HELP! I'M SHIT AT HYPNOBIRTHING!(153 Posts)
I am 39+2 and my second baby is due on Thursday. My first baby (she is 22 months old) had to be dragged out by forceps after a 17-hour labour and an epidural (and lots of screaming and gnashing of teeth and telling the midwife - who kept calling me Zoe, which is not my name - to 'fuck off and get me someone who's over eighteen!'). I also had an episiotomy and retained placenta. Nice.
I am determined to push this baby out of my vagina by myself. In order to do this I need to avoid the epidural which (I believe) led to my forceps delivery last time. In order to avoid this I have opted for a midwife-led-unit birth with birthing pool and unicorns and kumbaya on the MP3 (I draw the line at clitoral stimulation; that's what got me into this bastard mess).
Against my deepest, primal instincts I have been practising hypnobirthing, but I simply Do Not Believe It Works. Can you help me believe? Do I really have to swallow the gumf about visualising my perinium folding outwards like a rosebud when my baby is crowning? My hypno-natal CD tells me to imagine the nicest beach I've ever lounged on but that was a needle-strewn stretch of grit at Pontins in Southport circa 1982.
I get the stuff about the breathing. I think. I understand that deep intakes of oxygen are nourishing for the cervix and that baby will benefit from my spiritual gasps. BUT.. the colossal problem I have is that I simply don't believe in my ability to squeeze a baby out of my vagina all by myself. It really upsets me that, despite having birthed before, I don't know how it feels to shout: 'It's coming! It's coming! I feel like I need a shit! My baby is COMING!!' like all those toothless fishwives on One Born Every Minute. I don't know what it feels like to have that 'bearing down' sensation. I missed all of that thanks to the epidural.
Will the midwives + birthing pool + visualising Pontins really get me through? Do you have any tips for bearing the pain at home until I'm, like...8cm? How do I stop screaming with rage each time the Mongan Method tells me that even the final stage of birthing should not be painful, but glorious? Why do midwives shout, 'Push! Bleddy push!' when the Mongan Method says the baby should surge itself if I'm wearing the correctly-coloured hessian tankini?
Please tell me I can do this. And how...
Can you cherry pick the bits that work for you?
I can't help really. I was reading the book and got to the part which said the urge to push didn't exist, and that women who experience it only do so because they expect to - i.e. it's psychosomatic.
Except it's not, it's a genuine physiological thing. I couldn't get on board with hypnobirthing after that. No surprise really, I just can't do woo.
(And I went on to experience the urge to push when giving birth that felt as powerful as a fricking juggernaut. No way was I dreaming that up, it was bloody horrible, and would have vanquished it in a second if I could have).
Have you read the Ina May Gaskin book? Might be worth a go. Lots on the physiology/psychology of birth and lots of positive natural birth stories from what I remember. Might be useful in terms of replacing/augmenting your own medicalised birth experience with different info.
Listen, just ditch it if it's getting on your nerves. I'm sure there are techniques there that can help you but I think you need to really be in the zone (whispers - the self-deception zone) for that hypnobirthing stuff to work and to be honest you don't sound in it.
I found walking round and counting my steps as I breathed out helped with really painful contractions - trying to make the whole out breath last as long as the contraction but crucially not panicking if it didn't.
Anyway the best thing you can do for now is RELAAAAx. But i know thats easier said than done.
Laboured at home to 10cm twice. I don't especially recommend it, pushing is way more fun with gas and air in hand, and the second one was delivered before we made it was far as the ward. I read the book but didn't do the classes. I liked what it told me about the physiology of birth; I could not get on board with all the "blowing up a balloon" stuff. Take from it what you can/want. And embrace your inner screaming banshee - I think that's what got me through the last bit!
This is really funny
I tried it with my first and it worked really well until I was transferred to labour ward with meconium stained waters and arrived at 10cm dilated to find the Worlds Grumpiest Midwife arguing with 2 others and ignoring me, which rather put me off my stride. Sort of assumed I'd do the same for baby #2 but didn't bother reading or practicing bc it was only a 20 month gap. Sort of worked until the same thing happened (though thankfully without WGM this time, plus #2 flew out almost immediately on arrival at labour ward).
