Thursday, April 29, 2010

Emelie & Justin's HypnoBirthing story

Emelie & Justin took my Thursday night classes in February 2010 at Indigo Dragon Health & Wellness Center. Here is their birth story:

Hudson Michael R’s birth story

Emelie & Justin had a different OB through the first 7 months of their pregnancy that said that she supported HypnoBirthing. But, after experiencing persistent doubts about getting her 100% support of their ideal birth plan and feeling rushed through one too many appointment, they decided to explore other options and interviewed Dr. Biter. They switched to him at 31 weeks and feel that making this change was vital to the wonderful birth they experienced.

Even though I was due on May 1st, 2010, I felt throughout my pregnancy that my baby boy would arrive sometime in late April and would say that my guess date was “sometime in late April”… I went to see Dr. Biter on Friday April 23rd for my regular weekly appointment, and although he was not conducting any internal exams, he said he thought my practice surges were happening more frequently than I was aware of and were pretty strong. He said I was having one at the time he measured my belly. I couldn’t feel a thing! Since I was 39 weeks along, we all knew that baby boy could arrive anytime and would likely be very healthy. On Saturday April 24th, my family and I enjoyed walking around the Encinitas Street Faire in the afternoon breeze. The baby felt heavy as we walked, and my mom commented that she thought it looked as if he had dropped much lower in my abdomen than even earlier that day.

As we ended our long, 2-hour walk, I experienced a more powerful surge that seemed to continue uninterrupted for about 10 minutes. My mom checked her watch to time the surges if another one began, but nothing more happened. The surge felt slightly more intense than the practice labor we’d been observing.

After a healthy dinner, we headed to bed. At about 11:45pm, I awoke with the distinct feeling that something was happening. As I stood to get out of bed, a slight gush of fluid let me know that my membranes had likely released. I checked, and the fluid was clear, so I knew that all signs were probably “GO” and that the baby hadn’t released any meconium in the waters. I waited to see if my surges were going to start before waking my husband, Justin. The surges started almost immediately and were 2 minutes apart on the dot. I awoke hubby, and we calmly sat in the living room while I experienced and timed the surges. I instinctively knew that even though they were close together – consistently 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds, they were not yet intense enough that birth was imminent. In fact, I still wasn’t 100% convinced that I was actually in labor. As each surge came, I relaxed on my birth ball and meditated on my HypnoBirth Birthing Affirmations. The surges were very manageable. After about 2 hours, I took a shower to see how it would make me feel, and it was relaxing, which made the contractions begin to feel stronger. I had a secondary release of membranes that was DEFINITELY the real deal, so I knew for sure that I’d be having my baby soon! I called Dr. Biter to let him know I was in labor and get a feel for when we should head into the hospital. He instructed us to just continue to hang out at home as long as possible, and to call back when we decided to leave. He really left it up to me to listen to my body and decide for myself when it was time. At 4:15am, I felt it was time, and my mom, Justin, and I drove to Scripps Encinitas.

I was welcomed into a delivery room for initial monitoring and check-in. I went over my birth preferences with our nurse, and she said they would be able to accommodate all my requests without any issues. I sat on the birthing ball while they did the Fetal Monitoring, and because I was so calm, the baby’s heart rate was excellent and very consistent. I was dilated to 4cm, which I was a little disappointed about (and didn’t really need to know), but I somehow knew that things would move along quickly, so I didn’t let my disappointment distract me from remaining calm. I was allowed to do intermittent monitoring from that point forward, and the nurse left us to labor in peace and said she’d be back in an hour. I decided to use the shower and sat on the birth ball while hot water poured over me. The surges became extremely intense, and I frequently changed positions in the shower to better control how I reacted to them. I was not as outwardly serene as I thought I would be, but I did feel completely in control of the process. Even when I felt sick and vomited in the shower, I knew it was completely normal and was probably an indication that I was entering the latter part of the thinning and opening phase. I made low moans without even meaning to as the surges continued to get stronger. Justin repeated some of the birthing prompts, and the most helpful thing about that was that it helped him remain calm and have something to do that he felt would help. I think the intensity of my surges and my gutteral, animal response to them was fairly overwhelming to him, and the prompts helped him stay calm, which in turn helped me remain focused.

At 5:30am, I left the shower when the heat became overwhelming, and alternated between laboring on my hands and knees in the bed to standing in a swaying position. I was checked again and was already at 7.5cm in just over an hour! The surges continued to intensify and I kept repeating out loud to “Let it Go” – so that my body would release and continue to open and move the baby down. The thought of pain or pain relief never entered my mind, nor did I even once think that I couldn’t do this. I was more focused than I’d ever been in my life! I started to bleed a bit and feel some pressure at 6:30am. Justin called and told the nurse that I felt like I’d need to start pushing soon. She looked at me quizzically and I think was a little doubtful that I’d progressed to that point yet since I was at 7.5 only an hour before. But my body was telling me what I needed to do, and I told her again that I was needing to push. I must have sounded convincing! She called Dr. Biter and told me to remain calm and focused, that I was doing an amazing job, and would just have to wait a few minutes until the doctor arrived.

I did not feel or look like the calm women in the HypnoBirth videos. Instead, my labor rumbled across my body like a thundering stampede. I let the surges take over and began to rock up and down on my knees to keep from pushing. I blew out through my mouth like a horse – something I’d read about in the Ina May Gaskin book, which ended up being a very helpful technique to remain open and loose.

Dr. Biter arrived just before 7am, and checked me as I was up on my knees. My mom asked him how dilated I was, and his response was – we’re going to have this baby right now!

I pushed from an upright position on my knees a few times, but was encouraged by Dr. Biter to turn around and lay back (in the ‘slanting J’ position) for more effective pushing. I listened to his confident support and lay back. I was relieved to be in the hands of someone I really trusted to help me birth our son the way I wanted to. He helped me listen to my body more effectively and push only when I felt the urge. He told me to push past “that point”, and doing so felt incredibly empowering. It was VERY intense, but I knew that I had to do this for my son… his heart rate was dropping a little as he came down the birth path, and even though the nurse didn’t say anything, I knew I had to deliver him with haste. After about 10 minutes of pushing, I crowned. Apparently the cord was around the baby’s neck, and Dr. Biter gently unwrapped it and kept encouraging me. I wasn’t aware of this until after the fact. A few more powerful pushes, and his shoulders were out. From my birth plan, Dr. Biter knew that I wanted to receive the baby, so he told me to look down and birth my son. I reached down, put my hands under his arms, and gently pulled him from me and placed him on my chest. It was the single-most unbelievable, beautiful experience of my life. Justin was in complete awe.

Hudson Michael R was born at 7:12am on Sunday, April 25th– after 15 minutes of pushing and less than 3 hours of labor at the hospital (about 7 hours of labor total).

We bonded skin-to-skin, and Hudson was incredibly alert and calm. He let out a single cry to clear his lungs and afterward, he just calmly lay on my chest and took his new world in. He latched almost immediately.

The nurses were extremely supportive and kept saying how awesome this birth was… how fast, controlled and natural.

Justin cut the cord after it stopped pulsating, and I birthed the placenta easily about 5 minutes after Hudson was born.

While my birth was not a “textbook” calm HypnoBirth, I do believe that I would not have remained in calm control without the relaxation techniques, self-confidence, and body awareness that we learned in our class. I envisioned how proud I would be of myself if I could achieve a natural birth, and I now feel more powerful, womanly, and natural than I ever have. I will carry the memories of this amazing experience for the rest of my life. In addition – my body is recovering from delivery extremely fast. My positive mental and physical state is ideal for handling the fatigue of newborn care.

