Tag Archives: HypnoBirthing

End of a Chapter

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In May of 2009, I went to complete my HypnoBirthing workshop to learn how to teach HypnoBirthing classes.  I convened with incredible women who were all there for the same reason, to help expectant couples have the most gentle birth possible.  I completed the training, all of the requirements, and received my certification in August of 2009.  Shortly after, I began teaching my first 3 couples, all in private classes, in their own homes.  I did all of this while attending school to complete my Social Work degree, and it was so very fulfilling to teach birthing classes.  It filled a space in me that I never knew existed, and helped me to feel very complete and fulfilled in life through the work I was doing.

From the September of 2009 and May 2011, I taught so many different couples, traveled to so many different homes, met so many different, wonderful, beautiful couples, and helped build their confidence about their upcoming births.  Some of the couples I taught invited me to their birth in the role of a doula, and that was an added bonus.  My cup overflowed.

Much has happened in life since August of 2009, so much has changed, including me.  This year alone, we have experienced two major losses; the baby I was growing in utero, and my husband’s grandmother.  Following that, there has been much uncertainty about what might happen to us, career wise, and so, because of other things on my plate at this time, I have chosen to discontinue teaching HypnoBirthing classes.

I want everyone to know that I am not in distress.  I only say this because I think many people were concerned when I posted that I would no longer be teaching, on Facebook.  I really am fine, I am taking time for myself, exploring my options, healing from our losses, and regrouping.  I will be back, and I do plan to stay in the birthing community, networking, helping, supporting, educating.  And since I have taken a job as a nanny, I do not have the full availability I once did, and that may have to be put on hold too, but for now, I am keeping options open.

I do thank all of you so very much for your support and love.

Comments Welcome.

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Preparation for Birth

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There is so much talk about preparing for birth.  So I’d love for this post to be as interactive as possible.  Please feel free to comment, leave suggestions you might have for expectant mothers, and tell us how you prepared for your birth/s.

Pregnancy, for most women lasts from 37-42 weeks, and while that seems like a long time, it really is not.  In that time, couples/families become very involved in preparing for the birth, and I can’t help but wonder if families prepare enough.  We all know that couples, especially first time parents, go a little wacko on baby registries, and I’m sure stores are thrilled with this.  But are couples preparing adequately for the birth of their newest loves?

How did you prepare for your birth/s?  Do you think you prepared enough?  Do you think you could have ever been prepared enough?  So here are some questions I’d love for you to weigh in on.

  1. Did you take childbirth classes?  (If so, where were they offered?  Do you feel like you learned enough to feel comfortable with giving birth?)
  2. Did you interview multiple care providers, and shop around at several hospitals/birthing centers?
  3. Did you take other classes?  (Breastfeeding, Newborn Care, Etc)
  4. Did you research routine interventions that are used in hospitals?
  5. Did you research newborn care procedures in hospitals?
  6. Did you prepare a birth plan?  If so, did anyone help you with this?
  7. Did you have all of your questions answered by your care provider?  (Questions to Ask your Care Provider)
  8. Were you satisfied with the prenatal care your received?
  9. Were you comfortable with your care provider/hospital?
  10. Did you feel prepared to give birth?

I know that right now, in my community, there are two hospitals.  I have attended births at both, and each has its own policies and procedures, some the same, and some very different.  I cannot say that one hospital is better than the other, simply because I am not a woman who is preparing to give birth in either.  Each woman preparing for birth, prepares in her own way.  And the consensus I hear around my area is that women are not necessarily feeling prepared adequately.

The sad truth is that there is over-crowding in the hospitals, and the time that women receive with their care providers is little.  I always encourage women to ask tons of questions, and ensure that her questions are answered before she leaves her doctors office – whether she feels good about the answers or not.  I went to a Homebirth Meetup Group in Fayetteville a couple weeks ago, and heard a woman say that she felt like cattle in the system that is caring for pregnant mothers.  No mother should feel that way, ever, but especially by the providers who will help her to birth her baby.

Preparing to give birth is HUGE.  I believe that couples should research until they are blue in the face.  Here are the things I think should be researched by every expectant couple:

  1. Proper nutrition during pregnancy
  2. Advantages of hiring a Doula/Labor Support
  3. Childbirth Classes – Which one is the best fit for you?
  4. Routine interventions – imposed by care provider, and by hospital
  5. Medical reasons for induction & augmentation of labor (when it is appropriate to do so)
  6. Medical reasons for Cesarean section
  7. Routine newborn procedures – who does them, when are they done, which are mandatory
  8. Circumcision – Do you want this done?  (Here is a guide for you to look at if you’re curious about why or why not to have this done.)
  9. Vaccinations – Will you vaccinate, will you delay?

