My Hypnobirthing diary: 31(ish) weeks
I'm 31 (ish) weeks pregnant. I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is going and how rapidly my body is changing. Those amazing kicks now keep me awake at night and the 'no-sleep' preparation you experience towards the end of your pregnancy has most definitely kicked in. Add to the mix an extremely active 16 month old, and this pregnancy is VERY different to my last! That also means that my experience of hypnobirthing is also quite different. So, how has this hypnobirthing teacher been getting on so far!? This morning, my husband, Tom, and I were going through all the things we needed to buy over the next few weeks. The list was a little longer than we had envisaged so I stopped the conversation when I felt my stress levels rising and explained that, for me, our hypnobirthing practice and the various post-natal questions I wanted to get informed on were the most important thing on the list at the moment! It's easy to get side-tracked on the 'to-do' and 'shopping' list. I'm not saying these aren't important and need to be addressed but we hadn't talked about our practice and birth preferences for a while and so, over the next couple of weeks, these were the things I wanted to focus our attention on. The price comparison on the breast pump could wait!
If I'm honest, finding the time to practice hypnobirthing was a hell of lot easier with my first pregnancy - climbing into bed to listen to the CD and enjoy some deep relaxation came easily to me (eventually) and I could rely on the fact that at a set time in the evening I would take myself upstairs and practice. Life isn't that predictable this time! If only it were. I now put the CD on when I climb into bed but given I'm either in bed after my daughter goes down at 7:30pm (yes, I'm that exhausted!) or it's midnight because she hasn't settled for a few hours.....it feels a little like a chore I need to do before I can finally sleep. It's a shame. I explained to Tom how difficult I was finding it to make time for practice and since then he has been incredibly supportive. He now ensures I do some hypnobirthing practice before I get too tired. I haven't listened to the CD every evening but instead, we've been doing more practice together. Before we sit down to have dinner, he will read a relaxation script to me and we practice the breathing exercises. Doing this with him has given me so much more confidence and reassurance - I feel like we're building a partnership where I can completely rely on him to bring my breathing down, say all the words that fill me with positivity and ensure I feel completely relaxed.
Tom is great at reading the scripts - he's softly spoken and really takes his time. I can feel myself going into deep relaxation just at the sound of his voice. I've explained to him that, during labour, I may not want a full script read out to me. Therefore, he is, taking in some of the sentences so that he can simply use those if needed on the day. I particularly like the Stroking Relaxation Script - Tom strokes my hand whilst reading script and this gentle touch, along with his voice and the words, are a trigger for me to go deeper into relaxation. Perhaps even his touch will be enough for me to relax when the time comes but only this will happen if we continue to practice.
As well as the scripts, we also practice the breathing and visualisations together. It's so important that he practices the breathing with me so that, should my breathing quicken or I loose its rhythm during labour, I can look to Tom, mirror his steady, slow pace and this will help to bring my breathing back down so I remain relaxed and focussed. I'm also instinctively bringing the visualisations to mind as soon as I start the breathing which is terrific too. Relating the slow breaths to a moving image will help my body to work more efficiently - "where the mind leads the body follows". There is one visualisation I prefer more than the others so I'm now just focusing on one. However, when I went into labour last time, I'd been practicing one visualisation during my pregnancy but, for some reason, they all came to mind on the day and gave me that extra 'power' and motivation I needed. So, it's good to have them all in your back pocket as you never know what your mind is going to call upon when the time comes.
As you'll have read from my other posts, I'm a huge fan of the birth affirmations!! It has taken me a while to really focus on them each morning and evening so last week I sent my husband and my sister (who will also be present at the birth) a copy of the birth affirmations from the KG Hypnobirthing book. They are now texting me one each per day which is absolutely terrific and makes a massive difference to my confidence. I also ensure that I'm uploading an affirmation a day to my social media pages so that I too am taking the time to let them resonate with me before sending them off for the world to benefit from!
Overall, I'm feeling good about my practice and it's certainly helping Tom and I to spend some quality time together and bond with the baby. This Saturday evening, my sister and Tom have arranged a hypnobirthing 'class' with me! I will go over all the relaxation scripts, massage, breathing and affirmations so that we all feel like we're a team and know what works for us. I'm so excited to bring all our knowledge and tools together and use them to bring my baby into the world! There's nothing more amazing than that and nothing else I'd rather invest my time and energy doing.
One of the key things that has been very apparent during my practice this week has been the significance of the support I choose to have on the day. It's an important part of planning for birth. Whether you're having a birth partner or not - the person in the room with you when you're in labour (whether this is a doula, friend, sister, mother, midwife or doctor) should always instil confidence in you and put you at ease. If they don't then take note of that feeling - don't ignore those powerful instincts at work. A woman is at her most alert when she is in labour and so the last thing she needs to feel is uncomfortable and uneasy. These subtle things can make a very big difference to your labour. The support you choose to have around you is crucial so take time now to think about what, who and where it is that makes you feel safe, secure and relaxed - and make it happen!
If you're practicing hypnobirthing at the moment, how is your journey going? Which exercises do you like (or not like)? I'd love to hear how you're getting on...x