Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Erin & Juan's HypnoBirthing Story

Erin & Juan took Carol's HypnoBirthing classes on Thursdays at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA. Here is their story:

My husband and I have been married 6 years. We started trying to get pregnant in 2009. It was a long struggle and very emotional. I heard good things about acupuncture so I gave it a try. They suggested I change my diet to exclude soy, dairy and gluten. About a year later we got pregnant naturally! I continued my diet and acupuncture through pregnancy.

I had a pretty easy pregnancy. First trimester was nauseous most of the time but as long as I kept eating cantaloupe and rice cereal I was good. :) Second trimester We discovered I was anemic. I was really exhausted and dizzy but once I started taking iron i felt better within a few days. I started gaining more weight and getting my appetite back. I started seeing a chiropractor which helped with my upper back. Throughout the pregnancy I did prenatal yoga at home which helped relieve tension and maintained my energy level.

Before anyone knew we were pregnant, a friend came to my husband knowing we had been trying for a while and gave him some info on Hypnofertilty. Apparently his neighbor gave birth using the hypnobirthing method using no pain medicine. I didn't need to do too much research beforehand, just knew this was the method I wanted to use for our birth. I looked around for trained professionals on the Internet and asked my acupunturist if he knew anyone and he recommended Carol Yeh-Garner at We signed up for the 5 week classes. We received a hypnobirthing book, a cd, as well as handouts each week to practice at home. I read the book, took a ton of notes in class, listened to the cd every night at bedtime and fell asleep to it. I just let it repeat throughout the night. I could feel myself relax and slept great when I listened to it. We practiced the other scripts a few times. We did the perineum massages about 3-4 times a week starting at 7 weeks to delivery. The only thing we didn't do enough of was practice the scripts or relaxation with a lot of distractions. I really enjoyed the class and felt prepared and more at ease about delivery and was determined to have a natural birth.

11/5 at My 37 week appointment I lost 2 lbs and my fundal height had not grown and the baby dropped into position. The doctor wanted me to get an ultrasound to check the baby's size. The baby was measuring small, in the 3rd percentile. She thought my placenta was starting to get worn out and the baby wasn't getting enough nutrients. In order to ensure the baby was ok they wanted me to start non stress tests and ultrasounds 2 times a week. I also did another blood test to check my blood count. This new info caused me to stress and worry. I was in the final weeks of pregnancy and very hormonal and fearful. It was an emotional roller coaster.

That Friday 11/9 the dr called and wanted me to go to the hospital to get another blood test. they wanted to rule out a form of preclampsia called HELLP. Signs were small baby, low blood count and enzymes in the liver. I had 2 out of 3. Knowing how severe that is, I was anticipating being induced that weekend. Not something I was prepared for since it wasn't following my birth plan. I reached out to my hypnobirthing teacher, Carol, for advice. She suggested a fear release and gave me steps to follow for induction and reminded me I could still have a natural birth and to relax and allow my body to take over. Going to the hospital, I felt prepared and was ready to accept what came next. They monitored the baby: "the best looking baby they had seen all day." The liver test came back fine and I was released. What a relief! The doctor still wanted me to have the baby before my delivery date and to try and naturally induce.

Then that Thursday, 11/15, when I did another ultrasound, it showed the umbilical cord was slightly restricted. My doctor called and advised me to go to the hospital for induction. This time it was real and I was so scared and not prepared. Knowing the advice Carol gave me the week before, we did a few fear releases to help change my frame of mind and accepted the path my birthing would take. It was my first lesson in parenting. I no longer have control over everything and need to go with the flow. :) I started to get excited knowing I was going to meet my baby soon.

On the way to the hospita,l we listened to the birth affirmations. As we arrived, I started playing the rainbow relaxation CD and kept it on repeat. We arrived at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla around 3pm. We asked for a hypnobirthing nurse and handed out our birthing plan to review with them. They wanted to monitor me the whole time since the baby could be at risk. We met the doctor and midwife on call. We prepared the room for my comfort, covered the clock so I didn't know the time, dimmed the lights and kept the rainbow relaxation in one ear on repeat. They did a vaginal exam but I asked they not tell me how much I was dilated. The less I knew the better my mind would allow my body to take over. We talked about the plan to induce slowly and allow things to take its course without pressure to advance faster. We did another fear release and shortly after started having surges on a consistent basis. The doctor decided to let me go for a few hours before interfering with any induction.

