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!
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.
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.
I had an epidural with my first (TOTALLY numb) and used hypnosis with my last four. Hypnosis for childbirth is NOT sensationless childbirth. 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. 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!
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. 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.
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.
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.
Mommy to three gorgeous girls
at 6 weeks 22/10/09
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.
Ariel & John: Military Family since May 17, 2006
Sylvia: 12/18/08, Justus: 9/17/10, Bunni: 5/11/12, Surprise Baby: Guess Date 11/5/13
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.