Archive for October, 2010
20% off products in our Hypnobabies Web-Store; Oct. 29 – Nov 5, 2010 (excludes MP3s)
Our Hypnobabies Home Study Course for Expectant Mothers (both versions) – 20% off for one week ONLY
Happy Fall, Hypnobabies Fans!
It’s time for our Fall Sale – from Friday, October 29th to Friday, November 5th. All products in our regular Hypnobabies website store are 20% off, including the following: (use the code BLOG-FALL when ordering)
- Hypnobabies Individual CDs (see sidebar for titles)
- Hypnobabies Double-Track CDs
- Hypnobabies Comfort and Calm for the New Mother CD Set
- Hypnobabies Home Study Course for Expectant Mothers (both versions)
- Hypno-Doula Workbook, Study Guide and Hypno-Doula Bundle, for Doulas and Midwives
- New Baby, Toddler and Sleep CDs
- Introduction to Childbirth Hypnosis for Hypnotherapists Workbook
*Please note: MP3s are *not* included, our Hypnobabies Instructor Training is *not* included and HypnosisDownloads.com tracks are *not* included in this sale.
Please visit our Hypnobabies Web-Store to take advantage of this offer, and you must enter the code: BLOG-FALL at checkout, to get our 20% discount on your order.
Feel free to forward our Hypnobabies Sale information to other moms, e-mail groups, forums and lists, as well as Facebook and Twitter so your friends can save too!
Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI
Founder/Director of Hypnobabies
I’d like to share the hypnobirth of my second daughter (and first hypnobirth), Sadie. She was born Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 9:29pm at a nearby hospital.
I woke up Saturday at 6am feeling light pressure waves. However, I didn’t think much of them because I was 10 days “overdue” at that point and had been in pre-labor for a couple weeks. I had learned not to get too excited. I got up and went about my everyday routine and noticed, about four hours later, that they were not letting up. They weren’t getting closer together however so I continued to ignore them. About 2 in the afternoon after putting my 3 year old down for a nap, I decided to time them. They were about 5-8 mins. apart and they were getting slightly more intense. I was beginning to get excited and listened to Easy First Stage. I became really relaxed and was fully rested. I then soaked in the tub for a while and thats when I told my husband that I thought I was in labor. I don’t think he really believed me because I looked so calm! I really enjoyed the first stage of labor. I focused on the positive affirmations and scripture that reaffirmed my faith and strength in God.
I am not sure when I entered active labor. All I recall is that about 5pm, I was getting more and more uncomfortable and by six pm I was starting to think, “I think I should go to the hospital soon.” I timed the pressure waves again and was dissapointed when they were still 5-6 mins. apart. (My goal was to leave at 4 min. apart so as not to get to the hospital too early). However, at about 7pm my husband got back from the store and was about to fix supper when I told him, “We need to go to the hospital now!” I felt a lot of pressure in my bottom and new something was going on. The waves were still 5-6 min. apart but I didn’t care. Something inside me said, “GO NOW!” Once we were well on our way to the hospital (20 min. commute). We noticed that the waves were now 2-3 mins. apart and I really had to concentrate through each wave. I almost felt like I was sitting on the baby’s head! But, I breathed through them and visualized all the positive scripture and affirmations that I practiced with Hypnobabies.
Once at the hosptial, the ob checked me and said I was at 7cm! I was so happy because it was what I had visualized. He asked me what I wanted to do for pain and the nurse chimmed in, “Oh, but you are so close!” That gave me the confidence to say no to the epidural. An hour and a half later I felt the urge to push and everyone gathered around and just stood around me. It was totally mother directed pushing and I was not hooked up to the monitors. I pushed for about 20 min and pulled my baby out myself! I held her close as they cleaned her up and breastfed her right away. She was perfectly healthy and content. I felt so alert and great afterwards and was very happy that I didn’t tear. The doctor and nurses were all very impressed and supportive of my birth. One nurse said, “If everyone labored like this, we would be out of business!” And the doctor kept commenting on how in control and calm I remained through each pressure wave. We left the hospital under 24 hours. It was an amazing and thrilling experience.
Thanks to all the wonderful support and emails- they were so imformative. I am so glad I used Hypnobabies!
Let me just say that I am very proud of this birth. It was at a free-standing birth center with midwives and my hypnosis helped tremendously!
Eli was born at 6:53 am on July 9th, a day after our 10th wedding anniversary! He was 6lbs 8 oz upon arrival. I am writing this up now, only 2 days after birth because I won’t be able to take naps during the day until I do! My mind simply keeps playing over the events that I don’t want to forget. This birth was done with Hypnobabies hypnosis and was absolutely perfect.
My birthing time started the morning of July 8th and pressure waves were about 5 to 7 minutes apart from the very beginning. My mom came over that morning as she and dad are up visiting for about a month. My ‘guess’ date was July 21st, by the way! All morning, I walked, squatted, laid on the couch, and tried to stay as active as possible. I really wanted to walk outside but it was in the low nineties and the humidity was very high. I ended up just staying inside with our swamp-cooled air.
To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had worked towards this natural birth since the moment we found out we were pregnant. I figured out pretty quickly that if I wanted a completely natural birth I would have to step away from the OB/hospital birth that we initially were signed up for and go with a midwife/free-standing birth center birth and I’m glad that we did. Just to give a little background, my first birth was by C-section and even though at the time I was happy with it, after doing more research I believe my section might have been avoided by doing more walking/activity during labor. My 2nd child was a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and again, at the time I was thrilled with the outcome but the recovery was made difficult by the epidural/pitocin/episiotomy/vacuum extraction train that I boarded. Just recovering from the episiotomy took a full year!
