If a C-section is truly necessary for mom and baby, then it’s good to know that the same mind-body skills that you have developed through the Better Birth course can serve you to have an easier and best possible C-section. It’s all about using the power of your mind to help your body both during the actual surgery and after during the recovery process.
As the birthing affirmation states “I calmly met whatever turn my birthing takes”. Start there. Continue to use your birthing techniques, by birthing deeply so that baby receives all the oxygen you can give during this time. Continue to send all your loving energy down to your baby. Then use your power of visualization to imagine the surgery going smoothly with a minimum of blood loss. Imagine the ease with which the baby is taken out of your uterus. Imagine the doctor easily and safely stitching your tissues back together. And in the hours, and days after continue to visualize the site healing.
Below is the story of a man who needed a defibrillator/pacemaker surgical procedure. He used all the steps of self-hypnosis and the surgery went so easily, quickly and smoothly that the doctors were astounded. Then comes a story from a birthing mom who shares how she used those mind-body skills to have a better c-section.
In the event that you need a cesarean section, please remember these stories and trust in the power of your mind.
Love and light to all,
Can Guided Imagery Help During Surgery?
By: Garrett G. Buttel
Nude from my waist up I was strapped to a table, the lights were bright and a curtain was put in front of my face so I couldn’t see what was going on. The anesthesia allowed me to be conscious but care little about what was happening.
It had all happened so fast: the rush referral, the halter, the immediate hospitalization, two days in the cardiac unit, the transfer, the decatherization, and now this defibrillator/pacemaker installation procedure.
Although I had made the decision to go ahead with it, the doubts were still there. Was it really needed? Was my heart that bad? I probably was in denial because the damage came so suddenly. A virus had caused my heart to enlarge, beat irregularly, and lose half of its ejection power. Here now, bound and blind, it appeared that there was nothing I could do – or was there?
As the time went by it seemed as though everyone was having a good time. I heard light joking while about five technicians were watching every move of the doctor on their computer screens. “I think it should be a three,” said one.
“Nah, too wide, do the two and a half said another.”
From what I have gathered, the wires were first hooked to the heart and then fished back through a vein system to the incision area which was under the outside edge of my left collar bone. I noticed later on the overhead computer screen the vein area that they had been working on. It reminded me of the root system of a small weed with the branches breaking into smaller branches and so on.
The sounds of Pink Floyd filled the room as my surgeon did the tedious work of piecing together little wires through the web of veins that led back to the incision site. “That’ll be a four.” I heard in the distance.
“Fine”, she said. But a few minutes later I heard her say in a displeased tone, “It won’t go around the corner!”
Right then it came to me — a non-directed short dream that came from somewhere deep in my subconscious. I saw myself on all fours, crawling through a clean, well-lit tunnel, dragging a large rope which was tied to a big wire. I quickly came to an elbow in the tunnel and made my way to the right. The rope strained and I looked back to see the wire resisting the turn. Pulling harder the wire popped into the tunnel and I awoke from the dream with the doctor saying,” How did that happen?” The tension in the room evaporated as everyone started talking lightly again.
“Thank you, Lord,” I prayed.
Then an idea popped into my head — if by some chance my mind had helped the vein to accept that wire, then maybe I could help in other ways. I listened to the chatter for an opportunity and quickly put myself into self-hypnosis. I most likely was already in a trance state between the anesthesia and all the emotions, but I didn’t realize it. It didn’t seem much time had passed when the doctor was telling them it was time to wrap it up. “All that’s left is to make the pocket between the muscle and fat, insert the unit, and close it up,” she said.
That was my cue. I immediately started visualizing an opening under the incision. Many years ago I worked in a butcher shop and could imagine the semi-transparent covering on the muscles and the layer of light-colored fat on top of it. I saw in my mind’s eye a slight gap between the fat and the muscle and imagined the defibrillator/pacemaker unit slipping in and out, further and further each time. The size of the unit is almost as wide as a pack of cigarettes but shorter and about half the depth. I continually visualized it going in and out until all of a sudden I heard, “All finished.”
“You just have to put it in and close it up?” questioned a technician from the other side of the room.
“No, we’re all done – we are finished,” she said confidently.
“Yes, it slipped right in, it was amazing.”
The mood in the room lightened into what felt like pre-holiday bliss. As they did the final things the technicians discussed how my procedure was close to breaking the shortest time record. They joked about how long some of the other well-respected doctors took to do the same procedure. One said, “I was here for eight hours one time with doctor so and so.”
“What’s the time?”
“Two hours and ten minutes” was the reply.
The doctor couldn’t hold in her exuberance as she rushed to the waiting room to tell my wife the good news. “All went perfectly”, she said. “It was the easiest procedure like this I ever did.”
