Reflections on Birth Experience

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I know a lot of you were waiting patiently to see how Hypnobabies worked out for me and if you read my birth story,you know that it sort of didn’t. If you followed this blog for a few months, you are aware how diligent I was about hypnobabies training and daily exercises. I was good, I was really good… I did everything I was supposed to, even the part where I have to blindly believe that HB will work ( which is SOOOOO not like me to just blindly believe in something). But I figured if I had a prayer of natural labor, this would be it. So I trained.

I have to say that in the beginning I was very impressed with Hypnobabies and the strength that it put me out with. I really felt it working. However, towards the end I felt like the tracks failed to “take you under” properly, they sort of just skipped through the whole process and you were supposed to “assume” you’re under hypnosis. I didn’t feel I was under hypnosis, not the way I did with the earlier tracks, but I continued because accordig to the program, you don’t have to “feel” anything for it to work.

So when my contractions started I did what I was trained to do which is the finger drop technique ( where you basically relax your whole body with the drop of your index finger). I thought it was working, I thought I was relaxing and managing through contractions. Granted, I don’t know how severe they were supposed to be, so I am not sure how much of it was Hypnobabies and how much was just that I was handling the contractions on my own. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t tensing up, I was doing my thing…

I think it all broke down when we got to the hospital. It’s very possible HB WAS working up until then, but as soon as I had people to talk to and things to do, I was concentrating less and less on the tracks and relaxation. Yes, my husband was “supposed” to talk to everyone for me. And he did, but I still listened, was curious, wanted to talk to the nurses, too. I don’t like to stand by and watch, I like to partake. And I believe that’s where it got me.

I remember I first started getting the shakes in the triage. The shakes that I now know were my muscles tensing up.

I thought it was hypnobabies helping me get through contractions and I guess I’ll never know if it were, but there was something that nurse, who teaches hypnobirthing said, that I tend to agree with: “If your relaxation was working, you wouldn’t feel it at all as pain, you’d be relaxed. Your uterus muscles wouldn’t be working hard against your tension”.

So will I try hypnosis or natural labor next time? I think so. But I’ll go with hypnobirthing program, just to see the difference, and I’ll give natural labor a shot once more. If it doesn’t work, well, no harm done.

{end of BOP}

Hospital bags

What we packed for labor and delivery was a topic of much discussion. Somehow everyone knew exactly what I will need or more importantly not need or what our particular hospital allows. It especially humored me when one lady announced that it’s stupid to bring a bunch of stuff and leave it in the car, because my husband would have to run 20 minutes there and back from the hospital to the parking lot to get necessary items. And that’s considering our birth center has its own parking lot right in front of it and it takes about 2 minutes to  get to it. Talk about assumptions!

So here’s how it ACTUALLY worked out:

I was packing a lot of stuff pretty much knowing that I’ll use only a fraction of it. But since we have a big SUV and a close parking lot, it was better to come over-prepared than under-prepared. So I took pretty much every suggestion that made sense from the comments to my hospital bag question post. To my surprise, I used A TON of what we packed, and what I didn’t use I was glad I brought in case my experience were different and needed them. I won’t mention things that everyone agreed I should take (like chapstick), but will list things that were questionable.

