I grew up with my mom telling me how excruciating it was for her to give birth to me. She went through something like 32 hours of labor. Though I am not too sure anymore. Every time she tells the story it feels like the number of hours has increased again. And every time I used to cry because I hurt myself, she would say: “You will see when you give birth to a child, that hurts”. Thanks, mom.
Friends didn’t help much either. I don’t know how many times I have heard the joke: “Schedule me an epidural as soon as I find out I am pregnant!”.
So, when I got pregnant with my second daughter, feelings of excitement were mixed with the incredible fear of going through the most unbearable pain of my life. My wife gave birth to our first daughter with an elective c-section, so I couldn’t even say I had witnessed a real vaginal birth before.
But I was determined to have a vaginal birth without drugs. Or at least I was going to try. I was scared but I also accepted the fact that pain was going to be part of my birth experience. Until I stumbled across hypnobirthing and stories of moms giving birth without pain. That changed everything.
When people hear about hypnobirthing, they usually cringe, myself included.
I imagined giving birth with a shaman swaying a pendulum in front of my eyes, while surrounded by fake talismans and burning incense.
Fortunately, I am also the kind of person that bought a Himalayan salt lamp on eBay, hoping that it would help my first daughter sleep through the night.
I enrolled in a hypnobirthing course in no time.
Turns out hypnobirthing is definitely not what I thought it was going to be.
I won’t go into detail here, as I am sure doctor google can give you better information than me. However, it uses different techniques, including breathing, visualization, and relaxation exercises to go through birth with no fear and little discomfort. Overall, achieving a positive and empowering birth experience.
My hypnobirthing experience.
It all started at 3.30 am the day after my due date. I woke up with an intense urge to go to the toilet and realized I had just gone through the first labor contraction.
By this time I had no more fear. I knew I was going to give birth to our daughter with little if no pain, and I honestly couldn’t wait to meet her. I woke my wife up and almost started jumping with excitement. Until another contraction hit and brought me back down to earth. I quickly got my shit together and started using all the exercises I learned with hypnobirthing.
I spent the whole day at home with contractions coming and going every half an hour or so. All very manageable with the breathing techniques I had learned. My mom still didn’t quite believe I was in labor from how little I was showing that I was in any discomfort.
Around 6.30 pm they were coming closer and closer together. When my midwife arrived I was already 7 cm and it was time to go. As I was about to get in the car my mom told me: “When I was 7 cm I remember I was already screaming, how are you doing it?”. Ha-ha! I was doing better than her, I knew it!
The car trip is a blur.
I used the breathing exercises as much as I could, but I do remember feeling a bit of discomfort there, mainly due to the fact that I was constrained to the car for 40 minutes.
Of course, when we got to the delivery unit at around 9 pm we found out that the hospital didn’t get the memo that we were coming and there was no room ready for me – not to mention the birthing pool I always dreamt of.
They made me walk all the way to a waiting room and told me to wait there until the room was ready. My baby didn’t like those instructions though, because by the time I got there I started feeling the need to push. I mustn’t have been showing that I was that far along yet because the more my wife was telling me “not to push” (like I could stop it!) and trying to get someone’s attention, nobody really cared.
Eventually, my midwife came to get us and took us to a room.
I can’t believe they still made me walk while I was starting to push my baby out. My water broke all over my pants as I entered the room.
I remember I kept asking my midwife: “isn’t it time to take my clothes off?”. When she finally did, there was such little time to do anything that all she could do was put a pillow between my legs and catch my baby as she came out at 9.35 pm. She tried to give me directions on when to push, but I didn’t need directions. My body knew exactly what to do.
Why it was beautiful.
So, it wasn’t the most amazing birth experience in the sense that I didn’t deliver my baby in a birthing pool, with dimmed lights and relaxing music like I had imagined. But it was beautiful in its own way because I was not scared and I don’t remember feeling any pain. Just pressure when my baby was coming out.
It was beautiful because both my wife and I knew exactly what was happening to my body and never panicked. My plans didn’t go according to plan, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but the happiness of being about to meet our new daughter. I remember when the midwife pushed the pillow between my legs and said: “you are about to meet your little baby!”. I felt pure joy and excitement.
It was beautiful because never in a million years did I think I was ever going to have such a positive birth experience. I know many moms say this, but the moment I gave birth I couldn’t wait to do it all over again. I felt so empowered and invincible. And I couldn’t wait to tell my mom to see her reaction, of course!
How I did it.
Well, let me tell you, it didn’t just happen. It took lots of practice and preparation. I exercised all of the hypnobirthing techniques every day. I visualized my vagina opening like the petals of a rose a million times. Even though, trust me, it looks nothing like a rose.
Hypnobirthing is like a marathon.
You need to train for it if you want to make it through the finish line. But if you put in the discipline and effort, it’s totally worth it. You should give it a try too.