"I was able to birth without any drugs! I feel 100% good
∼ Katie in Liberty Lake
" Thank you so much for all of your support, Hypnobirthing was instrumental in helping us have a peaceful home birth like we wanted! "
"We had a HypnoBirth and it was wonderful."
"The breathing and relaxation techniques worked so well. The whole experience
∼ Heather in Spokane
"We were able to have a completely natural birth and our baby is a healthy,
sweet, calm boy! Thank you for your support in this process!
We are thrilled with our birth experience!!!"
∼Chelsea in Spokane
"HypnoBirthing® made all the difference."
"I went into triage and found out that I was already seven centimeters dilated! We did all of that relying on nothing but HypnoBirthing®"
"Labor and birth went wonderful! Labor was very different from my first son in
the fact it wasn't as fast, but it was a wonderful experience.
Thanks for preparing us for a great birth!"
∼ Jamie in Spokane
"It was a perfect birth experience and we are so grateful for
all you shared with us during the class. We felt beyond prepared and had an AMAZING experience."
∼ Heather in Cheney
On Monday, 4/24/17 at 4:54am I was sleeping (sitting up) in bed, because the night before I was unable to get comfortable lying flat in bed. I heard two loud "pops" and a gush of warm fluid. I hustled to the bathroom and indeed my water had just broke. I sat there in disbelief as the anxiety and excitement rolled in. As I was calling for my husband to get out of bed and get me some dry clothes his alarm for work went off. He got up and I said, "My water broke". He thought it was a joke, and after I showed him he said "holy cow, this is it, we are going to have a baby today!".
I had been contracting every 3-5 minutes without any pressure for days, and so we talked about if he was going to go into work or not and just wait for me to call him when actual labor started. We decided to have him stay home, and I told him to get ready for the day, I would do the same and then lay down in bed and start my HypnoBirthing. At 6:30am my contractions were every 3, I was shaking and feeling pressure. I told him that it was time to go.
We got to the hospital, were admitted and I asked to be checked. I was 3cm/100 effaced/ 0 station. My cervix was still posterior though. So I got in the jacuzzi and listened to the tapes while relaxing. One of the contractions brought me out of relaxing and up out of the tub, I then went back to the labor bed and asked to be checked. I was 4/100/0. At that time the pressure in my pelvis was intense. I stayed in hands and knees while my husband did counter pressure. I was starting to lose my focus and I told myself to listen and to do everything I had trained to do, but looking back this is the point that I got "spooked" and never regained my relaxation.
At 9:00am I felt the urge to push and I was 7/100/0. I was fighting the reflex to bare down. This is when I asked for the nitrous oxide... I used it for a couple contractions, but it wasn't helping and was more of a hindrance. My husband, throughout this whole thing did everything he could to get me to focus, but I wasn't listening and I was fighting my reflex to push. At 10:30am I felt like the exorcist. I was low tone moaning with each contraction in bed, and felt like I had to straighten my whole body during the contraction. In between I would close my eyes and try to rest.
I was checked again and my cervix was unchanged. I talked it over with my husband and (I know he felt uneasy about me using medications and that I just wasn't focusing) but we decided that I would try a dose of IV medication to get me relax and then hopefully my cervix would melt away and we could have our baby. My nurse at this time advised from my cervical check that she thought I was transitioning and just needed to relax, that the baby's head was very low, and I would be done soon.
After 3 more hours of fighting my body (1:00pm) and not relaxing, my doctor came in during her lunch to see me. We had many office discussions that at no point was she to let me have an epidural, and she had agreed. She checked my cervix during a contraction and thought that because I was fighting the urge to push, that I was causing my cervix to swell and she tried to show me different positions to use to relieve that sensation, but none of them worked. I asked her what she thought the problem was. She said that the baby's head was in my pelvis asynclitically. She said relaxation is key.
At this point my husband and I talked, and I was needing an epidural. I couldn't relax, I wasn't being patient, I was pushing when I knew I shouldn't and I wasn't focusing. We asked for an epidural and my doctor really made me think if this was going to be the right choice for us. We both said yes and I got an epidural. --holy cow, was I so lucky, to have a great doctor who respected my wishes, and nurses who fought for me to have the exact delivery I wanted. They did everything they could for me to avoid an epidural.
At 1:30pm I had an epidural and I was completely happy with the informed choices we made during our labor path. I was comfortable, and able to rest. My husband and I enjoyed talking and looking forward to finally meeting our baby. At 6:15pm I was finally a 10 and I wanted to start pushing. We used a mirror and I pushed as I felt was correct. At 7:34pm we welcomed our baby girl into our world. She was 6 lbs 9oz and 19 inches long. She has dad’s big cheeks and mom's dark hair. We are completely smitten.
We are so grateful for HypnoBirthing and we feel everything went perfect for us. I feel like I battled, and in the end I used a tool that allowed me to have her safely. Our next baby we will also be taking HypnoBirthing because our baby is sooooo calm and relaxed, and we attribute a lot of that to our practicing.
Thank you for all you have done for us, and we WILL keep in touch.
From a Happy HypnoBirthing Momma in Lewiston, ID - April 2017
Evelyn Rose finally made her way into the world on June 29 at 5:04pm via surprise cesarean.
HypnoBirthing made all the difference in my birth experience. At 10pm, I started experiencing backaches similar to the kind you get on your period. By 10:30, I noticed the backaches were coming every three minutes. I had been having false labor for two weeks, so I didn’t wake Nalo until midnight, when they had continued every 3-5 minutes and grown a bit in intensity.
Nalo and I worked through the contractions until I felt I needed more help. Our Doula, Bethany, was amazing. We spent a lot of time in polar bear because Evelyn was still posterior, and my labor was almost exclusively back labor. I had the Rainbow Relaxation play almost the entire time. Sometimes I didn’t hear it, but when I did, it really helped me to focus.
At 9am, I decided I needed to head to the hospital. There’s a bit of confusion about my dilation when I checked it. The nurse did an exam and said I was at 1cm, but ten minutes later the midwife checked me and I was at 6cm, so we don’t know if the nurse was somehow mistaken or if I jumped from 1cm to 6cm. I spent the next several hours laboring in the tub and on the bed and on the birthing ball. Everyone was impressed that I wasn’t yelling or crying.
I’m not sure of the time after we got to the hospital, but at some point, I had been laboring on the toilet, and they wanted to check my progress, and when they brought me to the bed, they had trouble getting a heartbeat. Everything became much more of a blur at this point, I know they massaged my stomach and managed to get her heart going again, but it was still dropping often, and had become irregular. I had only progressed to 7cm, and each contraction was causing her heart rate to drop or stop. I remember doing some sort of polar bear into squats, like playing leap frog, but I only progressed to 8cm, and then stayed there for I think an hour.
It became more and more apparent I would have to have a cesarean. I had been awake since 7:30am Sunday and had not eaten anything since 5:30 Sunday, and I was exhausted. I finally told Nalo I was ready for a cesarean. The doctor we had was amazing, and treated me like a human being, not a patient. The midwife stayed with me during the whole operation, and Nalo was with me of course. The midwife mentioned over and over how impressed she was with the HypnoBirthing, and how calm I seemed. I will admit, once everything started to go bad, I had trouble concentrating and the pain was worse, but until then, every single contraction, I just repeated to myself “My body knows what it's doing, Evelyn knows what she's doing. Work with your body, don't fight against it,” and it really helped.
The cesarean went smoothly, but they worried that Evelyn had inhaled meconium, so they kept her in the NICU to watch her. She was 19in and 8lbs 2oz. She was there until July 4, but she's home with us now, and doing so well. She's very strong and she loves to eat.
I want to thank you again for teaching this course. I didn't quite get the birth I wanted, but I had a natural labor until I had to get a cesarean, and I don't know that I could have done that without HypnoBirthing.
Cheney - July 2015
Thank you Mary!
I've been thinking a lot about you. So grateful to you for the session on Wednesday, and the class, and all your support. It helped me immensely to get through my enduring birthing journey!! Indeed, it did not go as I visualized. But it went as it was meant to go. I'm sure you cringed when I said "one strong push from mama"! Despite my desired intention, and belief that it can indeed happen, I was not able to breathe Baby down and out. But the blessing is that she is healthy and happy, and I was able to birth her naturally at home! It was close...
As for the enduring journey, at about 24 hours into it--a waxing and waning theme was emerging , with little "progress." The midwives did a vaginal exam and realized that I was only about 6cm and also that Baby's head was a bit angled, which was making it hard for her to slide through. So we tried the circuit--various positions and activities to get her in a better position. We thought it worked, so I went in the pool. But still, no progress. The contractions slowly began to dissipate. Perhaps I was too relaxed!
On another note, the midwives were monitoring her heartbeat at every contraction and it started to drop considerably (into the 90s). Her baseline was high (140s), so even though the 90s are "safe," the midwives began having concerns that she was in distress. I was also having excruciating back pain, and also pain in my pelvis during the contractions. They anticipated that Baby was struggling to get passed my pubic bone. They didn't realize how small my pelvis was until they saw me naked--it's quite small! I was so close to throwing in the towel. I was afraid for Baby's life. And I was tired, and began to doubt whether I could do it. But my husband and birthing team (midwives & doula) were all amazing. They believed in me, and encouraged me without pushing me. The choice was always there to transfer. But they genuinely felt Baby and I could do it, safely.
The midwives suggested I take rest for an hour, and we try the circuit again. But I intuitively knew that if I rested it was going to lose the momentum and was sure that the fear in my head would take over. So I decided to get up and get in the shower to reinvigorate my energy. This was it. One last chance, and if it doesn't work, we'll transfer. The contractions started strengthening in the shower. I got out, and then we tried a few positions--over the exercise ball, hands and knees, and birthing stool. Given the concern over the heart-rate, and the realization that Baby was struggling to get passed my public bone, my midwives instructed me to push as hard as I could in each of these positions. I pushed with all my might. But I still felt I wasn't getting the leverage I needed. So we went to the bathroom where I could lean over the sink and let gravity take over. I even tried squatting while holding on to the sink for leverage. I pushed as hard as I could through good dozen contractions. And yes, I even held my breath--which I swore I would never do! But I just felt I had to do whatever it took to get this baby out, fast. To compensate, I breathed ever so deeply in between. And I stayed calm, thanks to the relaxation techniques from hypno-birthing. Then, all at once, Baby suddenly emerged--head to foot!!! You can imagine how stunned and absolutely ecstatic and relieved we were. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of that moment. And it probably will for the rest of my life. She was bright pink, and cried out immediately. So there was likely no need to be concerned about her heartbeat after all. But who knew?
I still think it would've been possible to take it slower, and breathe her down. But we all didn't know. How could we? I don't regret it or think back to what it could've been. I feel good that we took the play it safe route. I also know as a matter of fact that if I transferred-or started--at the hospital I would've ended up with a C-section. So I'm counting my blessings in every way. The primary blessing is the joy of being with dear Baby. She is lighting up our lives!!
I ultimately trust that she benefited from a natural birth--even though it wasn't as "smooth" as it could've been. I ended up with a third degree tear. Which, again, is not what I expected! But sometimes life gives you opportunities of fierce grace-- they are hard at first, but open opportunities for opening your heart. My heart has never felt fuller. My having to take it easy is allowing me to be ever deeper in the present moment with her, here and now. Relishing in gratitude for her life.
So that is my birthing story. Probably not a good one for the testimonial! Ultimately, however, the HypnoBirthing course--including the breathing and relaxation techniques, visualizations, and your support and encouragement-- helped me stay relaxed and not lose faith in myself and my baby to manifest a natural birth even amidst a long, enduring journey. We did it!!
We will definitely be in contact in the next few weeks to find a time when you can come meet our dear Baby. Thank you again for everything.
Spokane - Oct 2016
NOTE: This is a perfect example of what happens when we let go of our fears around birthing! Erin & her husband educated themselves by taking our HypnoBirthing course. They put together an amazing team to support them both -- their midwives & doula. They practiced and used the tools they learned in the HypnoBirthing course. Erin trusted herself, followed her instincts, and did what was best for what was happening at the time. I'm so proud of Erin and her husband. ... Mary
We are so excited to announce the birth of our little man!! Labor and delivery was amazing, we knocked the socks off of the nurses and doctors! ... Did my scripts and breathing, had the music going, spent about an hour in the tub, my mom did light touch massage and husband was by my side helping the whole time. Baby arrived at 8:22, Dr barely made it in because he came so fast!
I didn't need any intervention during labor, we went all natural! ... I feel amazing and baby is feeding well and doing great! I feel so fortunate to have found your class and to have used HypnoBirthing! The nurses and the Dr who delivered (who is due in Oct) were all asking me about it after.
Can't thank you enough!
Spokane - Aug 2016
Thank you for everything Mary. Recovery has gone wonderfully. We had the most amazing birth experience. I got to watch them pull him out. They suctioned him and then we got to have skin to skin in the OR for 30 minutes and then moved to recovery and I nursed him for 40 minutes.
HypnoBirthing prepared me so much for this experience. I was so calm during surgery they couldn't believe it. Baby came out calm and quiet but very alert. They really had to make him cry. He is still a calm baby. He's a hypno baby regardless of his birth. His cord was wrapped around his neck which was clearly why he was so stuck. Needless to say our birth was perfect for us.
Spokane - Sept 2015
I had been visualizing the baby’s birth to take place on Thursday. I had all the details planned out. She was going to be born on September 23rd, because it was both a full moon and the autumnal equinox. I mean, that’s just so cool. I wanted labor to start around 11 a.m. so that I’d already have Dot fed. I’d call Virginia to come get Dot, have Rob come home, and watch this really funny movie to allow the laughter to release pain-relieving endorphins. Then it would be all about hypnobirthing for the next few hours as we made our way to the hospital and brought our baby girl into the world in very short order.
A few pieces of that visualization came to pass, but there was just no holding her off until the equinox. We did get an 11:00 start time. Unfortunately, it was 11:00 P.M. and was the 19th. I’d suspected labor would be starting soon, as my body had been giving me a few signs during the day. Still, I’d really committed to my visualization, so I was perhaps a tad surprised on Sunday night when it seemed really likely that I was in labor. No, I didn’t really believe I could determine the exact time and circumstances of something as complex as childbirth, but I did my best.
Mom, Rob, and Dot were all asleep, and I didn’t want to wake them if it was just “practice labor,” so I went ahead and watched some TV and practiced relaxation exercises. Dot woke a couple of times upstairs calling for me, and the second time I found myself crawling up the stairs during a contraction to pick her up, I figured I’d better go ahead and wake Rob to help. It was probably about 1:30 a.m. at that point. He got her back to sleep and laid down on the little couch with her.
I had my heart set on watching Tropic Thunder during the birth, and amazingly enough, it was available On Demand until the 20th. Mom decided to use the opportunity to get some more sleep, and Rob and I watched the movie for quite a while. During each contraction, I would put my head phones over my ears to listen to my hypnosis processes, put myself into a deep state of relaxation, and focus on “breathing the baby up.” Before the movie had ended, I let Rob know that I needed him to join in, so he put Dot back in bed and sat next to me to hold my hand, offer support, and even do some of the hypnosis processes himself.
I was also getting curious regarding my “progress,” so I had him time the contractions. He sat next to me as I lay on the couch listening to my processes. When a contraction would start, I’d squeeze his fingers, and then I did it again when it subsided. In this way, we were able to communicate without me being distracted from my relaxation. Around 4:00, I asked him to give Virginia a call, as she would be staying at the house with Dot when we went to the hospital. Mom got up around this time, and she would sometimes take over timing contractions or stroking my hair while Rob went around and gathered all the essentials for our hospital stay. Again, I’d kind of convinced myself I had a couple more days than I did, so we weren’t 100% packed.
When we had Dot, we used the Bradley Method, and in that we were taught “the 4-1-1.” It’s a method for determining if you’re ready to go to the hospital yet. It’s time if your contractions are four minutes apart, last for a minute, and have been in that pattern for one hour. Rob sort of got a little confused, and when I asked if we should head out, he said he didn’t think it was time because my contractions weren’t four minutes LONG yet. Oops. It turns out they were as little as two minutes apart, so we realized it was definitely time to load up and go.