  • Blow up mattress (for hubby to sleep on since everyone said how bad those pullout couches were). We ended up finding a better solution: sleeping together in my hospital bed. It was comfy, we were together and honestly I needed the closeness of my husband after such an emotional experience. Also, the few hours that he did nap on the couch, he said it wasn’t that bad at all.
  • I was very happy to have packed my own pads and underwear. Those hospital pads and mesh panties were HORRIBLE. First of all the mesh panties were so big they kept sliding down under the weight of everything they have you put down there. And pads weren’t absorbent at all. I was very happy to switch into my own stuff the next morning when the bleeding subsided.
  • I didn’t use any of the lounge clothes I brought for the hospital. I spent the whole time in my dearjohnnies gown– it was easier, better access to boobs and checks and just as attractive.
  • I did get to wear the Boob Design going home dress with no problems. It was comfy, stretchy and I felt good and nice looking in it! Definitely preferred walking out of the hospital with my new baby looking radiant rather than grubby. Though I have to admit, it was largely due to my easy recovery. Had I felt like crap, I probably would have wanted to wear sweat pants and one of my Boob Design nursing shirts.
  • I really enjoyed having my own soft blanket and body pillow with me. It made it a lot more comfortable to labor with them and then later sleep with.
  • Lavender oil diffuser was an interesting addition. I didn’t even notice the smell at the time since I was busy laboring but all the nurses commented on how they loved coming into our room because of how good it smelled.
  • I loved having our own baby blankets and clothes to dry Lexi off with and dress in. It felt a lot more special that way than using standard issue hospital blankets.
  • I didn’t get to use a breastfeeding pillow because honestly Alexis would get so frantically hungry there was no time to fumble with a pillow.
  • Even though I packed the Victoria’s secret robe into my “just in case” bag, I did get to use it. The hospital was so cold that I had to put it on top of my Pretty Pushers gown and then cover myself with a blanket.

Conclusion: The second time I do this (if I do), I will pack the exact same stuff. This was not a first time mom overpacking. This was a “I want to cover every case scenario” overpacking. And having gone through it now, I’d pack everything once again, because I don’t see anything that won’t possibly get used depending on the situation. Every labor is different, and I don’t presume that my next one will be anything like this, so items I didn’t get to use this time, I might need next time.


Honestly? I hate to say it because I feel like I’d be betraying  all the women who have ever attempted med-free childbirth but I loved it.
I had originally wanted an epidural but after finding out about hypnobabies and the possibility of painless med-free childbirth, I was going to try without it.
Had my labor been shorter, I would have done just fine during the contractions. BUT… I am terrified, just thinking about pushing without an epidural! I mean, seriously! After going through it with an epidural, I can’t imagine tearing and being stretched out without it. So much that I will have to think long and hard before I decide to go without next time.
My 2 big concerns with an epidural had been:

  1. Leads to pitocin and then a C-section
  2. Baby is born not alert/ hinders breastfeeding.

Well the first one: we would have needed pitocin no matter what since my labor stalled and I’m glad I didn’t get to experience it without an epidural.
Second: Alexis was screaming before they even pulled her body out and stayed super alert for the next few day s- obviously that didn’t influence her.

So epidural- pretty damn good. Should you try to labor naturally? Heck yeah!!! Drugs free labor is still the best way to go in my mind. But not everyone’s situation is conducive to it. Chances are your labor experience will be very different!

Hospital experience

Completely different from what I was told and expected. We went in ready to fight for my rights but were given the green light to do whatever we wanted. I feel I got a birthing center experience in the safety of a hospital. Wonderful nurses, great atmosphere, friendly staff, no interventions that I didn’t opt for myself.  The only downside was all the medical personnel coming in to check on us every 45 minutes around the clock. That was very frustrating, but at the same time, everyone was so nice, I don’t hold it against them.


I already wrote about my recovery here, but once thing I’d like to mention was this miracle lotion from Zita West that I found invaluable. Zita West is a team of reproductive health care specialists, dealing with fertility, pregnancy, pre-conception planning. They have a line of pregnancy related products that is worth checking out. I used the Pre-conditioning Down Under oil for my perineal massage as it contains moisturizing carrier oils and no fragrance. It lasted the whole 8 weeks of the massage without having to use it sparingly.

But the true miracle lotion I have to mention was the Comfort Down Under. It’s meant for postpartum, but I started using it during pregnancy whenever any issue would arise. It literally HEALS any cuts, soreness, itchiness in a day. After delivery, I used it every time I’d go to the bathroom and the combination of its healing properties as well as a cooling sensation it gives were a God’s sent at that time. I continued using the lotion all throughout the first week or two and would recommend it to ANYONE. As a matter of fact, it’s definitely a lotion to keep for other issues, since its healing powers are truly something to behold. Witch’s Hazel is nothing compared to this bottle.

So if you’re pregnant, definitely look into buying at least the Comfort Down Under, if not both oils. Also if you’re in UK and TTC, I’d recommend you look into Zita West pre-conception resources and services.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Zita West sent me a sample of the product to try, however all the opinions are 100% my own.