Another sad truth is that many people research what car to buy, what TV to buy, what cable service to use, where to have their dog groomed more than they do how to give birth, where to give birth, who to have in attendance, and what the process will be like for them.  Some women do not feel confident with the care they receive, but do not switch providers.  So, if I can make one suggestion, it would be to prepare for your birth, and this includes switching providers if you do not feel comfortable with them. Prepare for birth, for you and your baby.

Make this interactive:  COMMENTS PLEASE.

Talking Birth

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Talking to my friend online about her birth reminds me that there are different views of birth.  There are the people who go to medical school to attend very medicalized births of frightened women who may or may not be prepared for the challenges of childbirth.  These same people attend births that are largely medicated in one form or another, and because of this, they see this as “normal”. The women who give birth in this setting often have to fight for their birth wishes.  Even if women don’t come armed with birth plans, some have desires that they would like met, but in the face of having to defend their wishes in the presence of staff, they give up.

The normal that the other group of people see is totally and completely different.  We see birth as nothing short of a miracle.  Birth is normal, it is natural, and it is healthy.  Birth is meant to happen to women, and women were built to give birth.  We grow babies that are the perfect size for our bodies.  The normal birth that this group sees has every confidence in birth.  Birth is not a medical event, and it certainly is not an emergency.  The women who give birth among this group of attendees often simply drift through birth  without a fight.  These births are peaceful, calm, quiet (sometimes eerily so), and have a sacred feel to them.  Women feel loved, at peace, protected, nurtured, and surrender to their birthing energy.

I love talking birth, probably more than anything else in this world (except for sharing stories about Sydney, of couse!).  My passion comes out, I get fired up, and I want for others to feel what I feel about this subject.  There are certain things about birth that anger me, some that make me so proud to be a woman, and some that just sadden me.

I think back to my own labor, when I felt totally in control.  And even upon arrival at the hospital, in San Ramon, CA, I felt the same.  The team of people I had supporting me was incredible.  Never did anyone treat the impending birth of Sydney like it was an emergency, or even a medical event.  I self hydrated, walked, did many position changes, had intermittent monitoring, and never heard a mention of my pain.  Going through labor was a time in my life when I felt the most vulnerable, but knew I was so loved and supported.  Sydney’s birth was at the very least challenging.  But it was also a time that defined much of my life now, it was a time that empowered me, and bonded us together as a family.

Birth is a time when women must feel supported, loved, and vulnerable.  Our birthing energy must be focused, intent, and committed.  We must labor with conviction, with a knowledge that we can do this.  Women who lose this energy, this conviction become easily steered in directions they may not want to go.  This does not make them weak at all, it just makes their path to birth different, and sometimes a bit more challenging, and sometimes still, more dangerous.

The births that OBs and L&D nurses see are dramatized because of the environment in which they are.  They are closely monitored, managed, and manipulated.  These births are mere fragments of what births should be.  Many of these births are not at all what the mothers or the babies want, but sometimes, mothers truly know no different.  Often times mothers are convinced of what they should want because of stories they have seen and heard from others (friends, family, media sources, etc), which creates fear in them, and they lose confidence and are convinced they need anesthetic assistance to get through birth.

Medicalized birth certainly has its place, it has its time, it has its necessity.  But it is not a majority of the time.  Healthy full-term mothers have a right to be fully apprised of how their bodies function, and how to work with their bodies and babies to have a birth with as few interventions as possible.

So here are some of my suggestions for a healthier birthing experience.

  1. Take ownership for how you want to give birth.  Decide now, and follow through.
  2. Eliminate the words “Delivery” and “Deliver” from your vocabulary.  They allow you no responsibility as a birthing mother.
  3. Create a birth plan.
  4. Research, research, research.
  5. Consider options you may not have considered before (home birth, birthing center, water birth, different hospital etc).
  6. Choose a care provider that is completely supportive of what you want.  If he/she is not, find another one.
  7. Prepare for birth by taking a birthing class that fits well with you and your birth partner.
  8. Believe in your abilities to give birth.
  9. Hire a doula.
  10. Be flexible about labor and birth, accept that some things in birth may shift a bit.
  11. Envision your birth, just the way you want it to be.
  12. Ask for positive birth stories only.  Walk away if people share anything less.
  13. Do NOT watch shows like Maternity Ward or A Baby Story.
  14. Arrange everything ahead of time so when birthing time nears, your life is free of undue stress.
  15. When labor begins, stay at home as long as you are comfortable.
  16. Have a happy, healthy, and safe birth.
  17. Take time following birth to talk about your birth to a person who respects you and will not judge.
  18. Do not feel like a failure if you chose to have interventions that you previously thought you would not.  You are NOT a failure.

