Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Power of the Mind on Good Morning America

I just found out that Good Morning America (tv show) did a story about hypnosis. Diane Sawyer trained in self-hypnosis so she could walk over hot coals. In the intro, The Power of the Mind video, she talks about how the power of the mind can rid the body of common symptoms & ailments. The clip shows the 1st c-section done in the 1960s with hypnosis & they show a little bit of video of the woman singing while they do the procedure! Amazing!

Here are the links:

The power of the mind (corrected link)

Diane Sawyer walking joyfully over hot coals


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Great product for mommies-to-be

I came across this wonderful new product line called BINSI. It is a line of clothing for pregnancy but mostly for birthing! They carry tanks,bras, robes & skirts that allow easy access for medical management of labor but are stylish enough to wear everyday.

The website is Check it out!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

A wonderful HypnoBirth story

I received permission to share a fellow HypnoBirthing practitioner's former class members' birth story with you. Here it is:

This is from one of my couples that switched to Brooklyn Birthing Center at the end of their 8th month. She was waiting on the approval from her insurance company and kept on top on it, bugging them until she got the answer she wanted. I still remember being in the supermarket when she called to tell me it was approved. Permission was granted to share this story.

December 29th, 2007

This was a normal day, much like any other Saturday, with the exception that I was now officially 2 days past my due date and very anxious, but lo and behold, I started to feel something at 11:30 am. I was very excited; this is the day we’ve been waiting for! I called my midwife and let her know that surges had begun, but it was the very beginning stage, and told her that I would keep her abreast about the situation. It was at that point that I decided to have a talk with my little girl, it was a major day for football, me being a Patriots fan and my husband being a Giants fan we were gearing up for the last game of the regular season. I told her that she could come before the game or after but not during.The surges were coming every 5-10 minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds.

I went out did some light shopping for some snacks to bring to the birthing center and came back home. The intensity of the surges started to increase as well, but with all the excitement of the football game I didn’t really notice it much. After the game (the Patriots won that one) around 11:30 pm the surges really kicked it up a notch! I spoke again with my midwife who informed me that she was ending her on-call shift and that Yulia would be on.

At that point my wonderful hubby Michael began giving me my prompts, and I went into a deep relaxation. He walked me through each surge and I allowed our Hawaiian music CD to bring me to another place, free of any pain. At 3am I called the midwife and told her that I wanted to come in to be checked out, the surges were very strong at that point, and I wanted to know what progress had been made. After being checked out I was 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced, but the baby’s head was still floating, so we were definitely having a baby today but just not now!

We went back home and I took several showers, went through more exercises and relaxed. Around 8 am I started to get dry heaves,(interesting to me b/c I went the whole pregnancy without any morning sickness) and we called Yulia at that time and she said that was good (later we came to find out that I was in the transition stage) and that she would call us around 10AM. At 10 I went into yet another shower,and spoke to the Yulia again gave her another update and she told us to meet her at the Birthing Center at 12pm.

By this point I was exhausted and wanted this baby out. I remember telling my husband that if we went to the birthing center and I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, I was going to check myself into the hospital and get drugs, because I was worn out! My hubby knowing how bad I wanted to have a natural birth gave me some very encouraging words and told me that although the ultimate decision was mine, he believed in me and knew that I had more fight in me.

When we arrived at the birthing center I was 7 cm dilated and the baby’s head was engaged, the midwife could even feel the curls on her head! So we were told to walk around the block for an hour, which we did and when we came back I was 9 cm dilated! I was very excited at this point and I got a second wind of energy. I went into the birthing room and started to go deep into relaxation and I don’t really remember how long I was in there but then my waters released around 3 pm, and then things really started to pick up!!!!

The assistants then filled the birthing tub and I got in. Ahhhh that was heavenly!! I brought our cd player in there and listened to ocean waves, and just drifted into my own world, I just let go and let my body and the baby do what they had to do. I suddenly had the urge to bear down – so I knew it was time to go into my birth breathing. The midwife was called and it was time!!! It took 3 big birth breaths, and I pushed a little on the last one and Michaela Marie was here. I received the baby and she looked up right at me, the emotions that came over me are indescribable!

I was told it took at total of 10 minutes for her to emerge into the world from the time I started my birth breaths! It was finally over and I made it, no screaming, no bright lights, no rough handling of the baby – everything was perfect just how we envisioned it. Thank God I found Hypnobirthing and Debi Tracy, because I don’t think I would have been able to make it without Hypnobirthing and my hubby being an amazing birth companion.

Sincerely Jonelle & Michaela

Debi Tracy Hypno Mom of two
NGH Certified Consulting Hypnotist
Touch of Health Wellness Center


Friday, February 22, 2008

The Invisible Mom

To all the moms out there:
With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees...

