Labor Method

Months or maybe years ago, I started researching labor methods to help me manage pain and control anxiety and have the experience I want.  I didn’t have a bad experience having my son, but it wasn’t empowering or fulfilling either.  And I think it should be!  And I like challenges.

We can’t spend the money for a doula, and I’m sure it’s a rare insurance policy that will reimburse you for a doula’s services.  I then thought about doing a water birth because I know our hospital has a birthing tub (I only walked past the room with it a million times during labor, the L&D hallway is rather short!).  But I don’t think that’s for me.  I took showers and a bath while in labor before and it didn’t really help relax me or anything.  I do really like that a water birth will help prevent tearing, and the one thing I’m afraid about is tearing along my episiotomy scar.  If it does happen, I know I won’t care at the time.  But seriously, lots of ouch; fortunately it can also be prevented by your birthing position (i.e. not on your back…) and from applying hot compresses during labor, perineal massage and support, etc.

I read the Bradley Method book and also decided that it wasn’t entirely for us because my husband isn’t the sort who would feel entirely comfortable as a labor coach (although I’m looking forward to him being more comfortable about it since he’s been through it before too!).  So then I read about hypnobirthing.  Essentially what you do is listen to something soothing, which includes hearing “affirmations” (positive statements to keep you in the right mindset), and put yourself into a super-relaxed state.  Hypnobabies seems to be the most popular version of this.  For awhile I thought that sounds just like something that I’d be good at doing because I’m good at internal focus.  But I do feel uneasy about the whole “self-hypnosis” thing, no matter that I can include prayer, scripture, and people say you can wake yourself up whenever you want.  I just don’t like my brain feeling like it’s in an altered state of awareness at all.

I do have the Hypnobabies disks I got from a friend, and what I have decided in the last few weeks that I feel the most comfortable with is not using the program as intended, but using a few of the tracks I’ve listened to part of to help me relax during labor.  I’ll keep my list of affirmations/scriptures/prayers to read through too.  I should familiarize myself with the materials now, just read through/listen to things a few times a week.  I think the familiarity will help them be even more relaxing and focusing.  Essentially I’m planning on sort of combining hypnobirthing with some things I read about in the Bradley Method book.  Like how to relax through the later stages of labor and what positions might be most comfortable to push in.  I would like my husband to be able to be as supportive and involved as he can be.  It would be helpful for me, and I’d like to think it would be nice for him too!  And as for the early part of labor, I plan to be moving as much as possible–walking, and I have a giant exercise ball to use–to help manage pain and encourage things to progress as quickly and efficiently as possible.

With B I did 10 hours of labor at the beginning without meds (then 9 hours with them) and then about 2 1/2 hours at the end with them having worn off, which includes transition.  So I know I can do that much without even having been prepared, and I know I can do it this time!  Of course I’m also aiming for 12 hours or less of labor total this time.  That would be nice. 🙂

Wow, it’s just hard for me to get started with all of this because it’s so hard to believe I’ll actually be having a baby in like 6-7 weeks.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 13:09:11

    I don’t really have much/any input into this other than that if Nick’s getting MESSA now (he did get hired back at BH, right?), you should look and see if it covers a doula. I’ve heard that more insurances are starting to cover it, and I’ve always heard that MESSA covers a lot, so hey, it might. I’ve already told Steve that we are finding the money to hire a doula if/when we have another labor/delivery; everyone will be much happier (or at least as happy as you can get when L&Ding) with one there.


  2. Shan
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 13:17:25

    You know, it is possible that MESSA covers it. If anyone would, it could be them. Might be worth checking into, but I don’t know… I feel really awkward/uncomfortable around people I don’t know and am not actually sure I’d benefit from a doula because of that. I realized that a few weeks ago!


    • Jessica
      Sep 24, 2012 @ 13:26:12

      I think you can “interview” the doulas at Birth Kalamazoo, or at least meet them and see how you feel about them. They also have a doula-in-training who costs half what their others do, if MESSA doesn’t cover it.

      For me personally, it’s less about how I feel around her (because I tend to be like that too, awkward/uncomfortable), and more that I want someone in L&D other than Steve whose only responsibility is ME, and who can/will advocate for me if/when I want it. The nurses I had for both prior L&Ds weren’t like completely unsupportive or anything, but they were all working with 3-4 others at the same time, so not always in the room, and I didn’t feel like they were all that helpful with the major back pain I had while laboring with Johanna, and there are a few other things that I’d just like to not happen again and a doula would help a lot with that. I hope that at least *one* of the 6 or so doulas Birth Kalamazoo has would be someone I’d be amenable to hiring.


  3. Shan
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 14:13:05

    Good point. Well, as soon as our insurance is through so we can actually use it, I’ll check into the coverage on that.


  4. anastasiamcateer
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 17:02:48

    I never had an official doula but for baby #1 had a great friend helping out and #2 had a super-supportive midwife. Honestly a big part of the empowerment of the experience, for me, was that my husband wasn’t much into it (I think he was hanging out on the couch reading a book) and so I really did it on my own. Esp with #2 my midwife just barked at people to leave me alone and I did what felt right for my body. So let me encourage you that YOU can do this, and you might find you like it even better doing it on your own.

    I think you’re also doing the smartest thing by taking what you like from various methods. No one method is going to perfectly fit you, probably. I didn’t do the husband-coach part of Bradley but used most of the rest of the perspective. I listened to recordings of Tibetan bells and when pushing #1 I was silent, completely inward-focused (my midwife was amazed); pushing #2 it felt better to scream like they do in the movies. I loved laboring in the tub and do recommend it – it helps tremendously with pain especially in the back (my hossy wouldn’t allow birth in there but I stayed in ’til the last moment). With battery-LED tealights surrounding my giant tub, and the tinkling sound of bells, we could almost pretend I was at the spa. 🙂

    One final note: I too feared tearing twice, and I did tear twice, even utilizing all the measures you mention. There’s not a lot you can do. So try not to stress too much, b/c like you said, in the moment you won’t care, and it’s gonna hurt anyway (but I found I recovered MUCH quicker the second time around – that might have been due to the older child demanding I do so!). You’ll do great.


    • Shan
      Sep 25, 2012 @ 17:45:39

      I definitely know I’ll be doing it on my own and would work best that way, which is actually another reason I’m not entirely sure about having a doula. My brain works best on its own and that’s how I’m used to getting through emotional stuff too. I do want my husband do be a little involved though just because I’d like it for him to “share” in the experience some. And I think he could a bit this time since he’s seen a baby come out of me before, so he shouldn’t be all freaked out about it! 🙂

      Yeah, I do know that I still might tear no matter what I do, so I am trying not to stress about it. I’m going to mention it to my midwife at my appt. this week because I’m not sure what the general thoughts they have on preventing tearing are there, like if it’s likely the midwife will provide perineal support during pushing (which I guess only debatably helps anyway). There’s no way to predict which midwife will be there for delivery, of course!


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