Also read:

Birth Story Part I
Birth Story Part II

Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding Products that Helped 


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  • Reply
    Erica @ Expatria, Baby
    March 19, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    I had a really similar experience to you with regard to hypnosis and childbirth. I did hypnobabies AND hypnobirthing for the birth of my daughter, and I found both to be equally useless. While I probably was not as diligent as you were with my training, I did take it quite seriously and practiced regularly. I enjoyed the relaxing time and closeness it gave me with my unborn baby. But when it came to labour time, I did not want anything to do with the hypnosis scripts. All I wanted was silence and focus; I wanted to go inside myself and not bother with any external distractions. The thing that actually helped me the most was reading Ina May Gaskin. Thanks to her writing was able to truly trust my body to do it’s work, truly relax (well, as much as one can given the circumstance), and realize that when it felt like I couldn’t take the pain any more, I was in transition and it wouldn’t get any worse. I credit Gaskin’s writing and my trust in my body for my positive birth experience far more than any class or course I took. I was able to have a pitocin augmented pain-med free birth and it was so empowering.

    I also agree with you regarding the positivity of the hospital experience. I was set up to be in constant conflict with my doctors / nurses, but they were so accommodating, bending over to help me whenever they could. The moment I dropped my defenses and trusted them and let go of the expectation that they’d be my adversaries, things got so much easier. Thanks for writing your reflections on birth. I’ve been enjoying following along.

  • Reply
    Elena C. :)
    March 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    I’m glad that the overall hospital and labor experience turned out to be positive 🙂
    I’d do exactly same thing with hospital bags, I’d love to be over-prepared than under-prepared!
    Thanks for the links to the “cooling down under” lotion 🙂

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I think you have to bring what is important to you. I will admit after having baby #3 in January 🙂 I did pack less but only because I knew what was most important to me. A lot of the things you brought …I also felt important…pads …my own underwear… my own clothes… I even brought make up and self tanner. just gotta do what you gotta do to feel normal after having a baby. It’s very wonderful …amazing …and can be a tad bit traumatizing in a way. Or maybe overwhelming is a better word.

    Good for you for standing up for yourself on your blog. It is your blog afterall and I respect that you just don’t laugh off the negative comments. Sounds like you are going to be an amazing Mom. Who cares what the negative readers say…I say…”Shake the Haters Off” hah…

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    For the hospital bags, it’s so much better to be over prepared than under prepared! I think you had a great system going leaving bags in the car and having hubby bring them in as needed. As far as epidurals, oh how I love them! I agree, natural is the way to go, but if you need it, you need it. I had one with each birth, and neither has bothered the baby in any way. I was induced both times, and with my first, I did need Pit, but with my second, I never needed the Pit. So, epidurals and Pit don’t always go hand in hand, it just depends on the laboring, I suppose. So, you say IF you do this again, are you going to share your thoughts about a second pregnancy/baby? 🙂

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I have to ask – what is BOP-End BOP? From what I understand it means Bubble of Peace? But why is it in the posts?!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 19, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      I wouldn’t want anyone still training for hypnobabies to think it doesn’t work. It just didn’t work for me and it was likely my own lack of focus in the hospital. So it’s customary to “warn” hypno moms that a possibly negative imagery is coming, since a big part of hypnosis is reprogramming your mind to believe everything will be perfect!

      • Reply
        March 19, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        Ah, gotcha. Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I love reading all your birth/baby posts, especially recap ones like this. I had a very similar experience with trying it med-free (minus the hypnobabies training, which I learned about too late in my pregnancy to try)…and still ended up with pitocin and an epidural because of my labor stalling. Only for me, it was the pitocin that came first, and after having labored for 18 hours in pain, there was no way I was going to have it without an epidural! Unfortunately, I also ended up with a C-section 🙁 …but only because my poor son’s cord was wrapped around his neck. Luckily his heartrate never dropped so we only found out once they made the incision why exactly I couldn’t progress beyond 6 cm even WITH pitocin! I had the same concerns as you about epdiurals/c-sections and breastfeeding, but my son has fed like a champ from day 1, so we are very thankful. Congrats again on such a beautiful labor and baby, and I hope you are starting to get a bit more sleep… 🙂

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    What does BOP mean?