The Invisible Mom:I'm Invisible
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phoneand ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking,
"Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not;no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping thefloor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can
see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?"I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that onceheld books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, and she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,"Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Chemistry of the First Breastfeed

The Chemistry of the 1st Breastfeed
Falling in Love: The chemistry of the first breastfeed
There are many different types of love: sexual, romantic, platonic, filial, maternal, paternal, spiritual, love of self, love of country, love of possessions to name a few. Love for our mother, our first love, could be the pivotal love around which we build our ability to love in every other way.

This paper will look at the chemistry that is involved in the baby's first opportunity to love at that crucial time surrounding birth and the consequences of denying that opportunity. Love is as important to the individual as it is to their society and our world.

At the time of birth, and for about an hour following birthing, the mother and her newborn baby are swamped in a cocktail of hormones. This time is a crucial time for the mother and baby to bond, to become attached to fall in love.

A baby born after a normal, unmedicated birth and immediately dried and placed in his mother's arms on her bare chest gives an initial cry but quickly becomes quiet and alert, seeking visual contact with her. He rests for awhile, looking at his mother intermittently. This is followed by lip-smacking, and mouthing of the fingers begins, with an outpouring of saliva onto the baby's chin. Then the baby begins to inch forward with his legs to push strongly into the mother's lower abdomen. His hands reach from his mouth out to her chest and breasts, moistening her nipples with his wet fingers. When he reaches the tip of the sternum, he bounces his head into her chest. While moving up, he often turns his head from side to side. As he comes close to the nipple, he opens his mouth widely and, after several attempts, makes a perfect placement on the areola of the nipple and begins suckling.

The baby's heart rate and respiratory rate are rapidly stabilised, oxygen saturation remains normal and thermoregulation is rapidly achieved. There are no signs of stress.This species-specific set of innate behaviours is governed by and responsible for the release of the neurotransmitters that will influence the baby's and mother's relationship for a lifetime.

The hormones (neurotransmitters) involved: Interesting studies have been conducted on voles. The prairie vole, or prairie dog, is one of only a few mammals that are monogamous - they mate for life with one partner. Both parents nurture their young and the adult pair spend most of their time together. The montane vole, a close cousin of the prairie vole, on the other hand, is very promiscuous; its life being filled with one-night-stands and is uncommitted to either a partner or their own offspring. Very little genetically separates these two animals...only the presence of receptor sites for oxytocin in the area of the brain responsible for reward and pleasure, the limbic system, being one that the prairie vole has but the montane vole does not.

All of the neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers, that are involved in love and loving, care and being cared for and our emotional state arise from the Limbic System. This is an 'old' part of the brain, sometimes referred to as the 'mammalian' brain. Responses that arise from this part of our brain are not under the control of our 'thinking' brain, or the neocortex. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus, a part of the Limbic System, and sequestered in the posterior pituitary gland to be released in a pulsatile manner when stimulated. This stimulation could occur from sharing a meal with friends; in response to a hug from a friend; while making love; during birthing and immediately after birth; and it is an integral part of breastfeeding. Oxytocin is described as the 'hormone of love' because it is consistently involved in all forms of love.

All of these releases of oxytocin occur during a form of love. The hormones present at the same time as the oxytocin release determine how this love is directed. For example, during a shared meal with friends, oxytocin causes sociability; during romantic love oxytocin in the presence of high levels of dopamine and low levels of serotonin stimulates a desire for caring love making. When high levels of testosterone are present it causes sexual lust. In the presence of prolactin, the love is directed at nurturing and"mothering", and sexual desire is suppressed. Oxytocin also causes a reduction in stress and later stress-related diseases. For oxytocin to have an effect on behaviour it must be available to the brain and for the brain to have receptors for it. Oxytocin cannot pass from the peripheral blood stream back into the brain - ie, artificially administered oxytocin cannot enter the brain and cause behavioural effects.

Around the time of birth oestrogen, progesterone, and prolactin blood levels are reaching all time highs in the mother, and circulating into the fetus. Beta-endorphin has also been steadily rising throughout pregnancy peaking at high levels during labor in response to the pain felt, and is also generated by the fetus. Oxytocin is released in a pulsatile manner periodically throughout the pregnancy by both mother and fetus, while labor is characterised by strong pulses of oxytocin that cause uterine contractions. After birthing Matthiesen et al (2001) reported a significant rise in maternal oxytocin in response to the massaging movements as well as the suckling of the newborn baby. During the last contractions before the baby is birthed, adrenalin blood levels peak. Each of these hormones has its own characteristic effects, and in combination they are dynamite!

