"painless" vs "numbness"

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rainymama's picture
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"painless" vs "numbness"

Commenting on the "painfree" issue:
Ok, since we have been opening up this topic a little for some of us, I would like to comment. I love what Mrs. Mango Babe (Brittney) said in the "interesting birth story" thread.
I want to add to that.
I recently told a friend that I was using hypnosis for childbirth instead of an epidural. She told me her sister had also done that after giving birth with an epidural. Her sister said the epidural was "more effective."
Well, I think it depends on what your expectations are. With my first baby and first epi, I was completely numb. There was no pain, no pressure, no NOTHING. Well, I shouldn't say nothing, because it was actually strange. To feel all floppy-legged with no control, and to know that a baby was coming out of me and people were touching me and I couldn't feel it at all. It was strange.
However, this set my expectation with the 2nd baby, and 2nd epi. And when that epi did NOT make me numb and did NOT take away "pain" then my fear kicked in, causing more pain and more fear, etc.
This time, I am working towards erasing the fear, and not being afraid to "feel childbirth". I do not expect Hypnosis to make me numb the way that first epidural did. But I do not expect to feel pain. I expect to feel my body: my strong uterus contracting the way any muscle does to do hard work. My body opening up to make room for new life coming into the world. I definitely expect to work hard, and I expect to feel AWESOME when my baby is born and I can feel positive about it - not scared, not fearful, not traumatized.
Visualize your birthing the way you want it to happen. Visualize yourself staying in control, relaxing, allowing the muscles to do their work without fear causing them to constrict. Visualize being able to have control of your own body during and immediately after birth. Visualize whatever it is you would like to have happen to create your own positive birth story. Do not doubt yourself!

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Great post! I'm using hypnobabies after an epi birth as well, and I am not expecting the hynosis to work the same. But I am expecting it to work Smile

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Same here. Positive words--TFS!

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I don't think that labor is painfree for most women, even nautral childbirthers. I think they just know how to deal with it and master it. I like how "Birthing From Within" states it- "Labor is hard, it hurts, and you can do it". But, like Elizabeth said, visualizing yourself succeeding is key.
I think that pain- or that sensation, even if you've trained yourself not to be affected by it or to call it something else- is an important part of childbirth. It tells you to slow down, change positions, or push. I had a epi-free birth last time without hypnobabies and will again this time- and while I wouldn't say it was "painfree" I would definitely say the pain didn't control me, it was always manageable, and I wasn't afraid of it.
The thing that made the difference? Confidence. I knew I could do it. Hypnobabies/hypnobirthing helps women get that confidence and lose the fear. What helped me was the example of my sisters. Knowing that it may be intense but that you can handle it, that the signals from your body HELP you- that's the key. Whether you call it "pain" or not, didn't make a difference to me (anything else didn't seem entirely honest to me), though if it helps you gain confidence and mastery of the situation, then find something else to call it.

kvo
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"jooniper" wrote:

I don't think that labor is painfree for most women, even nautral childbirthers. I think they just know how to deal with it and master it. I like how "Birthing From Within" states it- "Labor is hard, it hurts, and you can do it". But, like Elizabeth said, visualizing yourself succeeding is key.
I think that pain- or that sensation, even if you've trained yourself not to be affected by it or to call it something else- is an important part of childbirth. It tells you to slow down, change positions, or push. I had a epi-free birth last time without hypnobabies and will again this time- and while I wouldn't say it was "painfree" I would definitely say the pain didn't control me, it was always manageable, and I wasn't afraid of it.
The thing that made the difference? Confidence. I knew I could do it. Hypnobabies/hypnobirthing helps women get that confidence and lose the fear. What helped me was the example of my sisters. Knowing that it may be intense but that you can handle it, that the signals from your body HELP you- that's the key. Whether you call it "pain" or not, didn't make a difference to me (anything else didn't seem entirely honest to me), though if it helps you gain confidence and mastery of the situation, then find something else to call it.

This makes sense to me. I am by nature a skeptic and realist, so buying into the "enjoying my pressure waves" has been difficult. I asked my doula about this and she said she has found women to be very diappointed by hypnosis when they go into it believing they will not feel pain, ie. they will feel numbed. I did not feel numb with the epi, but I didn't feel any discomfort until the pushing began. Then I felt "tolerable" pain.

I am pretty miserable now with being pg and have taken that opportunity to practice my self-hypnosis. I have to sleep sitting up due to the heartburn and reflux. I also feel nauseous. When I do the finger drop and repeat positive mantras about relaxation, it reallly does help. It does not fully take the discomfort away, but allows me to feel it less b/c I am focusing more on relaxing then on how crappy I feel.

