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If you're reading a 'hypnobirthing' book and thinking 'what a load of codswallop', where do you go next?

(46 Posts)
TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 09:33:13

When I had dd I was a fully signed up member of the 'I will hypnobirth' brigade. I read the books, listened to the CDs, went to a few classes, deep breathed and wandered into birth wholeheartedly believing in it.

The thing is, it didn't go well with dd. Not a hypnobirthing failure but dd was severely malpositioned and I could not manage the feelings. The pain was cripplingly bad and I know now why because she was unbirthable and my body was screaming at me that something was wrong. But I blindly persisted with breathing through it (not working) for far too long. DD had a couple of problems due to a protracted labour and very long 2nd stage and I ended up with a blue light transfer and emergency surgery.

It's years on and I've braved getting pregnant again. I've had ptsd and struggled with having another. It's taken counselling and a lot of resolve to have a second. I've tried to get into a mindset that what happened with dd was just bad luck (I did NOT fail which is what I've believed for years), hypnobirthing is only for straightforward, low risk babies. Maybe this one might be.

But I've started reading the books again and last night I threw one at the wall in frustration. Because it's bringing back all the feelings of failure. When it says 'you can condition yourself not to feel pain, you shouldn't feel pain and if you think your baby into the right position, they will be there' I feel so bloody useless. Well my thoughts must be wonky because I thought all sorts of hippy, happy clappy stuff last time and dd still didn't come out. I flicked through to the 'assistance and breech' bit of the book to see what it says about managing that. Apparently breech happens when you're not thinking positively or have stress in your life. Am I mad? I read this and it reeked of 'it's your fault if your baby's in the wrong position'. I'd just about accepted that it was just bad flipping luck but this book that helped me when pg with dd is making me feel really bloody useless again.

I can't repeat affirmations about 'my baby is in the perfect position' because my head is screaming 'well that's bollocks'.

I did believe last time. I don't know what the bloody hell to do. I don't want a medicalised birth. I wanted to believe in my body and have another crack at having faith in my ability to do this. But the lovely, calming books I read last time are giving me the rage.

Somebody do it for me? I don't know what to do, how to prepare. Apart from crying and panicking.

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mummynoseynora Mon 09-May-11 09:41:16

I used hypno birthing for my second DC - after a long / protracted/ emergency CS first time around... for a long time I had feelings of what it / failure etc similar to you describe. I used a hypnobirthing CD from Natal Hypnotherapy designed for people specifically looking for VBAC (other options available)... it was a 2 part set, the first CD you listen to to help you 'move on' from the first birth... I listened to it about 3 times until I felt ready to accept / move on... haven't felt bad since.

the second is the typical hypno cd - aimed again at vbac

I should point out I DID end up with a second CS - but the labour was much calmer and I felt more settled with what was going on - the only reason it went to CS again was it turns out I have stupid shaped hips - DS was stuck in the same position and I stopped dilating at the same point as with DD

SelinaDoula Mon 09-May-11 09:42:00

I've been working as a Dola now for 6 years and my DD was malpoositioned too and a difficult birth.
I am due i 12 weeks and feeling something similar to you.
But having seen such a variety of births over the last few years, my thoughts are this...
I beleive hypnobirthing is helpful to keep you calm, relaxed and reduce adrenelin and fear which makes labour more painful, so its still worth giving it a go. I don'r belweive uyou can 'think' you're baby into a good position.
Birth is also a physical process, with you're uterus, pelvis, baby, all involved, some things do make a malpresentation more likel y (some pelvis shapes, a twist in your ligaments etc).
I tend to use Spinning babies techniques etc with my clients, in combination with birth prep and relaxation techniques aromatherapoy massage etc
In this pregnancy I have been-
Seeing a chiropractor, soon to have Maysa abdominal massage and shiatsu (to correct any correctable physical issues)
I'm also doing pregnancy yoga and an inversion and pelvic tilts every day, I get sifted with a rebozo when I can.
I will be instructing my birth partners on labour techniques to help correct malpositions (see Spinning babies).
Planning a home waterbirth wqith a doula.
You're babies malpresentation was not due to your mindset, try Natal hypnotherapy they are less 'hippy' and more about relaxation.
Hope that makes sense!
Good luck.
S x