Beta-endorphin is a naturally occurring opiate that, like other opiates, acts as an analgesic, inducing feelings of pleasure, euphoria, and dependency or, with a partner, mutual dependency. Beta-endorphin is found in high concentration in pregnancy and increases throughout labor when levels of beta-endorphin reach those found in male endurance athletes during maximal exercise on a treadmill. It influences the beginning of attachment between mother and baby. Beta-endorphin is also found in colostrum - the neonate receiving it from his mother transplacentally prior to birth and more as soon as he starts to suckle, as well as his own endogenous production.

Prolactin is the 'mothering' hormone, regulating maternal behaviour and suppressing sexual desire. Oxytocin and prolactin together in high concentrations after the birth of the baby cause the mother's love to be directed toward her baby. The innate behaviours exhibited by the baby when placed on his mother's chest combine to increase oxytocin and prolactin levels in his mother - you could think the baby is pre-programmed to make his mother love him. Adrenalin is the stress hormone - not usually associated with oxytocin! However, in normal birthing it only appears during the last couple of contractions prior to birth. The action can be seen in the mother as she gains energy, focus, strength, and alertness and may complain of thirst. The baby also gets a burst of adrenalin - being born alert, wide-open eyes and dilated pupils. The mother is fascinated by the newborn's eyes - returning the gaze like star-struck lovers. The scene is set for a dependent baby who wants and needs love and protection, born to a mother who is primed to love strongly and protectively.

How could this go wrong? Easy - introduce both to the technological world of birthing. A mother who doesn't understand or trust her body puts her fate and that of her baby into the hands of a paternalistic system where birthing interventions are the norm. The chemical cocktail gets shaken, not stirred! Fear early in labor causes the labouring woman to release stress hormones, which inhibit oxytocin release and therefore contractions. So begins the cascade of interventions that start with an exogenous source of oxytocin that is unable to reach the brain to cause desirable behavioural responses, but increases labor pain levels to such an extent that analgesia or anaesthesia will be necessary. This in turn increases the incidence of birth complications, inhibits the release of beta-endorphin, and makes both mother and baby drowsy and less-responsive to each other. Baby is quickly separated from his mother for resuscitation.

A baby separated from his mother is stressed! Stress and love are mutually exclusive! Picture the newborns contorted facial expression, the exaggerated body movements, the crying, and know that there are undesirable changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, vagal tone and plasma cortisol. These are the signs and symptoms of stress. Raine, et al (1997) studied criminals at 18 years of age, and the same cohort at 34 years of age. In both studies these researchers were able to predict which ones committed a violent crime (ie rape, murder, robbery, domestic violence and assault) by studying their birth records. The violent offenders were the ones who experienced a complication during their birth (eg. forceps delivery, breech delivery, cord prolapse, preeclampsia, or long birth duration) and experienced maternal rejection. Odent (1999) describes this as the ultimate form of an inability to love - no love for self or others or society. There are other studies, particularly in the psychological literature, describing the effects of birth trauma and a failure to love or be loved at birth and long-term psychological and psychiatric defect. The number of children reported to authorities in Australia as suffering some form of abuse in 2003/4 totalled 146,562. The age group most affected were babies less than 12 months old.

With increasing medicalisation of birthing and thoughtless separation of mother and baby the picture is not pretty, but we can do something very basic, very quickly, with minimal cost . and it starts with empowering women to trust and care for their bodies and trust in normal childbirth. After a natural birth it is a natural response to put the newly born baby into his mother's arms to be held against her bare chest, but essential that this is done after a birth where there was any intervention. When birthing has been disturbed, the mother and her health carers must work extra hard over the next few hours and days to re-create an environment that will cause oxytocin and prolactin and beta endorphin to flow naturally in both mother and baby, giving them every chance to fall in love with a love that will last the baby a lifetime.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Child Protection Australia2003-04. Retrieved 11/2/05 from:
Buckley, S. (2002). Ecstatic Birth: The hormonal blueprint of labor.Mothering Issue 111. Retrieved 30/3/05 from:, Science and Technology. The Science of Love. I get a kick out of you. Published 12 Feb 2004, retrieved 11 Feb, 2005 from HE, Aron A, Mashek D, Li H, Brown LL., 2002. Defining the brainsystems of lust, romantic attraction, and attachment. Arch SexBehav;31(5):413-9.Lewis T, Amini F, Lannon R. (2000). A General Theory of Love. Vintage House,NY.Matthiesen AS, Ransjo-Arvidson AB, Nissen E, Uvnas-Moberg K. (2001).Postpartum maternal oxytocin release by newborns: Effect of infant hand massage and sucking. Birth; 28(1):13-9.Odent M. 1999. The Scientification of Love. Free Association Books, London.Odent M, Preventing Violence or Developing the Capacity to Love: WhichPerspective? Which Investment? Retrieved 11/2/05 from: FL, Grunau RE, Anand KJ. (1999) Long term effects of pain in infants. J Dev Behav Pediatr.;20(4):253-61Raine A, Brennan P, Mednick SA. (1997) Interaction between birthcomplications and early maternal rejection in predisposing individuals to adult violence: specificity to serious, early-onset violence. Am J Psychiatry; 154:1265-1271Rand ML. As It Was In The Beginning: The Significance of Infant Bonding in the Development of Self and Relationships. Retrieved 11/2/05 from: V; Nicolussi S; Carlo G; Marzari F; Faggian D; Favaro F; Plebani M.(2001) Labor Pain Effects on Colostral Milk Beta-Endorphin Concentrations of Lactating Mothers. Biology of the Neonate; 79:87-90Paper presented at the Australian Breastfeeding Association "HealthyChildren, Families and Communities" Workshop in Canberra, ACT. 17 March,2005.Last revised: 30 March, 2005.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A MySpace warning for everyone