I also think it would be much more difficult to use the hypnosis if this was my first birth and I didn't know what to expect. That plays into the confidence factor as well. My expectation is to be able to use relaxation/hypnosis, the support of my doula, and positioning, massage, and counterpressure to manage the discomforts of labor and the pain of pushing. I am a little bit nervous about the birth, but not afraid at all like I was the first time.

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I had an epidural with my first (TOTALLY numb) and used hypnosis with my last four. Hypnosis for childbirth is NOT sensationless childbirth. Biggrin I definitely felt sensations of my body working with my hypnosis births and they guided me to use different positions etc. Most of the time I felt only the pressure of my uterus tightening, which felt exactly like any other muscle contraction. It doesn't hurt to flex my biceps (unless it's injured), nor did it hurt when my uterus tightened. The uterine sensations were simply on a much larger scale. Blum 3 Aside from the birth that had painful complications, I'd categorize 95% of what I felt as completely painfree. The 5% included some brief episodes of pain or a few waves that were uncomfortable. It still wasn't as bad as pre-epidural at 3cm with my first baby. Hypnosis is awesome! Smile

I would definitely not have given birth naturally without hypnosis because pain rather terrifies me. It simply doesn't work for me to think of birth sensations as "pain with a purpose" because pain disorients me and is, well, negative. Blum 3 Particularly with Hypnobabies, I liked that I could release more endorphins on cue, which allowed me to regain comfort and control. With hypnosis to keep me comfortable, I could give birth without the risks of medication. It was the best of both worlds. Smile

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I don't expect pain free - and I am not afraid of pain (I have a fairly high pain tolerance anyway) I expect to feel sensation and pressure etc. I am hoping that the hypnosis helps me manage my anxiety (I am prone to panic attacks) and fear of the unknown - I am afraid of hospitals/iv's and not being in control of my body - which is why I want no part of IV/epis etc. all of those will take away control. I don't expect searing horrific pain though and hope that the hypnosis will help me find the balance I need to fully enjoy the entire childbirth experience.

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I love the discussion on this board about hypnobabies. I really thought about it for this birth but I really enjoyed giving birth to dd#2 especially since dd#1 was a c/s. I enjoyed feeling everything and working towards birthing my baby. Was it painful? Sure, but I can't remember, I know that it was manageable and I was not scared or overwhelmed by the pain. I think for this birth I will keep things the same way but hypnobabies does really intrigue me and I think maybe for the next babe.

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I have had some weird things happen while practicing my self-hypnosis. For instance, my arms will go numb, or my legs. It isn't the "falling asleep" feeling though that feels like a prickling sensation. It is more like a body-buzzing (lol) if that makes sense. So, that is sortof what I am visualizing for my birthing day. And I am visualizing contractions to be like Braxton Hicks. They are never painful for me, just the tightening and releasing.

With DD I think I had an abnormal experience. I liked how PP put it that your bicep doesn't hurt when you flex it, unless it is injured. In a way, I think my uterus was injured at that point because of the infection. So I am hoping and visualizing this birth to be a completely different experience.

I am not scared of hard work, or of feeling my body. I think it has helped a lot to know what is happening with each contraction and to look at it as "this is what is bringing my baby into the world for me" and not as something that I have to guard against.

Hypnobabies has been incredibly effective at easing my fear and anxiety. I am so excited this time. And I am looking forward to feeling my body and embracing the sensations rather than working against them. And there is always that hope that I will not have an infection this time, so I will have a better experience. However, with the infection came a lot of fear and tension, so at least I know I will not be gripped by that this time.

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See it is the thought of the numbness of an epidural that makes me more terrified of it than a natural childbirth. I find the idea of being numb terrifying. I cannot say that my first birth was painfree by any stretch of the imagination, or that it was even tolerable pain. But I do not think it was normal for a birth. I do think positioning and anxiety played into how it felt. I admit it was the language of hypnobabies that kept me away, I just could not imagine labor (after my first exsperience) as pain free, I knew I would not be able to buy into it so did not think it would work. It is funny how this time I would describe my contractions as pain free. Not in that they do not feel strong, but I do not have the anxiety and nothing feels wrong like it did last time. They are more than tightening and are intense pressure, but it is not pain in that the sense that nothing feels wrong. I do not feel this is how it felt last time. I definately felt out of control and like there was something wrong. I do think so much is mental about labor.

