Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amanda & Wayne's 2nd HypnoBirth

Amanda & Wayne took my HypnoBirthing classes as a refresher class in preparation for the birth of their 2nd baby. They took my Thursday classes at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA in January of 2011. They had an amazing HypnoBirthing experience with their 1st birth and wanted to make sure they had all of the tools that helped them with their 1st birth.

Here is their story:

This is something that I dreamed of and imagined since the minute I saw the positive pregnancy test, something that I was so excited to do all over again. Not only because I enjoyed Anella's labor and delivery so much but also because after 40 weeks of pregnancy the anticipation of meeting the miracle growing inside of me and finding out if it was a boy or girl is the most life changing experience.

I was approaching my "guess date," and everyday felt fleeting moments of "today could be the day" and then the next moment thinking "I'm never going to have this baby!" Around the 10th of April, I started having daily cramping and contractions, usually in the middle of the night sometimes enough that it would wake me up. Every time I'd wake up with cramping or contractions all I could think of is "Is today the day??!?!?!?!" and the excitement and anticipation would keep me awake for a little while. I'd eventually fall back asleep, wake up in the morning and think, "well today is not the day." For some reason I just knew that for me labor would happen in the middle of the night. Night after night as I climbed in bed I'd wonder if tonight was the night.

The night of April 21, I went to bed thinking that maybe this baby was going to be "late," my due date was April 23, I laughed to myself thinking that I'd make my "40 week" OB appointment after all seeing that it was the afternoon of April 22nd. Little did I know.

After Wayne got home from work I took a bath, as I did almost every night in the last trimester. Got out, put on my pj's and headed downstairs for dinner. As I sat down for dinner I just felt "off," I can't explain it really I just felt like things were happening. I got really hot and just felt different, I mentioned it to Wayne in passing but didn't really put too much thought into it. Wayne made dinner and as we sat down to eat I just didn't feel like eating it, a little nauseated but more than anything just "off." I mentioned to Wayne that maybe we should go to bed earlier than normal. Around 9:30pm we went to bed. I actually slept the best I had in months, I wasn't up every hour on the hour to pee like I had been. Actually I only woke up once, at 1am I rolled over to get up to pee and felt a gush of water. I laid there a second wondering if I had peed myself only to have it happen again. I knew immediately what was going on it was the exact same thing that happened with Anella. I got up and went to the bathroom to pee, checking my pants to make sure that there was no odor and that it was clear. I peed and knew that labor was around the corner. I walked out of the bathroom and woke up Wayne. Now I was quite surprised when he asked "Are you sure?" I actually laughed and said "Yes, I'm sure." I immediately called my parents as they were coming over to watch Anella for us and asked Wayne to call Dr. Biter. After I got off with my parents Wayne still hadn't called, he was still in a sleepy haze. So I called Dr Biter's office.

I decided to take a shower and just enjoy the warm water. We headed downstairs to wait for my parents and I sat on my birthing ball. I was starting to get stronger contractions, nothing regular but I could tell they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. All I could think about was how Thursday April 21st, was my last day of just the three of us, my last day with just Anella and I asked Wayne to go get her so I could give her a kiss before we left. My parents showed up at 1:30am which was perfect timing, they were surprised to see Anella awake and I of course started crying. I just knew that our life would never be the same, her life would never be the same and although I was so excited to meet my miracle at the same time I was just overwhelmed by all that was going on. I told Anella that "mommy was having the baby," and asked for a kiss she gave me a kiss and then gave baby a kiss which she had done a million times during the pregnancy, then she gave Wayne a kiss and we handed her to Grandpa, he took her to bed.