  • Reply
    Terra Cotta Momm
    March 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Doula! Next time have a doula, I really recommend a doula for any woman giving birth… if it is a good support person so be it but they need to know how to help you relax…..
    As for pushing out, as a woman who had an epi-free birth, I can tell you the pushing isn’t painful… it is sweet relief from contractions. I tore and had a bit of ‘stretching’ from my doctor and didn’t feel any of that… just pressure and relief, a great sense of relief. Pushing felt good!

    • Reply
      March 19, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      My thoughts exactly! I first thought this after the first part of your birth story… our doula was absolutely beyond incredible. I hadn’t studied any hypnobirthing/babies prior to the birth, but our doula used it on me during transition and it was phenomenal. DH later told me you could literally feel me body relax, even during the most intense of contractions. There is NO WAY either I or my DH could have done that for me (at times, she was practically yelling at me, other times she was incredibly quiet and calm, all of it matched exactly what I needed at the moment). I also second reading a lot of Ina May’s stories. I felt like that was excellent mental preparation too. Thank you for sharing your story and experiences!

      • Reply
        March 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        And I also wanted to add that our doulas were all extremely supportive of every kind of birth. If we had wanted an epi going in, they would have supported that, if we had ended up with a c-section, they would have helped us come to an accepting place for that as well (since that wasn’t our plan). I always thought doulas were only for med-free births, but that does not have to be the case at all.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    What would you recommend for someone who is planning on trying hypnobabies/hypno birthing, based on your experience?

    I am TTC, not preggo yet (although I just ovulated this weekend and we definitely timed sex right… SO I AM PRAYING THIS IS THE MONTH IS THE MONTH) but I am in the exact thinking you are.. I will give natural a go. but if I need an epidural, hey thats cool too. 🙂

    you really inspire me and I tend to have a lot of the same views you have! So I just LOVE your blog and reading all these ( Now I just need to work on disciplining myself better to execute my wants for myself)

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 19, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      Honestly I don’t know what to tell you. Everyone is different and everyone’s experience is different. I’d say if you want to try HB train like you’re supposed to, believe you can do it and read a few more books like Bradley and Maya. Any info will help. Had my labor not stalled or been shorter I would probably hang in there and gone thru it sans epidural, so you never know how it’s going to be for you. I say shoot for the best case scenario!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    I am so glad that you had a positive experience. For each woman (and even baby!) labor is completely different. Hospitals are different! (mine was anti-letting you use your own clothing for whatever reason, however, they were very hands-on because of my difficult recovery)
    After laboring two days (with pitocin, and a foley balloon) I welcomed the epidural as well. Each decision is valid because it’s your decision.
    Good job, Momma.

    PS: I was addicted to reading the comments like a bad train-wreck. I’m glad that you stuck to your guns! (I was/am in disbelief of all the negative ones, and am glad you have thick skin)

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    “If your relaxation was working, you wouldn’t feel it at all as pain, you’d be relaxed. Your uterus muscles wouldn’t be working hard against your tension”.
    My labor was over 50 hours (with only a few hours of sleep interspersed early on) and I managed to have a natural birth, but if I had gone in with this mindset (“wouldn’t feel it as pain”) I never would have made it. I had two close friends from my prenatal yoga class who had their children a few weeks before me (including one that used Hypnobabies), and they told me that the pain was unreal and would be the worst you would ever feel, but that it is temporary and you CAN get through it. I did feel relaxed throughout each contraction (I would just “ride out” the pain; I would stand and sway through each contraction and do low, deep vocalizations) but the pain was really terrible and I can’t imagine anyone describing it otherwise. And luckily we were rewarded with an incredibly happy, calm daughter who didn’t even cry after being delivered, was awake and alert from the start, breastfeeds like a champ and started sleeping in 6-7 hour stretches at night at 6 weeks old. (However, I do believe that all of this is genetic, not something I did! My husband is the most laid back person you will ever meet, and was an incredible easy infant according to his mom – it shows how much of all of this is out of our control!).
    And I agree with Terra Cotta Momm – pushing was a huge relief! Although the “ring of fire” metaphor held true, it was wonderful to feel active and in control at the end.
    All that said, I’m glad that you had a good birth experience and there is absolutely nothing wrong with interventions! A healthy baby is all that matters in the end.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      “incredibly happy, calm daughter who didn’t even cry after being delivered, was awake and alert from the start, breastfeeds like a champ and started sleeping in 6-7 hour stretches at night at 6 weeks old” Maaan are you lucky! 🙂 lol

      I’ve seen videos of girls doing hypnobabies and it didn’t even look like they were in pain. The truth is I didn’t know what to expect from HB (and still don’t). I am very happy to have gotten an epdirual, because I was just exhausted, however I am glad to hear that pushing isn’t as terrible as it seems, in case I try med-free again next time.

      • Reply
        March 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        Ha, well I can’t say that I did anything special to have such a happy baby! I’m convinced it’s completely genetics. And my sister was a super calm, easy baby and a terror when she was a teenager. I’m sure we’ll have our rough times as well!

        Maybe labor is less painful for others, I don’t know. For me at least it really helped going into it expecting the worst in terms of pain. And I think once I got to transition I was in another place mentally (my husband’s told me about things that happened during those hours that I don’t remember now) and that helped as well – and once I reached a certain point, I literally forgot that medication was an option! If someone had offered an epidural in the last 5 hours or so I probably would have said yes, please! 🙂

        Pushing is both easier and harder – the pain is very different from contractions (much more of a ripping/burning/acid like pain, or at least it was for me) but really getting to push back against that pain was amazing.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I think it’s great that you gave natural birth and hypnosis a try, you do all you believed in and now can have peace with your decision. That’s the most important! I hope next time it will be different, since you’re rich in own experience.
    Impressive your recovery – I want one like this too!! 😀
    Did you try any other postpartum cosmetics/meds that are available in US and would recommend?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      I think Zita West ships to US if you want to get the healing one. Otherwise, if you’re talking about the recovery meds, no. I didn’t even need to take ibuprofen- I just didn’t hurt that much after the first 2 days.
      If you’re talking about cosmetics as in make up/personal products, then yes, and I am working on finding more and writing about them. Check out which is my new favorite healthy find.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I’ve had to be induced with both my boys–for my first babe, I had an epidural; for my second, I tried to go un-medicated with the pit, but ended up getting a small dose of pain meds just to make it through those last 40 minutes. It was an experience! What I love the most is that we all have such individual, unique experiences. We all like to pass on our ‘horror’ stories too–partly I think because we’re trying to scare young moms, but also as kind of a “Hey, your experience can be better than mine, fight for that!”

    I am so glad you had such a positive birth with your babe! You not only did extensive research, but you also shared it with us–experienced moms and inexperienced moms alike. Thanks for doing that, even with all the batty comments you got on your posts! I almost popped popcorn just to read some of them. Heaven forbid that you have your own experiences the way you want!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      I agree Ana. With my twins I went all natural and with my singleton I was induced and had an epidural. They were very different experiences. I think an idea with an open mind is the best way to go.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Interesting about the hypnobabies. I follow another girl on her blog, who also used it and seemed to have a very similar experience. Although she did end up going natural she did seem to have a very similar outlook on it.
    As far as the hospital bag…I also loved having my own pads and underwear. I was allergic to the mesh ones. So after one day (I had a section so I couldn’t get up for about 12 hrs) I took a shower and used my own stuff. I had my own nightgowns etc. I was there for four days so I did use all of my stuff also.

