How I used HypnoBirthing in Labor

"Mindfulness is awake attention to what is happening inside and outside so that we can respond from a place of wisdom"

-Sylvia Boorstein

Hypnobirthing techniques I used in labor:

  • Visualization

  • Breath

  • Deep Relaxation

  • Positive Mindset

What if I we didn't have to be in pain in labor? What if by tuning into our body and nature, and by breathing, our muscles relaxed, and giving birth was an enjoyable peaceful experience?

What if instead of negative birth stories, we heard about how great it was?

And what if instead of ice chips, we were allowed nutrition packed snacks to keep our body's energy up?

Deep breathing, trust, and PB&J.

On December 5th, this is how Wilder was born.

Hypnobirthing (now made popular through Kate Middleton) is not a revolutionary birth strategy. It is a mindset that brings us back to our roots, our ancestors, ourselves, and nature.

"You will experience birthing in an atmosphere of calm relaxation, free of the fear that prevents the muscles of your body from functioning as nature intended them to. In this calm state, your body's natural relaxant, endorphins, replaces the stress hormones that constrict and cause pain." -Hypnobirthing international

HypnoBirthing taught me to breathe and visualize going into a deeply relaxed state. When our muscles are at ease and open, instead of tense and blocked, the pain melts away and our bodies can do what they were built to do.

3am (Utica, NY) : It's Dec. 5th, two days before my actual due date. Brian gets home from a 4 hour bus ride following his 7pm away game against the Bridgeport Islanders. The moment he drops his tired heavy body into bed, the rustle of his pillow flutters my eyes open to tightening cramps beginning in my belly. The human body, in it's innate amazing intelligence knew to wait until he got home, until I was fully relaxed, to start labor. When that happened, I witnessed the mind body connection operating at it's fullest potential. I didn't experience natural labor with Jameson, so I lay in bed for awhile wondering if the magic is starting or if the excitement is all in my head.

4am: I have a gut feeling it may be real labor, because I am starving. Another intuitive sign from my body that it needs to fuel up for what's coming. I tip toe out of bed in the dark (careful not to wake up Jameson or my mom-who also just got into town), stopping at the top of the stairs to breathe through a cramp, then slowly creeping down to our kitchen. Turning on a dim stove light, I smear together some natural PB, banana, and sprouted whole grain bread. From my experience as an athlete I knew this to be some of the best energy for the body before a big game. I inhale the sandwich like I haven't eaten in days and let my body absorb it's nutrients.

4:15am: I stay downstairs hoping to give Brian at least a few hours of sleep before what could potentially be a long day at the hospital. I curl up horizontal on the couch, embracing the hum of our warm gas fireplace, feeling the hug of a heavy soft blanket wrapped around me. There's a raw cold winter storm warning outside, and the entire living room is dark besides the light that dances from the flame of the fire. I reach for my phone to put on some soft music at low volume. I breath into the 1 minute long contractions, inhaling and exhaling as fully and as deep as I can filling my lungs all the way to the top, and exhaling while visualizing my muscles releasing. Unclenching my shoulders, my teeth, my toes, and anything else that is trying to stiffen with the contraction. Softening the muscles of my body with the most powerful tool I have- my breath.

5am: Laying in the dark, knowing I am delivering at a hospital 50 min away, I begin to time my contractions with the stopwatch on my phone. They are about 10 minutes apart and I call the on-call doctor. She says it could be false labor and to labor at home as long as I can because I don't want to to have to drive all that way for nothing. She says if they grow more intense and become 5 minutes apart is time to come in to the hospital. I focus on the positivity I hear in her voice and don't let myself worry about the distance to the hospital, telling myself whatever happens will be meant to be. I remind myself I am the only one living in my body, that can determine what is truly happening, so I continue to trust