So as I was laboring at home and looking forward to my 3rd birth, I knew what I was avoiding. I knew there was a small chance of transfer to a hospital from the birthing clinic but accepted that that might happen and that it would be because of a true emergency. So, midway through the day I started listening to my hypnosis tapes and one of the suggestions was inhaling relaxation and exhaling peace – I took this and modified it a bit. I would inhale and upon exhaling I would use my peace cue and breathe ‘peeaacce’ through the first part of my exhale and ‘open-open-open-open’ through the last part of my exhale. It allowed me to focus my anesthesia going to my middle and also to visualize my cervix opening. I believe this, along with the abdominal breathing was critical to the superb birth experience that I ended up having. It produced supreme relaxation. (As an aside, I read up on abdominal breathing because exhaling to the count of 8 had always given me trouble. So what I did was inhale first into my abdomen, and then fill up my lungs. My exhale would push the air first out of my lungs and then out of my abdomen. This gave me more to focus on instead of just the counting in to 4 and out to 8.)
By evening my pressure waves were more intense but I was staying nicely on top of them and was feeling very relaxed. I was listening to my ‘easy first stage’ CD and my ‘deepening’ but at times also just using my peace/open exhaling to relax through them. We started watching the DaVinci Code as mom had never seen it. I watched through about half and then went up to bed to try to rest. At some point I had a PW that took me by surprise and was a bit difficult to get through and because I wasn’t able to feel high enough to see how much I was dilated I decided to go down around midnight and let mom and Noel know that we needed to leave for the birth center.
We arrived at about 1am and upon stepping into the building I immediately had to squat next to the couch and go through a PW. The midwives were there and everyone stood back respectfully and let me do what I needed to do. I believe at this point I wasn’t yet actually saying my peace/open exhale out loud. I was more whispering it to myself. We got set up in their largest birth suite and I proceeded to squat, lay on the bed, toilet sit, and do a variety of positions that I hoped would get him moving down. Danny, the lead midwife checked me and I was 4cm and she suggested we wait a bit before getting into the tub. So after a couple of hours I was checked again and was 5cm and then got into the tub. Holly, the student midwife would come every half hour and check on the heart beat and his heart rate was always wonderful which was a relief. My husband was timing my PWs and at this point they were a little over a minute long and about 2 minutes apart. The water felt great with the first PW but after that they must have heated up because the relief soon left me. I started moaning my peace/open chant out loud and kept on top of the PWs for awhile. The pretty LED colored water helped, too! lol After a bit, probably around 4am, I decided to get out as I was getting too warm and though I was doing great relaxing through the first and last part of the pressure waves, I started loosing my concentration during the peak and would tense up my body. I decided a change of position might help.
So after getting out of the tub, I tried laying on the bed for awhile. I listened to my hypnobabies a bit more and didn’t want to stay in one position too long and so I tried some toilet sitting while hanging from my moms shoulders. This position was really effective with allowing me to relax my abdominal muscles upon inhalation. As I would inhale into my abdomen I would allow my muscles to just droop forward and down and it felt really good! I managed a couple that way before they again got the best of me and I decided I wanted back in the tub. My husband was putting some more hot water into the tub but as I was going from toilet to tub I ended up making a beeline for the bed. I got on my side and heard Kerry’s voice say “and your pressure waves are SO comfortable”. I was in the grip of a tough one and I yanked the earbuds out of my ears and tossed the mp3 player on the table and yelled “they are NOT comfortable!”. I laugh now about this. Mom told me later she thought that might have been when I entered transition. Anyway, then I had a pressure wave that was WAY different from the others. It felt like it just kind of took over my body and I didn’t like it one bit. I was laying on my side when I felt something pop down through against my perineum. I told mom I felt something so she went and grabbed the midwives. Holly, the student midwife came in first and she looked and said “uhhh, Danny?” Mom said she looked like she didn’t quite know what she was seeing. Turns out it was the intact water sac just inside of me! Mom later said that she thought Danny and Holly were surprised that I was moving along so fast. With the next PW, it popped out of me, still intact and it broke on its own a couple seconds later. She then was able to check me and said I was at 10cm.
Up until hearing that it was the amniotic sac they saw and that I was at a 10, incredibly, I didn’t realize that these new tough PWs were pushing PWs. I just thought they were a new plateau I had arrived at and that I had several more hours to labor through. This was only around 6:45am and at 4am I had been only 5 centimeters!
So I had another PW while side-lying on the bed and Danny said she saw his head just inside my perineum. I remember thinking, ‘that was fast!’ because it can take a LONG time sometimes for the head to descend from cervix to perineum and with me it happened with one involuntary push! Yay! I reached down and felt his head there but I told Danny I did not want to deliver in a side-lying position, even though it’s really a great position for preventing tears. I felt horribly out of control. She said, ‘well move fast’ and I got down and used the birthing stool that we had discussed as a possibility. (The other high possibility was a water birth, but that wasn’t going to happen at this point – the water was too cold). Once on the birthing stool, I felt SO much more in control of my PWs. In fact, I barely felt them. I did feel the so called ‘ring of fire’ but looking back it wasn’t that bad. (I had entirely forgotten about the pushing baby out track by this point!)
[Editor's note: Oh, I wish someone at the birth had remembered to play the "Pushing Baby Out" track on the "Birth Guide" CD out loud for this mom to hear while she was pushing. It would have helped beautifully to remind her of the "Peace" cue for instant physical comfort and she would have heard hypnosis suggestions like, "anesthesia flows out ahead of your baby, soothing and numbing everything in your bottom as it goes", and "more powerful natural anesthesia with every breath you exhale now", "Peace...and powerful anesthesia now", etc.]
I pushed twice on the birthing stool, once to get his head about 1/3rd out, at which point I reached down to feel it again (very wrinkly), and the next push had his head out. His shoulders rotated nicely and he just came down and out really fast into the midwifes arms. His cord was short so I couldn’t pull him up too high, so I held him more in my lap while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. It didn’t take too long as I had already started some separation bleeding. Danny said that I delivered him over an intact perineum but I did have a skid mark. Almost two weeks later it is feeling almost completely healed. Noel cut the cord and that was that!
