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Semiconscious Couple, Week One

November 19, 2008

For her second pregnancy, The Wife and I have decided to pursue a course in HypnoBirthing. She’s seen it work with astonishing effectiveness, so we thought we’d give it our best shot. Sure, there’s some seriously squishy talk, and some overly wrought positive-thinking mumbo-jumbo, but it’s mind over matter, right? And besides, we’ve already mastered Bradley (I carry the gold Official Bradley Coach’s Card in my wallet, in case of emergency).

We arrived a few minutes late to join two other couples in receiving the book, the CD, the button (“Only happy birthing stories, please!”), and two pens marked with the plain message, “Hypnotherapy Works”. Unfortunately, neither pen works. They both click like a Bic, but no ink comes out. Ominous?

Central to the plan is careful reframing of key words and concepts to reduce tension and fear, and to avoid the negative language of the medical profession.
‘due date’ becomes ‘birthing time’
‘water breaking/rupture’ becomes ‘membranes releasing’
‘complications’ becomes ‘special circumstances’
‘mucous plug’ becomes ‘uterine seal’
‘bloody show’ becomes ‘birth show’
‘effacing/dilating’ becomes ‘thinning/opening’
‘false labor’ becomes ‘practice labor’

All of which works, and makes a ton of sense, until stuff starts to hit the fan. Toward the end of our class session, we watched a video where a placid mom birth breathed through her uterine surges and the baby’s head proceeded from the birth path, followed by the neck and a flood of red liquid.

“Oh, my God!,” exclaimed the first-time mom to my left as she clamped her fingers into her husband’s arm, “What is all of that blood?”

Our instructor remained calm as she moved into damage control mode. “That’s not blood, it’s birth fluid. And it’s not red, but pink,” she said, in her most soothing therapy voice.

But the mom’s expression said it all– she may have paid her course fee, but she’s not buying all of this. At least not yet.

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6 Responses to “Semiconscious Couple, Week One”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Perfect! I was always horrified by the terms mucus plug and bloody show. Au contraire, Jr couldn’t wait to hear/see them… Ick!


  2. i will never forget when the queen of the universe and i were in our natural childbirth class, watching the movie which explained it all.

    there is this calm peaceful woman, explaining that when she gave birth, thanks to the breathing techniques, she didn’t really experience any pain, just a sensation of pressure …

    fast forward about 6 minutes in the video to clips of the same woman in labor … oh my, all i can say is, for a “sensation of pressure”, she sure was making a lot of noise.

  3. maria says:

    Wow, I was so excited to open your blog and see this pic again! And does this mean you get to have a VBAC? Exciting!

  4. jledmiston says:

    It’s not a VBAC, it’s a fresh opportunity to experience birth. (a FOTEB?)

    Any chance this blessed event will impact our Fairvergence Table trip?

  5. Danielle says:

    At our birthing class, a man actually passed out watching the video. Slumped over, fell off the chair. We never did get to see the whole video. But hey, good luck. (really!)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Did you read “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way”?

    During Solana’s birth, I couldn’t get the phrase “let that big bag of muscles work for you” out of my head. On Shepherd’s birth day, it was the phrase describing another woman’s experience: “Elizabeth described her birth as painless.” I did not personally agree. Although, I am blessed and fortunate to say it was manageable.

    Why hypnobirthing when you could go straight to Ina May’s orgasmic birth? Might as well have a little fun with it all.

    In all seriousness, I pray for a smooth, joyful birth of your second daughter.


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