By Kerry Tuschhoff, Founder/Director of Hypnobabies
In our Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis course, our students are in love with the Big Secrets! This is important information that remains mostly undisclosed when many expectant parents communicate with their medical caregivers. Since we advocate becoming as educated as possible about pregnancy and birthing choices, it is important for our Hypnobabies students to understand their rights. All expectant parents should learn this important information early in their pregnancy, to make certain that all decisions remain fully in their control.
Hypnobabies Secret #1: Did you know that in any situation that arises regarding your pregnancy, birthing, and with your baby’s care, you are always in charge? You (two) as the parent(s) are responsible for making the all-important decisions that will affect your health and that of your baby, your labor, and after-birth procedures.
It is important for you to know that no one can ever force you to do anything you feel uncomfortable with, no matter what the circumstances are. You as the consumer make all of the decisions, not the doctors and nurses. You actually tell them how you will give birth, since they are working for you. They are the “lifeguards” who stand by in case anything should happen outside of the realm of normal, and they will let you know if that is the case. They need not interfere in a normal birthing (no complications) to enforce standard procedures or routine interventions.
Lifeguards at a pool or beach are there to make certain that normal swimming and pool play remains safe. As long as it does, there is no reason to force a particular style of swimming or watersports on the participants they are watching. If anything needs their attention, the lifeguard can step in and address the situation with appropriate expertise. This is the role that physicians, nurse and midwives hold as well, when women are giving birth. Changing what is already working well in childbirth would be like a beach lifeguard making everyone get out of the water because there were jellyfish in the water once several years ago – just in case.
Question: Would you allow any other service professional to tell you how they were going to perform a service for you? Consider this scenario:
You want your carpets cleaned and you call Joe Carpet Cleaner to do the job because (a) he is the only carpet cleaner in town, (b) he has 20 years’ experience, or (c) he was first in the phonebook. As you are talking, you tell him exactly which rooms and area rugs you want cleaned and that you want the furniture moved to do it.
He says, “Well, I know it is your house, but … I’ll clean your carpets my way, and only 3 of the 5 rooms you wanted cleaned, no area rugs will be done, I have to charge you for doing the stairs too, even if you don’t have any, no furniture will be moved, and I want $2,000 as payment.” Would you say, “Well … okay, Joe, whatever you say—you’re the expert in carpets”? Or would you maybe say something not quite so nice? Would you ever allow someone to charge you money for a service you didn’t want, and direct it entirely to boot? Childbirth is so much more important than our carpets, yet when we fail to realize that we are consumers who can call all the shots, the parents of the baby being born and also people whose desires need to be respected, we can feel helpless … and you are very powerful.
Birthing couples have many options and as much power as they want; they just need to exercise it. It is your responsibility to become educated so that you can make informed decisions that will help you achieve your birthing goals.
Hypnobabies Secret #2: Doctors, nurses and midwives are just people like you and me; people who are taking care of their own agendas, and trying to do what they feel is best to have a good outcome for you and your baby with as little risk as possible for everyone, including themselves. They have special training, but not special powers. So if we as consumers will look at them as people, we will have a much easier time of interacting with them if they begin to manage childbirth differently than what we have expressed we want.
In reality, it is the expectant/birthing couple who have the ultimate responsibility for all pregnancy and birthing decisions as well as their newborn’s care. Each couple will make these decisions based on what is right for their own family—just taking care of their own birth preferences/agenda, the same way doctors and nurses do. Obstetrical care providers are actually people who very much want to keep their jobs. In order to do so, they have a lot to be concerned about:
• Concern over something going wrong, since they’ve seen everything that actually might go wrong (even very rare things that go wrong) which leads them to a …
• Fear of liability, since we live in a culture that is highly litigious, as well as …
• Fear of repercussion from hospitals where they have privileges, if they don’t adhere to routine protocols which were constructed to protect the hospitals from liability, etc.
Realizing that prenatal care providers are simply people like you, who have their own personal and professional agendas that may not coincide with yours at all times, will help you to be more confident about your own birthing plans. This helps you become stronger in your convictions and to adhere to them in the absence of complications. This also ensures your Hypnobabies birth will be much smoother and more satisfying to you.
That said, if you have chosen to give birth in a hospital, even though you have the same legal rights and personal choices as a birth center or homebirthing family, you need to understand:
There are medical (legal) protocols that dictate how obstetricians may practice within that hospital setting which dictate how your obstetrician manages your care.
Common birthing procedures (which are optional) may be presented as “mandatory policies” by hospital staff. This means that ALL choices are still yours to make, and you can choose to enforce all of your preferences in the absence of complications.
You might also choose to be more flexible with your original birthing plans to avoid conflict if that makes sense to you at the time. Ask for all the information you need to make an informed decision. Remember, it is always your choice whether to consent or to refuse any procedure or intervention suggested. Trust your instincts, and know that whatever decisions and choices you make are the right ones for you and your baby.
You may want to consider doing some research into midwifery care, birth centers, and home birthing which have all been proven to be safe and healthy options for an easier and more satisfying childbirth experience. The midwifery model of care is mother-centered, which means more time is spent during prenatal visits discussing natural birth options and offering emotional support. It is also important to note that all of the countries with maternal and infant mortality rates lower than those in the US have midwives attending the majority of low risk births.
Hypnobabies moms speak out about their rights:
Mary K.: Before our Hypnobabies course, it never occurred to me that I could decline services! It saved so much stress for me at my prenatal appointments; they never checked to see how far I was dilated because I declined every time. I saw other friends who were pregnant return from their appointments with numbers to dwell on, but I was calm and peaceful knowing my daughter would arrive when it was her time! Sarah V.: Hypnobabies gently led us to a low intervention birth. One of the ways this was possible was through creating birth preferences which provided the opportunity for my birth partner and I to discuss and consider each step of the birth. I've shared our birth preferences with many interested women and couples. Crystal D.: Hypnobabies provides an amazing depth of knowledge and information so you can make truly informed decisions about your care during pregnancy and when you are birthing. Having this information enabled us to have the completely hands-off, intervention-free birth that we had dreamed of.
Jenny B.: Putting my birth preferences down on paper helped me to see more clearly how confident I was about the choices I was making. Everything was so very clearly stated and reasonable that I knew my care providers would not have a problem supporting me! They didn’t!
Megan M.: I know that having the amazing births I had was in part because I knew how to talk with my care providers. I was able to make good choices and communicate what I wanted, and I felt confident doing so because I had the information and knowledge to back up my choices.
Amber D.: The education I learned in Hypnobabies was incredible. If I hadn't learned that the saline lock was unnecessary in most cases, then I would have left the hospital weighing more than when I went in just like my non-Hypnobabies friend did. She was so swollen because of the saline... and for no reason! Hypnobabies taught me to take ownership of my baby's birth. And that has empowered me to be more confident in trusting my instincts when it comes to raising my child.
Amanda S.: Hypnobabies helped me to realize that vaginal exams at the end of pregnancy tell us nothing, and can actually cause discouragement and frustration. It is not worth it! With my second daughter, I was thrilled to learn at 36 weeks, that I was 3cm and 80% effaced. I left my appointment thinking I would be having a baby that weekend. The following week I was 4cm. The weeks kept passing. Finally...my daughter was born two days shy of 40 weeks. Had I not had that vaginal exam, I would have saved myself a great deal of discouragement, and asking, "Why is she not here?" For my third daughter, I skipped all vaginal exams until I was over 41 weeks. It was then I learned that I was not dilated at all. I didn't let myself feel discouraged. I simply told the doctor, "That's ok, we both know it tells us nothing. Women do not give birth by numbers". I had my daughter less than 48 hours later.
Tracy G.: I loved how Hypnobabies worked on empowering the mother to not be a passive bystander in their birth but an active participant. I of course would and wanted input from the medical professionals who cared for me but I also felt empowered to give educated opinions on the different options and make my own choices.
Learn more about our Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Classes or our Home Study Course
Copyright © 2014 Hypnobabies LLC, All Rights Reserved - No Copying, Reprinting, Re-posting or Distribution Allowed. If you like our post, please link to it!
By Kerry Tuschhoff, Founder/Director of Hypnobabies
Today’s expectant couples are very proactive in their approach to childbirth preparation. They are well-educated, techno-savvy, and do a lot of research to help themselves make informed decisions for their baby’s birth. This is one of the reasons that our Hypnobabies program has become so popular with pregnant couples. In Hypnobabies we teach how their pregnancy and birthing choices will affect their baby’s health, their own birthing experience, and the association of the mother with the baby for the rest of their lives
Pregnant families understand fully that they need to take responsibility for their baby’s birth, and that failure to do so may result in care providers making those decisions for them without their educated input. Pregnant couples are no longer willing to give up their own control over decisions made in pregnancy, childbirth, and their new baby’s care, and Hypnobabies helps them to learn, practice, and use not only the best hypno-childbirth skills available, but also to create the birth of their dreams, without unnecessary medical intervention.
Do YOU have a beautiful vision of what you want your baby’s birth to be?
Most women do, and in order to have the best chance of fulfilling that vision, there is much to know … and much to do. The first thing we need to admit to ourselves is that no matter what others have told us, no matter how many TV shows, books, and websites have tried to portray it differently, in actuality women’s bodies were perfectly designed: to carry and grow a child through pregnancy, to give birth without intervention or complications, and to easily nourish a baby. The truth is, every woman knows this innately in her heart and in her soul. Challenges to this innate knowledge only arise when we allow ourselves to be convinced otherwise. If we allow any other person or set of events to dictate what our pregnancies and birth experiences are going to be … our own vision of what is right for us and our babies vanishes. Fear takes its place, others' agendas replace our own. This erosion of our innate understanding of what childbirth can be is disappointing to some and devastating to others.
Do you want to feel safe and secure when you give birth?
All women have this need, and for some that feeling of security will be in a hospital with all that technology can provide. Others will only feel safe and secure when they choose to birth in the calmness of their home or at a birth center. No matter where you feel the safest, your birth experience belongs to you. You deserve an opportunity to make the decisions that will create your beautiful birthing; easy, joyful, and empowering.
We must all recognize the value of medical intervention in childbirth, when necessary. Proper and timely intervention during a complicated birth can save lives, and there’s no question about that.
However, since around 90% or more of all births are absolutely normal in all respects, intervention should be much less common than it is. Please understand that many routine obstetrical procedures have been put into place to serve the legal needs of the medical facilities where a birth is taking place and may not be in the best interest of the birthing family.
