Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Sara & Dan

Sara & Dan took my HypnoBirthing classes in March 2011 on Tuesday nights at Babies by the Sea Boutique in Cardiff by the Sea, North County San Diego. Here is their birth story at the UCSD Birth Center in Hillcrest:

Sara and Dan’s Birth Story

2 days before my due date I was up most of the night with an upset stomach. Thinking I had eaten something the day before that was causing it, I called my midwife at about 6 am to let her know how I was feeling. She told me to drink plenty of fluids and to call back that evening if I wasn’t feeling better. Almost as soon as I got off the phone I started to realize that the cramping was starting to have a pattern and so I started to time them realizing that this might be “it”. At that point the surges were about 8 minutes apart and very mild. I was excited but wanted to try to rest and let Dan sleep (I had gone into our other bedroom that night so I wouldn’t keep him up with my tossing and turning) to prepare for the day ahead. A couple hours later they were getting more intense and so I woke Dan up and we called the midwife again and our doula Julie. We decided to stay at home as long as possible, but by 10am the surges were 4 minutes apart and I felt like we should head in to the birth center since it seemed like things were progressing quickly.

When we arrived I was surprised to find that I was only 1 cm dilated and my surges had slowed to 6 minutes apart. Luckily our midwife had room in the birth center (they usually send you home unless you are 4 cm) so she let us get settled in. Soon after we arrived I started throwing up and shaking, which I knew were signs of transition, yet I still was only a couple of centimeters dilated. We played the rainbow relaxation CD on repeat in our room and we read several scripts and did a lot of breathing to help relax. I spent a lot of time in the shower and then several hours in the tub but things continued to move very slowly. We did several side lunges to help reposition her head because the midwife felt like she might be face up. By 10 pm I was still only about 4cm and was very tired from not sleeping much the night before and having very painful back labor. I was starting to ask about an epidural but my midwife suggested trying a mild drug first that would allow me to sleep between surges so that I could get some rest and not have to transfer to labor and delivery. We decided to go that route first and so the next 4 or 5 hours I would fall deeply asleep between surges, then wake up and breathe through them as my husband, doula, mom and sister took turns coaching me.

Early the next morning I was still at 4 cm and the sleep medication had worn off, my back labor was becoming more intense and I was very discouraged to not be progressing at all. We made the decision to head up to labor and delivery for an epidural. I insisted on walking up hoping that gravity and walking would help and I swear that walk seemed to take a week! I would stop every few minutes and hold onto Dan or Julie and breathe through my surges. The new midwife (we were now on our 3rd shift!) wanted to break my water when I got the epidural but I insisted on waiting as I didn’t want to start the 24 hour clock for a C-section. Several more hours went by then the doctor came in to see me and said that they were starting to think that a C-section might be necessary so I agreed to have them break my water as a last effort to avoid a cesarean. I then progressed to 2 min apart and 7 cm over the next several hours but she was still not dropping past -1 station. Though her heart rate was strong, it had now been 33 hours and the midwife and doctors were concerned that there was something happening that they couldn’t see that was causing her to be stuck. We agreed it was time to get her out and they wheeled me in for a cesarean. Julie read a script that helped me feel a little better; I was initially very upset that my desire for a beautiful natural birth had slipped away. But then a few minutes later my husband and I heard our daughter Autumn cry for the first time in the operating room and I knew that none of what I had gone through mattered anymore, we finally had our little girl in our arms and she was healthy and beautiful! It turned out that she was face up and her head was stuck in the right side of my pelvis, so it was the right decision to have the cesarean. The doctor did not think she would have ever been able to come out naturally.

The value of our hypnobirthing training was priceless, it not only kept me from feeling anxious during my pregnancy but it helped me to cope with a difficult labor and later to come to terms with not having the natural delivery I had wanted. It greatly helped my husband to support me and to stay calm and focused during our experience as well. Thanks again for the great class! It helped us in more ways than I ever expected :)

Thank you Carol!

Sara & Dan
Congratulations Sara & Dan! I hope you're enjoying being parents! I'm glad that even though you didn't have a natural birth, you were able to utilize the HypnoBirthing techniques to the best of your ability. My goal of the class is to teach you information to trust your body & the birthing process as well as empower couples to know what to do so the choices you make for your birth are ones that you KNOW are necessary. It sounds like you did everything possible to get the birth you had planned for & that you were able to decide to get the epidural & later, the c-section, knowing that was what you needed to do in order to have the best outcome you possibly could. Thank you for sharing your story!

If you're interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol's website to learn about classes being offered in the North County area of San Diego. There are also other HypnoBirthing instructors in San Diego that teach in other areas of town, so please visit the website to Find a Practitioner near you.

If you're interested in hiring Sara & Dan's doula, Julie Mitchell, please contact her at


Thursday, December 8, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Diwata & Bryan

Diwata & Bryan took my HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesday nights in August 2011 at Babies by the Sea Boutique. They went into labor early & only made it to class 1-3. Here is their birth story:

Hi Carol,

After class on Tuesday night, while I was laying in bed preparing to sleep, my water broke and sent me into early labor. Bryan and I immediately went to Scripps Encinitas to learn that my membrane did indeed rupture and my doctor did not recommend postponing the birth due to the vast amount of amniotic fluid that was lost (it gushed out just like the movies).

We were admitted at 12:45am but I didn't feel any surges until around 5:00am. Although we only had the benefit of 3 hypnobirthing classes, Bryan and I were committed to the process and stayed focused on bringing Dylan into the planet drug and stress free. I steadily used the breathing, visualization, and relaxation techniques to manage the surges and embrace what was to come.

By 9:00 am I was at 5 centimeters dilated and this was the point I started to wonder about pain management options. Thank god for Bryan's steadfast commitment and the incredible staff at Scripps Encinitas. With just a little "stay the course" reminder, I got my second wind and remembered to allow my body and my baby to do what we were meant to do.

With just a little more breathing, Baby Dylan was born with three simple pushes at 1:28 in the afternoon - with his hand at the side of his head no less! Our premie was born at 34 weeks and 4 days weighing in at 5 lbs, 10 oz and 19 inches long. I was heartbroken not to have the immediate skin to skin experience with Dylan as a result of his critical lung condition. He was rushed to the NICU after assessing that he was working too hard to breathe. He was later transferred to Rady Children's at Scripps La Jolla where he has been steadily progressing for the last couple of days. We expect him to have a full recovery and hope to have him home in a week or two. He is so precious.

Overall, the hypnobirthing experience was incredible and I felt so proud of our accomplishment as a team. Bryan was such a strong support coach, cheerleader, and doula. We are so much closer as a result of this life-changing experience and we could never have done it without you and your class. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Needless to say, we won't be attending the remaining 2 classes. We would also be happy for you to share our story as encouragement for your classes. It was an amazing experience & I want to shout from the rooftops about it! Thank you so much!

With gratitude,
Diwata and Bryan
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your birth story and I am so glad that Baby Dylan is doing well! Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

If you're interested in using HypnoBirthing for your birth, you can learn more at Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. Carol Yeh-Garner & Kelly Pappas teach HypnoBirthing classes in North County Coastal San Diego. There are many practitioners in San Diego County & you can find a listing of them on in the Find a Practitioner section.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A HypnoFertility success story

Here is Sarah's HypnoFertility testimonial:

After delivering our first child nine weeks prematurely, followed by a miscarriage and then difficulty in conceiving again, my doctor recommended that I see Carol Yeh-Garner. She helped me see past my anxiety about having another premature baby, my grief over the miscarriage and my doubts about being able to conceive again. My sessions with Carol gave me an optimism and sense of well-being that I just didn't have before. I believe Carol played a big role in my getting pregnant with our second child by addressing and clearing away all of my negative subconscious worries.

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your experience!

If you are trying to conceive and having difficulty, HypnoFertility can help you release the stress, tension & anxiety that comes along with infertility so that your body and your mind are working in harmony. HypnoFertility will help you get pregnant faster and more easily.

Please visit Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net for more information or call Carol at 858-837-1259 to schedule your FREE 1/2 hour introductory session now!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story-Erika and Ben

Erika & Ben took my HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesday nights at Babies by the Sea Boutique in Cardiff by the Sea, CA (North County County San Diego) in April 2011. Here is their birth story:
Ayla Maeve's Birth Story
Ayla Maeve was born at 9:17pm on Saturday, July 9 2011 at Pomerado Hospital. Her labor was officially a total of 38 hours from water breaking (or more like leaking) to delivery, but to me it felt like a total of only 2 intense hours!
The morning of Friday, July 8th I awoke to a possible slow amniotic fluid leak, so we called the OBGYN, Dr. Cobb to see if we should come in earlier to our appointment that we had scheduled for later that day. We arrived at 8:30 to Dr. Cobb’s office, he tested the fluid and believed that it could be amniotic fluid, so he asked us to go home, get our bags, and get tested at Pomerado Hospital with a more accurate test.  We arrived at noon to the Hospital, where they confirmed that the discharge was in fact amniotic fluid, and I was admitted. Dr. Cobb called that afternoon and said that the plans had changed for me and I would need to labor at the Hospital instead of at home. I received a heplock in my left arm and every 4 hours received antibiotics since the water had somewhat broken. Our Doula, Val Peterson, arrived but there was not much going on and contractions were 6-7 minutes apart and not painful. We spent most of the day hanging out, watching a movie, walking around the hospital and outside, and enjoying a full dinner in the cafeteria before calling it a night.
On Saturday, July 9th Dr. Cobb arrived around 9am to the hospital to discuss my options since 24 hours had passed since my water had broken. He suggested that I be given a small dose of Pitocin to get the contractions moving, but left us the option of continuing to wait or to proceed with the Pitocin. We asked if we could have an hour to think about it and go for a walk, which included a trip to the cafeteria for a big breakfast. After we enjoyed a big meal, we headed to the parking garage where I tried to speed up the contractions by walking up and down the staircase.  This seemed to work, as contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes while walking around, but when we went back to the room for monitoring, it went back to every 6-7 minutes.  I was then hooked up to an IV for Pitocin, along with a continuous fetal monitor around my stomach, and a blood pressure cuff on the other arm. I was truly confined now to a limited area since the monitoring fell off easily when I tried to sit on the birthing ball we brought with us. I found it most comfortable to sit hooked up to the machines in a rocking chair with my feet on the birthing ball, while we watched another movie. Around 3pm, the contractions started to get a stronger and more regular so I put on the hypnobirthing CD with noise-cancelling headphones and put an eyemask on my face so I could tune everything out.

I fell in and out of the relaxed state and would rock myself in the chair when the contractions were a bit intense. Apparently I would drift off to sleep between some of the contractions.  I did not realize that the nurse was monitoring me during this time and increasing the Pitocin while I was in the rocking chair. In the end, she upped me to an 8 on the Pitocin drip, which I thought may have been high on a scale of 10, but I found out the next day that it goes up to around 42, so it was a low dose of Pitocin.  My husband, Ben, Doula Val, and the nurse were apparently discussing how great I was doing, and how calm and quiet I was at this time, however, I couldn’t hear or see them while I was focused.  
When I finally felt like I needed to use the restroom, the nurse said that I would need to be checked first. She offered to check or have Dr. Cobb called. I asked for Dr. Cobb to be called and after he checked, I was informed us that I was dilated to 7cm. This was the first cervical check in about 30 hours to minimize the possibility of infection with the broken waters.  The nurse who had been upping the Pitocin was shocked that I was 7cm as I apparently didn’t show any signs of intense pain.  We were so excited that things had progressed so fast…about 6-7 hours from Pitocin to 7cm with discomfort but minimal pain.
The pressure was a bit intense from this point forward, so I moved to a chair where I was able to sit down. Doula Val was crucial at this point in labor and tried to alleviate the tension by putting a washcloth on my head, having me chew on a hard candy, and massaging my temples.  At one point I was chewing on the washcloth to get through a contraction. I felt like the pressure was too much and asked Doula Val if I should get the epidural but she told me I was doing great, was so close, and didn’t need it. I thought that only 20 minutes of time had gone by, but in reality about 1.5 hours had passed by. I asked Dr. Cobb if I could get the epidural but he suggested that I get checked again instead. He checked my cervix, and said “are you ready to push this baby out?”
From the Hypnobirthing videos I had seen, I thought that the baby would arrive with 3quick breaths, so after 3 pushes I felt confused. Dr. Cobb and the nurse thought this was a bit amusing, after I asked for the vacuum to be used after my first attempt with pushing! I continued forward and pushed for about 40 minutes until Ayla arrived! Time again went by so quickly that I felt like I had been pushing for about 10 minutes. Doula Val took amazing photos of the arrival of Ayla and us during the hour of chest-to-chest contact afterwards! The umbilical cord was left to pulsate after the birth and then Ben was able to cut the cord. Ayla weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces and was 22 inches.

