Hypnobirting Cheshire – The Wise Hippo at Mother Nature Sanctuary
Hypnobirthing is becoming increasingly popular and, as many of you know, I’ve decided to give it a go for Mini Mumbler 3. After looking through the Hypnobirthing courses offered in Cheshire (Macclesfield, Knutsford,Congleton, Sandbach, Wilmslow, Poynton, Alderley Edge and Prestbury) and with the advice of the lovely Mumblers in the Chat Group, I’ve settled on The Wise Hippo course at Mother Nature Sanctuary in Bollington.
I’m blogging about my hypnobirthing journey to give other mums-to-be an insight into what they can expect if they decide to give it a go. For a bit of background about the course I’ve chosen, and to see how I got on at my first session, check out my earlier blog here.
To find a hypnobirthing course local to you check out the listings here.
Last week was my second hypnobirthing session with the lovely Siobhan at Mother Nature Sanctuary. The first session was pretty theory heavy, going into the physiology of birth and talking about what we’d be doing during the course. This week we actually got to do it and despite my initial skepticism, I loved it!
Whilst the course explores loads of topics such as practical birth planning, your birth partner’s role and physical preparations for birth, its overarching aim is to teach you how to get into a place of deep relaxation – how to relax, breathe and, despite any preconceptions you may have about labour either from others, the media or your own prior experience, to trust that your body does know what to do instinctively. The course acknowledges that birth is unpredictable and that every woman is different so focusses on ‘the right birth on the day’ and for the individual, rather than dictating a universal concept of the ‘perfect ‘birth. It was this aspect of the course which led me to choose it.
The course uses a number of ‘scripts’ alongside general teaching, all of which is intended to provide you with the tools you need to truly relax. A script is essentially the principles explained to you against a backdrop of the relaxing Wise Hippo music and can be replayed again and again at home and during labour if you wish. This session focussed on three principles – those in the ‘Bond and Breathe’ script, the ‘Waves of Relaxation’ and the ‘Birth Partner’ script. There are other scripts which don’t feature in class but are intended to be listened to at home, before bed etc (‘Relax with Nature for example has become part of my staple bed time routine and sends me off to sleep within minutes). If you’re raising your eyebrows at this stage, bear with me – I was a little bit too – but after going thought the scripts with Siobhan and practicing them at home, I LOVE them and can absolutely see how they’re going to (hopefully!) help me not go into the same blind panic during labour as I did with Mini Mumbler 1.
We started with the Bond and Breathe script which has become my favourite of the ones we’ve practiced so far. It teaches you how to tell your body ‘we’re going to relax now’ by breathing down from 5 to 1. I was so relaxed after it during the session that I had to have a lie down when I got home as I felt a bit woozy! When I came to practice it in the bath, my first thought was ‘IT TAKES FIFTEEN MINUTES? I haven’t got fifteen minutes!’ but once I’d settled into it, the time flew by and, after a false start when my son’s stash of empty shampoo bottles (his favourite bath toys) and superhero rubber duck ended up clattering onto my head as I reclined back, it was just as relaxing as when I did it with Siobhan. When it ended, I found myself almost wishing I was in labour so I could listen to it again without feeling guilty that I should really be doing some work…..
Waves of Relaxation is a method by which to breathe through your ‘surges’ – the Wise Hippo word for contractions. The breaths here are deeper and longer, starting in your toes and travelling up to your throat before you exhale. Siobhan suggested I time how many breaths I do in a minute, 90 seconds etc so I can then time each ‘surge’ in breaths -only 4 breaths to go, only 3 breaths to go etc. This sounds like a good plan to me so that’s next on my list of ‘homework’.
The Birth Partner’s script is intended to be read to you by (surprise!) your birth partner and is another opportunity for you to practice your scripts whilst starting to associate your birth partner’s voice with relaxation. I haven’t practiced this one yet and the thought that Mr Mumbler’s voice will become some sort of relaxation tool is still pretty unbelievable to me so I’ll report back as to how we get on!
What hit me during the session was how the course gives you something to focus on at every stage of labour and how that in itself would help keep me calm and focussed. When my labour started with Mini Mumbler 1, it came on so quickly after the last time I had been examined that the staff didn’t believe it was actual labour and wouldn’t let me phone my husband since it was too early for visiting hours. I can see how these techniques would have enabled me to deal with that situation calmly and rationally rather than darting round the antenatal ward in blind panic thinking I was going to imminently give birth on the floor by myself! As it happened, chance would be a fine thing – she didn’t arrive for days!
Having practiced the scripts at home and after watching a few hynobirthing videos I am becoming increasingly excited about giving it a try. I even find myself wondering whether I could do this drug free – my first and natural reaction to labour has always been “GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS” and, whilst I’m still open to any intervention I need or feel I need – ‘the right birth on the day’, the right birth for me personally and all that, the course really is giving me the confidence to shift away from my instinct to run to hospital at the first twinge and ask for all the intervention and drugs they have, towards seeing birth as a perfectly natural event not to be feared, and at least seeing how far I can get using the techniques I learn. So far, so good!! ❤️