Education about pregnancy and childbirth choices and rights is truly the key here. Learning about the choices you will be making, understanding that all choices belong to you, and knowing how to make your choices confidently can happen easily and quickly. The information in our Hypnobabies program has been compiled to help our students empower themselves and to enjoy their beautiful births through informed, educated decisions.
Quoting the World Health Organization: “In normal birth there should be a valid reason to interfere with the natural process.”
This includes things such as artificial rupture of membranes, artificially induced births, routine continuous fetal heart monitoring, and the routine use of pain relief drugs, including epidurals. Note that while there most certainly are legitimate uses for every one of these medical interventions and procedures, studies have shown that their routine use with all birthing women can lead to further interventions and a higher Cesarean section rate.
Birth, being a natural and normal process in the overwhelming majority of cases, should be allowed to progress with as little direct intervention as possible, and interventions should be used only when medically indicated. In addition, the choices you make for your baby’s birth can impact your ability to use your hypnosis skills and comfort techniques. When a mother desires all the dynamics in her Birthing Time to be positive, her choices must follow suit.
Please understand that the information presented here is pro-normal, physiological birth, not anti-medical. It is important to know the alternatives to routine procedures so that when faced with the choice of accepting or declining any particular intervention during your baby’s birthing, you’ll know something about it beforehand and you’ll be able to make an informed decision at the time. It is also your responsibility to evaluate for yourself what this information means to you. It’s up to you to decide how you want to plan your birth, which procedures you might choose to accept as offered, and which you will refuse or accept only under limited situations. You and your baby deserve to have the most current, evidence-based facts about what treatment you receive.
Hypnobabies advocates evidence-based birth practices and the consumer’s right to fully informed choice:
“Evidence-based maternity care means practices that have been shown by the highest quality, most current medical evidence to be most beneficial to mothers and babies (reducing incidences of injuries, complications, and death), with care tailored to the individual.”
~ ImprovingBirth.Org http://www.improvingbirth.org/the-evidence-shows
As a childbirth education organization, we only provide our students with information; what our students do with it is entirely their choice. At Hypnobabies we do not provide any medical advice, practice medicine, or advise our students to make any particular pregnancy or birthing choices. We encourage all expectant parents to learn what their choices are, to do more research on anything that is of concern to them, and to make their own decisions. Care providers will also respond more favorably to your interests and concerns when they understand that you are educated and speaking on behalf of your own beliefs.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be so joyful and powerful, and will continue to have an effect on the new mother and her partner, their baby, and even the birth professionals that attend the birth and support the family. Knowledge and its loving use can create strong, positive decisions and birthing bliss!
Learn more about our Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Classes and our Home Study Course.
Copyright © 2014 Hypnobabies LLC, All Rights Reserved - No Copying, Reprinting, Re-posting or Distribution Allowed. If you like our post, please link to it!
by Hannah Dahlen, Professor of Midwifery at University of Western Sydney
Why do so many moms give birth on their backs when studies show that upright positions help so much? We found a great article that explains the benefits of upright birthing positions!
Think of childbirth and you’re likely to picture a woman lying on her back on a hospital bed. That’s the position most (78%) Australian women adopt to give birth birth, despite growing evidence that being upright to give birth can have better outcomes for the mother and baby.
Historical and anthropological literature shows that lying down for birth is a relatively modern phenomenon, as we have moved from a more social to a surgical model of care. As far back as written records, carvings and paintings go, women have given birth upright – whether it was using stacked bricks to create a primitive birthing stool or holding onto leaves and ropes hung from trees. A famous drawing from Egypt depicts Cleopatra (69-30 BC) kneeling to give birth.
Read the rest of this wonderfully educational article HERE.
Birth Professionals and Hypno-Moms - Here it is …
Our 2015 Hypnobabies Instructor Training FAQs Webinar!
We are now accepting applications for our next Hypnobabies Instructor Training, April 17-20, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. We are accepting only 50 trainees for this training, and our Skype interviews begin July 1, 2014. Please watch our Instructor Training FAQS Webinar and then you can complete your online application.
Need more Hypnobabies Instructor training info first? Visit our Instructor Training page.
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Although the philosophy of some hypno-childbirth programs teach women that they will not have pain during labor “if they just relax enough”, most women find that idea to be inaccurate and misleading. If this was a valid theory, millions of women would have had pain-free births just from practicing and using the wonderful deep relaxation techniques that are taught in most natural childbirth classes, and that is simply not the case. Although there are women who do have pain-free births without much preparation or through deep breathing and relaxation, for most birthing mothers much more is needed, physically, mentally and emotionally to have a comfortable childbirth experience.
Childbirth experiences are different for every woman. There is no predicting how any one mother will feel as she gives birth. Telling a woman that she will feel no pain if she just relaxes enough is inadequate and inaccurate for most. This can confuse the mother and create self-doubt before, during and after birth.
Other programs and books teach that since childbirth is a normal physiological process for women, there is “no physiological reason for childbirth pain” and that pain is caused mostly by fear and therefore eradicating fear in childbirth will eliminate their pain. In reality, women are moving a large object through and out of their bodies when they give birth, and there are many sensitive nerves, muscles, ligaments, organs and other body parts being pressed on, pushed, and stretched to amazing lengths during this process. The big bag of muscles we call a uterus has stretched to the size of a large melon and the contractions that tighten these muscles up are extremely powerful. Pain for most women is indeed part of that process, and eradicating fear is helpful in lessening pain, but does not ensure pain elimination.
We do know of course, that pain can be made much worse by tension in the birthing body and by fear being present in the woman's mind. The Fear/Tension/Pain Syndrome is very real, however it needs to be recognized for what it is: a response to be lessened or eliminated so that childbirth can progress much more easily and comfortably. Simply eliminating fear during childbirth rarely results in completely eliminating pain, and we do a disservice to women when we tell them that it will.
The perceived intensity of birthing sensations depends partly upon:
• a woman’s emotions, before and during childbirth, since emotional and environmental stressors can cause constriction, Fear/Tension/Pain
• the size of a woman’s pelvis
• the size and positioning of her baby
• the strength of her uterine waves
• the birthing preparation (tools) each mother has chosen, how well she practiced them and how she uses them as she gives birth
• the choices women make during childbirth which can assist in a more comfortable birth
• and many more … There are actually many other factors which impact pain levels and the perception of pain during childbirth. Relaxation (or the lack thereof) is only one of the keys to a more comfortable birth experience.
Doing it "RIGHT"?
As we teach our Hypnobabies students, since each birthing journey is unique, there are so many variables in childbirth and we cannot ever know why each baby's birth unfolds as it does, they are always doing it right - there is never a possibility of "doing it wrong". Childbirth cannot ever be wrong; it is always right and each birthing mother does exactly what she needs to do for herself and her baby. It is painful and unfair for any new mother to have to feel as though she has somehow "failed" at childbirth because she had a difficult birth experience in any way, yet that is how some mothers feel if they are led to believe that if they had "relaxed enough" or "stopped fearing childbirth" it would not have been painful. In Hypnobabies, every birth is a Hypnobabies birth, no matter how it transpired, and we hope that each new mother will see the glory and joy in her birthing experience as she deserves to. This is one of the reasons we have hypnosis affirmations and script suggestions that help our mothers to "acccept any path my birthing journey takes, knowing it is the right one for me and my baby."
So what makes Hypnobabies so successful at producing easier and more comfortable births? In Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis, during birth preparation and childbirth, we focus greatly on several elements that assist with making childbirth easier and more comfortable. They are:
1) Hypnosis is the most important element for an easier, more comfortable birthing and takes moms far beyond deep relaxation and breathing techniques. The deep, somnambulistic hypnosis used in Hypnobabies actually re-trains and conditions the inner mind to convert birthing sensations from painful sensations to comfortable or even pleasurable ones. Hypnobabies mothers still experience normal birthing sensations - sensations such as pressure, stretching, pushing and tightening, as well as baby's movements, and they can be experienced with little or no discomfort in many cases. The following are side-effects of deep, somnambulistic hypnosis:
2) Deep Relaxation: The muscles of a birthing woman's body, especially the ones around her baby must be completely and totally relaxed so that they can work efficiently and without any added discomfort from the Fear/Tension/Pain response. Practice is therefore mandatory and must be taken seriously. Hypno-mothers need to instantly accomplish becoming completely limp and loose like a dishrag when prompted to relax their body. This is one of the reasons we do progressive relaxation inductions, and in every Hypnobabies hypnosis script, audio track, cue and technique, deep relaxation is practiced so that it becomes a completely automatic response. It is our Hypnobabies hypnosis training which “implants” suggestions into our Hypno-moms’ subconscious minds for instant and very deep total body relaxation.
3) Fear Clearing Sessions: Through hypnotic suggestion, our moms are gently guided to release and re-program a lifetime of not-so-encouraging expectations about childbirth. Every birth story an expectant woman reads, sees on TV or in the movies, or listens to during people's stories about their own birth experiences helps create her belief system about the process of birth.
Hypnobabies Fear Clearing sessions help our moms to let go of prior cultural conditioning, and to re-program any fears or concerns they may have about childbirth, into a sense of confidence and happy anticipation for their baby's birth. Releasing fears about birth and the resulting stress reduction, helps the body to relax and function well, to enjoy a restful sleep, and to actually enjoy pregnancy. Hypnobabies mom, Kim T., practicing her Hypnobabies hypnosis on a birth ball
How Can Hypnosis Help so Much?
The main way that hypnosis is used successfully in Hypnobabies is through Post-Hypnotic Suggestions. These are the programmed messages written with specific language for easier, more comfortable birthing that must be repeated (compounded) many times for the best effect. In order to create the deepest relaxation, real physical comfort and a calm, confident attitude, our Hypnobabies students need to reach a hypnotic state called somnambulism and listen to these post-hypnotic suggestions repeatedly for the best benefit.
Somnambulism is a very deep state of hypnosis where the person looks as if they are sleeping, and they may even breathe heavily as if they were asleep, but they are not asleep. They are as relaxed physiologically as they are when sleeping, but still very aware of what is happening around them (IF they want to be!). It is in this deep state of hypnosis that the subconscious mind can be re-trained to lessen or eliminate pain sensations, a process that hypnotherapist/pain management specialists call "hypno-anesthesia".