thaigreencurry Mon 09-May-11 09:49:39

I agree that the power of the mind isn't enough to put your baby into the perfect position - that is bollocks. I think what they are trying to say is if you go into it calm and relaxed you are less likely to end up with a medicalised birth.

I had read so many positive stories about hypnobirthing that I bought into it. Turned out to be a complete waste of money because I forgot that I had even tried hypnobirthing once I was in labour. I also had a nagging feeling that I would end up with an emcs and my instincts were right.

All you can do is be positive. This time your baby probably won't be breech. Ds1 was breech, ds2 wasn't. Its down to luck.

Iggly Mon 09-May-11 09:54:10

I would instead read positive birthing stories instead. A good place to start are the Ina May books - can't remember the title but you can ignore her bit and just read the stories. They're all positive etc and not so much focus on hypnobirthing as descriptions of birth from the mum's pov. In fact Ina May isn't a hypnobirthing guru - more of a midwife interested in low intervention birth.

Also can you have a chat with your midwife about your previous experiences too?

TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 09:56:51

Sorry just to be clear dd wasn't breech. I only flicked to those pages because they were the only mention of malpositioning in my book.

DD was LOT and asynclitic and got stuck in deep transverse arrest. Breech we'd have known about before the emcs and I might have transferred earlier.

I know 'all you can do is positive' is true, but I don't know how. I feel panicky and upset and just can't make any sort of decisions about what will happen. And I don't know why dd was in the position she was. I tried every position we could come up with between me and the midwives and she was stuck fast. The small voice in the back of my head says there might be something up with my pelvis and it'll all happen again.

The Natal Hypnotherapy stuff sounds much better than Ms Mongan and her blatant ignoring of the role luck has to play.

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TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 09:58:38

My midwife knows all about my insecurities. I waffle on every time I see her. She says she can refer me to counselling. But I've had counselling. I need to know how to enter a second delivery and no counsellor has helped with that.

I have and have read all of the Ina May books. My copies are falling apart I've read them that much. Not since having dd admittedly.

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squiggleywiggler Mon 09-May-11 10:04:35

Turtles, time to throw away the book I think. Some people don't connect with hypnobirthing in the same way some people don't like tomatoes. It isn't your fault.

You are right in thinking you need to do some sort of preparation for this birth though. Iggly's positive birth stories idea (I've got a few up here is a very good one, as is Selina's idea to try chiropractor.

Is a doula an option? I have worked/am working with women who've had a difficult/traumatic first birth. We have spent quite a bit of time working on debriefing the first birth and developing a new plan for the next one. Sometimes reading those books isn't helpful - you don't need something theoretical that you didn't connect with last time you need to talk things through in person, develop strategies specific to you that don't make you feel angry/guilty etc.

The idea is to get to the birth feeling confident about your body's ability to birth, having let go of some of the feelings around your first birth and with a support team around you who know what you want, what will help and what didn't help last time.

I'm biaised, but having seen just how this kind of support can really help before and during the birth I'd really recommend it. I'm happy to help you find someone if you PM me your details.

I think you sound very sensible and your fears/feelings are normal. You just need a bit of support after last time.

TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 10:10:07

I'd love to look into having a doula or chiropractor or yoga or any of the other options that might help. But we have no money to spend on these things.

I've had some excellent and really quite specific help with getting past dd's birth and I have the most wonderful and kind consultant who is trained in birth trauma counselling. He was my consultant before I even got pregnant and is on the end of a phone/email whenever I need him. But that's as far as support goes. DH of course is wonderful but has had 4yrs of trying to talk me down from the ceiling. Nothing can in some ways.

