Monday, April 28, 2008

A HypnoBirthing VBAC story

This story came from a HypnoBirthing practitioner that is also a doula...

A HypnoBirthing VBAC story

Just had to share. Attended a birth early this morning. Mom called me at 1:00am saying they had just arrived at the hospital and they were going to keep her. She was 7cm going on 8. And she didn't have a clue.

I rushed to the hospital which is 30 minutes away only to find her up walking around, playing with her three year old, taking a breathing baby down minute and then going on about her business. She and I walked the halls for a while, stopping only for her to breath down and then back to her room where she chose the squatting position as I massaged her back.

Midwife came in, checked her she was at 9 going on 10...all in 30 minutes time. Mom decided to get into bed using a squat bar, began pushing and in less than 30 minutes there was a new addition to their happy family. And three year old brother had slept through the entire last 45 minutes. 2 hours from when I arrived. Mom was more than excited, for that is something that she had really, really wanted.

So in our last two classes we did a lot of fear release work and I added affirmations for her that she would birth fast and very easily. She wanted to get to the hospital at least at a 6 so she used that affirmation as well. After baby birthed, she made the statement that there was no way she could have birthed a baby vaginally if it weighed over 7 lbs. Well guess what? Baby was 7lbs. 6oz. She was shocked. The nurse simply stood in awe for most of the birth or did busy work for she could not believe what she was seeing.

So just goes to show how powerful the mind is with positive reinforcements. Mom cannot understand why every woman does not use HypnoBirthing. She plans on spreading the word. Yeah!

Blessings to all, Sonja Parker

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Beautiful HypnoBirthing Story

Here is a story that was shared by another HypnoBirthing practitioner. Enjoy!

Here is a birth story from one of my mothers. She has posted it to Orgasmic Birth ( and Rikki Lake's is so well written and a beautiful description of the work that we all do...enjoy! Pauline Nardella, HypnoBirthing Practitioner

We Follow Nature

Eli´s birth story doesn´t begin with my water breaking. It really begins with the support of the childbirth educators who empowered me and offered the revelation that there are birthing options. Without them, I would have continued to believe in the limits of prenatal care (dipping a stick in my urine, checking my weight and warning me of the various fetal maladies by another OB in my five minute checkup.) In this system, I understood that labor can only take place in a hospital with interventions and that giving birth is a medical event. We are reminded that women can "fail to progress" and labors become "unpromising" and necessitate drugs and major surgery. And worst of all, despite the battery of tests, we are reminded that the baby can go into "fetal distress"for any unforeseen reason that no amount of prenatal care can prepare for or prevent. In this system, pregnancy is a congratulated precarious condition.

As is true of life, situations arise and bridges must be crossed. But we all know not to focus on the "what ifs", so why is pregnancy the exception? The truth is that there are things one can do to prepare both physically and emotionally. And there are things one can do to ensure the best possible outcome for mother and baby. Pregnant women are not passive victims to their bodies. I learned these things from women like Pauline Nardella, HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator, Anne Margolis, Certified Nurse Midwife and the filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, who made "The Business of Being Born".

For every woman there are specifics that stand out in their prenatal care. I did not have to be subjected to constant pelvic exams, since most of the time, there was no medical need for it. When my midwife had to determine if the baby was head down she respectfully offered me options: a pelvic examorsonogram. Until that point, I had always been told to undress from the waist down. Never asked. Never aware I had choices.

I also learned that women are suggestive when pregnant. This is not because we are suffering from "pregnancy brain" or any other one of those derogatory descriptions of a woman expecting. We are suggestive in this condition by nature because it assists in the birthing process. A pregnant woman can be told she can bond with her unborn baby and therefore she can. A pregnant woman can be told that the contractions are surges, or simply a tight feeling and therefore they are endurable or even pain free. Being suggestive is critical to the birthing process and being exposed to fear in a suggestive state puts women on a dangerous path toward labor. This is why numbing drugs are so critical in an optionless system, not just to medicate the pain, but to numb a women´s fear and even the fear of fear.

My homebirth midwife asked me questions about my pregnancy. She asked questions about my life situation and my concerns. She let me speak and she listened. I was an active participant in the prenatal check-ups to determine the well-being of my baby. She did not overwhelm me, and with each visit she provided simple handouts of things to do or assist me in my pregnancy. I did not feel pressure to do everything (like walk a mile a day, drink a gallon of raspberry leaf tea and do 1000 kegel muscle exercises while sitting in traffic) but to do what I could and even without doing anything at all, my body knows what to do. Women do not "fail" to give birth. This truth was reaffirmed in my Hypnobirthing class. My body and my baby know what to do. We follow nature.

Despite this, the moment my water broke, I felt fear. "I am not ready", I thought. At nearly 42 weeks I should have felt ready. But I still could not let my thoughts go. Did I practice enough with the tapes? Do I have the stamina? Am I going to fail to progress like I did in the hospital with my daughter? Can I take the pain without meds? The first contraction was powerful. It took me by surprise. This is where my prenatal care began to demonstrate its effect on me. Instead of thinking "OW!" I thought "WOW! My body is strong." Holding on to that thought, I went from contractions every 10 minutes to every 5 in less than an hour.

Apparently positive thinking and relaxation does have an effect on the cervix. The "proof" was now in action. I actually did not plan in advance the positive affirmations I would use, but once in labor, I no longer referred to them as contractions but as waves because they were not isolated to my uterus. I felt them from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. I called my midwife to let her know the contractions were coming strong and quickly.

My husband ran around preparing the bath and trying to figure out why the heat wasn´t working that cold February night. My 2-year-old woke up looking for me. "The baby is coming?" If someone told me she was going to wake up and pine for me before our babysitter arrived, mid-transition it would have scared me. I cuddled with her and tried to put her back to bed as my husband stopped between errands to hold my hand. My midwife had the wisdom that I should prepare and inform my daughter with videos and a homebirth children´s book. She was a little afraid but more excited mostly because I was not afraid. I did not know I had the strength to care for my daughter and my labor at the same time.

At my first birth my husband could not be out of my reach for two seconds. I needed his strength to get through the 20 hours of pain. Without any rubs this time, I made it one wave at a time. I realized that the waves only lasted for about one minute or so and at this point the endorphins kicked in and the calm between lasted for three or more. It felt utterly divine so I focused on this. Since I was so suggestive, all I had to do from my practice was say the word "relax" and I was completely weightless, and floating. I did not mind the contractions as much simply because the strength of them and my thoughts were instigating this blissful relaxation.

My midwife had not yet arrived as my cervix reached 10 cm, and my husband and neighbor had just completed filling the tub. I went back into my head since I did not expect to be in the bath alone and I got scared. My Midwife and Doula arrived just before I felt the need to push. I let her know I was scared and she asked me of what. And I said of being alone. My husband was with me at that point, the babysitter arrived and so did my caretakers. She only needed to say "You are not alone" and I was not alone. In the warmth of the tub, my husband was holding me, sharing our strength to birth our son. In the timelessness of following nature, I remember my midwife´s words as I fell into what seemed like a trance. She said, "Go with your body", after I announced the urge to push. And I did. She said, "Open your pelvis and let the baby through." And I did. She said, "Push past the burning ring." And I did!

My son was nearly 10 pounds. We brought him into this world without fear, and after only three hours of labor and 15 minutes of pushing, he arrived into our arms with a feeling of love that cannot be described. Perhaps it was the Oxytocin I heard so much about. Still, the experience was life changing. It gave me strength through the turbulent changes of the first weeks of post-partum and a feeling of empowerment that I can carry with me through life.This story of trust, birth and love has bonded us immediately as a family and I have no doubt this birth story will continue to shape our lives.

Pauline Nardella


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Orgasmic Birth?

This looks like an amazing film. I can't wait to see it! It goes so in line with HypnoBirthing. For those HypnoBirthing mommies out there, just "cancel, cancel" when the trailer mentions pain a few times. I totally agree that women can have orgasmic births. My 2nd birth was so enjoyable (although not orgasmic...darn!), I really wish I could birth more babies. Not be pregnant & not be a mommy to a newborn again, but just birth again!

Enjoy the trailer!

