Saturday, July 31, 2004

Learn' About Birthin' (Part I)

And so it starts. We went in this morning for the first two two-hour HypnoBirthing classes. Normally, the classes would be spread out over a month, but because we're getting pretty far into the pregnancy and because it's the class we could find, we're doing a weekend seminar that squeezes the four classes into two days.

It was taught in the basement of the instructor (who is also a midwife) and the first thing we learned is that her eight-year-old son was born in the corner of the classroom. We learned this when he came in while we were waiting for the third couple to arrive, sat down in the corner chair, and announced that it was his corner because that's where he was born.

I'll admit to being a bit unaware about HypnoBirthing going in, but Evelin had done a fair amount of reading and this is the method she wanted to use, so I'm fully on board. Basically, the idea behind HypnoBirthing is that birthing need not be painful or stressful or something to be feared. By using self-hypnosis, guided imagery, and relaxation techniques, one can effectively keep from fighting the contractions (or "surges" to use the preferred word within HypnoBirthing) and ease the entire birth.

In the three birthing videos we watched, the women seemed pretty out of it during contractions. There was some heavy breathing, but nothing like the television sitcom version of Lamaze classes (which is my only reference point).

We went through an overview of the method, its history (including a slightly odd digression into the history of how childbirth has been viewed in prehistoric societies, Ancient Greece, the Dark Ages, and the Modern Age up to today), and a relaxation exercise or two.

I know relaxation techniques like guided imagery can work well, but the instructor wanted us to drop into a relaxed state very quickly and it didn't work too well for me, but we have a lot of time to practice things. Plus, Evelin didn't have that problem and she's the one who needs to be able to fall into a relaxed state for birth, not me.

After a break for lunch -- Evelin and I ran out to the Olney Grill, which wasn't too bad; we figured the Olney Ale House would take longer than the hour we had -- we saw the birthing videos and did some more exercises. Then it was off for the night.

No comments: