Wednesday, December 29, 2010

With HypnoBirthing, NOTHING works!

Marie (Mickey) Mongan, the founder of HypnoBirthing recently presented the following speech at the HypnoBirthing Conclave/Convention. It's worth sharing...

With HypnoBirthing NOTHING works!

We see it often - HypnoBirthing mothers accept that they have the ability to relax through the first phase of labor. But when it comes to talking about the baby’s descent and birthing, the question is, “What do I do then?” My answer is always the same - “NOTHING!! That’s what I want you to get out of this course. The understanding of doing “Nothing!!”

With HypnoBirthing NOTHING works. It’s Nature’s perfect design from the very onset.

Let’s look at a newborn baby girl - as she emerges, who teaches her to breathe? She does absolutely nothing to make it happen - but it happens.

If properly placed and encouraged, she crawls and bobbles her way to the breast for her first meal outside the womb. There is nothing that anyone gives her in the way of instruction - A natural GPS??

Within minutes of being born, she releases her anal sphincters, and out comes her first stool, or she pees. How does she do that without a chart of how to perform timely bodily functions?

Over time, as she grows and develops, with nothing to tell her how or when or how many times, she learns that she can sneeze to clear her nasal passages; she can signal that she is hungry or wants attention if it’s not readily there; she startles and becomes alert if she is frightened; and, if she feels secure, she can relax and fall asleep in loving arms. What did she do to learn to fall asleep? Nothing! Who taught her to awaken? How did she know she was hungry?

Fast forward to when she is a teenager. Her body changes with nothing but internal hormonal secretions to act as catalysts - she becomes a woman. The power of nothing is, and has been, alive in her human experience in so many ways, and she has mastered many functions with nothing but instinct to guide her.

Nothing has to teach her that she is experiencing her first love. She instinctively knows it and feels it. And when the time is right, there is nothing she has to study to learn how to express that love physically.

But enter the miracle of pregnancy, and all of a sudden, her previous trust, power, and confidence crumbles. She is now taught that her body is incapable of leading her through what should be a perfectly magical time. She must now be carefully taught how to nurture her pregnant body and her baby and ultimately how to give birth.

She is further taught that her trust and dependence is best placed outside of her own abilities and externally placed into the hands of others - strangers, trained and practiced experts, who know better than she. She needs them now to efficiently and conveniently manage her birth. They will teach and guide her along each step of the way. Instinct be damned!

She is now categorized onto charts - primagravida, and she’s put onto schedules, and regimens. She learns that she is inadequate and almost irrelevant to her own birthing experience.

For the woman who senses this as a disconnect, there are two options. She can go along with the prevailing model, or she can trust birthing, register for a HypnoBirthing class and learn to do nothing!!

We know that many of our moms hear a common question when they say they are preparing to birth their baby with HypnoBirthing. The question often is “Are you out of your mind.” In truth the response to that is “Yes.” To rely on her basic birthing instincts, a mother literally needs to be “out of her mind”. That’s where she turns her birthing over to her body and gets her mind and the regimens and techniques out of the way.

That’s exactly where we want our moms to be. When we teach them otherwise - how to do, and when to do, and how often to do - we confuse the inner consciousness, which controls instinct. Instinct no longer can function - we have stifled the natural function with the clutter of confused, panicked mind talk.

We strip it of the internal knowing, and then we turn to drugs as an external means of forcing the body to do what it used to know how to do. We know that drugs inhibit the bonding experience at birth, and mind talk also inhibits bodily function. Instead of achieving the objective, we confuse the body and it abdicates.

My question to all is: How dare we? How dare we presume to think that we can manipulate and redesign and introduce confusion into the experience with our own special outlines, instructions and techniques? How dare we mess with what is already perfectly created?

When we distribute charts and lists and lessons, filled with exercises and positions and advice,in effect,we are telling our parents that they need to do more and they need to do it this or that way at particular times. We need to bring about an awareness that what we teach in HypnoBirthing is not the cornerstone of HypnoBirthing, but rather suggestions to pass time.

Parents panic. They are afraid they will forget what we carefully instilled. They question are they doing it “right’? The only important thing is that they learn to do nothing - to just “allow” - to be the mammals that they are and return to their basic instincts.

Birthing has a rhythm and a flow, and every bit of “fixing” that we impose helps to disturb and shut down that very rhythm and flow. What they need to develop is a mastery to be “Out of their minds.” We need to stop humanizing birth. We have to put aside our own egos and our need to be a relevant factor in their birthing.