Comments Welcome.

Birth Changed Me

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Sydney’s friend’s mother asked me the other day how I came to this profession.  No one had ever asked me that, and I guess I’d never really told anyone.  The truth is, if someone had asked me what I was going to do with my life, I certainly would never have thought that I’d be doing THIS.  In fact, at the age of 18, with the world before my feet, I ventured off to college in Greensboro, NC, where I was ready to take on the world.  Social Work was my major, and I wanted to be a Marriage and Family Therapist.  Today, I do not believe that’s where my gifts and passions lie, nor do I want to do anything like that.

But, it was in college that I first heard about HypnoBirthing, and became dedicated to a gentle birth for my future children.  Little did I know that I’d become a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator.  It was in 2007, when I was with my mother in Babies R Us at a Breastfeeding Fair, which was meant to be a pitstop on the way to Barnes and Noble to buy the HypnoBirthing book, because I had no idea that there were classes to help me along my journey to the gentle birth.  As I was filling out a raffle to win all kinds of baby items, I happened to glance at a sheet of paper that had the word HypnoBirthing on it.  I picked the piece of paper up, and saw that classes were offered in my area, so I flagged down the manager and asked where the distributor of the flyer was.  I was directed to Nicole, who taught my HypnoBirthing classes, attended our birth, and continues to be one of my friends.

Fast forward to my labor and birth.  July 16, 2007, at about 5:30pm, I began to feel the first of the surges, accompanied by diarrhea.  They began at 20 minutes apart, sped up to 10 minutes apart (which is when I ate dinner), then accelerated to 3 minutes apart upon entering the bath tub to relax.  My mother in law informed my husband that I was in labor upstairs in the tub, and that I was surging at 10 minutes apart, so when my husband came into the bathroom and heard me say, “I think it’s time to go”, imagine his shock.  About an hour later, we were on the way to the hospital, and were soon checked in.  We had Birth Preferences that were given to the nurse who would attend, and I was given the privacy to labor, with intermittent monitoring, vaginal exams only at my request, no mention of moving or hurrying things along, and freedom from an IV.  There were no references to pain, only to comfort level and how it could be improved, and my team was with me (husband, mother-in-law, and Nicole).

 

Relaxing during labor

As labor continued, exhaustion began to set in, and my focus became diverted to what was beginning to be translated as discomfort, and my relaxation was dwindling.  Position changes, sitting on the toilet, moving, walking, squatting, swaying, moaning, breathing, swaying, moving, moving, moving… Baby come out.  At hour 17 of labor, I said I needed “help”, and everyone in the room knew what that meant, but no one acknowledged it, they instead encouraged me, stayed with me, loved me, comforted me, took me on the journey of labor.  At hour 20, all relaxation had left, and I again spoke of needing “help”, and out of exhaustion, cried and begged.  Jeremy and I talked about it, and I told him I could not get our baby out of my body without first resting, and I was getting none with my extreme exhaustion and surges that were doing their job.

At hour 20, when help was requested, I was 10 centimeters open, but our sweet baby was not moving, no progression, just sitting there, and at hour 20, the nurse told us our baby was “sunny side up” (OP – Occiput Posterior, back of baby’s head on my back, not the optimal position for birthing a baby).  We tried one last position to get the baby to drop out of my pelvis so she could reposition correctly for birth, but to no avail.  Shortly after, help was delivered, and I drifted in and out of sleep.  I rested, and eventually was awakened so our baby could be born.  The doctor arrived, and was extremely hurried, so much so that the understanding nature, beautiful bedside manner were all gone.  Instead, the person who sat with her fingers in my vagina, stretching my perineum was a stranger to me.  Because of being medicated through epidural, I was not able to feel my natural impulses to aid my body in birthing my baby, so I had to use forced pushing.  About 2 and a half hours after beginning to push, our beautiful Sydney was born.

 

Skin to Skin Bonding

It was at that very moment that my life changed, and I know everyone says that, but a shift took place in my life.  We had never known that we would have a girl, and at that instant that she was there on my naked skin, something in me began to heal.  Years of tattered relationships with women in my life, years of hurt from my own relationship with my mother, years of anger toward her, years of not forgiving her, years of pain, were welling over with a healing power I had never experienced.  It was at that moment, when I looked at my daughter, that I knew my role as woman had been defined.  I felt an overwhelming sense of appreciation and love for her.

