Last Night

Last night… well I feel like it’s really indicative of where I am right now. Maybe in writing it out, I can better understand my own state of mind. Maybe you can even help me.

Yesterday Mi.Vida came home from his short, weekend trip to DC for the wedding. He was back by 1pm and it was nice to have him home. I was hoping we’d get some time that evening and I even abandoned my plans of going on the elliptical with the hopes that we’d be able to sit and talk for a minute before bedtime. We were also lucky enough to have yummy leftovers from my parents for dinner, so we didn’t have to cook.

Of course that isn’t what happened. And there wasn’t really a reason either, we just squandered the 45 minutes we did have after dinner watching dumb stuff on TV, staring with glazed eyes at our computers and/or phones and just generally not using our time to connect in any meaningful way. At least the left overs were really, really good.

The honest truth is I think we were just too tired. Osita had requested I take a bath with her and I’m trying to give her these little things here and there while I can, but hefting my giant hulking body into our narrow bath with her is difficult and sharing my ten minutes of shower time with her–which I used to savor for the privacy it afforded–is also hard. By the time we got her to bed it was almost 9pm and I was exhausted.

Dinner and “hanging out” was a disappointment but I couldn’t really blame anyone but myself. I did try to initiate some quality time but I honestly didn’t know how. I couldn’t think of one thing to say, after I’d exhausted the topic of the wedding I missed. I had very little to share of my own weekend, which had been restful but rather boring and so we sat there, with little to talk about. These kinds of night worry me–have we already lost the ability to make polite, gentle conversation with each other? If so, what does that mean?

I had every intention of going to sleep early last night as I knew my 6am alarm would be a brutal wake up call the next morning. I was in bed–teeth brushed and face washed–before 10pm (A VICTORY!) but then I started reading from my Hypnobabies book and I immediately felt equal parts frustrated, annoyed and overwhelmed.

Going through Hypnobabies after you’ve already experienced a birth without using the program is a strange thing. A few things really bother me about the program, the first being that they seem totally unwilling to admit that pregnancies and births ever progress in a less than ideal fashion. Anyone who says, unequivocally, that a woman’s body knows what to do and will do it perfectly if left to its own devices, really upsets me. While I understand that a program like Hypnobabies is trying to combat all the negative messages associated with birth (it’s incredibly painful, women can’t handle it on their own, it’s medically dangerous… etc) it seems just as disingenuous to claim that every delivery would proceed without issue if the medical establishment just stepped back and let it happen on its own time, in its own way. Women used to die in labor with terrifying regularity. There are parts of the world where they still do. There are all sorts of problems that can arise that have nothing to do with pushy medical interventions. Not recognizing those possibilities at all just pisses me off, and makes it hard for me to swallow all the “YOU WILL HAVE A PERFECT BIRTH” rhetoric that I get both from Hynobabies and my prenatal yoga class.

But the other thing that really frustrates me about the program is I have NO TIME to do it. I don’t understand when I’m supposed to take 30 minutes of uninterrupted time A DAY to do the guided hypnosis sessions, let alone manage to not fall asleep while I do them. I have a job, a three year old daughter, and a partner I see for 45 minutes a night. If I dedicate the time to this program that they expect me to, I’d have no time for anyone, or anything, else. Also, it’s frustrating when they assure me that even if I don’t FEEL like it’s working, it definitely is. That just seems very suspect to me. Basically, no matter what I think or feel, IT’S WORKING! How positively awesome for Hypnobabies and its success rate (they also claim that EVERYONE who has used their program had an amazing birth–how can they possibly assert that claim? Has everyone really followed up with them?!)

So yeah, reading Hypnobabies made me feel frustrated as I’m pretty sure I’ve wasted almost $100 on a program I can’t possibly use in the way intended so I can’t even be mad when it doesn’t work that well for me. And then I get all panicky about what labor will be like with only Mi.Vida for support and I wonder if I’ll have back labor again and totally lose my shit before I can get some relief at the hospital.

After I was done reading Hypnobabies (and having a stabby panic attack) I did my nightly kick count, except Baby Boy isn’t moving much. After ten minutes of almost no movement I get up to drink a very cold cup of water. Still I get very little movement. It takes me almost 30 minutes to register 10 kicks and they were all lackluster at best. At this point I’m wondering if I should call someone, because while I’m not really worried about whether he’s okay right at the moment, I AM worried that maybe something is happening and he won’t be okay later. My newfound confidence in the kick counting tool is cracking under the realization that I’m not sure when to actually call if the baby’s movement really does seem significantly different. I don’t know if I should be hyper-vigilant and call or just wait until the morning. I wonder what I would do if something happened to my son and I had had reason to be concerned but wasn’t concerned enough or assumed I was overreacting. The incredibly weight of the responsibility of it was so overwhelming, I spent a good part of the night crying with the stress of these intense decisions and realizing I have so many more weeks of them.

