Friday, September 29, 2006

You're getting sleeeepy.....very, very sleeeeepy

I'm trying something that may be considered "radical." Others may say it's satanic, New Agey, sacreligious, blah blah blah.

I'm going to use self-hypnosis when I go into labor with my little Lancelot.

Yes, that's right. I'm a Christian, and I'm going to try hypnosis.

Not the kind where someone waves a stopwatch in your face and tells you how sleepy you are becoming. It's more like a series of relaxation techniques. From what I have learned (and I will post URLs of the websites where I found such information,) when the body is scared, it releases a hormone called "catecholamines." This is the fight-or-flight hormone, and many women experience this in large doses when they go into labor because of societal expectations of what birthing a baby means. However, a woman who is relaxed will produce endorphins, the "pleasure hormone." Apparantly catecholamines and endorphins cannot co-exist, so if a woman is able to relax herself, while she is in labor the endorphins will take over. Not that she won't feel any pain, but she won't have the fear and anxiety which can amplify the feeling of pain and lead to a host of what would otherwise be medically unnecessary interventions, which is what I am hoping to avoid.

I have found a wonderful program called "HypBirth" which has a series of 4 CDs that women listen to in preparation for labor and birth. (Thanks, Damselfly!) Each CD has a "deepening" section, in which the hypnosis provides visualizations to help you relax. The next section teaches you techniques for use in labor, also usually visualizations to help the time pass, or to release fear that you HAVE developed, or to "drain away" the discomfort that has built up. Finally, each CD has a final section of "good birth words" that the woman listens to, in which the hypnotist tells the woman how natural childbirth is, how her body naturally knows what to do, etc etc etc.

I have known people who have tried programs like these, and in some cases they work and in some cases they don't. So I don't have unrealistic expectations that I will arrive at the hospital calm, cool, and collected. I could very well freak out totally and forget everything I have learned. But even if that happens, I have been able to call upon the relaxtion techniques I have learned so far in countless other situations, from helping myself fall asleep on a restless night to being able to relax when I'm having blood drawn (which used to cause me to lose consciousness. Now I barely flinch.) Therefore, this has not been a waste if I find the techniques not helpful during labor. On the other hand, it may work like a charm! I'll just have to wait and see.

I haven't told my family about this yet. I'm afraid they'll think I've turned into some kind of heathen. They wouldn't understand. I had a hard time explaining to them why I needed a doula, and when I mentioned I wanted waterbirth, they just stared at me like I was crazy. They're being supportive of me, because they love me, but I can tell they're not totally thrilled with my decisions. I just don't want to deal with having to explain why I'm going to bring in CDs listening to a woman tell me to "imagine a pitcher of warm, liquid light flowing in through your toes, up and around your knees, into your thighs, relaxing, releasing..." and they'd REALLY lose it if they heard the part about imagining a circle of powerful women, and as my cervix opens, another woman comes into the circle making it larger and more powerful. Gack. I'd just rather avoid that conversation altogether. And if they were to SEE me in labor, doing my "finger drop" technique in which I first look at my finger, then drop my hand and my whole body goes loose and limp, heavens above, Lawd-Almighty, Guinevere's going STRAIGHT TO HELL! (Not that they would actually SAY that. I'm sure I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I'm sure I would get some little snippet of the "You're giving Satan a foothold into your life" bit. Before you know it, Guin, you'll be watching Harry Potter movies!)

Don't get me wrong. I adore my family. I am quite fortunate to have the family that I have. I've never met more loving, caring, considerate people in all my life-- however, some of my ideas are a little more radical than theirs-- not completely off the charts, and they wouldn't disown me or make me feel bad or anything, they just simply wouldn't understand and in their love for me would try to convince me to do something else. They've never stopped me from doing anything, but they always make their opinion known. I understand this is a very parental thing to do, and I'm sure I'll do the same with my little Lancelot when he grows up and begins attacking the world for himself.

But for now, there are just some things that are better left unsaid.

As promised, here are the websites about hypnobirthing for anyone who is interested, or wants to check my information.

Natural Childbirth: Hypnobirthing


Mommy off the Record said...

I am SO going to try hypnobirthing for my next birth. I've heard great things about it. Good for you for going for it (despite what your family might think). It can't hurt, and best case scenario, it REALLY really helps. I hope it works wonders for you. Please keep posting about this topic...I am interested in hearing more as you work through the program and ultimately use it in childbirth. I think it's a very exciting technique!

Damselfly said...

Well, if you don't go straight to hell, at the very least, you'll be brainwashed.