MYSPACE: A Must Read for All

After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line.
She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213.
She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on.
She sent him an instant message:
ByAngel213: Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird!
GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?
ByAngel213: Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.
GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you?
ByAngel213: Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.
GoTo123: Did you have a softball game after school today?
ByAngel213: Yes and we won!!
GoTo123: That's great! Who did you play?
ByAngel213: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL
GoTo123: What is your team called?
ByAngel213: We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really cool. GoTo1 23: Did you pitch?
ByAngel213: No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye!
GoTo123 : Catch you later. Bye
Meanwhile.......GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.
Her name: Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
Age: 13
State where she lived: North Carolina
Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall.
Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior High School . She had told him all this in the conversations they had on- line. He had enough information to find her now.
Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ballpark that day. She didn't want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.
By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her. Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her. It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching her closely. He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and she quickly dismissed the sudden fear she had felt.
After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her. Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Shannon 's home, and once he saw where she lived he quickly returned to the park to get his car. Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon 's house. He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.
Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room. "Shannon, come here," her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa. "Sit down," her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story about you." Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!"Do you know who I am, Shannon ?" the man asked. "No," Shannon answered. "I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123." Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14. And he lives in Michigan !" The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true. You see, Shannon , there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to injure kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to talk to people on-line. You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to find you. You named the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze." Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in Michigan ?" He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?" She nodded."I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone.
Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time on-line. The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again. Tell others about this so they will be safe too?" "It's a promise!"That night Shannon and her Dad and Mom all knelt down together and thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could have been a tragic situation.*****NOW****FORWARD THIS TO PEOPLE WITH KIDS & EVEN THOSE WITHOUT KIDS SO THEY CAN SEND IT TO FRIENDS THAT DO HAVE CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Dad's viewpoint of HypnoBirthing

Here is a great article written by a father, who originally was a skeptic, but quickly became a believer in HypnoBirthing.