After I stalled, the next step was to give me cervidil. An inducing drug that is inserted at to the cervix and can be pulled out at anytime. My surges started coming on strong and after about 2 hours, they pulled it out since I was advancing quite fast. The whole time I was listening to the rainbow relaxation and allowing myself to get into deep relaxation. I had no idea what was going on around me. Nurses came in and out without me realizing. My husband would make sure they didn't bother me during a surge and would tap my shoulder when they needed to talk to me after a surge. When a surge came on, I closed my eyes and focused on breathing up. I shifted positions often. The nurse brought in a labor bar across the bed and I leaned over it while my husband rubbed my back and did light massage. When he saw me tense up, he would place his hand on my shoulder and whisper "relax". I drank a ton of water and ate almonds as needed.

After the cervidil was out, things stalled a little so we did another fear release. The midwife came in to talk to me about some options and the plan. She saw in my medical history I had a colscopy and suggested we make sure there was no scar tissue and asked if she could try massaging the cervix to allow it to open. I remember Carol telling us that in class but forgot to mention it. I was glad the midwife knew what to do.

The midwife also gave me an option of a balloon/foley ball, but I didn't remember the pros and cons of it from class so I opted to wait and see how things progressed before we decided to go that route. Luckily things progressed.

I started showing all the signs of true labor, nausea (even threw up twice), bleeding and the urge to push. They did another vaginal exam and again didn't want to know how much I was dilated. But the midwife suggested to release my membranes.

We did another fear release. I got comfy and kept telling myself to bring on more surges cause it was bringing my baby closer to me. The more I said it, the better I felt. I had some back labor and the only thing that felt good was to lean back on my fist. Next time, I will bring a tennis ball to lean on instead.

After a while, I started to get really tired and surges were strong. Never did I think pain but more uncomfortable. I felt as if I were running a marathon and running up hill most of the time and kept telling myself the finish line was after the next hill.

Shortly after, I felt ready to push. The midwife came in the check my progress and she said "Erin, you are ready to have this baby. But you can't push just yet." Then they frantically started getting ready. My husband kept me in the zone and not focusing on what was happening around me. When I started pushing, I remembered to breath down like I was on the toilet. The midwife let me lay how I wanted and she would relax my legs when I tensed. I was not quiet at all, my brother in law could hear me outside but the noises were more from effort than pain. It felt so amazing on the last push and I felt the baby slide out. My husband announced it was a girl as they placed her on my stomach. The nurses did have to take her away shortly after to make sure she didn't have to go to NICU. Our Hanna Marie weighed 4lbs 9oz which was enough for her to stay with me and not go to the NICU. Everything at this point was a blur. There was so much going on and I was on cloud 9! I couldn't believe it was all over. She was very alert and started breastfeeding right away with some help from a nurse.

After the placenta came out, I was intrigued to see its condition. It was perfectly healthy and not worn out, no calcium deposits just smaller than "normal". Since the placenta was small, the baby was small but Hanna was healthy.

After everything calmed down, I asked my husband how the progression went since he knew how much I was dilated each time. From the beginning, I was at about 1 cm dilated, progressed to 2 after the cervidil and 2 after the massage of the cervix. When my membranes were ruptured, 2 hours later I was at 10cm, then I pushed for 35 min and Hanna was born at 5:51am Friday, November 16.

I'm so happy with the way things happened. Hypnobirthing really trained me to handle the whole process. We had all the tools and put them to work for us. My husband was such a great coach and very supportive. I was amazed at how he made me feel. I can't thank Carol Yeh- Garner enough for such a great class and support and advice. I would recommend hypnobirthing to anyone and looking forward to doing it again!

Congratulations Erin & Juan! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I'm so glad that the classes helped both of you feel empowered & educated to make the best decisions for your birth & your baby. I hope you're enjoying your babymoon!

If you're interested in learning more about Carol's HypnoBirthing classes, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If her classes don't fit into your schedule, she would love to refer you to other practitioners in the area. If you are outside of San Diego, please visit for a list of practitioners in your area. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Aline & James' HypnoBirthing Story

Aline & James took Carol's HypnoBirthing classes in May 2012 in Encinitas, CA in order to prepare for their first birth. Here is their birth story:

James and I started taking Carol's Hypnobirthing classes in May of 2012. I knew I wanted a natural, gentle and calm birth. We were still trying to decide between a home or a hospital birth by the time we started taking the classes. I really wanted a home birth but James felt nervous about it.

