birthing without a "method," or adjusting plans for the second time around - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 11-19-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a really difficult pregnancy last time, due to emotional factors and little (2-3 hours) of sleep each day for the last couple of months prior to birth. I used hypnobabies very diligently, except that due to severe restless legs, I was not able to do all the exercises fully during the last couple of months. (I had been practicing since my mid-2nd trimester, though, so I was very familiar with the techniques.) I went into labor after a night of no sleep at all. 26 hours later, I gave birth. I was exhausted and had a hard time bonding with the babe and developed PPD.

 

Anyway, I had a hypnobabies doula and was 100% on board with hb.. I use self-hypnosis very often and it is great for me in general. However, I wonder if maybe my focus on having confidence on the method and following the method contributed to me feeling a little voiceless during my birthing process. Exhaustion and depression were my biggest challenges during and after the birthing process. Maybe if I hadn't had hypnobabies as a safety blanket, I wouldn't have had such a good physical outcome. Maybe I would have had to transfer due to exhaustion. I can't know.

 

But I just felt so disconnected from my husband and the people around me during the whole process. I wasn't open to what was happening, just focused on having a physically comfortable birth and following the recommended techniques. I don't think these are necessary results of using "a method," but my exhaustion and depression brought these possibilities out. Who knows how I would have reacted otherwise!

 

Things I liked about my experience:
ability to physically and emotionally relax for 2 pelvic exams (past trauma makes that hard for me)

no ring of fire
time went really fast during contractions, so they didn't seem unbearably long

I was centered and able to cope with the process with a minimum of drama. No screaming or waste of physical energy.

 

Things I didn't like:

So focused on "relaxing" and "doing it right" that I was not interactive with others around me

The hypnosis worked best when the doula was reading hypnosis "patter" to me, but she couldn't do that for 20 hours straight, so there were times when I felt betrayed because "it's not working because I am uncomfortable/overwhelmed."
My husband, doula, midwife couldn't sense how relaxed or comfortable I was--to everybody else, I seemed completely serene the whole time, but I wasn't.

I felt very alone.

Didn't make it easy to incorporate the spiritual dimension/experience into my focus

 

This time around, I want things to be different, and they will be because this is a different time and a different birth. But I still need to plan some specifics. I am nervous about "not doing hypnobabies." My midwife told me my birth canal was the most relaxed she had ever seen, and she is not really a fan of hypnobabies.  I really enjoy hypnosis and want it to be a tool that is part of my birth and am nervous about just "trusting myself," since who knows what kind of state I'll be in when birth time comes! I am a regular meditater and thought of using "Mindful birthing," or even checking out "Birthing from Within," which seems to be the antithesis of hypnobabies, but I don't know. Nothing feels quite right. I want to have a joyful birth no matter the circumstances. Just not sure what the path to that is, for me.

 

Wondering if others have gone through the same process with preparing for their second births. Any thoughts? Thank you!



Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
 

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#2 of 12 Old 11-20-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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We went to Bradley Method classes for my first and while I never completely bought the "method" part of it it did set up some focuses and standards that weren't helpful to me. For example I focused on having my husband do his part of it right and being there, when I learned I actually fare better alone for the most part. Also when I didn't relax and handle things gracefully during one stage of things I felt that was failure too. I imagine if I'd gotten an epidural I'd really have felt I failed. Methods suck that way, laying such structured rules for things in our minds. But with your first, what else do you have? You've never gone through it before and most of us never watched someone else birth before either.

 

With my second I had the tools I'd learned, and used them. But my "method" was to do what worked for *me*. Of course there were hurdles to cross, like a fear of being stuck at a certain dilation like I was for a whole day the first time, but everything moved forward in its own way. You can use your eyes open hypnosis techniques to relax and change your perception of what you feel if that serves you well. Or read BFW and use things like observing what's going on with you without any judgement at all, being curious about it and noticing the edges and the center of the sensations. You can use a combination of tools as long as you can personally reconcile "don't use the p- word" with "accept the pain but avoid suffering". Try not to let it mess with your head, what really has to happen is to get your overthinking mind out of the way, I think Gaskin says "let your monkey do it".