What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?
In answering that question, Orgasmic Birth poses the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths.
Filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro reveals a revolutionary approach to birth that is statistically safer and healthier for both mother and child than the birthing and delivery methods that are standard in many parts of the world today.
The viewer becomes an intimate part of the birth stories of 11 women who said YES to this journey. Each is shown laboring undisturbed in a free, sensuous, joyous moment.
With commentary by Dr. Christiane Northrup, Ina May Gaskin, and other experts in the field and stunning moments of women in the ecstatic release of childbirth.

Learn more at:


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Beautiful HypnoBirth story--an unplanned, unassisted homebirth

A fellow HypnoBirthing practitioner just had her 3rd HypnoBirth. She describes her birth beautifully using some of the Birthing Affirmations. Enjoy reading it! And congratulations to the Arthur family.

Our family would like to share the great news that Clark Douglas Arthur arrived last Thursday March 20th at 1:45am at the time of the Spring Vernal Equinox he was received in the hands of his mother and father. Clark was 7.2lbs and 19” long.

Here is our story…
(I know the Affirmations are copyrighted but they are my favorite part of the program & could not possibly write this without them as they inspired me so much)

Fully expecting to carry our baby beyond 40 weeks Todd and I were both very surprised when my membranes released at 11:45pm on the evening of March 19th.

I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing may take…
I had found out earlier that day that I had tested positive for Group B Strep but did not have the antibiotics from my Dr. for the midwife to administer. At midnight we decided to call my midwife and let her know that my membranes had released but surges had not yet begun. We planned that once my sister arrived we would call her back and she could come and check things out since surges began while we were talking. If my labour was progressing slowly we would go to the hospital for antibiotics and if things were moving along I preferred to stay home and forgo the antibiotics.

I am relaxed and happy that my baby is finally coming to me…
We were overjoyed to realize that we would be meeting our baby in a few hours(throughout my pregnancy I had focused on a labour of about 4 hours).
Todd went downstairs to begin preparing the birthing pool and I decided to relax in bed listening to the Affirmations while I waited for my sister to arrive.

I breath up slowly with each surge of my body…
As I lay in bed relaxing our 3 year old Julia woke up and climbed into bed with me. It felt so good to have her snuggled up to my body as I relaxed.
What an amazing feeling to know that each surge was bringing her new sibling closer to us.
It hardly seemed an hour had passed when my sister arrived, she found Julia and me in the bathroom.

I determine how my birth energy is experienced…
On the way from the bathroom to the bedroom I had 3 surges yet it didn’t occur to me that things were really moving along as I was talking easily only to pause and go within my birthing body during each surge. It felt so good to sway my hips and rock my baby through the surges as it moved the energy through my entire body.
Renee and Julia went downstairs to help Todd.

I release my birthing to my baby and my body…
It was now about 1:20am and the surges were feeling stronger with more pressure. I was still very relaxed but felt it was time to get in the water. Much to my disappointment when I went downstairs I found the tub only half full. I trudged to the bathroom thinking “Great, now I have to wait to go in the water…what will I do with myself in the meantime?” Luckily my baby and body had other plans. As I sat on the toilet I felt that amazing shift in my surges and an involuntary grunt escaped my lips. I smiled because I knew my baby must have also thought “why wait for the tub now?”

I am confident; I am safe; I am secure…
I returned to the family room to tell Todd that I felt the urge to breathe down was coming and that he should call the midwife. He then helped me upstairs to our bed as I told him “our baby is coming out now!”

I trust my baby and my body to know what to do…
In light of the realization that the midwives would not get there in time, I trusted that this was my baby’s choice and my baby must know what he was doing!
I layed down on the bed in a lateral position and breathed deeply while Todd ran downstairs to get the birth supplies.

I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby…
(The final moments of the birth of our second daughter Julia were quite traumatic as the OB panicked and gave me a rather nasty episiotomy; this was very distressing to me as the birth of our first HypnoBirthing® daughter was so calm, gentle and my perineum remained intact.) Throughout this pregnancy I focused on having an intact perineum and knew that in order to do that I had to believe in my body and allow it to gently open. The fear momentarily set in but I recalled Nancy Wainer telling me at the HypnoBirthing® Conclave to give birth in a lateral position and give lots of support to my perineum. (Thank you Nancy!)