Even better, Hudson is one of the calmest newborns I’ve ever seen. The doctors, nurses, and his pediatrician have all remarked at how great his temperament is, how healthy he is, and what a great nurser it looks like he will be. He was born exactly the way he was meant to be, and I think he’ll be forever impacted by it without even knowing it. This has been amazing.

Thank you so much Carol, for providing us the tools, knowledge, and ability to create exactly the right birth experience for us, even if it looked different that what we’d pictured in our minds.

Congratulations Emelie & Justin! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story. Enjoy your babymoon!

Even though Emelie & Justin's birth experience wasn't a "textbook" HypnoBirth, it sounds like it was an amazing experience--even with moaning, rocking & vomiting! I really work hard to convey in class that the videos are just for a visual & that maybe people will experience birth in that way but even if it doesn't happen exactly like that or exactly like what they had envisioned, that they hopefully will still feel in control & empowered throughout their experience. That is the goal for me when I teach HypnoBirthing. If a woman gets a "pain-free", calm, peaceful birth, that's a bonus. I want women to birth with confidence knowing & trusting their body's natural process. I want women & their partners to go into their births with full informed consent, doing the research to ensure they have the right care provider & the right birth setting for them to feel safe & 100% supported, and to know the questions to ask to ensure that any intervention suggested is for a true medical situation.

All my best--Carol

Friday, April 16, 2010

A breech vaginal HypnoBirth in Canada

This is a news article about a recent vaginal breech birth in Canada, where vaginal breech deliveries are becoming more common. The doula that attended this birth shared that the couple also took HypnoBirthing classes from her. After reading the article, you can listen to Dr. Posner's experience of being the OB that helped to receive this breech baby.

Vaginal Breech in Ottawa

Every birth is a miracle, of course. But the arrival of Lily
Luck-Henderson, just after midnight last Tuesday morning at the General campus of the Ottawa Hospital, was something else as well.

Lily was breech, as are about four per cent of babies, meaning she
emerged from her mother's womb bottom first, rather than head first.
But, unlike most breech babies born in Canada in recent years, Lily was delivered vaginally, rather than by caesarean section.

Her successful delivery is seen as a harbinger of coming change in the
way babies are delivered in Canada -- or at least a step along the way.

At five days old, she has already played a starring role in something
significant, according to Ottawa midwife and researcher Betty-Anne
Daviss, a leading advocate for the return of breech birth deliveries in Canada, who, along with two obstetricians and a doula attended the
birth. It "was a pretty momentous occasion in Ottawa," she said, and an important step toward normalizing childbirth in Canada, something the organization representing Canadian obstetricians stands behind.

"The safest way to deliver a baby has always been the natural way,"
Andre Lalonde, head of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, said last year when it began an effort to bring back breech
birth. "Vaginal births are the preferred method of having a baby because a C-section in itself has complications. "

Not so long ago, evidence said something different.

The practice of delivering breech babies by C-sections was already
becoming the norm when a Canadian-based study published in The Lancet
concluded in 2000 that vaginal deliveries put breech babies at risk. The study cited 16 cases of fetal death, 13 of those involving women who delivered vaginally. The risk was considered so significant that the study was shut down early.

It had an immediate and far-reaching impact in Canada and around the
world. As a result, having a breech baby, in most cases, automatically
meant surgery.

Since then, a reassessment of the earlier trials has come to a different conclusion -- that vaginal deliveries in breech births do not increase complications. As a result, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada has revised its position, saying physicians should not automatically perform C-sections for breech births, but, under the right circumstances, should allow women choice.

The new guidelines were announced last June, but change has been slow.

The problem is that many doctors have never delivered a breech baby and others have limited experience. It had become a lost art.

Ottawa obstetrician Glenn Posner began practising after the
controversial breech birth study and, as a result, had no practical
experience delivering breech babies. He is anxious to change that. On
Monday night he helped deliver Lily Luck-Henderson. He says watching a
video about how it is done in Germany, with women in an upright position or on their hands and knees rather than lying down, helped.