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#3 of 12 Old 11-28-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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I was very "in the zone" for each contraction (I basically just relaxed extremely and focused only on that), but between contractions I was talking and interacting, but towards the end I was just staying in the zone and I didn't mind personally as I didn't feel alone, I still felt surrounded by people who loved and/or were taking care of me. Perhaps something where you are focused or in hypnosis during contractions and able to interact outside of them might work? Or maybe give your DH and caregivers ways to show their love for you without messing up your hypnosis, maybe a short script that you practiced with that they could say filled with love and encouragement? For the hypnosis patter, could you record that ahead of time so if you needed it so much again that your doula could take a break and turn on a CD? Would your DH be willing to trade off doing it too? Anyway, some things that may spark ideas. I went into my first birth with a mish-mash of methods I made work for me, but even so, I was caught off guard by pushing. I've since found people with similar experiences to mine, but all I had read about before was that pushing was either painful or a huge relief, not like for me when I just felt like I had no clue what to do and all wrong-footed. Anyway, hopefully you can add to your labor toolbelt and have an experience more like you want!

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 

 

 

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#4 of 12 Old 11-29-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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The methods are great guidelines. They're not etched in stone. And no 2 people are the same, no 2 births are the same.  Everyone should adjust according to what they're comfortable with at the time.


I took classes, and read a lot, but what worked best depended on the moment. I would concentrate deeply on my breathing during contractions, and adjusted my position on what was comfortable at the moment. Shower, baths.... depended on the birth, and towards the end I really focused more on myself and what I wanted to do, than on those around me, which I think is fine. You don't have to talk with your DH, every other minute!

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#5 of 12 Old 12-02-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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To play the devil's advocate - why does it sounds like you feel guily for not interacting with those around you?  I go inwards for birth as well, and I don't feel that's wrong at all.  It gets you in tune with your body and gets the job done.  There will always be time for bonding with the husband or other family later.  I mean, i get why you might want that, but you don't owe an experience to anyone, if that helps you any.

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#6 of 12 Old 12-02-2012, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to each of you for your thoughts on this. I appreciated JamieCathryn's and quinalla's comments and knowledge of hypnosis and personal experience, and sunshine and tiqa's sharing about their inwardness during birthing time and responding to the moment.

 

I love hearing how others were flexible with their approaches during birthing. I think this time I will be able to trust myself more. I'm planning to go through the Mindful Birthing book and get my husband and me into doing mindfulness meditation techniques (as I mentioned, I already meditate, but not this method) just to expand my repertoire. Then depending on how I feel, I might go through hypnobabies again so it will be there if I need it or want to use it. I especially want to make sure I feel more confident with eyes open hypnosis. I have a lot of hypnosis experience and even became a "certified hypnotherapist" by the same institute that the founder of Hypnobabies bases her program on, so I am actually considering making my own, personalized hypnosis/affirmation CDs for myself. I can incorporate spiritual/religious imagery, ideas and affirmations for my own situation, and it could be very empowering. And then I'll be open to what needs and ideas arise in the moment. Maybe I won't even want to use the CDs.

 

Regarding being inwardly focused during birth, It's not that I'm opposed to inwardness, but I know myself and I know that sometimes my inwardness leads me down the path towards isolation/depression, which is not where I want to be after this birth. (I don't really expect to be, but it's a lingering fear.) My husband never complained about how quiet and uncommunicative I was during birthing, although he did say it would have been nice if he could have interacted with me a little more. My real challenge is that I felt no sense of bonding or closeness to anyone else at all during maybe the last 18 hours of my 26 hour birthing time. It wasn't good for me because of my personal history and personality. I really think a lot of this is due to how exhausted I was before labor started. Maybe if that doesn't happen again, I won't have to reserve all my energy for just getting through the experience, and I can enjoy it (including the people around me) more.
 



Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
 

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#7 of 12 Old 12-07-2012, 03:55 PM
 
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I did hyponobabies for my first birth.  I think it had benefits but I didn't find it "good" for my birthing experience.  I really don't think it prepared me for how tough childbirth would be.  In fact I remember yelling "this is pain!" when thinking about the hypnobabies tracks.  I got really angry that I didn't get the "peaceful, easy, comfortable childbirth that I deserved."   I really wished that the tracks prepared me for the experience of feeling pain and then dealing with rather than keep hammering the belief that I would feel no pain.

 

I can understand that you would feel disconnected from what was going on around you if you were able to get into your bubble of peace and stay there and I think it would be a lonely place to be for 20 hours.   Do you think it would be possible to come in and out of it when you wanted to interact and still get the benefits?

