Sunday, December 13, 2009

Become a HypnoBirthing Labor Companion/Doula

This training is coming to San Diego in February & will be amazing! Jenny West is a HypnoBirthing instructor & homebirth midwife. You will learn a lot! This would be great for doulas or anyone that has had a HypnoBirth or Hypnobabies birth.

HypnoBirthing Professional Labor Companion Workshop

Whether you have recently enjoyed the HypnoBirthing® training or you have been a practitioner for some time, this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the practicalities and the joys of supporting a Mom as she calmly, gently and peacefully births her baby into the world.

This workshop of for those that already understand hypnosis and the benefits of a relaxed birth, however may need more information 'everything else' birth related, what's normal, what isn't, what to do when it isn't normal, how to recognize your own limits as an labor companion and when it's time to invite the buffet of technology into the birth.

Course Content:
*Defining the Role of the Professional Labor Companion*Physiology of Pregnancy*Mechanics of Birth*Belief Systems*Pain in Birth*Factors that Effect the Perception of Pain in Labor*Understanding Special Circumstances*Understanding Medical Procedures*Effective Communication with Birthing Staff*Postpartum Basics and Support*Breastfeeding Basics*Marketing Your Services*Loss, Grief and Healing

Instructor: Jenny West
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: February 8th and 9th (Mon-Tues)
We have a lovely venue at 16980 Via Tazon, Suite 260 San Diego, CA 92127

$325 for two full days of fun-filled information, workbook, at least two books filled with great information to fire you up, certification, referrals via the HypnoBirthing Institute and 16 CEU's.
Registration must be completed by January 15th.

Contact Jenny West at jenny@tubsntea. com 505-294-4359 (9-5 MST) orJennifer Lindeman (our local hostess and source of information) 858-385-9028

You will also receive a “birth related topic” for you to research and present at the Workshop.
Please keep these to one or two pages only, as each participant will be covering a different topic and duplicate copies will be given to each participant as a reference guide to use in the future. The sooner you send this form back, the better your topic choices are!

You will also be required to attend at least five births and send in completed forms in order to receive your HBPLC Certificate. These forms can be found in the back of the workbook you will receive at the workshop.

Please send this to jenny@tubsntea. com prior to the Workshop.
Thank you for your interest and I look forward to learning with you.


HypnoBirthing® Professional Labor Companion Workshop Registration
Date and location of workshop you plan to attend ____________ _________ _________
Name ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
E-Mail ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________
Phone ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
Occupation ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _______
Degrees, certifications and licenses related to pregnancy and birth:
Number of births attended:
Hospital –
Birth Center –
Home –
1.Please write a brief biography (no more than 2 pages) describing what brought you to the place of working with women in pregnancy and birth. (Feel free to email this in a separate format, or add it to end of this sheet.)
2.Name the most important thing you would like to take away with you from this workshop.
3.It is highly recommended that you read “Heart & Hands” by Elizabeth Davis; “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth” by Henci Goer and “Hey, Who's Having This Baby Anyway? By Breck Hawk OR anything by Marsden Wagner.

This training will be hosted by:
Jennifer Lindeman
Certified Hypnotherapist
HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator
(858) 385-9028


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Story of Two Moms

Mickey Mongan, the founder of HypnoBirthing, recently did a presentation called "Believe in the Magic of Your Thoughts". She told the story of 2 pregnant mothers & how their thoughts helped create their birthing experience.

The Story of Two Moms:

This is the story of 2 beautiful pregnant mothers. They have lived side by side for many years and have become great friends. They enrolled in a HypnoBirthing childbirth class. As they attended the classes with their amazing and supportive birth companions, they realized and decided to take a brand new turn in their lives by getting rid of their worn, musty and non-functional hand-me-downs. In this process, they scheduled a moving company to come to their homes on the same day.

Birthing mother A who lived in a house with a red door, graciously welcomed the workers from the moving company. She showed them the way into her house to take everything out. As each and every piece of furniture, linen, appliances and dishware were taken away, she got more ecstatic at the process she partake. They took the last item, she closed her door and jumped for joy, excited to take another journey of shopping for new furniture and appliances.

Now, Birthing mother B who lived in the house with a blue door, was very hesitant to even open her door when the moving company came knocking. She cancelled her request of removing her hand-me-downs as she felt uncomfortable of letting go as the items had served many generations of her family. Instead, she had the items stored in the shed in the backyard.

The following day, Mom B, who had never replaced her old things, looked around and realized that her home was empty; and so she went out to the shed and took in one of the pieces of her old hand-me-downs. The following day, she did the same, and she continued, day after day, to keep retreiving bits and pieces of the old non-functional goods until, at last, she had every piece of the goods and furnishings back in her home, and she felt content surrounded by those things that she had lived with for years.

One of the moms had a wonderful HypnoBirthing; the other mom had a traditional birthing, overshadowed by interventions and management. Can you guess which was which?

Question is: Have you gotten rid of your "old stuff" - to have the calm, gentle, comfortable birth that you so desire?

Each birthing mother will bring to her birth thoughts, feelings and beliefs that she feels comfortable with, even though she thought she wanted something different. Birthing is bringing forth new life, new beginnings, new journey...then, pregnant mothers need to bring forth new thoughts, new feelings and new beliefs approaching the birth they want to achieve for their unborn baby.

Thanks, Mickey, for sharing this story!

It's so important to release the fears, doubts, & concerns you have about your birth experience & about the adjustments you'll have to make in your life so that you can go into your birthing confident without anything that can cause you to have the fear that causes the tension that causes the pain. This is why I believe HypnoBirthing classes are so valuable...because the classes allow couples to learn to get deeply relaxed so that the mother's body can do what it is naturally capable of doing PLUS the couples are able to experience several fear-releasing hypnosis sessions so that they can let go of their "old stuff".

For more information about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit my website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net or the main HypnoBirthing website at


Friday, November 6, 2009

An example of how HypnoBirthing heals birth trauma

This is the journey of one of my former HypnoBirthing clients, Kim, who was terrified of giving birth & needing another c-section:

My first birth was 20 years ago... I was very young (20 to be exact) and very uneducated in regards to the "birthing" process, I had no idea that there were even options available to me as far as different types of births or classes etc... I was very naive and very frightened to say the least! I believe that because i was so unaware and afraid that I ended up being in labor for 3 days (not knowing how to help myself progress) I went to the hospital 3 times and was sent home all 3 times because I wasn't progressing so i was told to go home until I was further along but because I didn't know what to do or how to do it I ended up with an emergency C-section and was told it was because of "Failure to progress".

When I was finally admitted to the hospital the only thing I remember is being hooked up to so many machines and monitors - and put in a room with multiple mothers in labor as well (all of them playing cards and watching TV because they had an epidural) but I was screaming in agony because I wanted to try to birth naturally but didn't have support or knowledge as to how to do this. I didn't have anyone coaching me or anyone explaining to me what was happening and why and then before I knew it I was being rushed me to the surgery room for an emergency surgery. I was terrified for my baby and for myself!

Over the past 20 years I wanted to have another child but I knew deep inside that I was pretty traumatized from the first delivery and I believe that because it was never the "right" time or because I never felt ready that it kept me from trying again. I recently became re-married and my husband and I decided to try to conceive and because I finally felt "whole" and "supported" I decided this was the "right" time in my life.

As my pregnancy progressed I started feeling very scared about going into labor again and extremely terrified of the possibility of having another emergency c-section! I was so frightened that there would be several days during the week that i would just break down crying to my husband or to my doctor (Dr. Biter) about my fears. I had a very hard time reading books about birth or even watching video's that showed women birthing! My whole body would become very tense and I would have to shut my eyes. I was finally advised to look into doing "HypnoBirthing".

At first I was very hesitant about how the process of HypnoBirthing could actually work or even help me and at the beginning I still couldn't watch the video's that Carol would be showing - or even talking about my first experience in front of the class made me sick to my stomach but as we went through the classes and after reading the material and actually doing the homework I started becoming more and more at ease about the whole process. I started learning so much about how I can have the "birth" that I desire and that whatever the outcome it would truly be the peaceful birth that I am meant to have. And because of the work that I did through HypnoBirthing, I was able to heal from my past wounds of childbirth and embrace this birth even though it had to take a different path then we had hoped for!

After trying everything I possibly could for 2 weeks to turn my sweet little girl around, we finally had to go in and get her on Sunday, Oct 18th. Dr. Biter was fabulous and supported me 100% with trying any and all alternative measures and then I did end up going into labor on day 13 - contractions were 10 min apart for about 15 hours until we finally decided it was time to go in for surgery.

The one thing I do want to say is that because of HypnoBirthing I was able to come to peace with my journey through all of this and used all of the techniques we learned to help me along the way even though I didn't have the birth of my choice. I did learn that I can't control everything and this little girl taught me that I need to learn to let-go and surrender once in awhile! I also had an opportunity to do some healing from my first birth as well which was wonderful! So thank you for everything! I couldn't have done it without you!