My almost 6-year-old daughter McKenna was at the birth, but as we arrived at 1am at the birth center, she slept in one of the other suites while I did most of my laboring. My mom brought her in when I was pushing a bit on the bed. She and I had talked about birth and had watched a few videos so she was prepared for blood and yelling or possibly none of that. When I was on the birth stool, she was on the floor on a pillow kind of turned away but when the midwife said ‘here comes the head!’ she popped right up and got in there to see. I remember hearing her say a very enthusiastic “WOW” when he came out. I’m glad she was present. I’m hoping it will create a very special bond between them. She watched his first bath and loves holding and kissing him. Danny cleaned off the blood, but left the vernix so he’s kept his sweet baby smell for a few days.
So overall, excellent! I am very happy with how everything went and if this wasn’t my 3rd child, I’d be chomping at the bit to do it again. Amazing experience! I credit the hypnosis for keeping me positive and calm during the pregnancy and giving me great cues to help me focus through my pressure waves. I am thankful for how well the abdominal breathing worked. The midwives at The Baby Place were so kind and respectful and let me lead the show. I am still on a baby high right now! Thank you, thank you!!
Moira’s birth story
I had period-like cramps at night for a few days, so I knew it was close, but at the same time I had gotten used to feeling them. After spending a week or so telling my husband that most women’s waters don’t break until well into the birthing time, mine broke! It wasn’t a huge amount, but enough that I had to wear a pad and change it every hour. I called out doula to let her know and she told me to try and get as much rest as possible.
I made a playlist of Easy First Stage, Deepening , and Birthing Day Affirmations and went to bed. Around 2am I was having trouble sleeping through waves that were about 15 minutes apart. By 6am my husband was timing them at 3-4 minutes apart. I remember looking at him and saying “but they aren’t that long” and he smiled and said “if you say so”. He called our midwife’s office and when she returned his call she encouraged us to have the doula come to our house. (She was concerned that the broken water would put me on the clock at the hospital. . . and I sounded so calm.) I took a shower and then laid of the couch for a few minutes and slept between waves. At one point, I just sat up and said “we have to go”. DH called the doula and told her to meet us at the hospital instead!
I have to say earlier on I kept trying to turn my light switch off during pressure waves. At this point I was so uncomfortable staying still that I went to center and rocked mostly on the back of DH’s swivel office chair of all things! I HATED sitting on the birthing ball that used almost everyday!
The car ride took a lot of concentration, but it literally felt like a 5 minute ride. (It’s about 30 minutes.)
When we got to the hospital, we went through the same stupid stuff everyone complains about. The stupid questions! Hospital policy requires that moms are hooked up to monitors for at least 20 minutes before they can go to a room. I’m a person who normally can’t sit still, so this was like torture! Another nurse came in and asked me more questions that I had already answered. I literally ignored her during waves and answered her when I felt like it. (Although both DH and the doula were there and they could’ve easily answered the stupid questions! grrr) I did learn at this point that 1) my midwife was the one there from her practice and 2) the birth center (reserved for natural births) was open and ready! YEAH!
My midwife came down and checked me and seemed surprised and wanted me to get to the room. (I didn’t hear her then, but I was 8cms!) As soon as they released me from the monitors, I insisted on going to the bathroom AND walking- though they wouldn’t let me take the stairs! As soon as I got into the room I got in the tub. Another reason I love my midwife- moms aren’t allowed in the tub if they’ve broken waters! Hehe! I spent a good amount of time in that tub! I started to feel sick, so I got out, sat on the toilet, and the birthing stool.
I felt very pushy, but didn’t really know what to do. My midwife and doula talked to me about pushing and how I could do it. I listened to them, because I couldn’t really find a rhythm that worked for me. But I felt like it was on my terms. I was also listening to Pushing Baby Out out loud and everyone loved it! I couldn’t find a comfortable position, so they suggested that my husband sit on the bed behind me. I think this really ended up making the experience for both of us!
While she was crowing, my midwife said “you might feel stretching and burning.” I looked at her and said “Oh, I didn’t feel it until you said that!”
After getting a rhythm for pushing the midwife asked if I wanted to feel her head! I reached down and remember thinking she had less hair than I thought she would! I pushed for a bit longer and the MW explained that when her head got to a certain point, I would have to slow down so she could check for the cord. Within a few pushes, the nurse couldn’t get her heartbeat (she was so low!) and the MW told me that I had to get her out soon. The whole thing about slowing down totally went out of my mind and I pushed her out in one big push! The cord was around her neck, but the midwife got if off and put her right on my chest and she immediately wanted to eat! My husband was crying and telling me what an amazing job I did. It was one of the best moments of my life!
Pediatricians examined her in the room and the MW told me that she had been posterior, presented her forehead and had her hand by her head! She couldn’t believe it! She said she thought that she must have repositioned herself because I wasn’t showing signs of back labor
***BOP*** I ended up with a pretty nasty tear and she needed to consult with an OB to repair it. He wanted to give me an epidural for the repair, but the MW said, “She has a really high pain tolerance!” And told me to put my headphones back on! I had to be transferred to a regular labor room which made me even more thankful the center had been open. (It was the size of a closet!) They put me in stirrups and used a local anesthesia. ***end BOP***
Looking back I have no idea how I laid there and literally joked with the OB about the fact that I wanted to get a pedicure before the baby was born and apologizing about my chipped nail polish! I had the Deepening track on with one headphone in, in center and my husband was holding Moria in a chair next to me. The funniest thing was that the OB had come into the birth center and saw me on the queen sized bed before he requested the regular bed with stirrups. (He was an older guy; I can’t blame him for not wanting to lay on the bed while stitching!) While he was working he asked my midwife, “How do you deliver like that?” She laughed and said “everyone’s in the bed and everyone is comfortable.” I love it!