Finally I pulled out my doppler to see both how hard it was to find his heart beat now that he’s so big (I haven’t used it since I started feeling him regularly at around 17 weeks) and to make sure the BPM seemed strong. It was easy enough to find him and his BPM was in the 140s and sounded good so I decided not to call that night.

By then it was past 11pm. It was kind of hot and muggy and I was having a hard time falling asleep. Suddenly I realized that I hadn’t done Osita’s laundry which meant she didn’t have any uniform shirts or her nap mat for school the next day. I snuck into her room to get her clothes and found her STILL AWAKE! I gave her a kiss and hug and grabbed her laundry basket, starting the load that night and planning to put it in the dryer in the morning so it’d be ready for when MV and Osita got up.

Finally, after midnight, I fell into a fitful sleep. I woke up about four times to pee, which also allowed me to remember the really anxious dream I kept having in which my family and I were in an underwater world (we could breath underwater and we were very deep and there were buildings and houses underwater, like the world had been flooded) and we had to swim to the surface because something horrible was happening, but there was all this pressure pushing us down, and we had to keep swimming upward but we were barely making progress and time was running out (until what horrible thing happened, I didn’t know) and at one point we were almost half way there but we realized we had left the children at some point so we had to swim back to the bottom to get both Osita and Monito and by then the pressure was greater and it was harder to make upward gains and MV wanted to give up but I just kept saying, NO, WE CAN DO IT, WE JUST HAVE TO KEEP GOING and I was so panicked and yet so determined and I kept chiding myself for leaving our children behind (who would DO such a thing?!) and I kept saying we could definitely do it if we kept trying but really I wasn’t so sure, it seemed like probably we weren’t going to make it at all.

And then it was 6am and I had to get up, tired and anxious, and get ready to start the first day of the week.

And that was my Monday night.

4 responses

  1. FWIW with HypnoBabies, I tried to listen to each track once mid-day while I was awake for the 1st time, and other than that I listened at night before bed and ALWAYS fell asleep to it — and I truly do think I was getting the benefits of it anyway. During my birthing time, I was able to use the finger drop cue and direct my anesthesia and all that. Try not to stress about finding enough awake time to do 30 min every day. I listened to tracks probably 5/7 nights (and fell asleep to them), and then like I said, listened to each new one once while awake mid-day on the weekend or something. Also, I only know 5 people who have used HB (all IRL ppl) and all 5 of us had awesome experiences with it. I don’t know if that helps reassure you at all? I dont think you have to agree with every premise of the program to get some benefit from it.

    As for connecting with the hubby, that’s an ongoing battle for all of us I think. I’ve been trying (dismally) to work on this as well. *sigh* Keep on keepin’ on…

  2. I also did Hypnobabies, and with my first birth I took a class. In that class the instructor made it clear that Hypnobabies does make room for the idea that something could go wrong, but that our bodies warn us. For example as one mom in an example was listening to her Birthing Day affirmations, she heard “My blood pressure is normal” and kept coming out of hypnosis. They used that (and other cues) to go to the hospital a bit early to find that her blood pressure was elevated. Susan (my instructor) also pointed out that everyone’s hope is a healthy baby/healthy mama, so she took the ‘edge’ off what can be kind of hard core. Beyond my practice at class, I just fell asleep to my hypnosis every night and it worked beautifully for me. Even the second time around when I didn’t take the class, and just listened to the recordings, I was able to have the birth I wanted. So while it’s not a magic bullet, and things DO occasionally go wrong, you’ll be at a hospital, monitored closely and the vast majority of women in 1st world countries birth without injury to themselves or their children. I am not dismissing your fears, just trying to give some perspective.

    I’m sorry that you’re feeling stressed and anxious and I hope that falling asleep to the Hypnobabies scripts will allow you more restful sleep as it did me. FWIW, I only know one other person (who I kept up with– I didn’t keep up with my Hypnobabies classmates) who used it, and she did homestudy with it, and had a wonderful birth with her first child, and even a good birth with her second, even though she’d swallowed meconium and had to be medivaced to a larger hospital; the birth itself was just what she wanted.

    Wishing you peace in this stressful time.

  3. I too did Hypnobirthing class after my first (pitocin-induced, non-medicated) birth and subsequent miscarriages. I agree that it’s not ideal, but I do feel like it helped me to approach N’s birth as something different from the ones that came before, that I needed to be present in the moment for it. And I felt like hypnobirthing gave me strength to deal with whatever might happen (even if it wasn’t perfect). I also fell asleep to the practice CD (which I had to use at night after everyone went to bed, because that was the only time I had), but that was fine … because I WAS actually more relaxed during the birth. My mind just went to the calm place. And N was born in 3 hours. I barely got to the hospital in time to have her! I credit a lot of that to the program.

  4. Ugh. That sounds tough. And it sounds like my life – a mixture of being frustrated with myself for not doing the stuff I know I want/need to do and also those little circumstances you just can’t do anything about that all add up to a tired, annoyed me. Argh. Hope Monday was okay despite a tough night.

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