Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Power of the Mind

In HypnoBirthing classes, we de-hypnotize people about the idea that birth must be painful. The power of our thoughts (unconscious & conscious) is amazing & affects the way our body reacts. If we fear something, our body tenses up. If we are calm, endorphins are released & our body is more capable of doing the job it is supposed to do more comfortably. Mickey Mongan, the founder of the HypnoBirthing Institute, recently shared a powerful example of how the placebo effect can affect the body:

The account of this study is written in Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book, The Biology of Belief. It seems that Dr. Bruce Mosley of Baylor School of Medicine published a study in 2002 in the NE Journal of Medicine. The study involved patients with severe, debilitating knee pain. Dr. Mosley was convinced that there was no placebo effect in surgery. He knew that knee surgery helped the patients that he saw. In an effort to figure out which particular procedure in the surgery actually gave the most relief, he set up a study whereby the patients in the study were divided into three groups. In one group he shaved the cartilage; and in another group, he flushed out the knee joint, removing the material that he believed caused inflammation. Both of these procedures were standard for arthritic knee surgery. That third group received “fake surgery”. The patient was sedated, and Mosley then made three standard incisions. He then talked and acted in the very same manner that he would in any actual knee surgery. He even splashed salt water to simulate the sound of the knee-washing procedure. He spent about 40 minutes completing this “fake surgery.” He then sewed up the incisions, again, as if he had actually performed the surgery. The people in all three groups were prescribed the same post surgery care, which included a regimen of exercise.

The results showed that the people who received actual surgery improved; however, the placebo group that received the “fake surgery” improved equally as well. A couple of months later they assessed the success of both groups. There was no appreciable difference in the outcomes of the two groups. Pictures of the patients were shown on television news programs, with pictures of the people in the fake group playing basketball, running, etc. they didn't tell the placebo group for two years, and the doctor stated-"It is very obvious that my surgical skills had no effect on these people. The mind is a marvelous thing."

Just as the mind can heal, it can also create pain. HypnoBirthing classes teach moms-to-be (& their partners) how to be in control of their mind so they can have a more comfortable, maybe pain-free, birthing experience.

If you are interested in learning more about HypnoBirthing, please visit my website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net or www.HypnoBirthing.com. It is recommended by the HypnoBirthing Institute that moms-to-be take HypnoBirthing classes between their 5th & 7th month of pregnancy in order to have enough time to practice & re-learn to trust their body's natural ability to birth a baby.

Thanks Mickey for sharing this important example of the power of the mind!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Journey to HypnoBirthing

Kim & Jeff took my May/Tuesday 2009 classes. Kim had a baby several years ago & thought she had a good experience--had an epidural, had a pretty straight-forward labor, but when she got pregnant with her 2nd, she did more research. Here is their birth journey...

My birth adventure was a decision making process that led me to open my mind, follow my heart, embrace my power as a woman and share my passion. I hope to eventually inspire others to change perceptions of birth and understand how amazing our body is. I am going to start at the beginning because I feel it will be cathartic to get it all out of my brain. When I found out I was pregnant-- I immediately went to my ob/gyn. This was what I thought everyone did. They saw a doctor, went to monthly check-ups, labored in pain at a big hospital, got an epidural and eventually went home with a healthy, bouncing baby.

I should know. I experienced it all before with my daughter, Brooklyn. I was very young when I had her, but I thought my experience was good compared to some horror stories I had heard. With Brooklyn, I had a lovely woman doctor that I barely got to talk to. I got poked, prodded and had to pee in a cup nearly every visit. I took childbirth education classes at the big hospital where emphasis seemed to be on funny breathing and answers about the epidural. I decided to take my doctor up on a suggestion to be artificially induced two days before I was even due. I got hooked up to every monitor and contraption. I ended up getting an epidural even though I never stated that I wanted one. I had a catheter put in because I couldnʼt pee and then I got a stern on-call physician that I had never seen before using a suction cup device to help deliver my baby. I thought I had a generally “good” experience because I went in to the hospital at 8am and Brooklyn was born at 5pm. I thought this was how it always went. Boy--was I uneducated about choices!

So here I am back in the ob/gyn office, replaying in my mind everything that happened with Brooklynʼs birth. I knew I did not want all those medical interventions. I wanted something different. Since I work in healthcare, I realize all the unnecessary procedures that are done today and have seen the complications that can arise. I knew with this birth I wanted it to be more natural. So here I am for my first appointment and all I see is the nurse practitioner. I found out I might not even meet the doctor for awhile because she is so busy. The NP tells me my only birthing choice is Tri-City hospital, but this is great because they have a Level III NICU. Immediately, I donʼt like this. As I go to checkout, I am informed my insurance doesnʼt cover anything pregnancy related, but they will let me do a payment plan for the birth. I donʼt like this either. Time to make some decisions.

Now begins my research. I found a great California funded insurance option for women who are pregnant. Itʼs called AIM (Access for Infants and Mothers) but of course mycurrent ob/gyn is NOT a provider for this insurance. I figure this is ok...maybe Iʼll find a better doctor....or maybe a midwife. Wait, what is a midwife? I had heard of them, but I had a skewed vision of older, gray-haired, gruff women delivering babies in garages..or something like that. So more research.

I find out midwives are great! They are generally more holistic-minded, promote natural birth and are very educated and informed about the birth process. They spend more time with their patients and respect their choices. Not all midwives deliver babies at home either. There are dedicated practices of midwives that work and deliver babies at hospitals. I chose to try North County Health Services in Encinitas. Immediately, I felt great with the midwives there. They were young, vibrant and excited about ME and my pregnancy. Now that I had midwives, I had to figure out what I needed to birth naturally. There had to be an alternative to Lamaze class. More research.

Somehow I stumbled across HypnoBirthing. This immediately struck a chord with me since Jeff and I had just started listening to self-relaxation and hypnosis scripts. We both used them to go to sleep and we always felt better when we woke up. I started watching YouTube clips of HypnoBirthing. All the women seemed calm and peaceful. This seemed right to me. (Plus I was determined to prove to Jeff that birthing can be beautiful. He kept having this horror episiotomy vision that haunted him). I did more research on HypnoBirthing classes and found Carolʼs website. I was a little hesitant...should we spend the $300 or just take the free childbirth classes at the hospital? But, I had a good feeling so I signed us up! I was lucky Jeff was so open to hypnosis- he was actually very excited for these classes. We always made it sort of a date night and had a dinner or went to the beach before class. It was nice to set aside that extra time for just us.

My pregnancy went by fast and it was great! I felt fantastic. I did prenatal yoga almost every day and ate very healthy. We started Carolʼs classes with 7 weeks left until my estimated due date. The HypnoBirthing classes were great. I really felt educated and informed to make all the right decisions. I was able to figure out exactly how I wanted this birth to go and put that vision in my mind. I read the HypnoBirthing book about two times and I listened to the rainbow relaxation cd almost every night before bed. I pasted my birth affirmation up on the wall and I continued to always think positively. I never watched any Baby Story tv shows and I let everyoneʼs comments about pain roll off me like water. I felt very prepared. My midwives were interested in HypnoBirthing, but had never really seen it first hand. I repeated a mantra in my head that my labor would be fast and easy. Everyone kept saying 2nd babies come early most of the time, but I had no symptoms of impending labor at all. I kept joking around to Jeff that I would probably go into labor when he was up in Burbank for work and he would have to race home in traffic. Or the baby would be born in the middle of the night and be a little night owl like him.

