We are home with our perfect baby boy now. He was born on April 29 in a ‘normal’ birth, aided by epidural anesthesia. And let me say, I do not think I would have survived without it.
Throughout my very tranquil pregnancy my husband and I pondered the options. He has always made it clear that the final say was mine, since it was my body on the line. And he held my hand the whole way – physically and metaphorically. One of the ideas that was on my mind even before conception was that I wanted a healthy, toxin-free baby. That encompassed the way I prepared my body to conceive, the attention I had to my eating habits during the pregnancy, and the ideas I gathered about the delivery.
On that last item, I knew I wanted to provide our baby with a normal birth instead of a cesarean. I knew I wanted as little medical intervention as possible, and that referred to the method of delivery as well as to the ‘additives’ that are offered to laboring women.
We found hypnobirthing as an alternative pain management procedure, we took the classes and I practiced a little at home, as much as I could within my busy routine.
Last weekend, when I went into labor, hypnobirthing was my companion throughout the pre-labor and early labor parts of the experience. The breathing and relaxing techniques I had learned helped me cope with the pain of the ‘surges’ – as they call the contractions.
Nothing, however, helped me cope with giving birth as much as my husband did. He kept me grounded and focusing on my breathing, he offered numerous times to get my hypnobirthing recordings to help me relax and focus, he massaged my back each time I had a contraction, he hugged me and danced with me (another way to relax the back muscles), and he looked at me with proud eyes that let me know I was being a hero to him as much as he was being a hero to me.
At 8 cm dilation, when my water broke, the back cramps I had were so powerful I felt as if I was being torn from the inside, and I felt I was going to lose consciousness – or maybe I hoped I would just so I would not feel that pain any longer. That was a crucial point in the whole giving birth process, a point in which we had to revise our expectations and deal with reality in real time. After being sure no harm would come to the baby, we agreed that the epidural was the way to go. And I am thankful we did. Thinking back to the intensity of what I went through, I do not believe I would have survived had I not taken the anesthesia. The epidural made it possible by masking the pain so I could birth my baby. And my husband made it possible by bringing to light our strength as a couple. I could not have made it without either.