I was in quite a peaceful place until I hit 20 weeks and started reading that damn book.

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squiggleywiggler Mon 09-May-11 10:12:09

Turtles where are you? There are options for doulas that don't cost anything/a small fee depending on your financial situation.

TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 10:19:57

I'm in Norfolk.

I don't really know if a doula would work for me. You have to like people right? grin

I'm cripplingly shy and struggle with talking to people I sort of know. I don't know if a doula could help seeing as she would be a stranger. I can't be vulnerable in front of people either.

I can't do this at all. But this baby has to come out now. I'm frightened.

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maswera Mon 09-May-11 10:25:24

I had a mostly pain-free labour - thanks to two shots of diamorphine and an epidural. Seriously, drugs are GOOD. I certainly wouldn't have a tooth out without pain relief - so why do it during labour??

TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 10:32:23

I have nothing against drugs in labour. I'm sure the cs would have been fairly rubbish without the spinal block actually. grin

But I could be drugged up to the eyeballs and suffering no pain. Or drug free and feeling every twinge. It's not really the pain that worries me. It's the progress of labour and the actual birth.

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squiggleywiggler Mon 09-May-11 10:46:13

Turtles I'm happy to support you via email/over the phone and suggest some things you and DP can do before the birth, work on a coping strategy, look over your birth plan etc. if that would help.

Doulas are generally pretty good at getting to know people quickly and makign them feel safe. I'm happy to try and track down a trainee in Norfolk if you'd like me to.

Checkmate Mon 09-May-11 10:48:39

Sounds like you somehow need to find a way to shift your focus from how the baby comes out, and onto the pleasure you will experience when they do. Does that make any sense?

I read all the hypno stuff first time round, but was induced and ended up with epidural and a forceps delivery that left me with some lasting damage. I was diagnosed with pnd after, but actually think it was PTSD. Second time round, I didn't read anything, I just couldn't buy into it. I had a fairly easy natural labour which could have been very healing. However, baby had problems (nothing to do with the labour) and was zoomed off to scbu. The emotional pain of that was much more agonising than the physical pain of either labour.

Thankfully, DS made it. I've gone on to have 2 more and am pregnant with DC5. Although I don't buy into the "healthy baby is only thing that matters" bollocks (my body remaining as injury-free as possible is important to me too), I have found my own line, somewhere between the polar opposites of hypno and medicalised that works for me. Mainly centering on things that help deal with the pain (so when I had another induction I refused cfm so I could stay mobile) without increasing the risk of another instrument delivery (so not having another epidural.)

I guess what I'm suggesting is working backwards from the conclusion you want on your babies birthday, and working out what choices along the way might give you the best chance of that being the outcome.

SelinaDoula Mon 09-May-11 11:14:39

Some thoughts copied from other posts I've made about positions and deep transverse arrest.-
There are said to be 3 P's of labour
Pelvis, passenger and power
In my experience, if you have a baby that is large ish in a difficult position and/or a pelvis shape that makes labour more difficult (e.g. a male type andrid pelvis- sually if your shoulders are noticably wider than your hips)
Any combination of these could make labour more difficult and make techniques to turn the babyt into a good position and wide the pelvis more important.
I would consider seeing a chiropractor in pregnancy, and getting your birth partners experienced in spinning babies techniques.

-I think sometimes the kind of movement needed to shift a very malpositioned baby is dioficult for a woman to accomplish during labour (in this culture) unless very well prepared and supported.
For instance, a proper inversion for 30-40 mins or Vigorous belly dancing etc.
Most women know that being upright in the second stage enlarges the pelvic outlet by 30% and that gravityhelps with pushing, but still many women give birth on their backs or semi sitting.
Some info on deep transverse arrest-
A friend of mine had a EMSC fot it with her first and a successful homebirth for her second!

deep transverse arrest can be associated with an android shaed pelvis. This doesn't mean it has to happen or that vaginal birth is impossible but just that it might need more movement in labour.
Some good info in this blog-

TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 11:25:37

squigglywiggler, thank you and I might just take you up on that very kind offer. I will pm you later (I have to take dd to preschool right now).