We had a 25 minute drive to Pomerado hospital and knowing how fast my labor with Anella had gone we wanted to get there ASAP. We left at 1:35am. I was so glad that it wasn't rush hour seeing that rush hour could have potentially added an additional 45-60 minutes to our drive. As we got on the freeway I was very surprised to see that it was stopped, the three left hand lanes had been closed down and the freeway was narrowed down to one lane. The traffic was SLOW, I laughed and said to Wayne "who would have thought that we'd get stuck in traffic at 2am!" We decided to take the side streets to avoid getting stuck in the traffic. As we drove, I was able to get myself into a very relaxed state during each contraction and I was noticing by the time we got there I was having them about every 4 minutes.

We checked in, got in our room, I changed into my gown and waited for the nurse. She came in and immediately wanted to hook me up to the monitor, this is something that I remember with disdain from Anella's delivery. This time around, I took it with stride. I laid down and she hooked me up, I was counting down the 20 required minutes. During each contraction, I would go within and be completely relaxed (I would repeat some of the birthing affirmations from Hypnobirthing in my head over and over), after it ended I would be with Wayne and the nurse. We gave her our birth plan which she read and immediately changed some of her wording (not using any reference to pain) and she was really excited to find out that we didn't know the sex of the baby. She said that she only has one or two deliveries a year that they don't know the sex. After the 20 required minutes, the nurse mentioned that she didn't get a "reactive" strip from the baby so she wanted to keep me on the monitor. I agreed to stay on the monitor, she then wanted to do an internal exam. Since I hadn't gotten a cervical check during the last few weeks of pregnancy, I had no idea what I'd been, when she checked me I was 5cm. She then got me some ice water hoping to get the reactive strip that she was looking for, I drank it fast. Still with each contraction I would go to my relaxed state and then chat with the nurse and Wayne after. It took much longer to get the reactive strip than I planned, but I had gotten so comfortable on the bed that when she told me I could get up I realized I didn't want to. I kept telling Wayne how nice it was to have these "breaks" between contractions I never had them with Anella and I was thankful to have them this time.

I spent almost my entire labor in the bed hooked on the monitor, this is NEVER in a million years how I pictured my birth. At one point the nurse came in to check me, I'd had the monitor off and she wanted to check the baby's heart rate before, during and after a contraction. She put the monitor on the heartbeat and waited, after a few minutes she said "Can you tell me when you're having a contraction because I can't tell by looking at you!" This made my day! Wayne had kept telling me how amazing I'd been doing but to have a stranger reiterate it was invigorating. She did another cervical check and I was a 7 cm. She told me she'd go call my Dr and let him know to come in. I had drank a ton of water and gotten up a ton of times to pee and would continue to lay back in the bed and go into my relaxed state during each contraction. I remember thinking to myself, I wish we were taping this for Hypnobirthing class (we do have a short video of me at around 5am, 8cm and just watching it it still amazes me that I was in labor). Dr Cobb showed up a little after 5am, at that point he checked me and I was 8cm, my water was still intact and so Dr Cobb asked if I wanted him to break it. I had always thought if I was in this situation I'd say no but I really wanted to get to the pushing phase so I asked him to go ahead and break my water. I continued going deep within with each contraction. We would talk and with each contraction I would close my eyes and get quiet. Dr Cobb would put his hand on my leg and Wayne would do light touch massage. I got up to pee for what felt like the 100th time, as I was sitting on the toilet I heard Dr Biter walk in. I had two more contractions while sitting on the toilet then came out of the bathroom and gave Dr Biter a hug and said "let's have a baby."

I got back in the bed and went into my relaxed state with each contraction, I started to feel a lot of pressure and asked Dr Cobb to check me again. At this point I was 9cm, I was disappointed because with all the pressure I had really thought that I was fully dilated. I started to lose my focus and it was suggested I get up out of bed to help move things along. As I went to get up things intensified even more. I slow danced with Wayne and all of a sudden got so hot, I couldn't cool myself down. Dr Biter brought me ice cold wash cloths which helped but I was still so hot I had to pull off my gown. The intensity was starting to overwhelm me. Dr Biter took a sheet and wrapped it under my belly with each contraction he'd pull back on it to help lift baby. I got to a point where I could barely stand and I wasn't getting a break between contractions. I mentioned that I had even more pressure so Dr Biter suggested I let Dr Cobb check me again. Just the thought was overwhelming so I had to lay back down on the bed. I got back in bed and lost all control I'd had, with each contraction I was taken over by the sensations and pressure from the baby. When Dr Cobb checked, I was fully dilated but I had a small cervical lip on the right, so they asked me to lay on my right side. I rolled over and tried to gain control again. With each contraction I would moan, I remember hearing myself thinking "is that coming from me?" I got to a point where I had no control and my body started pushing for me. I said "I have to push". Dr Cobb & Dr Biter said to let my body do what it needs. We had a mirror set up so I could see the pushing phase (something I had regretted not having with Anella). I started the pushing phase which with Anella had given me a feeling of relief, I was so looking forward to this phase. Well, as each labor is different, I did not get the relief feeling this time around. I remember looking in the mirror with each push thinking that the baby was never going to come. I finally found the right "push" Dr Cobb & Biter told me when I hit the perfect push and I was able to continue to recreate it knowing that it would bring me my baby. I looked in the mirror and saw the baby's head and that was all the motivation I needed. I pushed with everything I had and the head was out. Dr Cobb had to remove a cord wrap from around the baby's neck and then I was able to push again. The shoulders came out and Dr Biter told me to reach down and grab my baby, I grabbed under the arms (thinking to myself WOW this baby is slippery) and brought my baby to my chest. Dr Biter asked Wayne if it was a boy or girl and I looked in the mirror and saw testicles. It didn't matter though I KNEW the entire pregnancy our baby was a BOY! I laid there in complete awe of the last 40 weeks and the miracle laying on my chest. I immediately started breastfeeding. Orion latched within the first 10 minutes after birth.

Orion was born at 7:13am, born 6 hours after my water broke at home. Almost an identical story to Anella's birth. Both born the day before their due date, both having some of my water break at home which sent me into labor, Anella's water broke at Midnight and was born at 6:01 am, Orion's water broke at 1am, born at 7:13am. The similarities are crazy.

The nurse asked me if she could administer Pitocin for the placenta. Dr Cobb, said "no she doesn't need it." The nurse said "Let me ask the patient." She asked me and I said "No, I'd rather not." The placenta came out shortly thereafter, which we asked to have kept as I planned to encapsulate it. I had a small tear so Dr Cobb sewed me up. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before Wayne cut it.

I laid there with Orion on my chest skin to skin (he was never even cleaned off or rubbed down) for over an hour. He would nurse and then take a break and I would just relish in him on my chest. We asked the nurse to come in so we could weigh him, I was so excited to see how much he weighed. She put him on the scale, it came up with grams which means nothing to me she changes it to pounds and I see 8lbs 14oz! HOLY MOLY!!!! The nurse told me that when she saw me pushing and she saw his head she didn't think I'd be able to do it. I thought to myself "How else was he going to come out at that point?"

The transition from one to two babies has been so easy, both Wayne and I feel like Orion has always been here.

Congratulations to Amanda & Wayne! Thanks so much for sharing your birth story! I hope you're enjoying being a family of four!

If you'd like more information about Carol Yeh-Garner's HypnoBirthing classes in North County San Diego, CA, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If you are outside of San Diego, CA, please visit to find a practitioner near you.

If you'd like more information about Dr. Biter & Dr. Cobb's OB/GYN practice, Seaside Women's Health, in Encinitas (North County San Diego), CA, please call 760-642-0800.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story-Mercedes & Corey

Mercedes & Corey took my HypnoBirthing classes at Indigo Dragon Health & Wellness Center in Encinitas (North County San Diego) in 2009. I just got her birth story & she gave me permission to share it.

My Birth Story
Parents: Corey and Mercedes
Son: Gabriel

Sunday Dec 27th, 2009

8am: Another beautiful day in San Diego is upon us as the sun peeks through our blinds, rousing us from sleep. Little did I know I had just woken up from my last slumber as a pregnant woman! We woke up with a lot on our agenda. But first breakfast needed to be made. Corey made some green chile egg sandwiches, and we got dressed to go to meditation class downtown.

10am: We made it to meditation class at the Buddhist center in San Diego. Gabriel was very calm throughout, probably plotting his exit. After the class we headed home and ate leftovers from Christmas.

1pm: I went for a prenatal massage. When I returned, I noticed Corey’s nesting instinct had kicked in, as he was immersed in a deep cleaning of the kitchen.

2:30pm: We went to look at a house in Poway. Nice place with a big kitchen and an amazing backyard for Gabriel to explore. As we were leaving, another couple about our age was waiting to look at the house as well, carrying with them a brand new little baby. On our way home we stopped by the Farmer’s market. Gabriel was hungry again, so we fed him bratwurst from the sausage stand, with lots of spicy relish and a little bit of sauerkraut.

4pm: Headed back home. Corey was adamant about making his homemade leftover turkey soup. In between cooking, he continued to clean the kitchen. He did not want me to do anything, so he made me a warm bubble bath with rose petals for me to relax with my HypnoBirthing music in the background and candles lit. Aahhhhhhhh……

6-7pm: We were talking on the phone with Corey’s parents and then with my mom and sister. In the middle of a conversation with my Tia Anita, I started feeling these “menstrual-like” tightness in my abdomen every 10 minutes or so. Not very painful or frequent, so we wondered…… is this labor? Practice labor? The sauerkraut? ....And why is our dog, Winston, acting so strange, does he know something we don’t?

9pm: Definitely not the sauerkraut. Tightness episodes becoming more frequent, but no pattern is emergent. I thought there was supposed to be a pattern?! The googling of many labor-related keywords starts, followed finally by a call to our doula, Connie, who reassured us that everything that was happening was normal, that those tightness episodes were definitely surges, and that this baby was definitely coming soon! She told us to call when we were heading to the hospital, but we still had no idea when exactly we were supposed to do that. The next few hours are a blur. The surges come and go with no emerging pattern. Sometimes they last 10 seconds and sometimes they last almost a minute, and there is anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes between. This is not how Google told me it was supposed to be. Nonetheless, we start to get focused. We listen to the HypnoBirthing CD, Corey reads scripts, and I take a few hot showers, which really help ease the pain. We try to nap between surges, but to no avail. Long night ahead of us.

Monday Dec 28th, 2009

12am: I think I’m getting the hang of this labor business. When the surges come, Corey coaches me through my breathing techniques while gently doing light-touch massage. We crank up the volume on the HypnoBirthing CD and I do my best to get through the surges, one at a time. At one point, I have an uncontrollable urge to barf. Corey sprints to the bathroom and grabs a trash can just in time for 99% containment – it could’ve been a lot worse. Back into the shower to clean off and ride through a few more surges. Damn does that shower make it feel better.

3am: I thought my water broke in the shower, but I wasn’t sure. To be on the safe side we head to the hospital. We grab our hospital bag, a big pillow, and our birthing ball. Winston wants to come, but unfortunately he has to stay behind. Luckily, we had previously given our awesome dog sitter and friend Sherry a spare key to the house, and told her to be on the lookout for a text along the lines of “OMG baby on way!!! Pls get W”