On July 13 2009- This was my estimated due date. I woke up with a little bit of bleeding. I figured this was probably either the beginning of my cervix dilating or the loss of my mucous plug. I started to get excited but I figured labor could still be awhile away. Jeff had to leave to drive to Santa Ana to meet with some employees of his. I told him to be on “high alert” but I donʼt think he took me seriously. I took Brooklyn to swimming lessons in the morning and then I came home and wasnʼt feeling too great. My mom came over to take Brooklyn for the rest of the day so I could relax. I started having some menstrual like cramps. I laid in bed and surfed the internet on my laptop, ate a snack and just rested. I really didnʼt think these cramps could be surges so I kind of just ignored them. About 1pm, I started timing the cramps just in case. They were pretty sporadic. Some would come every 10 minutes and last for 40 seconds and some would come every 3 minutes and last 15 seconds. I still didnʼt possibly think I could be in labor.

Around 5:30pm I started getting more uncomfortable. The cramps were a little more regular, but they still only lasted about 40 seconds. Maybe this was labor? I called my midwife to get her advice. She said that I should just relax and maybe get in the bathtub and call her back when the surges were at least a minute long for over an hour. I got in the bath tub, started drinking my coconut water and plugged my ipod into my ears. I listened to the Rainbow Relaxation on a loop. I wanted to labor at home as long as I could before going to the hospital. I called Jeff to come home because I knew he was atleast 45 minutes away. The cramps started getting more intense. I couldnʼt get very comfortable in the bath, but kept breathing and focusing on relaxation. Jeff came home and started packing things in the car for the the hospital (Scripps Encinitas). I didnʼt really know what he was doing packing MORE things when I had a backpack all ready to go, but I guess he was just nervous.

Finally he came into the bathroom and I asked him to time my surges. I would hold up my hand when one started and ended because I didnʼt want to talk. I really had to focus on breathing and relaxing. I visualized each surge as a wave that I was riding with a beginning, a peak and a distinct end. I also visualized my cervix opening with each wave. I especially focused on keeping my face and mouth relaxed. He said they were still only about 40-50 seconds long. I remained in the bath tub as the cramps were getting stronger. I kept remembering what Carol said about how when you feel like if you want an epidural-youʼre probably just really close to 10cm. I immediately put the thought of an epidural out of my head. In my mind, it just wasnʼt an option at all. Iʼm not sure how much time went by but it was dark outside now. I started feeling my body involuntarily push the baby down. During each surge I would moan (which I totally didnʼt expect). I started bleeding a little more and I thought my water may have broken but I wasnʼt sure because I was in the bath. I really didnʼt think I could wait for the surges to get longer--I knew I was getting close to seeing my little girl.

Finally I told Jeff it was time to get in the car and go to the hospital. It was so hard for me to get out of the bath. I really didnʼt want to leave the water. Jeff wrapped me in my robe and grabbed a towel for between my legs. He called the midwives and it was Brita on-call that night! She was my favorite midwife! She was going to meet us there. The car ride was very uncomfortable but I kept listening to the ipod and breathing. Ofc ourse Jeff was trying to hurry and missed the freeway entrance and we had to go the long way (poor guy was so nervous). I didnʼt say anything because I didnʼt want him even more nervous, but I tease him about it now- it was so cliche!

We got to the hospital and I got in a wheelchair. I was still naked under my robe with a towel between my legs (so much for the cute clothes I bought to labor in!). I got a room very quickly and realized it was already 10:30 pm. Brita checked me once I got situated and I was at 8 cm! I was so happy that I didnʼt have long to go. According to my birth plan, I agreed to having a hep-lock but I did not want an IV started. They were able to monitor the baby but the nurse turned the volume down so I didnʼt have to hear the heartbeat. I wanted to be calm. With each surge, I had to grab the handrails of the bed and I would breathe and moan. (Jeff said that if someone was just passing by the doorway it would have sounded like a woman having great sex! How mortifying!)

Brita was so awesome and she used warm compresses on my perineum just like I wanted in my birth plan. Jeff was standing by for anything I needed, but I really just wanted to listen to the rainbow relaxation. I tried to get in a few different positions but being on my back actually felt the best. Brita said that I had a fore-bag of waters that had broken but my actual water had not broke. She offered to break my water and then things would gor eally fast. My surges were so intense that I agreed. She broke my water and I could feel my body pushing the baby down. Brita checked me again. I was suddenly at 10cm! Anytime I wanted to push or breathe the baby down, I could.