    Sounds like you had a good experience and thank you for your honest feedback on everything.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I liked reading about your experience and the comments from people, it sounds like the way things are in the US with regards to labor and delivery is very different from here in New Zealand. I can’t believe how disruptive nurses are during recovery… I understand they have a job to do, but seems like there must be a better way. Just curious, would you consider having a midwife rather than an OB if you have another baby, now that you’ve done it and know more what to expect?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 19, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      Unless I can find a male midwife that delivers at the hospital I don’t think so. I have this weird preference where I have to have my OB be a guy.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    My epi was heavenly. I labored for 9 hours and when I got the epi it was like taking a big sigh of relief. I always planned on getting an epi anyway though. My doctor gave me mine, so he gave me the perfect amount that I felt the pressure and could push effectively, which was awesome.

    • Reply
      March 19, 2012 at 6:52 PM

      I agree with the previous poster that the idea that contractions being painless sets you up for failure. We did Bradley (my midwives told me that they find hypnobabies worthless and that it really sets up unrealistic expectations) and I really appreciated that they gave me multiple methods to deal with the pain. They also stressed that it would be pain, but focused on removing fear and how to reduce (or eliminate) an adrenaline response to contractions. I use to practice the different pain management methods through discomfort poses in yoga ha ha.

      Anyway, I luckily ended up having what I would call a painless natural birth, even through pushing (I actually found pushing to be exhilarating). But to be honest, I have no clue if I was well prepared (although I did never feel fear) or whether it was just the way my body naturally reacted to things. I think in the end that it is 75% luck and 15% how well you can manage fear and pain.

      ETA: Also to the male OB vs. midwife (I think male midwives are very rare). I used to always want male OBs, until I met my midwives who were pretty amazing. So you never know!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I am trying hypnobabies with my 3rd child, due in a few weeks. My class instructor has told us of common downfalls. This in no way is a response to your experience with it but may help others….

    Not practicing enough before birth. Particularly not practicing hypnosis while doing other things (going to the bathroom, walking, talking, etc.)
    Not using multiple cues to get into and stay in hypnosis. (some people rely on only one and several techniques may be necessary)
    Not having your partner be 100% involved and supportive… partner should remind you to use cues and help you get into hypnosis if you are coming out of it or already have, by using scripts, reminder words, etc. (I have talked with a few women first hand that have “come out” of deep hypnosis during the birth and began panicking from the pain. They heavily relied on their partner to get them back into hypnosis). I know they say it is “possible” to do completely on your own, but this seems to be important, even according to by instructor.
    Forgetting to use/restart music, not using appropriate music at the right times.
    Also, the home study course is not as effective as taking a class with an instructor. However, many women still find success with it.

    I do not have personal experience with it yet, but my instructor was awesome and very motivated to help everyone have success with the program, so she wanted to make sure we avoided the common pitfalls. Personally, I think some people are just more suggestible than others and have success with the program without as much effort. I also find that some people, myself included, have and overactive adrenaline response to stress. For example, I cannot drink coffee, a small amount produces a profound effect. I think this could be a downfall when using hypnosis as well as it is just to difficult to control.
    My first 2 births were inductions with epidurals. Epidurals are awesome, but I am really hoping for a different experience this time around. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Been reading your blog for quite a while, but first time commenting. 🙂 I had a baby boy about a week after you had Alexis and also hoped to avoid an epidural and have a drug free delivery. Similar to you, I got the shakes in triage and they didn’t really go away (nurses told me shakes were good and meant baby was moving down). I was in excruciating pain andcouldn’t relax. Finally got an epidural and it was amazing….couldn’t agree with you more…loved it. Baby is happy, alert, and eats like a champ. I wish people weren’t so down on epidurals (those people that are super pro all natural/no drugs). It’s so helpful to be able to relax and enjoy the experience. I really enjoy your blog- thanks so much! It was great to follow along with my pregnancy only about two weeks behind. 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      I think an epidural has its dangers- that’s why many pro natural people are down on it. I’ve heard many horror stories about epidurals and how they screw everything up, so I get it.
      I just think those are the exceptions, and I am very glad I had a good experience.

  • Reply
    Caitlin Mallery
    March 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    I am curious how going through labor affected your husband. While the women certainly go through a lot of physical stress(and we are built for it), husbands go through a fair amount of emotional stress. My husband was extremely supportive and amazingly calm for me, but told me later he was screaming inside and it was the hardest thing he had ever watched. Husbands do not have the benefit of of hormones or epidurals to support them, at least no the way we do. It would be really interesting to hear his version of the story.

    By the way, that lotion sounds great. Every time I stood up it felt like my insides were going to fall out. How soon would you recommend starting before the birth? I am not due till September. I also have never ordered out of country, is that at all complicated?

    Hope you are continuing to recover well!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      I will definitely ask him (I want to say have him write a post, but yeah right who am I kidding?).
      As far as comfort down under, it’s not something you’d put before you have an issue. It’s a healing lotion, so if you have any cuts, or sore spots or fungus or anything of that sort, it’s awesome. And obviously it’s amazing during the recovery cuz well you ARE sore and cut!

      If you want to do the perineal massage, then get the conditioning down under, which is an oil and it’s recommended you start than 6-8 weeks before your due date.
      Ordering out of the country is exactly the same as here. Check out, pay for shipping, they do the rest. Costs 6 pounds, takes 10-14 days to arrive.

      Good luck, girl!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Elena, I gave birth without an epidural and I don’t think you’re betraying the women who have attempted drug-free / natural labor by saying that you loved your epidural. Who wouldn’t love doing all that work without pain? I absolutely know you could have done it without the epidural. It would have hurt and you would have survived it BUT the great thing is, you didn’t have to. Natural or medicated childbirth is a choice and we are lucky to have them.

    The one thing I would like to say to women who are planning natural labor is that I really believe it is something you need to commit to. ‘Giving it a shot’ is great but labor is long and, for most women, the most physically demanding and painful thing they’ll ever go through. I think that finding the right method of pain management for yourself is key. It doesn’t sound like Hypno-babies is the right method for you but I bet your experience alone will play a big part in giving you the edge you need in the future if you have more children.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 20, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      I agree with you 100%! I was never FULLY committed to going drug free. I always wanted to stay flexible and get an epi if I had to. But I think that’s important too, because labor is unpredictable and being inflexible can be setting yourself up for failure and regret. Because I was open to an epidural, I have 0 regrets.
      And I agree that HB wasn’t the right method for me. I am very glad I tried it though. I am very curious if a different relaxation method would work for me better or maybe it’s the fact that I am a bit too open to a possibility of an epidural that I will end up wimping out regardless of the method if my labor goes on for an extended period of time 🙂

  • Reply
    March 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    I ended up getting an epidural (but I don’t think I actually got the meds that go along with it – long story) and then I had back aches (and still sometimes do!) that concentrate on the spot the the epi went in! That part worries me about next time.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Hi Elena! I was hoping you could do a post on your post baby body and your feelings about this. From reading your old blog posts, you seemed pretty sure that you would lose weight quickly and effortlessly and get back to your old figure fast. From the media we see models who are back on the runway 6 weeks after birth, Bethenny Frankel posing in a swimsuit in Us magazine 3 (!!!) weeks after delivery, etc. I have always been skinny and a runner and I had a baby 2 years ago. I thought it would be easy to lose the baby weight, but it didn’t just fall off effortlessly like I was expecting. I have to admit it was emotionally difficult! I did lose all of the weight after about 5 months (I lost all but the last 5 lbs within 3 months and was back in all of my size 0/2 clothes, but the last 5 lbs stuck around for 2 more months)… but I thought it would be EASY and it wasn’t. It seems you kind of thought the same thing, and being a model where you’ve been paid to look a certain way/weigh a certain amount, I was wondering how your weight gain has made you feel and if you’re upset/disappointed that the baby weight hasn’t just fallen off effortlessly like you were expecting.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      March 21, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      Hi Rebecca!