ANYONE who is having doubts, seriously Hypnobabies helped me so much! Up until a few days before, I was still unsure. I did a fear release about pain and if I’d be able to handle it. Here’s the thing, there wasn’t any! I’ve heard about how terrible back labor can be, and I didn’t feel anything that I couldn’t handle. Everyone was talking about my pain tolerance and how I was smiling at them. I’m a serious wimp when it comes to the dentist, so I don’t think that I have a particularly high pain tolerance. I just kept thinking about holding little Moira and made it happen. What an empowering experience!
A final note about husbands. . . mine was amazing. I couldn’t take it seriously when he read scripts to me, so we never did that. He learned the cues and used them perfectly! I remember him touching my arm and saying “relax” and instantly relaxing, not realizing I had been tense. I don’t even know if he ever listened to the Birth partner CD.
A bit of back story first. I struggled with infertility for three years before conceiving a baby. The cause of the infertility was hypothyroidism, which I began treatment for five months before conception. Unfortunately my hypothyroidism was not well managed during my pregnancy, and I miscarried at 9 weeks. I then had another miscarriage at 5 weeks right after that. The main lesson these experiences taught me was to not simply trust doctors. After doing hundreds of hours of my own research, I started my own treatment program of diet, exercise, and thyroid treatment, supported by a naturopathic thyroid doctor. Five months later I conceived.
Though the pregnancy by all indications was progressing perfectly, I nonetheless was experiencing a great amount of fear. The miscarriages had been really hard on me and my husband, and it was all I could do to keep myself in a state of mind that was best for me and my growing baby. A friend of mine had mentioned hypnosis for childbirth (Hypnobirthing), and since I knew I wanted a natural childbirth I went online and found the Hypnobabies program. I started the program at 22 weeks, and it really helped calm my fears and teach me to really relax. I loved my daily training sessions! I started sleeping better (I had had major sleeping problems ever since my first pregnancy) and learned techniques to deal with my (often irrational) fears.
At 10 am, 40w4d, my water broke. My whole pregnancy I had been terrified of being induced, and as the day went on and no signs of labour appeared I began to think I would not be having the natural childbirth I wanted (I had an OB/GYN and was planning a hospital birth). I had been listening to birthing day affirmations and ‘baby come out’ for about a week already, and that day I listened to ‘easy first stage’ as well. I talked to my doula, who is also a labour and delivery nurse and first time hypno-doula, and we decided to wait it out until the next morning and then reassess. I ate some spicy food and went to bed.
At 10 am the following day, still no sign of labour! I called my doula, who suggested that I call this wonderful midwife with a home-birth practice that we had happened to meet the previous week. I called the midwife, who was full of advice and gentle encouragement, and she said she had never had a problem with infection in women who did not give birth within 24 hours of their water breaking. I called my doula who had done more research, and she also thought that waiting it out would not pose too great a risk. It seemed that the key was avoiding germy hospitals and constant cervical checks! We also agreed to lie to the hospital about when my water had broken so that I wouldn’t be treated as high risk (I justified this to myself in part by the fact that in England, women can go to 72 hours before being induced!). Since I was willing to lie by 24 hours but not by 48, I wanted to get things started. At 12:30 pm that afternoon I tried castor oil. I went to bed and listened to ‘easy first stage’ to wait it out.
By 3 pm I was having major diarrhea. By 3:30 I was having pressure waves and thinking “this might be it!”, but still in major doubt about whether my birthing time was actually starting. The diarrhea was very unpleasant; the pressure waves felt like practice waves + menstrual cramps. I decided to call my doula to give her a heads up, and she decided to come over. By the time she got to my house, around 4:30, it was pretty clear that this was in fact it! I put on “easy first stage” and mostly used my ball. In the next hour or so it also became clear that I was experiencing a lot of pressure in my back. I was really only comfortable in hands and knees and on my birthing ball. My husband and doula took turns putting counter pressure on my back. It took a great deal of concentration to get through each wave, since I was not mentally prepared for the back pain (the baby had been anterior since 29 weeks and I had done a great deal the whole pregnancy to ensure proper positioning, but he must have turned posterior just as it started to descend). By 6:30 pressure waves were coming about 3 minutes apart and lasting around a minute. I think it was 7:30 when we decided to head to the hospital, since I had become fixated on getting in the tub.
In the car, I used the off position to great effect, since I had 3 pressure waves on the 5 minute drive. In the parking lot I and on the way in I used my ball. By this point I had my iPod on playing hypnobabies tracks. A nurse was asking me questions, and when she asked how I envisioned my labour and delivery experience, I said, “I just want to be left alone.” After the nurses had read my birthing plan, they indeed did leave me alone (which was perfect)! I spent about 2.5 hours in triage, and when they checked me I was 4-5 cm dilated. In triage I insisted on my ball, even for the monitoring, since the back pain/pressure was so intense. The one time I swore was when I tried to lie down for a while! Though I was able to use my hypnosis just fine to have my cervix checked. By this point my arms and legs were getting pretty tired, but I just had to be in forward leaning positions. I was using centre switch but longed get into a fully supported position and switch off for a while. My wonderful husband and doula continually applied counter pressure and used the ‘relax’ cues. My doula started to suggest positions that would help move the baby out of posterior position, but I was too uncomfortable to use them.
Around 11:00 we finally got to my birthing room. The nurse promptly started in on the drug spiel, and she was referred to my birth plan. When she came back she had adjusted her attitude and was great from then on (I hardly remember her being there in fact). I got in the tub and hated it! I sat on my birthing ball in the tub and my husband used the shower to spray water on my back. I was still in control as long as my wonderful, amazing birth partners were both there with me, but I was beginning to think that I just wanted a break. I had expected the pattern to be pressure wave, then break, but instead it was pressure wave with intense back pressure, then intense back pressure. About midnight I got out of the tub and laid on the bed for a bit to rest. I then remember standing by the bed and telling my doula that I didn’t think I could do this. She immediately went to get the nurse to put my saline lock in, since she expected that I was in transition (my doctor had insisted on one, and we prolonged it as long as possible). The nurse checked me and in fact I was 9 cm, and feeling pushy, though I knew I couldn’t yet push. I remembered (I think from Alexander Technique for childbirth) that panting helped to keep one from pushing, so I immediately switched to ‘hee hee ha ha’ breathing during waves. I did this for at least half an hour, but it felt like just a few minutes. Then the doctor was there and saying I was complete and could push!!!
