Hypnobirthing; Why I'm doing it and how the first class went!
Anxiety levels after first birth
How come you're hypnobirthing with your second?
When I was pregnant with Archie, birth just wasn't something I thought about! Time seemed to drag and I was just too excited to meet my baby boy to worry too much about what goes on with actually, you know, getting them out of there. Ignorance was bliss; I took no classes and bar reading the odd birth story and watching a few eps of One Born Every Minute, I didn't know a whole lot about giving birth.
And then, of course, I actually gave birth. And since then, I've felt a bit differently about the whole thing.
I often say I got lucky with Archie's birth; I laboured for an average 16 hours, I didn't have an epidural and I experienced no tearing (though that was probably due to the fact I was pushing for a good couple of hours), so then why was I left with this terrifying sense of dread about the whole thing? When I really thought about it, I'm not sure how lucky I did get with A's birth; I'd failed at the water birth I so desperately wanted because I couldn't cope with transition, I could barely muster enough energy to push, and the gas and air was whipped out of my hand before I could defend it's absence.
I had to have a catheter because I couldn't pee and my full bladder wasn't helping the situation; I was dragged to the bathroom and back in agony in an attempt to have gravity help with the birth (it didn't) and I can barely remember much about the whole ordeal. I finally gave birth on my back in a bed, ankles in stirrups, completely exhausted and pretty delirious.
Of course, then Archie was finally born without intervention (I've no idea how I did it), and I sort of forgot about the whole thing for a while. I bled alot (though apparently a normal amount), and I was so exhausted I couldn't even walk myself out of the hospital 8 hours later when I was discharged.
My story isn't a traumatic one and no one was at fault; but when I really think about it, I can see why I would be so apprehensive about the birth of baby #2.
I heard about hypnobirthing during my first pregnancy, but the classes seemed expensive and I put it to the back of my mind. Since having A, I've heard a multitude of positive stories of women using it's techniques to aid their calming, natural births. I thought it was all a bit too good to be true, and a bit hippy-ish, but that didn't put me off. I'm very open-minded and I knew I wanted to pursue it when I fell pregnant with baby #2.
The more I researched, the more positive I felt. It sounded like hypnobirthing could finally give me the tools I needed to feel confident about giving birth again; to be able to put my first birth to the back of my mind, and to have a better experience with the second. I wanted to feel empowered by giving birth, not fearful and anxious.
I was always planning to buy the book and CD, but I decided to contact someone locally about attending classes; if we could afford it, I was desperate to attend. Thankfully, we came to a lovely understanding and our classes were booked. Already I felt better, just knowing I was taking steps towards a better birth.
And how did the first class go?
Mr J is attending classes with me and our first class was better than I could've imagined, considering we both turned up quite apprehensive. Even though we weren't taught any techniques or any of the practical ways of dealing with labour, just hearing from Caroline and being informed about how our bodies are designed to give birth made me feel so much better.
We discussed the stigma of fear that surrounds birth, why our bodies are more than well equipped to handle having our babies with as little pain as possible (I'm not sure I'm fully convinced about the no-pain part yet), about turning any negative connotations into positive affirmations, and Caroline made alot of interesting points surrounding the stress that the word labour seems to put in our minds. We had too many Hmm, that makes complete sense, why didn't I think of it that way? moments to count, and even Mr J enjoyed himself (he's generally quite a see-it-to-believe-it person, who certainly doesn't believe in any 'hippy' ideals - in fact, a part of me was dreading his attendance!).
We both left happy, feeling full of confidence, and excited for next week's class, where we start learning the techniques to relax and breath our way through labour. Interestingly, I say we, because I feel as if hypnobirthing gives the birth partner more of a purpose which I'm really grateful for, as I think Mr J felt a bit lost at our previous birth and I think men in general, tend to feel that way.
Classes are expensive, but I can honestly say after just one I feel 100% better and more confident about giving birth, so to me, it's already been worth it and I can't recommend it highly enough. I feel as if I've been sucked in, but that's really not it. Everything I've learned is based on fact and is a way of simply adjusting your way of thinking. We're attending 4 x 2.5 hour classes, so I'll keep you updated on my thoughts as we continue on!