Well you wouldn't believe it, but I have a doula! A doula is "a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. We don't have them in NZ because so many women use a midwife, so they're not really necessary. And I never thought I would have one here, but then one just turned up out of the blue!
Erin is from Canada, and is working at Keio. We teach the technical college classes together on Thursday and Friday. She started in April, and soon after learning I am expecting, told me she had been a doula. At one stage she had started to study towards becoming a midwife, but found the hours a killer! So she has assisted at half a dozen births. Not quite the 1000 or so my NZ midwife Chris has clocked up over her long career, but still, suddenly coming across someone who is on the same page, in the same language, was quite an unexpected bonus. Wasn't I commenting recently on the unexpected things fate throws in your path?
So I asked her to 'be my doula' - just to have someone to talk to and prepare with. Several months ago, I bought a Hypnobabies course. That's a birthing method using self-hypnosis so reduce or manage the pain. They claim that with the right method, you can even achieve a pain-free birth! I'm not putting all my eggs in that basket, though, and I don't really care - I've coped before, it's nasty but it's over soon! But since I used deep-relaxation techniques to get through the first two, including dozing during the middle of Lena's labour, I figured I might be able to make this work. I was not, however, getting around to even opening the folder, let alone listening to the self-hypnosis CDs, hence the doula!
She came around last night for our first session. We talked through the information in the First Class - mostly about the theory of hypnosis, vouching that it works, that anyone can do it, and an overview of the fear-tension-pain cycle (tensing up makes pain worse, and giving in to the fear produces adrenaline, which can slow labour). Then we listened to the first two hypnosis sessions, the first one about creating a Special Safe Place in your mind. I was just going to listen and not do it, but it got into me - I haven't relaxed that much for ages! It worked.
Unfortunately, the second part, about Painfre Childbirth, kept getting stuck and jumping back at the 7minute part! I will sort that out tomorrow, because I am due to listen to the Special Place session again today. I have to alternately listen to each one every day! That's going to the be the hard part, although I'm not really starved for time - I have every morning or every afternoon. I've decided on 9am as a good time, after breakfast so I am not worried about my rumbly tummy.
Well, who can say if it's going to work, or if I am going to keep it up. The baby comes out anyway, no matter what you do! But if it can help me relax, and help me get over my fears about giving birth in Japan, then it was worth the money (only $30, as I got it second hand!)