Last night I finally listened to the “Learning Self-Hypnosis” track in my Hypnobabies program all the way through. In fact, it was the first time I’ve been able to stay awake through the entire thirty-plus minute tracks since I started the program. Something tells me that I’m missing something by falling asleep. In this particular track the voice, also known as Kerry Tuschhoff (the creator of Hypnobabies), actually instructs you on how to hypnotize yourself. It’s kind of important to stay awake for the lesson that is the foundation of the program and yet? I fall asleep. She has you count back from 100 and by 94 I am out. It’s a waste of time to listen to them if I’m just going to fall asleep. Last night, in an effort to stay awake, I didn’t lay down in bed like I was planning on falling asleep. I sat up, propped up by pillows so that I wasn’t leaning against the headboard. I didn’t crawl under the covers either, and I left the bathroom light on so it wasn’t completely dark in my bedroom. I removed some of the ‘sleepy time’ elements from my routine and it worked! When Jacob came to bed, he turned off the bathroom light but by that point I was mid-way through the track and already in the zone with no ‘risk’ of falling asleep. And you know what? This stuff works. She instructed to send anesthesia to my arms and I did and my arms felt tingly and heavy. It was freaky and awesome. I sent it to my lower body and felt a heavy, numbing wave from my hips all the way down to my toes. I couldn’t believe it was actually working. Now, I wasn’t feeling a contraction or pressure wave (as it’s called in the program) so I don’t know if it was actually creating some sort of natural anesthesia but I will say this – I was completely relaxed and when I tried to move my hands once I turned my switch off (another Hypnobabies term; maybe I should create a glossary for the blog), I couldn’t. That’s pretty cool, right? I am learning so much about the whole mind over matter philosophy. We are truly in control of our bodies no matter what is going on around us. If a woman can block out or transform the less pleasant feelings during labor and turn them into something comforting, don’t you think we are capable of doing just about anything? I’m not very far into the program but I believe in it already. For once, I am feeling totally in control of my pregnancy and of my life. No one else can make me feel any way that I don’t want to feel because I’m in complete control. That’s powerful stuff. Imagine if you could block out negativity and only focus on receiving positivity from others and the universe; the world would definitely be a more pleasant place. But for now I’m just focusing on me, the baby, and getting the baby out without pain or fear.
This sounds very hippy-dippy new-agey and it kind of is. But who cares?
All of the things I enjoy most have a commonality – yoga, going to the beach, reading, sleeping – all very peaceful, calming, very introspective activities. I’m a high-strung person and sometimes I need to be brought back to center. I cherish any activity that aides me in doing that. I would love to always be laid back and have a go-with-the-flow attitude but I don’t. Maybe with my continued practice of Hypnobabies (I listen to the daily affirmation while I’m at work plus my nightly session) it will help me incorporate these tranquil feelings into the rest of my day.
When I start my yoga practice, which should hopefully be next week, I know that I’ll really be in the zone. Every time I have maintained a consistent yoga practice (classes, not DVDs- those don’t do it for me) it has made me feel amazing. I’m still a novice and my body type prohibits me from holding certain poses but I don’t let that get me down because that’s not what yoga is about.
I will continue to update you guys on my Hypnobabies journey which has really turned into a journey of the self. Seriously, that’s on the wall of a yoga studio studio somewhere and I can’t believe I just typed it. I’m no expert in relaxation or self-exploration but dammit, I’m going to do my best to bring out my inner calm. Just call me Guru Lauren.