It was not until much later that I decided I needed to help women to give birth in a conscious, gentle manner.  I am so thankful I’ve made this choice, and so grateful for the support of my Sydney and my husband to do what I am so passionate about.  For me, birth was my defining moment, it was when I’ve felt strongest in my life, it was when I felt most empowered, most in control, and above all, I knew my body was built to give birth.  Never in my mind was there a doubt about my ability to birth my baby vaginally.  Sydney’s birth is the reason I do what I do today, it is my reason for looking forward to doing it all over again when I’m blessed to do so.  It is the reason I tell women and their birth companions that they can do it, that they are made to do it, that it is normal, natural and healthy to give birth freely, gently, consciously…

The births I have attended as a doula have all reaffirmed my belief in the power of birth.  I’ve witnessed as women became women, men became men, and they together became parents, nurturers, providers, givers, unconditional lovers of their new little life that they created together.

I do this because it has to be done, I do this because Sydney’s birth guided me to it, I do this because I believe in my entire being that women have a right to know they can give birth gently, I do this because women are powerful beings, I do this because I love it.

Birth changes me everyday.

A very special thanks to the couples who have welcomed me into their births, and to my Sydney who is the catalyst for this change.  You’ll never know how much this all means.

Comments Welcome.

Response to Mamapedia responses

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I submitted my article “New Surge In Birthing” to Mamapedia for many reasons:

  1. To spread the word about such a beautiful birthing method
  2. To encourage pregnant women to seek something different (for themselves and their babies)
  3. To bring awareness to the joy, comfort and empowering nature of gentle birthing, rather than the traumatic nature of how birth is already portrayed in the United States
  4. To write about a subject our country needs to hear about more (for our mothers, fathers, and babies)
  5. To hear responses from women everywhere (and to honestly and candidly respond with wholehearted appreciation)

I knew it was a risk to allow this article to be seen by women who may not feel the way I do about birthing, but I had no idea I would have such a negative, insulting, and critical audience.  The few people who supported my post through your positive words, I really do appreciate it.  Most of the comments, while not shocking to me, created a sad feeling within me, because I realized that the way our society has deemed birth to be has so deeply ingrained itself and affected women (to the point that they are defensive about the experiences they had when birthing).

My post was in no way intentioned to insult anyone, to create animosity, or to belittle anyone who had a c-section, an epidural, or an otherwise medicated birth.  There is no need for these women to justify your births to me, there is no judgment from me about your birth, and I would certainly hope that my readers do not pass judgment on you either.  If they (my readers) pass judgment on you, then they must also pass judgment on me as well, because I had a medicated (yet peaceful) birthing experience, that I blogged about in an earlier post.

As I read the article that Mamapedia so kindly published on their widely read website, I scoured it for the phrase “natural birth”, since some of the women who seemed deeply offended by my post spoke largely about “natural birth”.  Nowhere in my post did I speak of “natural birth”, because HypnoBirthing does not tout itself as a “natural birthing” technique, method of philosophy.  HypnoBirthing can be used in any birthing circumstance.  Allow me to share the birthing experiences of the couples I have taught, and of myself.

  • Me – Epidural after 20 hours of unmedicated labor (OP baby)
  • First couple – Home water birth, unmedicated with midwife attending (10 pound baby)
  • Second couple – C-section after 26 hours of labor and several hours of pushing (OP baby)
  • Third couple – Planned C-section (breech presented baby)
  • All of my other moms are happily awaiting their babies’ birthing days, with positive expectation

Out of all of the couples that I have taught, only one has been an unmedicated birth, but that does not make that birth or mother any more beautiful and wonderful than the other mothers I have worked with.  Nor does it undermine or dismiss the incredibly empowering experiences the medicated birthing mothers had.  All of the couples I have taught have had gentle, beautiful, empowering, and incredibly moving birthing experiences.  In fact, every one of the mothers I have worked with has said nothing but positive things about HypnoBirthing and the preparation for their births.