Did I help? I don’t know, but after being wheeled into the staging room, my family came to the gurney and I told them what happened. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I related the power of the visualizations that came to me and how it appeared that somehow, maybe in the tiniest way, I had assisted in the procedure.
It’s certainly a fact that pre-surgery hypnosis can help a patient to have successful surgery. Also, post-surgery hypnosis has been shown to significantly reduce healing time. Now I believe that it may be possible to produce positive results by using guided imagery during surgery.
If research supports this, I can envision our medical system re-assessing all surgical procedures to find situations where mind over body can be used for better success and to save lives.
Here is an account from a mom who had to have a cesarean and wrote about how mind-body tools helped her with her birth.
As a mother who must have C-sections, I used mind-body techniques throughout my pregnancies with my daughters, Samantha and Isabella. These helped me in several different ways:
Prenatal Bonding – this encouraged me to connect with my unborn child. After having several traumatic pregnancies I found it hard to bond with my baby. By singing, talking, and being consciously aware of my child I found a positive connection to my baby. I wasn’t living in the past I was engaging the present through various creative bonding techniques. Better Birth embraces the idea of prenatal bonding and this is helpful to ALL mothers.
Breathing Techniques – Why would I need to learn breathing techniques if having a C-section? The point of the breathing techniques for a mother having a C-section is to help slow the body down. Why do you want to do that? Nerves and stress can impact the mother’s ability to take anesthesia and impact her surgery. Using the breathing techniques can help facilitate the body accepting the anesthesia easily. It allows a Mom to relax and use hypnosis effectively. Breathing deeply can be a quick way to calm oneself to be consciously present in the moment without stress. This is an effective tool for parenting, breastfeeding, and life.
Rainbow Relaxation -Rainbow relaxation was created with the primary idea of helping Mom to relax and be able to use her natural expulsive reflex. However it can be used for prenatal bonding, getting better in tune with your body, and just relaxing. If you are relaxed before, during, and after surgery your recovery will be easier, quicker, and hopefully filled with less pain or no pain at all. Donald Curtis said, “Relaxation means releasing all concern and tension and letting the natural order of life flow through one’s being”. The relaxation that this helps foster is a deep feeling of relaxation which is critical post-birthing for being an effective parent and again with breastfeeding.
Birth Preferences – I am having a Cesarean Section so I have no Birth Preferences, right? That is not true at all. During the Better Birth course, we went over the various areas where you have wiggle-room; so that you tailor your c-section experience for how you prefer to be cared for during this medical procedure. I included preferences Pre-Admission, Admission, Prior to Surgery, Surgery, Recovery, and Baby Options. I encourage you to research your options for anesthesia, surgery, and recovery. There is even a family-friendly gentle C-section procedure that was developed in England for OBs to use that aims to mimic some of the sensations of vaginal birth for the baby. Most of all I encourage open communication between you and your care providers. That includes your entire health team including OB/GYN, Interns, Labor and Delivery Nurses, Anesthesiologist, and post-care nurses.
Fear Release – In Better Birth we use the fear release to help mothers to leave their fears behind and feel empowered going into their births. Just because you are having a C-section does not mean you cannot be empowered. Having a baby can cause parents to have some serious fears. If you couple those fears with that of the major surgery of a C-section you have parents who are stressed, worried, and not relaxed to welcome their baby into the world. Doing the fear release exercise can open communication up between couples, allow them an opportunity to resolve concerns, and participate in an exercise that helps them to release their fears. Through releasing these fears we are able to have parents who are calm and confident. This is a solid base to begin their adventure into parenting.
Education – Through taking the Better Birth course parents are encouraged to investigate their choices in birthing. They are taught how to ask questions of the birthing team in a respectful manner while being
clear that the birthing energy is their own. They are good parents first before being “good patients”. Learning as much as possible is important when presented with a special circumstance or surgical birth. Parents are exposed to options to help empower and educate them on alternative holistic approaches which can be beneficial. Some of these holistic approaches can include hypnotherapy, acupuncture, herbal remedies, prenatal massage, and even reiki.
Hypnotherapy can have a huge impact in helping a mother through a C-section and with recovery. Parents that use hypnotherapy for pre and post-surgery preparation find their anxiety is reduced. They are calm, and confident which promotes healing and a speedy recovery. Hypnosis will help to reduce pain and discomfort after surgery. It will help reduce bleeding during and after surgery which is helpful for mothers recovering from birth. And it reduces the need for post-operative drugs so mothers can breastfeed without the worry of drugs passing through to the baby. From a recovery perspective, I was able to walk after my C-sections between 3 and 5 hours after surgery. I had very little discomfort and my incisions healed rapidly.
Having a C-section is a must-needed procedure for some mothers and babies. In a society of ever-increasing incidents of unnecessary Cesarean Sections, it’s good to know that if you must have a C-section there is a way to ensure your birthing experience can be one of positive empowerment.
written by Sharon G.
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