At first I used the ‘aahhh’ breathing technique to move the baby down. Other than the constant back pressure, pushing felt great! I vocalized with grunts and sometimes my ‘ahhh’s would turn into lion’s roars. Then my doctor suggested that I hold my breath in while pushing, because she thought it might be more effective. Since she physically checked a few times to see how I was moving the baby with each push, I thought I would try it, though in principle I was against “purple pushing”. The nice thing was that it was still very “mother directed”, since no one told me when to start or stop. Occasionally the doctor would ask if I had one more push in me, which I found encouraging, since I usually wanted to push once more anyways. I had been pushing for about 2 hours when I all of a sudden felt a real loss of energy. Though I had been physically very tired for a while (especially my arms and legs), this was different. I said so and the doctor suggested that I rest during the next wave of pushing. I did that as much as possible, and was able to go back to exerting myself with the next urge to push to my fullest capacity. I tried to ignore the gigantic clock they stupidly put right at the foot of the bed. At this point my husband was holding my leg (I was side-lying) and then my hand (the nurse took over my leg), and my doula was lightly rubbing my back. I watched the whole thing in the mirror which was so encouraging! I saw my doctor stretching my perineum with each push, and my baby’s hair, and I could see exactly what I was doing with each push. I kept thinking “see how much ROOM there is that the doctor is making?” When the baby crowned I indeed did feel ONLY stretching! Amazing! The most vivid thing was the feeling of bulk as the baby sat completely in my birth canal and with his head crowned at the opening. A few pushes later, 12 hours after my first pressure wave, he was out, and I heard “it’s a boy!” He had turned in the birth canal to anterior. It took a few seconds to work out how to get him onto me, since he had a very short cord. It felt like an eternity, though my husband says it was only a few seconds, and I started to cry out “let me see him!” I then let out four years of pent-up emotions with a few sobs when they put my beautiful baby boy on me.
We let the cord pulse out, and then my husband cut it. When they moved him up from my lower abdomen to my chest, I spoke to him and he lifted his head and looked straight at me, and then did the same when my husband spoke! By far, the greatest thing about having a natural childbirth in my view is having an alert baby who is totally him- or her-self from the very beginning. He was a whopping, shocking 9 lbs. 8 oz. (my husband and I are not big people!), and 21 inches. He was in great health all through birthing and after (though he had a bit of quick breathing for about 12 hours after birth). I nursed him for an hour and felt great—like I could get up and walk home! The two nurses that had attended our early morning birth were raving about how well I did, as did all the nurses I saw (they had heard about my hypnosis) during my 36 hour hospital stay. I did tear and needed stitches.
While I didn’t end up with the pain-free childbirth I had been preparing for, without the hypnosis I definitely would have been climbing the walls! Instead, I was able to keep in control the whole time, maintain my demeanor, get through what was necessary (car ride, medical procedures), and not be tempted into using drugs. I was also able to really fight the urge to tense up during waves, and just relax into them as much as possible. One of the most useful techniques my first-time hypno-doula used was reminding me to relax my face. I think this really helped shorten my birthing time. Pushing felt great (other than the constant back pressure and very distracting hemorrhoids) and so did crowning! I really can’t remember what the pressure waves even felt like, since the constant back pressure was all consuming. My only experience of pain was the back pain. Looking back, the only thing I would have changed would have been my mental preparation for and early first stage physical management of my back labour. The “change of plans” script would have helped me I think. Also, though I had not been envisioning a middle of the night birth, I really ended up liking the peace and quiet. I did end up with the maximum 12 hour labour I had imagined!
My beautiful, mellow Hypnobaby, Quinn, was born at 1:54 am on July 9th – her due date – after about 26 hours of labor and 5 hrs after my water broke. Although Quinn was my first birth baby, we also have a 19-month-old son, Josten (now 20 months), who my partner carried. So it was an interesting experience – being pregnant and going through birth after experiencing it all with my partner just a year and a half ago.
At just around midnight on July 8, I was awoken by pressure waves, which, after I started timing them, were about 6-7 minutes apart and about a minute long. I couldn’t sleep through them so I got up to try and sleep sitting on the birthing ball, leaning over pillows on the bed. While I was up, the waves pretty much went away, but once I was on the ball they came back. Not comfortable there, I decided to try lying down again, but to no avail. All this time I was listening to ‘fear release’, ‘easy first stage’, and ‘birthing day affirmations’. Finally, I got up, went to the kitchen, ate a snack, and starting thinking, with excitement, about my birthing day, which I knew was near at hand. After awhile, I realized that the waves had all but disappeared, but knew that if I tried to lie down again they’d return. I then went into my son’s room and managed to sleep between waves on the glider, for about 2 hrs.
At about 6:30 am I called the Birth Center where I was planning to deliver, and spoke to the midwife on call, who said it could be today, it could be next week! I knew, though, in the back of my mind, that it would be happening sooner than later. After another hour of sleeping between waves back in bed, my family got up and my partner, Haidee, asked if I thought she should stay home from work. I thought not, since my sister was going to be over that day anyway to help out, so she went off to work, I called in to work to say I wouldn’t be there, and an hour or so later my sister arrived. The day was spent mainly as usual, taking care of my son with my sister’s help, peppered by bouts of regular waves followed by periods of none.