Love, Kim
Thanks, Kim, for sharing your story! I'm so glad that the HypnoBirthing classes helped you heal your birth trauma from your 1st birth & helped you get to a place of acceptance & peace for your 2nd birth. Congratulations on the birth of Laila & enjoy your babymoon!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Power of the Mind

In HypnoBirthing classes, we de-hypnotize people about the idea that birth must be painful. The power of our thoughts (unconscious & conscious) is amazing & affects the way our body reacts. If we fear something, our body tenses up. If we are calm, endorphins are released & our body is more capable of doing the job it is supposed to do more comfortably. Mickey Mongan, the founder of the HypnoBirthing Institute, recently shared a powerful example of how the placebo effect can affect the body:

The account of this study is written in Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book, The Biology of Belief. It seems that Dr. Bruce Mosley of Baylor School of Medicine published a study in 2002 in the NE Journal of Medicine. The study involved patients with severe, debilitating knee pain. Dr. Mosley was convinced that there was no placebo effect in surgery. He knew that knee surgery helped the patients that he saw. In an effort to figure out which particular procedure in the surgery actually gave the most relief, he set up a study whereby the patients in the study were divided into three groups. In one group he shaved the cartilage; and in another group, he flushed out the knee joint, removing the material that he believed caused inflammation. Both of these procedures were standard for arthritic knee surgery. That third group received “fake surgery”. The patient was sedated, and Mosley then made three standard incisions. He then talked and acted in the very same manner that he would in any actual knee surgery. He even splashed salt water to simulate the sound of the knee-washing procedure. He spent about 40 minutes completing this “fake surgery.” He then sewed up the incisions, again, as if he had actually performed the surgery. The people in all three groups were prescribed the same post surgery care, which included a regimen of exercise.

The results showed that the people who received actual surgery improved; however, the placebo group that received the “fake surgery” improved equally as well. A couple of months later they assessed the success of both groups. There was no appreciable difference in the outcomes of the two groups. Pictures of the patients were shown on television news programs, with pictures of the people in the fake group playing basketball, running, etc. they didn't tell the placebo group for two years, and the doctor stated-"It is very obvious that my surgical skills had no effect on these people. The mind is a marvelous thing."

Just as the mind can heal, it can also create pain. HypnoBirthing classes teach moms-to-be (& their partners) how to be in control of their mind so they can have a more comfortable, maybe pain-free, birthing experience.

If you are interested in learning more about HypnoBirthing, please visit my website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net or It is recommended by the HypnoBirthing Institute that moms-to-be take HypnoBirthing classes between their 5th & 7th month of pregnancy in order to have enough time to practice & re-learn to trust their body's natural ability to birth a baby.

Thanks Mickey for sharing this important example of the power of the mind!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Journey to HypnoBirthing

Kim & Jeff took my May/Tuesday 2009 classes. Kim had a baby several years ago & thought she had a good experience--had an epidural, had a pretty straight-forward labor, but when she got pregnant with her 2nd, she did more research. Here is their birth journey...

My birth adventure was a decision making process that led me to open my mind, follow my heart, embrace my power as a woman and share my passion. I hope to eventually inspire others to change perceptions of birth and understand how amazing our body is. I am going to start at the beginning because I feel it will be cathartic to get it all out of my brain. When I found out I was pregnant-- I immediately went to my ob/gyn. This was what I thought everyone did. They saw a doctor, went to monthly check-ups, labored in pain at a big hospital, got an epidural and eventually went home with a healthy, bouncing baby.

I should know. I experienced it all before with my daughter, Brooklyn. I was very young when I had her, but I thought my experience was good compared to some horror stories I had heard. With Brooklyn, I had a lovely woman doctor that I barely got to talk to. I got poked, prodded and had to pee in a cup nearly every visit. I took childbirth education classes at the big hospital where emphasis seemed to be on funny breathing and answers about the epidural. I decided to take my doctor up on a suggestion to be artificially induced two days before I was even due. I got hooked up to every monitor and contraption. I ended up getting an epidural even though I never stated that I wanted one. I had a catheter put in because I couldnʼt pee and then I got a stern on-call physician that I had never seen before using a suction cup device to help deliver my baby. I thought I had a generally “good” experience because I went in to the hospital at 8am and Brooklyn was born at 5pm. I thought this was how it always went. Boy--was I uneducated about choices!

So here I am back in the ob/gyn office, replaying in my mind everything that happened with Brooklynʼs birth. I knew I did not want all those medical interventions. I wanted something different. Since I work in healthcare, I realize all the unnecessary procedures that are done today and have seen the complications that can arise. I knew with this birth I wanted it to be more natural. So here I am for my first appointment and all I see is the nurse practitioner. I found out I might not even meet the doctor for awhile because she is so busy. The NP tells me my only birthing choice is Tri-City hospital, but this is great because they have a Level III NICU. Immediately, I donʼt like this. As I go to checkout, I am informed my insurance doesnʼt cover anything pregnancy related, but they will let me do a payment plan for the birth. I donʼt like this either. Time to make some decisions.

Now begins my research. I found a great California funded insurance option for women who are pregnant. Itʼs called AIM (Access for Infants and Mothers) but of course mycurrent ob/gyn is NOT a provider for this insurance. I figure this is ok...maybe Iʼll find a better doctor....or maybe a midwife. Wait, what is a midwife? I had heard of them, but I had a skewed vision of older, gray-haired, gruff women delivering babies in garages..or something like that. So more research.

I find out midwives are great! They are generally more holistic-minded, promote natural birth and are very educated and informed about the birth process. They spend more time with their patients and respect their choices. Not all midwives deliver babies at home either. There are dedicated practices of midwives that work and deliver babies at hospitals. I chose to try North County Health Services in Encinitas. Immediately, I felt great with the midwives there. They were young, vibrant and excited about ME and my pregnancy. Now that I had midwives, I had to figure out what I needed to birth naturally. There had to be an alternative to Lamaze class. More research.

Somehow I stumbled across HypnoBirthing. This immediately struck a chord with me since Jeff and I had just started listening to self-relaxation and hypnosis scripts. We both used them to go to sleep and we always felt better when we woke up. I started watching YouTube clips of HypnoBirthing. All the women seemed calm and peaceful. This seemed right to me. (Plus I was determined to prove to Jeff that birthing can be beautiful. He kept having this horror episiotomy vision that haunted him). I did more research on HypnoBirthing classes and found Carolʼs website. I was a little hesitant...should we spend the $300 or just take the free childbirth classes at the hospital? But, I had a good feeling so I signed us up! I was lucky Jeff was so open to hypnosis- he was actually very excited for these classes. We always made it sort of a date night and had a dinner or went to the beach before class. It was nice to set aside that extra time for just us.

My pregnancy went by fast and it was great! I felt fantastic. I did prenatal yoga almost every day and ate very healthy. We started Carolʼs classes with 7 weeks left until my estimated due date. The HypnoBirthing classes were great. I really felt educated and informed to make all the right decisions. I was able to figure out exactly how I wanted this birth to go and put that vision in my mind. I read the HypnoBirthing book about two times and I listened to the rainbow relaxation cd almost every night before bed. I pasted my birth affirmation up on the wall and I continued to always think positively. I never watched any Baby Story tv shows and I let everyoneʼs comments about pain roll off me like water. I felt very prepared. My midwives were interested in HypnoBirthing, but had never really seen it first hand. I repeated a mantra in my head that my labor would be fast and easy. Everyone kept saying 2nd babies come early most of the time, but I had no symptoms of impending labor at all. I kept joking around to Jeff that I would probably go into labor when he was up in Burbank for work and he would have to race home in traffic. Or the baby would be born in the middle of the night and be a little night owl like him.

On July 13 2009- This was my estimated due date. I woke up with a little bit of bleeding. I figured this was probably either the beginning of my cervix dilating or the loss of my mucous plug. I started to get excited but I figured labor could still be awhile away. Jeff had to leave to drive to Santa Ana to meet with some employees of his. I told him to be on “high alert” but I donʼt think he took me seriously. I took Brooklyn to swimming lessons in the morning and then I came home and wasnʼt feeling too great. My mom came over to take Brooklyn for the rest of the day so I could relax. I started having some menstrual like cramps. I laid in bed and surfed the internet on my laptop, ate a snack and just rested. I really didnʼt think these cramps could be surges so I kind of just ignored them. About 1pm, I started timing the cramps just in case. They were pretty sporadic. Some would come every 10 minutes and last for 40 seconds and some would come every 3 minutes and last 15 seconds. I still didnʼt possibly think I could be in labor.

Around 5:30pm I started getting more uncomfortable. The cramps were a little more regular, but they still only lasted about 40 seconds. Maybe this was labor? I called my midwife to get her advice. She said that I should just relax and maybe get in the bathtub and call her back when the surges were at least a minute long for over an hour. I got in the bath tub, started drinking my coconut water and plugged my ipod into my ears. I listened to the Rainbow Relaxation on a loop. I wanted to labor at home as long as I could before going to the hospital. I called Jeff to come home because I knew he was atleast 45 minutes away. The cramps started getting more intense. I couldnʼt get very comfortable in the bath, but kept breathing and focusing on relaxation. Jeff came home and started packing things in the car for the the hospital (Scripps Encinitas). I didnʼt really know what he was doing packing MORE things when I had a backpack all ready to go, but I guess he was just nervous.

