It's surprising how stressed you can feel within 24 hours of a birth relaxation class. I've had the kind of day at work which makes labour look brief and painless. But going back to last night...
Lisa and I are no longer labouring, we're HypnoBirthing. And very good it was too. It's supposed to teach you how to breathe, relax, and generally avoid "the horrific ordeal everyone else seems hell-bent on telling you about". And I don't mean conception. According to our instructor, a lot of people are put off by the 'hypno' prefix, but she assured us that no one would be made to dance like Tom Jones, or eat an onion thinking it's an apple. To be honest, it's less about hypnosis and more about looking on the bright side and taking it easy, so that your tension and fear don't end up in agonising pain. And considering the way Lisa grips my hand like a vice when she's stressed, that has to be a good thing.
Anyhoo, we were both very impressed. In fact everything we heard sounded like complete common sense, which made us wonder why we hadn't heard it before. We were given a book, a CD, and an explanation of how stress produces pain in childbirth, before trying some breathing techniques and a visualisation exercise involving lemons. Two people in the class claimed they didn't know what a lemon smells like, which struck me as a little odd. Fortunately Lisa had no such problem. She spends half her life eating Starburst.
It all seemed very effective anyway, and to prove the point, we were shown three HypnoBirths on DVD. They were all remarkably quiet, calm and relaxed, but there's clearly still a gap in the market for anyone who can produce birth without bodily fluids. I'm not great with blood, so I think I might stay at the other end come October.
As for next Tuesday's session, we've been told to take pillows. I'm not sure if it's a birthing class or a slumber party, but either way I'm looking forward to it. It could be the first decent sleep I've had in weeks.