When I was around twenty weeks pregnant with my first born, I became obsessed with finding the perfect stroller. I had narrowed it down to a select few but couldn’t pull the trigger on “the one”. So naturally, when I saw a woman walking with her newborn in my top contender, I stopped her to get a personal review. Little did I know that this encounter would lead to one of the most empowering and life altering decisions ever. Sure, I ended up with the stroller, but that pales in comparison to the conversation that soon followed. “Do you have a birth plan yet?”, she asked. “A what?”, I thought. Honestly, I had very little idea what she was referring to at the time. My plan was to have a baby and live to tell the tale. She proceeded to tell me with such cheer and vigor about her labor. She honestly smiled as she shared what an easy and special experience it had been. And this wasn’t a woman with a one year old who had forgotten the horror of childbirth! Her baby was maybe a few weeks old. I had to know more. And so came my introduction into the world of Hypnobabies.
I had been intrigued, but didn’t know if I was “granola” enough to pull it off. After a little bit of research, I was so excited by this new prospect that I started looking into classes. Eight weeks of classes (and plenty of homework) with your partner was a long commitment, but being that my husband Rich was on board and just as excited as me, I knew we were moving in the right direction. The first class was a bit overwhelming, but with each one, we became stronger and more certain that we had made the best decision. Three nights a week, we had to read scripts together which discussed birthing and breathing techniques and the ability to literally hypnotize your body. This ability to use your brain as an epidural took weeks of practice, wherein I listened to several scripts every day and night in addition to those read aloud by my husband. For the last few sessions, they shared hypnobabies births that were so wonderful and peaceful, we couldn’t wait to experience our own.
When little man began his arrival, it was almost 1 am on a Friday night. Surely I didn’t expect this to be the real thing and laughed so hard when my parents disappeared and came back six minutes later showered and dressed for the hospital. “Mom! Dad! It’s probably Braxton Hicks. Don’t get so excited!” But after another hour of contractions that were getting closer together, I jumped in the shower and packed my bag. We arrived at the hospital and waited patiently for a room. “This was it! He was coming!” To be honest, I had a lot planned for that last weekend before our baby boy was due to make his arrival (mainly Buy Buy Baby and Target) but he was ready to meet us and we were elated!
Almost exactly four hours later at 8:02 am, our Levi Maddox entered the world, albeit without a name at the time…but he was delicious perfection. The labor had gone off just as planned. I literally breathed him into this world. No screaming, no unbearable pain that I would use against my kids for years to come, just pressure and plenty of focus. I was in control throughout the entire process, much to my delight for anyone who knows me.
Naturally, when I became pregnant for the second time, I looked to Hypnobabies again. This time around, the commitment was a little harder. I had to find a sitter for three hours once a week for class (eight weeks total) and was exhausted every night but still had to listen to my scripts. I actually toyed with the idea of just brushing up on my own and not taking the course again. But taking the classes a second time helped me immensely to remember why I chose Hypnobabies in the first place. It also answered many questions that had popped up in the two years between births. Each class reinvigorated my drive and excitement to have a natural birth and fought off the dark thoughts of giving up that crept into my mind late at night.
The morning our second baby arrived, I was awoken with period-like cramps. “Go back to sleep”, I told Rich. Surely, I thought, this wasn’t it. You’d think I would know better this time around… but that’s a big nope. We had been timing contractions and they were only becoming stronger and closer together. So I once again jumped in the shower and packed my bag (if it ain’t broke, right?) in anticipation. Luckily, when we arrived at the hospital, my OBGYN was already there for another patient. I was only 3 cm dilated and the staff seemed uncertain of whether I should be admitted. But he knew me and we had done this together before. “Do you think you’re having a baby today?” he asked. “Yes I do,” I answered. And we were given a room. Shortly thereafter, at 12:57pm, Everly Monroe came into this world (obvi, again, without a name at first). The birthing experience the second time around was shorter and even easier than the first. She was here. I breathed her in and exhaled.
Once I had my baby in my arms the Doctor asked, “Do we need this anymore?” referring to my Hypnobabies tracks that played aloud throughout the morning. Much to my amusement, he happened to find me very “granola”. “Ha!”, I snorted, “We’re done…for now.”