I swore I'd never be there, but my baby's birth was mesmerising
By TOM SYKES 29th November 2007
A few months ago I wrote in this newspaper that I had no intention of being present at the birth of my second child. The whole business of childbirth, I wrote, was messy, alarming, puts men offsex and was not something that I wished to witness again. And what use would a husband be in the delivery suite anyway? Well, that noise you can hear is the sound of a man earnestly munching hisway through a giant-sized portion of humble pie, because my wife Sasha has just given birth to a perfect baby girl - and I was there. And I'm told I was more than a little bit useful as well.
So what happened to my conviction that I'd rather stick red-hot pins in my flesh than be in the delivery room? Well, in the course of my research, I spoke to a number of birthing gurus,including Marie Mongan, the American creator of a program called HypnoBirthing that is sweeping through fashionable society moms in the United States faster than a Californian wildfire.
It was a conversation that didn't turn out too well. You see, Ms Mongan and I disagreed on the role of the father in the birth of his offspring - somewhat violently. I tended towards the school of thought that the father should be down the pub awaiting the good news. Ms Mongan, by contrast, insisted that "men do feel wonderful" being present at the birth, and that being on hand is, "part of completing what you started as a couple" and that my prespositionedence was necessary to pass on the right "energy" to the child.
My reaction? I wrote, "Frankly, most men I know consider such psychobabble a load of old cobblers." While some individuals find words like "healing", "chakra" and "energy"soothing, they actually make me angry, and HypnoBirthing sounded like exactly the sort of hippy-dippy, New Age nonsense that I abhor.
But then came a strange coincidence. Two couples told us that they had used HypnoBirthing, and credited the program with the easy births they had experienced. Sasha wanted to give the system a try. When faced with a choice between his principles and the wishes of his pregnant wife, a wise man will abandon his principles in a flash.
And so, I somehow found myself lying back in a remarkably comfortable,reclining armchair, being gently lulled into a trance by hypnotherapist Aisling Killoran, who runs the Dublin clinic Accomplish Change. In a lilting, mellifluous voice, Aisling began to intone affirmations about how easy and natural the birth would be into our ears. "My baby is perfectly for an easy and comfortable-birth," she chanted, "I am relaxed and happy that my baby is finally coming to me." Despite all my deep-seated hostility to alternative healing methods, I went under like a light. One moment I was thinking, "I can't believe I am listening to this tripe,"and the next Aisling was summoning us both back to consciousness by counting down from five to one. I felt incredibly refreshed when I came round, and it was at this point that Aisling delivered the bombshell; during labour, I had to be in the room for HypnoBirthing to work. My job was to repeat the affirmations and massage Sasha's arm and back to trigger a relaxed, fear-free state that would make it easy for the baby to emerge.
Over the next few weeks we listened to Aisling on repeat on the CD player,and I even read up all about the system in Ms Mongan's book, HypnoBirthing. Maybe something had been planted in my brain by the hypnosis but the more I read, the more I began to appreciate her alternative approach to birthing. Her theory is that in many non-Western cultures giving birth is not something that is feared and, because it is generally assumed that everything will turn out OK, women are a lot more relaxed and give birth more easily. But in our society, women have learned to fear birth, says Mongan.
Pick up almost any modern pregnancy book, and it's hard to disagree. As a result of that fear, when the time comes to give birth, there is a flood of adrenaline coursing around the body of the average labouring mother, and the whole affair becomes incredibly fraught. Techniques like self-hypnosis and guided meditation aim to reduce this fear, and affirmations serve to reprogram the mind. In essence, HypnoBirthing says that instead of thinking about all the stuff that might go wrong, why not see it all going right?
Why not indeed, I thought, as my credentials as a sceptic disappeared out of the window. And if it all turns out to be a load of nonsense, well, at least it's harmless, and Sasha can still opt to be hooked up to an epidural.
Then, one Tuesday night, around 11pm, something started to happen. In the few short minutes it took to throw a nightdress and some other essentials into a bag, we were gunning at top speed through the inky blackness towards the hospital. As the surges (the touchy-feely HypnoBirthing word for contractions) started coming - eight minutes apart, then seven, then six - I felt increasingly helpless. And then I thought, well, what the hell, it might just help, and I told Sasha to close her eyes and concentrate on my voice. "I meet each surge with confidence and joy," I found myself saying, "I am happy and excited my baby is finally coming to me." Sasha let out a deep breath. I felt ridiculous but I carried on, suddenly understanding why people say there are no atheists on a plane which is crashing. "My baby is perfectly positioned for an easy, comfortable, birth," I said, in measured tones, consciously imitating Aisling's singsong delivery on the CD, "I turn my birthing over to nature. My body knows what to do."
"It's helping," said Sasha, "I just had another one and it didn't hurt as much." By the time we arrived at the hospital, we were totally chilled out. We sat in the car park for another ten minutes while I took Sasha on a guided meditation around the woods she used to play in as a child - the "safe place" that we had identified with Aisling as a relaxing location for Sasha's mind to go to at the crucial moments.
It felt oddly cozy - almost magical - in our old Citroen, but we couldn't stay in the car park all night. So in we went, to the bright lights of the hospital. As we made our way up to the maternity department, Sasha continued to use the self-hypnosis and meditation techniques and stayed incredibly calm and relaxed.
It was all very different to last time when Sasha was wailing in agony on the street in New York where we were then living as we tried to hail a taxi. A few minutes later her waters broke, and we were rapidly moved into the delivery room as the birth began in earnest. For all her calmness previously, Sasha screamed the hospital down for the few minutes when she was pushing the baby out, but it all happened so fast that there was no time for her to be given an epidural, or any other chemical pain relief except puffing on gas and air. Instead, the poor girl had to make do with her crazy husband mumbling in her ear, "Breathe in the green! Feel the colour flowing through your whole body! You are more relaxed than you ever thought possible!"
But then, very quickly, the baby was out, and she let out her first little cries of life.
We had signed into the hospital at 12:15am and baby Eleanor was born one hour and 19 minutes later.

Being wrong rarely feels this good.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Anne's HypnoBirth Story

One of my accelerated private class client's shared her HypnoBirth birth story with me & gave me permission to share it. Congratulations again, Anne!

Here it is:

Anne’s Birth Story:
Hmmm…pregnant with a third child…
After two birth stories that ended with very long and difficult recoveries, I was ready to do some homework/research with this third pregnancy that I hadn’t done with the others. I lived in panic of having to care for 2 other children while going through the pain and discomfort I had endured with the other 2.
My first delivery was a vaginal birth. Although, in the end it was called ‘textbook’, I always wondered how it might have played out differently had I NOT gone for the epidural. I HAD read a book on the Bradley method that did really put me on a good road, but being my first birth and not having dug deeper into the birthing process, I went to the hospital early and ultimately was swayed with the "now or never" line about drugs and went for it. Of course, this slowed things along to the point of my heart rate being too low and then the baby’s being too low. They then had to go back to the pitocin to get things going again. After numerous bags of fluids and drugs, I did have a pain free birth and delivered a beautiful baby girl. Then the fun began. I ended up with numerous complications that I deemed as normal until finding out most stemmed from the road of drugs I went down.
My second delivery was a planned c-section. Being that I had placenta previa, I didn’t have a choice. But, again the recovery was even worse. It took almost a year for me to feel back to my normal self. This was emotionally difficult with wanting to be there for my children and being in a constant state of discomfort.
So here I was, pregnant with a third child. I wanted to do everything in my power to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) and to do it without drugs. I began reading about doulas and decided to research them. I read the statistic on how much more successful you could be with a VBAC if one was used. Through my doctor (Dr. Robert Biter), I found the most amazing lady (Doula Dawn)…but, even in our first discussions I wasn’t too confident I could do it COMPLETELY drug free. I don’t have the highest tolerance for pain and thought I could just get as close as I could to delivering and then maybe take something. Very patiently, Dawn (my doula) gave me a book (Journey into Motherhood by Sheri Menelli) on birth stories and asked me to read it. Her encouragement & the confidence she had in me made me decide to read a few of the stories.
Well, I ended up finishing the book in 2 days. The book had numerous stories with numerous methods of birthing. But, the one thing that stuck out for me was this method called HypnoBirthing. I was curious to find out more but was only a few weeks away from my due date. It was only 2 days after that I met Carol. If I had not literally ran into her, I’m not sure I would have preceded in my research being that I thought I was too far into my pregnancy to get a full ‘class’. Carol was able to meet with me and give an accelerated 3 ½ hour class. I was hooked. She was able to walk me through tools so I felt confident I would use them…if not just for the birth but for everyday stresses in life.
I diligently practiced the techniques Carol had gone over with me until 4 days before my due date & then my surges started. I found the relaxation CD was useful for the beginning stages. But, as the birthing progressed, the techniques I thought were going to be useful weren’t. What I did do was modify them to work for me. While in the tub at home trying to go into deep relaxation, I realized I had a clock that had the perfect soft rhythmic ticking that helped me stay focused. I continued this in the shower with me.
At this point I thought I was still in my early stages of labor and decided to call my doula so my husband could do a few things. But, when my doula arrived, she informed us it was time to get to the hospital. It had happened so quickly and I had been focusing so deeply, I hadn’t really been counting the duration of the surges so it came as a surprise to me. My husband was also surprised being that I had been so quiet. He didn’t think much was happening yet.
When we arrived at the hospital, it was almost full. I was able to get the last room. Because of all the chaos and the nurses being pulled in every direction with it being so busy, it took a little more concentration to stay focused. When my doctor was able to exam me, he told me I was fully dilated and ready to push. I could not believe it! It took a little while for me to get my mind around no longer relaxing through the surges, but gently working with them. After the 3rd or 4th surges passed, my doula had to remind me to work with it. So, although I supposedly ‘pushed’ for an hour, I probably only REALLY worked with the surges for about 30 minutes or less. The only time I really started to lose my concentration was during this final pushing stage. My husband felt I was loud when sternly telling my doctor I wanted him to get the baby out…but, my doula said she felt he probably perceived it that way because I had been SO quiet for the entire time prior to this stage.
When the baby came out I could not believe I had done it! I was able to hold my baby, I had no tears/episiotomy and I was able to shower and walk to my room immediately after. It was amazing! Over all it was an amazing experience.
I know that HypnoBirthing helped me stay completely calm and relaxed throughout the experience. I was deeply relaxed and never felt "pain" per se...uncomfortable at times with a lot of pressure in certain areas. My doula played an integral part in my experience. Her knowledge of HypnoBirthing helped me stay focused & calm. Her knowledge of positioning and just what to do for me was invaluable. Also, having an OB that was completely supportive of a VBAC that I knew I could trust completely was another key factor in my successful VBAC experience.
I would say that the combination of having the HypnoBirthing techniques, having a wonderful, supportive doula & OB was the answer to my prayers for a natural, easy, beautiful VBAC birth. Having this experience helped heal my past negative birth experiences. It really helped me release the fear I had prior to this birth as well. I am telling everyone I know about HypnoBirthing! I can't believe now, after having this life-changing experience why anyone would choose to have medication...and this is coming from someone who never previously believed in non-medicated birth! I highly recommend taking Carol's classes. She has a gentle, calm manner that really lends itself to the HypnoBirthing philosophy and techniques.
~Anne, 3rd time parent, Encinitas, CA.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A HypnoBirthing testimonial

Here is a testimonial from one of my HypnoBirthing couples about the value of taking the classes.