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"faeriecurls" wrote:

I don't expect pain free - and I am not afraid of pain (I have a fairly high pain tolerance anyway) I expect to feel sensation and pressure etc. I am hoping that the hypnosis helps me manage my anxiety (I am prone to panic attacks) and fear of the unknown - I am afraid of hospitals/iv's and not being in control of my body - which is why I want no part of IV/epis etc. all of those will take away control. I don't expect searing horrific pain though and hope that the hypnosis will help me find the balance I need to fully enjoy the entire childbirth experience.

Me too! I have pretty awful anxiety that requires me to take meds daily (even while pg) and use focusing meditation during panic attacks. Because of the meds, I rarely get full-on attacks anymore, but I do get mini ones that are pretty crummy. I've used the hypnosis during them and they do help. I had it not really be effective once b/c I couldn't stop my body from moving even when my switch was off.

Fear of the unkown and of losing control is a big panic button for me as well. Also nausea and vomiting.

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"drakew" wrote:

I do think so much is mental about labor.

This is what I totally believe. If you go into it thinking it is going to be hard and miserable then it will be. Positive thinking goes a long way.

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"awini8" wrote:

This is what I totally believe. If you go into it thinking it is going to be hard and miserable then it will be. Positive thinking goes a long way.

ITA!

kvo
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I had to seriously call up my bubble of peace today when talking to my mother about NCB. She did it once and used hypnosis and a late epi once. She was talking about how the hypnosis "stopped working" at the end...lol....this was her first birth (me) so she had no point of reference and I guess was not prepared for the intensity of transition.

The second time (my brother) she said a lot of negative things regarding the pushing pain (I'll spare repeating them here). She did not do hypnosis that time, but did do lamaze classes. I can tell she thinks I will not be able to handle it.

And she wonders why I haven't called to talk with her about my switch to MW and decision to do NCB. :rolleyes:

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"kvo" wrote:

I had to seriously call up my bubble of peace today when talking to my mother about NCB. She did it once and used hypnosis and a late epi once. She was talking about how the hypnosis "stopped working" at the end...lol....this was her first birth (me) so she had no point of reference and I guess was not prepared for the intensity of transition.

The second time (my brother) she said a lot of negative things regarding the pushing pain (I'll spare repeating them here). She did not do hypnosis that time, but did do lamaze classes. I can tell she thinks I will not be able to handle it.

And she wonders why I haven't called to talk with her about my switch to MW and decision to do NCB. :rolleyes:

Totally understand this!! I have tried to cut down on talking with my mom about it. I wish she could support my decisions, but it is just not in her heart and soul to do that. But I am comforted to know that she only feels the way she does because she is worried about me, and being in a hospital and having repeat c/s were the only things she was ever personally comfortable with. That is ok... for her... but not for me. I only hope I have given her enough advance notice to kindof work through it and come to peace with everything by the time I have this baby. I would love to have her there, but only if she can totally put her personal feelings aside and just be supportive of my choices.

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"jooniper" wrote:

I think that pain- or that sensation, even if you've trained yourself not to be affected by it or to call it something else- is an important part of childbirth. It tells you to slow down, change positions, or push. I had a epi-free birth last time without hypnobabies and will again this time- and while I wouldn't say it was "painfree" I would definitely say the pain didn't control me, it was always manageable, and I wasn't afraid of it.
The thing that made the difference? Confidence. I knew I could do it. Hypnobabies/hypnobirthing helps women get that confidence and lose the fear. What helped me was the example of my sisters. Knowing that it may be intense but that you can handle it, that the signals from your body HELP you- that's the key. Whether you call it "pain" or not, didn't make a difference to me (anything else didn't seem entirely honest to me), though if it helps you gain confidence and mastery of the situation, then find something else to call it.

I agree that feeling the sensations is important--it triggers your body to continue producing oxytocin and the positions that are most comfortable are usually the best for positioning, which is why epi's can slow labor if given too early. I also agree about the confidence factor. I do think Hypnobabies did a wonderful job of helping me increase my confidence and help restructure my core beliefs about my ability to give birth--the subconscious soaks up ideas about birth that we are exposed to, and I was a non-believer in NCB before I became a believer.

It could be argued that "painfree/painless childbirth" is all about word games. However, I think there are some word games involved in all natural childbirth. "Pain" is a word that inherently holds a negative connotation. In hypnosis, we change the word, in other philosophies, such as Birthing from Within, which espouse the "pain with a purpose" message, you change the connotation to view that specific type of pain in a different light--as a "good" kind of pain. The methods are not as different as they sometimes appear, and neither is superior--every woman has to choose which point of view works best for her.