This is where I had a little break. I remember the room was very dim. It was just Jeff and Brita with me. There was one nurse setting up things for the baby. There was no commotion. It was so calm. The surges were farther apart. I tried breathing the baby down with a little push, but nothing was happening. I tried my hands and knees and also laying on my side. Finally I was ready for the baby to be out! I got on my back again and pushed a few times. I remember Brita said to reach down and touch the head. I did and it was amazing! It gave me the strength to give a few more pushes and her head came out. She had the cord wrapped around her neck twice but it was quickly unwrapped and with one more push she was out! Instantly Brita put her on my abdomen and her slippery little body wiggled up and found my nipple. She looked at me with her big eyes and was completely alert and seemed aware of everything. She was born 2 minutes before midnight. I had only been in the hospital for an hour and a half!

Brita said she had never seen anyone look so calm and in control during labor. Jeff said I did great and the nurse said I was a professional birther (hahaha!) In my head, I had felt a little crazy and not as calm as everyone said I looked and I felt like I failed at “breathing” the baby down because I ended up just pushing, but when I look back on it--it was so absolutely beautiful and I felt so good and so strong afterwards. It really felt like the most amazing thing I had ever done in my life. I had no ripping-just a tiny tear by my urethra that didnʼt even require a stitch. I still feel so proud I let my body birth naturally.

Little Nikka is still very alert and very healthy. My body was pretty much back to normal after 2 weeks. I didnʼt have half as much pain and discomfort postpartum as I had with Brooklyn. Nikkaʼs birth went pretty much exactly how I visualized it..even down to the part where I joked that Jeff wouldnʼt be around during onset of labor and she would be born in the middle of the night. I really believe Carolʼs HypnoBirthing class played a big role in my wonderful birth. Thank you, Carol! And thanks to Brita Pompa CNM who delivered Nikka! I am so inspired by this experience that I hope I can find a way to spread this birth empowerment movement with more women.

Kim and Jeff
And Baby
Nikka Brazil Page
Born: July 13 2009
11:57 pm
8 lbs 4 oz

Congratulations Kim & Jeff! What an amazing & inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!

All my best--Carol

Friday, October 9, 2009

How Babies by the Sea Boutique came to be

So, Dr. Biter (otherwise known as Dr. Wonderful) has opened up a baby & children's boutique with one of my former HypnoBirthing clients, Laura Fairchild. It's really amazing how this all came to be...so here is the story! I'm excited to have the opportunity to teach my HypnoBirthing classes there on Tuesday nights starting November 3rd. For more information about my HypnoBirthing classes, please visit my website listed at the end of this post.

Babies by the Sea Boutique is located at 2007 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007 in the Seaside Market Place. Their website is www.babiesbytheseaboutique.com. The phone number is 760-230-4272.

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to empower healthy beginnings and support sustainable families by offering cutting-edge natural-living resources and products, in-depth educational opportunities, and fashion-forward organic and boutique apparel; and to create a nurturing, open-minded, non-judgmental, accepting of difference, multi-cultural social network to meet the evolving physical, developmental, intellectual, and emotional needs of all mothers, babies, and toddlers.


The concept of the Babies by the Sea Boutique was conceived by pure synchronicity. San Diego Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Dr. Robert Biter, has been a proponent of natural women's and babies’ health care for years. Witnessing the advent of the growing business of birth, Dr. Biter decided to establish a private birthing center where women and babies would not be subject to the pressure of revenue generating business practices and the lobbying of the pharmaceutical industry. Instead, he would offer his patients the ability to birth their babies in a natural, healthy setting with the convenience of having all the necessary surgical and medical back-up in the event of crisis situations.

Having years of experience familiarizing himself with the best and healthiest maternity products available, Dr. Biter decided that a natural fit for the birthing center would be a retail store where he could use his extensive background and expertise to make information and high-quality products available to the public.

