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George Makes His Grand Entrance…aka…Our Birth Story

George is exactly one month and one day old today…and it has flown by.

I’m taking advantage of one of his rare naps to tell you the story of his birth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not rare for him to nap – he does it all the time – it’s just rare that he’ll let me put him down. It’s also quite rare that I don’t really have anything else to o while he’s napping, but today I have managed to get showered and dressed, brush my teeth, eat breakfast AND lunch, and drink enough water (okay, tea). I’ve also found time to give Luke a hand with the housework, so I don’t feel quite so bad about sitting down at my laptop and getting some writing done.

So, in my last post as a pregnant woman I told you that I was in the hospital being induced because of my pre-eclampsia. I was in slow-labour anyway, but I’d still had to have the pessary to begin thinning my cervix (a lovely image for a Monday evening). I had wanted to avoid it but the midwives were concerned that I wasn’t progressing quickly enough and that they needed to help me along. In hindsight I kind of wish that I had refused them, but they did that thing where they worded it as if I didn’t have a choice. I knew that I had the choice, but in my vulnerable state I just went along with what they were saying, worried for the health of me and my baby. If I could do it again I would ask them what the outcome of NOT having the pessary would have been,

So, at 11.45am they inserted the pessary and then left things to develop. They put it behind your cervix so it was pretty uncomfortable, and it actually took a lot longer to put in place than I expected, but it was bearable. You have to lie still for half an hour after it’s put in to stop it from just falling straight out, but I hadn’t taken note of the time so I lay there for over an hour worrying that if I moved I’d have to go through all that again.

Luke had already gone home, so once I could move again I spent the afternoon listening to the radio and colouring a mandala in until he came back to keep me company.

I can’t remember when my contractions started, but they began as hot stretching feelings in my lower back, and as the day progressed they started to feel like an odd pressure in my bottom…almost as if I really needed a poo. They weren’t really painful, more uncomfortable, even when they started to become more regular – not at first anyway. Very quickly it got to the point where I was getting three minute-long contractions every ten minutes and I had to really concentrate on my hyponobirthing techniques to control the pain. I was breathing deep and steady, imagining a dial and mentally “turning down” the pain, thinking the words numb and comfortable (numbfortable) .We tried going for short walks up and down the corridors but, after three hours of terrified non-sleep the night before, I was utterly exhausted and felt like I just needed to lie down and try to get a bit of rest.

…except that REALLY wasn’t happening.

Contractions aside (and it was probably going to be impossible to sleep through those anyway), there was a completely obnoxious family on the same ward as me. The mother was awaiting a c-section, and her husband and two-year old were sitting with her…well sort of. The child was screaming blue-murder whilst running around the ward, and the father employing his (VERY LOUD) voice to encourage the little one and laugh at him in-between (VERY LOUD) phone conversations. I’m not entirely sure what the mother was doing as I was lying with my curtains closed, trying to relax, but just getting more and more wound up with each shriek and booming laugh. Luke went out to complain to the midwives twice, and eventually they were asked to take their loudness away from the antenatal ward.

Now, I know that children make noise and that you can’t use reason to get them to be quiet, but you can remove them from situations where their noise isn’t appropriate. An antenatal ward where women are in the early stages of labour is not the best place for a small child to be screaming. It also isn’t the best place for you to hold telephone conversations in a booming voice.

I was majorly upset by the time they were removed from the ward. It was fast approaching the time that Luke would have to leave for the night, and I’d completely missed any chance for the rest that I needed. By this point the pressure of my contractions was getting to be unbearable. I kept thinking that if I could only do a poo (or maybe throw up) I would feel SO much better, and so I made numerous trips to the bathroom where I sat on the loo and cried because I just couldn’t get any relief. I was hot and cold all at the same time and ended up in bed in my coat, feeling like I was coming down with the worst case of flu…it was a pretty hideous time. I hated it.

At ten Luke had to leave the ward and so I lay alone, trying to dial down my pain (numb and comfortable…numb and comfortable) and failing miserably. He hadn’t long been gone when I decided to make one more pointless trip to the toilet, but when I rolled over in bed I felt a big POP and my waters broke quite spectacularly. I carried on in my quest for the bathroom, convinced that I just needed to poo and when I got there I was sick. Exorcist style sick. I was the embodiment of glamour and grace. Not.

I don’t remember things too clearly from that point on really. I know that things happened but I’m not too hot on details. It was 11pm…I sent Luke a text asking him to come back…I was put on a monitor and they saw that the baby’s heartbeat was dropping with each contraction…they wheeled me through to the delivery suite on my bed where I met a wonderful midwife called Yvonne…the baby had to have a clip attached to his head so they could monitor his heartbeat more effectively…I was offered gas and air…my contractions were like my body was being ripped in half…I breathed entonox continuously for four hours whilst swearing profusely at anyone who suggested I take a break from it…I talked a lot of rubbish (due to being high as a kite) and tried to imagine I was off my face in a tent at a festival, rather than on a hospital bed in a depressing delivery room…

…and then I pushed…but I was only 6 cms dilated so I was told NOT TO PUSH.

I couldn’t help it though, there was nothing I could do. It was like trying to stop yourself from being sick. You don’t want to do it but you know it’s going to happen and your body just takes over and OH MY GOD I was pushing again. I had sworn that I didn’t want an epidural, and it was on all of my birth plans but I found myself begging for one, just so that I wouldn’t push anymore.

And so I had an epidural. It wasn’t scary and I didn’t worry about it at all, hell, I didn’t even feel it because I was sucking on the entonox mouthpiece like my life depended on it.

The epidural didn’t really work properly for me at first. The anaesthetist put the test dose in (which I shouldn’t have been able to feel) and it made my left leg feel numb and heavy. She was confused and didn’t want to give me a proper dose, so for a few hours I had a weird lopsided feeling as my left side did what it was supposed to, and my right side felt far less numb. After a while the contraction pain and the need to push would start to make itself known – but only on my right hand side – and so she’d give me a mini top-up that’d last for an hour or so. In the end she decided to give me a proper dose and then everything went numb. It was great, but suddenly I was fully dilated and it was time to push…

…and I couldn’t feel a damn thing.

I tried and I tried to push…they even gave me a syntocinon drip (man-made oxytocin) to make my contractions more effective and help me to push, but it just wasn’t happening. The registrar came in and gave me half an hour more to push before they took me to theatre. The plan was to give me a spinal (because the epidural wasn’t working on both sides) and attempt delivery via forceps or ventouse, and if those didn’t work they would do a c-section. I did not want any of those things and I was terrified for the baby and for myself, but he was back to back, in completely the wrong position and he was not going to come out on his own. I was exhausted and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Predictably, they couldn’t move the baby using forceps or ventouse, and I couldn’t feel to push to help them move him down, so I was told they needed to perform a section. I had resigned myself to it. I had known from the moment I left the delivery room to go to theatre that they would be doing it, but it didn’t stop my fear and I shook uncontrollably throughout the whole procedure, despite trying to relax myself using the techniques I’d learnt. Luke was right there beside me, and the staff were amazing, but I was so worried, so scared, so tired…

I had nothing to be worried or scared about. There was no pain, and all I felt was a lot of pushing, pulling and tugging as they pulled the baby back up into my uterus and then pushed him out of the tiny hole that they’d cut (seriously, looking at my scar now I have NO idea how they got him out of such a small incision), and then the surgeon was thrusting a small vernix-covered bottom over the screen and telling us we had a boy, and then George was crying (a tiny reedy sound) and I was crying and Luke was crying…

…and suddenly we were a family.


I plan to write about the aftermath of my c-section soon…I’ve gone on for far too long for one post already 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Baby, Life, Parenting, Pregnancy

 

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Due Date…

So, our baby was due today. He’s got half an hour to make an appearance so that’s totally not happening. But I knew he wouldn’t arrive today…only 4% (ish) of babies are born on their due dates – this is why I think a due date is ridiculous; we’d be better off being told a due week/month.

