Monday, August 02, 2010

HypnoBirthing: Class One

To be honest from the get-go, I had a little bit of anxiety about attending the first HypnoBirthing class. I really hated the idea of being fed information and values that I didn't agree with, as well as the chance that I would be looked down upon by the teacher or other classmates for my non-natural philosophy. I was fairly certain I would be the only woman in the room (other than the teacher) to have gone through childbirth before. I was prepared to counter any argument put to me with, "that was not my experience," and leave it at that. I was there to give something new a try and I wanted my opinions respected in the same way as I planned on respecting others'. As is typical, my fears were overblown. No one in the class had anything negative to say, nor was there any opportunity for that to happen. The class is run in such a way that the negativity is left out of it so you can focus on the positive. That was refreshing.

The teacher introduced herself to us and then had us go around the room. It was a very small class with only three other couples. One of those couples was in a different class and had missed the first session, so they joined us. I don't expect to see them again. As I suspected, I was the only woman to have delivered a baby in the past. It was good to see the difference between the couples and learn more about them. It was a simple introduction and the teacher did not ask us to share why we chose HypnoBirthing. I had been afraid of that.

While I was introducing myself the teacher asked the name of my doctor. I told her and she seemed slightly displeased. She asked how I thought he would react when I told him I wanted to do HypnoBirth. I replied that I'd already told him and his response was, "We men don't really know what you go through, so the decision is up to you." To me, that shows his support of my decision, even if it isn't what he would choose. That's all I need from him. The teacher then told me her niece is another one of my doctor's patients and that she had spoken about him with her niece. The niece finally told the teacher she liked the doctor and to back off about it. That's my kind of girl. The teacher then told me it was a good thing that I like my doctor, especially after having experience with him. I was pleased that she could respect my preference even though she didn't agree with it. That's all I need to know from her. Had she gone on to bad-mouth him or make disparaging comments I would have declined to take the rest of the course and left without paying. Knowing that the teacher was able to allow me to hold opinions different from her own gave me confidence that we could get along. I actually really do like her. It's okay to have different ideas.

One thing I thought was interesting during the introductions was what came up as the next mother introduced herself. To keep it short(er), the intro led to a question from the teacher about who is in charge of the nursing staff at the hospital. The teacher's answer was that the doctor is in charge. True enough, but after having done this once before I know enough to know that I'm in charge of the nursing staff. One of the biggest lessons I learned from my daughter's birth was that I will kindly tell the nursing staff what I will and won't accept. For example, if I start pushing and shift change comes around I will not agree to stop and wait until the next nurse comes in. That's not outrageous. It's nice to know what to expect the second time around, as well as what I can tell them I want.

After introductions were over we talked about how the body works to keep the baby in and/or let the baby go. That was all new and interesting. We also discussed how the body reacts to fear in its system, with emphasis on how it can effect labor. The brain starts to ready us for the Fight or Flight response before we even fully assess the situation. Our level of fear decides that. Then we talked about the fear/tension/pain cycle. The more afraid we are, the more our muscles and bodies tense, the more difficult it is for the body to do what it needs to, causing pain. That's fairly basic and is my view of it. That may not be exactly what the teacher said, but that's what I took away from it.

Hypnosis was explained to us a little more thoroughly. It's not that someone is there with the laboring mother to put her in a trance or control her actions; it is a state of deep relaxation in which your senses are still very much aware of what is going on. It has a lot to do with focus. It also takes practice. Knowing that HypnoBirth is deep relaxation rather than some New Age silliness is comforting. It makes the idea not so strange as it sounds.

We also watched a couple of different videos. The first was from Marie Mongan, the creator of HypnoBirthing. I admit that I ignored some of it because it wasn't what I believe or how I choose to do things. We also watched another video that I had seen on YouTube when I was just considering whether or not to take the class. I'm attaching the video to the bottom of the post so you don't have to click over it if you don't want to. I liked what I had seen in the video enough to look into it further. If feeling that good after the birth is a possibility without being poked in the back it looks like something I'd like to try. I can always ask for the poke if I want it.

I'm glad I'm taking the class. It will not not be nearly so strange as I feared. I thought most of the information was good and I liked to hear things that came from a different perspective than my own. This is a program I think I can work with. I like the idea that giving birth is something a woman's body knows how to do. I like the idea that the mind has control over the body (duh) and that we can get our minds to expect a positive outcome. A lot of it made perfect sense to me and I just breezed past anything that I didn't agree with. I think the class will be beneficial. I've even started thinking that I'd like to go for an unmedicated delivery. I may as well give it my all if I'm going to spend the money.


Carrie and Karl said...

Good way to look at it, and hey, it's not like epidurals are free either...

Charlotte said...

That was definitely an interesting clip. It would make me interested in it too. I'm not sure how the next birthing process will go for me though, if I'll just end up having another c-section or not. So I don't really know how to plan for that....I'm very interested to know in how it works out for you though!