I am deeply saddened that in the United States, childbirth “preparation” classes, some providers, and hospitals tell couples that epidurals have no effect on babies.  Totally and completely untrue!  I am so frustrated by people saying this!  Let’s set the record straight.  Epidurals are narcotics, and they directly affect babies.  The affects of epidurals have been researched extensively, and here are some of the affects on both mother and baby:

  • (Mother) Drops in blood pressure (that’s the reason a blood pressure cuff is kept on a mother’s arm)
  • (Mother) Slowed labor because of not moving around during labor (mothers need to move during labor to facilitate the easy descent of the baby)
  • (Mother) Difficulty in pushing the baby out (increases the likelihood of other methods being used: forceps, vacuum extraction, pitocin, c-section)
  • (Mother) Interference with love hormone, oxytocin (often breaks down protective instinct over baby, and bonding can be difficult)
  • (Mother) Headaches (postpartum)
  • (Mother) Feelings of being emotionally detached
  • (Mother) Hip problems from knees being pushed to my ears (Personal)
  • (Mother) Void of emotion or protective instinct (Personal)
  • (Mother) Increased chance of tearing during birth
  • (Mother) Limited positioning options for birthing (decreased pelvic room for baby to emerge)
  • (Baby) Trouble latching on for successful nursing
  • (Baby) Interference with bonding with mother
  • (Baby) Drowsiness at birth
  • (Baby) Fetal distress

The above came from the following sources:

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/epidural.html

http://pregnancychildbirth.suite101.com/article.cfm/do_epidurals_affect_babies_

http://www.kimjames.net/epidural_risks_and_side_effects.htm

While one of the goals of HypnoBirthing is for women to have as few interventions as possible, it also advocates for mothers doing what their bodies tell them to do, and to accept whatever changes in labor that might occur.  This in no way indicates that HypnoBirthing is a “natural birthing” method.  However, it does advocate for education of mothers and fathers, to enable them to make the decisions that are best for them and their babies.  Through education, advocacy, and empowerment, HypnoBirthing very successfully helps couples experience gentle births (even and especially for the babies).  You would not believe the beautiful, peaceful, and gentle nature of HypnoBirthing babies.  I have the pleasure everyday, of being in contact with the mothers and fathers who gently and peacefully bring their babies into the world.  So yes, birth can be peaceful for babies, and it most often is with HypnoBirthing.

Thank all of you so much for the feedback, and thank you eternally to Mamapedia for publishing an article about a subject I am so passionate about.

Comments welcome.

Featured on Mamapedia

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A while ago, I read on Mamapedia that they needed some new bloggers to share some new and fresh information.  I wrote the post New Surge In Birthing, and submitted it.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would be published on Mamapedia, because of the large viewing audience.  My intention here, obviously is to spread the word about gentle birthing, advocacy for the birthing family, awareness on better maternity practices, and that women are not only capable, but are made to give birth.

I am happy to announce that my entry was chosen, and on Wednesday, May 12, I will be the featured blogger.  The entry is called New Surge In Birthing:  HypnoBirthing.  I also posted this on my blog, and to refresh your memory, here is the link to the original post:  New Surge In Birthing

Please visit Mamapedia on May 12, read and comment. 

As always, comments welcome!

Updates.

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This past Saturday, I attended the La Leche League Baby Fair as a vendor.  As I prepared for this event, I became more excited for the community to learn more about HypnoBirthing through My Gentle Birthing.  It became clear after the doors opened and women began to trickle in then flood the baby fair, that I chose the perfect business name.  Women flocked to my booth as they read My Gentle Birthing, because they were perplexed by what seemed to be an oxymoron (Gentle and Birthing together in the same statement).  Pregnant moms stood around my booth as I told them about HypnoBirthing, and I watched as some of the faces changed from disbelief to amazement.  Women signed my sheet requesting more information, and Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Birth and Women’s Care came to get some brochures and business cards to distribute to their patients and clients.  The networking potential was huge there, and it was wonderful to get publicity for My Gentle Birthing in a community that seems to only know of one way to birth.  It was a truly refreshing experience to bring attention to such a beautiful birthing method.

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To shift gears a bit, as many of you know, I am passionate about mothers and babies (and mothers giving birth gently and with their wishes adhered to).  The other night, I attended a film screening at Birthright Services in Garner.  I was inspired by the film, and by the conversation that ensued following the film.  As the conversation continued, doula training was brought up.  I am very interested in becoming a doula, and helping to support women as they labor and give birth.

I was so inspired by what I learned that I came home and the next day started looking at doula training, and found a Doula Organization called toLabor (formerly ALACE).  I made the decision after reading about it, finding a certification class that is being held next month close to home, and evaluating childcare options, that I will attend this training!

There are no words to express how grateful I am to have this opportunity.  There are no mistakes, things always happen for a reason.

I look forward to bringing more expertise, knowledge, and gentle nature to Fayetteville and the surrounding area through My Gentle Birthing.