Lucy had told us that it had a few extras inside but I wasn’t expecting to find so many useful resources when I opened it…
Firstly there’s a ‘Mini Guide to Effective Birth Preparation’ booklet which gives you information under headings like:
- What contributes to making childbirth painful?
- How does being relaxed make a difference?
- How can hypnosis help with birth?
- Optimal Conditions for a calm, gentle birth
- Role of the birth partner
…there’s a lot more, but this should give you an idea of the sorts of things it covers. It’s only 20 pages long and is very quick to read, which is great because Luke will be able to read it without having to make it through the whole Effective Birth Preparation “text book”. I know he’s been on the course but it’ll be a great refresher.
Also contained inside the CD case is a sticker (for the front of your pregnancy notes) to let the midwives know that you’re using Natal Hypnotherapy to prepare for birth, as well as a 4-sided data sheet to keep with your notes for the midwives to read. It’s to the point, tells the uninitiated about the finer points of Natal Hypnotherapy. It also makes them aware that, as I’m using relaxation techniques, I may seem calmer than they expect and be further along than they might assume.
Adding to that, there’s a handy card to stick on the door of your labour room to let people know that there’s a “Natal Hypnotherapy birth in progress” and that they should refer to the Midwives Data for more information about it.
Finally, there is this useful fold-out-slot-together resource that can sit somewhere in the labour room for the birthing mother, birth partner and midwives to refer to during the labour…
I was thoroughly impressed…and that’s before I’d even put the CD in my machine!
On the CD itself there are three tracks. The first is a simple, short introduction from Maggie Howell. She advises that you and your birth partner read the booklet and listen to the CD in a waking state (e.g. sat together at the kitchen table) so that you can take it in properly. That way you can talk about the parts of it that resonate with you and that you want to focus on or utilise during the birth. She also suggests that you pick a physical trigger for relaxation (I like Luke’s hands on my shoulders) and that your birth partner use this touch on you while you’re listening to the CD to prepare for birth, and that it can later be used during labour to quickly put you into the same relaxed, hypnotic state.
I was keen to get started and Luke was busy decorating the hallway so I chose to ignore these suggestion for the time being. I skipped to track 2 (the birth preparation hypnosis session) and settled back on the bed, propped up on a pile of pillows to relax for the next 38 minutes.
I chose not to lie on my side as this is the position I sleep in at the moment, and the position I’d done all the weekend hypnosis sessions in. I snore quite badly at the moment and it’s far FAR worse on my back, hence why I’d avoided it in front of strangers…as it was, I wish I’d avoided it for my solitary session too…
Firstly, I felt like I couldn’t relax my neck properly and so I spent good few minutes feeling slightly uncomfortable and a bit distracted. Thankfully, it didn’t last long and I soon drifted away from my normal concious state – but that’s when the snoring started. I wasn’t asleep…well, I don’t think I was anyway. I was mostly aware of the snoring – I just went with it and felt like I was doing it a) because of the position I was lying in, and b) because I was SO relaxed.
As it was, despite (mostly) being aware of both the snoring and the fact that I was listening to the CD, I don’t really remember a whole lot of what was said. There were points where I would be aware of what Maggie was saying, but then I’d lose it again. I can remember having the vague feeling that I was falling in and out of sleep HOWEVER…the CD ends with the words “…4…and…5…eyes open…and…wide awake”, and with those words I found myself stretching (the instruction just after the count of 3 that I don’t remember) and coming awake/aware.
I did feel as if I’d been sleeping, but just like the real life sessions we’d done with Lucy, the closing words of the hypnosis HAD brought me round to “conciousness” and so I can only assume that I must have had some degree of awareness to what was going on during the hypnosis session itself. It does say in the mini guide (and Lucy pointed this out in her sessions) that doesn’t matter if you do drop off to sleep, as your subconscious will still pick up on the words, AND you are quite obviously becoming very relaxed.
Afterwards I was SO relaxed that I curled up on my side and actually did go to sleep. Luke came to wake me about half an hour later and he had to talk to me and stroke my face for a minute or two before I came round. I was definitely asleep that time!
The last track is a 15 minute “Relaxation Session” that I also haven’t listened to yet. I guess I should have put it on just before I curled up and rolled over but I was so relaxed I didn’t even bother acknowledging that my laptop existed, let alone make the effort switch to the next track. I foolishly forgot to queue the tracks up before I started.
It was only my first time of using the CD and I haven’t had chance to listen to it “awake” yet, but I am already feeling even more at ease than I was after the weekend workshop. I was looking around on the internet a while later and came across this video, which normally would have had me feeling a mild twinge of panic…but I relaxed and breathed as I watched it and I felt completely fine.
I’m really looking forward to getting the time to sit and listen to it with Luke and talk more about the things we both want to happen during labour and after our baby’s birth. I’ll let you know how it goes!