Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vivian & Charlie's HypnoBirthing story

Vivian & Charlie took Carol Yeh-Garner's HypnoBirthing classes in preparation for their first birthing experience. They took classes at Seaside Women's Health in Encinitas, CA (North County San Diego). Here is their birth story:

Our sweet baby girl arrived on April 11th, her due date, which totally shocked me.  The week prior to her due date, I had started taking evening primrose oil supplements, taking long walks, got a massage, pedicure, etc.  I was really focused on staying away from going "over due" by the hospital standards because I wanted to avoid the induction conversation if at all possible.  The day before I was due, I decided I needed to relax and stop thinking so much about when our baby would come; that day I told myself that she probably wouldn't come for another week and that would be OK, whenever she was ready to come would be the right time. I went to the beach with some girlfriends and decided to enjoy myself until she was ready. My friend told me later that day with that attitude the baby would come that night, and she was right.   

The night my labor began I had gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom a couple of times, but had gone in the dark like always.  At 3:30 am, I woke up again to go to the bathroom, but this time decided that I should turn on the lights.  When I did, I noticed a small bit of blood, I couldn't believe that it looked like things were getting started just when I convinced myself to be patient. I went in and woke up my husband and then went to the bathroom again. This time, my mucus plug came out and almost immediately after that I started to have stronger surges. I took a shower and let the bath fill up around me while I listened to the rainbow relaxation playlist. After that, I put on some cozy clothes and sat on my birthing ball while leaning over our bed.  I was constantly leaking fluids and my surges started to get stronger and were staying close together.  I saw Charlie's phone keeping track of the surges, but blocked it out of my mind as I didn't want to think about how long they were or how close together, I just wanted to focus on breathing through them. After an hour and a half of this, Charlie suggested that I get back into the bathtub. He drew a bath for me and he started reading one of the scripts to me. After barely 2 minutes of being in the tub, my water broke at 7:30 am.  I swear I heard a little pop and then felt a rush of fluid. I told Charlie that I thought it had broken and he confirmed that it looked like it had.  I stayed in the tub for a while longer, but as the surges started to get stronger, I wanted to get back to my yoga ball.  I asked Charlie to call our Doula, Valerie Peterson, over to our house.  In the 15 minutes it took for her to arrive I told Charlie that I thought we should go to the hospital, but I wanted to wait for her to arrive and tell me what her thoughts were.  As our Doula arrived, I was out of the shower and on my hands and knees in the bathroom.  Like Carol's births, I also started shaking towards the end of a few surges at this point and I began getting hot and cold flashes.  I told our doula that I wanted to head to the hospital and she agreed. 

We drove down to Scripps La Jolla, which took about 20 minutes.  I kept my eyes closed so that I wouldn't be paying attention to the exits as we crossed them and listened to the RR playlist again. In the car, it was tough to find a comfortable position to focus on relaxing through my surges, but I breathed deep and slow during them until we made it. Once we arrived at the hospital it was 9:15 am.  The nurses wanted to check me in a small room to see how far along I was before admitting me into L&D, but they saw me have a surge and moved me into a L&D room for monitoring right away.  I wasn't loud, but my body shook during the surge.  

When we got to our L&D room, Charlie asked the nurse if she was familiar with hypnobirthing and told her we wanted to have a natural birth.  She said that she was familiar and he gave her our birth plan to go over. They allowed me to say no to the IV, but insisted on putting a heplock in my hand in case I bled too much after birth which I "cancel, cancelled." The nurse hooked me up for monitoring and was concerned about my blood pressure being high, but thankfully it didn't become an issue. At 9:30 am, the nurse checked my cervix to see where I was at and I was 7 cm dilated.  This was such great news to hear, because on the drive down I was nervous that I wouldn't be far enough along and since the surges were so strong I was worried I wouldn't be able to hang on.  The nurses couldn't believe that I was a first time mom coming in at 7 cm.  All of this really encouraged me and I knew that I could continue on with our birth plan staying relaxed. Once they were done monitoring me, I got back in the shower, but didn't end up staying in for long because I couldn't find a comfortable position.  I got out of the shower and back on my birthing ball. This ended up being the most comfortable position for me through out labor. 