My baby gently moves through the birth path in its journey…
I could feel the baby moving down and asked Todd to tell me what he saw during the next surge and he said “the head”. I then asked him to support my perineum and be prepared to support the baby’s head as I thought it would emerge with the next surge. I worked very hard to detach my mind from my birthing body and allow only the reflex of my body to move my baby down and out. I was in absolute awe at the strength of my birthing muscles as with the next surge I felt my baby’s head emerge when Todd applied some pressure to my perineum. Todd asked me what to do next and I asked him to continue to support the head and guide and support the shoulders as they would come out with the next surge. As he did this I took over supporting my perineum and as he supported our baby’s head and shoulders, a sweet little bottom dropped into my hand!

I welcome my baby with happiness and joy…
This affirmation obviously really struck me as I was so overjoyed at seeing our baby, I began to gush warm welcomes to our little boy with so much excitement I woke Olivia up! Olivia ran down the hall and Julia ran up the stairs and both jumped on the bed to meet our baby. For the first 20 minutes of Clarks’ life he was surrounded by his parents and sisters. We all told him how happy we were he was here and how much we loved him. This was the most magical moment I have ever experienced with my family. There was no one there but us to just melt together as a family. It was pure bliss. So much so, that as my sister looked on she noticed that Clark, although only moments old appeared to be grinning as he drank in the outpouring of love being given to him.

My baby emerges; my blood vessels close to the appropriate degree…
When the midwives arrived 20 minutes later they were amazed at how calm we were. Our baby was perfect. They could not get over that his head had no molding and I told them that I allowed him to emerge on his own. They were in a bit of a hurry to get the placenta out and I was apparently being “resistant” but I did not want cord traction. I wondered what the hurry was; it was then that the back up midwife checked to find almost no bleeding. They relaxed a bit and told me I could “try” to birth the placenta on my own. I decided to get up and squat at the side of the bed to do this. The placenta birthed with only 4 drops of blood and they were both amazed…I told them about the affirmation.

So after only an hour and half of surges we had the most incredible birthing experience ever! We had planned on our photographer being there to film it and take pictures for the HypnoBirthing® Institute but everything happened so fast that got missed!

I feel so lucky to have had three awesome HypnoBirths and each so different. One calm gentle hospital birth with a 6.5 hour labour, one induced hospital birth in 3.5hours that really tested my HypnoBirthing® techniques and finally a beautiful homebirth surrounded by only those I love most in the world!

Darcy Arthur
HypnoBirthing® Mom & Practitioner
“There is a secret in our culture. It’s not that birth is painful, it’s that women are strong.” -Laura stavoe harm


p.s. Please respect that the Birthing Affirmations are copyrighted by the HypnoBirthing Institute.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another great HypnoBirth in Ohio

This is from a HypnoBirthing practitioner in Ohio...I especially like what the mom says about welcoming her surges.

One of my moms who has moved to Texas, just had her second little boy. We worked together in 2006. Here's her latest birth story:

Just wanted to let you know Zachary made his arrival on March 18th at 8:07 he was 8.2 lbs and 20 in long. My labor was 6 hours. I was able to walk through several hours and we made it to the hospital about two hours before he made his appearance. I labored so silently the nurses just ignored us and Zach was born before the doctor was even called. We tried to tell them but they were too concerned with the fact that I wasn't going to have an IV or drugs that they didn't believe us. Oh well, you always say the doctor doesn't do anything any way. In our case, Zach came so quickly I was at 7.5 and about 15 mins later my water broke. I told Scott he was coming. The nurse skeptically checked again, was surprised to find I was around an 8 and less than five minutes later Zach was born. I can't say that I "breathed" him out or really pushed, honestly he sort of shoved his way into the world! I didn't have a lot of say in the whole thing. My first words after he was born was "was that it? Is he here?" I couldn't believe it!
We found that we were able to stay calm and collected the whole time, Scott was wonderful yet again and this time I really found myself inviting each surge. I understood that each surge brought me one step closer to Zach's birth and I told myself that the stronger the surge the more ground I was covering. Overall another wonderful hypnobirth.
Its funny though, with most things in life people are more likely to believe in your methodology if you can repeat a phenomenon. Unfortunately it seems to be the opposite in this. Now people assume that labor must just be easy for me. Oh well you can't convince people if they don't want to listen. Thanks for everything!
Heidi Wilhelm
Owner, Labor of Love, LLC
Athens, OH