Hypno-moms must practice their hypnotic cues and techniques on a daily basis until the baby comes to create an easier more comfortable experience for everyone involved. They simply have to do their “hypno-homework” every day, no exceptions. This hypnosis practice is actually the easiest thing our moms do during their pregnancies; getting into a relaxed position with soft music in the background and allowing themselves to float away into a wonderfully deeper mental and physical state … all while listening to suggestions for an easy, gentle and comfortable birth. Hypnobabies practice is a gift they give themselves while pregnant that pays many dividends during birthing.
FAQ s about our Hypno-Doula Online Training Course for doulas and midwives:
Q) Is it really important to learn different techniques when a woman is using hypnosis for childbirth?
A) Yes. Your Hypno-birth clients have learned a new belief system about childbirth; that it does not have to be a painful experience, that it can be much easier by using the power of their inner mind. Labor and birth then, have ceased to be "hard work" to a Hypno-Mom and she is now using specific words and cues that act as instant comfort measures, emotionally and physically. She needs to be fully supported in these new concepts, words and Hypno-tools to be able to fully benefit from her childbirth hypnosis training. You can help
Q) Can childbirth hypnosis clients still use positional changes during labor and walk around to help their babies descend, being mobile and communicative?
A) They can if they are using Hypnobabies. We have what is called, "Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis", which has built-in hypnotic suggestions which allow our Hypno-Moms to walk, talk, move around freely and easily communicate with their birth team and caregivers, yet remain fully in hypnosis, relaxed and comfortable in any position. Other birth hypnosis programs require that the birthing mothers remain less active to retain relaxation skills and hypnosis techniques.
For most natural childbirth situations, traditional labor-assistance techniques provide the birthing woman with much more physical activity to stay comfortable, yet it is important for all doulas and midwives to learn that using hypnosis entails much more "inner work" and specific cues that have been programmed subconsciously. Hypnobabies moms can indeed use upright positions, birth balls and walk if they want to, but this will be for progress if needed or descent and positioning of the baby, and not to maintain comfort. Labor assistants who are familiar with all of this can easily help the birthing woman in the ways she truly needs to give birth using hypnosis.
Q) Can I learn to do this easily?
A) Yes. Our Hypno-Doula Online Training Program provides you with important information on hypnosis, how it is used in childbirth, who it works best for and how to help those using both Hypnobabies and regular hypno-birth techniques. It allows you to learn what the main Hypno-tools are in these programs, and directs you how to do a Birthing Rehearsal with your clients, providing you all a chance to work together by using them, long before the birthing day comes. We also encourage you to learn as much as you can about your Hypno-client s childbirth hypnosis program, by listening to some of their hypnosis audio tracks and reading the handouts and other materials provided to them in their Hypno-course, so that you can become completely familiar with the philosophy, techniques and cue words that are the main "tools" they will be using during labor.
Q) Will MY job as a doula or midwife really be that much easier if I become a Hypno-Doula?
A) WOW, Yes. You cannot imagine how much easier, more fun and gratifying it is to help your doula/midwifery client when you know the words, cues, techniques and the philosophy/training behind what they are and how they are used. You can easily help these wonderful birthing mothers quickly deepen their hypnosis and comfort level. Hypno-labors are shorter and less complicated when the Hypno-mom is fully supported in the way she needs to be and you may find yourself wanting to *only* work with Hypno-clients in the future
Please see our article below, written by a traditionally trained doula that has been in the birthing field for over 26 years, and who is now a Hypno-Doula
For more information, please read our “I am a HYPNO-Doula” article.
When our Hypno-moms listen to Hypnobabies hypnosis suggestions every day by way of hypnosis scripts, (which are read to them by their Birth Partner) and/or listening to audio tracks on their own, their inner minds become “re-trained” to perceive childbirth as easy and comfortable, their birthing waves as pressure, stretching or squeezing sensations, and the pushing phase as efficient and easier. This re-training works the same way as upgrading a software program on your computer: Upgrading is the process of replacing a product with a newer version of the same product.
With Hypnobabies hypnosis re-training, the old programs (conscious and subconscious belief systems about childbirth) get upgraded to newer ones that allow each expectant and birthing mother to experience pregnancy and childbirth in a much easier way. Post-hypnotic suggestions are the main processors of the new program upgrades that are responsible for the mental, physical and emotional changes that Hypnobabies produces.
Hypnobabies moms use these hypnosis suggestions, techniques and mental cues during their Birthing Time, and since they have been integrated into the subconscious through practice and repetition, they are instantly available. Since mothers practice (hundreds of times) using the new software in their mental computer, Hypnobabies hypnosis techniques are automatically functional when accessed during childbirth.
The foundational Hypnobabies hypnosis cue is a mental “lightswitch” that the Hypnobabies mother can use to enter hypnosis instantly and deeply. Since the effect of hypnosis is cumulative, each time a Hypnobabies mother practices her “Lightswitch” she automatically becomes more deeply primed with Hypnobabies hypnosis cues. We can liken it to using a new software program on your computer every day until it becomes second nature and you become an expert at utilizing that program!
During childbirth, our moms simply use their cues, enter hypnosis and become immediately relaxed, calm, confident and comfortable in mind and body. With the very first sensations that a birthing wave is beginning, Hypnobabies moms are already deeply in hypnosis and able to become much more relaxed as the wave builds in intensity, and able to use other mental techniques to create comfort exactly where it is needed. Hypnotic suggestions for instantly deepening hypnosis and remaining deeply in hypnosis in between pressure waves allows movement, positional changes, eating, drinking and talking. Hypnobabies birthing mothers have also learned complete childbirth education and physical comfort techniques so additional childbirth training is unnecessary.
During childbirth, some women listen to their Hypnobabies audio tracks, and some prefer to hear short verbal cues to reinforce their Hypnobabies techniques. Some moms simply tune everything else out and use their hypnosis cues and techniques by themselves, inside their minds, or by vocalizing the spoken cues.
Hypnobabies is easy to learn, practice and use with a little bit of education and guidance, and as with any new program, is most effective when all the instructions in our written materials are followed. We can’t program or upgrade our own computers without guidance from the experts, and the same is true for childbirth hypnosis!
How joyful for a mom to be able to say: "I'm so grateful Harriet could enter the world the way she did. I'm grateful I can tell her this story and share a positive view of birth with her, that every year on her birthday I can revisit all the wonderful memories with her and with Mike and my sister. For me, it wasn't an experience to be gotten done with as quickly as possible, but something to treasure and an opportunity to feel close to people I love. It was also an experience which made me feel very empowered, something I didn't necessarily expect going into it."
Baby Harriet's Birth
I've put off writing about the birth of my daughter Harriet for some time now, even though it's been on my mind a great deal, but not for the reason you might expect. Birth is hard to capture in words because when you're going through it, you're in such a different state of awareness. Especially because I used Hypnobabies, I was able to experience the birth process moment by moment, to really be present in it. But, if for no other reason than that I benefited from stories like these in the months leading up to Harriet's birth, I will do my best to sum it up.
I had a feeling my baby (we chose not to find out gender beforehand) might be born when, on a Tuesday morning at work, I started to feel a dull sort of ache in my low back, similar to menstrual backaches I've had in the past. I continued on with my day, taking little breathers if I needed to and using my Hypnobabies cues. By recess (I work at a school) I told one of my colleagues, "I think today might be the day!" and the sensations in my back were getting stronger and more frequent. During lunch, I decided I'd better drive home before things progressed any further. I calmly gathered my things and headed out. On the drive home, I listened to my pregnancy affirmations track and tried to relax while concentrating on the road ahead of me.
Once home, I felt much better as I could stretch out and lie down in a warm bath. By now I was fairly certain the baby would come today, that what I was feeling was the real deal! I called my husband, who had just sat down to a mediation--he's an attorney--and told him what was going on. Conveniently, I already had my 39 week checkup that day anyway, so when Mike got home he helped me to the car and we timed some waves on the way over. I could still joke and laugh a bit, but definitely needed to concentrate on staying relaxed most of the time. The midwife at our birth center said things were "definitely starting" but to go home and relax for a while longer.
READ THE FULL WONDERFUL BIRTH STORY HERE
My journey to Carter’s homebirth after cesarean (HBAC) began when my daughter Kaylee was born on September 1, 2011. I was induced at 38 weeks for pre-eclampsia with cytotec, pitocin, and an epidural which led to a cesarean section under general anesthesia. After her birth, I was determined to do things different the next time. I was needed to be the first person to see and hold my baby. I joined the Twin Cities chapter of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and learned that I was not alone. That other women had traumatic births as well, but they went on to have beautiful vaginal births after their cesarean. This is when we decided that when we had another child, they would be born at home.
We spent a lot of time doing our research on natural birth, homebirth, birthing classes, midwives, and more! On October 31st, 2012, we found out we were expecting our second child. We went on the hunt for the perfect homebirth midwife, doula, and childbirth class. We quickly found our midwives and decided to use Hypnobabies for this birth. We couldn’t attend in person classes due to scheduling conflicts, but we were able to do the home study course. We went back and forth on hiring a doula. One thing I really regretted in my daughter’s birth was not hiring a doula. Even though I had 2 wonderful midwives attending my birth, I didn’t want to have any regrets this time, so we went ahead with finding a doula (we hired Lindsay McCoy) and are beyond thankful we did.
I spent my pregnancy preparing myself for this birth. I needed to make sure I did not get pre-eclampsia and I needed to stay healthy. I completely changed my outlook on pregnancy and birth. I ate healthy, stayed active, went to prenatal yoga, received chiropractic care, bodywork, and massage, did my daily spinning babies, listened to my Hypnobabies tracks and practiced my Hypnobabies techniques, read more birth books, attended ICAN meetings (and joined the board), met more homebirth families, and really took an active roll in preparing for this birth. I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of having a successful HBAC!
Fast forward to July 2013. My guess date was July 13th, 2013. This day came and went with no baby. So did 41 weeks and 42 weeks! I was growing impatient, but my husband kept reassuring me that I would not be pregnant forever and that babies come when they are ready. Thankfully, my doula had gone to 43 weeks herself and assured me that I would go into my birthing time.
At 42 weeks we started trying all the old wives tales to get birthing started. This little guy must not have been ready, because none of them worked! At 42 weeks 4 days, we went in for a biophysical profile (BPP). This showed low fluid, but nothing my back up OB said was urgent. He encouraged us to keep trying to get birthing started and come back in 2 days for a follow up BPP and we would go from there. He was pretty confident that it would happen soon and was not concerned that I was nearing 43 weeks. We were very lucky to have fabulous, supportive midwives, and a wonderful back up OB!
Read the rest of Katie's healing HBAC birth story here
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Hypnobabies Instructor, Ricky Issler shares one of her stduent's joyous Hypnobabies testimonials:
“Baby Boston was born at Lucina Birth Centre, medication free and we did utilize our Hypnobabies techniques for the birth.
I found the Birth Day Affirmations the most useful for my early/mid birthing time… I listened to this with headphones, focusing on the positive affirmations which helped me feel calm and comforted.
During transformation (Hypnobabies for transition) I really focused on the anaesthesia component of the training… My anesthesia was orange although I didn’t focus so much on the color to block the intense pressure of the birth but as a visual reminder that my body was completely relaxed and open – and that was incredibly effective for me. I found that keeping my light switch (Hypnobabies technique) off during pressure waves really helped to keep me completely relaxed and not tensed up which helped my labor progress very quickly and made his actual passage very quick.
He was born after only 2 hours and 18 minutes of labor and was birthed after one spontaneous push… I gave birth standing up! The information i received in your Hypnobabies class greatly impacted my frame of mind going into my birthing time and gave me a sense of happy anticipation, instead of the uncertainty and trepidation I felt with my first pregnancy. I look back on my birthing experience with Boston with an immense fondness. I don’t know many women who would say they’d love to give birth all over again – but I truly would because my midwife combined with the skills I learned in your Hypnobabies class helped me connect with how naturally beautiful a medication free child birth can be.”
CLICK HERE TO SEE MANY MORE BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS OF MISTI'S BIRTH
Click here to see what other Hypnobabies students have to say about Ricky Issler's Hypnobabies Class!
Ricky Issler HCHI, CD(DONA) Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Instructor
Certified Birth Doula
by Rachel M.
What a strange journey this baby was! I found out I was “surprise” pregnant at about six weeks along. We always planned on having three, but wanted to wait another year. Keeping with the surprise theme, we decided to allow “Nugget” to remain a complete surprise.
Our eldest, Duncan (4) was absolutely adorable with this pregnancy and really became quite knowledgeable about the subject. So knowledgeable I felt the need to tell his pregnant preschool teacher that he might talk to her about “pushing a baby out of her vagina.” Luckily, Duncan was taught that childbirth was like exercise so he would not add to the negative stereotype! ;)
Because I had trained to be a Hypnobabies instructor, I also had the privilege to teach both of my friends Hypnobabies which was awesome. I followed along with their practice schedule this time since my husband was able to participate in the group class format and read half of the scripts. What a wonderful gift that turned out to be! His voice was instrumental in helping me during my pressure waves even more than my first Hypnobabies birth, Violet.
This was the birth of many surprises. At seven months pregnant, I interviewed for a new job and was shocked to be hired. This new position occurred six weeks before Nugget’s arrival and allowed me to transfer my maternity care to the birth center.
The week of Nuggets estimated arrival occurred and it was filled with a lot of practice birthing sessions which lasted about two hours. The week before she arrived I spent six hours overnight with regular birthing waves that got to seven minutes apart, but during the third rotation of the Deepening (Hypnobabies) track I fell asleep and woke up feeling great.
When the day finally arrived (40 weeks plus 3 days), I was feeling really cautious. We took the two older children to childcare and immediately set out walking in our neighborhood. After lunch, we headed to the birth center I allowed them to check me and I was 3 cm dilated. This was the day. I never dilate until the day I will give birth. Despite this knowledge we debated for several hours whether to stay in the birth center. When we had made our decision, the midwife checked me again and there was no change. Based on this fact and because my birthing waves were ranging from every five to 8 minutes, she told me that I was probably not active yet and that she didn’t know if I should stay. My excitement decreased and I found myself in a constant state of doubt through most of my birth. [Hypnobabies note: messages provided by birth care providers can have instant effects, especially on Hypnobabies moms since they are deeply in hypnosis and highly suggestible - read more on how midwives can help Hypno-families in an encouraging way here.]
Kevin and I discussed this, he told me that I was in my birthing time, that I was reading her message more negatively than she stated, and suggested that we do some pressure points for speeding up the process. An hour later, we had the same conversation with the midwife and decided to leave for dinner. It was very clear while I was trying to eat that this was it. I was nauseous, shaking and really struggling at the restaurant.
We arrived at the birth center before the midwife came back from dinner and proceeded to walk around the parking lot. I was certain, but I wanted to speed things along for the midwife. When we went into the birthing center, I continued walking and Kevin and my mother continued applying the pressure points. Kevin had been using counter pressure on my back for the majority of the day as well. Between the hypnosis and the counter pressure there was no discomfort. I began to feel tired and we spent several pressure waves sitting on the birthing ball and listening to my playlist of Hypnobabies tracks. Kevin either waited for a signal from me or guessed when I need counter pressure. The midwife came in again. I really should have allowed Kevin and my mother to do all the talking because conversations with her were negatively affecting my emotional state. I cannot believe that I could fully know that I was having Nugget and somehow decide I wasn't in my active birthing time. [Again...words easily affect birthing mothers right in the moment.] I agreed to be checked again and she told me that I was at 5 and then said she was going to stretch me to six.
This was very uncomfortable. She said that it would increase my hormones. It took an hour for me to recover from this. I include this here because this was my most uncomfortable time during my birth. In fact, I became comfortable again about an hour later. I spent the next hour, reminding myself to choose hypnosis while working through more discomfort than before and nausea.
An hour later, we were in the tub at exactly an hour, but I really wish I had gone in sooner. For the hour I waited to get into the tub, I had to use my peace cue (strengthening anesthesia cue) constantly and my birth team constantly helped me by using the relax and release cue. As soon as I hit the water it became much easier. They still helped me a lot, but instead of catching up to the discomfort in the middle we were able to get it immediately. Almost immediately upon entering the tub, I was in transformation (transition). It felt wonderful. I was comfortable, the water felt great on my tired muscles, and the pressure waves were coming between 1 minute and 2 minutes apart. At one point I lifted my head and I said “I think I’m in transformation which is the best part because my baby will be here soon.” I then laughed because this is what the Hypnobabies scripts said I would feel.
My body started pushing within an hour of getting in the tub. I think it was the first push that the midwife and my mother said that the baby was crowning and they could see the head! They tried to show me with the mirror, but I couldn’t curve around my body enough. At this point the mood in the room was really light. I noticed the nurse had arrived, Kevin was giving instructions for the camera, and the midwife was saying “I wouldn’t be surprised if she arrived before midnight, although, 7/7/2011 is a cooler birthday.” Kevin and I talked over each other to say “7/6/2011 would be fine with us.” Nugget and my body apparently agreed with the midwife. I pushed for another hour and then the midwife had my flip onto my back in the tub to check to see if there was a lip.
This was difficult for me. At this point, I had the strangest sensation that my hips were flying away. My husband was amazing and was able to continue applying sacral pressure while squeezing the top of my hips which made a huge difference.
The midwife said I had a lip and that with the next pressure wave she was going to hold it back. She told me to curve forward and hold my legs up. The next pressure wave came, she held the lip, I held my legs and then she had to remind me to curve which resulted in my letting my legs go. I just couldn’t seem to keep everything in my mind, but luckily that was all Nugget needed. Her head came halfway out with the same pressure wave. I was completely shocked that I could just stop with her head halfway out of my perineum with no pain just feeling really odd. I used the Hypnobabies method (of pushing in between waves to get the head out) and took a thirty second break and gradually pushed her head out and used the next pressure wave to do the shoulders. The midwife unwrapped the cord which was probably around her neck and handed her to us. We all forgot to check immediately, but she told us it was a girl. Eliza Katherine McNamara had arrived!
During this birth, I knew that a first time mom was in the next room and I told the nurse that I was sorry I was so loud. She told me that I wasn’t loud at all. She also said that this was the first birth that she saw hypnosis work. She told me that she didn’t really need to do anything so she was just sitting down listening to the Pushing Baby Out track. She struggled with not falling asleep! Can you imagine? My birth was so relaxing that my attendants were falling asleep!
Rachel McNamara is now a Certified Hypnobabies Instructor, teaching Hypnobabies Classes in Charleston, SC. Her first Hypnobaby's birth story (Violet) is here.
Violet's Birth - My First Hypnobaby
by Rachel M.
When I was pregnant with my first child, Duncan, I went to La Leche League meetings to learn about breastfeeding. In one of the meetings, women shared their birth stories. Several women had natural childbirths, several women had the epidural standard births, and two women sobbed as they relayed their nonstandard epidural births. I truly felt for those women and also believed that the natural childbirth women were a little too far onto the zealot scale for my taste. What an interesting experience to be able to reflect on when I became pregnant with my second, Violet.
My first birth was one of those horrible nonstandard epidural births. I had an epidural that didn't work and a long birthing time (34.5 hours). After the three month mark of my pregnancy with Violet, I became terrified. The thought of enduring a similar birth as Duncan's was overwhelming. Here I was three months pregnant and looking at a C-section or natural (zealot) birth. I went on a researching campaign and read at least seven books about natural childbirth including several midwife textbooks. I read these books, talked with a midwife and then watched amazing births using hypnosis on youtube. I cried many times because Duncan's birth was scary and filled with my ignorance while these birth videos were so beautiful. I wished that I'd had a doctor, family, or friends that could have educated me about my decisions for childbirth.
I had to have the hypnosis birth so I called Kerry Tuschoff at Hypnobabies and purchased the Home Study course. I started practicing at 26 weeks and almost did everything exactly as written in the books. The Home Study requires self-motivation and luckily I knew what "unprepared" could look like so I was obsessed. An unexpected benefit from Hypnobabies was the astounding ability of the scripts to remove all of my fears and anxiety about childbirth while instilling in me the confidence that I could do it differently. I will also add that the daily affirmations really did help me feel that my pregnant body was beautiful. The materials really cleared out all of my other concerns and allowed me to love pregnancy fully.
My birthing time (labor) started after 41 weeks. I woke up the morning of July 30th and noticed that my body was having pressure sensations at regular intervals. When my husband woke up I told him that I thought it was the day and we were very excited. I went into the bedroom and tried out different positions with the birthing ball, but it seemed like I "lost" the birthing waves (contractions). My husband found me crying in the bedroom and was very supportive. I decided to do one of the scripts that works on removing fears and then we went on a walk.