3:30am: We arrive at the hospital, and it’s after-hours so we have to check in at the ER. The triage nurse asks me to come with him but Corey refuses to leave my side, so he comes to the triage station with me, holding a 4-foot diameter ball in one hand and a body pillow in the other. I’m having surges while the nurse is asking me asinine questions, so I just point to Corey and he answers for me, while nurses and doctors try to squeeze past him. Finally, we are admitted and another nurse comes with a wheelchair to escort me to the labor and delivery room. She takes her sweet time, pointing out locations of interest such as the gift shop and the cafeteria. In the L&D room, they asked me to pee in a cup and change. I brought my own birthing clothes so I changed into those, and when I tried to pee my water broke. Wow, this is really happening. My water just broke. I am definitely in labor! As I returned to the bed, they placed me on fetal monitor, which was only supposed to last for 20 min but somehow every 20 minutes the nurses had a compelling reason why it had to stay on for another 20 minutes. When they checked my dilation, I was 9.5 cm!!!!! They finally let me go off the fetal monitor, so I moved into a more comfortable position—on all fours leaning against the head of the bed. With Corey and my Doula at my bedside, I breathed through the pushing, chanting “Welcome Baby” with my helpers and making the occasional grunt. Corey later said I sounded like a weightlifter.

5:36am: After 1-2 big pushes, Gabriel plopped out of me into the nurse’s arms….I felt his arms and legs easily exiting…and we welcomed our happy baby into the world.
Congratulations Mercedes & Corey on a wonderful HypnoBirthing experience! They are getting ready for HypnoBirthing baby #2 in the fall, so they will be coming to do a refresher class soon. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

To learn more about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. To learn more about HypnoBirthing outside of San Diego, please visit to find a practitioner near you.

You will find contact information for Connie Merritt, Mercedes & Corey's doula (labor support person) on my website's resources page under "Doula". Connie is a midwifery apprentice, a lactation consultant & infant massage trainer as well!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Julia & Cory

Julia & Cory took my HypnoBirthing classes on Monday nights in February/March at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA. Here is their birth story:

My labor went exactly as I hoped it would, up until the very end.... It began with surges/contractions instead of my water breaking, in fact, my water never broke naturally, but we'll get into that later. I progressed very quickly and through the help of HypnoBirthing, remained calm and relaxed. Eventually, we were hurried to the operating room for a last minute C-section to ensure the health of our baby. Our nurse was supportive of our birth plan, and the doctor gave us a chance, so all in all we considered it a successful HypnoBirth.

Labor began on Wednesday, April 27th; I was 40 weeks and 2 days. The night before I had felt some mild surges while going to sleep, and they continued into the morning on Wednesday, but they were pretty spread out so I wasn't too concerned. Cory went to work as normal since I told him I didn't think anything was happening anytime soon. Around noon or 1pm, they had evened out to about 4 minutes apart. I called our doula/monitrice to let her know what was going on, but I still felt fine without her support, so she told me to call her back when they increased in intensity or frequency. I managed the surges with breathing, rocking back and forth, and using the TENS unit that our doula had loaned to me. I listened to the Rainbow Relaxation CD a bit, but I seemed to do better when I could hear my own breathing, so I only listened for a little while. In between surges I did hands and knees to help with the pressure I was feeling in my lower back. Around 5 or 6pm, Cory got home from work, and the surges were increasing in intensity, and were getting closer to 3 minutes apart. Our doula/monitrice came over around 7pm. She checked me quickly and determined I was 5 centimeters. My husband Cory, who is a veterinarian, was interested in learning how to determine effacement and dilation. With my okay, our doula/monitrice gave him a quick lesson and he got a chance to check me as well and got to feel the baby's head for was neat seeing his expression as he did this.