Mom, Rob, and I got into the car, and I would pull my headphones on whenever I felt a contraction coming on. I may have been a tad critical of the condition of Spokane roads at that point, as the bumps were definitely not my friend! The hypnosis made a huge difference, though, and I was really in very good spirits throughout this whole thing.
We went in through the ER, and they wheeled me up to the birthing center. I had decided that I did want to get an epidural, despite the fact that I had managed extremely well with nothing but hypnosis at that point. My decision was based on the fact that my bag of waters hadn’t broken yet, and I knew that once it did, the discomfort was going to increase a fair amount. I had gotten to a point during my first birth where I’d just lost control of myself and my ability to deal with the situation, and I was very fearful of feeling that way again.
Nearly every aspect of laboring at the hospital went better this time around, though, and the mood was totally set when I went into triage and found out that I was already seven centimeters dilated! We did all of that relying on nothing but hypnobirthing, and I felt like such a success. I’d like to take the opportunity to point out that Rob was an amazing birth partner. We put quite a bit of time into practicing and preparing, and it paid off in such a big way. Many times, Rob would just have to begin speaking in his calm voice, and my mind and body just immediately melted into relaxation.
It just so happened that my doctor was in the birthing center that night, although I didn’t think to ask why. We got set up in our labor and delivery room and they allowed Mom to join us. As someone who is terrified of needles/IVs, I suppose it was only Murphy’s Law at play that caused the nurses to miss the vein on one hand so we had to go through the whole tear-filled process again on the other hand. Mom did have to leave, however, when the nurse anesthetist and nurse anesthetist intern arrived to do the epidural. Unfortunately, they also had considerable difficulty with their placement, and it took a very uncomfortable hour for them to insert the catheter. We waited for an hour or more to determine that they hadn’t found the right spot, and some time later, another nurse anesthetist came in, removed it, and set up a new one.
At this point, I was pretty much dilated to nine centimeters, and we had done all of this with hypnobirthing. I’m so glad we had that tool!
My progress slowed down a ton at this point. Later, a nurse told me that if she had to pick a number, she would have said I was at “9.75” for hours. There was a little anterior lip of cervix that was stubbornly sticking around, and while we tried to work around it, it just wouldn’t allow the baby to be born. We went ahead and burst the bag of waters in case that helped. My doctor had to leave at noon, and at that point, we had agreed to some pitocin to pick the contractions back up because they were pretty erratic. As they got stronger and the baby moved lower, the epidural became less helpful, and Rob jumped back in reading our hypnosis scripts.
My Aunt Julie had also arrived at some time during the last couple of hours. I’d called her that morning, and we’d assumed the baby would be born by the time she arrived. When I was still in labor, we invited her to stay, although, I’m pretty modest and asked her to step out of the room or turn around at certain points. She was so kind and followed my wishes and therefore got to actually be in the room when our little one finally arrived.
That happened at 2:16 on Monday afternoon. The new doctor arrived, and he and the staff were very thoughtful about my requests. I didn’t want anyone to pull on the baby as I was pushing. I didn’t want anyone to shout “push” or count at me. I also wanted the umbilical cord to stop pulsing on its own before it was clamped or cut.
Because I was able to feel the pressure without the pain, I was able to let them know whenever I felt it was time to push. My mom and a nursing student held my legs while Rob stayed by my head. He read our scripts between contractions and held my head up for me when I was bearing down. I did great, and she was at a “plus two” station, so I only needed to push for about twenty minutes before she arrived. Again, I was amazed how after each contraction, I would lie back, and as soon as Rob started with a script, I would just totally relax.
The little one arrived weighing exactly eight pounds and measuring twenty and one half inches. She was in the 90th percentile for both height and weight, which was a huge surprise since I’m so small and Dot was teeny tiny at birth. Before they did any of their busy work, however, the medical staff put the baby on me, and we got her to nurse within the first few minutes. This was also such an important feat, as we’d had such difficulties with nursing her big sister. It just felt like everything was coming together so beautifully this time around, and I couldn’t stop smiling.
After a bit, we were put into a new bed and wheeled to our recovery room. It had a beautiful city view, and the staff were all very nice and accommodating. Rob, Mom, and Aunt Julie were all there, and in the evening, Virginia brought Dot by to meet her baby sister. Dot was absolutely enraptured, and consented easily to the idea that the baby would come home and live with us forever. In fact, I stepped out of the bathroom to find her holding her new little sister, and when I asked her what it was, she replied, “It’s a baby for me.”
We spent quite a while trying to determine what the new baby should be called, and after quite a bit of discussion, Rob and I decided that we wanted her to be Lucille Pearl, and that we will call her “Lucy” and “Lucy Pearl” for short. Rob took Dot home, and everyone else cleared out, leaving me and Lucy to get acquainted throughout the night. I hadn’t slept since Saturday night (it was Monday night now), so I appreciated a couple of hours here and there. It’s Thursday now, the day I had been hoping for Lucy to make her arrival, and I’m still riding high on adrenaline and am slowly catching up on sleep.
I’m so proud of my little family. Rob has stepped up to take care of us while also starting a new quarter in college. Dot has been a great big sister who can’t quite kiss the baby enough. And I have remained calm and positive while transitioning into being a mother of two. For her part, Lucy has been a good sleeper, a good eater, and pretty laid-back and mellow. Things are very, very good at our house.
Spokane - September 2010
Our birthing story started with an OB appointment at noon on Friday March 4th when I was 39 weeks pregnant. Our midwife, Sara, had requested that I return to the clinic for this appointment to check on my blood pressure as it had been high at our regularly scheduled appointment earlier in the week. Although I had taken the morning off of work and spent the time in relaxation, I was still anxious in going in for the appointment and, unfortunately, my blood pressure was still elevated. Sara recommended that I go to the Birth Place at Sacred Heart for a stress test and blood work to ensure that I and our baby, Madeleine, were doing ok before going into the weekend. I was very nervous about going in to the hospital for further testing, so before heading to SHMC, I called my husband, James, to ask him to join me there.
I arrived at the Birth Place around 12:45pm and completed the stress test and blood work while reciting birth affirmations to myself and visualizing turning the pressure valve to further relax. Both my blood pressure readings and blood work came back normal. My nurse, Pam, also reported that Maddie had “passed” the stress test and looked quite healthy. Throughout this time I was experiencing surges approximately every four minutes and was quite comfortable, eating lunch and a snack. However, towards the end of the test, Madeleine’s heart rate decelerated. Pam and another nurse assisted me in shifting positions and her heart rate rapidly stabilized. Due to this event, though, Sara recommended that we complete an amniotic fluid level check via ultrasound to ensure that Madeleine was indeed doing ok.
Pam explained that sometimes babies “bump” their umbilical cord and this can cause their heart rate to drop. She added that low levels of amniotic fluid can make it more likely that little “bumps” into the cord occur, While waiting to go to sonography for the ultrasound, my husband arrived at the hospital. He helped me set up our recorded rainbow relaxation and birth affirmations so that I could listen to them and maintain a relaxed state. Around 2pm, we completed the ultrasound, the results of which came back within normal limits. Sara recommended that I stay on the monitoring equipment as a precaution while she consulted with one of the OB’s in the clinic about our situation.
James and I were quite relaxed and confident that we would be going home that evening, However, around 4pm, Maddie’s heart rate decelerated again. Although she stabilized readily, Pam explained that Sara would most likely not recommend that we go home for the weekend as two decelerations was an indication that something was amiss and Maddie could be in distress. Sara did recommend that I be admitted to the hospital and came over from the clinic around 5pm to discuss induction options with James and I. I felt my anxiety level rise and during this period, my surges tapered off significantly. Sara explained that given the two decelerations, it had become medically necessary to induce for Madeleine‘s safety.
She outlined our options (taking an oral medication, using Pitocin via IV drip, or breaking the waters). She discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, particularly given our strong commitment to a natural birth. James and I discussed the options and ultimately decided to go with Pitocin as this could be readily discontinued to allow for my body to take over naturally. We asked for some time, though, to do some relaxation and visualization work. Sara readily agreed and left to give us privacy to do so. Before she left, Sara explained that the other midwife from our clinic, Shelley, would be on call that night and that Sara would return in the morning.
I was extremely frightened of induction in general and Pitocin specifically. I was very anxious that by using Pitocin we would be on a path toward a surgical birth at worst and a medicated birth at best. James and I agreed to do a fear release session together and to focus our efforts further on relaxation and visualizing a healthy, calm, natural birth. Before we were able to do so, I was prepped for an IV and the anesthesiologist came in to consult with me about the use of general anesthesia in case of an emergency C-section if Madeleine’s heart rate decelerated and was not able to be stabilized.
This further added to my fears and James and I agreed made the fear release work even more necessary. We completed the fear release session together, with James guiding me through visualizing releasing fear of the Pitocin, an emergency C-section, and using pain medication as a result of induction. I further visualized a calm, natural birth, with Maddie not experiencing distress. I then began to go within more regularly to complete the rainbow relaxation and birth visualization exercises while James held my hand and contacted our families to let them know what was going on and to ask them to bring the few items to the hospital that he had forgotten.
Around 7pm the Pitocin was started via IV, but I remained comfortable and relaxed, with James reciting scripts to me as well as using our recorded CD’s to maintain a calm and relaxed state. At 7:30pm there was a shift change in nurses and Ashley came on as our nurse. She came in to discuss our birth plan and assisted me in changing out of the hospital gown and into the birthing gown we had brought with us. She also discussed her nursing style and explained what steps would be taken if Madeleine’s heart rate decelerated again. Shortly after this, Madeleine’s heart rate did decelerate again. I was put on oxygen briefly as Ashley had explained I would be to ensure that Maddie was receiving adequate oxygen. After shifting positions, Madeleine’s heart rate stabilized, and after a short time, the oxygen was removed.
James and I again completed relaxation work together and around 8pm, I felt my surges increasing in intensity and frequency. I more regularly used surge breathing while James softly encouraged me to visualize myself filling up a big balloon. I found that listening to the recorded birth affirmations and rainbow relaxation helped me maintain a relaxed state between and during surges. So James put this CD on repeat in our room and stroked my hand, arm, and back. I shifted between lying on my left side and my right side as these positions felt most comfortable and assisted me in staying relaxed. However, I began to notice a marked tightness in my back. Ashley came in and reported that she too noticed a pattern that suggested Maddie was in a posterior position, that I was experiencing back labor. Ashley suggested trying sitting on a birthing ball and also got a hot compress for my lower back. I found that this did indeed assist in the tightness in my lower back and alternated between sitting on the birthing ball and standing next to the hospital bed. I continued to practice surge breathing with each surge and James continually stroked my back and arms. His voice was a constant anchor for me, walking me through each surge calmly.
Around 11pm, I moved into a hands and knees position on the bed, partially supported on pillows. I was feeling tired and thought I could sleep for a short while in this position. Around this time, Ashley came in and reported that the other midwife in our clinic, Shelley, was recommending that we consider breaking the waters to enable us to use an internal monitor as well as to assist the labor in progressing. We asked Ashley if this was medically warranted, if Maddie was showing signs of distress suggesting that the labor needed to be speeded up. She reported that there was no indication that this was necessary. James and I discussed it and decided that we’d like to wait on breaking the waters. Shelley came in to the hospital to discuss the recommendation further around 11:30pm, explaining the benefits of breaking the waters. We agreed to allow for me to sleep for a short time and that when I woke up, we would re-evaluate the situation. Shelley completed a cervical exam before she left and informed us I was at 3 cm and 80% effaced.
Approximately a half hour after Shelley left, something shifted in my surges, I felt them coming on much more rapidly and with greater intensity. I felt a wave of nausea and the feeling as if I was going to have a bowel movement wash over me concurrently. James and Ashley helped me out of bed and we noted a significant amount of fluid beneath me on the chux pad on which I had been resting. We continued to note this discharge for the next half hour or so; Ashley later confirmed that my water had broken on its own at this point around midnight.
The next two hours were very internally focused for me. My surges were nearly continuous and were very intense. I could feel each surge begin with a tightening in my lower back and then come around to the front of my abdomen. My vertical uterine muscles tightened and at times I felt my body shaking with the force of the uterine muscles as each surge peaked. I alternated between sitting on the birthing ball and standing next to the bed with my upper body resting on a stack of pillows, following what felt right for my body. I used surge breathing to breathe up each surge, sometimes employing multiple breathes as at times my surges were one on top of the other.
I asked James to put the rainbow relaxation on repeat and, if I did have a moment between surges, I focused upon visualizing the colors and relaxing the various parts of my body. Even more vital than the relaxation CD, though, was James’ voice guiding me through each surge. He softly reminded me to relax my jaw and shoulders and talked me through each surge breath, visualizing filling a big balloon. His voice was my guide and the only real outside sound I attended to during each surge. Between surges, he stroked my back and arms and offered words of praise and encouragement. As time wore on, I began to feel exhausted and between surges whispered to James, “I’m so tired…I’m so tired.”
A part of me was wondering if I could continue onwards.
Earlier, Ashley had asked us to tell her when my surges began to feel different. I’m not sure what time it was, but I felt the shift in my body and told James that the shift had occurred. Ashley came in and performed a cervical exam, which was difficult to do with how rapidly my surges were coming and how uncomfortable it was for me to lay on my back. After the exam was completed, Ashley informed us that I was at 8 cm and 95% effaced. I started laughing and crying as I fell into James’ arms; I was so grateful that Madeleine was almost here!
Ashley stated that she was going to have some people help her set up the room and call Shelley since “sometimes when we’re going natural it goes pretty fast.” At this time I turned back over onto my hands and knees in the Polar Bear position. I continued to stay internally focused, except for attending to James’ voice. I could feel Madeleine’s head descending further into the birth canal and felt a renewed wave of energy as I knew she was coming closer. I began to use birth breathing, breathing Madeleine down and out. In opening my eyes between surges, I spotted Shelley and said hi. She came up by my head to talk with me and asked if I could turn to deliver in a semi reclined position, but I felt very strongly that it would not feel right for my body. She and Ashley worked to lower the end of the bed and asked me to lower my hips with each surge. Ashley was on one side of me and James was on the other. Each of them softly whispered to me through each surge as I used birth breathing to bring Madeleine down.
At one point I remember Shelley encouraging me to reach down and feel Maddie’s head right before she crowned. It was truly amazing to feel my daughter’s head emerging from my body. Something shifted in the energy in the room, though. I’m not sure if Madeleine’s heart rate decelerated again or if there was another indication of urgency, but both Shelley and Ashley began to encourage me to push Madeleine out. I could sense the urgency in their tones and followed Ashley’s prompts to push with each surge. As Madeleine crowned, I felt the only true pain in our birthing. I remember reading about a “ring of fire” and felt that sensation. Shelley became more urgent in encouraging me to push; later I learned this was because Madeleine’s cord was visibly close to her neck. I crouched downward and bit the pillow, feeling pain as I pushed Madeleine out. I later learned this pain was due to two small tears, one in my labia and one in my perineum.
At 2:31am I heard Madeleine’s cry and felt joy flood through me as I cried out, “My baby” and attempted to turn in the bed to see her and take her in my arms. James, Ashley, and Shelley all cried out, “Wait! Wait!” as I was still hooked up to the IV, monitoring equipment, and Madeleine. Madeleine’s cord was draped across one shoulder like a sash, which is what had given rise to the heart rate decelerations we had observed earlier. Ashley and James helped me turn over and Shelley placed Maddie on my breast. I felt overwhelming love and gratitude as I gazed in my daughter’s eyes and then up at my husband. She then began to nurse just as I had visualized so many times in our practice sessions. She was perfectly healthy and beautiful. I remember telling both her and James, “We did it!”
I firmly believe that Hypnobirthing allowed us to have the calm, natural birth we had envisioned despite Pitocin being in use throughout our birthing and Maddie being in a “sunny side up“ orientation for a good portion of it. Amazingly, during our class sessions, I had repeatedly had the sense that we would be in labor for approximately 6 hours, and this indeed was how long Madeleine’s birth was once my surges began to come regularly. I am so grateful for our birthing experience and for everyone who was involved in it. It brought James and I together in a powerful way and was a beautiful way for Madeleine to enter the world. Thank you, Mary, for helping make this possible!