I was very excited about the classes and they were so much more than I expected. So much great information. We learned about how the body works during labor and how interventions might interfere with the process. The more James learned, the more comfortable he became with the idea of a home birth and it was Carol's advice that encouraged me to follow my heart: "Birth happens once. Even if you have more kids this is a one time event and there aren't any do-overs." I also found my great midwife, Andrea Meyer, through Carol's referral.

We left every class feeling very relaxed and confident. I never felt anxious about birth, and I couldn't wait to experience it. We fell asleep to the birthing affirmations and Rainbow Relaxation every night. We noticed that we were sleeping better. We practiced the Balloon Script and a few other exercises 2 or 3 times a week.

I found out the baby was breech at 34 weeks. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to have a natural birth. I had to do a lot of "cancel-cancel" trying to avoid all these negative thoughts. I found a lot of useful information in Carol's Hypnobirthing group's files regarding things to do to help turn a breech baby. I started doing all the exercises to try to turn the baby. I visualized the baby in the perfect position and visualized my dream birth. My midwife also helped me a lot and the baby finally turned. I was ecstatic!

My guess date was August 5th. I had put in my mind that I would probably go "over-due", so the 40-week mark didn't mean much to me. On August 1st, James and I spent the day at the beach. It was nice to sunbathe with my belly buried in the sand and to walk along the ocean. I got a lot of scared looks and mentioned to James that I probably looked like I was ready to pop (I heard that a lot). We had some ice cream and headed home. As usual, we went to bed listening to the Rainbow Relaxation and affirmations.

I woke up at 3:30 am with a strong cramping sensation. I though to myself: "Wow, if this is the first surge, I don't want to see how the next ones are going to feel like!" Once I got up and started moving, it didn't feel as bad. I went to the bathroom and stayed there. Sitting on the toilet helped me feel more comfortable. I started timing the surges on my phone. They lasted from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and were coming every 4 to 6 minutes. I was still not sure if this was it and decided to try to get some rest. I couldn't sleep so I kept going back and forth to the bathroom to sit on the toilet, and trying different positions on the bed while listening to the affirmations. The breathing helped a lot. When the sun came up, I woke James up and told him that was the day! He organized the house and made me breakfast which I threw up right after eating. I was trying to labor on my own for as long as I could before asking the midwives to come over. James filled up the tub while I took a shower. The hot water really helped to relieve the strong surges. I got in the tub and kept listening to the Rainbow CD. I stopped timing the surges because I couldn't really focus on anything at that point. James stayed with me and guided me through his own version of the Balloon Script and did some light touch massage. I got out of the tub and labored on a birth ball while waiting for Nat, my doula, and the midwives.
I did the slow breathing technique with every surge while visualizing the blue satin ribbons visualization technique and the opening blossom technique. I was a little afraid I wouldn't be too far along once the midwives arrived and checked me. I kept visualizing my cervix as a lotus flower, opening one petal at a time.

Around 1:30 pm, the doula and the midwives arrived. I was happy to see them. They started filling up the birth pool and getting everything ready. Andrea asked me if I wanted to get checked and I agreed. I had been in labor for 11 hours and I really hoped I was almost there. I was super excited to hear that I was 8 cm dilated. I got in the birth pool and told James I couldn't believe our baby was going to be in our arms in a few hours. James and the doula stayed by my side the whole time. They made sure I drank lots of coconut water and ate granola bars. Surges were getting more and more intense, and I knew I was having back labor. James did counter pressure every time I had a surge. He also kept telling me how great I was doing, how strong and beautiful I was, and that every surge was like a wave bringing our daughter closer to us.

Beyond this point I lost sense of time. I got out of the pool to get checked again. This time Andrea said I was 10 cm. She felt a bulging bag and the baby's head! I kept laboring on my bed with James by my side. I was in birth land and at the same time aware of what was going on around me. I did not want James to leave my side and he didn't. Neither did Nat, my doula. Kayti, my other midwife, was always checking the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. Right there on my bed, my water broke during a surge. I had to ask James days later how it looked like because I did not open my eyes. I had to focus on my breathing to go through each surge. James and Nat were really good a reminding me to breath and to relax. Relaxing my hands and jaw helped a lot. Kayti had to remind me to make low toned noises. I made a lot more noise than I thought I'd make!