That is not to say that hypnosis is all a word game. Hypnoanesthesia (which is a really good way of controlling your body's endorphins) works--it is used for surgery and dental work in patients with allergies to medications, but hypnoasethesia is not numbing like novacaine or an epidural, it works more like how I've heard narcotics are supposed to work, only without the drugged/out of it feeling.

"Winky_the_HouseElf" wrote:

I had an epidural with my first (TOTALLY numb) and used hypnosis with my last four. Hypnosis for childbirth is NOT sensationless childbirth. Biggrin I definitely felt sensations of my body working with my hypnosis births and they guided me to use different positions etc. Most of the time I felt only the pressure of my uterus tightening, which felt exactly like any other muscle contraction. It doesn't hurt to flex my biceps (unless it's injured), nor did it hurt when my uterus tightened. The uterine sensations were simply on a much larger scale. Blum 3 Aside from the birth that had painful complications, I'd categorize 95% of what I felt as completely painfree. The 5% included some brief episodes of pain or a few waves that were uncomfortable. It still wasn't as bad as pre-epidural at 3cm with my first baby. Hypnosis is awesome! Smile

I would definitely not have given birth naturally without hypnosis because pain rather terrifies me. It simply doesn't work for me to think of birth sensations as "pain with a purpose" because pain disorients me and is, well, negative. Blum 3 Particularly with Hypnobabies, I liked that I could release more endorphins on cue, which allowed me to regain comfort and control. With hypnosis to keep me comfortable, I could give birth without the risks of medication. It was the best of both worlds. Smile

What she said! I loved the tools that Hypnobabies gave me for instant relaxation so that if I lost control or got distracted, I had a really good system I had practiced for regaining focus.

"drakew" wrote:

See it is the thought of the numbness of an epidural that makes me more terrified of it than a natural childbirth. I find the idea of being numb terrifying. I cannot say that my first birth was painfree by any stretch of the imagination, or that it was even tolerable pain. But I do not think it was normal for a birth. I do think positioning and anxiety played into how it felt. I admit it was the language of hypnobabies that kept me away, I just could not imagine labor (after my first exsperience) as pain free, I knew I would not be able to buy into it so did not think it would work. It is funny how this time I would describe my contractions as pain free. Not in that they do not feel strong, but I do not have the anxiety and nothing feels wrong like it did last time. They are more than tightening and are intense pressure, but it is not pain in that the sense that nothing feels wrong. I do not feel this is how it felt last time. I definately felt out of control and like there was something wrong. I do think so much is mental about labor.

It is the idea that something is not wrong that I think makes "pain" not exactly the right word for me, also. It is a very intense feeling, definitely. I agree wholeheartedly that so much of labor is mental--I think that the brain's interpretation of what we experience is subjective based on our mindset--if we make ourselves "victims" of labor (which I think is the attitude I would have had if I had never discovered NCB) it becomes an experience of "suffering," but if we view it as an empowering experience, we will conquer it triumphantly--hypnosis does not take away the triumphant conquering part.

I think Hypnobabies is actually trying to move away from the use of word "painless" and focusing more on "comfortable," which I think is a good move. I think that might help women not expect it to be like an epidural and not be surprised when they experience strong sensations. I wouldn't feel quite right describing my birth as "painless," but "comfortable" sounds more accurate--at least up until the point I had just the lip of cervix left--I lost my focus from then on, but I realize now that was probably almost entirely due to the actions of my OB, who got really hands-on at this point instead of letting me just do what my body wanted to do. The getting stabbed 5 times by needles was not comfortable, either, of course Smile

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I am studying hypnobabies this pregnancy after having an epi my first delivery and NCB my second delivery. With my epi delivery, I was totally numb and couldn't feel a thing. After pushing 3 hours, DS had to be delivered via vacuum. With my NCB delivery, I felt a lot of pain and was totally out of control. I was so tense and that made the pain worse. My expectations of hypnobabies is not to have my delivery be "pain-free", but to teach me to manage the pain in a way that keeps me in control. Even manageable pain would be wonderful. I just don't want to feel the way I did with DD, it was aweful (I definitely have some fear-clearing to do Lol

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A client of mine did the hypono babies and while she didn't describe it as pain free, she made it through. She let her body do what it had to do. I am thinking about trying it.

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"Mom2ThreeKiddos" wrote:

A client of mine did the hypono babies and while she didn't describe it as pain free, she made it through. She let her body do what it had to do. I am thinking about trying it.

I have found Hypnobabies to be especially helpful for easing those nagging little fears about VBACing and home-birthing. Even though I am knowledgable about the process and statistics, I have still had that tiny thought in the back of my mind... "what if?" It has also helped me to sleep much better during this pregnancy!! I definitely recommend it.