So I’ve reached 17 weeks and I’ll be 18 weeks tomorrow! I think these last few weeks it’s all really starting to sink in now. I am feeling slightly panicky when I think that the baby will be arriving in around 5 months, the time just seems to be flying. I’ve been feeling good this week, I did have some morning sickness come up again last weekend but nothing since thankfully. I do feel like I’ve popped even more this week! Just for fun I put this collage together:
I just love this! Especially the fact that I have inadvertently been wearing stripy clothing in every bump shot! It’s also reassuring to see that I am mainly just gaining weight on my bump and not on my face and arms which had been a concern, however I do have a pretty big bump, so god knows how big I’ll be full term! I had a great time being able to catch up with my younger sister at the weekend, she has two boys so is a pro at all of this. She gave me some grow bags – basically baby sleeping bags and a couple of books. I read Minus Nine to One from Jules Oliver in two days:
What a great book! I just adored this, I love Jamie Oliver and reading this made me fall in love with Jules just as much. She was on the same medication as me and had some difficulties conceiving so it was nice to read another persons experience of that. It was also very funny and extremely heart warming as well as having some practical tips.
Today I’m off to see the midwife, I should have had an appointment last week but with it being a bank holiday it was set back to today. Excited to hear the heart beat!
Today I thought I’d do a quick recap of my first Natal Hypnotherapy workshop which we attended two weeks ago. Natal Hypnotherapy is very similar to hypnobirthing, but from what our tutor said, natal hypnotherapy seems to be a slightly more down to earth approach. You can find out more on the UK Natal Hypnotherapy website. It was developed in the UK by Maggie Howell and unlike hypnobirthing, was developed alongside the UK maternity system, so words used etc, dovetail with what is commonly said / done in hospitals and by UK midwifes. It’s basically a technique of self hypnosis that has the aim of reducing anxiety and fear of birth, as well as enabling you to have some relaxation techniques that will help you to handle the pain of labour. You can buy CD’s to listen to and books to read, as well as attending workshops with a trained natal hypnotherapy practitioner, as I did.
We had our workshop with Elaine from Fear Free Birthing. I was a bit worried before the session as we had both been sent pre course questionnaires to complete. James just didn’t get the questions at all, and I was a bit concerned that he was going to find the whole thing ridiculous. He was adamant about supporting me in every way possible, so off we went to the class. I certainly needn’t have worried, he was awesome, in fact way better than awesome bless him! There was just us and another couple in the workshop, the other lady was 25 weeks pregnant. It was great to chat to her, and really helpful for me to put things into perspective. She said she used do be really active and do loads of yoga before the pregnancy but hadn’t done a thing since. It reminded me not to be so harsh on myself when all I can manage is 3 workouts a week!
The workshop took place over a morning and we talked about our thoughts on birth and how the natural way of giving birth has become over medicalised. We drew pictures of what a happy labouring mama would look like and be experiencing which really helped us to think about what we wanted to feel when it’s our time to give birth. We discussed the things we can do to create a better more relaxing birthing environment, there was a great example used of women in a tribe in Africa who stayed in the hollow of a baobab tree while they laboured and after they gave birth and how they took everything they needed with them. It really got me thinking about how I’d like to approach the birth and what things I can have around me to feel more relaxed, comfortable and safe, such as music, snacks (obviously), scented oils etc.
We also had the opportunity to voice what our fears might be. For me, it’s being forced into having an overly medicalised experience, i.e. a c-section or an epidural. I know that sometimes these things just have to be done, but my fear is that I won’t be listened to by the hospital staff. I also want by baby delivered straight onto my tummy so we can have skin to skin contact as soon as possible. James and I hadn’t really discussed all this in detail, and as he’ll be my only birth partner it was handy to be able to say what things I felt would be the most important to me at a time that I might not be best able to communicate them myself!
My favourite part of the workshop was some of the guided meditations and relaxation techniques. James and I lay next to each other on yoga mats while Elaine talked us through a deep relaxation technique. Then we were able to practice James talking me into the same relaxed state, which worked really well! The final meditation was interesting – James used the relaxation cue on me and then Elaine came and gave me a chinese burn! Not a bad one, but fairly intense and the same length of time as a contraction would be. It felt strange, I could feel it but it didn’t feel like it was happening to me if that makes sense.
We left the workshop with the CD and book and I can’t wait for part two which looks more in detail at the phases of labour. The biggest thing I took away from the workshop was that our body knows exactly how to give birth. It’s in our DNA! Yes sometimes some of us need help, but overall its the most natural thing in the world. Just thinking on that has helped any remaining anxiety about the birth disappear, because I trust my body to successfully carry and birth this baby. I also felt incredibly close to James after the workshop, he seemed to understand a lot more about the experience we’ll be having and I felt extremely confident in his ability to support me though it.
Definitely recommend this to any pregnant ladies out there!
What are your thoughts on meditation, relaxation and self hypnosis? If you’ve had a baby, have you tried natal hypnotherapy or hypnobirthing?
Edited to add – Just back from my Midwife appointment, peanut has a strong heartbeat indeed and I’m looking super healthy too :-)