It's been almost a year (5 more days) until my little Lulabelle turns 1. I know more people are considering having a homebirth as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and not wanting to hang out in a hospital. So I figured I'd honor the ocassion with why I decided to do a homebirth and how I came about finding Hypnobirthing and how it all went down.
After my first was born in our local hospital I considered having a homebirth for my second for the following reasons. We are vegan, the food in the hospital was just not up to our standards and second, they keep you for 48 hours afterward and so my husband and our family had to keep going out to get more food for every meal. I did eat some plain oatmeal, but other than that I was S.O.L. The added reason, of everyone thinking you are a bit crazy for being so picky about your food is another reason. I don't spend a ton of money on useless crap but what I do spend money on is organic, whole foods that nourish my body. I only get this one body in this lifetime so I'm not about to apologize for not eating processed, pesticide infused crap with a bunch of carcinogens and sugar to please some people I'll never see again (more on that for another post, sorry for the rant). Another reason was that hospitals are a busy place and I've never been more exhausted in my life. I just couldn't sleep or feel relaxed. There was beeping, and screaming, and people coming and going and my poor husband was on a vinyl couch on the other side of the room. It felt so unnatural. We ended up getting discharged after 36 hours because they were busy and I think I got about 6 hours of sleep total over the time we were there. We were all a little stressed by the time we made it home. Also, that first drive home with the baby was so nerve-wracking. Just being at home already and not having to do all that was wonderful with my second. Okay, another thing was other than our OB, I'd never met any of the people who attended my birth. Nurses who were on shift and had an agenda that didn't include making sure I was okay, had me a little miffed at the time. We had a lot of specific requests involving skin to skin for 2 hours, no bathing the baby, no hep B shot, and Jason going wherever the baby went. We did not want to let her out of our sight in case someone didn't know to honor our requests. This made for some salty exchanges amongst the nursing staff and ourselves in the hospital. At my homebirth, my doula and midwife knew me, my family, and what I wanted from the beginning to the end, so there was no argument on the day she came. Having people around that loved and supported me was a very relaxing experience. Which leads me to my next reason. The hospital was not just busy, but was loud, and elicited a lot of fear in me. Granted I'm a little anxious by nature, but both women on either side of my room when I checked in to Labor and Delivery were in the Active (pushing) stage of birth and were making noises that seemed other worldly (animalistic?) at very scary and alarming decibels. I already was full of tension having never gone through labor beforehand and my fear intensified at the hospital. It was not a peaceful environment for me. I did end up getting an epidural even though I had wanted to maybe go without, that is another reason I opted for a homebirth. I really wanted to birth naturally and I needed the option taken away. I think there are some midwives who use epidural however, mine did not. I wish I had a better experience in the hospital, that I felt more safe there, but I felt more like cattle than I would have liked. There were some very loving staff members and I don't want to paint a terrible picture of the hospital staff. For all I know, they had other things bothering them that had nothing to do with me and it was just a perfect storm of negative experience, but I wasn't willing to do it again. Some people will want to be at a hospital no matter what, and I support your choice. If I had to be in a hospital for another birth, I would have been much more proactive with my birth plan and much more resolute in my choices and have had more support around me to help me set boundaries when needed. Also you can use Hypnobirthing in the hospital even if you are getting a C-section, using an epidural or are induced!
This leads me to my discovery of Hypnobirthing. I was regaling my experience to a friend of mine and she asked if I had looked into Hypnobirthing and said she had used it with both her boys. I said "what is that?" and she proceeded to describe that it was a drug-free, theoretically pain-free, style of birthing without pushing, screaming or really any stress at all. I looked at her like she was on drugs. She recommended I read the book, because she wasn't going to do it justice so I ordered it and read it and I was SHOCKED. I was mad that I had never heard of this before, especially because I tore with my first and pushed hard for two hours and almost destroyed my pelvic floor and I was reading that NONE OF THAT IS NECESSARY AT ALL! Sorry for all the caps, but I want to drive home, that PAIN, FEAR, AND UNNECESSARY PUSHING IS NOT REQUIRED FOR BIRTHING. I read that a woman in a coma, will push out a baby all on her own without any knowledge or pushing. Her body will do it and do it peacefully and efficiently. The uterus and birth canal are built for this and when given time and care, they do the job for you. I was completely dumbfounded that the fear and stress that goes along with the American (and some other places) birth story is a lot of hype perpetuated by media and of course, our own families who didn't know any better. I'm here to tell you there is another way.
There will be a lot of people who will not agree with what I've described and that is okay. To each, their own. But I can tell you that I followed the meditations, hired a Hypnobirthing doula and breathed and loved my way through my second pregnancy and birth and it was pretty miraculous. I'm not going to say my labor was totally pain free, but I learned to trust my body and myself. She came in 3 hrs and 45 min from first contraction to birth and my contractions were about 3 minutes apart for the majority of that, but I had minimal tissue damage (a little tearing along my previous scar tissue b/c it doesn't stretch like the normal tissue) , and though I did have few yelps, there was absolutely no screaming. There was less fear too and a lot of that came from my awesome doula and midwife who loved and supported me and my family through the whole thing. And my pelvic floor was completely intact. And sorry for TMI but my hemorrhoids were so minimal (maybe 2) compared to the fact that I couldn't sit after my first (a bunch of grapes).
I wanted to be mad at the hospital for not being more progressive and for not knowing about Hypnobirthing etc and promoting it more often. But I'm just glad I found it when I did. I hope it finds you or this article helps you see what you need from your birth support. I didn't have family that was able to support me (physically or emotionally) other than my husband, and God love him, but he's a little frantic during our labors. I guess when the two people (now three!) you love most in the world are in pain or potentially in danger it's understandable to be a little on edge. I realize now too, how much I needed support as a new mother. I just didn't have anyone the first time around and it was so frightening. I hope none of you have to do this alone, or you at least find the courage to ask for more support than I did. I also hope you get to get outside of the fear and stress programming story around birthing and get to experience freedom and joy in your experience instead. You totally deserve that. I shut out all the nay saying and negativity and didn't log onto the apps and the pages that were full of constant worry and doom around birth and instead filled my mental space with other beautiful Hypnobirthing stories and peaceful birth videos. I do have my Hypnobirthing video up on my YouTube page if you are interested in seeing it. I've watched it a few times now. It took me like 6 months to do it, and then when I made the video and had to edit it and I ended up watching it about 50 times I finally became a little desensitized to it, but it's a bit intense (ma junk is blurred if that helps).