Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dear Future Me

I was reading about hypnobirthing a few months ago. Then after our final childbirth class, I considered how awkward and clumsy some of the breathing and birthing positions were. I didn't go, "oh this feels natural." I have a knack for absorbing knowledge and preparing to the nth degree with everything. But not childbirth.

Sure. Parenting, the stuff after baby comes I research. The stuff that comes with baby I read and research. I avoid all garage sales and baby store sales knowing I have so much coming. So really I can't buy much of anything, because I've all done prepared myself. Then there is the cloth diapering. I have diapers, diaper covers, I know where to buy more, I have patterns to make them, and detergent on the way to clean them. So that's covered.

Oh and then there is breast feeding. I read up about that too. I'll have help along the way and I have some sources to read. So I feel prepared enough there.

So what about the actual birth and labor? My life is always planned like a movie. Like I'm the stage manager of the play behind the scenes directing and moving people and parts to their optimal places. There is a sense of right and wrong when I do this. This goes here and so obviously doesn't belong there. It's pretty black and white. Somehow though, I know that to have a positive birth experience I have to be open and not be the manager.

I have options. I have tools. I have aides. I have ideas. Such as? Induction with sex, with walking, with stripping the membranes, with the pills they put on the cervix, with pitocin. For pain, I have breathing, massage, water tub, groaning, meds, epidural. For support, I have my obs, my midwives, the nurses, my husband, my sister, and my sister-in-law. For entertainment I have tv, cards, books, and a laptop. For supplies I'm covered. For delivery, we may need a episiotomy, suction, forceps, and c-section. I have to see these all as tools in my arsenal. Things that get me and baby from point A to point B safely.

The me I'm fighting thinks about all these things escalating on a linear path that is from bad to worse if I make a misstep or if something "goes wrong." Lots can "go wrong," but I'm teaching myself that instead, "lots can happen." I have lots of options. These things aren't death warrants or signs of my weakness or lack of preparedness. I know they are all out of my control, yet I irrationally worry and cause stress where there need be none.

That Sophie is almost silenced. But she said one last thing. Make sure to look into this hypnobirthing. I have read a little and seen some youtube videos. The gist as I get it is that you train your mind to turn painful contractions into pressure waves through hypnosis. I prefer to think of it as meditation. And these pressure waves each woman can visualize and use that visualization to train her body to release tension and release the urge to fight pain. What is pain if you aren't fighting it? Well, then it's just pressure. It's a ride downstream. Not fighting upstream. The benefits of different hypnosis during birth is that it can conserve your energy that you'd waste in contractions for when you push.

I spend a little bit of time each day just being quiet. I lay on the couch. I imagine her, the baby. I use my time to visualize the best outcome. Happy healthy baby. Happy healthy mama. And daddy by our side. I spend time imagining her inside me. I imagine if her feet are up by her head or under my ribs and if she's practicing breathing and crying from the way my belly moves. I can see her little hands and imagine her little moist neckfolds. I can see that little bottom as it connects to her long, straight back. The pieces aren't all there, but close. Then I imagine my body letting go. I let go and breath. I imagine "down and out." I imagine "open." I pretend for myself that I have preternatural powers like a witch and I powerfully think about riding through a wave of heat or of ice cold water and letting it take me. That is until I feel the urge to use that gathered power to push.

I have no idea what labor will be like. But I can guarantee you that how I think of it NOW and until then will shape how I react then. I try to meditate and be calm and imagine a calm progression to birth. Then when I'm in the midst of it, I can rely on this picture I've painted. It's of icy waves and breath and it's inward. It's not of machines, nurses, or hospital beds. It's not about resisting or fighting upstream inwardly or outwardly with my care.

Nope I practice turning inward and focusing. Whatever it may be, I just think upon the inside and dwell within. I can feel mentally free and relaxed and not even notice the wind in the leaves outside or the noises around. That, that's not something I can really read or prepare for that isn't fully instinctual. I feel if I prepare and orchestrate too much that I will over control a situation and fight upstream, rather than enjoy the ride and relax downstream.

And to future me. You are going to do great. You know more that you think you know. You know how to be strong and how to give in and how to let fear and trepidation lead you to a powerful place of surrender where you can let what is natural come more easily. Let go. Let your body show you how. If you let go, you'll be that much closer to holding your baby in your arms. Soon enough future me. Soon!

And now I want to go drift in a river for real....

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