Rayner wrote this to a friend in May 2007. The friend’s name has been omitted to protect his privacy.
One of the reasons why I needed to know more about your wife's birthing experience
was that it did occur when the midwife was away from your wife's room. The midwife was also under the impression that your
wife was in no way ready to give birth. I wonder if there was anyone else in the room at the time that your wife gave birth?
If so, was it a friend or someone who your wife was very comfortable with? [I would not normally ask such impertinent questions
but you did write about this in your book, and I hope that you and your wife realise that this is not an unimportant question
This is quite a common experience. Labouring mothers arrive at the hospital or the birthing centre
only to be told that they are far too early, birth is still hours away. They are then sent away and quite commonly they give
birth in the taxi or car, much to the consternation of the accompanying attendant, be it husband or boyfriend.
I did not have any suggestions for providing a relatively painfree alternative to chemical anaesthesia, I would not be suggesting
that such alternatives be explored, and if found to be useful and harm-free to be recommended for use in hospitals and birthing
centres. My main concern is, that they would be considered to radical to use.
The first alternative was Neuro-stimulation.
I found this while researching in 1964 in the Reading Room of the British Museum. I was checking all entries for non-chemical
anaesthesia and while there were plenty for hypnotism, there was one entry for using a very weak current,which passed into
the mastoid processes, and the orbital ridges on the head. [Leduc, S., Production of sleep and general and local anaesthesiaby
intermittent current of low voltage. Arch.d'Electri Med., 10.617-621. 1902, Bordeaux.] (On my website there is more about
the Neuro-stuimulator on “INT 1- Inventions.”)
This device was only successful for 80 percent of his
patients. Obviously anaesthetics must be 100 percent effective so his device was never seriously considered for use. I had
a hunch that the problem lay in his use of a fixed frequency of current employed. So I had a machine constructed that employed
a variety of wave forms, frequencies, band widths etc., and this proved to be successful as long as one took the time to twiddle
the controls until the patient went into a deep anaesthetised state.
The second method was to ensure that the birthing
mother never met anyone other than someone she trusted, and who would not arouse the fear, fight or flight response. Once
she had gone into labour. Professor Odent uses this method quite frequently. According to a patient of his, when Odent is
called to his patients home or birthing centre the first thing he asks for is, 'Where is my bed?' Most births take place after
dark as you probably know.
He then goes to bed, and if asked is he going to examine the labouring mother he will
retort to the enquirer, [No, why is she sick?] After receiving a positive reply he will then sleep after telling the birth
attendant to wake him when the mother goes into labor or if she becomes anxious. When he is awoken with the news that birth
is imminent he will stand behind the door so that the mother cannot see him and will then guide the mother through the birthing
process as long as there is no pain or undue anxiety. This is of course if the mother needs such guidance. In this manner
he avoided stimulating the fear, fight or flight reflex, and inhibiting the birth from taking place, much as I surmise happened
to your wife..
I based my idea on providing private, furnished rooms that would be attached to a hospital or birthing
centre, on Professor Odent's work. Labouring mothers would go into the room without seeing or being greeted by nurses or physicians.
This would only apply to a healthy mother who had been checked with prenatal examinations on previous visits to the birthing
centre. The accompanying attendant or husband would see to the paperwork and then rejoin the mother in the birthing room.
The third method I discovered at the birth of my eldest daughter, Fonda, twenty-five years ago. My wife went into
labour and as we were having a home birth I got the waterproof sheet out and laid it over the carpet. My wife had gone into
the squatting position and as she was quite heavy with child I did not think I could get her to the bedroom. She then asked
me to phone for the midwife and I thinking of course that we could save ourselves some money, started to query her need for
a midwife. She looked at me with a ferocious glare and repeated the 'Get me the midwife.' I did so and when the midwife arrived,
I had difficulty in believing how rapid a transformation had come over my wife, she straightened
from the crouch and walked into the bedroom and laid on the bed. I looked closely at her and realised that she had gone into
the fear, fight or flight mode. Acting entirely on instinct, I asked the midwife to go and talk with some friends who had
also arrived as my wife and I needed to clear the air.
She did so, and then I told my wife something that I had
withheld from her, she flew into a rage, hit me very hard and shrieked with outrage. I got a pillow between us and directed
her to beat the pillows strenuously. At the same time, again quite instinctively, I got down on my hands and knees and began
to make some very deep grunting noises from my gut. She did the same that triggered more rage. She beat that pillow for about
twenty minutes, and then everything was back to her labour. By
the way, she also told me something that she had also
withheld from me, and I burst into tears.
Looking back I, although her husband, was in some respects a predator
to her. She was part Hawaiian and I was a Caucasian, as was the midwife. Many Hawaiians resented the Caucasian take-over of
their lands and the banning of their religion and language. So subliminally,I as a Caucasian was a predator in the Hawaiian's
unconscious (as well as in many cases consciously, too.) With my dissolving into tears I ceased to be any threat and once
she had discharged the adrenaline that was preventing labour from progressing easily, the baby, Fonda, shortly arrived. She
came with eyes open, alert and intensely curious.
The presence of midwife and friends no longer inhibited
my wife's labour. While I was waiting with my hands ready to receive her, the midwife having established that the cord was
free and not round her neck, I began to lose myself into those loving and yet wise eyes of my first born.
adding on a brief article and some references that you may find of interest. (On my website this is the article found on the
page CB 2- "Scandalous.")