We walked around the neighborhood for at least an hour in ninety degree heat. We decided to go home and call my family who was planning on attending the birth when the pressure waves were fairly consistent between five and eight minutes apart and lasting a minute and a half. My sister came over immediately and we again went out walking. It seemed as soon as I walked into my house the intervals would get wider apart and I wanted to help my body to shorten the labor time. After another hour and half of walking, the pressure waves were getting more intense and I would have to stop walking and concentrate. We went home for a late lunch. My favorite position was being on my knees and elbows with my stomach in the middle in deep hypnosis with my husband pressing on my hips.
We headed to the hospital when my pressure waves were between four and six minutes apart. I put my ipod on in the car and listened to the easy first stage script (a Hypnobabies track). I counted 8 pressures waves in the twenty minute drive and was increasingly astonished that I was feeling no pain. Let me be clear, it was definitely my birthing time. My stomach would round into a hard ball, and I could feel my muscles pulling at my hips and my lower back more than I have ever noticed before. After parking the car, I remember walking to the hospital with my family joking and laughing. We would stop every time a pressure wave started so Kevin, my husband, could apply pressure to my hips and I could count myself into hypnosis. The receptionist at the hospital seemed astonished when I refused a wheelchair and asked where the stairs were. I refused to have another birth that lasted over a day.
When we got to labor and delivery at the hospital, the natural childbirth rooms were unavailable. We were shown to the antepartum room where I was checked and a fetal test strip was done. I used the easy first stage track during the fetal monitoring. Then we started walking the halls. We would walk and then stop with a pressure wave. I would lean on the walls and then my husband would apply pressure to my back. Occasionally I would return to the antepartum room to chug some water and go to the bathroom. I was really trying to avoid the IV.
After two hours of waiting, I was admitted and then I went into the tub. Oh boy, do I love the tub during childbirth. At this point, the birthing waves were coming pretty close together roughly between two and three and half minutes apart. I spent the majority of the time in hypnosis on my knees leaning forward against the wall of the tub. It required all of my concentration at this point to be on top of the waves so they would not become painful. I remember telling Kevin that I needed him to remind me to fully relax my abdominal muscles during waves and asking him to help me with the "peace" and "relax" cues. The nurse came in a couple of times to check on us and Kevin did all the talking. My sister and mother would come and go. The nurse only checked the baby's heart rate once for a minute. It is always amazing and wonderful to hear the heartbeat and to be assured she was doing fine. Violet was pretty motionless during the birthing time unlike her brother who was trying to kick his way out.
A couple of times, the wave would start painfully, but we were able to catch up using the cues. I remember one time wondering how I was doing. My mother and sister were sitting on chairs, drinking coffee, chatting, and knitting. It was comforting to know that this birth was going so peacefully they could relax. I took their behavior as a sign that everything was working perfectly and it rejuvenated me.
I know that at some point, I started saying "peace" aloud and "open open open". Soon after that, my mother came over to check on us and I told her something was happening and I need to move. I could feel my body changing and even a sense of bearing down even though I wasn't actively pushing. As my mother and husband were trying to help me out of the tub, the nurse came. They explained what was happening as I tried to sit on the toilet. This was a bad move. I wasn't able to concentrate enough when leaving the tub and while attempting to sit down I had another powerful and this time painful birthing wave. My husband could not immediately apply pressure and I was unable to use my hypnosis cues. I had at least another birthing wave on the toilet before I realized that going to the bathroom was not going to be possible. Friendly advice: every mom that I know who thought they had to go to bathroom at this point really had to deliver a child.
I made it to the bed became terrified of lying down and ended up on my hands and knees and was immediately began to use hypnosis again. Almost miraculously the doctor appeared and did a cervical check. I guess he said "you can push." I asked my mother if he said "the baby is never going to come." I guess that's transformation (Hypnobabies word for transition) for you! I was happy to be entering in the next stage so I began to push using exhale pushing and I had no problem using my voice. Oops, I didn't really share this plan with my sister and my mother and apparently they became afraid that I was in a lot of pain.
Shortly after beginning to push, my water burst. Thankfully, my thoughtful husband had put a towel over my legs. He informed me that it was as dramatic as any Hollywood video if not more dramatic. I continued pushing with the addition of my birthing ball to lean onto. At one point, the doctor told me the position wasn't working and wanted me to lay on my side. Once I laid down, Violet's head was out with one birthing wave. I had to stop because the cord was around her neck and impeding her progress. She wasn't purple, it just wasn't long enough to let her all the way out or long enough to slip over her head. The doctor had Kevin cut the cord and she was out in what seemed like a second. She was soon in my arms and nursing like a champ. We successfully delivered in comfort without medicaiton, tears or abrasions!
Dr. M. and the labor and delivery nurse were amazing. Dr. M. never suggested pain medication to me, did not break my amniotic sac, and apologized for having to cut the cord.
It was an AMAZING birth.
[Hypnobabies note: Rachel was so happy with her Hypnobabies birth that she has since become a Certified Hypnobabies Instructor and teaches Hypnobabies Classes in Charleston, SC. Rachel has also had another Hypnobaby - Eliza! Read Eliza's birthstory here]
OK, this is just gorgeous and fun! Hypnobabies Mom Kelly Jo, 30 weeks pregnant with twins, gives a beauitful belly dancing performance and Wow, does she have some strong abdominal muscles!
This is the birth-story of Alexander-Johannes born on the 24th of December 2012.
I was so sure in the beginning of this pregnancy that I want a different experience than last times. My first child was a mini-preemie of 700 grams born at 27 weeks. What a miracle 17 years ago! But the experience of the birth was so traumatic (it was treated as an abortion) and the hospitalization was so long that I’ve said to myself that I would never have children in my life again…
My second child was born in 2010 by C-section. I was preparing all of my pregnancy for a water birth. I’ve chosen a hospital and all my plans were falling apart. From the fist visit they told me I will be induced on the Guess Date (due date). I was not so happy about that, knowing that this can be extremely painful and can lead to other interventions. I’ve asked for another consultation expressing my concern and wishes (that I want everything to start of its own), they made me another ecography telling me this time that the baby is already too big, weighting more than 4300 grams (9 1/2 lb) and I won’t be able to deliver her vaginally. And I’ve believed them! The next day I had the C-section. The baby girl was 3900 grams (8 1/2 lb), not 4300 and we had a real hard time to breastfeed (she was bottle-fed with my expressed milk until she was 15 months) and to recover after operation.
So… the next child was coming and this time I wanted to make everything right. I did a lot of research and ate good vegetarian food (last time I was so fat and close to gestational diabetes). I’ve realized how manipulated I was the last time and how much damage has this done to me and to my family. Even though I’ve been seeing the same Gynecologist as last time, I was not so afraid anymore and I was not always listening to the “risk – stories” she always told me. I remember that in the last part of the pregnancy she asked every time if I was sure I want to have my baby in a Birth Center.
I was so thrilled when I’ve discovered Hypnobabies! I live in Europe and I’ve ordered the Self-Study Course. The positive feedback of the other moms made me trust Hypnobabies so much, that I didn’t what to try the Mongan method that was more known in Europe. The precious package was coming exactly 6 weeks before my Guess Date and I was so anxious to start right away. My toddler girl, 2 years old, made this many times impossible, but I was trying hard, even if I was falling in sleep most of the times when listening before bed.
Unfortunately, my husband was many times gone and it was so hard for him to tune up with me, doing his part of the practice. Even when he was home, we hardly found time to practice together because of our little daughter. So, I said to myself that if single moms can do this, I can do it. Nevertheless, I’ve explain the concept and the techniques to my husband. The sessions relaxed me so much and gave me so much confidence.
As the time was passing by, I was anxious to meet my baby and to live a nice birthing experience. We visited the Birth Center as I was 36 weeks and they told me I can have my baby there starting next week... I’ve explained to the midwives that I want to use autohypnosis and they were familiar with it. They had 33% of the births – water births. I was so happy.
So… the day comes…It is 4-5 am, I am sleeping. The water breaks. Hmmm, I feel warm and wet in my dream but I don’t wake up. Mild, but different as before contractions start and I wake up at 6.30, realizing that this is the real thing. I am 39 weeks and…it’s Christmas Day. Wow… we used to joke about getting the baby for Christmas, so, be careful what you wish for! I went in the living room and started to listen to the Birthing Day Affirmations, Fear Clear Session and Your birth guide, Easy First Stage having contractions every 10 minutes. They were pretty strong and in a short time they became more frequent, even to 4-5 minutes.
When my husband woke up I told him the news and he was jumping for excitement. He called the midwives at 9 a.m. and after another half of hour I was speaking with the one in duty that day. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t the same midwife I had the previous meetings, but I was calmed down by her warmly voice. I said to her that I feel that it’s going fast this time and she said we should better head on to the center. I’ve called my friend to take care of my little girl and I was hoping that I won’t be gone too long because she wasn’t used to stay without me. We were at the Birth Center at 12 am. When we’ve arrived, I’ve found out that the room with the bathtub was taken, there was another woman birthing there. I was a little disappointed again, but being prepared that things like that could happen I said “ok” and they put me in the smaller room.
The midwife was young, nice and very positive; I’ve resonated with her from the first minute. She asked me what do I listen to on my iPod and I’ve explained and she was open to it. She checked me and I was 2 cm but my cervix was very soft, “butter-like”. I’ve asked her if I could go home ( I was thinking all the time of my daughter ) and she said that things could go really fast sometimes, considering that I was so relaxed, she wouldn’t recommend it. So, I let my husband go, hoping that he would come back in time Anna ( the midwife ) wasn’t all the time with me and I could listen to my CDs, but from time to time she came in and disturbed me to make some procedures, I wasn’t so happy about this. In this very moment I’d wished I had a doula or my husband there reminding her to let me alone in my trance.
