and sexuality and procreation after all and that all those dualistic heresies may have had a point there. Yup, during transition.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE that I was getting in my own way during labor, and that's why I didn't progress more or faster. Even though DH, the nurse, and the doula all reported that I APPEARED very calm and centered during contractions and was breathing through them well, in my head I was basically yelling at myself the whole time.

Once I got the epidural, my body could get my brain out if its way and get on with the contractions, which it did relatively quickly.
Now this is the only thing I might disagree with. 5 hours for 4cm to complete sounds sane after 11 hours from 0 to 4 when induced with your first. I'm pretty sure you'd have made the same progress without the epidural, it just made it easier, and I'm a heretic here who doesn't think it's a tragedy if a woman chooses an epidural to help herself have an easier birth, if that's what she wants.

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The instant I saw your title, I knew I had to respond. That is totally me! I'm type A, analytical, "in-my-head" type of person & I had a natural birth.

I agree, Hyponbabies is not for me. I know I just can't alter my consciousness & perception of reality in that way. I know it's great for many people & I actually recommend it, but it's just not for me. I probably would have had an experience similar to yours.

DH & I took Bradley training & another friend of mine took it as well. (Different instructor.) She said her instructor said, "Bradley women are type A." I think she's right about that.

[...]

Yeah, me too. I just don't feel like altering my consciousness on purpose for a big event like giving birth. I like to experience reality as it is. That's the reason I'm not into either epidurals OR Hypnobabies.
I was "lucid" - I mean, completely lucid the entire time. I never got out of myself. I never thought, "Oh no, I can't do this!" The worst I ever thought was, "Man, I can see why people want drugs for this!" (not that *I* want them, but I can comprehend the desire that others have.) That was transition for me.
These were my thoughts exactly during transition! 'I can understand why women opt for epidurals and I'll never judge anyone for choosing to have one!'

The second time around no one broke my waters and I had no pit and was free to walk around and drink water and shower until the time I had to push, though, and it was so different and so EASY compared to #1 that I'd barely started type 2 Bradley breathing, let alone thought it was too difficult.
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#26 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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Yeah, me too. I just don't feel like altering my consciousness on purpose for a big event like giving birth. I like to experience reality as it is. That's the reason I'm not into either epidurals OR Hypnobabies.

That's a common misperception about Hypnobabies. Women using it actually tend to be more lucid and aware of their "reality" when using hypnosis for birth. In fact, it confuses caregivers all the time, because they assume a woman isn't really in their birthing because she's so calm and acting so "normal". There is no "altering consciousness" when using Hypnobabies any more when we do the other things we typically do while in self-hypnosis, such as watching TV, reading a book, exercising, waiting for an elevator, etc. We are fully connected to our bodies and our thoughts, we are just better able to focus our attention where we choose.
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#27 of 29 Old 08-12-2010, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My "thing" about labor and birth is that I am terrified of interventions. Having a C-section is one of my worst fears in the world.... So, that's why having midwives was so important for me ... and I had my second at home, and I think that helped me too.

See, I was terrified of an epidural too- more than a c-section, actually. I HATE needles, and the idea of one in my spine?!?!? NO WAY. I actually had knee surgery about 10 years ago and when I was told (after the fact ) that the only way I could have decent pain medication was if I got a shot, I said no. My mom could have killed me.

So, yeah, I was serious about "no needles" and I had "suffered" so I didn't have to get a shot in the past. But I went for that epidural after like my house was on fire after 11 hours.


The other thing that your post made me realize was that maybe I was more disadvantaged than I thought. Not only with the pitocin, but also because I really wasn't comfortable with my MW. I had been seeing a MW group for my entire pg who I absolutely LOVED, but their practice was taken over and disbanded (hostile-ly!) by their supervising hospital when I was 32 weeks pg. SO I was put in the position of finding new caregivers, when I was high risk already, when I was VERY CLOSE to delivery.

I did find a new MW group, but they are much more medical than my original caregivers. I only went there 2 times before my water broke. So I did not feel safe, and I also got off on a very bad foot with a nurse on L&D when she tried to start the induction. So that was bad too, and my labor began with me feeling very vulnerable and doomed.

Things improved once the doula and midwife arrived and we were assigned a new nurse. But maybe all of that affected me more than I thought.

We live in a state that is pretty hostile to HB, and I was/am not 100% comfortable with that idea, so homebirth was never an option.

The Hypnobabies discussion is so fascinating to me!!! There was no way that finger drop stuff would work for me.

Sleepy mama to Colin Theodore 8-12-08 and Trevor Arthur 7-17-12.

 

 

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#28 of 29 Old 08-13-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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I'm a very anxious, introverted, self-conscious, in-my-head type person, and frankly a bit of a control freak. I've had three unmedicated births, one in the hospital and two at home.

For me, this was the only way to go - being medicated would have made me feel out of control, more anxious, more self-conscious (at least that's how I assume I would have felt). I also had a major fear of epidurals because I know they are administered somewhat similarly to getting a spinal tap, and my mom had complications of a spinal tap when I was a teenager that left her in very severe pain and hospitalized for days (I know the same complications are probably very rare for an epi, but the thought of a needle in my spine just freaks me out, and I can remember her pain, and how out of it on painkillers she was, so vividly).

I did Bradley method classes before my first birth (I'm now in the process of becoming a Bradley teacher) and those worked really well for me. They give you a lot of different tactics, so if one doesn't work you can try something else. Also, having my husband as a support person was great, I was much less self-conscious than I would have been with someone else.

Having a homebirth was wonderful because I was totally in control of my environment and I didn't have to deal with any strangers (nurses, etc. - only family and midwives I knew pretty well at that point). But our hospital birth went fine, probably in part because we stayed home until relatively late in labor (dd was born 4 hours after we left for the hospital, I had been in labor for about 18 hours when we left) and because the hospital was very respectful of our wishes - even after I was admitted, they pretty much left me alone until I was pushing. And our midwife was great.

My third birth was especially amazing - I had such a sense of what was happening in my body. I could really feel the muscles working, my uterus contracting and opening the cervix, and as long as I was processing that as "muscles working" and not "pain" it didn't hurt. I was using a lot of visualization, picturing what was happening in my body - using my brain to connect to my body, I guess.

I'll also say that I did lose my self-consciousness when I was deep in labor; and earlier in labor it wasn't an issue because it was just me and dh.

@Belia, it sounds like you had a difficult situation. So sorry you had to deal with such stress late in your pregnancy :
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#29 of 29 Old 08-16-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Another Type A natural birth person here. I never tried the hypnobirthing/babies stuff. I had a major insight in my childbirth education class. I don't remember what the teacher said or did, but I suddenly realized that the thing she was describing was just what you need to do when singing. I had taken quite a few voice lessons and it's exactly the same.

My voice teacher used to say it was much harder for me to learn to sing than for his football player singers. He just told them what to do and they did it. I had to *understand* it. Why does X technique work, how should it feel, how is it different than what we tried last week, etc. I did learn how to sing, though, it was just a more cerebral process.

For me, both singing and yoga intellectually-engaging activities that help my mind tell my body how to relax. I can't and don't want to "tune out". I was totally lucid through both labors, the second one with pitocin.

It was just like Meg said. I met myself in labor, but I wasn't a stranger to myself. I can do hard stuff, but I do hard stuff by using my brain more than anything else. You can totally do this *your way*.
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