Seven months into the pregnancy now, and our attention has shifted almost entirely to the birth. That’s not to say there aren’t still lots of changes taking place with (and inside) B. The baby is growing exponentially and getting more active by the day – I think it poked me with its finger this morning; baby brain is having an increasing influence on our lives – there are scraps of paper everywhere with shopping and to-do lists, or just random thoughts because B has to write everything down immediately lest she forget; and nestfulness is back with a vengeance – literally non-stop cooking, cleaning, and reorganising in addition to running her own business (she almost went mad from “sofa-fever” on Sunday because I asked her to spend a couple of hours relaxing in front of the TV).
I am happy to report that B is set on having a natural birth, at least as natural as is possible at a big public hospital. To support this endeavour, she signed us up for a hypno-birthing course at the midwifery centre that is providing home assistance during labour, so we don’t have to go into the hospital until she is truly ready to give birth. It’s a four-week course and we are halfway through.
The basic premise is that pregnancy, and childbirth in particular, has been “over-medicalised” in recent decades. To refocus the event around what is really healthiest for the mother and baby, women should be empowered to reclaim childbirth, mainly through breathing and relaxation techniques, dispelling common misconceptions about birth, and by dismissing the fear mongering of the media and medical world. Of course there can be a vital role for obstetricians and anaesthetists, C-sections and epidurals, but unless an emergency does arise, which is only the case in a tiny percentage of births (around 300,000 babies are born every day, most without incident!), mothers should be free and encouraged to use their innate capacity for successfully and safely giving birth to lead the process.
The class is pretty interesting and essentially teaches mothers mindfulness and pain management practices, much of which I got into over the last year to deal with some back issues (rule number one – don’t call it pain; it’s a sensation!). I am enjoying the sessions and meeting other couples who are expecting but having already decided to stay at the head of the bed for the main event, my only complaint would be the very graphic birthing videos that are projected onto the big screen! One thing that has been emphasised a lot so far is the power of language. There are many words and terms used to describe aspects of labour and birthing which either evoke fear and anxiety or simply sound way too scientific. My top ten hypno-birthing terms are:
1. Contraction – Surge or Wave
2. Coach – Birth companion or partner
3. Deliver the baby – Birth the baby
4. Due date – Birthing time
5. Water breaks – Release of membranes
6. Pain – Pressure / sensation / tightening
7. Birth canal – Birth path
8. Pushing – Breathing baby down
9. Complications – Special circumstances
10. Dilating – Opening
It’s all well and good to have a preference for a natural and smooth birth (isn’t that what everyone wants?) but perhaps the most important take-away from the class is to be mentally and physically prepared for anything. The way we both react to what is happening, and our acceptance of the new and changing reality is going to be so important to get through whatever B’s body, the baby and the team at the hospital have in store for us!
There’s more from the Daddy Diaries plus plenty of gorgeous gift inspiration on the BaoBae Blog!