During a short walk I started experiencing intense hip pain (all of my hypnosis work did not seem to touch the hip pain, since I hadn’t really gotten the idea of directing my anesthesia to anywhere but the areas that I was thinking would be affected by PWs and birth!). I decided that it might be a good idea to get a chiropractic adjustment that afternoon, if possible, hopefully to fix the hip problem, but also just to get into prime shape for the potentially long hours ahead. After my adjustment, my hip was no better, but my outlook remained very positive, and in fact I continued to feel as I had all day – excited and ready to give birth to my baby.
I had asked Haidee to come home early, since my sister had to leave for work, and once we were all home together again she called her mom to come over and help with Josten so that she could be attentive to me and get dinner made. My PWs continued to be off and on regular and then irregular, and I was able to take a bath for about 1/2 an hour, listening to my ‘birthing day affirmations’ CD.
During dinner (pasta and lots of veggies for strength and energy), they became a bit more regular. Whenever my son was near me when a PW came, and I would stop in my tracks and say “peace” over and over until it was passed, he whispered “pssss” right along with me. He was very attentive and sweet with me, ready, in his own way, for his little sister to arrive. After dinner I went back to the bedroom and spent about an hour on the birthing ball as my PWs became regular – about 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long. At about 8:45 or so the PWs got closer together, and at about 9:15 my water broke as I squatted through a wave. I told Haidee, and it was definitely time to go to the Birth Center, but it took awhile to get out the door (packing up the rest of what I wanted to bring, etc). We finally set out on the 20 minute drive to the Birth Center at about 10:00.
The ride in was actually quite comfortable for me, I just rode the waves and Haidee timed them on her phone’s stopwatch. They were now 3 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute each. I called the midwife and my parents, and texted with my sister on the way there, between PWs, and everyone was on their way (my parents were driving up from NJ and figured they’d arrive around 1 am).
Upon our arrival at the Birth Center, the wonderful midwife on duty that evening, Jill, greeted us warmly at the door and led us upstairs to the biggest of the three birthing rooms, since I was the only one laboring there so far that
night. She decided to check me before starting the IV antibiotics (I had tested GBS positive), and found me to be a very stretchy 7cm dilated. I wasn’t at all surprised – the whole experience was pretty much just as I had envisioned it to
be so far!
During the 1/2 hour it took to administer the antibiotics, my sister arrived. Haidee was applying pressure to my hips during my waves in the chair during this time, and my sister spelled her for a wave or two. It felt nice to have the pressure there, but I didn’t find it absolutely necessary, and was able to focus and breathe and chant Peace, Relax, Release as the PWs continued. Never once did I feel any sense of fear, nor did I experience pain, except in my right hip, but even that was perfectly bearable. I let Jill know that I’d like to get into the tub as soon as possible, so she started filling it, and by the time the IV was done it was ready for me to get into.
Being in the water felt wonderful. I continued listening to my Hypnobabies tracks, and soon Haidee joined me in the tub. My sister played photographer, and another midwife, Laurie, joined Jill because there was a chance that another birthing mom might be arriving before I gave birth. No one else did arrive during my time in the BC, so I had both wonderful midwives by my side the entire time, mostly being quiet and letting me do my thing, pouring warm water over my belly, and occasionally making suggestions for positioning my legs and body in the tub for optimum comfort.
After about 20 minutes in the tub, my body started feeling pushy, and I just went with it, checking with Jill, who was completely confident in my body’s ability to know when to push. As I pushed through the next bunch of waves I found myself getting more and more vocal and loud, chanting/groaning OPEN, OPEN, OPEN and Release, while Haidee whispered “Relax” into my ear.
We switched to the Pushing Baby Out CD and even though I don’t remember actually listening to it, I know that the soothing, familiar voice added to the already supportive and comforting energy that surrounded me. Although I don’t think I ever actually fully relaxed through any of my PWs, and definitely not during my pushing waves, I was able to completely relax between waves, and for the hour and 20 minutes that I pushed, I fell asleep between nearly every wave. There were times when I completely forgot that anyone but Haidee was in the room with me, since it was
My parents arrived at about 1:20 am and added their supportive energy to the room. Finally, my pushing waves became more frequent and each one lasted long enough for me to really start feeling like I was participating again. The
midwives encouraged me to focus my energy into my core, shift my body so that I was grabbing my own legs and grunting low and gutteral sounds as I pushed, and this helped enormously in helping me move the baby under my pelvis and out.
There were quite a number of PWs that felt to me like they should lead to the head crowning, and I started to get a bit antsy for it all to be over – not because I was in pain at all, but mainly because I was very tired and just ready to meet this baby! Apparently the midwives felt the same way, although no one gave me any indication that there was anything out of the ordinary going on. The baby’s heartbeat was steady and strong each time they used the doppler on me, so there was no concern, but it was just taking longer than they’d anticipated to get the head to crown and stay put. Finally it did, and Jill encouraged me to feel the full head of hair poking out between my legs. Everyone was marveling at the long hair floating in the water! Another push or two later, and the rest was very fast – her head came out, giving me a wonderful sense of relief and joy, and then I pushed again and felt her whole body just unfolding out of me.
She was immediately on my chest; silent, calm, and as pink as could be (with Apgar scores of 9 and 10)! We all just stayed there for a while, marveling at what had just happened and looking at Quinn. It turned out that her hand had been next to her head as she emerged, and that was likely the cause of my hip pain and the longer time it took to move her out.
The cord stopped pulsing, Haidee cut it, and then it was time for me to get out of the tub to birth the placenta. I was about halfway between the tub and the bed (maybe a 12 foot distance) when I felt a mild contraction, and a second later out plopped the placenta, right onto the floor! That was apparently a first for both midwives and after I was helped the rest of the way to the bed, as the mess was cleaned up, we all joked about the crime scene of blood spattered walls that would have to explained to the cleaning staff.