With the intensity and frequency of the surges increasing quickly, our doula/monitrice decided around 9pm that it was time to head to the hospital. The drive there was so surreal...I couldn't believe that after months of waiting, we were finally meeting our baby soon! I only had a few surges during the car ride, and we seemed to get to the hospital pretty quickly. It was quiet and empty when we checked in at Scripps La Jolla, and we met our nurse Erin, who took us to our room. She was very nice, and looked over our birth plan quickly, saying mostly everything looked good and that she was supportive of our plans. I was hooked up to the monitor with the plan of only staying there as long as needed, then I would walk around and get monitored intermittently. Erin checked me and I was already dilated to 7 centimeters upon arrival to the hospital. Cory said the nurse had a look of shock when she realized how far along I was, and that I was acting like it was no big deal. While the surges were intense at this point, I was still using my breathing and staying calm and relaxed. Cory was doing a great job whispering to me through the surges, telling me I was doing amazing and that we would meet our baby soon. While doing the initial monitoring however, the baby's heart rate began to decelerate from the 120s to the 70-80s after each surge. The doctor on call came in and said I would now be staying on continuous monitoring, which made sense, and our doula/monitrice agreed. The decrease in heart rate was because my surges were so close together that my baby never had time to recover and reoxygenate between surges. Soon they had me wearing an oxygen mask to increase my blood oxygen hoping the baby could recover better. They gave the baby and me a chance to continue with a natural birth by turning me to different sides after each surge, trying to get the baby's heart rate to improve. Erin, our nurse, warned us that this could lead to a c-section if it continued, so I did my best to focus on getting oxygen to the baby, and to remain calm. She was definitely rooting for us. I began feeling pressure with my surges, and when Erin checked me again, I was at 9.5 centimeters within an hour. I had no concept of felt like I had been in our room for only 20 minutes! (Thanks Carol for the time distortion technique!) With the decelerations in heart rate staying steady, the midwife on call asked if she could break my water to help things proceed. Cory and I agreed that since things with the heart rate weren't improving and in fact, getting worse (dropping into the high 60s) we would allow the manual rupture of the membranes. The hope being that would help me get to the last stage of labor and allow me to start pushing. With the thought of preventing a c-section in the back of my mind, and the fact that the baby was still in a -2 position, we should give it a shot. As it released, they found meconium in the water indicating that our baby was already experiencing a stressful labor.

At this point with the heart rate continuing to drop even more, the doctor rushed back in and said a c-section would be advised. If we continued with our plan, we could end up pushing for up to another hour putting our baby at risk for brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. I remember looking over at Cory and our doula/monitrice, feeling so disappointed that I had made it so far with HypnoBirthing and without any drugs, only to have a c-section at the last minute. But our nurse and even our doula/monitrice agreed that this point a c-section really was necessary. So into the OR we went, and very shortly thereafter, our son was born at 11:16pm! We didn't know the sex, so it was so amazing to hear Cory say "It's a boy!". Gavin was born on 4/27, 7lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long.
After the blur of events, Cory told me that our nurses were so impressed and stunned that I remained so calm and content all the way up to 9.5 centimeters! They were all rooting for us and I think their hearts dropped with ours when the doctor finally made the call to head to surgery. We were so close to having the natural birth, but we couldn't be more pleased with the outcome and the expertise of the staff.

Carol, thank you so much for everything you taught us in class. Cory and I felt very empowered and knowledgeable going into our labor, and even though it ended in a way we didn't envision, I still felt very much in control. I'm proud of the fact that I made it so far un-medicated and using our HypnoBirth techniques, and I'm excited to share our experience with HypnoBirth with my pregnant friends. Now that Gavin is here, while we are definitely sleep deprived, it's hard to remember life without him. Thank you!

Julia, Cory and Gavin
Congratulations to you, Julia & Cory! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I remember getting the phone call from Cory that you'd been in labor for quite awhile & that you both just needed to touch base with me to see if I had any last minute recommendations. It sounds like you did everything possible to have the birth you want. I'm sorry that you didn't get the natural birth you had planned for. I'm glad, though, that the HypnoBirthing classes helped you both feel empowered & educated so that you could make the best decisions for yourselves, your birth & your baby. Sometimes things don't go the way we planned and I'm glad that you were still able to feel a sense of control & have peace of mind with all of your decisions. Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

If you're interested in learning more about Julia & Cory's doula/monitrice, please contact Donna Hayes via her listing on San Diego Birth Network's Doula list at A monitrice is a doula that has medical training so they are able to do vaginal exams & check the baby's vitals whereas a doula cannot do those specific things.

If you're interested in learning more about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol Yeh-Garner's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. She has ongoing group classes in North County San Diego and is also available for private HypnoFertility sessions for those dealing with infertility.