Enter mom-to-be, Laura Ann Fairchild. Seeking out the absolute best physician to support her first pregnancy, she repeatedly comes across Dr. Biter's name. She researches his background, makes an appointment, and with no doubt that she had found her physician, becomes his patient. Through casual conversation, she learns that Dr. Biter used to shop at her designer clothing stores located in Cardiff by the Sea. The conversations continue over the course of her pregnancy, and the two eventually come to the obvious conclusion that with Dr. Biter's medical expertise and passion for health, and with Laura Fairchild's cutting-edge eye for retail fashion, buying ability, business knowledge, and familiarity with corporate start-up operations, that a partnership between the two of them could be a match made in baby boutique heaven! In addition, Laura's sister and business partner, Julie Fairchild, enthusiastically decides to join the team to handle marketing, events, and human resources for the store.

With Dr. Biter driving the vision and Laura Fairchild overseeing buying, merchandising, and day-to-day store operations, Babies by the Sea Boutique was born. The mission of the boutique is to provide much needed and well-researched retail options for pregnant women, mothers, babies and toddlers with respect to all aspects of life. The motivating goal is to address the customer's need for products that are healthy, fashionable, environmentally responsible, and practical, in addition to offering them information and daily support. The boutique will strive to develop a community support group and home base for its customers, and maintain an extensive community lecture program to address issues of social responsibility, nonviolent parenting, environmental health and self esteem development; as well as offering a forum for discussions and idea exchange. Other fun, creative, helpful, healthful, and educational ideas are being discussed daily by the owners.


The store build-out has been thoughtfully designed based upon a sustainable and environmentally-friendly "green" premise. Materials and themes incorporated into the build-out include the use of Kirei board and bamboo for shelving, recycled pallets for display tables, burlap coffee sacks for wall covering, reclaimed and salvaged urban wood for tables and beams, recycled glass for the countertops, non-VOC paint, energy-efficient lighting, and other non-toxic materials wherever possible.

Once open, the store practices will incorporate the use of earth-friendly office supplies, bags/packaging, water for customers, and other daily use items. The boutique will also encourage customers to re-use bags and to participate in environmentally friendly family events, in order to raise awareness with respect to sustainable living in the community.

Donation of Net Revenue to Non-Profit Organizations:

Babies by the Sea Boutique will donate a portion of net revenue to non-profit organizations developed by Dr. Robert Biter called Her Hearts Wish and Seaside Giving. Her Heart's Wish is a national organization dedicated to granting the wishes of women facing terminal illness. Seaside Giving provides medical care to pregnant women who cannot afford medical services. In exchange for this care, these women sign a contract with the organization to do volunteer work in the community.


When Dr. Robert Biter was 14 years old, his father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away four long years later. From that time on, Robert Biter knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life ---- be a doctor."I remember that the only person stronger than my father was the doctor in the white coat," said Dr. Biter, who lives and practices in Encinitas, California. "At first, I was going to be an oncologist, but then I delivered my first baby and saw the joy in medicine."

Dr. Biter received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University at the Milton S. Hershey School of Medicine in 1997, where he was named the Most Outstanding Graduate entering the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Continuing his post-graduate medical training and residency at Pennsylvania State University, he was recognized as Best Resident Educator and Best Chief Resident by the nursing staff. After having been awarded the American Medical Association Foundation Leadership Award and the National Health Service Corps Scholarship, Dr. Biter moved to San Diego, California where he worked with under-privileged patients as the sole physician in a practice with 11 midwives, delivering over 80 babies each month. He later became the Department Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas and eventually founded Seaside Women’s Health and the upcoming Babies by the Sea Birth Center. While in San Diego, he has been named Best Obstetrician/Gynecologist by Ranch and Coast Magazine and Medical Community All Star by the San Diego Padres. He also maintains his role as President of Her Heart’s Wish, a national wish granting program for terminally ill women, and founder of Seaside Giving, a local nonprofit that grants care to qualified women who then work hours of community service equal to the free care provided.