Anyway I didn't really get on with all the visualisation stuff either but the parts I do think are really very helpful are the deep slow breathing and staying upright and moving. If you can deep breathe yourself into the 'zone' I think it will help you especially through all the early stages. I honestly think it was just the act of the slow breathing itself that was helping to keep me relatively calm, not trying to imagine a beach.
Also, have you ever done a really big poo? Because if you have, you do know what it feels like (or at least you can extrapolate). Obviously only speaking for myself here but I was totally amazed at how similar birth and huge poos are. What a visualisation that provides
Best of luck, and also remember it's likely to be easier with second baby!
I second walking, or at least trying to stay upright/on all fours.
And yes to the second one flying out! Hours of pushing with my first - second was out in 2 or 3!
Thank you, all, I really appreciate your replies. FWIW, plant, I think you're right: I just can't do that whole self-deception stuff. I know how fucking monstrously painful contractions are; I know what it's like to be slumped on all fours in the hospital lift, growling like a slit-throated hog.
Quod, I read Ina May Bullshit from cover to cover in my last pregnancy and all those hippies at The Farm just completely infuriated me. I hate reading about orgasmic births and spiritual awakenings and how birth is 'sexual'. I just can't take it in. You're right, though, I am clearly carrying the haunting baggage of my last birth <shudders>
Who are these women, though (some of whom are my friends!), who have 'easy', 'amazing' births? Why are they built differently to me? I have endured the last 26 weeks of pregnancy having SPD (the past 3 months I have been housebound and on crutches) and severe vaginal varicose veins and still I know this anguish is nothing compared to labour. I just wanted a beautiful(ish) closure to these months of agony
Oh, thank you for sharing bunique and creamoftomato. Yes to the breathing. Yes to the staying upright...I must, must, MUST avoid that epidural...
Do you think the midwives at a birthing unit are by default 'better' than the hospital ones? Do you think they'll have what it takes to make me...^believe^? <passes buck>
But I do think being able to relax, admitting your fears over last time and try to release them, being vulnerable, and seeing the pain of birth as a positive thing which will help you get your baby out without an epidural will sell help. You can do all that without hypnobirthing. Better get a move on though.
I'm sorry you had a hard time with your first.
Annoyingly I was a lucky one with my first which went very well. I put it entirely down to genes, luck and the right body shape. It seems 33 yrs of moaning about being pear shaped wasn't worth it...
I did try the Mongan method but I found it really annoying too. It just sent me to sleep and I'm not sure I ever heard the second track.
Also read the Ina May Bullshit (brilliant) and whilst it was a bit hippie for me I just took bits from everything that worked for me.
In the end, I had a tens machine, I did counting my breathing around a rectangle (in for 4, out for 6) and did a lot of pacing. I did 'visualisation'
bleurgh where every step I took was a cycle turn up a big hill I used to regularly go up.
I don't think it helped my body do anything but it distracted me for the contractions and I breathed and counted my way through them.
I didn't feel an urge to push and when MW arrived (had a HB) and was ready she said You are pushing, aren't you...
I hadn't been, as no one had told me to!
I hope it goes better for you second time round. I'd like to give you platitudes about how we're made to give birth and how you really can do it, but I know it's not that simple and many women have horrific experiences that understandably stay with them. Good luck
I'd recommend the ju ju subdin birth skills book. It's skim able. Just order some stress balls at the same time
I did hypnobirthing and birth skills and viewed it as my birth survival toolkit. I took bits from both approaches.
Sadly I have my copy away otherwise I would have posted it to you.
Juju sundin is AMAZING! Get it on your kindle now!
The self deception bullshit also didn't work for me, I had also had anfucking awful first labour and just wanted to shriek at the class teacher (yes I forked out for teaching with a load of naive first timers - no fucking way am I breathing this baby out it fucking hurts and I'm terrified!!). DH actually walked out and announced he was going to the pub when the teacher wanted us all to lie down for group exercise in
self deception hypnosis as he'd seen the carnage that was birth no 1 and rightly assessed deep breathing and visualising flowers wouldn't help.
Juju sundin uses visualisation and a whole load of other techniques but also acknowledges that it may well FUCKING HURT. Juju is basically distraction on a massive scale for massive pain and techniques to go into yourself with loads of different things to try on the basis hopefully something will work for you.