I firmly believe that my ability to not just endure this birth without any pain edications or medical interventions, but to actually thrill in it (I clearly remember saying, after a few particularly intense PWs, “this is AMAZING!”), is due to my preparation using Hypnobabies, prenatal yoga, and by reading a lot of positive birth stories and childbirth research. In learning how fear and stress can affect a woman during pregnancy and birth, and about the idea that the experience of pain in (normal, uncomplicated) childbirth is a cultural construct born out of fear- and pathology-based western medicine, I was able to let go of that fear. In re-programming my brain, through self-hypnosis, to understand the experience as intense pressure, and as a positive, beautiful and exciting thing with a definite beginning, middle and end (even if the timing is unknowable), I was able to have exactly the (virtually) pain free birth that I was hoping for, and that I knew I could have.
-Jen (proud and happy mama who still marvels at the fact that this incredible child was formed in and emerged from my own body!)
Well. . . here’s yet another birth story. I just want to say that I’m so grateful for the Hypnobabies home study course, and for this wonderful supportive email group. Thanks to you all! I’ve especially loved reading the birth stories from other hypno-moms in this group, and feel humbled to be sharing mine with such a special group of people.
Reed’s Birth Story (2nd baby, first Hypnobaby)
I live in a fairly remote area of rural New Zealand. Our local hospital has a maternity ward, but facilities are basic. There is no resident OB, though they do come up here to do clinics. None of the following are available: c-sec, epidural, pitocin induction, assisted deliveries (ventouse and forceps). This means that natural and unmedicated birth is pretty common in these parts! The little maternity ward caters for water birth and allows Dad, Mum and baby to room in together after the birth. Home births are pretty popular here, too. It’s a 2 and a half hour drive to the hospital in the city. That’s where you probably give birth if you are “high risk.” In an emergency situation, they fly you from the local hospital to the city hospital in a helicopter.
I believe that the majority of births in New Zealand are now attended by midwives. Usually a woman chooses one midwife and stays with her for all the prenatal visits, the birth, and about 4-6 weeks of post-natal care. This care is all free and government funded. I think we are very lucky.
I woke up a bit after 7.30am on the 7th of July. I’d been woken by a couple of strong pressure waves and had had the urge to change position and vocalise. . . but resisted the temptation in order not to disturb my husband and 2-year-old son who were sleeping on either side of me. I was 39 weeks + and had only had low-key Braxton Hicks waves so far. Perhaps this would be our baby’s birthday? I decided to get up, get organised and see if the pressure waves would vanish or establish a pattern.
By 7.50am I’d had about four more pressure waves. Due to lack of inclination, not having a stop watch, and my increasing sense of urgency regarding my preparations to get ready to leave the house, I didn’t count or time these waves. But I didn’t need a stopwatch to feel their intensity or to know that each wave was lasting a long time. I was surprised to feel some nausea, and a hot-and-cold trembly feeling when one wave caught me half-way across the kitchen with a jar of milk in my hands. I heard myself singing with the power of these waves (sounds quite lovely when I write about it. . . but probably sounded like one of our cows was stuck in a fence!). In my mind I heard some of my favourite hypnobabies affirmations – especially the one about how every powerful birthing wave was bringing our baby closer to being in my arms – and felt myself lighting up with so much love and anticipation: “Yes! This is our baby’s birthday.” I felt sure of it now, even though I’d only had a handful of pressure waves. Time to wake my husband Kevin and call Tania (our midwife).
BOP**Because our first son’s shoulders got a bit stuck on the way out, Tania had been suggesting that we might travel the 2 and a half hours down to the hospital in the city to have this baby. We’d also talked about probably birthing the baby in a hands and knees position to help him come out easily. Tania had made a point of telling me about a few of the different manoeuvres we could use to birth the shoulders, even though they’d most likely come out on their own this time. She laughed that at least I’m little (under 5’2” and about 100lb when not pregnant) and would be easy to flip over if need be. Still, it’s much easier and less traumatic to move a woman of any size if she knows what’s going on and why! Anyway, Tania now suggested over the phone that we meet at the local maternity annex first, just in case the baby was coming quickly. (She later told me that she could tell from the sound of my voice over the phone that this baby probably WAS coming quickly!) We could then decide to move on to the city if things were not progressing too fast.**End BOP
After another pressure wave, I gave up on the idea of making a quick breakfast, but drank a glass of water in hopes of staying hydrated for the birth. As I woke my husband (who works nights and was not exactly easy to rouse after only 3 hours of sleep) and son (who was in a grumpy and toxic state due to being not quite recovered from a bad case of the flu), and tried to prepare to leave, it began to seem to me that this baby would perhaps not wait to be born at the city hospital. After what seemed like a very long and trembly pressure wave, I went to the bathroom to vomit up the glass of water I’d drunk. I asked my husband to call my parents and ask them to meet us at the maternity annex as soon as possible to care for our son.
Finally we were in the car driving the 20 minutes to town. I had hoped to listen to Hypnobabies affirmations on the MP3 player on the way to town, but our son was throwing a full-scale tantrum and needed my attention. It’s not very nice to be a 2 and a half year old, not quite recovered from the flu and getting shovelled into your car seat in a big hurry one morning without having breakfast. I tried to comfort him between pressure waves. Once we had coverage for the cell phone, my husband dialled my parents’ number and handed the phone to me.
“Is Mum on her way to town?” I asked my Dad.
“No,” he answered, “She’s she’s still here. Kevin told her to wait until you called again.”
“What?? Tell her she needs to come as soon as possible,” I insisted, as I considered biting Kevin’s head off and chewing it up. After brief reflection, I decided to leave Kevin’s head on his body. He was having an intense morning too, and I really needed him to keep driving the car. Then the next pressure wave washed over me. I kept hearing soundbites from the Hypnobabies CDs in my mind – Kerri’s voice reminding me that this powerful experience was strengthening me and my baby and talking about “powerful birthing waves.”
