Jack Johnson helped me hypnobirth my baby. Not literally, mind you, though his being there in person would have made recording the event that much more fun. No, he was there via my MP3 player with his soothing voice and environmentally conscious lyrics. And it was hypnotic.
Well, my first two births were done using Lamaze, which was THE natural birthing method hundreds of years ago when I had my first two children. When it came time for children three and four, Lamaze was out and hypnobirthing was in, so I decided to give it a shot.
I’m a fan of natural childbirth though not one to force it down anyone’s throat (or out anyone’s birth canal). But before you think I’m all nifty for having four children without drugs, let me explain a little something: my labors from start to finish are about six hours, and I’m talkin’ first noticeable contraction to crowning. If I were someone who had serious contractions that lasted a good 10 hours or more I’d probably be a big fan of the epidural…or heavy narcotics.
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But back to hypnobirthing and my secret crush Jack Johnson. I took the recommended hypnobirthing class complete with book, CDs and self-hypnosis exercises. I then took all the knowledge gleaned from said and used it as I drove myself to the hospital after my water broke at work. (That’s an entirely different story…) I had the sounds of the ocean on my MP3 player and did my best to remember that it’s not “pain” I was feeling during contractions, only “pressure”…yeah, right.
Though not as peaceful and “painless” a birth as it could’ve been had I truly believed in self-hypnosis, the ocean waves got me through the transition phase of labor and I successfully birthed our third child without an epidural. But here’s where I come clean. I’ve wanted an epidural. Pretty much every time I’ve given birth I’ve wanted pain medication…but always too late. I’ve about passed out doing Lamaze breathing and could’ve chucked that ocean-filled MP3 player across the room, but no drugs for the all-natural mom when she’s about to start pushing. My timing is impeccable.
By the time it came around to our last child I had it down. I knew hypnobirthing with its exercises and relaxation CDs wasn’t for me, but the concept of distraction would work. So what to put on my MP3 player that would take me to my happy place and help me zone out when those non-painful (LMAO) contractions are hitting every two minutes? The be-still-my-beating-heart sounds of Jack Johnson. I can still remember lying in the hospital bed listening to “Better Together” while deep breathing and hypnobirthing my way through contraction after contraction until that blessed moment when my body was ready to push.
Though all my labors and deliveries (and pregnancies) were easy for me, the last was the sweetest, and not just because Jack Johnson was crooning in my ear the whole time. I had found what worked best for me—finally—and it made the experience that much sweeter. Trust me, I have a crazy story or two I could share, but what good would it do to share those? I’d rather share what little wisdom I’ve learned over the course of four visits to the labor and delivery room: do what feels right for you and your family, be it doula, home birth, epidural, hypnobirthing or Lady Gaga on your iPod. Whatever it is, it will make it your birth story.
Original TodaysMama post by Emily Hill, wife and mother of four, who is in no way affiliated with Jack Johnson though she often wishes she were. You can read her other musings on motherhood over at IsThisReallyMyLife.
Anyone else tried hypnobirthing? Please share!