My first birthing experience was less than ideal. It pretty much covered everything that happens in a typical hospital birth by an OB. It was almost textbook, practically cliche. First-time mom goes in for induction, gets Pitocin and lots of it, then gets an epidural because there is no pain management technique used (OB never suggested classes or reading up on different methods), and while the new mom-to-be is drugged up she keeps trying to keep her OB from wheeling her into surgery for a cesarean. Yet, we all know that this is an inevitably in my case and many others’ and it’s just not right. Unless, of course, you genuinely need a c-section or opt to have one in the first place. Those are different scenarios and were not in my ‘plan,’ if I even had one to begin with. I had a cesarean, a rough transition off of my epidural, and was kept separated from my baby for several hours. During that time, she received formula in the nursery and this is probably why nursing was so challenging for us while we were in the hospital. I also had a huge bruise on the side of my thigh and I have no idea how it got there. Thankfully, the site of my incision healed quickly so that was one of the many possible issues that I didn’t face with my surgery. We were in the hospital for five long days. Hospital staff kept interrupting valuable bonding and sleep times with their checking and making sure I was drinking enough water. Too bad that hospital services aren’t a la carte because I would have opted to NOT pay for that service. But you don’t have a choice, now do you? Once you are in the hospital you are on their clock and have to follow their rules and let’s face it, thanks to the many lawsuits that hospitals and doctors have had in the past, there are many processes and procedures in place that are mostly for protecting the employees of the hospital. These protocols and rules are generally at the expense of the patient (in any situation, not just labor and delivery) and will ultimately make “care” more invasive/painful/unnecessary/expensive.
This is all just my experience and my opinion so take it with a grain of salt if you feel the need to do so.
In order to avoid such a traumatic and aggravating experience this time around Jacob and I are going to have a different kind of birth. We switched from an OB/hospital birth (I was seeing an OB for the first half of my pregnancy) to a midwife practice in a birth center. Their philosophy and approach to birth is what I didn’t even know I wanted or needed. I feel like a person and not just another check from the insurance company and that’s a good feeling. My first midwife appointment was last week; the midwife (one of three in the practice) and I chatted for an hour before she did any “medical” things. It was no wonder my blood pressure was normal – I was finally relaxed. I feel safe and totally at ease at the birth center.
In addition to birthing away from a hospital, Jacob and I are also using the Hypnobabies birthing method. We have only been practicing for a week but it seems like a great way to have a relaxing, zen, peaceful labor. Who wouldn’t want that? Every night Jacob and I listen to one of the tracks designated for that particular week and, at thirty minutes long, we rarely make it to the end before falling asleep. I think that’s a good thing! Listening to it makes me feel so peaceful. In fact, the “trigger” word that we will be using to release my natural anesthesia during contractions and labor is peace. Peace. I love it. Just saying it feels relaxing. For the next four months Jacob and I will be practicing this technique together. So far, it’s been nice laying next to him, breathing, letting go. It’s a good way to melt off the stresses of the day and has made us fans of meditation.
That’s our two-part plan on how we are going to ensure that this birth is full of love and support and not fear-based hospital practices. It’s going to be awesome.
Let’s bust this one out in list form! Here we go!
- I had my first prenatal appointment with a midwife at the birthing center on Monday and it went really well. Expect a legit post about this soon-ish.
- Jacob and I started the Hypnobabies series which we will be using to hopefully aide us in having a more relaxing, less fearful birth. Again, a post must be written on this. I’m actually really into the meditation and even Avery likes listening to it. Too bad she still squirms and doesn’t listen when the lady on the track tells her to close her eyes.
- I have started being more mindful of what I eat which I should have been doing this entire time but was pretty laxed on until this week.
- ALSO, I have started walking and being more active and will be joining a prenatal yoga class in the next couple of weeks.
- Nesting has begun! I shampooed the two rooms with the ickiest carpet (living room and Jacob’s office/guest room). The rooms feel brand new and not so… spotty.
- My Twitter-turned-real friend Claire is coming to visit me this weekend! She and her two-year-old son are staying for the weekend as a stop on their way from North Carolina to Washington where she will be living in what looks like the prettiest little town on the planet. We will be swimming and baking all weekend. I’m stoked.
- I have pelvic joint pain and it’s worst when I first wake up in the morning. I have to get up and walk around every hour or so or I will get stiff and the pain will return. Apparently, this is common if you’ve had a cesarean. The fun never stops with that one.
