One of the biggest fears I had once I started accepting that I was pregnant was labor and delivery. Everyone loves to share their horror stories about having their baby and tv and movies make it look like the most traumatic, painful experience a woman can undergo. Know what else traumatizes me and causes me pain? The idea of a huge needle in my spine and a catheter. I get light headed having my blood drawn (pregnancy has been a joy for that hahahaha nope). I do not place judgment on a woman who decides to get an epidural. By all means, mama, you do you. But when the idea of a needle in my spine makes me squirm more than the idea of pushing a watermelon sized human out of my vag, I really started wondering just what I had gotten myself into.
At my 20 week ultrasound, I said to my doctor "I have been thinking about not having an epidural...am I crazy?" He said "Nope." He threw out a statistic, I can't remember the exact number, but I remember it was around 80% of women get epidurals...and the ones who don't usually don't because it's too late to get them. Not exactly the confidence boost I was looking for...but then he handed me a pamphlet for Hypnobirthing with Alisha Tamburri. We finished our appointment and my husband and I headed out to grab breakfast before leaving town for our babymoon. I opened the pamphlet and immediately saw an endorsement from Jessica Alba and thought "We cannot afford this." Such is life in LA sometimes.
I spent a couple weeks researching childbirth classes but could not stop thinking about the concept of hypnobirthing. I decided to really look into the cost and saw that it was not much more than a regular childbirthing class so I decided to jump on the opportunity and signed up. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I made that decision for myself. Alisa Tamburri is an incredible woman and instructor. Every week, we went over shifting your mindset, self hypnosis, relationship building with your partner, and invaluable reminders that your body was meant to do this. I have been reading the book that corresponds to the course we studied (The Mongan Method) and feel confident that I am ready to take on this challenge.
In hypnobirthing, you learn alternative phrases to scary sounding medical terms (for example: contractions are now referred to as surges). Each surge is bringing my baby closer to me and we will work as a team to bring him into this world. I am not saying labor and delivery do not hurt or this is a promise of a pain free birth. What I am saying is I believe that remaining relaxed has a major impact on how painful and scary of an experience it can be. Tensing up in any situation means tight muscles and can hinder performance by igniting fight or flight. Remaining calm and open to the situation at hand will provided relaxed muscles and allow my body to do what it is naturally built to do, what women for so many years before us have done, even long before epidurals were around. I will not be pushing my baby out but rather breathing him down the birth canal. Every day I practice self hypnosis and bring myself into a deeply calm and relaxed state. It has helped me find relief in the stressors of pregnancy and life as a whole and is a tool I will take on my journey long past my baby's birth day.
I promise to share an update of how it all worked out after Baby Perez is here. But I am happy to say that my confidence and shift in perception toward giving birth has been a life changer. My doctor says natural birth is not a crazy concept but he believes hypnobirthing can be an invaluable tool should you choose to go that route. I've already received my money's worth from class with this new outlook and no longer dread that day. Instead, I look positively with anticipation on this beautiful miracle.