Dr. Biter is an advocate of natural birthing practices and natural baby and toddler products and is determined to make information and healthy avenues available to the public, so parents can make educated choices to best support their children’s long-term health and overall well-being.

As a writer and playwright in his spare time, his poetry and essays have received accolades from Medical Economics, San Diego Physician and Wild Onions literary magazine. His first play, Strangers, has received a total of nine awards including Best Original Script from the Eastern Regional Theatre Association.


Laura Ann Fairchild is an entrepreneur, retail fashion consultant, and the creator of the successful L.A. Fairchild Boutique and L.A. Fairchild Denim Bar concepts. Having worked in the wholesale clothing industry and later with the celebrity boutique owner Dianne Merrick in Los Angeles, Laura decided to open her own designer boutique, the L.A. Fairchild Boutique, in 2004. Her store quickly became a destination shopping location that drew people from all over Southern California. Noting the growing popularity of premium denim, Laura, with her business partner and sister, Julie Fairchild, subsequently launched the L.A. Fairchild Denim Bar in 2005.

The Denim Bar featured over 50 different premium denim lines, men’s clothing, accessories, a billiard table, a giant size Sony PlayStation, beer on tap, and highly-trained salespeople who acted as bartenders, essentially working personally with each customer to serve up the perfect pair of denim to meet their particular needs. Although very trendy and stylish, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, and customers felt like family and often just came to hang out at the store. Shortly after opening, the Denim Bar quickly achieved sales of over $725/ square foot, which is well above the national industry average. In 2007, gross margins were 48.5%, conversion was 30%, average transaction was $178.00 and units per transaction were 1.8. The Denim Bar was a hit!

Laura and the Denim Bar were featured in over 140 publications, ranging from People Magazine, Lucky Magazine, and In Style Magazine ... to Women's Wear Daily, Apparel News and Forbes. Year after year, the Denim Bar consistently earned the BEST OF awards in San Diego from 944 Magazine, Citysearch.com, customer driven websites, and Riviera Magazine. Laura Fairchild appeared as a regular fashion advisor on local San Diego News Channels and was also featured on Wealth TV and the E Channel, often being dubbed the Jean Queen or the Denim Guru. In 2006, she was also named to the San Diego Metropolitan Magazine's 40 under 40 in business. In November 2007, Ted Waitt, co-founder of Gateway Computer, invested over $5 million to purchase the Denim Bar concept and expand the business throughout California, with the eventual goal being a roll out of a 200-store national chain with a $250 million dollar market cap over a five-year period. Before choosing to exit the company in May 2008, Laura assisted Waitt in opening four new denim bar stores, while acting as Buyer, Chief Merchandising Officer and lead store designer. She also developed the merchandising and buying model that would be the foundation of the merchandising and buying strategy for the 200-store chain. Laura's sister, Julie Fairchild, assumed the role of Chief Administrative Officer and focused on developing replicable Marketing, Public Relations, Events/Promotions, Advertising, Branding, Real Estate Strategy, Store Operations, and Human Resources materials, strategies, and policies for the acquiring company. Julie also chose to exit the company in May 2008.

Together, Laura Fairchild and Julie Fairchild launched Fairchild Consulting in 2009 in order to assist small retail entrepreneurs by leveraging the Fairchilds' combined and varied experience in start-up strategy, business positioning, streamlining operations, buying, marketing, branding, human resources, and developing a replicable foundation for purposes of successfully growing a business from infancy.

Inspired by her recent pregnancy and the natural HypnoBirthing birth of her first child, Rion Price, Laura's latest business venture is as co-owner of Babies by the Sea Boutique with Dr. Robert Biter. With Dr. Biter, Laura Fairchild and Julie Fairchild will once again be working together as a familiar sister team on this venture, and the projected store grand opening is September 2009.

Congratulations on the opening of your new store, Dr. Biter & Laura! I know it will be very successful!

All my best--Carol