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.