I feel that without my supportive team, I probably would have given in and asked for the epidural at 8-9cm.  I also feel that with most other doctors, considering my water had broken, I would not have been given 38 hours to allow things to progress, and would have most likely been encouraged to deliver within 24 hours, whether naturally or medically. Friends consistently ask me if I would have another baby again “naturally”. My response is always Yes! It is really about being prepared…with the hypnobirthing classes, ability to eat during labor, supportive doctor, Doula, and my husband, I had an amazing labor and delivery.

Congratulations Erika & Ben! Thank you so much for sharing your story! It just goes to show that if you have the education necessary to trust your body & the birthing process, that you can have the kind of birth experience everyone should have--empowering & beautiful! Even with pitocin! One thing that is important to know is that you searched for the right OB/GYN & changed OBs during your pregnancy, which was stressful, but it ensured that you were confident that you had the kind of medical care provider that you trusted & you knew trusted the normalcy of birth. Thanks again for sharing your story & continue enjoying your babymoon!

If you are interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes with Carol, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net for more information. If you are unable to take her classes, there are several other HypnoBirthing practitioners in town. You can find them via the Find a Practitioner section on If you are out of San Diego County, you can find a practitioner near you the same way.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Cobb, you can contact Seaside Women's Health at 760-642-0800.

If you are interested in learning more about Erika & Ben's doula, Val Peterson, please visit her website at


Monday, October 31, 2011

Kristina & Petro's HypnoBirthing story

Kristina & Petro took my HypnoBirthing classes at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA on Thursday nights in April-May 2011. Here is their birth story:

I wanted to let you know that baby Isabella came early! She was born on May 21 at 2:39am, 6 pounds 8 oz and 17in long!!! The whole labor was amazing and I really wanted to thank you so much for the hypnobirth classes. My water broke at 4:20am on Friday and since I was strep b positive we went to the hospital. The whole time I was calm and relaxed and was listening to the relaxation cd in one ear like you suggested. Dr. Capetanakis met us there and I was only 2cm. So Petro and I were walking around the hospital and outside to get things going. When Dr. Capetanakis came back to check on me a couple hours later I was only 3cm. So we knew this was going to be a slow process. We still kept walking and thinking positive vibes and I kept listening to the affirmations and relaxation cd. When Dr. Capetanakis came back around 6pm I was only 4cm so at this point he wanted me to do pitocin because I was strep b positive and things were not moving as quickly as we hoped. I was fine with it because I wanted to make sure that the baby was ok and if this was the best thing for her then bring on the pitocin. I started feeling more of the contractions and really worked through them. They were intense at times but nothing that I couldn't breathe through. By time 10:30 pm came around I was exhausted. I told Petro I can't do this anymore. Physically my body was super tired and shutting down since I have been up for 17 hours at this point. Around 10:30 pm I decided to get the epidural and instantly felt better. I didn't sleep but my body relaxed and got the energy it needed. By 12:40 am I called the nurse because I started to feel the contractions so she helped me turn to the left side and she told me to press the button for more epidural to come out so I did and then I also mentioned to her that I felt like I had to pee but I had a catheter in. She checked me and said that's why, it's time to push! I was like what?!!? I went from 4 cm-10 cm in two hours! I guess my body just needed a little help. Overall, my birthing experience was amazing and I really owe it all to hypnobirth. I stayed calm throughout the whole process and even now Isabella is such a calm baby. Everyone is amazed that she sleeps, doesn't fuss or cry and I swear it's from hypnobirth!!

Thank you Carol for such an amazing experience!!!! :)

Kristina, Petro, and Isabella
Congratulations Kristina & Petro! Thank you so much for sharing your HypnoBirthing story! I'm so glad that you were able to have such an amazing birth experience! That's the goal of my to give women & their partners the information & confidence so that they can have the most comfortable, calm, empowering birth experience possible! Enjoy your babymoon!

All my best--Carol

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bridgette & Kenneth's HypnoBirthing story

Bridgette & Kenneth took my HypnoBirthing classes on Thursday nights at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA in March 2011.

Here is their birth story:

I just wanted you to know that I had my daughter on 5.10.11 at 3:12 am. Her name is Alaya Myra and she was 7 lbs 6 oz and 20 inches. I went to the hospital on 5.9.11 at 2 something in the morning and I was having contractions that were every 5 minutes apart but I was only dilated 2 cm. They were going send me home because my water didn't break but right when they were getting the release papers ready, my water broke, so I had to stay in the hospital. I had to get pitocin because when I was 6 cm dilated my contractions started to space out to 5 to 6 minutes and they wouldn't stay constant. They had to use pitocin to make the contractions close again (wow were those contractions a lot of pain!) but I still had a natural vaginal delivery. I had her at Pomerado Hospital in Poway, CA. Those HypnoBirthing techniques worked until the contractions from the pitocin came. Those contractions were the most painful thing, even more painful than pushing. The pushing was pretty easy, it didn't really bother me. Dr. Cobb was the one who delivered my baby. Thank you for everything you taught me and Kenneth at your HypnoBirthing class!
Congratulations Bridgette & Kenneth! I'm so glad that the techniques helped you have a more comfortable birth experience even with Pitocin! I hope you're having a great time being parents! Thanks so much for sharing your birth story!

All my best--Carol

If you're interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, CA, please visit Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If you need to find another practitioner, please visit & click on "Find a Practitioner".

If you're interested in having Dr. Damon Cobb, D.O. as your OB/GYN, please call Seaside Women's Health at 760-642-0800.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brina & Gus' VBAC HypnoBirthing story

Brina & Gus took my HypnoBirthing class in August 2011 on Thursday nights at Seaside Women's Health. They were expecting baby #2 and had a c-section for baby #1. They wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) & researched their options. They chose an OB that was extremely supportive of VBACs, but late in their pregnancy, they decided to have a homebirth with the midwives of San Diego Midwife because Brina really didn't want to go into a hospital at all.

Here's their birth's a wonderful story of how even when birth goes completely off-track, knowing your options & being in control of your choices is so important to help you have the kind of birth experience you want.

October 2, 2011

Day 2

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. That’s all I can say about the last few days, my darling Willow Bee. As I write this, you are cuddling on your daddy’s lap (and crying a little bit) and I just can’t believe I am at the end of this journey and the beginning of a new one. Writing your birth story might have be done in chapters because it went on so long and honestly, I am already starting to forget the details – as is Mother Nature’s little trick on moms.

So, here’s what I can remember, with the help of your dad, Omi, Mimi, Papa and Grandpa who helped fill in some of my memory gaps as we all reminisced about it today – so we would never forget!

Real labor officially began at 2:00am on Friday morning, September 30, 3011. As I wrote before, surges had been growing in regularity since Tuesday but it wasn’t until 2:00am on Friday that things seemed to be getting more serious. I ate for pretty much the last time – not much, just a banana and some lemon cake – and went upstairs to wake up my birth companion and tell him to get the heck out of bed! He started timing the contractions and they were around 2-4 minutes apart for an hour. We called the midwives around 4am and your grandparents.

Everyone arrived before dawn. They stayed downstairs and waited for Ryder to wake up. When Jamin, our midwife arrived, I was 6 cm dilated and officially in active labor. What a relief! This wasn’t so bad! I still had a sense of humor and now that I knew that I was really in labor and making progress, I felt great. This was manageable.

I’m not sure when that all changed but everything you have heard about natural childbirth is true. Transition, the period of time that your
cervix completely dilates to 10 cm is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. All of my hypnobirthing tools were futile. There was nowhere to go. I had to keep doing this and the only thing that was keeping me going was my midwives, LaShel had joined up at around 8am, telling me that I could do it and this was normal and we were going to have a baby soon.

I made it to 9 cm in the birthing tub and while time was standing still for me, I apparently spent an hour in there, looking for relief from the unrelentless surges. No position was comfortable. Your head was lodged deep in my pelvis and it was causing me amazing back pain during surges – one hip was on fire.

We were almost ready to push at 11:30am or so. LaShel checked my cervix again and I was 9 cm but there was a bit of lip left to go. Disappointed, I went back to work, using the contractions to breath you down and stomping my legs to jiggle your head lower to get rid of the last lip. I alternated using panting breaths to the count of 37 – surges peaked at 22 and subsided at 37 consistently – and screaming my head off to the point that the neighbors on our street will see the large “It’s a Girl!” stork placed on our lawn tomorrow and go, “OH! That’s what that was!” Luckily, our house is such that you couldn’t hear the rebel yells from downstairs, just the stomping apparently, which everyone downstairs started doing in solidarity.

After a half hour of that, LaShel checks me again and now the entire cervix has swelled and I am back to 5 cm dilation during surges. Not good news. My body is feeling the urge to push and apparently, the pressure of not being complete and involuntary pushes have swollen the cervix.

So, at 12pm, I am given a choice – try to relax for an hour and see if the swelling went down or head to the hospital, have an epidural and try to sleep to allow my swollen cervix to fully dilate.

Willow, my biggest fear and anxiety about your birth, besides it ending in a dreaded second c-section, was the car ride to the hospital and here I was, facing this probability at 9 cm dilated with an insatiable urge to push, and having to fight that with everything I had to avoid more swelling. My hip was killing me, the surges were 1 minute apart and 37 counts worth of the most unexplainable torture one could never hope to describe. Your head was stuck and swelling behind my pelvic bone. There was no single body position that provided any relief.

I knew that it was 11.2 miles to the nearest hospital and at least a 15-20 minute drive. I also knew that I would have to be registered, admitted and then wait for the anesthesiologist. It was not an emergency situation – your heart beat was strong. I decided to go to the hospital. I wanted to be put out of my misery. Every moment that passed was another minute I would have to wait.

We took Papa and Mimi’s motorhome. The trip to the hospital was an exercise in self control. Every other minute, a painful contraction would begin along with the uncontrollable urge to push. I closed my eyes and counted while steadily breathing slowly. I concentrated on relaxing my entire body. I went to another world. When the contractions would subside, I returned to my body. The motorhome was quite and no one said a word. Just reassuring smiles from Daddy and Mimi. We arrived in record time and they were waiting for us.

I was admitted in and the labor and delivery room by 12:55pm. I told the nurse I needed help. I pleaded with everyone there to please help me quickly. I put on the gown, I got an IV, I got an oxygen mask. I had blood taken. I signed forms. All between contractions. I had no idea when the anesthesiologist would arrive – he was in surgery. We needed the lab results back first. I was in for a long ride.

The first epidural came at 3:15. It was partially successful. I still felt the surges (I’ll call them surges from now on because that is how they
felt at this point) and I still felt hot pain in my hips and lower back. I hadn’t had any food at all and my sides were cramping with hunger. Food wasn’t an option and I cursed myself for not eating before we left but I just wasn’t thinking straight. There would be no food until you were delivered. Another reason to have you vaginally – I could eat straight away.

The second epidural came at around 6 and it was successful. I finally felt the warm, numbness in my hips, uterus and back. I could finally relax. My legs were totally dead to me – like they belonged to another body. I was happy. I was ready.

Lots of other stuff happened at the same time, of course. But when you are under that much pain and pressure, you don’t really notice. For instance, I had a new doctor to contend with. He was extremely anti-natural birth movement, as they all are it seems, and admitted that he was appalled at the fact that we were attempting a home VBAC. Of course, on the other hand, our new night nurse Tracy had gone and jacked up my pitocin to 8mg and was going to go up to 20mg if needed and the doctor had to chew her out and put me back to 4mg tops. So, with all the talk of how dangerous having you at home was, they were meanwhile increasing the odds of rupture with the pitocin. Pretty ironic I think.

The doctor that delivered you, and despite having an amazing ability to remember all names, was called Dr. Brum-something. He was huge – like 6’6” and when he checked for dilation, which is done so with the checker’s index and middle fingers, he said for him I was at 7cm but
for most, we’ll consider me complete. He would allow me to finally push at around 8pm. It was surreal. I finally got the change to push you out! Of course, I can’t feel anything at all at this point so I am worried that I won’t be able to move any muscles. I am reassured that I will be able to and I am ready. Omi on one side and Mimi on the other side to lift my 500lb legs and Daddy behind me to help hold my head with my chin to my chest, we worked first in cycles of 3 with the surges, pushing and holding my breath for 10 counts and then, we added a 4th as my pitocin induced surges were long and strong. At one point, when sensation began to return, I got up to 6 cycles.

All the while, the Hypnobirthing method of “birth breathing” was in the back of my mind. We aren’t supposed to push you out our bodies, we are supposed to let our bodies do the work and birth breathe you safely down the birth path. When nurse Tracy turned her back, I birth breathed you down. You were coming in at a funny angle. Tracy thought you were sunny side up – that is, instead of facing my spine, facing up to my belly button. But I knew you weren’t. I could feel your spine against the front of my tummy and your body was perfectly straight down. Your swollen little head was somehow stuck under my pelvic bone. There was a heck of a lot of pressure on my hips and back and I was able to get a little more epidural every 10 minutes by pushing a button.

After 2 hours of this, Tracy gave up on me. She told me you would need to be delivered by C-section because your head was developing pressure and it was creating a blister. It was now or never. She walked away from my bed. I turned to one side and visualized you coming down while breathing with my contractions. When Dr. Huge and Imposing returned, he barked, “You can’t sleep through labor, Girl!” Or something equally condescending. To which I replied, “trust me, I am not sleeping; I am working.” And guess what, Willow? In 15 minutes, your mommy had willed you down far enough into the world that even mean-y Doctor had decided that you were ready to come out with just a little help from a vacuum. He gave me 2 choices – I cut him off by the 3rd – c-section if I was too tired to go on (I wasn’t. I would have fought for you forever), deliver you right now with the use of a vacuum – “Stop! We’ll take it!”

So, in comes the Calvary. The nursery nurse, the supporting nurse staff, the tools, the baby bed gets prepared. I can hardly believe that anyone else thinks there is going to be a baby there in a minute or two. He tells me I have to push like I have never pushed before and I am ready. Get your face mask on, Doc, she’s getting shot out of here!

3 big pushes for your head. I feel it coming down. It feels like the biggest relief in history. POP! It’s out!!! One more little push for one shoulder, and another one for the other shoulder. One small push for the rest of you and WAH!!!!!!! You were here, laying all buttery smooth on my chest looking at me questioningly. I introduced myself to you formally and kissed you, calmed you. You knew me and I knew you in a
familiar way that I can’t describe.

Everyone is cheering and before I can stop them, the normal hospital dance begins with the cord cut, you being whisked away to be weighed and tested. Your scores are great. You weigh 8lb 8.3oz and are 21 inches long. You are bigger that your big brother was at birth – and he was born 13 days gestationally longer than you were. You were in the baby warmer with your grandparents protecting you on every side from the assault. I laid on the table watching and being stitched up from a gnarly tear.

Eventually, everything calms down and everyone leaves. I don’t know where they went but it was just you and me in the room. I nursed you. I kissed you. I sang to you. I thanked the universe for you. My own little baby daughter to love, teach, and instill within a strength to stand up for what she believes in and fight the system. No regrets, baby Willow.

The story, of course, just begins there. And there is already so much to tell. Like how you recognized your Daddy when he picked you up for the first time and gently introduced himself. And how your brother sat still on my lap for 20 minutes after a nap and told me he missed me a couple of days after we got home with you. He is going to be such a good big brother to you! He says, “Ryder likes baby Willow!” I came downstairs once without you and he asked if I had put Baby Willow back in my belly button. I explained that there was no going back, you
were here for good. He’s ok with that.

I love you my little darling,


‎3 Cheers for Hypnobirthing and Class 4 (Birth Preferences Plan) especially. We were able to hit the hospital and know what to ask and what to refuse. I can't thank you enough!
Congratulations to you & Gus! You did an amazing job using your HypnoBirthing techniques to the best of your ability! The knowledge you acquired from class and the support of the amazing midwives gave you the courage to stand up for what you wanted & do what you needed to do in order to have the VBAC you wanted. Even though it wasn't as comfortable & calm as you had hoped, my goal of having you informed & educated was successful. You were able to make the right choices for you & your baby in order to have a safe, successful VBAC birth. You trusted your body, the birthing process & you willed your body to do what it needed to do! I hope you continue enjoying your babymoon! I'm sure you're feeling over the moon!

For more information about San Diego Midwife, please call 760-809-9396 or visit their
website at

For more information about Carol Yeh-Garner's HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, CA, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. For other practitioners in your area, please visit to locate a class near you.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Kirstin & Joe

Kirstin & Joe took my HypnoBirthing classes in February 2011 on Thursday nights at Dr. Biter & Dr. Cobb's OB/GYN office, Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA. Here is their birth story.

Kirstin, Joe & Declan’s Hypnobirth Story

My husband, Joe and I did the Balloon Trip Fear Release HypnoBirthing script the evening of April 27th, as we were 2 days away from my estimated date and we were anxious for our little guy to arrive. My water broke that night at 1:30am- my surges were mild and about 10 minutes apart at this time. I called Dr. Biter and our doula at 5am, and we decided that I’d just eat some breakfast and try to rest until the surges got more intense (they were 7 minutes apart). Our doula suggested that I take a walk around 9 am, since the surges had decreased as I was resting. You can’t avoid walking hills at my house, so by the end of my 30 minute jaunt, labor was in full progress.

I got back to the house and needed Joe for each surge at this point. We had really wanted to labor at home as long as we could, so we headed to the bathroom and spent the next 3 hours between the bathtub and sitting on the toilet. We kept the Rainbow Relaxation and Affirmations CD on repeat in the background, which really helped set the tone. Joe also read some prompts that Carol included on our “cheat sheet.” I often started to draw my shoulders up with each surge and tense up my back- Joe kept repeating to count to 20 with each surge, keep my body relaxed and breathe with just my abdomen. The Opening Rose visualization during surges, and Instant Relaxation exercise in between surges were especially helpful during this time. We’d decided that our doula should come to our house and help us decide when to head to the hospital. She arrived within an hour, but by that time I’d already gone through transition (vomiting and sweats), and we made the decision shortly after her arrival. My surges were very intense and 3-4 minutes apart, and I knew we needed to get to the hospital.

We had the Rainbow Relaxation on during the 25-min. ride to Pomerado, which really helped me go into a deeper state of relaxation. My surges were VERY intense, and I wasn’t sure if we would make it, but I knew I had to relax into the labor at this point. By the time Joe pulled up to the hospital entrance, I had started feeling the urge to push. They got me up to my room in L& D, examined me and found out I was fully dilated. Dr. Cobb was on his way, and I really wanted to push, but we had to try to wait for him to get there. In the meantime, the Electric Fetal Monitor showed our baby’s heart rate was low, so I needed to have an oxygen mask. The nurse, however, kept repeating how urgent it was for the doctor to arrive because of the baby’s heartrate, which of course was alarming. Joe kept reminding me of my breathing and counting, which helped me to stay calm. Dr. Cobb then arrived and we were ready to push.

Dr. Cobb had to ask me to push not only with my surges, but also in between them, because he wanted to get the baby out as fast as possible due to the heart rate. Since I’d been diligent about perineal massage, I wasn’t scared at this point. After 35 minutes of our arrival to the hospital, which includes 11 minutes of pushing, our baby boy Declan arrived. I had a small tear which required two stitches, just because the doctor was working to help get Declan’s head out. He was, however, calm and alert upon his arrival.

After 13 hours, 6 of those being intense active labor, we experienced the labor and birth that we had envisioned and hoped for. No pain medications, no interventions, and laboring at home as long as possible (although we probably should have left a little earlier and give the doctor more time to get there!). While I do have a great maternal history of fast, unmedicated births, I feel we would not have achieved this end result without the use of Hypnobirthing. We’d made the commitment to the practice and it really paid off. With Joe’s support and use of hypnobirthing tools, I was able to go with labor rather than resist it, and will forever remember this incredible experience. Thank you to Carol, her great instruction, and the confidence she instilled in us!
Congratulations Kirstin & Joe on the birth of Declan! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story & I hope you're enjoying parenthood!

For more information about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, CA, please visit Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. For information about other practitioners in your area, please visit & go to the Find a Practitioner page.

For more information about Dr. Cobb & Dr. Biter's services, please call 760-642-0800.

For more information about Kirstin & Joe's doula, Jenna Anderson, please visit


Saturday, August 6, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Julie & Frank

Julie & Frank took my HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesdays in February/March of 2011 at Babies by the Sea Boutique in preparation for baby #2. They had not taken HypnoBirthing for their 1st baby & wanted to be better prepared the second time so they could have a natural birth.

Julie wrote about her birth story on her blog.
Congratulations to Julie & Frank! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

She had a doula to help them during their birth named Jenna Anderson. Her contact information can be found on my website's resources page.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story-Julie & Rick

Julie & Rick took my HypnoBirthing classes at Babies by the Sea Boutique located in Cardiff, CA (North County San Diego) in February 2011. They took the classes in preparation for their 2nd child's birth.

Here's Logan James' birth story! Born May 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm, UCSD Birth Center:

At about 4:30 am on May 2nd (3 days past my EDD), I woke up to a mild surge, but it was different from the many "practice surges" I had had in the past. I just knew today was the day my little Logan James was going to be born. The surges continued for the next two hours at about 8-12 minutes apart and I contacted my doula, Val Peterson, letting her know what was going on. At 7:00 am, I got out of bed and started getting my newly 5 year old daughter ready for school. I still was having surges every 10 minutes or so, but they were manageable and I could breath through them. My parents were in town for Logan's birth, so when they woke up I asked them to take Eden to school and go for breakfast and I would update them with changes.

After my parents left with Eden, I felt like the surges were getting a little shorter in length and they were stretching to almost 15 minutes apart. Around 10:00 am, my husband Rick and I went for a walk in the neighborhood to keep things moving...we held hands and just enjoyed the anticipation of Logan's birth. I had religiously listen to my HypnoBirthing tapes and I was determined to have a very different birth for my son than I had had for my daughter (tons of interventions).

It was a HOT day, so the walk ended a little earlier than I wanted it to. It was 11:00 am when we got home and the surges were still 10-15 minutes apart, so I laid down for about an hour nap. It was noon and at this point I was gearing up for the possibility of long labor (my daughters was about 30 hours total). I had a 1:00 pm appointment already scheduled with my UCSD midwife so we decided we might as well go and see what she had to say. Since I was 40 weeks 3 days pregnant, I was eager to hear her thoughts. Jasmine (midwife) checked me and told me I was 2-3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. She encouraged us to walk or rest, whatever my body needed, until my labor "kicked- in." So we went to the car and I felt like I should keep moving, but soon after we started driving I felt like the surges were becoming a little more intense and that a "change" might be happening, so I told Rick I wanted to go home. At 2:30 pm, shortly after returning home, I decided to start timing my surges and I put on my rainbow relaxation HypnoBirthing CD. After about an hour, I asked Rick to join me in the bedroom and to stay with me, because the surges were definitely getting more intense and I wanted him to read the balloon trip fear release script.

I could tell with the intensity increasing that I was having some fear of not being able to handle the sensations, and I wanted to nip that in the bud as soon as I could. After reading the script, Rick realized that the surges had been about five minutes apart for over an hour and he thought we should call the midwives and let them know. I didn't want to get to the birth center too early (fearful of being sent home) so I decided to get into the shower while Rick texted our doula and packed the car. The shower was soothing, but the surges were really feeling strong and intense. I worked through them on all fours with the hot water running down my back. When Rick had the car loaded (20 minutes or so later)I got out, got dressed, put my rainbow CD back on and got into the car.

The car ride to the birth center took about 15 minutes and I probably had 4-5 surges on the drive. It was now 5:30 pm and after breathing through a surge at the front desk, the nurse walked me directly to my room. No triage - yeah! The midwife checked me right away and said I was 5-6 cm and 80% effaced! I felt a huge sense of relief knowing that they weren't going to send me home and that the surges I was having were making progress. After Anna checked me, they began to fill the tub, but I didn't want to wait the 40 minutes it took to fill the tub, so I got into the shower with my birth ball. As intense as the surges were, the ball and the heat from the water brought me some relief.

My breathing during the surges became more like a moan, but that seemed to help me and I rocked through the peak of the surges. The surges felt like they were one on top of the other, but she had just checked me and said I was 5-6, so I knew I wasn't in transition yet. At this point, I was beginning to have moments of doubt about my ability to make it through. After 45 minutes in the shower, I asked my doula to check if the tub was ready and it was! I had great expectations that the tub would bring me relief, being submerged in warm water. I focused through one more surge and then got into the tub. When I first climbed in it felt wonderful, but as a surge hit, I realized I wasn't prepared for the buoyancy of the water, and I didn't know what to hold on to or how to position my body.

Rick got in and I immediately had another surge and I thought I might be feeling some pressure in my bottom. I'd only been in the tub for 5 minutes and I whimpered a little that I didn't think I could do it. Val asked me if I was feeling any pressure and I said "I think so" and leaped out of the tub and headed for the bed. Val went to get the midwife to check me and they announced that I was 10 cm!! I couldn't believe it! I was 5-6 cm 1 hour could I have gone from 5-6 to 10 in a little over an hour? I was in shock...I had made it... The midwives were very supportive and told me I could start "pushing" whenever I felt ready.

All of a sudden it dawned on me that I had spent too many hours preparing for labor, and practicing relaxation, but I wasn't sure how to "push," but I knew I wanted a peaceful entrance for my baby boy. A surge came with a lot of pressure and I began to breath and groan. Beth (midwife) reminded me to focus on my low tone, and I breathed, moaned, ohmed through. It only took and couple pushes and Logan's head and arm were out, but he was still in his bag of waters!! The midwives moved Logan's hand down, which allowed the waters to break and I slowly breathed Logan the rest of the way out into Rick's hands! They immediately put him on my stomach and I felt relief and intense joy! My placenta followed without difficulty and I didn't need any stitches! We did it!!

We had an amazing experience and I want to thank you for all your knowledge and support!
Congratulations Julie & Rick on having such an amazing HypnoBirthing waterbirth! Thank you so much for sharing about your experience! Enjoy your babymoon!

If you'd like more information about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If you are outside the San Diego area, please visit to find a practitioner near you.

If you'd like more information about Julie & Rick's doula, Val Peterson, please visit her website at

If you'd like more information about UCSD's Birth Center, please go to:


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amanda & Wayne's 2nd HypnoBirth

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

Here is their story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, June 16, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story-Mercedes & Corey

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

My Birth Story
Parents: Corey and Mercedes
Son: Gabriel

Sunday Dec 27th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Dec 28th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Julia & Cory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

A HypnoFertility success story

Jennifer's HypnoFertility success story:

I was finally ready to start trying to have baby #2... and we tried and tried and tried for 9 months, charting my cycles, testing my fluids, reading too many fertility articles and books, and using way too many ovulation strips. Nothing was happening. I was having no luck and was getting more and more frustrated, especially as everyone around me was getting pregnant and having babies. I wanted to be pregnant again, too! The frustrations I was having were also putting stress on my husband and our relationship.

As the 1-year mark of "trying" was looming, I decided I better try something else before I had to go on Clomid or experiment with other more invasive fertility treatments. I really did not want to have to go on medication or have IVF. I remembered that Carol (whom I had taken HypnoBirthing from for my first baby) was now a HypnoFertility Therapist. HypnoBirthing had worked so well for me when I gave birth that I figured HF would probably work, too. So, I set up some sessions with Carol.

After our initial session, my husband, upon my arrival home from the session, remarked that I was so much more cheerful than I had been. I felt more like myself. I was happy and hopeful and a lot less stressed. During the few weeks that I was having my HypnoFertility sessions, my thoughts about conceiving were much more positive than they had been. I was in better spirits in general, and I was able to feel happier for other people as well.

I only had 5 sessions with Carol because the HypnoFertility worked immediately. I conceived during my next cycle. Carol was a miracle worker! I feel so strongly about the positive effects that HypnoFertility had on me. I honestly feel like I went through the trial of infertility so that I could know about HypnoFertility and share it with others. I know that there are so many people out there who could benefit from it, but don't even know that it exists. I want everyone who is battling infertility to know that there is another way!
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Jennifer! I'm thrilled that you are pregnant & that HypnoFertility was so helpful to you in so many ways. I've heard the same thing from all of my clients--that their overall mood improves & that their stress level about trying to get pregnant and life in general is decreased significantly.

If you are in San Diego and are struggling with infertility and want to get pregnant faster, please visit www.AWellLivedLife.Net for more information about Carol Yeh-Garner's HypnoFertility services. She is also available for phone and Skype sessions.

If you are out of San Diego and want to find a HypnoFertility practitioner, please visit

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A HypnoBirthing story--Tracy & Adam

Tracy and Adam took an accelerated HypnoBirthing class in February/March 2011 at Seaside Women's Health Center in Encinitas. Here is their story:

Hi Carol! So first of all.... I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mommy. It's so cool :-)

Little Avery Rose Walton is amazing. And her birth was really quite amazing as well, especially the more I think back to it. It wasn't exactly the experience I was expecting. I was soooo certain and confident in my relaxation abilities, I was convinced that I would feel NO pain. Seriously, I still don't know why it needed to be so painful. I am pretty sure that the reason for most of it was because she came out face up. Most of the sensation was in my hips and back, definitely not what I was expecting.... but that it’s really a minor detail anyway, let me tell you the whole story :-) At about midnight my surges were about 10 minutes apart. I took a shower and tried my best to relax/sleep in between each surge.
During the surge I would concentrate on staying limp and relaxed as possible, but by about 3:00 am I was telling myself and Adam that I needed some drugs. But first before "giving in" so quickly, I went into the jacuzzi, thinking that it might help a little.... but what I found out was that it helped A LOT. I dunked myself in that water and in an instant I knew I wasn't going to get out, no way. It felt soooo nice. Bless my mother too, because she stayed in the jacuzzi with me. Adam went back to bed, ha! So there I was, under the starlight resting in-between surges on a pool floaty, thinking of all the positive affirmations Marie whispered in my ear over the past three months. I kept reciting in my head things like "Your body is meant to give birth. I hand my birthing over to my baby". By 4:00 am my surges were two minutes apart and my mom called the midwives. They showed up, woke up Adam and got everything ready. Baby and I in the meantime, labored. I imagined in my mind my baby sliding down the birth path, coming out happy and healthy. Really, all I did was my best to breathe through surges and visualize a calm, relaxed birth. I was definitely in a zone, as in zoned everything out and just stayed "in my body" during surges. Each surge was 45 seconds or so of deep concentration and loud breathing. "Oooooooooooooooooh" was the long breathe out during each surge, deep voice and with my chin down.

Every once and a while I would lift my head up and take a look around. Adam, midwife Andrea and her assistant/apprentice Debra were bundled up sitting on the edge of the jacuzzi, just watching me. At one point I remember looking up and seeing the sunrise. The birds were chirping and singing. My mother in law, Susie, had come over around 4:00 am as well and got into the tub with me, bless her. She put on some music for me too. It was really nice, very similar to the music we had listened to in yoga class. I sipped apple juice and water from a straw from time to time, I think I even ate a strawberry or two. From time to time the midwife would hand the Doppler to one of my moms and have a listen to the baby's heartbeat. I am not sure what time it was, but the sun was out and my water still hadn't broken. I had visions of the baby coming out with an intact membrane. Andrea checked me and there was one little part of the cervix still in the way. She broke my water and I freaked out. I mean, I was in panic mode. Very NOT hypnobirthing method. I was tense, I was screaming and I didn't want anyone to touch me. I remember thinking too, this is probably not helping myself any, but I went with my emotions. My midwife firmly got my attention and calmed me down. I am so glad that I trusted her and never had any doubt in her ability to help me deliver my baby because otherwise, I may not have been able to calm down again from such a panic. Now, my water had broken and I was happy to feel like progress was being made.

Then, it was time to start pushing. I was more awake and alert and the surges were not coming quite as often. I felt like it would be so easy, a couple of pushes and she would be out. Not so much. :-) At one point I said "ok, that's it, I'm done, I can't do this" and Andrea would remind me,” you are doing it” and that part of being a parent was having patience. She said it was important for the baby to adjust herself to my body so that she could come out and I remember you talking about this in the class. So I changed the visuals in my mind to baby making her way, in her time. I started talking to her, nicely asking her to come on out, we love you so much. Patience, thank goodness, is definitely a virtue that I have. I had difficulty finding the position I wanted to be in to push. I tried all kinds, on my hands and knees, squatting on my own, holding Adam's hands out of the water and standing. Nothing really did the trick. Then finally, I found it and the end was near. My mom was on one side of me and Susie on the other, the midwife behind me laying on her stomach reaching into the jacuzzi. I was squatting, holding my knees and man it felt so good to push. By this time I wanted to push all the time, regardless of the surge or not, but Andrea guided me. I pushed with the surges and could feel the baby moving down. Sometimes though, I couldn't feel when the surges ended. Andrea thought it might be because I was in the warm water. Well, we pushed, and at times it was purple pushing, but I was determined. I remember feeling her move down and then back up when the surges and I stopped. Then we saw her head (and so much hair she had). By the next surge she had crowned and two surges later at 9:13 am she came flying out (well, really it was swimming out and now my mom calls her the little mermaid, ha!).

It was pretty amazing to have felt her moving down the birth path. I had imagined the same little picture in my mind when you were talking about it in class of her wiggling her little feet to push her way down and her head slowing nudging itself out. Anyway... what an amazing feeling of RELIEF when she was out. My moms floated her, under water over to me and as soon as she was in reach of the midwife, she brought her out of the water; she took her first breather and then was placed in my arms on my chest. I was soooo happy to see her after all this time. She was vigorous, yet calm. I heard your voice in my head "calm babies come from calm births". She pinked up real quick (the midwives gave her a "10 at one minute", still not too clear on what that means exactly, except that Avery came out quite the healthy baby).

What a happy moment, meeting our baby for the first time. Adam had been taking pictures and he came over to the edge of the jacuzzi to meet her too. I was so proud of him for not fainting during the birth. We hugged and loved on her there in the jacuzzi. Andrea helped Avery to get out a good cry, but other than that she was wide eyed, alert, happy and calm. Then, another surge! And I thought “WHAT!?!” Oh yeah, the placenta. I delivered it, yeah, kinda proud of that one (Andrea gave me some guidance of course, but after a couple surges, that was that.) Now it was time to go back into the house. Baby and placenta (in bowl) went with grandma Susie and Adam, Debra and my mom helped me walk into the house. Baby was placed on my chest and the midwives took care of everything. I had some tearing and Andrea stitched me up while I held baby on my chest. Adam couldn't handle that kind of scene, so while that was going on, he drained the jacuzzi (it is his FAVORITE place after all. Actually it is a Walton favorite place. His whole family are jacuzzi fiends, so it is very appropriate that our little Walton was born in one).

Of course baby was naked and pooped EVERYWHERE about 2 or 3 times. Blessing angels they are, my moms cleaned us up after each unloading. Andrea helped us with our first breastfeeding. That was new and cool. Then after the house had been cleaned up a little more and things had calmed down, Adam came back and held the baby, bare-chested for that oh so good skin to skin contact. Avery loves his voice. She hung out with him until we were ready to weigh and measure her. So although she weighed in at 8lbs 14oz and 22 inches long, we decided to call her a 9lb baby at birth because of all that poop she had unleashed. We put on her first outfit and grandmas held her; we took pictures and reveled in the morning events. I cried from time to time just thinking about what had just happened and how GRATEFUL I was for life, my family and my new little love, Miss Avery Rose. Like I said, the more I think back to it, the more appreciative I am of the entire experience. It was really quite amazing and I wouldn't have done it any other way. What a blessing!

I am so thankful that I listened to my heart and birthed at home with midwives. Although I have never stepped foot in a maternity center of a hospital, I imagine that in comparison, my birth experience was able to be more aligned with the natural connection of life and family, in a BEAUTIFUL, comfortable setting, un-rushed, unscheduled and free of unnecessary stress or "convenient" medical intervention.

Thanks so much again to you and all the people who share the passion for helping moms and dads bring their babies into the world. Those little bundles of joy are such blessings and deserve the very best.


Tracy Walton aka: Mommy
Congratulations to you & Adam! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I'm thrilled that you had such an amazing experience! Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

To learn more about HypnoBirthing classes in San Diego, please visit Carol Yeh-Garner's website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If you are outside the San Diego area, please visit

If you are considering a homebirth and live in San Diego learn more about hiring Andrea Meyer to be your midwife by visiting