Checkmate, thank you for sharing. I do agree that I need to think of what I want and work backwards and imagine how to achieve it. The thing is I don't know what I want. Part of me wants to have an elcs so that the question of emcs is ruled out but I want to be at home in Sept when dd starts school not in hospital for 3 days and then post-operative and feeling like I didn't even try. But I don't want to enter into a vbac attempt feeling like I do. The feeling of labour will not have a good effect on me. I know it will all come flooding back and I need to know how to deal with that now so that I'm as prepared as possible.

Selina, thank you. We've talked about dta before and you've very kindly provided lots of links (I'm not really called turtles, this is just a namechange). This is going to sound really defensive (and it is) but I tried everything. I had an 8hr second stage, 6hrs at home, in water for 3hrs of it but upright, dancing, some inversion, sitting on a toilet, squatting, kneeling, leaning, assisted positions etc. I worked and worked and worked and had excellent community midwives who knew all the tricks for releasing babies and widening pelvises. I bloody tried to the point of tearing a muscle and bursting several blood vessels. I have to believe that there was no more I could have done or I failed. Do you see what I mean? I didn't lie down once. I did everything 'right'. They couldn't pull her out in hospital or manually rotate her. Even getting her out during the emcs proved difficult. She was very, very stuck. I think I've lost faith in my own ability to remotely influence how I give birth to a baby.

Can I sneeze it out? Has anybody EVER done that?

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LaWeasel Mon 09-May-11 11:28:39

I don't know if this will help, but I got really panicky during my labour with DD (for different reasons, but panic is panic right?) The MWs gave me pethidine, which yes, made me sleepy, but also really helped me calm down. Once I'd rested I could concentrate more on the contractions etc with the G&A rather than just letting them take over me. So I really found that that particular drug helped me in that situation.

I don't think the hypnobirthing books are helping you. You know full well that sometimes you can do your very best and everything goes wrong anyway. Books that tell you that that isn't true are hateful and should be burned IMO! Your baby is here and alive and THAT is the most important thing, not how they got here.

Maybe preparing in other ways would help you? Have you had some therapy for your first birth?

Tillyscoutsmum Mon 09-May-11 11:38:02

Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy smile

I am no expert on the medical intricacies but I do know that you did everything you possibly could have, when most people would have been demanding a c sections hours before. It was just pure bad luck that dd wasn't in the right position and unfortunately, no one can plan for these things. I'm a big believer in not worrying about things you have no control over. Therein lies madness. If the baby is in the right position, then you will give birth without any problems. If it isn't, then you may need intervention. I think accepting the possibility in your own mind beforehand will mean it wouldn't be such a shock and therefore will not be as traumatic.

squiggleywiggler Mon 09-May-11 11:40:01

I don't know anyone who actually sneezed it out but I did some antenatal prep recently with a couple I couldn't doula for (already on call for someone else). She'd had a long and difficult first time and she emailed me to say that this time it all happened so quickly that DH delivered baby in their living room before the ambulance could get there.

They weren't planning a homebirth but she sounded delighted and it was one step away from sneezing the baby out!

SelinaDoula Mon 09-May-11 11:43:28

It absolutely sounds like you did everything you could.
Sometimes there just isnt anything else you can do, those are the babies that really need help and thank goodness we have the medical technology to do so safely.
I think maybe just concentrate on the luck aspect, that its unlikely another baby would be in exactly the same position, that second labours are usually easier.
Concentrate on making a birth plan that makes you feel safe and in control.
Decide on how long you are willing to go to get things to progresss this time, what pain relief you want or dont want and what indications you would choose assistance or repeat CS and get them agreeed by your caregivers.
S x

fruitybread Mon 09-May-11 12:12:41

turtles, what book is this?? That tells you if you 'think your baby into the right position, they will be there', and breech happens when you are not 'thinking positively' or have stress in your life??

