Natural Childbirth: A Father’s Report on Hypnobabies

I am not a believer in mumbo jumbo. Let’s get that out in the open right now. Neither is Denisa. But she’d heard a lot of good things about this thing called Hypnobabies, and she wanted to give it a shot. Hypnobabies. It sounds like the villain from a bad sci-fi plot, but what it is in reality is a hypnotic technique that promises the potential of a pain-free childbirth.

Pretty heavy promise.

However, the birth of our last child was a pretty darn traumatic experience. Denisa had been planning on having anesthesia, and that plan went nowhere. So she ended up having a natural childbirth last time, and it was . . . less than pleasant. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say she had real cause to be leery of another experience like that. She was really stressing out about the whole thing, and here was Hypnobabies with promises of painfree.

It’s no wonder she decided to go for it.

I was quite skeptical, but I kept my skepticism to myself, for the most part. I figured if this thing was going to work, Denisa would need to believe it as much as possible. She was having a doula friend come who had more experience with this sort of thing, so that would help, too. I told Denisa that I’d try to help in any way I could, but I did admit I was worried my natural skepticism toward this kind of thing would get in the way.

Prepping for Hypnobabies ain’t easy. Denisa had to listen to these different audio tracks for about 1 to 1.5 hours a day. Add this to everything else she was doing, and it was quite a bit to add to each day. But she did a really good job of it. She stuck with it quite faithfully, doing it day after day, and reading up about all sorts of parts of the birthing process. I’ll say this much–she was a much better informed momma in advance of this labor. (Sorry–“Birthing time” is the Hypnobaby-approved term.)

Anyway. She was worried she wasn’t doing the techniques exactly right. How would she know? *Know* She couldn’t. Not really.

Yesterday morning, she went into labor at about 3:30am. She started doing the hypnobabies thing right away, but it went from some contractions to steady contractions in about 30 minutes. She woke me up. A friend came and got the kids, and Denisa and I got to the hospital at 5:00am. She was still listening to the hypnobabies tracks, and doing pretty good. Some obvious discomfort, but handling it well.

Her doula came at 5:30am or so. The contractions were really amping up.

Baby came at 6:35am. That’s pretty darn fast.

Was it pain-free? Not really, no. She certainly didn’t seem to be pain-free. But she *was* handling things much better than last time. I talked to her after it was all over, and we discussed the effect of Hypnobabies on the labor. We think it helped a ton in the “don’t be afraid of labor” department. Like I said, Denisa was very apprehensive about the delivery, but then Hypnobabies made her feel like she had a plan. She was better informed, and she knew what to expect. She stopped dreading the delivery, and started looking forward to it.

That was huge.

She wasn’t really able to listen to the tracks during delivery. They were playing, true–but let’s just say she had other things on her mind at the time. Still, she did tell me afterward that every now and then, she’d actually hear the tracks, and listening to that bit of familiarity helped her re-center herself and get a bit more focus. So that helped. Denisa went completely natural again. I was very surprised at how calm the baby was when she arrived. Hardly any screaming. Just looking around, like “Where the heck did I end up, and how did I get here?”

All told, I’d say it was worth the time and effort she put in ahead of time. No doubt. I wonder if I’d been able to embrace the idea more, if things would have gone even better. I’m not sure. I do know that we’re both very glad the delivery’s done. I’ll give the Hypnobabies approach a thumbs up. It helped my wife deal with something very daunting. Yes, it maybe over-promised and under-delivered (no pun intended), but it was much, much, much better than nothing. (Something tells me that’s a bad ad slogan. “Hypnobabies: much, much, much better than nothing.”)

And there you have it.

5 Comments

  • By Lisa, April 18, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

    So thrilled to read this, friend. Obviously for Denisa, but also because we’re considering it too. I’m not interested in the whole “pain free” thing – I mean, lots of intense stuff is going on, and it does hurt. But it’s the not being afraid part that calls to me. My labor with A was unmedicated and it was mainly an incredible experience, and I had a real calm and trust and focus throughout almost all my contractions. But the pain of pushing completely took me by surprise and terrified me, and I know that it hurt more because of my fear. That whole fear-tension-pain thing is for real. So, thanks again, and so many delighted congratulations to your whole family.

  • By Dan Wells, April 18, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

    Dawn did hypnobirthing for our last one–not that program, but similar principles–and loved it. I’m sure she and Denisa discussed this when you were visiting. They told us right up front that “pain-free” was only possible with an epidural, but that self-hypnosis would help manage the pain and improve the experience. Dawn loved it loved it loved it.

  • By Timber, April 18, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

    That is great for Denisa! I’ve had 3 natural births so far, but for this last one due in a few weeks, I’ve looked into hypnobirth. I’ve got a book and I’d say a solid 80% is just eye-rolling hogwash, but the parts that talk about fear-tension-pain have really resonated. I think that’s where this will help–remembering to keep calm and centered. I’m definitely not expecting a pain-free birth, but I’m hoping that it’ll help a bit (like you said, “much much much better than nothing!” lol!). Thanks for sharing your take on her story!

  • By Farrah, April 18, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    Yay! I’m so glad it went much better. I don’t believe in labor being ” pain- free”. I think it should hurt, but in a good way. A productive I’m-getting-something-awesome- after-this way. It shouldn’t be terrifying and I’m glad it wasn’t. And I think it’s better when it’s fast too. Congrats to you both!

  • By Bryce Moore, April 30, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

    Thanks for the comments, all. They were read and appreciated–I just was too busy at the time to write responses. 🙂

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