It is time women were given the choice about attempting to deliver
breech babies without surgery, he added. "Aren't we supposed to let
people make their own choices? It's not the 1950s when you tell people
what to do and they say, 'OK, doctor.' "

Daviss, a midwife and researcher has traveled around the world
collecting and dispersing knowledge about breech birth deliveries. She
was recently in Israel where she taught techniques to help mothers
deliver breech babies without surgery. She conducts weekly sessions for mothers and care providers in Ottawa. And she is instrumental in the formation of a "breech birth squad" in Ottawa of physicians comfortable with and experienced in vaginal breech deliveries.

Last year, Daviss was involved in a conference sponsored by the
Ottawa-based Coalition for Breech Birth, aimed at bringing breech birth delivery back to Canada. The coalition was started by an Ottawa mother, Robin Guy, who had a breech baby by C-section.

The issue can be emotional for some. Guy has said her surgery was
unnecessary, except for the lack of skilled care providers to help her. She has lobbied to improve breech skills in Canada.

Daviss calls the return of vaginal breech birth "only a microcosm of
what else might change in obstetrics."

Since the 1960s, probably before, women have talked about taking back
control of birth. Still, with each decade, it has become more a medical procedure and less a natural event.

In the 1960s, about five per cent of Canadian women delivered by
C-section. Today, more than 27 per cent of babies are delivered
surgically and there is a national debate about whether women should
have the option of C-sections on demand.

Some will argue that if women want them and if they reduce risk, then
they should have them. But Daviss and others counter that C-sections are far from risk-free, something women are often not aware of.
Complications, even death, can result. What is more, reliance on
C-sections results in a loss of medical expertise, as has happened with breech deliveries. And "you never know when you are going to be in a place where you don't have a C-section available," Daviss says.

Lily's birth turned out to be problem free. "It went very easily," said Lily's mother Jennifer Luck. "If this helps make things easier for women along the way, I think that's fantastic."

Elizabeth Payne is a member of the Citizen's editorial board.
E-mail: epayne@thecitizen.
C Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

The Best of All in a Day April 13, 2010 "Breech Births"

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reversed its position on breech deliveries last year. They now say that it's safe to deliver breech births naturally in most cases. But a lot of obstetricians aren't trained in delivering breeches, because for years doctors have been directed to do C-sections instead. Well, this is all slowly changing at Ottawa Hospitals. Dr. Glenn Posner is an ob-gyn who's been trying out natural breech delivery. Robin Guy is from the Coalition for Breech Birth.

Listen to Dr. Posner talk about receiving a breech

Way to go Dr. Posner & Canada! Now we just have to get the U.S. OBs on board!


Monday, April 12, 2010

A HypnoBirthing birth story

Alana & John took my Tuesday night classes in January 2010 at Babies by the Sea Boutique. Here is her birth experience:

My Birth Experience

On Sunday morning March 7th I lost my mucus plug so I knew I was on track since I was due March 22nd and all the books say that Labor will start within 24hrs to 2 weeks. I never thought that while I was at work Monday morning March 8th at about 11am that my water would break. I called my Husband, John, at his work and let him know that I had felt some water release but I wasn’t having any contractions yet so I was going to work another hour and then head home. I got home around 12:15pm and decided to try and take a walk to start getting some contractions going.

After an hour of walking nothing had changed. I went home to lie down and relax. I watched some TV while John gathered everything we needed and packed up the car. I had contacted my doctor’s office and let them know my water had broken and since I had tested positive for GBS they instructed me to go to the hospital as soon as I was ready. I decided to take my time since I wasn’t feeling anything yet. I took a warm bath and just thought about the process ahead of me and told myself to remain calm and focus although I was very anxious and excited all at the same time.

On the way to Scripps Encinitas I stopped by an acupuncture clinic to get an induction treatment to help progress my surges. The acupuncturist also showed John & myself some pressure points that would be useful to press on when I started feeling an intense surge. We arrived at Scripps at about 7:00pm, with our arms full of bags, exercise ball, a yoga mat and pillows. It was a strange feeling arriving there without feeling as if I needed to be there since I still wasn’t feeling any signs of labor.