I want to know so I can avoid it like the plague!

Btw, I am a huge fan of positive thinking, yoga and meditation to control stress and manage feeling - but this is just lies and bollocks. No wonder it's making you feel useless.

I probably don't have anything useful to suggest beyond what others are saying, but I can see how it would help to make a birth plan of sorts. I know you don't know what you want, exactly....which doesn't make things easy for you, but is there any way of prioritising your needs? It sounds as if you would ideally like to avoid a CS BUT if for example you had a long second stage, failure to progress etc then you might want to go to CS sooner rather than later? It sounds as if attempting VBAC/HBAC is what you want - but to stop that being such an alarming prospect, maybe you can discuss a birth plan which addresses various options for different scenarios. I don't want to put words into your mouth, but it sounds like what you are most frightened of is being allowed to labour for a long long time once things have stalled. All you can do is give it your best shot, and it sounds like that's exactly what you did last time (I think tbh you can feel proud of yourself for going through such a gruelling experience rather than feeling you failed, I really do).

And throw that stupid book in the bin.

TheProvincialLady Mon 09-May-11 12:23:30

The hypnobirthing I did was not about pretending that you can condition yourself not to feel pain, or that you should even try. There was nothing about pretending your baby is in the right position etc. It was about relaxing as much as possible and not being frightened of the impending birth, which makes you tense up and expect pain and therefore hinders the birthig process. It worked perfectly for me with DS2.

Like you, I had had a horrific first birth and PTSD. I was terrified of even going to the hospital for scans as it set off all the horrible physical memories. Then I did a day course on hypnobirthing techniques and tere was quite a bit about letting go of fears. I did the affirmations every day and it genuinely cured all my fears and I did have a very pleasant second birth thank God.

There is a difference between quackery, ie "breech happens if you're not thinking positively" and fact, ie "your birth is likely to be easier if you are calm and relaxed." It doesn't guarantee that though and you can safely ignore anyone who spouts that kind of bollocks.

Some kind of counselling/preparation will be invaluable for you no matter what kind of birth you go for, because it is horrible living with the fear after a traumatic birthsad But every birth is different so there is no reason you should suffer again. I was left disabled and traumatised by my first birth but the second one was absolutely fine (at home, which was a double bonus) and not even painful until crowning, so if that can happen to me it can for you too.

laluna Mon 09-May-11 12:56:21

Sorry not much time now but have a google of Jean Sutton and Optimal Fetal Positioning.

TurtlesAreRetroRight Mon 09-May-11 13:01:13

" When Baby Is Breech...

[brief spiel about babies turning head down]. Most of the time this turning goes without note, especially if it occurs while the mom is sleeping. the turn can be delayed, however if the mom is experiencing fear or tension, or if there are circumstances in her life that are upsetting.

Some moms, for any number of reasons, are reluctant to "let go" and so their uterus remains taut and the baby is not able to complete the turn...

Lots more stuff about release therapy and how to talk your baby into turning.

She ends...

ECV should be a last resort. It is not usually a procedure of choice for most women, but it is preferable to surrendering to a surgical birth."

An excerpt for you. It's HypnoBirthing The Mongan Method so you know what to avoid. The lack of any acknowledgment of luck or other medical reasons for breech (what about babies who are wrapped in their cords?) and the idea that anything outside of hypnobirthing is 'surrendering' has made me very cross and a lot upset.

Thank you for listening and talking to me. I am reading and jotting things down. I've just left a message for my midwife to see if I can see her to talk about a referral to the hospital. There's a chap there who does birth cbt so I might give that a shot.

I quite like the idea of giving birth on the floor quickly and with little pain. DH can deliver it. But the carpets are cream which could be messy.

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