Despite that, I have been trying hard to influence him out of his cosy space by walking, bouncing on my swiss ball, doing pelvic wriggly actions…I even thought things were starting last night, but here I am, still pregnant.

I just can’t wait to meet him. I want to hold him in my arms and see what he looks like. I still don’t really believe that he’s in there, that I’m going to be a mother in a matter of days…I can’t wait for it to be a reality.

There’s lots of other things I can’t wait for either…

I can’t wait to lie on my stomach again (and my back for that matter)…

I can’t wait to fall asleep without waking myself (and my husband) up snoring…

…or because I’m drowning in a puddle of drool…

I can’t wait for my ankles/legs/hands to be a normal non-swollen size…to get my wedding ring back on, to be able to kneel on the floor without making dents in my knees, to put on a pair of shoes that aren’t Primark men’s flip flops…

I can’t wait for my SPD to be gone so I can walk and bend without being in agony…

I can’t wait to be able to do things around the house without wanting to cry because I just want to lie down…

I can’t wait to eat brie, or pate, or have a bottle glass of wine…

…I have enjoyed being pregnant (even though I may seem to be on a massive moanathon right now) but it’s been a difficult 9 months…far more difficult than I imagined it would be. I knew the downsides of it but I naively thought that I’d be one of the lucky ones who sailed through feeling glowy and beautiful. It’s not been like that at all, but the important thing is that, no matter what changes I’ve gone through or “issues” I’ve had, the outcome will still be the same. He will be here soon.

And I cant wait…

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Send Me a Sign!…

Despite the fact that I STILL haven’t gotten my head round the whole “there’s going to be a real actual baby and he’s going to be OURS” thing, and the reality that we still are not ready (there’s washing to do, and baby wipes and breast pads to make to name but two things) I’m constantly (and excitedly) on the look out for signs of imminent labour. I’ve been doing it ever since I hit 37 weeks.

My midwife ran through the signs with me to check that I knew what was what and I felt very in control and aware…and then we got home and I started wondering. And googling.

And then I realised that none of the signs of labour actually mean that labour is happening/going to happen soon. Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes women get all of them, sometimes they only get a few.

Wonderful!

One of the first things I was going to look out for was ‘a clear out’…or, if you’re being less polite, a bout of diarrhoea. Nice. This is one of the things that might not happen at all though.

The next thing was losing the mucous plug from the neck of my cervix, otherwise known as a ‘bloody show’. Once again, nice. This one was, I felt, quite reliable as you’d expect to notice it, but no. There’s plenty of women who don’t recall seeing any kind of ‘show’, bloody or otherwise…so that’s reliable then.

An obvious sign is, obviously, your waters breaking. Everyone knows that, right? Except your waters can break at ANY point during labour, and sometimes, very rarely, babies can be born without the waters breaking at all. Also, your waters can break without labour starting. So that clichéd image of the woman who’s waters break in the supermarket (or other embarrassing public place) is completely misleading.

Sometimes back pain and period cramps can be a sign that things are kicking off, except they’re both things that I’ve been experiencing on and off for a couple of weeks now. Reliable.

A lightening feeling, where you can breathe more easily (and eat more food again!) can indicate that your baby  has dropped down into your pelvis more BUT the baby engaging isn’t a sign of labour on its own, they can always pop back out again, and some babies (especially if it’s your second) don’t engage at all.

Finally, contractions, or tightenings, accompanied with pain in your lower back or lower abdomen, irregular or not, might be a good indication of labour. I’ve had a few in the past few weeks but they’ve been sporadic rather than irregular. Once you’re getting ones that last around a minute and happen a few times in an hour you might be in the early stages of labour…but that irregularity could continue for days and it can also stop entirely.

So I guess what I’m saying is that, although I’m desperately looking for signs, I don’t trust any of them. Not only that, but I also don’t feel ready for the signs to be positive. It’s a very weird situation to be in…especially when I’m actively trying to do things that bring labour on.

Amongst other things, I’ve been bouncing on my swiss ball, doing a “labour dance” (which involves lots of pelvic winding and bump rubbing), and last night Luke made a really hot curry (it had about eight birdseye chillies in it on top of his normal spice level)…Mini Moss is DEFINITELY moving around a LOT ever since the heat-fest so who knows what could happen.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Pregnancy

 

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My Problems With Induction…

We’re now having weekly midwife checks as they’re worried about my blood pressure (which has gone up a tiny bit) and want to keep an eye on my ankles. At one of my latest appointments Carol (my regular MW) ran through the signs of labour with me, and then told me when they’d be offering sweeps and induction.

I really don’t want to be induced so I asked her if it’d be possible to go into the hospital for daily monitoring once I go past 42 weeks instead. She made sure I realised that my placenta could degrade after that point (which I knew already) but seemed pretty positive about it. I’m very lucky to have a midwife who listens and doesn’t try to bully…but she did have a laugh and warned me that I might be begging her for one by that point. Who knows, maybe I will?…I’d like to think that I’ll give nature a chance.

The trouble with being induced is that it can bring on labour quickly and intensely and although you have all the right hormones to get baby moving, they don’t cross over the blood brain barrier. In other words, your uterus is doing what it needs to, but your brain hasn’t got the memo and so doesn’t produce the right hormones to help you deal with it. It also doesn’t allow you to produce the oxytocin to deliver the placenta naturally so yet more medication is needed for the third stage. Induced labour can take longer and lead to even more intervention in the form of things like forceps, ventouse or c-section.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about induction (especially after my pre-eclampsia scare this week) and found a lot about the technicalities and drawbacks of induction, as well as all the reasons why you might need or be offered induction. Then I looked at the forums and found lots of women saying things like…

“I was induced so I HAD to keep still, be constantly monitored and give birth lying down on a bed…”

…which had me worrying.

If I have to be induced for the sake of the baby’s or my health then I will be induced…but I am very keen to stay mobile and give birth in an upright position. I was pretty sure that I have a choice over how I labour and birth, but that didn’t gel with what these ladies were saying.

It turns out that I was right.

I asked on a Hypnobirthing group on Facebook and my friend Lucy (and then several other ladies) confirmed that I don’t have to do anything, that I can request intermittent monitoring, mobile monitoring and upright birthing positions. They also said that a lot of women trust what the midwives and doctors say, despite wanting something different.

At the end of the day, we can ask for alternatives to any proceedure and we have the right to refuse any and all medical interventions that are offered to us. One of the key things that Luke learnt as “gatekeeper” is to ask why things need to be done, if there is an alternative to it, and if my or the baby’s health is at risk. Sometimes the methods offered (for example, lying on a bed) aren’t for the benefit of the mother and baby, but for the benefit of the medical professionals.

I am very lucky that I’ve got such knowledgeable friends and that I’ve had the benefit of doing so much reading. I can’t imagine how it must be for the women who go into labour not knowing their rights and who end up having a traumatic birth. Every woman should know about this!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Baby, Life, Pregnancy

 

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Hospital Bags – A Review…

Just over a week ago i posted some lists of the things that were going into our hospital bags.

At the time I thought they were pretty comprehensive, but when it came to packing them I realised that I’d left out a few things, and not been entirely specific about others…

Firstly, the things I forgot…

1) Going home clothes…which are sort of important if you want to go home in something other than your nightdress…

I was kind of reticent to pack any clothes until labour began because there’s not a lot I feel comfortable in anymore and I was worried I’d miss part of my rapidly shrinking wardrobe. In the end I chose to put in a pair of yoga pants that start sliding down my bump after just a few steps, leaving the bottom of it exposed. They’re wonderfully comfy but they drive me mad so I didn’t feel too bad sacrificing them to the bag. I have a black nursing top from Mothercare to wear with them that I got it in a super-big size. I’m hoping it’ll fit over my belly just a few days after birth…

I also added a pair of leggings, a big t-shirt and some loose, stretchy pyjama bottoms, just in case I don’t want to sit around in a nightie all day.

2) Extra sleep bras…because I’m paranoid that I’ll leak and that two won’t be enough. I don’t want to sleep in colostrum stained bras….

3) Umbilical Cord Tie (by Heartstrings)…

cordtie

These cute ties are made with embroidery thread and are used instead of the conventional plastic clamps to tie off the umbilical cord. They’re kinder to a newborn’s skin, less ‘clunky’ and often encourage the stump to dry out and fall off more quickly than a clamp.

I chose a bee because I love them (and one of my nicknames is LouBee) and was very amused to see the post stamp on the envelope when it arrived.

I’ll write more about the cord tie (how the midwives react to it and how well it works) after the birth.

4) A cheap plastic massager…

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I found some tips for things to put in your hospital bag online and one woman suggested one of these because her husband wasn’t the best at massage. Luke tries his best but I invariably yell at him that he’s not doing it right, so I thought that it’d be a good idea to add one of these into my bag. I will definitely want him to rub my back during labour, and I don’t want to be doing any yelling.

5) Natal Hypnotherapy “props”… 

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These include a data sheet for the midwives, a sign to put on the door of the delivery room (top photo) and a reminder card for me, Luke and the Midwives (bottom photo) that folds up and slots together. I’ve put these into the folder with my maternity notes and birth plan and stuck the “I’m preparing for birth with Natal Hypnotherapy” sticker onto my notes.

6) Headphones…for if I have to stay in hospital.

Next…the things I’ve adjusted…

1) My robe…I don’t have a suitable robe and couldn’t find one when I went shopping, so I got one of these nightshirts from Primark instead…

Hogwarts Nightshirt

…it’s fab, but has gold threads running through it that are quite scratchy, so it works much better as a robe than a nightshirt (no one needs gold threads scratching at their nipples…)

I’ve also banished it from my labour bag and relegated it to the ‘staying in hospital’ bag. My reason for this is that if I don’t stay in hospital then I’ll pass it (unworn) onto someone who will actually appreciate it. As it is it’s a size 18-20 so will swamp me when I lose my bump…plus I really can’t stand those scratchy gold threads…

2) My socks…I’m only taking one pair of bed socks and one pair of socks because I prefer my feet to be cold and I have a small knitted pair of slippers (Primark cheapies) that will work just as well to keep my feet warm.

3) My iPod…it works fine when it’s in a dock, but refuses to work when it’s not (battery issues). Hopefully it’ll be fine for labour (because it’ll be in a dock) but I can’t rely on it so I’m taking in a bunch of CDs that I’ve made too. I had also planned to put audio books on there so that I could listen to them if I had to stay in hospital, but that’s not going to work now. Instead I’ve had to clear a whole load of apps off my phone so that I can put the books on there instead. I did consider buying a new iPod (well, a new-to-me second-hand one), but I barely use the one I have so I just couldn’t justify spending £30-40 on getting another.

4) Sanitary pads…I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I put 10 on my list. I’m actually taking TWENTY-FOUR.

5) Nipple cream…this has gone in my labour bag because that’s where my toiletry bag is and I didn’t want it loose (and possibly leaking) in my hospital bag.

6) Notepads…we don’t need one each and can totally share one between us, I was being a ridiculous notepad addict there…

Finally…the things I didn’t really specify…

1) My labour outfit…to start with, I’m not worrying too much about changing outfits and have stuck with one actual item of clothing – a longline XL men’s t-shirt from Primark…

picture from Primark website

…it’s quite soft and comfortable so I’ve put it in the bag as it is at the moment, but I may still shorten the arms and hack the neck off a bit. I guess I could have just used a nightie but I find that I feel quite dowdy in those. Silly. but true. This way I think I’ll fool myself into thinking that I’m wearing a dress and feel more like myself. I haven’t washed it before packing it as I was worried it’d shrink and I’d end up walking around flashing my pants/bum.

I’ve also added in a bikini top in case the sleep bra is a bit too restrictive when it’s wet (I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me in the first place to be honest…pool…bikini…you’d think it’d be a no-brainer…)

2) Baby clothes…I had no idea what to take or how much to take and ARGH…it was all getting too much having to think about if he’d be too tall for newborn sized stuff. And then I realised that even if I’m stuck in hospital, mom and Luke won’t be. Once it dawned on me that they could bring me things from home it got much easier. I’ve gone with:

  • 2 x vests in each size (newborn and 0-3 months)
  • 2 x onesies in each size (as above)
  • a cardigan
  • 1 x hat
  • 2 x scratch mitts
  • 2 x muslin cloth
  • 2 x dribble bibs

Also, I have put my “staying in hospital” clothes into one cotton shopping bag, and the baby’s clothes into another. This works well because it keeps them all together, keeps his clothes clean, and means that I don’t have to do too much rummaging to find things in there. I think the hospital cots have little cupboards underneath them so having everything separated out will make it so much easier to transfer it to the cupboard.

So there you have it….I’m all packed!

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…and for those of you who want to see the reviewed and revised list…

Labour bag

For me:

  • Birthplan
  • Maternity notes (I carry these in my handbag all the time anyway)
  • Natal Hypnotherapy data sheet, reminder and door notice (plus blu-tac)
  • Umbilical cord tie
  • Lipbalm
  • Massage oil
  • Massager
  • Hot water bottle
  • Water spray bottle
  • Tissues/wipes
  • Hair bobbles
  • Brush
  • A couple of sanitary pads
  • 2 sleep bras (because one might get wet if I use it in the pool)
  • 1 pair of pants
  • Longline baggy t-shirt to wear while giving birth
  • Bikini top for in the pool
  • Slippers
  • A towel (this isn’t actually in the bag as it’d fill the whole thing – I’ll carry it separately in a cotton shopping bag. To be honest, I’m considering asking the hospital if it’s necessary to bring one as I know our local hospital tell you not to bother)
  • Paper/notepad and pen
  • iPod
  • CDs
  • Phone
  • TENS machine
  • Toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner…all travel sized…and mascara to make myself feel slightly human if I feel like I need it after the birth, and nipple cream)
  • My swiss ball (deflated!)
  • A pillow (to get comfy and because it’ll be a bit of home)

Baby things:

  • 2 nappies and sacks
  • Nappy cream
  • Some cotton wool balls
  • Newborn sized vest
  • Newborn sized onesie
  • 0-3 month sized vest
  • 0-3 month sized onesie
  • Going home outfit (just in case we get to leave after a few hours)
  • Scratch mitts
  • Muslin square
  • Nail scissors
  • Cuddly toy

Luke’s stuff:

  • Money (including change for vending machines)
  • Hypnobirthing “Gatekeeper” card (it has reminders for affirmations etc)
  • Phone
  • Phone numbers on paper
  • Change of clothes – we’ve whittled this down to one fresh t-shirt, 1 pair of boxers and his swimming shorts (so he can get in the pool with me) but he seems to think he won’t need any of them…
  • Deodorant

(believe it or not, all of this fits in the smaller of the two bags pictured above (apart from the towel)…I’m shocked and amazed. I guess having travel-sized toiletries really helps…)

Hospital Stay Bag

For me:

  • Cotton shopping bag (which my clothes are in)
  • 2 nursing nighties
  • Hogwarts nightshirt (“robe”)
  • A nursing bra
  • 2 x nursing sleep bras
  • 1 pair bed socks
  • 1 pair normal socks
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • Breast pads (about 10 pairs)
  • 22 sanitary pads
  • Phone charger
  • Headphones
  • Money
  • A plastic bag (for dirty laundry)
  • Books and magazines
  • Audio books on phone

For the baby:

  • Cotton shopping bag (which his clothes are in)
  • 15 nappies and sacks
  • Cotton wool balls
  • A hat
  • 4 x vests (2 x newborn, 2 x 0-3 months)
  • 4 x onesies (2 x newborn, 2 x 0-3 months)
  • 2 x scratch mitts
  • 2 x muslin cloth
  • 2 x dribble bibs
  • A cardigan
 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Parenting, Pregnancy

 

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Effective Birth Preparation CD…

Yesterday I finally got round to opening my Effective Birth Preparation CD from Natal Hypnotherapy (which I got as part of the workshop we did over the weekend).

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…

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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…

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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!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy, Reviews

 

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