So, I went back for more and I am glad we are getting something from it. This week was all about birth preferences, letting the midwives know your dreams and desires (there are way more than I thought!) and what role the birth partner can play on the big day.
Talking of midwives, I am super lucky as my community midwife is a huge advocate of hypnobirthing and the benefits it can have, but I have heard that it’s not the case for all. Midwives are miracle human beings, I genuinely think they are amazing and our pregnancy journey has been so lovely so far because of all the wonderful people we have been in touch with at Milton Keynes University Hospital, but I have heard on the grapevine that some people think hypnobirthing couples can hinder a midwife with all their ‘demands’. I am so mindful of this and would never want any midwife to feel that I was being demanding or making their job difficult, I can only imagine how hard their role is. But it’s also important to remember that actually the more you can tell you midwife upfront, the more he/she will get to know you, bond with you and be able to make your experience as positive as possible. If you don’t tell them then they will have to make assumptions and they may not be the choices you would have made yourself if you had thought about it in advance.
It might be as simple as asking for the lights to be dimmed or for your partner to announce the sex, but I am sure all those things make all the difference when it comes to replaying those magical moments back to yourself. I want to invite our midwife into our team and the only way to do that is to tell her how your team works best.
With this in mind, this is what we focused on this week.
Where do I want to have my baby?
I won’t be able to have a homebirth for medical reasons but after talking to Kate I think I may have considered one if I could have. I am not saying I would have 100% chosen one, but I definitely wouldn’t have ruled it out from day one.
My sister in law had an accidental home birth (she is literally a baby god, if I can be half as good at birthing and mothering children as her I will be happy - my nieces are little angels and she is serious Mum inspo!) and she said she would really consider having a planned one if she had any more. I guess there is something to say about being in your own environment, with you own things and less of a medical feel around you. Also, as long as everything goes to plan you can sit back on your sofa afterwards, drink your own tea and sleep in your own bed at night. I mean, to be honest that sounds pretty idyllic to me.
Wow, this is what blew my mind. I didn’t even know there were so many things that I should/could consider. From Vitamin K injections for the baby, to cord clamping, there is a huge array of things to consider when it comes to preferences for birth. I am under no illusion that these preferences do not mean this is what 100% will happen on the day, I am very up for being fluid and knowing that I need to go with the flow. But if I can try and make some choices in advance then I can focus on the task in hand, delivering my baby safely and calmly.
If you don’t know where to start with birth preferences, this list from The Calm Birth School is actually really handy.
This is an acronym that can help when asking questions and trying to get information from anyone during your pregnancy/labour journey. I know I am the kind of person who can often just nod when a doctor tells me something because either I don’t really understand or don’t want to feel like I am being difficult; but actually remembering something like this can help to make it more of an open conversation and an informed decision.
B - Benefits - what are the benefits of the action?
R - Risks - what are the risks of the action?
A - Alternatives - are there any alternatives to what is being offered?
I - Instincts - what is your instinct telling you? Your gut feel can be super strong.
N - Nothing - what happens if we don’t do anything?
S - Stay positive - and calm in a situation to help ensure you get all the information you need to make the decision.
Your birth partner
We spent some time talking about Joss’ role and what it’s important for him to do when we are in labour. I am very lucky and I know Joss is really present and we actually make a very good and strong team, but even so, I am sure it will be hard for him to feel a little helpless. So Kate talked us through the things that Joss should be in charge of - from making the room feel more like home to ensuring I move around and drink to stay hydrated. It’s important that your birth partner is there to support you, but also that they feel comfortable, informed and like they can help. Don’t be afraid to have this chat in advance and let your birth partner know exactly what you want from them when the time comes.
Now for a rogue one…
Should I eat my placenta?
This is actually unrelated to hypnobirthing but it came up in the last session so thought I would pop it in here as a topic of conversation. Now, let’s get this clear, I am not suggesting I am going to fry up my placenta and eat it for lunch, but I am considering having my placenta made into pills that I can take after birth. I need to do some more research into it but I have heard that it can aid recovery, help with baby blues and even help you with menopause if you hold some back for later life. Anyone tried it? Would love to hear your stories on whether or not it’s worth doing.
And as a final thought, here are some of the breathing techniques I forgot to mention in the last blog.
The Calm Birth School breathing: In for four, out for eight – all through the nose if possible. It takes some getting used to, I can make it to six at the moment, but I am sure practice makes perfect. I have been practising in the car on the way to work whilst listening to the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcasts (which I highly recommend by the way)
Wave Breathing: This is a visualisation one, if you can. Imagine a wave or a surge of energy and take a deep breath in through the nose for seven, and then out through the mouth for seven. I am trying to practice this one in the mornings whilst I get ready for work, and I have heard it’s also a fab one to try when you are experiencing braxton hicks (which I haven’t yet).
If you want to know more about hypnobirthing or Kate you can find it all here. I will be documenting our four week course in a weekly diary, so keep popping back if you want to know what we are learning each week.