Spokane - March 2011
I had just woken up from a nap on Friday 4/4/14 around 4pm. I had been having some light surges, but not in a consistent pattern. I all of a sudden felt a small pop and then a gush of fluid. My water had broken! I excitedly told James and he helped me get some towels and strip the sheets on the bed. I went into the bathroom to clean up a little bit and noticed that my surges were coming a little more regularly. I stopped periodically to close my eyes and breathe deeply, visualizing my body opening and Charlotte moving into the birth canal. I was so excited to be having our baby that day! I slowly packed my things for the hospital, pausing to breathe with each surge. Maddie, our older daughter, came upstairs a short time later after waking up from her nap. James and I explained to her that her sister might be coming soon. She was very excited too.
I slowly made my way downstairs and sat on an exercise ball in our family room and listened to Birthing Affirmations while also continuing to visualize my body opening more with each contraction. James and I decided it was a good time to ask his mom, Shelley (Grandma) to come over and pick up Maddie. I began to keep track of how often and how long each surge was coming. Shelley came and picked up Maddie and we chatted for a little bit. It was around 5 or 5:30pm. After Shelley had left, James and I stayed in the family room sitting together for a little while longer. I noticed that my surges were lasting about 1 minute and coming about 2 to 3 minutes apart. I couldn’t remember the guidelines for when you should head to the hospital, but James and I decided it was a good time to head that way. It only took us a few minutes to get to there.
We parked and walked to the birth center, pausing every few minutes so I could close my eyes and breathe deeply whenever I had a surge. We signed in at the front desk, explaining that my water had broken and that surges were about 2 to 3 minutes apart. While checking in, we saw two of the nurses who had helped me in triage during previous visits, Mary Anne and Penny. They remembered us and were happy to see us! We also ran into Dr. Zwissler, the doctor who had done our OB checkup the day before since our midwife was out of town. He wished us congratulations and explained that Dr. Pak would be on call that night. Mary Anne and Penny explained that the triage area was very busy, so it would be a little bit of a wait before we could head back. It was about 6pm at the time. We explained that was no problem at all, and made our way to the waiting room.
The waiting room was packed with a group of toddlers and young children being watched by a small group of teenagers. They were extremely noisy and rambunctious. I tried to concentrate on my breathing and listening to affirmations during surges, but was having a hard time doing so. James went and checked the other waiting room and returned to tell me that no one was there. We made our way over and were able to sit together quietly holding hands. We waited until about 6:30pm and were brought back to triage.
The triage area was full to capacity. We were brought back to an “overflow” area that was a corner “room” created from temporary walls and drawn curtains. While leaving a urine sample, I could feel my body starting to bear down more and quietly said to Charlotte, “Let’s wait till we get a room first.” The nurse who helped us explained this would be a good time to change into my birthing gown. She then did some fetal monitoring, asked some intake questions, and did a quick cervical exam. She explained that I was at 4 to 5 cm and about 75 to 80% effaced. James and I continued to chat between surges while we waited for a room to open up. Our nurse came back and explained our room was ready. We walked down the hallway to room 2044.
We started to settle into our room. James put on our Rainbow Relaxation CD and gave the nurse a copy of our birth preferences. She explained they were going through shift change and would leave a copy for our nurse. She also encouraged us to talk with our nurse about our preferences. Our new nurse, Ann, came in a short time later. We went over our birth preferences and began the admission process (placing an IV/Hep lock, going over health history questions, and monitoring baby). It was about 7pm. Dr. Pak came by during the admission piece to introduce himself. He visited with us and reviewed our birth preferences too, discussing a few elements with us. We all joked how nice it would be for Charlotte to be born before midnight! After Dr. Pak stepped out, our nurse returned to finish admission. My surges were becoming more intense and I often had to pause in answering questions to breathe deeply and stay centered.
We finally finished admission and I requested an exercise ball to sit on. I told James I noticed my surges most in my lower back. He encouraged me to shift from sitting on the bed to a hands and knees position. I asked him to rub my lower back and Ann brought me a hot pack for my back as well. I was spending more and more of my time turning within, visualizing the surges as a wave beginning in my lower back and extending around and up my abdomen, working with Charlotte to bring her to us. I felt the need to use the restroom and after doing so, I felt my surges shift and become more downward focused. I had to pause several times in washing my hands to squat on the floor and breathe deeply. When I returned to the room, Ann asked how I was doing and explained that she would need to call the doctor when I was at about 7 cm. I responded that we should check now because my surges had become very intense. We had to time her exam between surges, which were quite close together, but after she checked she exclaimed, “You’re at an 8! I’m going to call Dr. Pak and prep for delivery.” James reminded me to continue to breathe deeply and continued rubbing my back. I was very inwardly focused and shortly after that felt the fullness of Charlotte’s head descending into the birth canal. Between surges, I told James, “She’s coming.” Ann heard me say that as well and called in two more nurses to assist in prepping the room. One of the nurses was trying to monitor the baby and asked me to come out of hands and knees and onto my knees to assist her in doing so. I obliged, but after one birth breath I felt Charlotte’s head emerging. The nurse exclaimed, “She’s crowning.” I heard Ann leave the room and call out, “I need a doctor! Baby is coming!” I slipped back into hands and knees and turned within to my baby. With another birth breath, I felt her head emerge. With another, I felt her fully slip free. I could feel someone receiving her, but when I opened my eyes, she was lying peacefully on the bed between my legs staring at me. I reached back and stroked her hand and her face, talking to her the whole time. James and the doctor who had received her (I think an OB resident who had been standing at the front desk) worked together to help me turn over and hand me Charlotte. In my arms, she gazed up at James and I for a good 10 to 15 minutes before she made her way to the breast and latched herself for her first meal. She then nursed for about an hour while James and I hugged, kissed, and marveled over her. Dr. Pak had arrived shortly after Charlotte’s birth and I joked that we made it before midnight! He laughed and explained that he had just gone back to his office across the parking lot to get some food when he got the call that baby was on the way. Charlotte was born at 8:24pm at 6 lbs 7 oz and 19.5 in.
Charlotte is very mellow, happy, and healthy. She’s also extremely alert and engaged and has been since birth! Following our birthing and our hospital stay, each of our nurses thanked us for sharing our birthing with them. Ann explained, “That’s the most beautiful birth I’ve seen all year.” Our mother-baby nurse, Val, marveled, “She’s a very peaceful baby because she had a very peaceful birth.” I couldn’t agree more and feel very strongly that Hypnobirthing and your guidance and support, Mary, gave us the tools to help make Charlotte’s birth the natural, calm, and gentle entry into the world that we had hoped it would be. Thank you!!
Spokane - April 2014
We welcomed our baby on May 25. She was 15 days early but very healthy! She weighed 7lbs 2oz and 20 inches long.
I had my dream birth. I didn't have a chance to get my birth dream written out, but I had gone over it many times in my head. We went to the hospital at 11:45 pm on Saturday May 24 and baby was born at 1:45 am on Sunday. I was able to breathe through the surges. The breathing techniques were so helpful. Up until the last few minutes before I was 10 cm the surges were very manageable. I also used the jetted tub through the worst contractions and Brandon performed light touch massage and that helped tremendously.
I was only in the tub 15 minutes and I went from 5cm to 10cm in that time. I had 3 surges at 10cm and our baby was born. It was amazing. I don't think I could have had a natural and calm birth without the classes. I felt so prepared and Brandon was the perfect birth companion. I couldn't have done it without him. So thank you for all you taught us. I will be recommending these classes to anyone I know who is expecting.
Spokane - May 2014
I wanted to do Hypnobirthing because my sister used it with her birth and had a wonderful experience. She gave me a book for mother’s day, when I was about 3 months pregnant, about natural birth. After I had read the book I was determined to have my own natural birth. Reading all of the books on natural birth made me feel empowered and helped me realize that I could do it.
My husband and I started taking the Hypnobirthing classes when I was about 6 months pregnant. I was reading the Hypnobirthing book and doing the daily relaxation. My husband was very supportive of the idea and loved attending the classes with me. The thing I enjoyed most about the classes was practicing getting into a deep state of relaxation.