The time has come when we need to stop labeling these births as “exceptional” and “fantastic” and “out of this world.” They need to be seen as the norm and not out of the ordinary. When we no longer feel that we have to talk about how shocked and surprised the caregivers are, we will have begun to make progress. These will be the births that all mothers will expect when they are “out of their minds” and doing Nothing.

——Mickey Mongan, Director and Founder of the HypnoBirthing Institute

Monday, December 13, 2010

A HypnoBirthing announcement--Jill Ann & Ben


Jill Ann & Ben took my HypnoBirthing classes at Babies by the Sea Boutique on Tuesdays in August 2010. There were 5 couples in that class series. All five couples had amazing births & they all become close friends. Jill Ann was the last of the five to give birth. She came to class wanting a different experience for her 2nd birth than she had with her 1st birth.

Ben and Jill Ann’s Birth Story

A little back story on my journey to a HypnoBirth:

When I found out we were pregnant with our son, I researched everything! I knew I was going to breastfeed and cloth diaper, and there was no BPA or parbens in my house but we spent very little time researching birthing options. I knew the notion of natural birth, especially since my mom had all three of us naturally, but I never even considered it. Everyone around me encouraged me to get the epidural so I just thought that was the way to go!

As my pregnancy came to an end, I was feeling miserable and huge (feelings I never had with my HypnoBirth) and as soon as I went up to my due date, I scheduled an induction for 41 weeks.

The morning of the day I was going to go in to get the cervix ripener my water broke.

It was 7:30 am and the only thing I could remember from the birth class DVD was to check the water to make sure it's clear and take a shower. It was in the shower that the fear took over. My contractions started immediately and were painful. I felt like I was going to die!

We went to the hospital right after my short shower and I was admitted right away. No joke- I had the epidural 15 minutes later and felt nothing!! It was sweet relief. I took a nap and patiently waited for them to tell me it was time to push. About 4 hours later it was time. I pushed and pushed and pushed some more!! After two hours of pushing, it was suggested that I had pushed for "the time" and now I should consider assistance or.... I was terrified of a C-section so I agreed to the vacuum and the episiotomy that came with it. My son was born 2 pushes later with the vacuum assist.

Again nothing went 'wrong' with my birth; it was a quick and easy delivery with no pain, but afterward I realized that I wanted something different for baby 2.

Before we even got pregnant, I was entertaining the idea of a natural birth in the back of my mind. When I would mention it to people they would look at me like I was crazy (kind of like when I share that I cloth diaper)! But one good friend shared her natural birth story and then I got encouragement from my midwife and then another friend shared her story. All of these women were passionate and positive about natural birth – my first exposure to something other than “get an epidural.”

I already knew I wanted Deborah Strauhal, my massage therapist, who is also a doula, at my birth and she suggested HypnoBirthing. I Googled and found lots of information including Carol's website (www.AWellLivedLife.Net)and blog. I also ordered the book off Amazon and read it before committing to class. It was Carol's blog that sold me. I already felt like part of the family before class even started.

This time around things were very different. I worked out to prepare my body, I felt great even at the very end at 41+ weeks pregnant... When my labor did start I was not afraid... In fact, I was opposite! I was excited! I was completely in control and ready for just about anything...

My recovery time was minimal and very, very easy! I was up and walking around that day and released from the hospital 32 hours after being admitted (pretty much the minimum allowed)

So here is my HypnoBirth story:

I was overdue and reluctantly scheduled for an induction on Friday (42+ weeks) and the baby was being monitored every 3 days and everything was looking great so I was not worried about the health of the baby and waiting until Friday.

I had been having practice surges for about 3 days and on Sunday (41 weeks 5 days) I experienced a sensation that was different than all of the other practice surges.

It was 2:00 in the afternoon and it was a rolling wave that took over my entire abdominal area and even brought tears to my eyes… not painful at all but it was like my body was reacting. I had another one 10 minutes later and then no more.

I was distracted after that because my 2 year old had woken from his nap. I was still experiencing surges but they didn’t seem consistent (or that I should be timing them).

Eventually, I took some time for myself and took a shower and listened to Rainbow Relaxation and Birthing Affirmations CD. I even tried to take a nap but I was too excited that I might actually be going into labor.

So, I decided to hydrate up with coconut water and Gatorade. I was trying to watch TV to keep my mind off of things but it was hard so I finally gave in and started using my ipod to time my surges.

Shortly after I felt a small gush and it was my mucous plug being released.

