Natal Hypnotherapy Cotswolds
|10th April 2021|
Ever since the calm birth of our daughter and high speed birth of our son in the front of our car, I have wanted to share the techniques I know helped.
When you are taught ‘how’ to give birth and the tools to manage the different stages, you become more confident, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.
My introduction to childbirth was with Kaye Millar in Oxford, attending her pregnancy yoga classes. She lent us books where I discovered Dr. Michel Odent MD, Grantly Dick-Read and Sheila Kitzenger, all pioneers in the field of natural childbirth.
I soon realised nature intended birth to be calm and manageable rather than something to be feared.
Fear sabotages the process by slowing it down and sometimes even stopping it.
Uncomplicated labours can end up with intervention due to fear alone.
Fear causes our bodies to produce adrenalin, the antagonist to the main birthing hormone oxytocin, creating tension and making contractions more uncomfortable. Understanding this was invaluable.
Hearing positive birth stories helps. Watching programmes like One Born Every Minute can be misleading, not showing you how calm birth can be.
People have a habit of off-loading their birth stories to pregnant women, when you're at your most vulnerable. If this happens, ask them "Just tell me the good bits..!"
Even with intervention it is possible to be happy about your birth experience.
Birth does not have to be ‘perfectly natural’ to be a triumph. Empowerment and joy come from feeling thoroughly supported; mentally, emotionally and physically and feeling that, you had the best birth possible for you .
It was thanks to Francis Barnsley, now retired Head Midwife of Chipping Norton Hospital, that I had the great good fortune to meet Maggie Howell, creator and inspiration behind Natal Hypnotherapy.
In 2008 I qualified as a Natal Hypnotherapy practitioner, running Maggie's workshops and teaching couples
Workshop One teaches 'Natural Pain Relief' and Workshop Two teaches 'Practical Birth Preparation'.
Birth partners are encouraged to come along, giving them the opportunity to understand their role and how to support the birthing mother.
By the end of the day everyone is delighted and relieved and actually looks forward to the birth.
On the evening of November 5th 1999 our son Ollie was born onto the front seat of our car.
Though I was due to have my baby around this time, I had no idea how soon he was to arrive.
The first sign of activity had been that morning, feeling light pressure at exactly 7am. This was repeated hourly until midday.
After that, sensations continued like clockwork, every quarter of an hour; again nothing painful.
By 3pm I needed to focus, as these had become contractions and I was in labour.
I ran a lavender bath and gratefully sank in, as I had done with my first baby but surprisingly this time it did not provide as much comfort.
It wasn’t long before I climbed out and my husband, who’d just arrived home fastened on my TENS machine.
Whilst I was focusing on my breathing and hoola-hooping, Tim was loading the car with the hospital bags.
Just before 5pm I climbed into the front and Tim called the midwife (at Chipping Norton Hospital, twenty five minutes away), to let her know we were setting off.
I had a contraction shortly after. The TENS was definitely proving useful distraction and I was remembering what I'd been told about the muscles in our face corresponding with the muscles in our pelvis.
If you pay attention on keeping your brow un furrowed, eyes soft and jaw loose, mouth open and shoulders relaxed, it will automatically follow that your pelvis will hold less tension and your cervix dilate more effectively.
After another contraction my waters broke which took me by surprise. Luckily Tim had put a bath towel on the front seat!
For the second time, I was in the front of a car in labour. I actually think it's brilliant as you are so supported. However long your legs are, the seat is adjustable.
You are held by the seat, at the same time as being able to push into the foot well &/or dashboard and pull down on the handle above the window. All this leverage and resistance increases your power.
With the next contraction I could feel the baby crowning. I put my hand down and there was the head! Not out, but just there. I said to Tim ‘The baby’s coming’
‘No, hold on' he cried !
With the next contraction, out came a head. Absolutely no pushing required. I wasn't trying to control anything. I trusted my body and just allowed it to do its' thing.
Then I called to Tim to ‘pull over’, wanting to check the cord wasn't around it's neck, based on this happening to my friend three days earlier.
‘No’, Tim said, ‘if there’s a problem, I’m not the man for the job, and if there isn’t, let’s just get there!’
I agreed, but asked that he turn on the interior light, so I could check. And there, between my legs, was the back of a head. Oh-my-word... I had sort of expected to see a face, but of course you don’t when they’re the right way around.
Then off went the light and with one more contraction, out shot our baby. Just like that.
We were still hurtling through the night (being November 5th and 5.20pm it was dark...) and unbeknownst to Tim, his son had just been born.
‘Sweetheart’, I said, ‘I have your son in my arms’.
He couldn’t believe it and kept repeating, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD'!
With ten minutes to spare, I wrapped my bundle in my skirt and listened to the gentle snuffling noises he was making. All was peaceful. All was well.
We rang the midwife to let her know.
Soon after she met us at the hospital entrance, wheelchair at the ready.
Once we were sorted and settled into our room, Tim asked ‘Anyone for champagne’?
He’d thrown a bottle into the boot.
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