The result of said cocktail? Nothing short of an out-of-body experience. During the most challenging phase of my first labor, I felt as if I were outside myself, as if my body was on autopilot, advancing the progression of Lina's delivery, while my mind and spirit were simply along for the ride. But at the same time, I felt so inexplicably present in what was happening. My baby and I were in this thing together, and during that phase I felt an indescribable kinship to her.
|During the height of my labor with Lina|
It was unreal. Funnily enough, going drug-free resulted in me experiencing a mind blowing sense of euphoria that I imagine only comes with being high on drugs. Go figure. But the truth is that natural childbirth allows for such hormones to serve as a natural pain reliever.
As I look ahead only two short months, I realize that I'm going to have to do it all over again. For me, this is met with a mix of emotions. Part of me is all, "bring it on. I am strong, I am woman" (and all that feminist crap). But part of me is afraid. While my first birth was indeed positive and rewarding, it was also the most challenging feat I have ever come face to face with. Knowing what's in store is all at once thrilling, and terrifying.
So today I hit Barnes and Noble and came home with my first Hypno-birthing book. (Please take this moment to imagine Mike's face when he saw this on the coffee table today). Regardless, this birthing method is (sort of) an extension of the Bradley Method, which is what I used for my first delivery. Both philosophies are very "mind over matter," training the mother to use her mind as a tool for relaxing her body, which will in turn release more of those heavenly hormones I mentioned earlier. It all sounds very Zen and new aged, but I don't care. This philosophy makes sense to me, so I'm latching on and giving it all I've got. I think my first labor was met with a certain degree of fear. It was hard for me to find women who hadn't had some sort of negative birthing experience. Either the epidural gave them the chills and made them sick. Or being induced was incredibly painful and led to an emergency c-section. And so on and so on. On the other hand, I had also talked to many women who didn't have a negative experience at all. On the contrary, they had simply opted for the drugs, pushed pushed pushed, and enjoyed having their babies in their arms a short time later - which is wonderful for them. I really hope I'm not coming off as condescending or judgemental towards women who receive epidurals/pain relievers to ease labor. Not at all. It's just that for me, I didn't want my experience to be so cut and dry. I had latched onto the notion that birthing didn't have to be a negative, medical procedure that we needed easing from. Instead, it could be a beautiful journey that us women are lucky to embark on (if that makes any sense).
Even still, I was really scared my first time around. Of course all the mumbo jumbo mentioned above (you know, all the beautiful journey talk) went out the window during some parts of my labor. It was fear - of pain, of the unknown - made some parts of my labor (the hardest parts) even harder because I was so tense. For the delivery of baby #2, I'm hoping to train my mind to relax. To just go with it, especially during the more challenging phases of labor. Only ten more weeks till I give it another go. God help me!