I got lucky and it was a slow night so I had a nurse all to myself who was very supportive in honoring my birth plan and allowing me to voice exactly what I wanted to take place. She was in total agreement with me in allowing me to be free of being hooked up to anything. After my initial 20 mins of monitoring I was allowed to be unhooked. My initial measurement when I arrived was 1 cm. There were contractions that I was having but they were erratic and not consistent and I could not feel them. By 9:00pm my doctor came in and let me know that they were going to start Pitocin since it had been awhile since my water had broken and they were worried about risk of infection with the baby.

I stayed very firm with my ideas of having a natural birth without any drug interventions. The doctor insisted that something be done and after Pitocin was suggested she offered Cervadil to be placed on my cervix but she did explain that the disadvantage was that once the Cervadil was on it could not be taken off. I again stayed firm and asked if there was anything else or if we could please give my body more time since I was already on IV antibiotics. The Doctor then came up with an idea of what she called a Foley Ball and asked the nurse if they had the right equipment available for it. The nurse said they did.

The Doctor was then very thorough in explaining to me exactly what was going to happen. Basically it is a tube that at one end they fill with water to form a ball that is about 2 inches in diameter. The tube is first inserted in your vagina and then filled up with water. The ball then puts pressure on your cervix to cause it to contract. There are no real side effects for you or the baby and once you are dilated to anywhere from 4-6cm the ball becomes loose and is taken out. There is the discomfort of having the remaining part of the tubing hanging out of your vagina the nurse was able to tape it to the side of my leg so I was able to walk around easier.

As soon as the Foley Ball was inserted and filled with water and placed directly on my cervix I started feeling surges and they were becoming more frequent and consistent. The doctor did let me know that if I had not progressed in the time that she wanted that I still would have to get Pitocin, in my mind I just figured that we would talk about that if it came up but I was going to get through it without the Pitocin. By 12:00am midnight I had opened another cm and I was at 2cm so they let me keep going at around 3:00am John and I took a walk all around the hospital for about an hour. By then I had progressed to about 4cm. The doctor was happy with my results so she said there was no reason to administer Pitocin which I was very happy about.

Periodically I would take showers, which felt great. I would sit on the birthing ball in the shower and let the warm water fall on me having John or my Mom rub my back with gentle touch massage. I would walk around the room, sit on the ball bracing my arms on the bed and sometimes just laid in bed listening to my Rainbow Relaxation CD and at times felt so relaxed that I would fall asleep. Even while not listening to the CD I kept positive thoughts in my head and John was encouraging letting me know I was doing great. Also breathing helped a lot I took long slow relaxing breaths.

At around 10:00am I was at 6cm dilated and my surges were getting pretty close together and definitely intense. The Foley Ball was removed and it was nice to not have the tubing taped to my leg. This was the most difficult time for me with the intensity of the surges in my back, at one point I looked at John and told him I wasn’t sure how much longer I could do this for. He let me know with words of encouragement that everything was going great & that I was doing a great job. I got in the shower to help with the intensity of the surges. Again John and my Mom took turns rubbing my back and I also used some of the pressure points to help with the intensity. It felt so good in there and time had gone by that the nurse said it had been an 1hr and ½ and they needed to check me. I was in shock when she said that I was at 9 ½ cm and was looking good but still needed to go a little longer and she was going to let the Doctor know to come to the hospital. She also said not to push and she would be back. Of course as soon as she left & John had just gotten back from the cafeteria I felt as if I needed to push and I told John to call the nurse.

The nurse came back in because they had lost the fetal heart rate and I told her that I needed to push and the baby was coming. She let me know that I still had more time to go and that the Doctor was on her way. I said "no, I really need to push, can you check me again?". So she went ahead and did and within those few minutes I had already gone to 10cm and was ready so she said that I could go ahead and push. This was the easy part for me, it just felt like the urge you have when you need to go the bathroom. I could no longer feel the contractions...just the anticipation of seeing my baby for the first time and seeing if it was a boy or a girl. That was at about 11:50am and after pushing for about 20 minutes we had a beautiful baby boy.

Kai William was born at 12:07pm he was 7lbs. 9oz. and 21 inches long. Both the doctor and nurses were great at honoring what I had asked. John was able to announce the sex of the baby since it was a surprise, and cut the cord after waiting until it stopped pulsating. My placenta came out very easy with little effort on my part and the doctor said that I had torn just a little that there was really no need for stitches but put 2 small ones in.

Overall my experience was great. I really feel that taking the Hypnobirthing classes allowed me to find a state of relaxation to help cope with the discomfort of what I was feeling. When it came down to it the 2 things that helped the most were the warm water of the shower while sitting on the exercise ball and listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD while laboring and also every night before I went to bed to help mentally prepare myself for the birthing process.

By taking your classes both my husband and I were able to feel very knowledgeable about what was to happen at our baby's birth. For me personally, much of what I was fearful about was the unknown since this was my first baby. The classes helped educate us in a calm and interactive way allowing us to ease into and inform us of what we were going to experience as opposed to being told what a scary and painful experience giving birth is. We went into it anxious and excited for it to happen and to meet our baby. The breathing and self hypnosis exercises allowed us to really prepare and envision what was going to occur, which I found very invaluable. Listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD every night before bedtime really helped me stay focused and relaxed while in labor. I would definitely recommend taking Carol's HypnoBirthing classes and plan on taking them again next time we get pregnant.

I hope this information is useful to your new and prospective students!


Thanks for sharing your birth story! I want to add that Alana called me after her water had released & nothing was really happening. I suggested to her that she rest, relax, have her husband read some hypnosis scripts to her while in the bathtub & that she see if she could get an induction acupuncture session in on her way to the hospital. I always suggest to my clients to call me if they have any last minute questions & am so glad when they do.

Congratulations Alana & John! Enjoy your babymoon!

All my best--Carol


Monday, April 5, 2010

Would the REAL Organic products please stand up?

Organic Consumers Assn. Identifies Fraudulent and Authentic Organic

Sun Apr 4, 2010 1:35 pm (PDT)

The Organic Consumers' Association (OCA) recently tested various personal
care products claiming to be organic and identified manufacturers and brands
that appear, to the OCA, to make fraudulent and genuine claims in this

OCA's coming clean campaign:

The OCA has initiated a boycott against the following brands, which it
characterizes ad fake organics:

. Avalon "Organics"
. Desert Essence "Organics"
. Earth's Best "Organic"
. Eminence "Organic" (Except Few w/USDA Seal)
. Giovanni "Organic"
. Goodstuff "Organics"
. Head "Organics"
. Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic"
. Kiss My Face "Obsessively Organic"
. Nature's Gate "Organics"
. Physicians Formula "Organic" Wear
. Stella McCartney "100% Organic"

In contrast, here are some organic brands which the OCA has identified as
honest organics:

. Alteya Organics
. Baby Bear Shop
. Badger
. Brittanie's Thyme
. Bubble and Bee Organic
. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
. Earth Mama Angel Baby
. Indian Meadow Herbals
. Intelligent Nutrients
. Kimberly Parry Organics
. Little Angel
. Mercola
. Miessence Certified Organics
. Nature's Paradise
. OGmama and OGbaby
. Organicare
. Organic Essence
. Origins Organics
. Purely Shea
. Rose Tattoo Aftercare
. SoCal Cleanse
. Sensibility Soaps / Nourish
. Terressentials
. Trillium Organics
. Vermont Soap

Hooray! Miessence is finally getting validation for being a truly safe, organic product line! You can learn more about Miessence at my website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. Look under Products.