After a while, I started shaking again during some of the surges so the nurses checked me again to see where I was at and this time I was at 10 cm. This was at 11:30 am.  The nurse told me not to start pushing yet, but my body started sort of convulsing at the end of the surges and pushing for me. Our doula told me that I should start pushing since my body obviously wanted to.  So I began bearing down while side lying.  For me this technique was difficult, but it felt good to finally be doing something against the surges.  I pushed for an hour and 45 minutes, phew.  After about an hour of "pushing", my doula started giving me tips on how to hold the bearing down while using my J breathing and it worked. The nurse from Scripps was staying in the background and only giving her advice every now and again, but once I started taking my doula's advice she noted that it looked like our baby had dark hair like my husband.  Again, I felt encouraged and kept going with my focus on bearing down.  After another 15 min or so they called in the doctor.  He wasn't my regular OB, but was really awesome.  He asked me if the position I was in was where I wanted to stay for the birth which I thought was so wonderful instead of them telling me I needed to be in a certain position.  In the early part of pushing, I was side lying, but by the time I was ready to breathe the baby all the way out I was lying on my back at an incline. They removed the lower part of the bed so my legs could rest low and let gravity help. As I continued to bear down, the nurse told me that she could see the head crowning and told me to reach down to feel the baby's head, which I did.  As soon as I felt her right there, I started to get teary eyed because I knew how close we were to meeting our girl.  I really focused on bringing her out, after a couple strong surges with bearing down her head came out and with the next push the rest of her body came out and they immediately put her on me.  

Our daughter was born at 1:15 pm, 15 minutes shy of 10 hours from the beginning of my labor. It was the most beautiful relief that I have ever felt to have her put on my chest and to hear her cry. It gives me the butterflies now just thinking about what a beautiful experience it all was.  My placenta came out on its own after a few more minutes and I only tore a little requiring two stitches. (We did perineal massage every night for at least 3 weeks until I went into labor and it really helped!)

I have to say that our hynobirthing class along with having our doula absolutely helped me obtain the birth that we did.  After the dust had settled, I told Charlie that I wasn't as relaxed as the women in the videos that we watched, but my husband and our doula assured me that I did better than I was remembering. At some points during my labor, I would tell myself to relax and open up, sometimes I would talk in between surges, but mostly I laid back with my eyes closed. Our doula took some video in the final stages of our birth and I was surprised when we watched it to see that I really was able to do it quietly with only a few sounds of effort here and there. The next morning in the hospital, my regular OB came to our room and told us that our delivering nurse had told her that our birth was one of the most beautiful she had ever witnessed. I was nervous about how things would go with being at the hospital, but our nurses and doctor were so respectful of our birth plan and let us be. It was an amazing experience. 

Like our doula said "Every birth is special no matter how the day goes!" and the important thing is to be happy with your birth, because the outcome is a beautiful little baby that will steal your heart. The love you feel is absolutely life changing. We are all so blessed and I am thankful for your teaching Carol--thank you so very much!

Wishing the moms who haven't delivered yet a safe and healthy birth. 

Our sweet Adeline Rose was born on April 11th at 1:15 pm - 7 lbs 11 oz 19 in.
Congratulations Vivian & Charlie! I'm so happy that the classes and your doula helped you have such a positive birthing experience! Yes, most people say that they end up not quite looking like the women in the videos we watch in class, but those are really just to get your mind wrapped around the idea that birth CAN look and be calm, peaceful and comfortable rather than the images we've been so programmed with. And like you said, it often seems like we are louder than we really are.

Thank you for sharing your birth experience! I hope you are enjoying your babymoon!

If you're interested in taking HypnoBirthing classes with Carol, please visit her website at www.AWellLivedLife.Net for more information about how to sign up. If you are outside of the San Diego area, please visit to find a Practitioner near you.

If you are interested in hiring Vivian & Charlie's doula, Valerie Peterson, you can contact her through her website at