I have always been a fan of techniques like hypnosis, positive affirmations and NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming). The mind is a powerful thing indeed. A persons imagination can cause a physical response from their body. For example, imagine finger nails bending backwards down a chalk board. This causes a shiver down your spine by the mere thought. If something as basic as that, conjured in your mind’s eye can cause that kind of response, what can proper training and hypnosis do for pain management and healing?
My wife and I married in the April (2013) and we wanted a family straight away. We were fortunate to fall pregnant in the July (to our delight). Melanie openly expressed beforehand that she was concerned about the labour and would happily opt for an elective caesarean if she could. Upon speaking with her cousin in New Zealand who is a midwife, this opinion started to change as she grew more confident that she could labour naturally. She was still terrified of managing the pain though. Her cousin recommended Natal Hypnotherapy to us as a productive approach to the birth and the perception in the run up. Of course, I was on board from the start and encouraged the practices.
We booked our course with Cathy Welch and attended 2 full day weekend workshops. The first was around 20 weeks and the other at 30 weeks (approximately). Being so invested already, I made sure we took note and utilised the best practices taught by Cathy. We made a solid effort at least once a week to listen to the CD’s together, sometimes in bed before going to sleep. Melanie felt so relaxed during the pregnancy and she would listen to the Effective Birth Prep by herself about 3 times a week.
Towards the end of the pregnancy (last 3 weeks), we changed the way we were working together in preparing for the birth. We no longer just played the CD’s in the bedroom but also had them on in the lounge with Mel’s birthing ball to hand. We would press play and she would relax with me practising gentle massage and encouraging words (anchors) to put her in to an even deeper stage of relaxation. We used candles and lavender oils to set the atmosphere and make the room as relaxing a possible. This was practised on the weekends (Saturdays). This really helped me feel a part of the pregnancy much more than I thought I could be. Of course I was prepping our home with DIY bits and pieces in the run up but this in particular helped me feel like I would be a solid birth partner for Mel.
Melanie established active labour on the evening of March 31st 2014 (Monday). The weekend before, she had experienced inconsistent sensations that had no pattern to them. From 21:15 that night, they were coming every 3-7 minutes, becoming more frequent as the time went on. The self-hypnosis CD’s were on for most of the evening and she found the gym\birthing ball to be really helpful during each sensation (contraction). A few hours later we applied a TENS machine to help with the spikes of her contractions. This can be a direct contradiction to what we practiced but she found it to be really helpful and quickly went back to a relaxed state in between sensations. We finally left for the hospital at 5:30am Tuesday morning. Total active labour at home: 8 hours 15 minutes.
Upon inspection at the hospital, we discovered Mel was 7 centimetres dilated (much to our surprise) and baby was doing well. We opted for a water birth and Mel was in the water by 06:50am. She stayed relaxed through the next few hours, needing gas and air by 9am. At 12:25pm Dexter Alexander Ord was born weighing 9lb. His heart rate was monitored in the pool and he was never in distress. Mel stayed in the pool the entire time and managed each contraction remarkably well by breathing, visualising and listening to my voice. This really helped me to focus and stay with her the entire time. She didn’t shut me out during the more challenging times and would listen to my voice and go with it. A proper team.
Mel had a natural third stage of labour, birthing the placenta with no intervention. She did experience 3rd degree tearing from birthing in the pool and needed surgery afterwards. Looking back, we wouldn’t change a thing. Dexter is a perfectly healthy baby and had no distress during his birth. Mel breathed through her labour with no intervention until after the event.
Our midwife commented that she herself did very little for us as I looked after Mel so well. I am so happy that Natal Hypnotherapy helped us and helped Mel who beforehand couldn’t imagine giving birth naturally. We attribute the success to her labour at home entirely on Natal Hypnotherapy. Such a powerful tool.
To anyone reading my story, my words of advice are to invest in what you wish to practise. Truly believe in your ability to birth. Your body knew how to grow your child, it will know how to birth him\her. Also get plenty of time in with your birth partner to practice these techniques. Having a structured set of anchors to put mum into a relaxed state as soon as possible is the key point for a relaxed labour.
Thank you Cathy for giving us the support and tools to have a brilliant, relaxed pregnancy and manageable labour. We will be promoting these tools and practices to all of our friends and family and would encourage anyone to attend your courses.