2ducks- I still found birth to be very painful but it was manageable and I do believe that hypnobirthing is what really helped me not need an epidural. I did have a dose of Nubian for pain relief but looking back I think I could have done without it and I don't think it really helped anyway.
I used a mishmash of DIY hypnobirthing / deep relaxation techniques and I found them extremely extremely helpful. I had a fairly big baby (8 lbs 12 and I am a quite small framed person) and the visualizing and verbal cues to relax and open and let him out really made a difference, I can't say what would have happened otherwise but I was quite panicked and resisting pushing him out due to fear that he was too big and my body would be destroyed by the effort. I really feel the hypnobirthing style techniques got me through it. They were also great earlier on in labor for getting through contractions and staying calm. It was definitely not pain free but in my opinion fear is a lot worse than pain... when I could get in the zone with my mantras etc the pain was still there but the fear went away which made it very manageable - kind of like the difference between 'oh wow this hurts, yikes, okay now it's over' and 'oh god oh god I'm going to die' level terror.
Sorry, hope I'm not scaring anyone - my point is that the worst thing about pain is the fear that it's never going to end. Hypnobirthing took away the fear and made it just hurt, which you know, sucks but is also fine?
Oh, also, I fully believe the stories of pain-free labor - I think I had a few glimpses of it during mine where I was deep in my mantras and intellectually aware that there was pain happening but somehow I was blocked from actually feeling it, like it was just outside of my line of sight kind of.
I only just glimpsed it but it was enough to convince me that the stories are true. I'm going to try for it with my next labor (gods willing) where I hope to go totally unmedicated (I used gas and air this time).
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