I was most impressed with the overall package of the class. With all the information we learned, along with the VERY helpful instructor (Carol), materials for the class, etc…for the cost of it all; it is so worth the money! I loved the HypnoBirthing class because it helped get me through my birth, but you could apply the relaxation techniques and methods to your daily life! It was the best class I could take while preparing for my birth. The affirmations, scripts, visual aids, CDs with deep relaxation exercises, etc. , were ALL so helpful. I am so thankful for everything that I learned. I plan on using it again with my future children as well! Also, Carol was very positive and ALWAYS willing to help when we needed. Thank you, Carol, for EVERYTHING…you are an inspiration to us all. We both enjoyed the class and are so thankful for your willingness to educate and help with our birth!!!~Susan & Hector, 1st time parents, La Mesa, CA.

Thanks Susan & Hector for the testimonial!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year---the year of the Rat. Here is a quick explanation about Chinese New Year & some great craft ideas for your kids courtesy of, a great newsletter for families.

The Chinese year 4706 begins on February 7, 2008.

In Chinese culture, the Chinese New Year is the most important holiday on a 4,000-year-old calendar. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. In China, people may take weeks to prepare for and celebrate the New Year. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī ~ Chu means "change" and xi means "Eve". Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month with the New Moon and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest (full moon). The 15th day of the New Year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated with lantern displays and parades at night. San Diego has been celebrating Chinese New Year since its first Chinese immigrants settled this port city in the late 1860s.


In China, red is associated with success, fortune, and happiness. A Red Packet (Red Envelope) is a red envelope decorated with lucky symbols with money in it~ “Lucky money.” They are given to the younger generations during Chinese New Year. Your children can give their craft envelope to family and friends.
Red craft foam or red construction paper, roughly 6” x 8”
Craft glue
Gold craft pen
Green construction paper (or real dollar or monopoly dollar)
Black marker
Chinese characters – see for a few ideas -
From the 8” side of the rectangular piece of red paper or foam, fold the bottom up about 1” and glue in place. Fold one of the 6” sides toward the center and fold the other side over the top of that fold. Glue the sides and leave an opening the width of a dollar bill. Use gold craft pen to draw on lucky Chinese symbols. Once the envelope has completely dried, insert a real dollar bill, monopoly dollar or cut out a pretend one from green construction paper.

Because the plum blossom is one of the few flowers that will bloom in the winter, they are a Chinese symbol for strength, courage and hope.
Brown chenille pipe cleaners – cut into unequal lengths
Pink tissue paper - cut into ½ to one inch squares
White craft glue
Small paint brush
Styrofoam ball
Cut the Styrofoam ball in half and paint one of the halves brown (you can paint both halves brown and make two plum blossom arrangements). Put aside and let dry. Twist two unequal lengths of the chenille pipe cleaners together to make them look like branches. Continue until there are a few branches connected to the stem. Place the tip of the paintbrush into the center of a tissue paper square and twist the tissue paper around the handle to resemble a flower bud. While tissue paper is still on the end of the paintbrush handle, dot a bit of white glue to the base of the bud and stick it to the branch. Continue the process until the branches are dotted with beautiful pink flowers. Put aside and let dry. Once the paint on the Styrofoam ball and the glue on the branches have dried, insert the branches into the Styrofoam ball.

Fire, which according to Chinese legend, can drive away bad luck. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits. Today, the Chinese use fireworks to celebrate many holidays. This craft does not involve fire and is fun and safe! ;)
Black, dark purple or dark brown construction paper
Glitter – variety of colors
White glue
Spread glue on the paper in star burst shapes – big, small, many sizes. Sprinkle glitter onto the glue. Shake off excess glitter. Repeat with a variety of colors. Let dry and display.

Colored paper (construction paper or colored copy paper)
Glue or tape
String or yarn
Fold a rectangular piece of paper in half lengthwise to make a thin rectangle. Make about 12 evenly spaced cuts along the fold line (Cut about 2/3 to edge). Unfold the paper. Glue or tape the short edges of the paper together making the body of the lantern. To make the handle of the lantern, cut a strip of paper 4 to 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide and glue (or tape) the strip one end of the lantern. You could make a variety of colors, string them along yarn or string and decorate the house.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Things I learned at Traffic School

Things I learned at traffic school

Yes, I know...I had to attend traffic school for speeding. But it was actually quite informative! There are a ton of new & not so new laws & tidbits that my instructor shared with the class. I thought they were important enough to share. (These are mostly for California, but there are some great tips for everyone that drives)

1) The new car seat law just started in Jan. '08. Children must be in a safety seat until they are 8 years old AND weigh 80 lbs. NOT one or the other. So if you have carpool duty, you are responsible for having safety seats for everyone in your car otherwise you will get a ticket. I highly recommend getting a 5 point harness safety seat. Radion80 & Britax Regency are both made for up to 80 pounds. The car manufacturers don't tell you that sometimes the seatbelt can unlatch in an accident & that the LATCH system sometimes fails. If you're child ends up being ejected out of the car in a 5 point car seat, he or she will at least be held in the seat & thus prevent as many injuries. Also, using a regular seatbelt with a booster attachment can cause internal injuries that can be fatal because the shoulder/lap seatbelts are meant to be used for adults. So, when they are used on children, important organs/areas can get injured from a car accident. Go to & put in "5 point harness" in the search section for a couple very moving, but very convincing videos about the importance of using a 5 point harness for your child.