Finally he came into the bathroom and I asked him to time my surges. I would hold up my hand when one started and ended because I didnʼt want to talk. I really had to focus on breathing and relaxing. I visualized each surge as a wave that I was riding with a beginning, a peak and a distinct end. I also visualized my cervix opening with each wave. I especially focused on keeping my face and mouth relaxed. He said they were still only about 40-50 seconds long. I remained in the bath tub as the cramps were getting stronger. I kept remembering what Carol said about how when you feel like if you want an epidural-youʼre probably just really close to 10cm. I immediately put the thought of an epidural out of my head. In my mind, it just wasnʼt an option at all. Iʼm not sure how much time went by but it was dark outside now. I started feeling my body involuntarily push the baby down. During each surge I would moan (which I totally didnʼt expect). I started bleeding a little more and I thought my water may have broken but I wasnʼt sure because I was in the bath. I really didnʼt think I could wait for the surges to get longer--I knew I was getting close to seeing my little girl.

Finally I told Jeff it was time to get in the car and go to the hospital. It was so hard for me to get out of the bath. I really didnʼt want to leave the water. Jeff wrapped me in my robe and grabbed a towel for between my legs. He called the midwives and it was Brita on-call that night! She was my favorite midwife! She was going to meet us there. The car ride was very uncomfortable but I kept listening to the ipod and breathing. Ofc ourse Jeff was trying to hurry and missed the freeway entrance and we had to go the long way (poor guy was so nervous). I didnʼt say anything because I didnʼt want him even more nervous, but I tease him about it now- it was so cliche!

We got to the hospital and I got in a wheelchair. I was still naked under my robe with a towel between my legs (so much for the cute clothes I bought to labor in!). I got a room very quickly and realized it was already 10:30 pm. Brita checked me once I got situated and I was at 8 cm! I was so happy that I didnʼt have long to go. According to my birth plan, I agreed to having a hep-lock but I did not want an IV started. They were able to monitor the baby but the nurse turned the volume down so I didnʼt have to hear the heartbeat. I wanted to be calm. With each surge, I had to grab the handrails of the bed and I would breathe and moan. (Jeff said that if someone was just passing by the doorway it would have sounded like a woman having great sex! How mortifying!)

Brita was so awesome and she used warm compresses on my perineum just like I wanted in my birth plan. Jeff was standing by for anything I needed, but I really just wanted to listen to the rainbow relaxation. I tried to get in a few different positions but being on my back actually felt the best. Brita said that I had a fore-bag of waters that had broken but my actual water had not broke. She offered to break my water and then things would gor eally fast. My surges were so intense that I agreed. She broke my water and I could feel my body pushing the baby down. Brita checked me again. I was suddenly at 10cm! Anytime I wanted to push or breathe the baby down, I could.

This is where I had a little break. I remember the room was very dim. It was just Jeff and Brita with me. There was one nurse setting up things for the baby. There was no commotion. It was so calm. The surges were farther apart. I tried breathing the baby down with a little push, but nothing was happening. I tried my hands and knees and also laying on my side. Finally I was ready for the baby to be out! I got on my back again and pushed a few times. I remember Brita said to reach down and touch the head. I did and it was amazing! It gave me the strength to give a few more pushes and her head came out. She had the cord wrapped around her neck twice but it was quickly unwrapped and with one more push she was out! Instantly Brita put her on my abdomen and her slippery little body wiggled up and found my nipple. She looked at me with her big eyes and was completely alert and seemed aware of everything. She was born 2 minutes before midnight. I had only been in the hospital for an hour and a half!

Brita said she had never seen anyone look so calm and in control during labor. Jeff said I did great and the nurse said I was a professional birther (hahaha!) In my head, I had felt a little crazy and not as calm as everyone said I looked and I felt like I failed at “breathing” the baby down because I ended up just pushing, but when I look back on it--it was so absolutely beautiful and I felt so good and so strong afterwards. It really felt like the most amazing thing I had ever done in my life. I had no ripping-just a tiny tear by my urethra that didnʼt even require a stitch. I still feel so proud I let my body birth naturally.

Little Nikka is still very alert and very healthy. My body was pretty much back to normal after 2 weeks. I didnʼt have half as much pain and discomfort postpartum as I had with Brooklyn. Nikkaʼs birth went pretty much exactly how I visualized it..even down to the part where I joked that Jeff wouldnʼt be around during onset of labor and she would be born in the middle of the night. I really believe Carolʼs HypnoBirthing class played a big role in my wonderful birth. Thank you, Carol! And thanks to Brita Pompa CNM who delivered Nikka! I am so inspired by this experience that I hope I can find a way to spread this birth empowerment movement with more women.

Kim and Jeff
And Baby
Nikka Brazil Page
Born: July 13 2009
11:57 pm
8 lbs 4 oz

Congratulations Kim & Jeff! What an amazing & inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!

All my best--Carol

Friday, October 9, 2009

How Babies by the Sea Boutique came to be

So, Dr. Biter (otherwise known as Dr. Wonderful) has opened up a baby & children's boutique with one of my former HypnoBirthing clients, Laura Fairchild. It's really amazing how this all came to here is the story! I'm excited to have the opportunity to teach my HypnoBirthing classes there on Tuesday nights starting November 3rd. For more information about my HypnoBirthing classes, please visit my website listed at the end of this post.

Babies by the Sea Boutique is located at 2007 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007 in the Seaside Market Place. Their website is The phone number is 760-230-4272.

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to empower healthy beginnings and support sustainable families by offering cutting-edge natural-living resources and products, in-depth educational opportunities, and fashion-forward organic and boutique apparel; and to create a nurturing, open-minded, non-judgmental, accepting of difference, multi-cultural social network to meet the evolving physical, developmental, intellectual, and emotional needs of all mothers, babies, and toddlers.


The concept of the Babies by the Sea Boutique was conceived by pure synchronicity. San Diego Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Dr. Robert Biter, has been a proponent of natural women's and babies’ health care for years. Witnessing the advent of the growing business of birth, Dr. Biter decided to establish a private birthing center where women and babies would not be subject to the pressure of revenue generating business practices and the lobbying of the pharmaceutical industry. Instead, he would offer his patients the ability to birth their babies in a natural, healthy setting with the convenience of having all the necessary surgical and medical back-up in the event of crisis situations.

Having years of experience familiarizing himself with the best and healthiest maternity products available, Dr. Biter decided that a natural fit for the birthing center would be a retail store where he could use his extensive background and expertise to make information and high-quality products available to the public.

Enter mom-to-be, Laura Ann Fairchild. Seeking out the absolute best physician to support her first pregnancy, she repeatedly comes across Dr. Biter's name. She researches his background, makes an appointment, and with no doubt that she had found her physician, becomes his patient. Through casual conversation, she learns that Dr. Biter used to shop at her designer clothing stores located in Cardiff by the Sea. The conversations continue over the course of her pregnancy, and the two eventually come to the obvious conclusion that with Dr. Biter's medical expertise and passion for health, and with Laura Fairchild's cutting-edge eye for retail fashion, buying ability, business knowledge, and familiarity with corporate start-up operations, that a partnership between the two of them could be a match made in baby boutique heaven! In addition, Laura's sister and business partner, Julie Fairchild, enthusiastically decides to join the team to handle marketing, events, and human resources for the store.

With Dr. Biter driving the vision and Laura Fairchild overseeing buying, merchandising, and day-to-day store operations, Babies by the Sea Boutique was born. The mission of the boutique is to provide much needed and well-researched retail options for pregnant women, mothers, babies and toddlers with respect to all aspects of life. The motivating goal is to address the customer's need for products that are healthy, fashionable, environmentally responsible, and practical, in addition to offering them information and daily support. The boutique will strive to develop a community support group and home base for its customers, and maintain an extensive community lecture program to address issues of social responsibility, nonviolent parenting, environmental health and self esteem development; as well as offering a forum for discussions and idea exchange. Other fun, creative, helpful, healthful, and educational ideas are being discussed daily by the owners.


The store build-out has been thoughtfully designed based upon a sustainable and environmentally-friendly "green" premise. Materials and themes incorporated into the build-out include the use of Kirei board and bamboo for shelving, recycled pallets for display tables, burlap coffee sacks for wall covering, reclaimed and salvaged urban wood for tables and beams, recycled glass for the countertops, non-VOC paint, energy-efficient lighting, and other non-toxic materials wherever possible.

Once open, the store practices will incorporate the use of earth-friendly office supplies, bags/packaging, water for customers, and other daily use items. The boutique will also encourage customers to re-use bags and to participate in environmentally friendly family events, in order to raise awareness with respect to sustainable living in the community.

Donation of Net Revenue to Non-Profit Organizations:

Babies by the Sea Boutique will donate a portion of net revenue to non-profit organizations developed by Dr. Robert Biter called Her Hearts Wish and Seaside Giving. Her Heart's Wish is a national organization dedicated to granting the wishes of women facing terminal illness. Seaside Giving provides medical care to pregnant women who cannot afford medical services. In exchange for this care, these women sign a contract with the organization to do volunteer work in the community.


When Dr. Robert Biter was 14 years old, his father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away four long years later. From that time on, Robert Biter knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life ---- be a doctor."I remember that the only person stronger than my father was the doctor in the white coat," said Dr. Biter, who lives and practices in Encinitas, California. "At first, I was going to be an oncologist, but then I delivered my first baby and saw the joy in medicine."

Dr. Biter received his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University at the Milton S. Hershey School of Medicine in 1997, where he was named the Most Outstanding Graduate entering the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Continuing his post-graduate medical training and residency at Pennsylvania State University, he was recognized as Best Resident Educator and Best Chief Resident by the nursing staff. After having been awarded the American Medical Association Foundation Leadership Award and the National Health Service Corps Scholarship, Dr. Biter moved to San Diego, California where he worked with under-privileged patients as the sole physician in a practice with 11 midwives, delivering over 80 babies each month. He later became the Department Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas and eventually founded Seaside Women’s Health and the upcoming Babies by the Sea Birth Center. While in San Diego, he has been named Best Obstetrician/Gynecologist by Ranch and Coast Magazine and Medical Community All Star by the San Diego Padres. He also maintains his role as President of Her Heart’s Wish, a national wish granting program for terminally ill women, and founder of Seaside Giving, a local nonprofit that grants care to qualified women who then work hours of community service equal to the free care provided.

Dr. Biter is an advocate of natural birthing practices and natural baby and toddler products and is determined to make information and healthy avenues available to the public, so parents can make educated choices to best support their children’s long-term health and overall well-being.

As a writer and playwright in his spare time, his poetry and essays have received accolades from Medical Economics, San Diego Physician and Wild Onions literary magazine. His first play, Strangers, has received a total of nine awards including Best Original Script from the Eastern Regional Theatre Association.


Laura Ann Fairchild is an entrepreneur, retail fashion consultant, and the creator of the successful L.A. Fairchild Boutique and L.A. Fairchild Denim Bar concepts. Having worked in the wholesale clothing industry and later with the celebrity boutique owner Dianne Merrick in Los Angeles, Laura decided to open her own designer boutique, the L.A. Fairchild Boutique, in 2004. Her store quickly became a destination shopping location that drew people from all over Southern California. Noting the growing popularity of premium denim, Laura, with her business partner and sister, Julie Fairchild, subsequently launched the L.A. Fairchild Denim Bar in 2005.

The Denim Bar featured over 50 different premium denim lines, men’s clothing, accessories, a billiard table, a giant size Sony PlayStation, beer on tap, and highly-trained salespeople who acted as bartenders, essentially working personally with each customer to serve up the perfect pair of denim to meet their particular needs. Although very trendy and stylish, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, and customers felt like family and often just came to hang out at the store. Shortly after opening, the Denim Bar quickly achieved sales of over $725/ square foot, which is well above the national industry average. In 2007, gross margins were 48.5%, conversion was 30%, average transaction was $178.00 and units per transaction were 1.8. The Denim Bar was a hit!

Laura and the Denim Bar were featured in over 140 publications, ranging from People Magazine, Lucky Magazine, and In Style Magazine ... to Women's Wear Daily, Apparel News and Forbes. Year after year, the Denim Bar consistently earned the BEST OF awards in San Diego from 944 Magazine,, customer driven websites, and Riviera Magazine. Laura Fairchild appeared as a regular fashion advisor on local San Diego News Channels and was also featured on Wealth TV and the E Channel, often being dubbed the Jean Queen or the Denim Guru. In 2006, she was also named to the San Diego Metropolitan Magazine's 40 under 40 in business. In November 2007, Ted Waitt, co-founder of Gateway Computer, invested over $5 million to purchase the Denim Bar concept and expand the business throughout California, with the eventual goal being a roll out of a 200-store national chain with a $250 million dollar market cap over a five-year period. Before choosing to exit the company in May 2008, Laura assisted Waitt in opening four new denim bar stores, while acting as Buyer, Chief Merchandising Officer and lead store designer. She also developed the merchandising and buying model that would be the foundation of the merchandising and buying strategy for the 200-store chain. Laura's sister, Julie Fairchild, assumed the role of Chief Administrative Officer and focused on developing replicable Marketing, Public Relations, Events/Promotions, Advertising, Branding, Real Estate Strategy, Store Operations, and Human Resources materials, strategies, and policies for the acquiring company. Julie also chose to exit the company in May 2008.

Together, Laura Fairchild and Julie Fairchild launched Fairchild Consulting in 2009 in order to assist small retail entrepreneurs by leveraging the Fairchilds' combined and varied experience in start-up strategy, business positioning, streamlining operations, buying, marketing, branding, human resources, and developing a replicable foundation for purposes of successfully growing a business from infancy.

Inspired by her recent pregnancy and the natural HypnoBirthing birth of her first child, Rion Price, Laura's latest business venture is as co-owner of Babies by the Sea Boutique with Dr. Robert Biter. With Dr. Biter, Laura Fairchild and Julie Fairchild will once again be working together as a familiar sister team on this venture, and the projected store grand opening is September 2009.

Congratulations on the opening of your new store, Dr. Biter & Laura! I know it will be very successful!

All my best--Carol

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A HypnoBirthing story for a 2nd birth

A 2nd birth using HypnoBirthing

This was shared by a fellow HypnoBirthing practitioner. I love that she wasn't committed to having a natural birth (even during her birth experience)and proceeded to labor easily & comfortably until she got to 9 3/4 cm!

This is a birth story from a friend of mine who did the HypnoBirthing class with me. It's her second baby. I think it's one of my favorite stories so far. Enjoy.
Marie Berwald up in Saskatchewan

Lucas's birth

On Thursday April 2nd my mum arrived in Regina to be here for me and to take care of my 2 year old son Michael while I had the baby. That day I also had a doctor's appointment. When the doctor checked me I was 3 cm dilated. The next day I can´t fully explain it, but I felt "different". I felt a little crampy and hoped it was a sign that baby was on the way. That evening my husband and I had planned to go to a movie, but when the lines were too long we decided to go shopping for some last minute baby supplies instead. Although I wasn´t in labour, I insisted that evening that we pack my bag. I felt the need to ensure everything was ready before going to sleep.

Throughout that night I kept waking up to go to the bathroom. I couldn´t tell for sure what was waking me up, but I remember feeling tired and frustrated that I wasn´t sleeping properly. At 4:28 am I woke up with what I knew was a definite contraction. It was more than just a cramp and it lasted long enough to wake me up. I decided to take note of the time just in case this was the real thing. A few minutes later, I had another contraction so I thought I would time them. They were about 5 minutes apart. I also remember reminding myself to use the breathing techniques. Although the contractions were not extremely intense, I found it helped to use the surge slow breathing to remain fully relaxed. I practiced keeping every muscle in my body as relaxed as possible and made an effort to pay attention to filling my tummy like a balloon. I was amazed at how much it helped and it almost became a game to try to breathe as deeply as possible. This focus helped me to relax.

Now, although I had started the breathing techniques learned in class, I started to re-think HypnoBirthing. I remember lying in my bed feeling very tired and lazy. With my first son I had been quite happy with my epidural, so I really wasn´t sure whether or not I was going to commit to the HypnoBirthing. When I joined the HypnoBirthing class, I was not convinced that I would ever have a drug-free labour. I was intrigued with the thought of HypnoBirthing but decided that I would have to play it by ear.

So, at 4:30 in the morning, the thought of staying focused and being strong seemed unlikely. I decided right then that I would probably get an epidural and that there is no shame in that! I told myself to play it by ear and when I needed an epidural I would get one. However, at this point, the breathing was doing the trick so I didn´t need to think about the drugs yet. At 5:00, I decided to wake up my husband, Paul because I wasn´t sleeping and I wanted someone to talk to. I was also a little excited to tell him that it might be the day. I really wanted to have a bath but decided I would have to wait because I didn´t want to wake my son.

At 5:30, Paul was feeling a little anxious, so he got out of bed and got dressed. A few minutes later, my son also woke up so I decided it was time for my bath. While I was in the bath, Paul went downstairs to let my mum know that I thought labour might be starting but not to get too excited yet. Michael wanted to help out too so he poured water over my belly. He was so excited to be involved.

At about 7:00, I decided to get dressed because I wanted to go downstairs for breakfast and to hang out with my mum and husband. I was feeling really good and didn´t want to be in my bedroom or bathroom anymore. I also wanted to be ready to leave just in case I suddenly decided it was time to go to the hospital. I had a wonderful morning with my husband, son and mum. I sat on the couch, talked to my mum and Paul, cuddled with Michael, ate my breakfast, drank my tea, chatted with friends on the computer and phone, and relaxed while my husband read my novel to me. I continued to breathe through each contraction but remained completely relaxed. My son had no idea anything was going on even though he was cuddled right into me for a lot of the morning. At times, I questioned whether or not this was really labour. My husband even thought it was funny to watch me during contractions because I would stop mid-sentence, close my eyes, breathe deeply and then just open my eyes and finish the sentence. He actually took a picture of me so that I could see just how relaxed I looked. He commented that it looked like I was falling asleep every 5 minutes or so.

I started to think that maybe this wasn´t labour and that baby wouldn´t make an appearance that day. I was even thinking that I should take my son to his friend´s birthday party at 2:00. I couldn´t imagine that I could feel so great and really be in active labour. I continued to enjoy my day and took advantage of the time spent with my family. When I started to feel tired, I lay down on the couch while Paul read "Twilight" to me. This kept me very relaxed and gave me something to focus on during and between contractions.

