As I think with a lot of men the reality of having a baby doesn’t hit until the very last moment when it all suddenly becomes `real`. I was in the office as usual, with my boss telling me how he couldn’t believe how relaxed I had been considering my wife had been taken into hospital that morning to be induced. When I had that call `I’m being induced in 10 minutes` it all very soon changed to mild panic; a higher pitched faster voice telling my boss `erm I think I’ll be off for the rest of the week`, darting around doing not much very quickly, trying to remember what I need to take with me even though I do it every day.
We had planned a home birth. It was all arranged with the midwives; they brought over the gas and air (but without the mouthpieces, boo!) and explained the process. We even hired a birthing pool which I blew up and practiced making sure I had the right hose and connections and it reached from the kitchen tap to where we wanted the pool. Cate was a few days overdue and with her high blood pressure not subsiding we decided to change to an induction following health professionals advice. Having our plans changed at such a late time was disappointing. I think Cate took it quite hard. We had to have an induction with our first child with Cate being in the hospital for 2 days before anything happened so she was not looking forward to the same again, especially after preparing to be at home with all of your creature comforts and the notion that the birth would go more smoothly as you are more relaxed at home etc.
By the time I had got home, sorted myself out, read my birthing notes and got to the hospital Cate was sitting in bedroom happily bouncing on the big ball reading a book. All was very calm! I guess I expected that after the last time but now it was real I was alert and ready to go into action as learnt in the NH workshop. When Cate suggested I go home and wait for a call I was very happy to get one last sleep in!
The call came at 5.30am the following morning. `I’m in labour you …hold on another contraction (pause & heavy breathing!)…you need to come NOW!`. I got there not long after 6am. The hospital was quiet and dark and there were lots of parking spaces (a rare thing at Frimley). I found Cate right in the middle of strong contractions very close together. With the last birth I felt involved quite a lot; breath matching and `3-2-1` relax being the main things Cate liked. This time Cate had already mastered the breathing so my main task that was welcomed this time was cold flannels on the back of her neck.
The midwife and Cate had already spoken about Natal Hypnotherapy and the hospital were well aware (and supportive) of it. Before I arrived the midwife had said Cate was at 2cm. Not long after I had arrived the midwife immediately suggested we should go to the labour ward as she had been trained in Natal Hypnotherapy and could see the signs, even though Cate seemed relatively calm. Cate was doing a great job of breathing deeply and, in her own words, `surfing on the top of a big wave` (not that she remembered saying that afterwards!). The place that she had practiced taking herself away to was not the wave surfing but she found this to be the one that worked at the time.
When we got to the labour ward they immediately said she was fully dilated and to push whenever she had a contraction. I had my crib sheet with me and was ready to try any of the techniques learnt such as 3-2-1 relax, shaking apples, breath matching. But Cate was doing such a great job on handling the contractions with her breathing I concentrated on verbal affirmations instead such as `that is one step closer to our baby, that contraction will never happen again, let the body do it’s natural work` etc, as well as the cold flannels on neck and forehead.
We had a 5 hour labour which was this time very straight forward.
Any little things, no matter how `little` you think you are helping, make a big difference to your partner.
Try all of the things you have been taught, both physical and verbal. Both of you will not know what will work for you until the time.
Don’t be too strict with the midwives. `all decisions must come through me` for example doesn’t liken them to you (as our midwife mentioned when we were talking afterwards). If they are familiar with Natal Hypnotherapy then to just mention you have practiced it goes a long way.
When it becomes real (when you get `the call`) panic does set in, like it or not, so prepare everything you can before hand. Baby seat sorted, hospital bag etc etc.
For the first birth Cate had many hours of gas and air. It helped with the pain but did make her a bit spaced out and not remember the birth as much. She wanted to remember this birth so my help this time was to persuade her not have so much. She only had it right at the end which was a big success in her remembering the birth. She did say that when she stopped with the gas earlier that it didn’t make much of a difference.
If all is well after the birth and you find yourself alone – reward yourself with a few puffs on the gas and air!
My wife didn’t believe in hypnosis before childbirth. It wasn’t until her desperation at the reality of having a baby made her listen to me and `give anything a try`. She has now had 2 children and knows she would not have dealt with it so admirably without Natal Hypnotherapy. She is now a full convert having given talks at hospitals to midwives.
Cate was inspirational during the birth and so can you all be with the techniques you learn. Women in a coma can have babies. My wife can have a Chinese wrist burn and not flinch. I can bring up children even though that seemed impossible before any came. Life is amazing.