      I wrote a little bit about my postpartum body in the week1,2,3+postpartum post and I’m sure I’ll do another one once I start working on my getting my body back. That being said, I’m ok with how I look for now (minus the ab fat roll) and I am much too busy being with Alexis to be upset about. Do I wish weight would just fall off? Yes! But also my hubby put it into perspective: if I were working on loosing weight, the safe way is a pound a week which is what’s been happening. It’s just I am used to much faster weight loss than that but I gotta remember: I’m not even working out yet AND I am breastfeeding.
      So what I’m trying to say is your (and my) weight loss is perfectly fine. And we can’t expect to lose it the same way prebaby as we do post baby because our activity level has changed.
      As far as models being runway ready, honey, it’s their JOB! They BETTER be runways ready in 6 weeks. If you were to train the way the do and watch what you eat and not have to worry about taking care of a newborn, you’d be there too!
      And Bethany- well if it was a US magazine shoot, you bet your ass it was photoshopped. If it was a paparazzi shot you’re referring to then I doubt she looks THAT much better than both of us looked at that stage (at 2 weeks pp I looked perfectly fine in a bikini, just don’t have me bend or you’d see the fat roll)

      I’ll definitely write more when I start working out and eating to lose weight but for now I am perfectly happy to sit in my glider and give as much love to my needy baby girl as I can. How I look and feel is still VERY important to me but I’m just prioritizing right now.
      Hope this helped! 🙂

      Don’t Mind lack of punctuation- I’m typing with one hand on iPhone while pumping at 1am lol

  • Reply
    March 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I just came across your blog and read your lists and then this follow up. I am totally with you!!! I am an overpacker and don’t mind one bit. Better to not use something then really need something and 1) not be able to get it or 2) spend a lot of $ on it. I will definitely be using your lists for guidance! Is it alright if I acknowledge your website on my hospital bags post? It won’t be published for a little while since I am not due till the beginning of July :o) I hope to have my bags at least started at the beginning of June! Hope everything is going well!!!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    I didn’t have any particular requests, but, like you, I found the L&D staff at our hospital to be SO kind and SO accommodating. They asked if I had any religious preferences, and were just overall very open to whatever I wanted (within reason). I’m glad you had a great experience.
    ps I also over-packed and while I didn’t use half of what I brought, I’ll bring it all again next time (if we decide to ever have #2)

  • Reply
    March 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I did Hypnobirthing twice and I think it was much more powerful the second time around. The first time I kept losing my groove because I was anxious – it was such a new experience- but having delivered a healthy baby once, the second time I knew exactly what I was doing so it was much easier to be relaxed and stay relaxed.

    My first labour was 17 hours, full on contractions every 3 minutes and I think in the end the exhaustion was the worst part. I wouldn’t say that I experience no pain with hypnobirthing, only that it’s very manageable pain. This is significant though since I delivered my first baby while having a fractured pelvic bone. I remember an hour of that labour that was complete relentless agony and that was I think when the baby’s head was pressing on the fracture (totally unlike contraction sensation which I registered as intense and uncomfortable, but not painful).

    Hypnobirthing worked really well for me for pushing though. By then I was really deeply in the zone and I literally felt no pain at all. I pushed for three hours and it passed like 5 minutes.

    Second baby was much easier – a four hour labour and out in two pushes. I was really deeply relaxed from the start and found my groove easily. same pattern of full on contractions every three minutes, again totally OK provided I could walk around or hang on to something and rock my hips.

    I also had both of my babies in water which helped a lot with relaxation and discomfort-management.

    Congratulations on your beautiful little girl.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Interesting blog you have here! I have had 2 perfect unmedicated childbirths, one at home and one in the hospital. The first was 4 hours in total and with my second it was done in only 2 hours. I am from a country were it is not normal to have an epidural (the Netherlands). For me, it was never that painful to be longing for an epidural, but every mother and childbirth is different. I do however think that epidurals are too easily given to birthing women in the United States, it seems more the norm than exception.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    I’m researching what to pack in my hospital bag and am glad you felt you packed just enough. I’m an overpacker (and also am sure I’m going to get a lot of “you definitely won’t use any of that!” comments..) so I’d rather have more than less!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I know this is an older post but I’m just starting to plan for my hospital bag and I read both this post and your hospital bag post.

    What kind of pads did you end up going with (if you remember)? I know there was a lot of debate in the hospital bag comment thread about brands and absorbency.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      September 2, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      If I’m not mistaken I switched to superlong thin always pad on day 2.
      But my bleeding was minimal compared to an average experience.

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