These “waves” were starting to feel more and more like tsunamis, actually. It was hard to relax completely as the car lurched around the corners of the winding country road, but I felt myself welcoming each wave and vocalising as the intensity flooded through me. I think that with a different frame of mind I might have said those waves were “painful.” But I’m not sure. It made more sense to marvel at their power. I looked up and saw a rainbow arcing through the grey morning sky ahead of us. Our son kept up his five star tantrum performance in the back seat. Finally we reached the maternity annex at 8.30am
When I arrived, Tania asked me to pee on a stick for a urine test, but I couldn’t do it. One pressure wave came while I was on the toilet and the next found me somehow on all fours on the bathroom floor. I think my mad cow vocalisations now sounded like something from the wild animal park, but it felt so good to make these noises. I laughed and told Tania I didn’t want to stop the noise because I was connecting with my inner animal! She reassured me that since I was having a baby I was welcome to make whatever kind of noise I wanted. She also remarked that the pressure waves seemed to be just under 4 minutes apart. “They’re good strong ones, she added. That last one was more than 2 minutes long!”
We decided that Tania should give me an internal exam (the only one I ever had during this pregnancy and birth), so that we could make a fully informed decision about whether or not to try to drive to the city. It turned out that I was a “very stretchy 8cm” with a bulging bag of waters coming right down the birth canal. Tania assured me that this baby was coming soon. The waters looked on the point of bursting, and were the only thing holding back the baby. The last 2cm of cervix will be gone as soon as the membranes release, she told me, and the baby is well down into your pelvis and in a good position. No question of going to the city. Water birth was out, too, unfortunately, since there would not be enough time to fill the tub.
I was still up on the bed from the examination and didn’t want to move. I got onto my hands and knees and made powerful wild animal noises through the pressure waves. I was using the Hypnobabies “open open” and “peace” cues, though I don’t think I sounded very peaceful! I felt elated and powerful to know that our baby was so close to being born. My husband was still outside with our son, and I really didn’t want the baby to be born without him. I tried knees to chest position for a few waves. Still pretty intense, but it toned down the grunty pushy feelings that I’d been having and made me feel more grounded.
Tania said she was hoping Leeann, the other midwife, would arrive before the baby was born, too. So I kept leaning forward through the pressure waves to slow things down a bit. Since water birth was out, I asked Tania if we could use oil on my perineum. I’d read about this somewhere and thought it sounded very nice. She said that was a great idea, and no problem. She’d get the oil ready. “I liked what I saw when I examined you,” she added. “Everything’s lovely and stretchy. I think the baby will come out just fine this time.” (Tania knows nothing about Hypnobabies, but plainly she’s a natural when it comes to positive suggestions! All this talk about my “good strong” pressure waves, stretchy cervix and lovely stretchy birth canal was just what I wanted to hear!)
At last Kevin arrived and I leaned my head against him and asked him to rub my lower back during pressure waves. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me to “relax” as well. I was so happy and relieved that he was with me. After a few waves with Kevin and Leeann there, I realised that there was no need to hold back any longer. I knelt up a bit and let my body respond to that grunty feeling of fullness. The waters burst and gushed everywhere and I felt a huge sense of relief. It was 9:10am.
On the next wave, I felt the baby’s head come down and found myself tuning into various Hypnobabies cues about breathing him down and out “aaahh” and relaxing my face, arms and hands. I felt so well prepared and so much in control as I pushed our baby out, even though I think I probably sounded more feral than ever! I felt Tania putting oil on my perineum. It was warm and it felt so wonderful and comforting. After a few more waves I felt the most intense stretching. I said something like, “I’m stretching! I’m stretching so much!” “You’re doing great,” Tania encouraged me. “This is where it helps just to breathe gently and let yourself stretch before the baby’s head comes out.” I panted gently for a bit until I felt the stretching sensation subside. Then I pushed out our baby’s head. I couldn’t believe how easy and good that felt!
Next thing I knew, Tania was saying “Ok, we need to flip for the shoulders.” This really took me by surprise, since everything had gone so smoothly up until now. I was on my hands and knees. Tania and Leeann helped me over onto my back and flexed up my knees by my sides (McRoberts manoeuvre). I heard Tania say, “That’s got him. He’s turning. . . Here he is!” I felt our baby’s shoulders come out, and then the whole slippery length of his body. And then he was on my chest, warm and sticky and perfect!
Reed Brian F. was born at 9.33am on 7th of July, 23 inches long and weighing 7lb 13oz. Wow! That’s nearly 3 quarters of a pound lighter than his older brother’s birth weight of 8lb 8oz even though he’s a whole inch longer! He has long skinny arms and legs, broad shoulders and massive feet and hands. And his parents and big brother think he’s just gorgeous!!
Within 5 minutes he was helping himself to his first feed. The physiological 3rd stage happened just as I had visualised it. I felt great afterwards– the birth was smooth and practically bloodless. I didn’t have even so much as the tiniest scratch and swelling was almost nil. And who cares about “sticky shoulders” when they come unstuck so calmly and easily! We went home a few hours after Reed was born.
Hypnobabies was such an important part of this birth, even though I didn’t use the techniques and tracks the way I thought I would during the birth! I’d always expected and visualised a much slower and more mellow first stage and was really very surprised to have a baby in my arms just 2 hours after waking up in the morning.
- I didn’t end up listening to any tracks during the birth, and didn’t use the light switch at all.
- First, because I didn’t seem to have time.
- Second, because I didn’t actually feel the need.
- This birth was a wild and intense experience, but I felt so strong and positive throughout – never for a moment did I think that I couldn’t cope or didn’t want to be doing this.
- I was really glad I listened to the birth guide CDs a few times in the week before the birth, because lots of the suggestions off those tracks came back to me right when I needed them.
- I felt as if I had a customised birth guide CD playing inside my head!
- Post-hypnotic suggestion is a wonderful thing!!
- I fully believe that Hypnobabies helped to “programme” me for a positive and awesome birth experience.