Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gina and Mike's HypnoBirthing Story

Gina and Mike took my classes on Tuesday evenings at Seaside Women’s Health in Encinitas, North County San Diego.

Zoe decided to make an early appearance six weeks ahead of her guess date! She is doing well, and I wanted to write to give you the news and to especially thank you for the HynoBirthing training because despite all the curve-balls we faced that fateful night, I managed to have a beautiful, peaceful hypnobirth!

My water started leaking steadily and fairly heavily at 10:45PM on the 14th, and because I was only at 34 weeks, I called the midwives' line at UCSD and luckily got a hold of Erica Wu, who was one of the midwives I'd seen during my prenatal visit. She suggested that we go down and get checked out just to be sure, and so we collected all our things very calmly and drove down to the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest at around 12 am. I was sure that the baby was coming, and Mike was just as sure she was not, but luckily, he indulged me and drove me down! When they began monitoring me, it appeared that I was already in the 4-1-1 stage, but I never felt a thing except a very mild pressure. Erica said that because I was less than 36 weeks, she wouldn't be able to deliver me at the Birth Center, but that she would find the most natural birth friendly OB resident and attending, and that she didn't see any reason why I couldn't have a natural birth. She was true to her word, because by the time my surges became really powerful--around 3 AM, the nurses and OB resident had met with me, assured me that they would respect all our birth preferences (that we hadn't had a chance to discuss with our midwife or write down yet) and they did. The neonatologists, however, were less accommodating, and insisted that I give birth in the OR, but by then I was completely in my zone, breathing with each surge, changing positions, moving about, and never once opening my eyes or talking. It didn't matter to me where I gave birth because I was well and truly within myself and unaware of my surroundings. I had been listening to the Rainbow Relaxation and comfortable with Mike’s light massage during early labor, but I didn't want to listen to the CD or be touched during active labor. Our doula, Jenna Anderson, was awesome, applying cold and hot compresses, taking turns with Mike to apply counter-pressure on my hips, and at around 5 after I had a massive bout of vomiting (which felt really good afterward), she suggested that the resident check my cervix because she thought I was close (the resident said that she didn't need to check me at all before that because I was progressing so quickly and she didn't want to put me in any discomfort). I was 9 cm dilated at 5 am, ready to push by 5:30, and baby came after about 40 minutes of a combination of "purple pushing" and bearing down, both of which seemed completely intuitive to me at the time. The doctors and nurses (Drs. Mimi Schaeffer and Yvette Lacroisiere, and Juliette, the nurse), Jenna, and of course, Mike, were so encouraging and wonderful--- I felt like I was running a sprint with my most ardent fans egging me to the finish line, as gently and warmly as possible. No one ever mentioned Pitocin, epidurals, or episiotomies to me, I was allowed to do everything I wanted to, and even with a portable fetal rate monitor that I continuously had on my belly, no one ever gave me cause for alarm. Baby came easily, and I did tear very little, needing 1 stitch, which hasn't bothered me at all. Incidentally, we practiced perineal massage for the first time the evening of the 14th, so that poor perineum didn't get a chance to get properly exercised! I was really touched when both the nurse and resident said that they felt honored at having witnessed such a beautiful birth--Jenna said that she had never seen OBs treat a birth with such dignity.

If anything, the neonatologists have not been quite as respectful as the OBs, because they did not allow me initial skin-to-skin time with Zoe, nor an attempt at breastfeeding and they whisked her away to the NICU almost immediately. Mike went with them, and they did bring her to me briefly, but that part of it has been less than ideal. This is despite the fact that she weighed a respectable 5 lbs at birth, cried lustily as soon as she was born, and was pink, healthy, and vigorous. She's still in the NICU as a "feeder and grower" so that's hard, but I am so glad I was able to give her a drug and anesthesia-free birth. We are hoping that she comes home very soon, so we can continue bonding in a more comfortable space, when she doesn't have a dozen monitoring devices attached to her. Without the natural birth, I wouldn't have been feeling this good physically so soon after giving birth, and my time with her would be much more limited. I am almost fully recovered from the labor and delivery, save for some lingering exhaustion at the end of each day and my rigorous pumping schedule every 3 hours round the clock.

Thanks you for giving us the tools to be able to do this---it will always be one of the most amazing experiences in both my life and Mike’s.


Congratulations, Gina and Mike! I am so happy that Zoe's birth was just as beautiful as you desired, even if it was a bit earlier than anticipated! I am thankful to hear that the HypnoBirthing techniques came in handy, and am also thankful to know that Zoe was on the road to recovery soon after you sent this story in. How wonderful you felt so respected and empowered for your experience!

For more information on Gina’s doula, Jenna Anderson:

If you are interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes in the San Diego area, please feel free to contact Carol for class schedules and more information at: A Well Lived Life. If Carol's schedule does not work with yours, she would love to refer you to other local instructors as well. If you aren’t in the San Diego area but are still interested in utilizing all that HypnoBirthing has to offer, check out The HypnoBirthing Institute and find a Local Practitioner for you!

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