Monday, September 29, 2008

HypnoBirthing & Interventions

This is from another HypnoBirthing practitioner from the UK. I thought it was worth sharing...

HB and Interventions

We teach our couples to negotiate and accept any 'necessary medical intervention', so I believe to describe a 'good/bad' HypnoBirth or refer to births as 'not a real HypnoBirth' is arrogant and bad psychology for our mums. It is nonetheless a HypnoBirth because HB at its best covers almost every eventuality.
In my early teaching days I was suitably evangelical and the 'p' words -pain & pushing - had no place in my vocabulary or my classes; the visualisations were exclusively of the 'perfect' HypnoBirth. When the inevitable 'necessary' interventions occurred - from a forceps delivery to elective c-section and emergency c-section - mums reported back to me that the lack of preparation for those eventualities had left them a bit lost at the time of their decisions to agree to the interventions and a sense of failure that they'd somehow done something wrong or 'failed' their HypnoBirthing 'final' - and leaving me wondering if I'd omitted something essential.

My own cousin had an amazing HypnoBirth - following a whole series of 'interventions' throughout her very difficult pregnancy. She had wanted a homebirth - massive fibroids made that inadvisable. Her baby was stubbornly breech, despite every turning technique and baby appeared to be doing his best to turn. My cousin was a vaginal breech herself; she changed consultant at 37 weeks to one who agreed to support a vaginal breech. At 41 weeks, the same consultant gently asked her to consider elective c-section. She took herself deep into self-hypnosis and following a dialogue with her body and her baby (ALL very valid HypnoBirthing skills) decided her baby needed help to be safely born. Her consultant at all times stressed that he would support whatever decision she came to - he respected her knowledge and ability to make informed decisions . . . which came purely from HypnoBirthing . . . and he would still support a vaginal birth if that was her decision.

She accepted the offer of the c-section, remaining calm, focusing love and good hormones - and oxygenated blood - down to her birthing body and her baby all the way and requesting lights/sounds/voices, etc. be considered for as gentle a delivery as possible. She adjusted her visualisations to include a gentle delivery and good recovery for herself and baby. This was an adjustment - a negotiated intervention, based on an informed decision (made possible by HypnoBirthing training), not a capitulation or, horrible word - failure.

Again, her surgeon did his best to give her a HypnoBirth. Baby was to go skin to skin with dad while she was 'busy' after the procedure and not to be taken to another room. As soon as possible, baby was to go to the breast. They modified their birthing preferences to take the changes into account - again, making their own informed decisions with every change that occurred. All good use of HypnoBirthing skills.

At the time of Jack's birth it was discovered the cord was twice around his neck, quite tight and thus and very short - which explained why he seemed to be making his best effort to turn and not quite making it. A vaginal breech could have been a bad decision.

As far as mum is concerned, HypnoBirthing worked for her and she's my greatest advocate. Without HypnoBirthing, she would have had no control or choices whatsoever - it would all have been taken over and become a totally medical procedure. As it was, she and her husband used all their HypnoBirthing knowledge and skills to effect the very best birthing experience they could in the ever changing circumstances surrounding Jack's birth day.

Jack - now 10 months old - is an amazing little boy - a glowing example of what we describe as a HypnoBaby, successfully and exclusively breastfed and the most blissful parents you could wish for.

So yes, HypnoBirthing works - DESPITE any circumstances that prevail. HypnoBirthing works - if the parents have total confidence in their ability to make informed decisions. Continuing calm and relaxed, breathing down and communicating with baby exactly as for a vaginal delivery - explaining to her body what is happening and visualising healing afterwards - as hypnotherapists, exactly what we would do to prepare for surgery, ensuring no post-op shock and good recovery.

My teaching now includes mention of this - and urges parents to adjust to any change in circumstances without disturbing the calm focus and continuing with their HypnoBirthing breathing until baby is in their arms.

With Birthing Preferences - they will make a few notes under an 'EVEN IF' section, then put them out of sight. I use the words "EVEN IF" in response to parents' question of "WHAT IF?" It suggests a smoother process and an acceptance that nature's way isn't always the quick and easy way, but HypnoBirthing will still be there for them - working away "as if by magic". Knowing the contingency is there reassures them of continuing control and keeps the fear away.

This is a long post - but this minor emphasis has changed things for my mums who do accept necessary intervention. They still feel empowered and, just as importantly, that HypnoBirthing didn't let them down when it counted.

Geraldine Vinall

Essex UK

Thank you Geraldine for your insight & wisdom...I feel it is our job as HypnoBirthing practitioners to educate our clients to have true informed consent & to empower our clients to have the best birth they can have. Your words ring true...

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