I’ve realized that I couldn’t concentrate enough. The pressure waves were sometimes painful, but supportable. Anna came in around 3 pm telling me that I can move because the other woman had to go to the hospital. Wow… so I can get my water-birth after all! That was great news (but I felt compassionately sorry for the other woman). She went to prepare the bath for me, letting me again alone with my CDs. When the things became pretty intense I told her I want to get in the bathtub. She asked me if I want to know how dilatated I am and I said “No, I don’t want to know because I feel my baby will be here soon”. It was 4 pm when I got in the water and that was so nice! My husband was there too, just in time. I’ve tried to listen to Your birth guide, Pushing Baby Out on my iPod, but I wasn’t so successful because I had always to move, to change positions during the pressure waves. So, here I am, holding my husband’s hand closely to break it, completely “on another planet”. I try to use anesthesia but it’s not working so efficient. I say to myself: “You should have been more consequent with your daily practice…” But I don’t complain, once I say “Please baby, come out!” and everybody is laughing. I just make an aaaaaahhhh loud sound during the pressure waves. Actually, this is good; as the mouth is opened the cervix is opening.
Anna is very supportive and tells me how good I am. In no time (seemed to me like 20 minutes after I was in the bathtub) I feel the urge to push. I instinctively stand on my knees and protect my perineum with my hands. The pain is gone, it’s just pressure. I know that soon I will meet my baby but I am not in the hurry, I use only the power of the pressure wave and I remember to breathe for my baby. 1, 2 and with the third the baby’s head comes out. One more and I feel the baby’s body coming out; I catch him with my hands and bring him on my chest. “Wow!” - says my husby.Anna didn’t get the chance to touch the baby. It is 5.17 pm. I cuddle with my baby and shed a tear saying that “I cannot believe I did it”. But he is there, in my arms, looking straight to my eyes like saying: “No, we did it, mummy”. Three hours later we drive to home.
This was the best gift I could ever get for Christmas! Thank you, Hypnobabies! I’ve got the birth that I wanted, almost exactly as I’ve imagined. And not only that I’ve got a baby, I’ve got my dignity and power back, I’ve got confidence and I am transformed human for the rest of my life, I’ve found myself! Even if I didn’t have a completely painless experience, I am sure that the method is working perfectly when practiced as recommended, not as I did.
Discovering Hypnobabies and the entire natural birth movement made me realize that I want to be a part of that, I want to help also other women to lose their fears and wake up, stand up for themselves, take their lives in their hands. During the pregnancy I’ve signed up for a doula course in 2013 and I know that someday I would fly to St.Louis to take the Hypnobabies Instructor Training. THANK YOU! God bless you all! You bring peace to this world.
Sincerely yours, Simona Pickhardt
[Note from Hypnobabies: Simona did indeed take our Hypnobabies Instructor Training in 2013 and now teaches Hypnobabies Classes in Hamburg, Germany!]
The weeks leading up to Olive’s birthing time were full of peace and patience. We were obviously very excited to meet her, and to experience birth, but at the same time we were confident that she would come when she was ready, and we wanted to cherish our last moments together as a single family. If ever there were slight discouragement, it was only because my body had shown no signs whatsoever of impending labor– only the mildest of Braxton-Hicks contractions, I was still carrying very high…etc. I chose not to do internal exams at my appointments as well, so I had no information to go on.
I woke up on Saturday morning and pretty quickly began to notice that my pressure waves (Hypnobabies talk for contractions) were more powerful, and I could feel them wrapping around my back. This was exciting for me, but at the same time I knew that many women have stronger pressure waves for weeks before their birthing time. Colin and I got dressed and ready and headed off to his afternoon soccer game, where I decided to walk the length of the field back and forth, back and forth, to see if anything happened with my waves. The whole time I was experiencing the pressure waves , but thinking very little of it, besides how cool it was to have a new sensation. After Colin’s game, we headed home and laid down for an afternoon nap. I could only sleep about a half an hour (Colin slept for 3 hours, which turned out to be a very good thing!), but did notice that during my rest the waves hadn’t slowed down or gone away at all, despite my being well hydrated and comfortable. I woke up and made dinner, still in doubt. When Colin woke up, we ate and hung out a little bit and watched an episode of The Office. I could tell that he was quietly watching me as I sat on our birthing ball and dealt with the ever-increasing strength of the waves. He was very calm and encouraging (as he would continue to be throughout or birthing time!), and made no attempt at timing them… he just watched me as I experienced them. Around 8 or 9 o’clock our landlords came over, and as we were chatting with them my pressure waves became stronger. I was unable (well, more unwilling at this point) to interact during them, so I began to lean over the counter and focus my way through them.
After they left, Colin and I decided that it may behoove us to begin listening to our Hypnobabies track “Easy First Stage”. I didn’t particularly enjoy this part of our early labor, as I much preferred to be able to move around instead of being in the “off switch” position (where your body has been trained to remain loose and limp from head to toe). It was at this point, around 11 o’clock, that I began really using my Hypnobabies training by switching to the “center switch” position (where you direct your anesthesia and relaxation to your birthing muscles, and are fully able to interact and move around as desired). I was still in disbelief that I was in actual labor, even though my pressure waves were about a minute long and 2-3 minutes apart (Looking back: WHAT?? ha!). I was very comfortable and would in no way describe these pressure waves as painful. My mind and body fully accepted every wave with gladness and excitement– I knew that whatever was going on in my body was preparing it for our little girl’s arrival. I smiled, laughed, and talked with Colin in between every pressure wave. This definitely contributed to my disbelief. I always imagined that labor would be much more grueling, even though we prepared very well with Hypnobabies.
I had always thought that I would be very active (walking) during the early stages of labor. I knew this was good for positioning the baby as well as keeping labor progressing. But, when it came down to it, all I really wanted during these waves was to be sitting down or squatting, with my arms or forehead on Colin’s shoulders, focusing, breathing and lowly “aah”ing. It felt good for me to vocalize the pressure I was feeling. After a little while, Colin suggested getting in the warm bathtub. He lit some candles, turned the light off, and played guitar for me and sang while I worked through each coming wave. I cherish that memory.
It was soon after that Colin insisted that we call our midwives (again, I was still in some form of disbelief and had been asking him not to. I think at this point I knew things were happening, but again, had heard so many times that first time labors are usually very long. I knew we could be laboring well into the morning and next day, so I didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Olive had other plans). After talking to them on the phone and having them listen through one of my pressure waves, they confirmed that I was most likely in active labor. They advised laying down to try and sleep for an hour, and calling back. Well, there was NO WAY I was going to be able to sleep, as the waves were becoming longer and closer together (still around a minute long but no more than two minutes apart). I wanted to feel clean and comfortable, so I decided to shower, as it helped me relax. Colin was at this point finishing up packing our bags (birthing clothes, all of the fresh fruit, protein and such for smoothies during labor), and I could see the excitement in his face, although he kept his physical excitement low (adrenaline is contagious and works against the birthing process). It was while he was packing the car that I noticed some bloody show when I went to the bathroom (I know, TMI, but as I said, this is a birth story!). As I had previously stated, we had learned to keep our adrenaline to a minimum in our classes, but I couldn’t help but excitedly yell out to Colin, “BLOODY SHOW! BLOOODYYY SHOWWW!!”. This is when I knew that I was in actual labor for the first time! It took me that long, but now it was undeniable. I became even more excited.
At 1:45 am, Colin and I knew it was time to head to the Birthing Center. Between waves I moved myself from our bedroom and onto our couch, and then I promptly vomited multiple times. I knew this was one way my body was alerting me that I was progressing in the laboring process. I was so happy! I continued breathing and “aah”ing through every pressure wave, with Colin by my side for every single one, offering a hand to hold, a forehead to lean on, and shoulders to grasp. We got into the car and began to make the 15 minute drive to Covenant Birth Center. I can honestly say that was the most surreal drive– we knew that our lives were about to change forever. We knew so little of what to expect. 9 months just can’t prepare you for that moment. It was so quiet on the road, and despite having frequent and long pressure waves, there was such an air of peace in that early morning hour. I don’t think I’ll ever look at I-20 and I-26 the same.
We got to the Birthing Center and our two midwives, Lisa and Alex, were bustling around making preparations. The first thing that they had me do was get on my back on the bed to be checked. (Side Note: I officially feel awful for women who are forced to spend their entire labors on their backs. That one minute it took our midwife to check me was so extremely uncomfortable!) She looked at me and smiled as she told us that I was 7-8 cm dilated (I was already in Transition!), and she could feel my bag of waters bulging! This gave me a burst of confidence, as one of my fears in labor was lack of progression. Colin and I had made it through our entire active labor at home and were in the middle of the “most difficult” part. It was around 2 a.m. I was so incredibly proud of our baby and, as strange as this may sound, continued to look forward to the rest of our birthing time.
Colin began helping Lisa and Alex fill up the inflatable birth pool as I continued working through the waves. I found it comfortable to labor on the toilet (How odd is that?), so I sat there for a good amount of time. It was a very surreal experience, being at the Birth Center. This is the place that I knew we were going to deliver Olive at for months. This is the place where I had learned so much about pregnancy and our baby, month after month. The lights were dim, there was music going, and I was left in peace with Colin to work our baby out.
There must have been a time vortex somewhere in the center, because we really did lose all sense of time. The next thing I knew, my water broke as I was sitting on the toilet (Very convenient)! Our midwife, Lisa, looked at me and said, “You’re planning a water birth, right? Well, I’d suggest getting into the tub before this turns into a toilet birth.” HA! The tub was full of water and I was able to climb in. If you are pregnant and planning a natural birth, I highly recommend laboring in the water! It felt amazing to have weight taken off of my body, and it was much easier to maneuver myself into different positions. The quietness of the room was perfect. The midwives were incredible– they really left Colin and I to ourselves. They had told us before that they wanted to give each of their clients what they needed and wanted in labor (within reason, of course), and it was clear that what we needed most was to be in peace, together. So with the exception of quietly sitting and watching and occasionally checking Olive’s heart rate, Colin and I were left to experience much of our labor alone together.
Let me tell you a little bit about Colin as my birth partner. If ever I witnessed silent strength, this was the moment. He spoke to me in near whispers, speaking the word, “peace” in my ear over and over and reminding me to go to my “Special Place” (a Hypnobabies technique in which the mother mentally and emotionally goes to a safe place with her baby). He recited Psalm 16 with me during pressure waves. I felt like he was anchoring me, watching over me and protecting me, and radiating pride all at the same time! His affirmation, I’m sure, had so much to do with the confidence I felt our entire birth.
The pressure waves were now seemingly right on top of each other and much, much stronger. As weird as it sounds, my heart felt gratitude towards them. I think this is one of the main principles of Hypnobabies that really became engrained in my mind and heart and helped me through labor. These powerful sensations were taking over my entire being in order to help our baby come to us safely, and soon! My “aah”ing became more intense, but again, as strange as it may sound, I can honestly say that pain was still not the sensation that I was feeling.