What worked for me was a squeezy spikey massage ball. I squeezed it, ran it forcefully over my forehead and thighs as a distraction and on occasion bit it. The next morning I thought I was having some weird post birth acne breakout but it was knobbly bruising from running the ball over my forehead. Also what helped was having an amazing midwife (for birth 3) who I trusted throughout rather than the panic that ensued with numerous shift changes in births no 1 and 2. I actually didn't have any pain relief at all only the birth pool in birth 3 thanks to Juju and I had been fully intending to get everything going I just didn't need it.
Three words: gas and air. It's great stuff. No need for this hypnotic nonsense.
Oh Christ, this brings back bad memories. I bought into the hypnobirthing malarkey with dc3. Along with bouncing on a gym ball and not having an epidural. Here's the thing...
1. My first two were both epidural followed by ventouse (sink plunger jobs), first with episiotomy.
2. I never felt the urge to push.
3. I was led to believe this was due to the epidural and had I just got through transition without epi then nature would take over. I was led to believe epidural led to intervention.
4. I genuinely believed, having had pain of crowning both times, that that was the worst bit when epi wore off and I would be better off without one. I also believed nature would provide some endorphins for me being so brave.
DC3 I had no pain relief whatsoever and
1. Still no urge to push
2. Birth not easier
3. Birth not quicker
4. Tore badly leading to a prolapse
5. A so-called natural birth was beyond horrendous
I wish someone had warned me or told me that not having an epidural would not necessarily lead to a feeling of bearing down/urge to push (still do not know what that means, I pushed my third out myself but not with any urge to, just tried to push and breathe as was told dc would be starved of oxygen otherwise).
I will get heavily slated for this post I know. But I read the flipping rosebud book. I am aware every woman, birth, pain threshold is different. I am aware of the cruelty of telling a pregnant woman horror stories. BUT you sound just like me, well, like I was, you really do, and if I could prevent you going through what I went through then the post is worth the flak I will get for it. I was in a position of no epidural, pethadine or gas and air. I am still paying the price for that. I hope you have a better time of it, I really really do, and that water, doulas and not being stuck in a missionary position/stirrups helps you. But please please please do not assume that the avoidance of an epidural will lead to a "better" birth experience or that pushing out the baby yourself is worth going without it IF you need it. I understand your feelings following dc1 and dc2 but my natural birth was worst of the lot and I felt more cheated than ever...would hate you going through that.
banana gas and air never did anything for me and I was inhaling like a mad woman
with impressive bong use history from her younger days
I can't help with the hypnobirthing bit but I always say my perineum felt like a goblin shark when it feeds [[https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eh_HUIJkRzU YouTube if unsure - the midwives who delivers my son had no idea what I was talking about but DH was pissing himself laughig]. More accurate than the rosebud thing. Hope that helps
Ah balls. I tried m.youtube.com/watch?v=eh_HUIJkRzU
3, 2,1 relax, Zoe.
I totally get it. I'm also very bad at breathing golden light down to where my baby lies despite my very best efforts. Maybe it's a southport thing as pontins was probably the first beach I laid eyes on too- dodging flashers as a child is none too calming.
I'm 38 weeks pregnant with my first so have no useful advice other than to say that I'm going to give it a whirl during the early stages and play it by ear, fully prepared to hit up the epidural if I need to.
This made me laugh so much, OP!
I did Natal Hypnotherapy, which is similar but different. Not so averse to the idea of pain; but uses techniques to help reduce fear and anxiety about what you're experiencing. I loved it; definitely helped me feel more positive about labour, which I was very scared of.
There was a need to suspend cynicism, which doesn't come naturally to me. And prob a very supportive partner made it a lot easier. In the end, I did experience labour as very, very painful. But the philosophy of Natal Hypnotherapy meant that didn't feel like failure. I would (and do!) recommend it to anybody that will listen to me.
OP, loved your post, totally empathise with your situation. The bracing beaches of Butlins Ayr and the North Sea cost are not going to transport me on a cloud of golden light to a serene birth experience where my primal woman inside leads a triumphant baby through my birth passage.
Banning the word pain as a concept does not ban it as a reality (or I'd be banning many, many words, believe me). But some aspects - breathing and relaxation techniques (aka distraction techniques) - are worth cherry picking.
Have you thought about TENS? Not had personal experience of it in labour but worked wonders with DH neck spasms so I will be giving it a go. Put on my forearm it made my hand clench and unclench of its own accord which I found endlessly amusing so all is not lost if it fails to make an impact on contractions.
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