At this point I called my doula to give her a heads up and secured overnight care for my son “just in case” and then went about our nightly routine of eating dinner and getting my son ready for bed. I ate some apples, cheese, eggs, and toast, all washed down with lots of water!

At about 9:15 pm, I decided to go “relax” to see if I could get the surges to become more regular. At this point they were 5-6 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds.

After 45 minutes of listening to the Rainbow Relaxation and Birthing Affirmations CD, I was feeling the surges coming on more frequent and stronger. At this point, we called our doula to come to the house. She arrived about 20 minutes later.

Once our doula arrived, things really took off. I moved onto the birth ball and laid my body over the bed. While still listening to the Rainbow Relaxation CD, my doula would massage my muscles in between surges. The massage was really helping my body truly and ultimately relax in between each surge and it was a little slice of heaven.

After about 45 minutes I felt the need to go to the hospital. I didn’t feel like I needed to push or anything, I just wanted to get there and be admitted so that I could get to my birthing room and get back into “the zone.” After calling the hospital, I took another shower and then we left. At this point my surges were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds.

When we arrived at the hospital I was 5 cm and “stretchy.” I had to be in the triage room to confirm that I was in real labor… again… I was relaxed and talking in between surges so there seemed to be a little reluctance that I was in active labor. During this time in triage I expressed that I did not want an IV, however, I ended up getting a hep lock, which was the compromise. I tried many times for no IV, but in all honesty, I didn't even care as the surges were close together and it was taking a lot of concentration just to breath and it really seemed to help the RN relax a little bit.

About 12:30 we went to our room, got a hep lock and more monitoring. I actually liked the monitoring because my 'team' could know when I was having surges. Before this, I had been holding up my finger to let them know and it was getting annoying to me… I just wanted to be still.

It felt like I was in my birthing room for minutes before I was feeling pressure (time distortion it was actually 45 minutes). I was checked and only 7cm. During this time I was laboring laying on the bed and the birth ball still listening to RR and still having light touch massage during a surge and more intense massage between surges.

Shortly after being checked at 7 cm, I was feeling claustrophobic and that I needed to escape!!!! I was breathing through my surges but I could feel that I was not relaxing and I started freaking out a bit. I was begging for someone to get me through it and MY TEAM did a good job of refocusing me and grounding me a bit (though I don't think I was actually listening to them).

Around 2:30 my body took over completely and I could feel the need to push. It was a rolling sensation in my body that I knew had to be it! As I was complaining that I had to push, the RN checked me again and of course I was 10!! At this point my membranes had still not ruptured and the baby was still -1 station but the RN gave me to go ahead to start pushing.

The RN then brought up breaking my membranes and asked if I would be interested and I was!!!! Since the midwife was delivering another baby at that exact time, my doctor was called to rupture my membranes (he was on-call). Meanwhile, I was birth breathing with every surge and ‘pop’ my membranes ruptured! Things progressed REALLY quickly after that! I literally felt the baby drop into the birth canal. At the time that my membranes ruptured it was clear that there was meconium in the fluid and her heart rate started dropping quickly!!!!

At this point I remained calm since I had faith that she was going to be okay but I also knew that I wanted to get her out as quickly as possible. I changed my position a bit (I had been lying on my side) and did the traditional 'pushing' to get her out ASAP. I pushed my body a little more that I wanted and she came out in one big woosh. I tore a bit (again didn't care) and she had to be tended by the nurses immediately, but Daddy was with her and I was still surging intensely. I delivered the placenta about 5 minutes later. Though she came out blue (the cord was wrapped around her) she pinked up immediately and she did not have any meconium in her lungs!

It was no time before I had her in my arms and she started nursing immediately!Though it got really intense at the end, I know that HypnoBirthing allowed me to remain calm and deliver my baby without any intervention.

I am so thankful that I had the support of my husband, mom, and doula and I had an awesome RN who stayed as close to our birth plan as she could.

Thank you Carol and my classmates: Brooke, Holly, Candace, and Kelly! Your support truly allowed us to have the birth that we wanted!

Audrey was born on Monday, November 29th at 2:52AM 20.5in and 9 lbs!

Thanks so much--Jill Ann

Congratulations Jill Ann & Ben! Thanks so much for sharing your birth story! Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

For more information about Jill Ann's doula & massage therapist, please contact Deborah Strauhal via her website:

For more information about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please contact Carol Yeh-Garner through her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. For classes outside of the San Diego area, please go to to find a practitioner near you.