A Midwife’s Experiment- Homebirth and Hypnobirthing in Sedona | Indie Birth

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A Midwife’s Experiment- Homebirth and Hypnobirthing in Sedona

February 21, 2010

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.


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I am about 27 weeks pregnant with my fifth baby (who momentarily has the hiccups!) and my husband and I are going to attend a 5 week Hypnobirthing series. I thought I would blog about it in advance, because as a midwife, I’m not really sure what I think about the whole thing. However, I am willing to explore it and learn as much as I can; and as a mama, I’d love another “tool” for birthing!

First of all, we are taking the class taught by some friends and former clients of mine in Sedona. (Check out their website; Hypnobirthing Sedona). They are wonderful people, and I refer a lot of clients and new mamas to them, not just for Hypnobirthing really, but because they are wonderful walking specimens of perfect homebirthers! They are smart and educated, but totally trusting in the natural process- to a degree that I think a lot of natural birthers attain to but never meet because fear usually gets in the way. Zoe has had 2 beautiful homebirths, and her second birth was one of the most perfect, unhindered, amazing births that I have ever seen, and one that I am sure would make the Hypnobirthing people pleased that she is an instructor. Anyway, all this to say that I trust the “source” and I am excited to see them present classes I know they are very passionate about.

So, I am truly going in with an open mind. But I have several questions or theories that I think portray Hypnobirthing and I am honestly wanting to see how I feel about all this at the end of the series. For the record, I have seen several Hypnobirths at home. Different techniques work for different women, and hypnosis during birth is just one technique. So, I wouldn’t expect it to suit everyone. But, the births I have been present at where it “worked” are pretty relaxed. The women do, for the most part, make it look easy. The active labor part, that is. What I have noticed is that many (not all) of the women, even the experienced birthers, seem to struggle a bit with the transition to second stage, or pushing. They are so enveloped, perhaps not a bad thing, in the hypnotic relaxed state, that they can’t seem to comprehend that their body has shifted and that now it is time to actively participate in pushing the baby down and out. Again, this is not everyone; many are able to “breathe the baby out”, as taught in the class. But I have always kind of struggled myself with watching the mamas that struggle with this part because they are still trying to stay out of the way of their bodies. This is one area I am curious to learn more about, and maybe even try out in my own birth. I have always enjoyed the pushing and have had births where I needed to really work at it to bring that baby down and out. I am wondering if the technique will “work” for me and if I have the kind of body that can “breathe” a baby out. Just one of the major question areas I would like to focus on as I attend this class.

The other major area is in seeing if I am going to get as annoyed by the Hypnobirthing terminology as I think I might! I get the whole hippie thing of calling contractions “rushes”; in fact, there really is a difference between the two words in terms of how your body is adapting to the sensation. Yes, “sensation” is another one that I hear from the Hypnobirthing mamas! I must admit, that one bothers me. I mean, call it what you will. I don’t mind calling it “pain”. I don’t say that with a negative connotation, but nor do I avoid the subject of “pain” when helping a first time mama prepare for birth. But this is the basis of the whole Hypnobirthing thing, and I wonder if I will come around to either agree or change my own perception. I understand that the basis of many birthing techniques is that pain is really optional. And I agree; what we call “pain” is our perception, our history, affected by our surroundings, fears, etc. But I guess I still am OK with calling it “pain”. Anyway, this all food for thought and I am neither here nor there with it. Just getting my brain ready to perhaps change the way I think about things or the way I present them to mamas. I am always looking for more to learn, more to experience, and I am certainly not above hoping I come out ahead after taking some Hypnobirthing. With an open mind, I will learn something to assist my clients in birth; and who knows–maybe I will get to experience a “Hypnobirth” this time around.

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  1. Abigail says:

    Your thoughts about hypnobirthing are fascinating. I took a HB class with my second child, and it was good, AND I had the same exact reservations about it that you described. I went on to develop with my instructor a new childbirth education curriculum (birthpaths.org). With regard to pain vs sensation, I don't think it matters which word you use, as long as you are able to generate some curiosity about what you're experiencing, so that you can stay with it. The problem with the word pain is that for a lot of people, there is an automatic tendency to push away the experience, make it stop, get rid of it, avoid it. And that's a trap that gets you nowhere with childbirth. For me, the word sensation works better in terms of cultivating the curiosity that allows me to abide with my experience, but if you're able to be do the same with pain, I'm all for it! I agree also about the thoughts about the second stage of labor; working actively with your body is GREAT and not to be avoided!

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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