At about 1:00, I started to feel a bit different. My contractions became more intense and longer. I had to make a greater effort to keep my muscles relaxed during and immediately following each one. I found that if I pictured my uterus like a balloon being filled with air I could keep my muscles relaxed. Expanding my tummy as much as possible with each breath helped tremendously and listening to Paul read to me helped to keep me comfortable. At 1:30, I told Paul that I wasn´t quite ready to leave yet but that I wanted him to get everything ready. I asked him to put my bags in the van and to slowly get himself ready to go. By 2:30, we were both ready to walk out the door. Although I still wasn´t convinced that the hospital would keep me, I really wanted to get there so that I could relax in their tub. On the way there, I realized that my contractions were becoming more frequent, but I still didn´t think they were intense enough for this to be the real thing. I started to think about what I would tell the nurses so that they wouldn´t send me home. I told my husband that I might have to exaggerate so that they would let me stay.

While I was sitting at the admitting desk in emergency, my contractions were coming frequently. I had at least 5 by the time they brought me a wheel chair and another 3 or 4 on my way upstairs. Once in triage, I had 2 or 3 more contractions in the bathroom. I wasn´t sure how long I would be at the hospital before baby was born, but I realized that they would likely believe that I was in active labour. I do remember thinking that I´m not in enough pain. They might tell me that the contractions aren´t strong enough. I can´t help but laugh at myself when I think back.

When talking to the nurses I was very impressed with their reaction to HypnoBirthing. They all took note of the fact that my doctor had written it on my form and told me that they would respect my plan. Of course, I was still doubting the drug-free labour so I felt the need to tell them that I might still ask for an epidural. When the house doctor finally checked me, we were all a little surprised to find out that I was at 6 cm. I had been so sure that it couldn´t be active labour. They took me straight to my room and called my doctor. When the house doctor came back, I was very impressed when she told me that my doctor had informed her that it was my intention to do HypnoBirthing and asked her not to offer me any drugs and not to make reference to pain. Although I was sitting on the fence about drugs, I was very happy with my doctor´s awareness.

Looking back now, this is when I would have needed to get an epidural if that´s what I really wanted. Instead I asked for a bath. I was feeling pretty good and really just wanted to soak in the tub. While in the tub, Paul continued to read more of my book. At about 4:30, I asked him to stop. I could no longer focus on what he was saying and just wanted to "sleep". I closed my eyes and found that spraying water on my belly helped keep my muscles relaxed. If I kept my muscles from tensing up, I was able to remain quite comfortable. At 4:45, I remembered the epidural. I decided it was time for the drugs!!! I asked Paul to go tell the nurse that I wanted an epidural. She said that she would check me and we would talk about it. On my way back to my room, I had a feeling that labour had progressed a lot and that the baby was on the way. But, I had by this point convinced myself that I NEEDED drugs, even though the actual labour wasn´t unbearable. I had convinced myself that I needed the drugs and that I could not go on without them. Sure enough, when the nurse checked me at 5pm, I was 9 and ¾ cm dilated.

This is when I panicked. I couldn´t believe that I had come this far without even realizing it. I couldn´t help but wonder why I had done this to myself. I asked the nurse to give me whatever she had. I just hadn´t come to terms with the fact that I was going to actually have this baby without drugs. Luckily the nurse was fantastic. When I asked her what I should do, she said, "I think you should push when you´re ready". She just said that I had done really well so far and that I would have my baby in 15 minutes. She didn´t rush me. She just let me know that whenever I was ready, I could push. She told me that the doctor was on the way and that I would be holding my baby soon. And I realize now that Marie wasn´t kidding in class when she told us that it´s sometimes normal for the "fight or flight" instinct to kick in right at the end of labour. It kicked in and I had a 10 minute panic attack. I didn´t know how the baby was going to get out, but I was not prepared to do it and I would not listen to anyone when they tried to tell me otherwise. Amazingly, my moment of panic passed and I managed to calm down and regain my confidence. I even started to tease my husband about how easy this labour had been for him. However, I didn´t start pushing on my own. I just tried to stay calm and my body took over.

And when my son was born I was in awe of the whole experience...amazing! I remember saying over and over, "I did! "I was so happy with the whole experience. It was all so much better than I could ever have imagined! The house doctor even came back to see me and tell me what a great job I had done. She said that having seen my experience with HypnoBirthing, she´s even thinking that she should consider it for her next child. And my doctor said that he hopes he can deliver our next baby because he really enjoyed the positive atmosphere. It was a wonderful, empowering experience and I am still in awe.

Lucas Edward O. was born on April 4th at 5:28pm at 7lbs 13oz. We were both very healthy and able to go home the next day. Michael didn´t even notice I had left. What a perfect way for our little Lucas to come into our world!!!

Jen O.

Thanks for sharing this inspiring story, Marie & Jen!

Friday, September 18, 2009

You have a choice

The link to the video below is called "You Have a Choice". I think most women that are pregnant don't know they have choices or are too freaked out about the pain of birth to even consider that they have choices...they just want an epidural & want labor to be over. They don't know that birth can be a wonderful, sometimes even enjoyable experience & that it can be the most empowering experience of a woman's life.

While the focus of this video is encouraging people to be open to a birth center or home birth, most of my HypnoBirthing couples are birthing in a hospital. I believe that the education HypnoBirthing couples receive empowers them to go into the hospital so that they can have the birth experience they want. They must choose the right care provider (OB/GYN or midwife), the right hospital, the right support people (just your partner or hiring a doula) & ensure that they ask the right questions every step of the way---from making sure the nurse assigned to their case is supportive of natural birth, to asking if they can have 10 minutes to discuss things whenever an intervention is suggested to figure out if it is being suggested because of a true medical situation or just because labor isn't happening the way the hospital staff are used to, to making sure they have a birth plan (& discuss it with their care provider well before their birth) & discuss it with their nurse while in the hospital, & so much more.

Some people just feel more comfortable & safe being in a medical setting, so if that is their choice, then I think it is their responsibility to ensure they maintain control of their birth & their birthing environment as long as the mom & baby are healthy. It's better to be a good parent than a good patient...know that there is always a choice. The choices you make now, while you're pregnant, help to make you a better parent. Instead of blindly trusting your medical care provider & the hospital, educate & empower yourselves as parents now to ensure that you have a positive birth experience rather than give your power away & become an observer to one of the most important experiences of your life.

Here's the link to the video:

From the video description: The video consists of a synopsis of a typical birth by a registered nurse in a labor & delivery unit of at a local hospital, followed by individuals and couples sharing their birth experiences.
The focus of this documentary is to show people that they have a choice in their birth, rather than just trusting "professionals" to take care of everything for them. You can educate yourself and have an amazing experience in your birth rather than just a "medical procedure."

I encourage people to share this blog post with their pregnant friends...sometimes all someone needs is a little information to open their minds to the fact that there are other options. Once people understand that birth doesn't have to be a horrific, painful experience & that a woman's body is made to give birth naturally & normally, they can move forward & take back control of their birth experience. I was reminded of this in the HypnoBirthing class series I just started teaching last night. A mom in the class had always thought she wanted to get an epidural as soon as she got to the hospital. But then she watch The Business of Being Born & it opened her & her husband's eyes to the fact that birth is a money-making industry & that getting an epidural right away wasn't really what she wanted for her birth experience. She found HypnoBirthing & is now confident in her body's natural ability to birth her baby.

Please visit to find a practitioner near you or to just learn more about how HypnoBirthing can help you & your partner have a calmer, more comfortable, empowered birth.

Remember, you always have a choice...even if you feel like there are no choices. Not choosing to make a choice IS making a choice.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Courtney & Evandro's HypnoBirthing story

Here's another HypnoBirthing story from one of my past couples--Courtney & Evandro, who took my Tuesday/April 2009 class. It was their 1st birth & they had Dr. Biter as their OB.

Kaian Marley turned three months old last Saturday, but better late than never! Your classes helped us complete our pregnancy and to experience labor with nothing but the most positive and loving outlook. I don't know how much of it was the natural birth or our attachment parenting philosophy or if we just got lucky - but he is the sweetest, mellowest baby and has been since day 1. From birth, family and friends keep commenting at how peaceful and alert he is. I also wanted to share that while I maintained mostly a positive and focused state of mind during my labor, I was not without my doubts. I felt much less relaxed on my inside than I looked and felt on the outside. So much was going on inside me during the laboring process - chatter in my head, the intensity in my abdomen, struggling to maintain focus, the constant need to overcome my instincts to resist the surges instead of give into them... I kept wondering if I was doing it correctly. But after hearing the awe and amazement from my family who witnessed it first hand, and seeing how calm I looked on the video, I felt much more confident about the entire experience. I think that having doubts - even when things are going perfectly according to plan - is normal. There is no way to completely control everything... it is more how we control ourselves during the process.

I now know why you are so passionate about taking control of your pregnancy and birth, and in demanding nothing but the best for your family. Your class was the best pregnancy decision we made and I try to share my knowledge and experiences with everyone I can. It makes me so sad to think about all the women out there who have a negative experience just because they don't know there's an alternative. I am a firm believer in HypnoBirthing!

Thank you for teaching us how to have this amazing experience!!!




On Thursday night, May 28, my sister-in-law, Karna, and I were discussing my pregnancy and wondering when Kaian would make his appearance. We decided to make a baby pool and ask everyone in the family for their bids. My estimated due date was June 8, still 11 days away at that point. I have always had a strong feeling he would be making an early appearance so I chose June 1. Evandro chose June 5.

Somewhere during the conversation Karna asked if I was born early. I was, and thought it was about 10 days. Karna laughed and said if Kaian followed suit then I will be giving birth tomorrow. Little did we know...

I woke up several times that night having to pee. Although that was normal, something felt different. I was sleeping lighter and the practice contractions I had been having for weeks were especially pronounced. No pain or pressure at all, just a lot of tightening (where my belly got rock hard) and they were coming and going pretty frequently and lasting for a minute or so each. That had happened a few other times in the weeks before so I tried not to think anything of it - just tried to stay in the moment as much as I could. But I had a deep rooted feeling that it "was time."

At 6am I got up yet again and felt something like light gas pains. But after sitting in the bathroom for a bit nothing was happening so I got up and just stood in the middle of the bedroom trying to decide if it could possibly be labor. Evandro woke up and saw me standing there and asked "What is it, Amor?" I said (half-jokingly), "either I have to go poo or I'm about to have a baby." He told me to go back to the bathroom, but after a few minutes I came back and said I couldn't go. I told him my belly was hardening very frequently but still didn't feel any pressure. He smiled and got out his watch to time them just in case. They were very sporadic - sometimes coming every minute or two and sometimes taking several minutes in between. But I basically felt nothing other than the hardening.

Around 8 am, the pressure started and at that point I knew my instincts were correct. I was beginning to labor and Kaian was going to be born today. I soon started feeling extremely nauseous and went to the bathroom and threw up. Not long after that I emptied the other end as well. My body was cleaning itself out to get ready for giving birth. Evandro called Dr. Biter's office and Dr. Biter called back a few minutes later and asked how far apart the contractions were. We told him it ranged from 2-6 minutes. He asked if I could still talk through them and I said yes. He told me since I was not having an epidural to relax and stay home as long as possible and to keep him posted as the contractions got more regular. He suggested I take a bath or go for a walk.

From there the surges very quickly became stronger, felt especially in my lower back. Evandro asked if I was having any pain. I said not really pain, just a lot of pressure. They were lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to over a minute each. He ran a bath for me and brought in candles and put on the Rainbow Relaxation CD. Now our bathtub is one of those small, standard sized ones - so I had to stay semi-reclining and could not get my whole body in the water. I thought about that movie Knocked Up, where she labored in this beautiful, luxurious bubble bath. My bath was NOTHING like that. I think I lasted maybe 10 minutes in there before getting out.
I then went to the couch and sat in child's pose. I used my deep yoga breathing during the surges, which were growing increasingly stronger. They felt like a tightening with some pressure in my lower abdomen and far more intense pressure in my lower back, like a burning sensation. I was growing more and more uncomfortable, so I started getting up to walk in circles around the house during the surges. Some of the surges were light enough to remain in child's pose, but I kept having to get up and walk for the stronger ones since walking helped relieve the pressure. I kept thinking about marathon runners and how at some point during the marathon they probably wanted to quit - but pushed through it one step at a time. As I walked I pretended I was running a marathon, which helped keep me focused and motivated.

Around 9am, I said wanted to leave for the hospital. Evandro called Dr. Biter's office again and this time Dr. Capetanakis called back. He said we shouldn't go to the hospital too early and that we could come to the office to get checked out first if we wanted. After about 10 minutes of thinking it over I told Evandro I wanted to go to the hospital instead. It was all I could think about, and I wanted to get there so that I could relax and focus instead of being preoccupied about when to leave for the hospital. The 15-20 minute car ride was tougher because it was hard to relax and get comfortable. The surges seemed way more intense and I had to brace myself for a few of them.

When we got to Scripps Encinitas just after 10am, my cousin Erin met us out front and helped me go check in while Evandro parked the car. The lady who checked us in said they never received my pre-registration paperwork but luckily I brought a copy with me and handed it to her. Erin talked for me and explained I was doing HypnoBirthing. A nurse named Carolyn came over and said she would get me to my labor room. I silently followed and immediately got into the bed. The whole time I could only focus on my deep, slow breathing and getting through each surge.

After checking my blood pressure, Carolyn said she needed to get a baseline reading and put the monitor on my belly. She checked me and I was 5-6cm. She only kept the monitor on for a short time and then took it off and said I could walk around if I wanted. I got up to use the bathroom and felt like I was going to throw up again so I immediately got back in bed.
My dad, stepdad and grandma showed up at some point. All along I thought I wouldn't want anyone in the room with me but at that point I could have cared less who was in the room as long as they were quiet. They knew we were practicing HypnoBirthing and knew to be quiet and let me focus.

Later on Carolyn put the monitor back on to get another reading. I heard my dad whisper to Erin that the top reading was the baby's heartbeat and the bottom one showed my contractions. He said "See she's having another one, but she's so quiet you wouldn't know it. She didn't even move." I was curious and looked up to see the monitor. I could see the reading move up and down with each surge. They were still getting stronger and the monitor gave me something to focus on. I watched them go up and could see when they peaked. Being a visual person, it helped me along for a while.

Evandro massaged my legs for a bit and kept asking if I needed anything, like my birthing ball. I said no. I felt so nauseous every time I stood up that I stayed in the bed. Sometimes reclining back or on my side, other times in child's pose or squatting against the head rest. A short while later the monitor became too much - I didn't want anything touching me - so I pulled it off and handed it to Evandro. He asked if I wanted anything to eat and I said no - I was too nauseous so I just drank water.

Soon I felt something warm and saw that my mucous plug come out. I knew we were close. The surges were getting so strong that I was moaning through some of them. Carolyn came over, stroked my head and told me to surrender to the surges. She and Evandro both kept telling me that I was doing great. I could feel each surge rise up my uterus, getting tighter and tighter... and then finally peaking before releasing back down. The peak told me it was subsiding and that I could rest for a moment. I used a number of the visualizations, including the opening flower and also thought about how native women give birth in the jungle all the time. I figured if they could do it, so could I. I visualized the jungle around me and felt close to nature. The Rainbow Relaxation was on repeat and I focused on the words. I took each surge as it came. Each time I thought "I can get through one more," and tried to forget that there would be more to follow. As long as I stayed in the moment, I could do this. I kept feeling my baby Kaian, talking to him in my head and told him to come when he was ready. I could feel him more than I ever did before.
The nurse checked me again around 1pm and I was 8-9 cm. I knew Kaian was ready and it wouldn't be long. Evandro came over and told me that Dr. Biter was on his way. I started shaking uncontrollably, and remembered Carol's birth stories that she shared in class. She told us this happened to her just before she gave birth. Evandro saw me shaking and asked if I was cold. I wasn't. He told the nurse I was shaking and she said that it was normal - I was going through transition. Hearing this, I focused on the opening flower visualization and told my cervix to open so that Kaian could come out. I was encouraged that I was almost done.

I asked Evandro to get in bed with me. He laid against my back and held me. I said "I can't do this anymore. I need this to be over." He told me it was almost over and that Kaian was coming soon. It felt good to have him there close to me.

Dr. Biter soon arrived. He checked me and said "It's time." The sweetest words. That was exactly what I needed to hear! Evandro told me later that my water released just then and splashed out everywhere. I barely remember that happening.

Dr. Biter told me to wait for the contractions and then to "breathe the baby down." Which sounds so much easier than it is! I was reclining back at first and started pushing. I felt like nothing was happening. Dr. Biter told me to turn around and squat backwards against the back of the bed. I tried that and still felt like nothing was happening. I pushed as hard as I could a few times and Dr. Biter told me I needed to push harder to get the head around my pubic bone. I said "he's stuck!" And Dr. Biter said "he's not stuck, you're doing great. " Dr. Biter told me that the baby was moving downwards but I needed to help him, and that it seemed like I was pushing but then getting scared of the pressure and backing off. I wouldn't say I was scared, but I know I was concerned about tearing. I was getting frustrated in that position so I turned around again to a semi-reclining position on my back. I felt more at ease that way, like I had more control. Evandro kept encouraging me, saying "Nice Amor!" He held one leg and Carolyn held the other. I guess I kept trying to push with my legs so Dr. Biter told me I needed to relax my legs and push the baby down and out. He pushed down on my perineum and said push here, like you're having a bowel movement. I pushed again and still nothing.

Dr. Biter then said "wait for the contractions and push with them." At that moment I finally got it. I was so eager to be done, I realized I was just pushing and was not focusing on what my body was telling me. I stopped, went inside myself to connect with my baby and asked him to guide me. I suddenly realized the surges I was feeling earlier were gone, and was wondering how I would know when I was supposed to push. Then suddenly I felt the urge to bear down. It was totally different than the labor contractions, and much less intense. So I pushed and breathed downwards, and made a grunting noise. Dr. Biter poured on oil and asked Evandro to help him with the perennial massage. Evandro put his fingers in and said "I can feel his ear!" I thought it was so cool that he was able to participate.

After another push, Kaian's head was visible and Dr. Biter told me to reach down and touch my baby. Strangely, I refused. I'm not sure why, but I think I was so focused that I didn't want to be distracted by anything. But I could see his head full of dark hair and felt inspired. I kept talking to my baby in my head and felt him responding, telling me to help him out. He was so close. I closed my eyes and concentrated as hard as I could. As soon as the urge came again, I pushed and breathed and grunted. I felt my perineum stretch and remembered Carol telling us in class that the point of perennial massage isn't so much to stretch, but to get used to the sensation. I was so glad I did it, because that was so true. It was the exact same sensation and I pretended that I was at home doing perennial massage, which helped me stop worrying about tearing. At that moment I finally relaxed enough that the head came out. Dr. Biter said reach down and receive your baby, and as I reached down he pulled out the shoulders and helped hand Kaian to me. It was 1:43pm. He was 7lbs. 4oz and 19" long. No tearing, though I did feel scraped up a bit afterward. I immediately put him to my chest and held him. He cried for a brief moment and stopped as soon as Evandro and I started talking to him.

Carolyn told me that was the first she had seen me smile since I arrived. She said that I was so quiet that she didn't think I spoke English at first. My cousin Erin was the only one who spoke at check-in, and then after hearing Evandro's accent she figured I just didn't speak English. I guess I was pretty zoned out because a lot of the details are blurry. Carolyn then handed me a bunch of registration paperwork to fill out. She said I was "in my zone" when we arrived and so she didn't want to distract me with the paperwork at that time. She also said her sister used HypnoBirthing, which explained why she was so familiar with the techniques and terminology. What an Angel she was! She later came in and borrowed our Rainbow Relaxation CD for her next patient, who forgot hers. It was so nice to see a nurse in a hospital so supportive of HypnoBirthing.

Other nurses came over to meet us and told me they heard about our wonderful birth. No one in my family could believe that I didn't use anything for pain. I was so happy to show them how wonderful a birthing experience could be. My sister in law Veronica had an emergency c-section after being induced and laboring for 20+ hours. She had such a negative experience that she called me to say that after hearing my story she could no longer tell people how horrible giving birth was.

We were at the hospital for about 3.5 hours before Kaian's birth, and my entire labor lasted maybe 6 hours. We checked out about 24 hours later. It went exactly as I planned, as I always visualized it would. Although the surges were intense, I would not classify them as painful. They were also never consistent, so I'm glad I learned to listen to my body to tell me when I was ready. The pushing stage was the hardest for me. No pain, but it took me a few tries to find my rhythm. It was hard work. But in hindsight, the pushing part only lasted about 20 minutes so it went much faster than it seemed. I do know that I probably could not have done this without the HypnoBirthing classes, or without Evandro's unfailing support. There were moments when I understood why women end up asking for an epidural, because it is definitely intense. I reflected about the most difficult thing I had done in my life up until that point - which was a five day, 40 mile backpacking trip through the Sierras along the John Muir trail. I had altitude sickness pretty bad during that trip. I've decided that giving birth is the second hardest thing I've done - my backpacking trip still wins. Although I felt proud of myself after that grueling hike, giving birth - especially natural birth - has a much sweeter reward!

Courtney White Menezes
Agua Web Design

Thanks for sharing your story. Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

All my best--Carol


Monday, August 31, 2009

Amanda & Wayne's HypnoBirthing story

Amanda & Wayne took my HypnoBirthing classes at the end of May 2009. Here is their birth story. Both Amanda & Wayne wrote about their personal experiences. You'll see that Amanda & Wayne had doubts during their labor, but were able to use each other to get Amanda back into the relaxed state of mind & body that she needed to be in. They were really confident in their ability to have the birth they wanted & with their OB, Dr. Biter (Dr. Wonderful) at Seaside Women's Health.

It's a long read, but definitely worth it! Thanks to Amanda & Wayne for being so honest with their story. As I've said in class before...visualize exactly what you want to happen during your labor AND be confident that if things happen differently, that you still have the tools to get you to where you need to be--relaxed in both mind & body. Amanda's description of her labor including her doubts is something I think is pretty common. Her ability to get herself back into a state of relaxation instead of staying in a panicked mode was key to her being able to have the birth she wanted.hy

Wayne and I wanted to share our amazing birth story with you, so here it is!

Mommy's side of the story:

I'll begin at the beginning. We went to our 38 week appointment on August 7th and I asked Dr Biter to check my dilation as I had been feeling some shooting pains in my cervix area. He checked and let me know that I was 2-3cm dilated and almost completely effaced. I must admit although I knew labor could still be weeks the excitement built immediately. I lost my mucus plug on Saturday the 8th and yet again I just knew it could be any day.

The night of August 10th, I went to bed at 10pm and started feeling light surges, immediately figured "this was it!" I laid in bed aware of each surge. At about Midnight, I woke Wayne up to get him to time the surges, they were between 7-5 minutes apart and lasting 20seconds-1minute. We were up all night and decided we wanted to wait until Dr. Biter's office opened to get checked there rather than go straight to the hospital. When we arrived, the cervical check showed that I was 3.5cm dilated and the baby's head was low "very low." At this point we figure labor is imminent. At our next weekly appointment on August 14th, I didn't have a cervical check but I did mention that I had been having a light leaking and found my underwear to be wet on a constant basis. Dr Capetanakis let me know that there was a chance that I had a pinhole leak in my water bag and that it would continue to leak. Yet again the excitement and anticipation was overwhelming. I just couldn't wait to meet my baby.

Sunday August 16th I woke up at 2am to my bloody show. It was much more blood than I had anticipated and we immediately called Dr Biter's office. Dr Capetanakis called us back and let us know that I would most likely go into labor in the next 24 hours so try to get some rest and call back when my surges were 5-1-1. I attempted to go back to sleep but was too excited. I turned on my HypnoBirthing relaxation CD and was asleep within 30 minutes. When I awoke at 8am, I figured that once I got up and moving around the surges would start. No such luck, at 10am, I called Dr. Biter's office again and Dr Capetanakis had me come into the office to check my cervix. Wayne & I had a wedding to attend at 1pm, Wayne was a Groomsman so it was important to know if we should go to the wedding or not.

When we got to the office Dr Capetanakis immediately did an ultrasound and everything looked great. There was still enough amniotic fluid and baby's heartbeat was perfect. He proceeded to check my cervix and let me know that I was 3-3.5cm and more effaced. He told us to go ahead and go to the wedding I'd most likely go into labor that evening or in the next day. So we went and danced the night away. At the wedding, I had some surges but nothing that made think that I was in active labor. I was hoping we'd get home from the wedding and once I got in bed things would kick into gear. No such luck.

On Wednesday August 19th, I woke up and when I stood up I had a gush and assumed this was my water breaking. Yet again we were on our way back to Dr Biter's office to get checked since again surges hadn't started. Dr Capetanakis checked my cervix again only to be told it was the same as Sunday. We left the office disappointed and discouraged again.

That night we went to bed at 10:30pm. I awoke at 12:15am for one of my first of many bathroom trips. Once I lied down back in the bed, I immediately had a big gush and felt a slight pop and woke Wayne up and told him my water broke. I was able to make it to the shower to have the rest pour out of me. Wayne called Dr Biter's office and Dr Capetanakis called back and said "Try to get some rest, call us back when our surges were 5-1-1 or if we were going to head to the hospital."

I did my very best to get back to sleep but immediately the surges kicked in and honestly the anticipation and excitement was consuming and I was just so excited to finally meet my baby. Wayne was able to go back to sleep, I woke him up at about 1:25am. I had been timing my surges and I was ready for him to take over the timing. We got up and both got in the shower to labor some. I made Wayne shave my legs and we both just did our best to relax and prepare for what was in store. We were in the shower for about 1/2 an hour, and I found that the surges I had while in the shower were more manageable. As I got out of the shower and started to get dressed the intensity in my surges picked up and as each one approached I would stop and get myself completely relaxed. After we got dressed we headed down the stairs, our birth plan had us doing the majority of our laboring at home seeing that we are less than 5 minutes from Scripps Encinitas Hospital.

I got downstairs and was having Wayne time the surges at one point I asked him if there was any pattern and he said "not really, they're between 4-2 minutes apart, lasting between 30seconds-2 minutes." I am not sure what made me say this but I told him I thought we needed to go to the hospital. I really struggled with this decision because it was completely opposite of our birth plan and I didn't want to do the majority of my laboring at the hospital, but something just made me need to go.
We arrived at the hospital at 3am. They took us back to our room, I got in my gown, they attached the baby monitor and the nurse checked me. She told me I was 3.5cm and 90% effaced. I felt defeated. I didn't say anything to Wayne and he didn't say anything to me but later we both spoke about it and we were both really disappointed we both pictured spending hours at the hospital.

While lying in the bed on the monitor I must admit I felt completely out of control. I felt as though the surges were in control of me and I had no power over them. I was so frustrated by this because this is not how envisioned my labor. I had visions of being in control the entire time. I was able to breath through my surges and I kept repeating the following affirmation in my head, "My body and my baby know how to work together in complete harmony." I didn't realize at the time but Wayne was video taping this part of my labor, and looking at the video I look as though I'm in full control and am working through the surges efficiently. Seeing it from that perspective gave me a different point of view and made me realize that the out of control feeling was something that stemmed from this not being in my 'vision' of my "perfect labor."

After monitoring the nurse let me know she spoke to Dr Biter and he wanted me to walk around to progress labor. It's now 4am and I get up out of the bed. I asked for a birthing ball and I sat on it against the bed for all of 2 seconds. It wasn't the best position for me, which I found quite interesting because when I pictured laboring I pictured using the birthing ball. Then I was slow dancing leaning against the end of the bed, as I was doing this I felt another gush and it felt like yet again my water broke. I asked the nurse if my water could have broken again and she said that there's a chance earlier that it only 1/2 broke or I had a fore bag and that is what broke earlier.

I told Wayne that I wanted to get in the shower. He changed into his trunks and we slow danced in the shower. While in the shower, my surges continued to intensify. I had moments where I was unable to find my focus, Wayne would put his face to mine and do the slow breathing techniques we learned from HypnoBirthing and he would immediately bring back my focus. A few times in the shower, I questioned my goal and was starting to lose hope that I would have a natural unmedicated delivery. I had started to get quite panicked and disappointed in myself. All my life I had imagined my labor and delivery without medications. I never understood why people would need drugs for the most natural experience on earth. I felt as if I was failing, as if I wasn't good enough. I of course kept this all to myself, at one point I said to Wayne "I just don't think I can do this," he pulled me close and told me what a great job I was doing and that I could do it.

At about 4:30am I got out of the shower and was just trying to find a position where I could not only be comfortable but relax and I was finding it very difficult. I had been drinking water all night and decided to sit down to see if I could empty my bladder. As I sat on the toilet, I leaned back against the wall and found the perfect position. I was finally able to bring myself into complete relaxation for close to 5 minutes even during all the surges I was having, I was so relaxed I don't even remember how many surges I had. I do know that at this point in my labor my surges were very close together and I had very little time between them. Then all of a sudden I had a surge that made me need Wayne's assistance as sitting was not comfortable, I stood up and we yet again slow danced, him holding the majority of my weight.

During this surge I yet again questioned my ability to do this unmedicated. I couldn't help but think how good it would feel to just get rid of all the pain, the thought brought me to tears. I so badly wanted to experience every sensation of birth and delivery. I was so angry at myself for even considering it. Once that surge passed I found myself in need of squatting through the next few surges, during one of these I said to Wayne with panic in my voice "I can't do this, I really don't think I can do this." He told me yet again what a great job I was doing and kissed my forehead. With just these simple words and kiss on my forehead he had given me more strength to get through the next few surges. I decided I didn't have to make any decisions one way or another at this point I would let things happen naturally. I decided to sit back down on the toilet. As I was sitting there I noticed I had A LOT of pressure. I mentioned to Wayne that there was a lot of pressure. He immediately pulled the emergency cord next to the toilet and the nurse was there within seconds. I told her I was having a lot of pressure and she asked me to get back on the bed so she could check me.

I lay back down on the bed (the last place in the world I wanted to be) and as I laid down Wayne said "There's blood". I immediately got a little excited by his announcement, but nothing prepared me for what the nurse said next, she checked my cervix and said "We're going to have a baby." The words whirled around my head, how could we be ready to have a baby it had only been 1 1/2 hours since I got there and I started at 3.5cm, how is it I'm already 10?????
I hear her call out over their intercom system that she needed immediate assistance in my labor room, to page Dr Biter immediately and to let the Dr on call know that he may have a delivery. I said "I'm waiting for Dr. Biter." I laid in the bed feeling like I was in a dream, how was it that I had only been at the hospital for 1 1/2 hours and now I'm about to deliver my baby? The nurse let me know to breath through the pressure, and Wayne was standing at my side giving me light touch massage and helping me with my breathing. At this point, all of the pain I had been feeling was completely gone. The only feeling I had was pressure, intense pressure, but there was no pain. I kept breathing through the pressure and just knowing that my baby would be in my arms within the hour was enough to get me through.

Within minutes Dr Biter was walking through the door, I have never been so happy to hear his voice in my entire life. He sat down at the end of the bed and said "That was fast, are you ready to have your baby?" I said "YES!"

Dr Biter had me do different methods of pushing. We started on my back, then we moved to my left side, my right side, he had a nurse hold one end of a towel and I held the other. Dr Biter used perineal massage to help during delivery, I must say that pushing is nothing what I expected. I had no pain, no burning. When my baby's head started to crown, Dr Biter asked me to reach down and feel the head, all I could feel was a full head of hair. After 45 minutes of pushing my baby was ready to be born, Dr Biter asked Wayne & I to reach down, and the three of us delivered our baby onto my chest. I had never in my life felt so accomplished and so much love. I asked Wayne if it was a boy or girl? He looked down, and said "It's a baby GIRL!" We both immediately started crying.

My water broke at 12:20am and at 6:01am I had delivered my beautiful daughter 8lbs 4.7 oz, 20 1/4 inches of perfection. I NEVER expected my labor to progress so perfectly.
After allowing her cord to stop pulsing, Wayne cut the cord and the nurses took Anella to be weighed. As they were weighing her, I asked the nurse if I could get up to go to the bathroom, she paused and said "did you have an epidural?," I said "no" and she said "Yes, we can walk to the bathroom if you feel up to it," I said "Of course I do, I feel great." She walked with me to the bathroom and spent the entire time commenting on what an amazing labor this was for her to see and how impressed she was by not only the speed of it, but my control and ability to labor and deliver without a single drug or intervention. I felt accomplished, successful, empowered and more than anything that I had the PERFECT labor for me

Wayne and I spoke about my labor many times since that day and we both agree that without HypnoBirthing there is NO WAY that our labor would have gone so smoothly. He was so much more comfortable having learned not only the breathing techniques, but the signs that things were happening. Had we not taken HypnoBirthing, I can say that there would have been a very good chance that I either delivered at home, in the ambulance or on the toilet at the hospital. HypnoBirthing gave both of us the confidence that my body knew exactly what it was doing and that we needed to trust the signs it was giving us.

I cannot thank you enough for giving us the tools we needed to have our dream labor and delivery. Anella Paige was born into a calm, relaxed and loved atmosphere.

Daddy's side of the story:

Carol, let me begin by thanking you so much for your wonderful teachings and support. As Amanda wrote, I can truly say that without HypnoBirthing, there is no way our labor would have happened as it did.

The most important things I took from your classes were knowing how to trust Amanda's body and instincts, the ability to help Amanda focus on breathing, and knowing the signs of progression. This last point is one I thank you for...knowing when to call the nurse prevented us from having a baby in the bathroom.

We had quite a few false impressions of when the labor was starting. Over the course of two weeks, Amanda and I were going through ups and downs of thinking we were ready and finding out we weren't. It is hard to know what is real when you've never had the sensations before. Needless to say, when Amanda's water broke at midnight, I was not very hopeful as we had been through this before. She had me call the doctor's and Dr. Capetanakis called and said to call back when we were ready to go to the hospital. I fell asleep and Amanda woke me later to time the surges. I had a cool app on my phone that you had talked about that timed these surges and showed a cool little graph. Well, this for us was useless. Amanda's surges were not consistent and I had no idea if she was 5-1-1 or 2-1-1 or what. After a shower, we were downstairs in the kitchen. I started cleaning up the dishes, started the dishwasher and took the trash out. Then Amanda said we needed to leave. I immediately trusted her to know her own body even though our surges were not yet 5-1-1. Amanda has always been very in tune with her body and baby this pregnancy so I trusted her.

I filmed her laboring in the garage and was in shock that this was my life. We got in the car and started to the hospital with little fan speeding or going through red lights like in the movies. We were almost to the hospital when I remembered we were supposed to have called. Oh well. We arrived at Scripps Encinitas and at 3 am had great parking close to the entrance. I picked up the phone and were were let into the birthing pavilion. I have to say here that we were expecting to have our baby at Dr. Biter's new birth center, but throughout our experience at the hospital we both agree that it is an amazing place. The staff are awesome!

During the next two hours Amanda was laboring. I had the cheat sheet you gave me but honestly it made no sense to me. I just followed my own way and gave Amanda light touch and whatever she needed. After the monitoring, I could see she was overwhelmed by her surges and offered her what I could. She was so into her body that she could not answer my questions and I had no idea if I was helping or making it worse. When she had good surges, I reminded her to focus on her breathing. When we were in the bathroom, she was getting panicked and I got close to her face and breathed loudly, this caused her to follow my breathing. I believe this was your suggestion Carol? After a while she said she had a lot of pressure. I remember from your birth story that pressure was a sign of imminent birth, so I pulled the emergency cord. The nurse was there soon and after checking she said the crazy words...."we're having a baby!" WAIT! WHERE'S DR. BITER????

Our love for our OB is strong as he has seen us through a miscarriage and has been such a great friend during the pregnancy (as has Dr. Cap). We could not envision having birth without him. Luckily he showed soon and got right to business. He told Amanda to start pushing, and even though purple pushing was against what we had learned, it was what was working for Amanda. Again, trust your body and know that whatever works for you is right.

I had Amanda's left leg and she pushed against me and after some time I could see some hair. Our baby was coming. She still pushed and the baby was crowning. I remember thinking how small the baby's head was (the size of a tangerine). Then she pushed more and the head came out (wow, a lot bigger!) My baby had a full head of dark hair...where did that come from? After some more pushes, Dr. Biter asked Amanda to take her baby.

Through out all of this I had no idea if I was of any use. I tried my best to help. After it was done, Amanda told me that I helped a lot. That my words and actions helped her deliver naturally.

Carol, you have been a great help. I'm sure anybody can teach a HypnoBirthing class, but your teachings go beyond this. Your ability to share your experience was a huge help and your kind words through email and Facebook are so nice. Thank you so much for helping us have a beautiful birth.