- Speaking of cesareans, Avery is now on an anti-sleeping alone kick. We can all thank her father for helping her unlearn the bed time routine that she and I established before he took over and jacked it up.
- Thing I love most this week? Green smoothies. Avery loves them too and it’s the best breakfast I’ve ever made.
For a non-post this has gotten long. Oh, the things I will elaborate on in the upcoming week will be stellar or at least be marginally interesting to a handful of you (Dad).
We are officially halfway through this awesome journey! I have much more energy these days which I have been taking advantage of by hitting the pool and doing some cleaning of all the things. I donated a bunch of stuff to Goodwill and we will be participating in the subdivision-wide garage sale next weekend. We are hoping to unload some things to make room for new baby stuff and make a few bucks in the process. In the past few days I have noticed my ankles looking a bit more, um, pronounced, than usual. I have very few delicate features and my ankles are two of them so when they look chunky, I NOTICE. Most women get cankles during pregnancy but any swelling freaks me out since I had hypertension during my last pregnancy. I think it’s time to get serious about my diet and hopefully that will keep the puffiness to a minimum.
While writing this post I started watching Pregnant in America, a documentary about the issues with birth in the United States (it’s on Netflix instant if you want to check it out but I must warn you, if you had a traumatizing birth experience it might be difficult to watch). While watching it I was typing up my plan for the upcoming weeks such as registering at the hospital and taking a tour of L&D. I had ultimately chosen to have a baby at a hospital because the only birth center that will perform a VBAC is in Richardson which is about a 45 minute drive from my home but nearly an hour from my office (which would make it a bit of a trek to go to appointments). Now, when I put it down in writing it doesn’t seem that far away. And it’s not. But I think what was in the distance for me, and perhaps previously unreachable, was my comfort in doing something non-traditional. Isn’t that weird? I am someone who always went against the grain; if everyone else is going left, you can bet your ass I’m going right. So why was this different? Was I afraid? Did I really think that a forty-five minute drive was worth trading in my peace of mind and what I knew was the best choice for convenience? Jacob teased me for watching the documentary since it’s obviously biased (what documentary about anything isn’t somewhat biased?), but he sat down and watched it too. The part about the use of the dangerous drug Cytotec freaked him out, as well as the doctor’s instructing the nurses to not check or record the woman’s progress to ensure that a cesarean will be the ultimate result. He knows that I was given Pitocin and NOT Cytotec with Avery’s birth, but I don’t remember being checked much at the hospital, and neither does Jacob. We both have our reservations about hospitals in general and honestly feel like, as a society, we are overly medicated. My good ol’ Okie husband is more of a hippie than he realizes (just don’t tell him that!).
We had talked about a birth center birth for baby number two but there seems to be only ONE birth center in Dallas-Ft. Worth that will do a VBAC. Even before I was pregnant I interviewed the midwife who runs the birth center (the one in Richardson) and I pretty much love her. This was about two years ago but I’m sure she still performs VBACs so I will do some research and give her a call.
I know that if we switch providers we are going to eat some of the cost that we’ve already paid my obstetrician but Jacob has reassured me that money isn’t the issue as long as I am comfortable and happy with this process (his comfort is important too). This is what we both want. And not because it’s trendy or because we’re OH SO CRUNCHY (we’re not, it’s a label I have no desire to pin to myself), but because we have experienced the hospital system’s version of a birth and that’s not what we want.
I’m aware that there are risks involved in a VBAC but there are risks in having a repeat cesarean too, and I find it hard to believe that having ANOTHER MAJOR SURGERY is safer than having a vaginal birth. That’s not even up for discussion since a VBAC has been my goal all along. Your opinion on it in either direction is welcome but you won’t be swaying me to have another cesarean (so don’t bother, I guess is what I’m trying to say).
I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, which is a relief in itself since my belly is getting really heavy.