With my first child I was one day early, so for my second child I was expecting to be fairly close to my expected due date. My due date came and went and still no baby. I had a doctor appointment on my due date and my doctor told me that if I did not go into labor by my next appointment the following week that we would have to talk about induction. I was thinking that for sure I would have the baby by then, so I really wasn’t worried about induction. However, the baby still did not come by my next appointment. My doctor explained that I could definitely go 42 weeks if I wanted, but he didn’t want me to go any further than that. We also talked about possible induction dates before then. I contemplated about it for a while and decided to be induced 3 days later for a couple different reasons. My doctor was on call that day, my doula had the day off of work from her full time job, my best friend was working on the maternity ward that day and would be my nurse, and my mother would also be able to make it. I had never planned on scheduling my labor based on other people’s schedule, but honestly, I was pretty done with being pregnant. I was excited that I knew there was a definite end in sight. However, I was extremely upset that I had to be induced. I cried about it every day up until the day of my induction. I was so nervous to be induced because I thought that meant that I would not be able to go through with a natural birth. I had heard horrible things about Pitocin and was just sure it was going to change everything I had been preparing for.
When I went in to the hospital I was dialated to 4 cm. I started the Pitocin at 9:00 am at 2 mL. I decided that I would start only raising the Pitocin 1 mL every half hour. However, hours had passed and I could still feel nothing. So I told my nurse to start raising it 2 mL every half hour. At 1:30 I was at 15 mL and still not feeling anything. During this time I was doing some walking and rocking on a birthing ball, and laying on my side on the bed. My doctor had just gotten to the hospital around 1:30 and came in to talk to me about what we should do next. He told me that if I wanted to progress we might have to break my water. I was so nervous to do this because I knew as soon as I did this the contractions would be much more painful. However, I wasn’t making any progress on Pitocin (the most it felt like was a period cramp), so I decided to let them break my water.
They broke my water around 2:30 and I could feel a difference in the contractions right away. For the first hour they were really manageable. For the most part I was laying on the bed, then the second half of the hour I got on the birthing ball. My mom and my doula (who happens to be my sister) got to the hospital around 3:30. By the time they got to my room my contractions were getting to the point where I would have to use my breathing techniques and focus to get through them. I had my doula behind me massaging my back the whole time I was on the birthing ball. The massage definitely helped with the pressure I was feeling.
Around 4:30 I asked to get in the tub. At that point my contractions were pretty intense and it was getting hard for me to get through them just with my breathing. As soon as I got in the tub I felt instant relief. The mood in there was amazing. The lights were off, jets were on in the tub, my doula had a lavender scented rag on my head, and my husband was behind me massaging my back. The relief didn’t last too long, as the contractions were getting closer and closer and way more intense. I remember thinking to myself, “I think this would be so much easier if I could just poop.” I didn’t know at the time that was the pressure of the baby. After about a half hour in the tub I was at my breaking point and knew I couldn’t do it any longer. I remember thinking in my head for a couple contractions that I had to tell everyone I needed an epidural, but I was too afraid of disappointing them. The next contraction I told my nurse to turn off the Pitocin. Then I wasn’t getting any breaks at all during my contractions and I remember feeling so discouraged thinking to myself, “I know I am only at about a 5 or 6.” I thought this because it had only been about 2 hours from the time they broke my water. So I finally said to everyone, “I would be so happy with an epidural right now guys. I just want one. Please give me one.” Everyone then said to me, “No, you are doing so great. You are almost there.” They were doing exactly what I told them to do if I asked for an epidural. However, I was so annoyed and just wanted them to shut up and give me an epidural. Finally, my nurse told me that she should check me to see how far along I was.
I got out of the tub and onto the bed on my hands and knees, rocking in a circle. She checked me after one contraction and told me that I was at a nine, almost ten. I said, “Beth, you are lying to me just so I won’t get an epidural.” She then assured me that I really was almost ready to push, and she started getting everything ready. At that point something switched in my mind and I thought, “Wow, I am going to do this.” I felt at that point that I got a new power. I only had one more contraction before they were getting me ready to push. I turned on side to start pushing. I was a little hesitant to start pushing because I didn’t know what it was going to feel like. But when I did start pushing it actually felt good through the contraction. There was only a couple seconds of pain that women call “the ring of fire.” It was an absolutely incredible feeling to feel myself pushing out my baby’s head. I was using my birth breathing during all of my pushing. I felt like this really helped me to stay calm and in control during my pushing. It only took a couple pushes to get my baby out. As soon as he came out he was laid on my stomach and I was one happy momma! He laid on my for the first hour while they cleaned him, did the umbilical cord, delivered my placenta, and all the other things they had to do.
I could not have been more happy with my whole birthing experience and would not change a thing. My doctor and nurse never pushed anything on me and allowed me to make the decisions and be in control. The breathing techniques I learned from HypnoBirthing really helped me get through the first hour and a half of intense labor. I am so grateful for the very amazing and special experience I had. While it definitely wasn’t pain free, I am glad that I now know that I could do it.
Spokane - Nov 2014
I was a week overdue and had made plans with Faith (my midwife) to break my water on Saturday the 26th at 7:00 am. I was really upset about going a week without “Baby” on my maternity leave. I was also dilated at a 5 the whole week and nothing was happening!
Friday the 25th I was having small surges in my lower back all day but nothing too uncomfortable. At 10:00 pm on Friday, my water broke on its own! (thank goodness). After my water broke my surges came on really fast and really close together, so I called Annie (my doula) and we decided to go to the hospital around 12:00. I was still at 5 when I got there. I got in the bath which felt really good. The lights were off and it was very quiet. Everyone made sure to whisper softly. Annie did such a great job at putting pressure on my lower back and doing light touch massage. I spent some time on my hands and knees with the birthing ball.
Faith checked me again at around 3:00 am and I was at a 7. I got back into the tub and that's when I transitioned. I can't really explain the feeling, it was really intense but I was so relaxed. Faith held my hand and Annie was rubbing my back with nice smelling oil. She constantly reminded me to not tense up and breathe down, which kept me in total control. I kept forgetting where I was and I was falling asleep in between my surges. I would dream really random little dreams and it made it seem a lot longer than a minute between each surge. Faith noticed that I was starting to push with each surge so she checked me again (This was around 4:00 am) and I was ready to have "Baby"! I got out of the tub and on to the bed. Faith crawled up on the bed with me and sat crisscross at my feet. She told me to do whatever I needed to do to make “Baby” come out comfortably, she was so sweet and talked so softly. “Baby” was born 20 minutes later.
Everyone did such a great job at following my birth plan, it was so perfect. The staff kept telling me that they were in awe of how well I did and how calm I stayed. “Baby” is perfect. She latched on right away and has been a great eater ever since. She is so calm and so sweet! She has slept through the night since the day she was born. The nurses told me to wake her up to feed her, but she won’t do it and I stopped trying to make her. She is such a good baby. I don't know how I got so lucky.
I could not have asked for a better birthing experience and I am loving being a mother, it is the best thing in the world. Thanks so much for the classes, I would say it was a total success!
Couer d'Alene - May 2012
We had our Baby Girl on October 27th at 5:59pm. We named her Ellie Jane and she weighed 7lb 15oz and was 22 inches long.
We had a HypnoBirth and it was wonderful!! I didn't require epidural, pain meds, or even an IV. It was just me and Josh and he was the best birthing partner (all thanks to your great teachings :) I think what was most amazing for me was that I was able to fall asleep between contractions and that was amazing!!
Thank you for being such a great and wonderful instructor! I really enjoyed the course. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or want to get together.
Thank you again Mary for everything!!
Cheney, WA - October 2012
Zachary and I wanted to let you know Zoey arrived on October 29th at home in the water! It was a perfect birth experience and we are so grateful for all you shared with us during the class. We felt beyond prepared and had an AMAZING experience.
The whole birth lasted only 3 hours!! During the two activities we did in class I saw my birth as 2.5 hours!! Pretty crazy how that worked out. Mind over matter for sure. Anyway, Zoey arrived alert and happy to be part of our family. She is a very calm baby still and we only hear her soft cries when she wants something but still very calm and relaxed.
I completed the surveys but thought an email to thank you was in order. If it is okay we would like to send you a birth announcement when we get them done. We are so thankful for the support and love we had throughout our journey!
Thank you so very much!!