Time was passing by and baby was not making her way down. My body started pushing, and there was nothing I could do to stop. I asked: "Where is she? Why isn't she coming down?". Everyone reassured me she was making her way down, and she'd be here soon, and that I was doing a good job. I was getting very tired, and it was hard for me to relax and manage the surges. We tried many different positions and the rebozo to see if the baby would turn to the anterior position. I remember getting in and out of the pool, using the birth ball on my bed, polar bear on the floor, one leg up on a stool in the shower, & sitting on the toilet. Kayti told me to try to rest for a while and try not to push. As she said that, I pushed with all the strength I had in me, not because I wanted to, but because I had no more control over my body.

Debra came over for extra support. She did some cranio-sacral therapy on me and helped me to relax. I also took a few shots of vodka! I went back to the pool to try to rest and relax, and save energy for later. I was exhausted. The AC was broken and the house was so hot. They always had cold towels on my forehead, and it felt so good! I told James that I thought I wanted to go to the hospital. "I'm so tired, I'm exhausted!". The epidural sounded like a good idea to me at that point. James told me that I had gone so far, and that I was so strong and he knew I did not want that. Debra told me: "Your body is so powerful! You are so powerful!". The midwives told me I could go to the hospital anytime I wanted, but we could try a few more positions first if I wanted to. I agreed to try. Debra told me she felt the baby was confused and needed reassurance. I told our baby how much I loved her and that it was okay to come down. James told her it was time to come because her mommy was very tired.

We went from the pool to my bedroom floor. We tried a few positions and Andrea checked me. I couldn't believe when she told me the head was right there and I could start pushing when I felt a surge coming. They asked me if I wanted to change positions, but I was so tired I just stayed where I was: laying on my back on the floor. I did the birth breathing - keeping it down while inhaling. I guess it worked because the baby would come down a little and stay. I got to see her hairy head with a mirror. I was so happy it was finally time, but had no energy to celebrate, no energy to worry about the pain. I could just breath. James and I caught the baby together. She came straight to my chest. She never turned and came out facing me, sunny side up. I have imprinted in me every detail of that moment - the moment I saw my daughter for the first time. Her chubby cheeks, her cute face, her sweet smell, her weight against my chest.

The placenta came out right after the baby. I had some hemorrhage and a little tear. We laid there, on the floor, baby on my chest still attached to the placenta for a couple of hours while they worked to stop the bleeding and stitch me up. James cut the cord and I was carried to bed. The baby slept for 12 hours. We were both tired from a long 22-hour-labor. We did it! I was so grateful to everyone that was there with me. They never made me feel like something was wrong, or that my labor should be progressing at a different speed. They just allowed my body to do its work and my baby to come out on her own time.

I am so glad we chose to take Carol's Hypnobirthing classes. It prepared James to be an awesome birth coach. He never left my side and was able to give all the support I needed because. He was able to trust the process and never doubt my ability to keep going (even when I doubted it myself). I did not have the easy birth I had imagined, but I'm sure I had the best birth I could have had under the circumstances. I was able to labor on my own for a long time and had reached full dilation way before I even wondered about the epidural. I thought I had pushed for 20 minutes and was surprised to find out I pushed for an hour. What we learned in class helped us in so many ways. It made us more conscious parents, it gave us confidence to make choices that we believed in. It helped us strengthen our connection with our baby in the womb and between us and it gave us tools to stay relaxed through many hours of labor. Thank you for preparing us to welcome our daughter in the best way possible, Carol!

Thanks again for everything you have taught us and all the support you gave us through our special journey. Hugs, Aline
Congratulations Aline & James! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I'm so glad that the classes helped you have such a positive experience!

If you'd like more information about Aline's midwives, please visit

If you'd like more information about Aline's cranial sacral therapist, please visit

If you'd like more information about Aline's doula, please visit Nat Romine at 619-727-3511.

If you'd like more information about Carol's HypnoBirthing classes, please visit www.AWellLivedLife.Net. If her classes don't fit into your schedule, she would be happy to refer you to one of the other practitioners in the area. If you are outside of San Diego, please visit to find a practitioner near you.