Minutes after my water broke, my body began to attempt pushing without me! It was such an odd feeling, not being able to control such a thing. Lisa instructed me to reach down and feel our baby’s head for the first time. Talk about surreal. I could feel her hair and her scrunched up skin! This gave me the boost of energy I needed, and soon I was able to participate in the ride my body was taking me on. I had heard women say that pushing was such a relief, and I have to agree. Allowing your body to take over you for hours is one thing– being able to work along with it is awesome. I focused on breathing her out instead of vigorously pushing, but when it came down to it, it felt good to put a little bit of power behind it. The midwives were again amazing and allowed me to choose how long and hard to push on my own. So, with my arms around Colin’s neck (he was in the tub at this point), I began to work baby girl out.
Every pressure wave brought her head down more and more. The midwives kept encouraging me to feel her! I can honestly say that birthing at that point becomes such an animalistic process. The noises that you make and the focused mindset that you come into is purely… animal. I don’t know how else to put it. It was so powerful. After about 20 minutes of pushing, Lisa asked if I would like to change positions to make it easier for both Colin and I to see Olive come out. So, with Colin’s arms around me from behind and me leaning into him, I pushed. After two pressure waves, I pushed for the last time as Olive’s head came out. What a strange sensation! One more push and out came her squirmy little (or, not so little) body. Colin quickly retrieved her from the water and brought her to my chest.
Her body felt so good in my arms. She was so squishy and soft! One reason I am so glad we did a natural birth was the state she was in when she came out. I imagine the transition from womb to world is usually pretty traumatizing– going from a warm, wet, and dark environment to a cold and usually bright room. But she was born into the warm water, and because of the lack of drugs in both of our systems, her eyes were open when she came out! She let out a scream immediately. Colin and I were both in such disbelief. All I could say over and over (after asking, “Is she still a girl?” haha) was “my baby. my baby!”.
After the cord stopped pulsing, Lisa allowed Colin to cut through the cord. He was amazed at how strong it was! They handed Olive off to Colin to go lay on the bed, skin to skin, while I delivered the placenta and got checked out. That was a very long few minutes for me, as my body was hemorrhaging blood and wouldn’t stop, on top of having a tear from her unexpected size and how quickly she came out. They had to give me a shot of pitocin in my leg and monitored me closely. None of this mattered. I got to hold my baby girl and nursed her for 45 minutes, drinking it all in with Colin. She ended up being 9 lbs. 3 oz. (which is funny, because just days before, Lisa predicted around 6 lbs. 10 oz.! HA!), 22 inches long, and scored a 10/10 on the apgar scale. We were all shocked at her size– especially because of the amount of weight I actually gained in pregnancy, how much I showed, and a pretty intentional diet. So it goes– the perks are plenty of fat rolls to kiss and pinch!
Olive’s birth was perfect. I could have never truly imagined what it would be like to experience labor, which is possibly a lot of the reason I was in disbelief for the vast majority of it. I highly recommend preparing your body, mind, and heart for such an experience with a class like Hypnobabies. It cleared any tension and fear I had about birth and replaced those bad thoughts with truth and confidence. It’s hard to explain how, but practicing creating anesthesia and being able to direct it where you need it in your body actually works! We were blessed to be able to bring Olive into the world in peace with a quick and uncomplicated labor. The midwives at Covenant offered us so much information during pregnancy as well as a strong knowledge of how to treat the laboring process. I have so much confidence in them and am such an advocate for what they do!
My birthing time started on my guess date. By suppertime that day, I started listening to the early birth time CDs (the fear clearing one first really helped set a positive tone). Í had a wonderful team at home with my hubby and my sister (who is also a doula). She had purchased the doula workbook from the Hypnobabies website and it was so useful for getting her familiar with the approach.
Using the CDs, the exercise ball and the bathtub-- things progressed smoothly and (by my definition) quickly. When we arrived at the hospital at 3am, I was fully dilated! Apparently, I'm the first physician in a long time to arrive fully dilated with a first baby-- way to go Hypnobabies!
The staff were great & very supportive of our approach. My GP was amazing-- fully on board with Hypnobabies and she was with us continuously from our arrival at the hospital until we welcomed our sweet pea (thankfully without the need of any interventions).
A special thank you to Jenn-- HypnoMammas (Hypnobabies) had an incredibly positive effect on my pregnancy, our birthing experience and life in general (I even used some of the tools last night to fall back to sleep after a particularly activating middle-of-the-night feeding!). We plan to use the program again if we are lucky enough to have another pregnancy and we've recommended HypnoMammas to many expecting couples.
Hypno-Mom Karen - Mathew's Birth Story
Before I share my HBA2C, I need to give some background information on my first two births. My first baby was born c/section because he was breech. I found out a few days before his birth that I have a uterine septum, meaning that my uterus is heart shaped. The septum in my uterus causes my babies to turn breech in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
My first experience with birth was very painful. I struggled with a long physical recovery and it was also emotionally painful. I wanted to give birth normally. No one seemed to understand why I was so upset because I had a healthy beautiful baby. That is what every mother wants and expects but I wanted a healthy baby and a good experience too! When I found out I was pregnant the second time I wanted to do things differently. A repeat c/section was out of the question. I even switched doctors when the first one I went to wasn’t supportive of a vaginal birth after cesarean (vbac). I recalled talking with a friend about her birth and that she had used hypnosis. I did an online search and found Hypnobabies and was immediately intrigued. I knew that this was what I wanted. I loved the hypnosis scripts and did a good job with my practicing. I also read a lot of books on natural childbirth. I felt very confident and prepared to have this baby normally. I knew I would have to fight for what I wanted in the hospital because it would be a vbac, but I was up for the challenge.
During my 38 week OB appointment my doctor informed me that my baby had turned breech. My heart sunk. I broke down and cried right there in his office. I went home and tried all kinds of things to get my baby to turn during that week, but when I went back a week later he was still breech. I had felt so ready and prepared for this birth, and I wasn’t even going to be given the opportunity to do it my way. So with a heavy heart I went into the hospital and had yet another c/sec.
I knew that we still wanted more children and I couldn’t face preparing for another vbac to have my hopes dashed. I told myself that I would just schedule a repeat c/sec and try not to feel bad. But my heart ached. I wanted that beautiful natural birth experience. I was angry at the situation, and at my body. Women’s bodies are made to birth babies vaginally and I felt cheated! A year after Jason was born I started reading more birth books and was put on the path to become a doula. I learned that I could have the birth experience that I yearned for and I would do everything in my power for that to happen. When I became pregnant for the third time I was ecstatic but soon after was faced with the challenge of finding the right care provider. I wanted a midwife for the quality of care and in the event that this baby turned breech then I could still birth normally.
I spent hours searching out midwifes and then driving around all of Utah and Salt Lake County interviewing them to make sure we were on the same page. I interviewed twelve midwifes. In the end I chose a wonderful midwife and felt very confident in my choice. I loved her and her assistant. They spent so much time in my home getting to know me; they listened to my hopes and fears for birth and gave such wonderful support. Then eight weeks before my due date my family and I moved 4 hours south of our home in Springville to St. George. Not only did I have the huge responsibility of packing up and moving our family but also finding a new midwife. Luckily I found two wonderful midwifes that work as a mother daughter team just one hour from my new home. They were very supportive of my wanting a vbac after 2 previous cesareans. They also had assisted in many breech births. So I felt confident in them, and they were confident in me. Sure enough, much like my last two pregnancies, when I went to my 35-week appointment my baby had turned breech. I spent the following weeks trying to get him to turn with exercises, chiropractic, hypnosis, energy work and more. I finally came to the conclusion that I had done everything in my power to get him to turn and it would be okay if he were born breech if that’s how he needed to be born. When I would listen to the Hypnobabies Turn Your Breech Baby Track, I was asked to visualize my baby being born in the vertex position, and I just couldn’t do it, it didn’t feel right. I really felt like he was supposed to be in a breech position. So I stopped worrying about it and just visualized my uterus having lots of room in it for my baby.
I went to my last midwife appointment at 38 weeks, a Monday. I was tired but excited that I only had a few more weeks left before I would meet my baby boy. I had been having Braxton Hicks for about three weeks and I was hoping that would make for a fast birth. Tuesday was a very busy day and the Braxton hicks felt different. They were stronger and more consistent. I was feeling them 10-15 min apart. After dinner I finally had a chance to rest and they slowed down. Wednesday morning I woke up a little disappointed to still be pregnant, but also glad I was because I still needed to fold and put away the baby clothes. I spent an hour listening to my Hypnobabies Birthing Day Affirmations and putting my baby’s room in order. I was very relaxing and enjoyable. I was really hoping that tonight would be the night, but I wasn’t having any Braxton Hicks or pressure waves. I took the boys to swimming lessons and then my friend came over and took my oldest son to play for the day. I tried to take it easy, but by the time Mike came home for dinner I was exhausted and cranky. I went to bed at 8:00, and Mike went on a bike ride.
By 8:15 I had two huge pressure waves (contractions) and I knew that something was different. I called my sister Kelly, who was also my hypno-doula at 8:30 and told her that I thought it was the night and asked her to come over. I tried to relax and sleep. Mike got home the same time Kelly showed up and I told him we were going to have a baby. It was so laid back and comfortable. Kelly would time my PW (pressure waves) and Mike and Kelly would take turns pressing on my back. We all got to work putting my house in order; I really wanted it to be clean for the midwives and after the birth. My pressure waves were coming about every 7 minutes and by 9:30 they hadn’t slowed down so I called Vickie, my midwife. I showered while Kelly and Mike put clean sheets on my bed. We continued to just hang out, relax and laugh. I tried to sleep but couldn’t because my PW were getting stronger, and I think I was afraid I was going to miss out on something. I went into the living room to sit on my birth ball, and have Kelly press on my back. It wasn’t very long when Vickie and Camille arrived (my midwives). I remember feeling grateful when they walked in that I was in the middle of a PW, so they would know that it was for real. After they got everything set up they came and checked my vitals and the baby with the doppler. Everyone relaxed and we chatted while I did my thing. My pressure waves were so easy that I was worried that I wasn’t really in my birthing time. Vickie wanted to check me around 1am. I was super nervous that I would only be 1 or 2cm dilated and I almost asked her not to tell me what number I was but I was curious. To my surprise I was 4 centimeters! I was so happy that I cried. Everyone was a little worried when I came out of my room with red eyes but I assured them that I was okay, that I was happy. I was a 4! Never in my life had I been dilated 4 centimeters.