Cheney, WA - October 2012
If you know me at all, chances are you know I've been preparing to give birth to my second daughter naturally, with no meds, using a method called Hypnobirthing, that this was my approach to ensure a successful VBAC (after a botched induction that ended in an unwanted C-section the first time) and that I'm kind of a head case when it comes to waiting and being patient and controlling things that are out of my control. Thus, you were probably just as ready for me to have this baby as I was--NINE days after the "E.D.D", or estimated due date.
From my due date (the 15th of August) to the day Perry arrived, I spent the bulk of my mental energy trying to stay relaxed and focused on positive outcomes. At some point my doctor did an NST and an ultrasound and told me to keep waiting--music to my ears as that was my plan anyway. I'll say here that he was very supportive of my birth plan, and I'm so thankful that he listened and cared enough to respect my wishes.
Here's our story:
After the hundredth time of quelling fears that "my body doesn't work" or that "I won't go into labor, and the doctor will try to intervene", Rich and I settled down on Thursday night to watch a little tv and do some acupressure on my ankles. Some good friends of ours swore by this to bring on labor naturally. That combined with the fact that I was 41 weeks and 2 days along worked its magic. (My husband claims the acupressure did it; I claim that it was the right time. To each his own, eh?) My first strong contraction woke me up at midnight that very night, and they never stopped. That night I got some sleep between contractions, ate some food, took a bath, prayed like crazy that this was "it", and breathed to my relaxation cd's from my hypnobirthing classes, something I had been practicing for two months that was truly paying off now.
In the morning, my parents and I took our 21 month-old and the dog for a walk while I filled them in, still trying not to get overly excited. Our plan was to labor for as long as possible at home and to arrive at the hospital with a well-established labor to ensure the least threat of unnecessary medical intervention. Rich went to work; I went about my day. I tried not to get discouraged when things slowed down a bit in the morning, to which my sister replied, "ah, she's coming, and she'll be here before the weekend's over!" Indeed.
At dinner that night, I had the feeling I should eat a bit lighter (after I'd been chowing down like I normally do all day). Then I had the strongest surge yet. I had to bow my head and close my eyes to breathe through it, and when I looked up, my mother was all concerned, and my kid was a little confused. I dropped my fork, said "I'm done with life for awhile" and went to my bedroom to breathe and focus. It was definitely show time.
That night I slept as much as I could until the surges were too powerful, then I took a bath, walked around, went to the bathroom about 100 times, and lost my mucous plug. When I told Rich things were picking up, he said "okay" and hit the pillow again. I rolled my eyes and decided he'd be of better use to me in an hour or so anyway and let him sleep.
At about 3:00 a.m. I started vomiting with every other contraction, and they were becoming increasingly powerful. Rich woke up, took one look at me, and we both nodded, knowing it was time to go. I was curious about the vomiting so I looked at my What to Expect... book (one I rarely use), and was a little alarmed to see I was probably in transition. Just as I shut the book, my mom came upstairs to help me get dressed, and right when she saw my face she said, "you're in transition; you need to go." Whoa, Mom. Impressive!
On the way, I listened to my cd's and got in the zone--again, a skill I'm so glad to have acquired as it kept me calm and peaceful and unafraid. We checked in and met the very supportive nurse who said I was dilated to a six or seven--yay!.
Per our wishes and Hypnobirthing approach, she dimmed the lights and put on the quiet music and stepped back to let me deal with my body. I don't remember the next hour or so, but Rich says I was breathing quietly through progressively strengthening contractions while he and the nurse watched me and the monitors. At some point the nurse and doctor pulled a shift change--to an equally supportive nurse and another of my doctors. None of this bothered me as I was in charge of my body and reactions and had long before decided that this birth was between my baby and me, and the staff would only be there to catch the baby and as lifeguards, not to make decisions for me. That's pretty much how it went. Let me say my nurses were awesome at helping me help my labor progress!
I remember making the suggestion to myself during my relaxation sessions that every 20 minutes would feel like 5, and I remember doing everything the nurse told me to to help the baby get her head in just the right position. I sat on the birthing ball, I propped a knee on the peanut--very intense! and I got on my hands and knees. Though I know I was in that room from about 4:00-10:00 a.m., the time flew by. Managing my breathing while moving Perry down was my only focus. My sweet supportive husband rubbed my back, held my hand, counted down the seconds, dealt with me swatting him away then pulling him close, and kept me hydrated. I cannot say enough how grateful I am to him for his coaching and support through all of this. I could not have done this the way I wanted to without him.
Finally, the pushing. Ahhhh, the pushing! The doc came in, said her head was in place, I was dilated to a 9, and it was time to break my water. They all laughed when I worriedly looked at Rich, and he chuckled and said, "she's afraid her labor will stall." (Of course this was a silly thought at this point in the game, but I REALLY didn't want intervention.) Water broken, contractions coming one right on top of the other, cervix at a 10--it was time to push. I'll say my urge to push was more gradual than sudden, but when it was there, I could tell. Doc was a great pushing coach, and the nurse and Rich were a great team of encouragement and reminders (her) and counting (him). Later I found out I pushed for about 50 minutes, which was another of my goals--to not wear out from pushing for too long. This phase was so intriguing to me as it is truly the "labor" part but was the least painful. Actually the most relaxing part of the whole day was the intervals between these pushes.
Then the ring of fire--no joke, but very brief--then my sweet little baby! I said exactly what I knew I'd say, "my baby!!!!" and that. was. it. Nothing else registered after that except for my sweet little girl. I know the doctor was finishing up all the necessary procedures after the birth, but I noticed absolutely none of it as I held my newest little sunshine.
I know some people think it's crazy, but I'm so glad I felt everything there was to feel. I'm so thankful to God for providing me with this unnatural strength--one that is not my own--and I'm so impressed by the abilities of our minds and bodies and by the medicinal effect of the support and touch and words of a loved one. Most of all, I'm thankful for our little sweetheart!
A verse that got me through: Philippians 4:6-!7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Liberty Lake - August 2013
As you know we planned a water birth at home. I started early labor 11 am on Oct 12th (2010). I could feel something happening with contractions but it was really faint. My midwife and midwife in training came over to check on me. I was dilated at a 2. We went on a 3 mile "hike" to get the labor going. Well, it felt like a hike to me! It was in our very hilly neighborhood :-). I felt great all day, maybe a little tired. I relaxed quite a bit and listened to our hypos CD's. We had dinner which a dear friend brought over around 8 pm. About 9 pm Kathy and Victoria came back to see how I was doing. I was having a very hard time feeling my contractions. I was at a 4. We started timing them which was difficult...I just couldn't feel much!!! I felt something but it wasn't painful...just different. Kathy left and said to call when I when they were getting stronger or "couldn't take it anymore". We decided to camp out in the living room on the couch. I knew Anson was going to arrive soon...I was kind of confused why I wasn't feeling these contractions. But around 11:00 pm as I was drifting off to sleep I felt what only could be described as a "thud" against my pelvis. It felt like Anson literally was pushing his head through! That was a bit uncomfortable. I woke Alex up and told him to call Kathy....LOL...this is exactly what he said "Are you sure? Can ;you not take it anymore?" I said I feel ok, but please call her...then I felt the gush...my water broke!
Kathy was on her way and Alex began to fill up the birthing pool...we had it set up but I think we should have started filling earlier!!! I wanted to get in right away but couldn't so I started rubbing my belly and put on a hyno CD. This calmed me down and was famiiar. I birthed in the pool for about 2 hours...I was too comfortable! I couldn't feel the contractions much so I was having a hard time figuring out when to push. While I was in the pool Alex tried to do some Hypnobirthing, but I was so inside my own head I just wanted silence. I actually did quite a bit of hypno affirmations in my head the entire time, but when it came to Alex helping me, it wasn’t working for me.
Kathy had me get out of the birthing pool which was fine because I started getting too cold. It was a bit difficult for the temperature to stay warm. Next time, I will be sure to purchase a heating element designed for birthing pools! So, I ended up birthing on the toilet for about 1.5 hours. That was when I was doing a good deal of “J” breathing and picturing the “nudge”. I have to say that I felt I was very alone and that was ok…I was getting a lot of “come on push” and “you need to push harder”. I feel that this was not very helpful to me and I remember saying “I AM PUSHING!!!”. I knew he was coming very soon and that’s when everything became very intense. I felt I needed to move. I now understand why it can become painful for laboring women to lie down…I tried thinking it would help and that was the most pain I had experienced so far. At that point I did ask to go to the hospital and Kathy said we could go but I was too far into it for an epidural and she told me I could do it and we were getting close. So we moved to the living room and I kneeled and wrapped my arms around Alex as he sat on the couch so I had something to hang on to.
