“Never promise crazy a baby.” — Arrested Development

“There’s going to be pain…”
“Pain for which relief will be offered…”
“But which, apparently, you won’t want…”
“This is not an intelligence test that anyone should fail!” — Coupling UK

So…about that hypnobirthing.

My disclaimer is that I really, really do not care how you got your baby from point A to point B. Midwife and a bathtub at home to scheduled c-section…hey, it’s your journey. Do whatever you want.

That said…I am deeply, deeply phobic about the idea of a c-section. The idea of handing my body over to a medical team with the intent to saw me open and expose my internal organs to daylight, while my choices for pain relief are to be fully conscious and witness the carnage or to be knocked out entirely and miss my baby’s first moments–and possibly the first day, given my prior woozy reactions to anaesthesia…Not for me, thanks! See, to me, being forbidden to look is far worse for me than seeing what’s happening, as an unlucky blood drive nurse once learned to her sorrow. If I can’t see what’s going on, I freak out–not good for heart rate or blood pressure while open on a table. That said, there may be a choice for a clear partition, but I can’t be sure that I’ll want to see *that much* of the process–if there is a Creator, I’m not sure (s)he intended for a woman to know what shade of maroon her uterus is, even a woman with my need to see what the doctors are doing. “Well, the color wasn’t really ‘plum,’ think more like ‘fresh ahi’ at the fish mart.”

You may commence feeling very sorry for my husband.

The second thing is that to me, if a person is lucky, birth goes along fairly naturally without a lot of intervention. I don’t want to interrupt the process with a lot of drugs–I have no shame or sense of failure tied into taking them if I need them, but I would rather go without because I really feel that it’s better for the baby to allow as much of the process to develop as I can without plugging into an IV full of god knows what. The other thing is that I have genetics on my side. Once my sister started active labor, she was done in under 6 hours, and because of how fast she dilated she opted not to take the epidural because it would slow things down. (Later she said, “Yeah, it wasn’t so awful. I could do it again.”) My mother’s labor with me was maybe three or four hours and the doctor barely had time to scrub in to catch me. She also had two completely unmedicated labors and never considered drugs because “Maybe if I had been in labor for a long time it would be different, but I didn’t have long enough labors that pain management really became an issue. They were over too fast.”

You may commence hating the women in my immediate family for their ridiculously fast, easy deliveries and superhuman pain tolerances.

Of the three of us, I suspect I have the lowest pain tolerance. I am, certainly, the most whiny and given to excessive complaint. But basically, the fact is that given a choice between a c-section and being turned into a human wishbone by an 8-pound human hamloaf, I will happily submit to the wee loaf. And maybe it’s the hormones talking, but…I like the idea of trying it without drugs. In fact, I am excited to see how much my body is prepared to handle and how well I can work with it to bring the baby into the world.

You may commence vomiting and smiling condescendingly at the first-time hippie mother’s idealism. It’s okay, I don’t mind.

God, what was the point of this? Ah…hypnobirth. Water birth, my first option because aside from wireless internet there is no one invention of the modern age that I love more than a hot tub, is a no-go because Oahu doesn’t have a single tub in *any* of its birth facilities. We stumbled onto the idea of hypnobirthing because of one simple principle of the method: while birth may be painful, that pain does not have to equal suffering. Using mantras and visualizations, I can help my body channel it’s energy flow and redirect the pain into productivity. Women have reported great success in managing their pain with the Morgan method, and if the site and accounts I’ve read are to be believed, have been able to reposition breech babies using hypnobirthing and thus avoid a c-section. (For the record, I believe, but I know some skeptics won’t–or can’t.) It’s not for everyone, but since I already use guided visualizations and meditation techniques to calm myself and help me relax, I think I’m well on my way.

In short, it’s The Little Engine That Could of birth: I think I can I think I can…I did! It won’t mean that I won’t need drugs, or that I won’t need a c-section, but if properly applied it will mean that I can maintain my confidence levels while being an active participant in my own pain and activity management. And, of course, potentially avoid needing Ye Olde Scalpele Teame and their unholy splash guard–though if I do end up needing them, I can use the techniques to accept and adapt graciously and without fear.

After some research, the books and CDs are on the way, and I have some truly wonderful scripts sent to me from the blogger that turned me on to the idea that I can tailor for any situation (maybe I love the internet more than hot tubs). The more I read, the more I’m convinced that this is a good, sensible, and perhaps most importantly, the most natural-feeling fit for me, and Tom is on board with that.

So! My goal for the next 20 weeks: start preparing my brain to help prepare my body have this baby. I’m actually pretty excited.