2) WOLO (Wipers On, Lights On) Law: If you need to use your wipers in a rain shower, you need to have your lights on.

3) Red light cameras: As long as your back wheels/bumper have passed over both lines of the crosswalk & the light turns red, you will not get a ticket. There are sensors in the crosswalk that set the camera off. If there is no pressure or metal to signal the camera, it won't give you a ticket. Even if the camera takes a picture, you will not be sent the ticket. Of course, be aware & slow down instead of speeding up if you see a yellow light!

4) There are more fatalities on the highway/freeway from improper lane changes. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get over to your exit...approximately 1/2 a mile for each lane you have to cross. Make sure you look in your blindspot before you turn, turn your signal on, & then re-check your blindspot. That open area you saw may likely be someone else's open spot & they may not be looking for you.

5) There are more fatalities on street/residential areas from people running red lights. Pay attention! Slow down when you see a yellow light! Wait the 3-5 minutes for the light to turn green instead of being selfish by rushing through the light. Or plan ahead & give yourself enough time to get to where you need to go taking into account possible delays. Those red light cameras have reduced fatalities significantly, but it still happens way too much.

6) Get insured for uninsured drivers, but also get insured for UNDER-insured drivers. It only costs about $25-50 per year & will save you from having to pay out of pocket if you get into an accident with someone that just has the minimum amount of coverage. Most insurance companies don't ask you if you want this.

7) Put a list of your family members' names, your physician's phone numbers, a hospital where you have insurance coverage, allergies to medications & emergency contact numbers in your glove box. If you know your blood-type, include that too.

8) San Diego has a very amount of grand theft auto & identity theft. The instructor said that the new way thieves are stealing our identities is by getting into your car (with a slim jim or a master key) without you knowing, going into your glove box & then writing down your home address & registration information. They will then go break into your house or use your pertinent info for identity theft. She said that it is advisable to put all of your info onto one sheet of paper (minimize if you need to) & then take it with you when you're going to be somewhere for a long period, such as Disneyland.

9) If you're in a car accident, here is the information you should get:
License Number & make sure it is a license & not an ID card
Insurance info
the VIN number of the other car (located in the corner of the front dashboard) & make sure it matches up to the VIN number on the registration card
Phone number of the person involved
License plate number
Make & model of the car
IF you need to take a picture of the other car, make sure you include the street or something that is public property. Otherwise, if you go to court, the picture of just the other person's car cannot be used if they don't agree since they can claim they did not give you permission to take a picture of their private property. As long as it has something that is public property in the picture, it can be used.

10) If you have a pet that rides in the car with you, please buy a car harness. It is an easy to use harness that clips onto the seatbelt & still allows your pet some mobility. But it will prevent your pet from being flung forward or ejected out of the car in case of an accident. If you love your pet like a child, treat it the same way & make sure it's safe in the car. Even bigger dogs need to be secured. Imagine you are rear-ended & your dog is in the back seat. It will be flung forward & it could injure you. If you have a small dog & keep it on your lap & get rear-ended, you may end up killing your dog between you & the steering wheel.

Well, that's about it! Hope you learned something too!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Advocate for California Public Education


Public education in California is at risk yet again...thanks to Gov. Schwarzenegger. My husband is a 1st grade teacher at a wonderful school. The district has been able to keep 1st through 3rd grade down to 20 children per class. This is only ONE of the things that will be jeopardized by the Governer's decision if it passes. PLEASE sign the petition & contact your local representatives to let them know that you do not agree with the Governer's proposal. Here is more information:

Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a suspension of the minimum school funding guarantee, Prop 98. That funding currently constitutes more than 70 percent of total K-12 funding in the state of California.
Such suspension equals a $4.8 billion cut to the California state's public schools.
Quality education is the most valuable asset for present and future generations. Achieving it requires a strong commitment from everyone, including governments, teachers, parents and students themselves.
Today we are down to the bare walls. So what we stand to lose is drastic.
If you are concerned by public education and our schools in California, please click here to sign our petition today. In addition, another way to get our representatives' attention so Prop 98 does NOT get suspended is to call/email them directly.
Thank you,
Laure Pichon. Carnahan
PS- After signing the petition, please urge your friends and family to sign the petition and join the movement from anywhere in California, today.

Copy & paste this link so you can sign the petition: