Saturday, February 26, 2011

A HypnoBirthing announcement--Jenni & Bobby

Jenni & Bobby took my HypnoBirthing classes in August of 2010 at Indigo Dragon Health & Wellness Center on Thursday nights. Here is their birth story:

About four weeks prior to my due date, my husband and I had made the decision to have a home birth since Dr. Biter’s hospital rights were still up in the air. After taking Carol’s HypnoBirthing class, this decision came so naturally. We had been equipped with such copious amounts of knowledge and felt that avoiding the extra stresses brought on by hospital staff was the best decision for us and what we were most comfortable with. Dr. Biter provided us with the phone numbers of a team of midwives that he had been working closely with. I met with LaShel and explained our situation and made sure that we were both comfortable with one another. After hearing that she and her partner had room for us in their schedule, we knew we had a lot of getting to know one another and catching up to do. We scheduled the home visit for two weeks prior to my due date. This was the first time for me to meet LaShel’s partner, Jamin, and for my husband to meet both of them. Everything went so smoothly and although it was a lot of information to take in, in such a short amount of time, I had been waiting for that appointment in order to feel 100% ready for my baby to come at any time……and these thoughts were a perfect example of just how much your mind can control.

The very next night, Saturday, November 6th, I had put in my Evening Primrose Oil and gone to bed. Somewhere around 11 or 11:30pm, I rolled over and felt a little gush. Not wanting to get anything on the sheets, I laid still on my side and sat there noticing that my shorts felt completely soaked and it didn’t seem to feel the same as when the EPO leaks. I continued to feel little gushes here and there and my surges started almost immediately. They were nothing more than mild menstrual cramps that would alternate between my belly and my lower back, but they confirmed to me that our precious baby girl was on her way! After about 15 minutes, I decided to get up and change my shorts and check things out. I had definitely soaked through and it was definitely not the EPO. I put a pad on and got some new shorts and went back to bed. It being Daylight Savings, I didn’t pay attention to the time at this point, but I eventually had to get up and change my shorts and pad again. I had decided not to wake my husband, since there was nothing he could really do at this point anyways, and I was able to go back to sleep and get some rest.

At 4:30am, my husband’s alarm went off. He was supposed to meet up with some people and carpool to a golf tournament at 5:30am. When he woke up, I told him that my water had broke, to which he responded, “Wait, what??” I repeated myself, and he then asked if I was sure. Ummmm, yes I’m sure!!! I told him that I had soaked through two pairs of shorts and they were in the bathroom sink if he wanted to confirm it! Knowing that most first time moms take longer to deliver, I then told him to go ahead and play in the tournament, but that he should drive himself just in case I needed him to come home. He instantly said he wasn’t going anywhere and sent a text out letting people know he wasn’t going to make it.

We waited till about 6am to call the midwives. At that time, I called Jamin and let her know what was going on and she told me go back to bed, get some rest, and then eat a big breakfast and she would check back in a bit. Before I went back to bed, I knew I needed to get the baby’s clothes washed and some other things in order that I had planned on doing later that week. Once I got back into bed, Bobby turned on my HypnoBirthing CD and went off to the grocery store to stock the fridge and to buy a stool since our bed sits pretty high. While he was out, Jamin called to check in on me and let me know that LaShel would be checking on me next and that I should try to get out of bed and keep moving. By the time Bobby got home, which I think was around 8:30am, my surges had gotten more intense and all I wanted to do was lie in bed on my side and breathe and moan through them. At this point the surges were all in my lower back. Having suffered a herniated disc, the tightening that I was feeling instantly reminded me of the spasms that I experienced when I first got hurt and I now had to try and block out the thought of my baby’s birth doing more damage to my back.

Bobby made me some peanut butter toast and so adorably brought it up to me on a breakfast tray with a little glass of milk, a little glass of orange juice and a piece of my favorite white chocolate. Sadly, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it! I forced down a couple bites of the toast and spent the next couple of hours in bed focusing and doing what I needed to do to get through each surge while Bobby was running around the house getting things ready. At some point, he returned to the room and I told him to grab a trash can for me. I had started to feel sick and instantly threw up the second he handed it to me. I knew that this was a sign of being in transition, but I kept thinking that it was too early and I had better be prepared for more of that to happen later on.

Knowing that he needed to get the bed ready and that getting me up and moving would only benefit my progress, Bobby urged me to get out of bed and get in the shower. He got the shower going for me and the warm water felt even more amazing than I could have imagined! I ended up in a squatting position in the shower and started to feel like I needed to go to the bathroom…another sign of nearing the end, but for some reason, I still could not believe that it was possible yet. The longer I stayed in the shower, the stronger the sensation got, so I decided to move to the toilet. Sitting there was not easy. Every contraction killed my back in this position. I had been and kept visualizing the crowning rose and its blossoming petals and reminding myself of the amazing gift that was on its way.

By about 12pm, I asked Bobby to call LaShel and update her. Things had gotten very intense and I was starting to feel like I needed some sort of progress report. Time distortion was definitely on my side and the hours had passed so fast, but the intensity of it all had grown just as fast and I could only help but think I had SO much more to go. Bobby talked to LaShel and she told him she was going to shower up and then come over. I was still sitting on the toilet when Bobby came back in to tell me what she had said. After he let me know that she would be over soon, he wanted to make sure that I was still staying strong mentally and said to me, “No matter what she tells you when she gets here, you’re not going to get upset, right?” Knowing exactly what he was getting at, I agreed while thinking to myself, “Hell no!! If I’m not nearing the end, I’m going to break down!”

I don’t know how long I sat on the toilet, but once I got up, I could feel my body relax again and I started pacing up and down the hallway and through the bathroom, leaning on the banister, the counter, or our dresser during each surge. Bobby had brought up my birthing ball and encouraged me to give it a try. I sat on it for a bit while he provided counter pressure that helped IMMENSELY and he just kept telling me to breathe and go to my happy place! HAHA! At the time, it helped SO much, but I can’t help but laugh every time I think about it now.

I think it was about 1:30pm when LaShel got to the house and when she walked into the room, I was standing between the bed and the dresser in the middle of a surge. I remember having some sort of a conversation with her, but I don’t have the foggiest clue what she had asked aside from her telling me that she wanted to check me and I needed to get back on the bed. I think I must have waited through 4 or 5 surges before I had the guts to make the move on to the bed because it seemed like every time I changed positions, the surges were double the strength. During one of those surges I remember LaShel telling me to relax every muscle and then she specifically told me to relax my buns. Once I was able to relax them, it was like instant relief. Imagine that! Even though I had been concentrating and doing my best to keep my body relaxed, I wasn’t 100% successful. This made me realize that I needed go deeper into myself and allow my body and my baby to do what they were meant to do. When I finally got up on the bed, she checked me and I remember thinking that there was no way I was more than 3 or 4 cm……boy was I wrong! LaShel grabbed my hand and looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Jen, you’re a rockstar! You’re already 8 cm! The baby’s head is RIGHT there!” She then told me she needed to go call Jamin, Dr. Biter and update Bobby. I don’t think I have ever been given better news. I was so relieved, but just wanted to return to my side lying position. I did so as LaShel left the room and I laid there amazed that this was it. My little baby girl was about to make her appearance!

LaShel and Bobby both returned to the room and Bobby had to fill in as her assistant for a bit until Jamin arrived. Once she did arrive, she let us know that she had given Dr. Biter a call, but had not been able to reach him. We didn’t have time to wait, so they got me into position to push. It was all so surreal and although I couldn’t really put birth breathing into effect, I pushed for 44 minutes and beautiful Jordan was born at 2:29pm, only an hour after LaShel had arrived! She came out with a nuchal hand (go figure, after all of the ultrasound pics with her hands covering her face!), one big cry and then looked me in the eyes, looked around the room and was completely calm. She was placed on my belly and I was told to leave her there because the umbilical cord was really thick, but short. I know I heard the words, but I kept forgetting and trying to lift her closer to me. Once the umbilical cord was cut, I brought her closer to me and stared at her in amazement! I had just experienced the birth of my daughter, my first child, and it was a better experience than I could have ever dreamed of. My husband was truly amazing throughout my entire pregnancy, labor and birth. He may not think he did much, but the little efforts that he did make could have moved mountains in my mind. Just knowing that I had him there supporting and encouraging me was pure motivation to see this through.

I also cannot express how appreciative we are for the amazing team we had behind us. Not an appointment went by that we did not laugh with Dr. Biter or break out in some sort of sing-song in the ultrasound room! Because of him we were introduced to this “alien” birthing technique of HypnoBirthing. Then to commit to it and meet Carol made us both realize that we were headed down the right path and I could not imagine having gone through this blind and uninformed, like so many other women do. I am so passionate about everything that Carol taught us and have since tried, and will continue, to enlighten others. We were then put in the hands of LaShel and Jamin when we decided to do a homebirth. It was an instant connection with them and we were so blessed to share this day with them both. Dr. Biter, Carol, LaShel and Jamin were all so loving, comforting and easy to work with. Bobby and I are forever grateful for them all and hope to build our relationships with them throughout my future pregnancies and children’s births.
Congratulations Jenni & Bobby! Thanks so much for sharing your story! Continue to enjoy your babymoon!

For anyone interested in having Dr. Biter & his new partner, Dr. Cobb for their OB/GYN care, please contact them at 760-642-0800.

For more information about hiring LaShel & Jamin for your OB/GYN care or for a homebirth, please visit their website at

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


Friday, February 4, 2011

A HypnoBirthing announcement--Bridget & Greg

Bridget & Greg took my HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesdays at Babies by the Sea Boutique in September 2010. Here is their birth story:

Audrey's birth story

Audrey was born on January 10th. She was 3 days late. Val Peterson was supposed to Doula but because she was at another birth (another couple from the same class!) I ended up with her back-up Doula, Annely Allen - she was really amazing.

During my birth, I had back labor. My labor went on for over 40 hours! I started having regular surges Saturday night at midnight and by 3am they seemed to close enough together to head to Scripps La Jolla hospital. In retrospect, I think I mis-timed them though. When we got to the hospital they told me I was not dilated at all! Lesson one from HypnoBirthing - don't go too early to the hospital. Luckily because I knew I didn't want to be induced, they suggested we go home. I managed to get about three hours sleep and by daybreak, the surges spaced out a bit but still were regular. We sat around and watched the playoff football games. Lesson two - walk around when you're in labor to keep things going. By Sunday night, the surges got closer together and I thought that this must be it! I was in a lot of pain and could not talk through the surges. Got to the hospital and still no dilation. By this time, we knew Annely was going to be our Doula, so she met us at the hospital. Lesson three - if you get a Doula, don't be afraid to call her early in labor. I didn't want to waste Val's time, but you're paying for their services and I wonder if help might've shortened my labor. When Annely arrived, she got me up and moving and provided the only relief I had during surges by pressing my hips together. I lost my mucous plug and thought for sure I was more dilated, but alas was only 1 cm when I went back to the hospital! Since I still didn't want to use any drugs, we went back to our house and Greg took a nap while Annely labored with me through the night. By morning, I was exhausted and writhing in pain. We got to the hospital at 7:30am and I was finally 4 cm. Hallelujah! I've never been so happy in my life! By that point, I was so fatigued from no sleep that I knew I wouldn't be able to rest up before pushing unless I had relief from the constant discomfort. (side note: I've read that back labor is more intense than normal labor and I was constantly listening to the Rainbow Relaxation and birth affirmations CD and breathing but nothing seemed to make things less intense.)

Anyhow, from there, we all slept a bit which was a relief, but of course my dilation slowed and by 3pm I was only at 7 cm, which was not as far as they wanted me to be at that point, and of course they started to threaten a C-section unless we did other things to move things along. My water hadn't broken yet so they stripped my membranes and still no more dilation so my Dr (Dr. Duhamel) called and said I either take Pitocin or they'd need to do a C-section. I finally said ok, but I did request the lowest dose possible as I had also done with the epidural as I recalled from class that you have that option. Reached 10 cm at 6:40pm and after less than an hour of pushing Audrey McKenna was born at 21 inches and 8 lbs 7 oz at 7:30pm Monday night, 12 hours after we got to the hospital by one of the midwives of Dr. Duhamel's group. I believe having a light dose of epidural (I felt surges as pressure so I knew when to push) along with my Pilates background helped. Thank goodness it went fast as the cord was wrapped twice around her neck!

I am a bit disappointed that I didn't go totally natural but I think with the length and intensity of my labor that if I hadn't taken the class I could've easily given in to inducing labor and possibly needing a C-section. I'm grateful that I had the tools and understanding to go natural for as long as possible and have as minimal drug intervention as possible. I would highly recommend hiring a Doula! I'm happy that I've been successfully breastfeeding after requesting and receiving alot of help at the hospital and Audrey is over the already robust size she was born at.

Thanks again Carol for a wonderful education on birthing! We felt quite educated through the whole experience which really helped us make decisions that gave us the best birth possible.

Bridget, Greg and Audrey :).
Congratulations! I'm glad that you were able to have a more comfortable experience by getting the epidural. I'm sorry that you didn't the natural HypnoBirth you were hoping for. You did everything the best you could & you had your support team to help you as well. The main goal of my classes is for people to have empowered births in which they make choices based on educated, informed decisions. You did exactly that--you knew that you needed the epidural & just got a light one & that helped your birth go much easier & comfortably than it would have without having taken the classes. You're exactly right that without the classes, you probably would have ended up with a much different experience full of interventions. But you & Greg stayed in control the whole way making the best choices for you & for Audrey and that's what I call a HypnoBirth! A few people get the births like the videos. A lot of people get a natural birth that's noisier & not as calm as the videos. Some people get births like you did--not what you hoped for & needing an epidural. And a small few end up with a c-section. My hope for you is that you're able to grieve the fact that you didn't have the birth you hoped for AND that you can be proud of what you accomplished with Audrey's birth! I'm certainly proud of you & Greg & am glad that Annely could be there to support & help you since Val was with her other client.

For more information about Carol's HypnoBirthing classes, please visit www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If you are outside of the San Diego area, please go to to find a practitioner near you.