Preparing for Hypnobirth (The Early Days)

Before I carry on with this post, now seems like an ideal time to drop in that Baby #2 is (somewhat surprisingly) on his or her way in the Lawrence-Rye household! More on that another time but that hopefully goes some of the way to explaining my long absence from blogging (although you can also factor in a lack of broadband connection at home, work commitments, and a little dose of writer's block).
I'm certainly not about to re-launch as a pregnancy blog (though there are some wonderful UK and international pregnancy and parenting blogs out there if you're keen!) but as this blog is a very personal space, and tends to reflect my lifestyle and loves of the moment, it shouldn't come as any surprise if some pregnancy and baby related content makes it's way in.
I will be making a point of writing lots of content on how we are planning to do "A Baby on a Budget" which I hope that other expectant parents will find useful - my blog has been, and shall continue to be, about living the best life you can with the least impact on your bank account, and I'll be focussing on ways to save money, be kind to nature, and live positively, whilst preparing for a new arrival.
Pre-born baby at 21 weeks gestation
Something which I've been especially interested in as a second time Mama, is the impact of my own and other's birthing experiences. My son, Sebastian, was born at our local hospital; the end product of a pretty textbook labour. I relied upon drugs to help me manage the pain of childbirth, and thankfully was spared the additional discomfort of further medical intervention or an initial artificial induction. In fact, I've often described my labour and birth experience with a smug sense of having "gotten off lightly", with my total labour only totally around 5.5 hours, and Seb entering the world naturally, head first, avoiding leaving me with any physical damage in the lady area. Various people have exclaimed at how lucky I am, to have experienced such a quick, straight forward first labour; and I've been "entertained" with other's tales of five day labouring, forceps deliveries, epidurals and the six week recovery period following a caesarean section - feeling increasingly relieved to have kept it simple.
However, I've also been aware that other women, women as healthy and physically able as me, have birthed their children drug-free. When Seb was born I accepted the offer of gas & air almost immediately upon arrival at the labour ward, and later asked for a pethidine injection to be administered, which wiped me out in to the drug infused oblivion through which I birthed my son. I remember it hurting, I remember crying that I couldn't physically cope with a single second more, I (sort of) remember a lot of swearing, some hysterical laughter between contractions, and my best friend Jade yelling "Oh My God!" as Seb entered the world. But at the same time, I don't know how much of my son's birth I can consciously recollect as I was, for all intent and purposes, off my head on drugs and in intense pain.
A few people around me have turned to hypnobirthing (a form of self-hypnosis) to get them through labour, and for the most part I had dismissed the option as fascinating but unobtainable - like people who go through major surgery with no anaesthetic, under the cloudy haze of hypnotism that leaves them unable to feel the surgeon's intrusion. Amazing, I want to read all about it - but I'm not actually going to let anyone remove one of my kidneys without anaesthetising me (or at all, if I can help it!)
My chiropractor's wife is a trained hypnobirthing practitioner (a tenuous link I know) and a couple of my own friends had loosely adopted a few hypnobirthing techniques in their most recent (interestingly, second or subsequent) labours - so it's been on my radar for a little while.
I recently picked up a book on hypnobirthing, by the movement's founder, Marie Mongan, almost on a whim; but I felt compelled to find out a little more, as I had already set my heart on giving birth to my second child at home... and I don't have spinal blocks available in my living room.
I hadn't got far in to the book when I realised, with much enthusiasm, that hypnobirthing was not only perfectly obtainable - but totally up my street. I already meditate, on purpose, regularly, as a means of managing stress and anxiety (and to a degree in my yoga sessions). Hypnobirthing seems, to me, to rely heavily on meditation as a means to reach a self-hypnotised state, something that I already know I can do really easily. The relaxation techniques adopted by hypnobirthing Mothers and their partners are exercises in no way dissimilar to those that I already use; and hypnobirthing could ensure that I have the home birth I so desperately want.
Turns out; not as much crazy arsed hippy bullshit as I thought.
If you do reach for a Marie Mongan book or CD though, please do be aware that Marie is American, most of the couples she works with are American, and therefore some of the content of her teachings is very American. I've since spoken with a few people involved in the British hypnobirthing movement, who've sought to un-Americanise some of the "scripts" and "affirmations" used in hypnobirthing, so that they don't sound as daft to British ears!
A few people have asked me, since I began preparing for a hypnobirth, what the Hell it is, and in short, though I will try to explore the concept in more detail later, it is using meditation and relaxation techniques to bring about a completely natural (and pain free) birth. There's so much more to hypnobirthing than that straight forward definition but it goes some of the way to explaining what it is that I hope to achieve.

Seb was a wonderful baby, and has grown in to a wonderful boy; my previous birthing experience was something that I was proud of, wearing almost as a badge of honour, but it also taught me to seek more joy and fulfilment from birth - rather than simply enduring it as the hideous process that had to be completed in order to reach a happy end result. My attitudes towards child birth and parenting in general have matured ten fold since my son was born in 2010, and this time around I don't want to deliver a drug filled baby through a drug fuelled, painful, and relatively scary labour. What I would like, ideally, is to be in the comfort and familiarity of my own home, not surrounded by the hideous beeping and whirring of hospital equipment. I want to be able to support my boyfriend through our baby's arrival in this world as much as be supported by him (no I in TEAM peoples) - and I'd quite like to know what on Earth is going on when our son or daughter finally does take his or her first breath. That's the plan. As it is, I see hypnobirthing as the most reliable and safe mode of getting there.
Having read Marie's book I've been researching hypnobirthing online as thoroughly as possible. There are tonnes of amazing hypnobirthing videos on YouTube, but by far the most amazing I've watched thus far is Joshua's birth in a birthing pool at home - it's a good 10 minutes of video, but the bit that totally knocked me sideways is from about 04:30 minutes onwards - basically - that is what you can do with hypnobirthing - if that is an option why would you opt for anything else? Watch the video here.
The best way to access plenty of necessary material to prepare for a hypnobirth (such as appropriate relaxation CD's etc.) as well as getting the greatest possible level of "training" in hypnobirthing your baby, appears to be through a hypnobirthing course with a trained practioner; so I nearly cried when I realised that locally I would be looking at upwards of £400 for a course.
I may be able to get around this, having found a qualified hypnotherapist and certified hypnobirth tutor locally, who runs a far more affordable course over two six hour sessions. I spoke with her today regarding my previous birth experience, my hopes for how things will pan out this time around, and how hypnobirthing could be used to ensure that I get the labour and birth that we want.
There's still a cost involved, and it might seem odd that I suggest, on a blog that focusses on saving money, that people should pay to learn how to have a baby - but what being careful with money should always involve, is investing in what really matters; not doing everything as cheaply as possible with no consideration for the consequences (which quite often ends up more expensive) - but being mindful about spending. What's worth investing in won't be the same for every individual, every family, but for us, the safe, drug free, pain free, happy birth of our child is worth a small expense (the cost of the course is already less than what we've saved by buying our pushchair second hand on Ebay!).
It should go without saying that I would love to hear from anyone who's had experience of hypnobirth - or who's expecting a baby at the moment too. I promise to keep you updated on this journey and will cover hypnobirthing in more detail as I learn more.
For now though, that's all on the baby front!


  1. Anonymous19/3/15 09:43

    Ahhhhh congrats xx

  2. Huge congratulations and that video is INSANE. How is that even possible?? xx

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