Kathy asked me to reach down and feel Anson’s head. At first I was almost scared, and I am not sure of what. I think maybe I was thinking I could feel how far my pelvis was stretched and I didn’t want to feel and get a visual. But she asked me again and I reached down and felt his soft head!!! That was very encouraging!!! Victoria (midwife in training) said he had dark hair like Daddy and we were very close and to keep doing what I was doing. It took about 5 really focused “J” Breaths and I could feel Anson “slip” out! Victoria caught him and I turned around and held him as we cleaned him up. He cried a tiny bit but he was more curious than anything!! I couldn’t believe my body could do that!!!
I think Alex and I needed to practice more for sure. So please tell you classes from a Hypno birthing Momma that practicing is very important. You must find time to practice. Also I think Alex became a bit scared and didn’t know what to do for me. So the next time around he knows what to expect more. I listened to my CD’s EVERY night and morning and during my labor (and most of my waking hours) I talked to Anson to tell him what was going on. If it wasn’t for Hypnobirthing I think I would have let fear get in the way and I would have not had the natural birth I desired. I would do it again in heartbeat. Anson was so extremely alert!!! After he arrived we took an herbal bath and it was the most unexplainable feeling of happiness and relief and warmth! In hindsight, I know my midwives were doing what they know and it is possible that I don’t remember every detail, but I do remember how I felt and I wish there would have been less “coaching” coming from everyone. In total I labored hard for almost 4 hours and that was what I asked of Anson J
Please let me know if you have any questions….I love to share!
And I will be doing Hypnobirthing again for all my births!
Spokane - October 2010
Amelia was born July 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm. My first pregnancy with Madeline was wonderful and the birth amazed me. I became very passionate about birthing naturally after having a wonderful (self study) HypnoBirth. Since Madeline's birth, I became certified to teach HypnoBirthing at last year's conclave in Austin. I remember during the class Sherry saying something to the affect of "with all this positive energy around birth, you'll have to be careful that you don't get pregnant." I laughed out loud with an 8 month old on my knee and no plans for another anytime soon. Shortly afterward, I got pregnant. I was thrilled to have the experience of pregnancy and childbirth again with all of my new knowledge (after the initial panic about having a second child wore off :). Most of the third trimester Amelia was very low and thinning and opening started early, around 31 weeks. I thought maybe the baby would come early this time but I never told anyone my "due date" and focused on late July sometime as when the baby would be born. I visualized Amelia's birth nightly: how it would feel, when it would happen, the baby's position, how long it would take, and every other detail that mattered to me. I am not sure why I was still surprised when it all played out exactly how I visualized it. I practiced relaxation using the HypnoBirthing scripts and also my own. I thought about my body staying relaxed and limp throughout labor. I pictured myself calm and focused. I repeated to myself (and anyone else who wanted to hear about it) how much I trust my body and feel that labor is natural and not meant to be painful. My body was created perfectly to birth. I had no fear of birth whatsoever, I looked forward to it. People gave me a funny look when I told them I was excited for labor and birth and I told everyone who made the slightest negative comment about birthing.
I woke up Thursday, July 30 with pressure in my lower abdomen (41 weeks pregnant). This wasn't unusual but this felt different and I knew that it was labor. My parents had arrived the day before and it was wonderful to have them in town. I told Dan to go to work but I would probably be calling him soon. I called my doula, Marianne Donch, and let her know that it would be that day but I would call her in an hour and let her know where I was at. I ate a good breakfast and packed up some things for the hospital. Surges were getting closer together so I called Dan and asked him to come home. I called the hospital and let them know I would be coming in. I took a shower and then we left for the hospital. Marianne met us there. They wanted me to come in at the first signs of labor to administer antibiotics because I was positive for group B strep. They had agreed prior that I could leave afterward if labor didn't progress. My friend Ashley was the nurse on duty and I was so happy to have her there. She checked my cervix around 11:15 am, I was 3cm. I had a snack and then she administered the antibiotics.
Around 12:15 pm surges were still sporadic but I could feel that they were effective. I relaxed through each one and went directly to my visualizations of my body opening slowly and making space for baby. Ashley brought in lunch but I wasn't hungry, I was beginning to focus inward. Active labor was in full swing and I couldn't hear anyone, just the thoughts in my head. I breathed using HypnoBirthing slow breathing and with each breath I said the three words: peace, calm, nature. These three words became my anchor. I realized that Ashley, Marianne and Dan were trying to assess where I was at but were having a hard time because I wasn't communicating or showing any signs but calm. The only way they knew I was having a surge was when the baby's heart rate would increase if I was being monitored or if I told them. It wasn't that I couldn't talk to them, I just didn't want to. I asked Ashley to check me again because I knew it was time to call Dr. Helin. I was 10cm at 1:15 pm. Labor was quite intense at this point and there were a couple of times that I felt myself start to tense up, my mind would start to wander and I had thoughts of wanting it to end. These were the only moments I felt pain. I quickly refocused by using my anchor words: peace, calm, nature. My body was created to do this and I need to surrender and allow the baby and my body to work together. The pain faded and was replaced by a tingling sensation. I felt relaxed and focused. Dr. Helin arrived and asked me if I would like to remove the fetal monitor strap and have Ashley hold it by hand. I appreciated the suggestion since it was much more comfortable. There was about a half hour of time between Ashley checking my cervix and me feeling the urge to breathe down the baby.
Prior to labor beginning, I had discussed with my doctor, nurse and doula my desire to not do traditional pushing, or breathe holding. I asked them not to coach me in any way. It was perfect. My "team" stood by my side and watched, their quiet support gave me confidence. Dr. Helin truly embraced HypnoBirthing and I was so glad. Every once in awhile in between breathing down the baby, I would open my eyes to look at Dan. I liked to look at his face anticipating the baby's arrival. He was calm but excited and probably happy that I didn't ask him to massage my back the whole time this time. When I felt the urge to bear down, I would and if I wanted to relax through a surge, I did that. There were times, again, that I started to tense up and had to remind myself to relax. I felt myself bearing down too hard and tensing up and grunting. I knew this wasn't the direction I wanted to go in and I was trying to find my rhythm. My rhythm came in the form of humming, much to my own surprise. Humming was a wonderful way to gently release the energy that was so intensely running through my body as Amelia came down the birth path. It was much more effective than that grunting. There was no fetal monitor, no eyeball-popping pushing, no interventions just me and my baby in harmony with nature, just as the birthing affirmations say. I felt so present and grateful. At 2:13 pm, as Amelia emerged (still part partially in the sac), I felt an intense rush of energy and practically jumped up to greet her. I was so happy to meet her, bonding was instantaneous. I feel like our family is complete now.
Afterward, I couldn't believe how energetic I felt. Amelia was born on a Thursday and by Monday I really didn't feel like I had just had a baby. My husband was able to video tape the birth and it was amazing to watch it for myself and see Amelia be born. My passion for supporting birthing Moms has deepened through Amelia's birth experience. I know that birthing does not have to be a painful because I experienced it. All we can do is BELIEVE in our bodies and support the birthing women in our lives. The first step is sharing our positive birth stories and helping each other to stop fearing birth and start embracing it.
~ Alicia Hardy, HBCE
Montana - 2009
We welcomed Juni to the world in August (exactly 41 weeks and boy was I ready for her to come out!!) She was born at home after 24hrs + of labor, though the real intense labor was probably about 10 hours. She weighted 8lbs 1 oz, was 20.5 inches long and is the sweetest little baby! We are totally in love! The birth experience was long but overall both my husband and I felt very confident and were happy with our home birth and our care team! I listened to the birth affirmations the most during labor and found them very helpful for staying focused. I don't know if my birth was quite as calm as the ones that we watched in class, but overall I feel proud of how our birth went and very thankful we were able to give birth at home without medical intervention.
Thank you so much for all of your support, Hypnobirthing was instrumental in helping us have a peaceful home birth like we wanted!
Spokane - August 2018