Kelly made me a delicious chicken sandwich loaded with fresh veggies. It felt weird eating so much in the middle of the night, but I knew I needed it for energy later. We all just relaxed, talked and laughed. I spent a lot of time by the kitchen sink, I had just bought a padded mat and it felt so good to lean over the sink and have someone press on my back during a PW. At one point I was in the middle of a PW and my dad made a joke and I couldn’t help but laugh. (both my parents had come over) I was having so much fun. Vickie told him to stay and I would just laugh my baby out. After a while I decided to try to get some rest. I didn’t sleep but I rested in bed while listening to my Hypnobabies Deepening Track. Mike finished up some work on the computer while everyone slept. I was probably in my bed for an hour when things really started to pick up. I had Mike wake up Kelly so that she could read me Hypnobabies Birth Scripts and Prompts. I sat on the floor next to my bed while Mike massaged my head and my Mom and Kelly sat on the floor beside me. Camille and Vickie were in my room and checking on the baby and me but mostly they just took a step back and let me have my space. The lights in my room were low and we would talk between waves and Kelly would read me prompts. It was so easy and relaxing. My PW were starting to get stronger and I had my mom call my sister Katie to come over so that she could take pictures and video my birth.
My birthing time was so enjoyable. I loved feeling the light pressure of the waves and feeling my body relax when Kelly would read me scripts. I knew that my body was working just the way it was supposed to and that I would see Matthew soon.
After sitting on the floor for a while I started to get uncomfortable, not from the waves but from sitting on the floor. I decided to try the bathtub, and it was awesome. I was in the tub for hours, my body got so wrinkly but I didn’t care, I was so relaxed. We all just chatted and it was so much fun. We would be in the middle of a conversation and I wouldn’t want to stop for a PW so I would try to just relax on my own and keep listening and then the wave would peak and I would have to ask Kelly to read me another prompt and immediately my body would relax and it would be so easy. After the wave would end we would just continue our conversation where we left off.
When the sun started to come up I thought, “Wow, I’ve been up all night!” Vickie checked me again and I was 7 centimeters dilated. That was really exciting. I was progressing so well. I absolutely loved the way I was treated during my birthing time. I was surrounded by so many wonderful women that were all there for ME! I felt so loved. So many times I would just start crying because I was doing it, I was finally accomplishing what I had wanted for so long.
After a long while I got out of the tub. The water was getting cold and I needed a change of scenery. I sat on the birth ball for a while but found that it was more comfortable to stand and sway and then lean over the closest person during a wave. My boys woke up and knew that the baby was going to be here soon. It was nice to have them there but really distracting at the same time. They wanted Mike’s attention but I needed his attention too. So my Mom made us breakfast and then took them to her house and my dad was so great to play with them. Vicki checked me again and I was complete. I was so excited and thinking I would see my baby very soon. But I didn’t feel the urge to push. My midwives thought that he was still breech and posterior so we decided to try the rebozo while I listened to the Hypnobabies track “Turn Baby Turn.” I loved this, it was so relaxing having the movement of the rebozo and talking to Matthew asking him to turn to make his birth easier. I felt him rotate into an anterior position, but we all still thought he was breech. I tried a few pushes but still no urge so Vickie suggested I rest in bed for a while. Kelly stayed close and read me scripts while Mike pressed on my back.
I slept between waves, which was awesome. I rested for about an hour and then told Camille I was ready to start pushing. I was so tired at this point and ready to get things going. I tried pushing in bed on my side but that was really uncomfortable. I had wanted to have a pain free birth and so far I had, but now I was hurting and exhausted. I got out of bed and tried different pushing positions and that helped so much. I tried to stay upright to help him descend better. My bag of water was bobbing and not allowing Matthew to descend so Vickie broke my waters, to get some off the pressure off. The first few contractions a little water leaked out and then a huge gush! That was awesome. It felt like the hot water faucet had been turned, and it was coming out with that much pressure too. It would stop and then with another wave more and more water. I felt instant relief. That’s when my pressure waves changed and became more productive. I continued pushing in a squatting position. My pressure waves had picked up so much that I every time I had a wave I would ask Camille to look at me. It helped so much to make eye contact with her. I will always remember Camille’s beautiful brown eyes. She was so patient and loving with me during such a trying time. Vickie and Camille sat on my bathroom floor in front of me and would press on my knees while I pushed on the toilet. Kelly was there reading scripts to me but at this point all I could concentrate on was pushing and Camille’s eyes. I just wanted to get into the bathtub. Someone started filling it up again. When the water turned off and the bathtub was full Camille said that I could get in after 5 more contractions. I wasn’t keeping track but after awhile it was finally time to get in the tub. The warm water immediately helped relax my muscles. I was feeling a lot of backpressure so I asked Mike to press on my back. It helped tremendously; I even wanted him to keep it up between pushing.
I could feel my baby move down my birth canal, and it was very intense. I finally had gotten into the swing of things and I knew my baby would be here very soon, and then I could stop pushing. I kept thinking that I was feeling the “ring of fire” and any minute he would emerge and Camille would announce that my baby was here, but it kept on going. I was picturing his body coming down through me and I knew I had a lot of work to do. It hurt to push but I knew I couldn’t stop because he was almost here. I would compare how I was feeling to when you are working so hard with every ounce of your being to finish a really important task and it’s almost complete. You are more exhausted than you have ever been in your entire life but you just have to “push” through all the pain and exhaustion because you know the finish line is right up ahead. You just have to keep going, even though you want to stop, you can’t because you’ve worked too hard for this moment. So yes pushing hurt, but not so much that I even considered quitting. I had worked so hard for this moment, SO much prayer, research, time and tears to have my baby the way I wanted him to be born there was no way I was going to quit. I was doing it. I pushed with every bit of strength I had and Camille would reward my efforts with praise that really helped keep me going.
When Camille said that she could see hair and that my baby wasn’t breech, it took me a few minutes to register or even care what that meant. (Looking back I think he must have turned head down when I did the rebozo and listened to the Hypnobabies Turn Baby Turn track.) First that Matthew was coming headfirst and second if she could see hair then I was almost done! I continued pushing on my hands and knees for a while when all of a sudden I wanted to sit back in the tub. The room was full of excitement and I wanted a better view. All I could see was a head full of dark hair. I don’t remember hurting anymore, I was so motivated to meet by baby, I only pushed one more time and his head was all the way out, and then a little more to get his body out. Camille handed him directly to me. I cried. It was amazing, Matthew was here and we had done it together!
Matthew’s birth was so empowering. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done physically and emotionally. The past 9 months have been very emotional and life changing. My journey to Matthew’s birth has been long, hard and very lonely at times. Since Matthew’s birth Mike has expressed many times how great it was not to have surgery, and that I am home recovering so quickly. It has been easier for us to bond with the new baby as a family since I didn’t have a long hospital stay. Mike is amazed at what my body was able to do. He understands more of why it was so important for me to birth at home. A few days before Matt was born Mike and I were discussing the birth and some of his fears. He told me that my first OB had told him that because I had a heart shaped uterus that I would always have to have c-sections. It was pretty cute the way he announced very shortly after Matthew was born, “Don’t ever tell my wife that she can’t do something, because she WILL DO IT!”
I am so glad that I found Hypnobabies. I loved the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations. I feel that they helped me to be more confident during pregnancy and during my birth. The Hypnobabies program is fantastic! I love telling people that I loved my birthing time, and I really did. I was actually sad when it was all over. I highly recommend taking the Hypnobabies course. The live class is so great because you can ask questions and get to know other couples who are making similar choices for birth, much like a support group. I also encourage a hypo-doula. Kelly was such an asset to my birth team. She allowed Mike to take much-needed breaks and support me on a level that only a woman can. Even when she was just sitting next to me holding my hand I felt her strength.
I am so happy with this birth experience. It was better than I imagined. And even though my first two births were not ideal I wouldn’t trade them because I have learned so much. I would have never sought out anything different. I would not have become a doula or sought out the care of a midwife or had a homebirth. I believe that birth challenges us and changes us. And we can do hard things!
Baby Liam's Birth
I was induced with Cervidil at 3:30 pm, spent an hour on the monitor as per protocol, walked the halls of the hospital including doing all the stairs in the Janeway twice for an hour, and then was put on the monitor again for 30 minutes to monitor the baby. At this point, the nurse said she expected to see me later tonight as my pressure waves were already getting more regular on the monitor. I didn't feel much and was just looking forward to going home.
I arrived home at 6:30 pm, ate dinner, and managed to get a shower in before my pressure waves really started. In retrospect, I think I was having some pressure waves in the shower but I managed to blow dry my hair and get dressed afterwards. Around 9 pm I told my husband I was going to go lie in bed. He was shocked to hear that I was having pressure waves as I guess I was still functioning. I lay in bed and tried to time some of the waves but my phone kept timing out. I glanced at the clock and they seemed to be coming every 4 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds (my guess). This was around 9:30 pm. I was focusing on my breathing, completely disengaging from any surrounding noise or distractions and breathing my anaesthesia down to my lower abdomen and thighs. I put on the Early Stage CD before I lay in bed but was too focused on my breathing to really pay attention to the cues on the CD.
At 10 pm, my husband called back our doula and my older son's babysitter and told them that instead of the presumed hour, we needed to go to the hospital now. At 10:15pm we left for the hospital and arrived at 10:30pm, and I was 8cm dilated. They tried to get me into the hospital gown at which point I used my bubble of peace and proceeded to take off my pants, leaving me in my own dress. I started walking to my room but didn't get far as my waters broke, I lost my mucous plug and the urge to push began. They wheeled me into my room where I was 9 cm dilated.
I was already starting to push. My doula arrived, propped up the bed for me and I pushed for about an hour while semi-squating on my knees. My doula and hubby were gently promoting relaxation of my hands, shoulders and face in-between pressure waves. I was shutting completely off and disengaging every time I had a wave. It felt incredible to finally feel the so-called "burning" sensation in my perineum when Liam's head finally came out. He was born at 11:30 pm.
I smile every time I think of the experience. It was incredible and exactly what I wanted; no IV's and no medications unlike my first birth. Thank you Hypnobabies and Fiona!
Read more wonderful Hypnobabies Birth Stories from Fiona's students