 

But on to current pregnancy.  I still listen to hypnobabies because I find the tracks incredibly relaxing. I discussed with my doula using the tracks and am willing to give it a try but in general my "birth plan" is so different this time.   I had a awful/tramatic birth and have a lot of stress thinking about how this next one will be.    Really my birth plan can be summed up with:  Please help me create a positive birth experience.  I am open to all your suggestions on achieving that goal.     I came across my birth plan for the first birth and kind of laugh at my innocence and what I thought would be important to me.   This time my only method is to resolve to be open to what experience I am having.  Because I had prepared myself for this natural/dreamy birth that was going to have with hypnobabies, I really had a very hard time switching gears to deal with a 4 day induction that I ended up with.

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#8 of 12 Old 12-07-2012, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by animommy View Post

. . . I got really angry that I didn't get the "peaceful, easy, comfortable childbirth that I deserved."   I really wished that the tracks prepared me for the experience of feeling pain and then dealing with rather than keep hammering the belief that I would feel no pain.

 

I can understand that you would feel disconnected from what was going on around you if you were able to get into your bubble of peace and stay there and I think it would be a lonely place to be for 20 hours.   Do you think it would be possible to come in and out of it when you wanted to interact and still get the benefits?

 

But on to current pregnancy.  I still listen to hypnobabies because I find the tracks incredibly relaxing. I discussed with my doula using the tracks and am willing to give it a try but in general my "birth plan" is so different this time.   I had a awful/tramatic birth and have a lot of stress thinking about how this next one will be.    Really my birth plan can be summed up with:  Please help me create a positive birth experience.  I am open to all your suggestions on achieving that goal.     I came across my birth plan for the first birth and kind of laugh at my innocence and what I thought would be important to me.   This time my only method is to resolve to be open to what experience I am having.  Because I had prepared myself for this natural/dreamy birth that was going to have with hypnobabies, I really had a very hard time switching gears to deal with a 4 day induction that I ended up with.


Thank you so much for sharing this experience and for validating how being in that bubble for a very long time could be lonely. I'm sorry that you had a traumatic first birth and hope that you will heal through the experience of preparing for and moving through your next one. Your statement that your only method is to resolve to be open to what you're experiencing sounds 100% like what the Mindful Birthing book and the practices in it aim towards, and it appeals to me a lot. Good practice for life, not just birthing.

 

I think I will take an approach similar to yours, in that I'll still be open to hypnosis but not base my whole plan on it. I've met with one doula who seems really creative and I'm thinking if we go with her, she will really be able to help with this. How far along are you? I really hope you will have a safe, meaningful, healing experience this time around.



Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
 

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#9 of 12 Old 12-10-2012, 07:59 AM
 
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I bought Mindful Birthing this weekend.  Wow - it's the mindset that I hope I can stay in.   After reading it, I remember that I spontaneously started saying during contractions.   "Just this minute."   I liked the counting breaths during contractions idea - that you know after X breats, the contraction would be over.   Still worried about the first moments of feeling the coming contraction.  That was the worse for me.  But as the book suggests, don't sit here at 36 weeks and suffer with the thoughts.  I'm just trying to be in the moment of right now.

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#10 of 12 Old 12-16-2012, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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animommy,

 

I was happy to hear that someone else benefited from this book, and I'm glad that my public angst led to that good, at least. It's been a week since you posted, and that means you are a week closer to your birth--or maybe it already happened. I am hoping for a healing outcome for you.

 

EDIT to add: I remember during my birth taking some phrase (can't remember it for the life of me--maybe hypnobabies inspired?) and repeating it over and over under my breath. Something about being strong and being able to get through it. Nothing like a good mantra.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by animommy View Post

I bought Mindful Birthing this weekend.  Wow - it's the mindset that I hope I can stay in.  



Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
 

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#11 of 12 Old 12-24-2012, 08:09 PM
 
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I didn't do any method. I just tried to breathe and chill out during labour and push with my instincts. I read up a lot on what actually happened, physically, during birth so that I'd feel like I was in the know (that relaxes me).

 

Even then, it's not like I was highly interactive with everyone around me! You kind of go into a zone. If you like hypnobabies, do that! It sounds like you found it relaxing, and that's sort of the important thing.

 

It is possible to relax without hypnobabies, though, if you're thinking of going another route.

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#12 of 12 Old 01-02-2013, 07:23 PM
 
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I had almost the exact opposite challenge in labour. I did not learn a particular method and I wish I had.  Instead, I tried to go with what seemed natural. I'd read Birthing from Within and Ina May's books etc. I tried to go with the flow but in the moment, I could remember any of the techniques I had learned, and I felt lost without a method to fall back on.  Now I am trying hypnobabies. I am hoping the combination of a method to fall back on and a variety of options will help a bit more. 

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