1) Baby Felix – Birth Testimonial

Just wanted to let you know how things are going. Our little Felix arrived on june 8th 2011 at 10.30 pm. We are all doing very well 🙂

After the hypnobirthing course, I tried very hard to keep up the relaxations. It was difficult to find time while I was still working, but I found the CDs very useful – I would put them on most nights when I went to bed. I usually fell asleep but I found the breathing techniques very helpful. I worked up until 38 weeks, as planned, and after that I had a bit more time to practice some of the relaxations.

I had been out with Jarod on the evening of the 7th, lots and lots of walking. I had been quite uncomfortable in the pelvis, and a bit crampy, but nothing serious, and not any different to most days. We caught the bus home, and as I stood up to get off the bus my waters broke – very classy! I was thankful for my decision to wear tights and a dress, rather than jeans … I waddled the 5 min walk home in the wind, freezing cold, and got straight in the shower to warm up!

Jared and I had everything packed, so we put it all in the car, tidied the house, put on the laundry, then Jarod went to bed. I started getting surges about 1 or 2 am, and was able to use the breathing to get through them. Jarod got up about 4 am to talk me through them, by 5 am they were about 3 min apart and lasting 45sec to a minute each. He called the labour ward, they suggested I stay at home as long as I was comfortable, but wanted me to come in by 11am for assessment, since my waters had already broken.

As the sun came up we drew all the curtains to keep the place dark, and I ran a bath. While I was in the bath, the surges eased, and slowed to one every 10 min, lasting maybe 30 sec. We tried lots of different things to get labour started again, except for going out for a walk, but nothing really worked. At 11am we called the labour ward again, they told me to come in for assessment, and said I could probably go home afterwards. I had 3 surges in the 15 minute trip, not particularly strong though (we actually had to push start the car – we’d left the light on the previous evening. I figured I was already in labour so I wasn’t too worried!) and we got to the labour ward.

The midwife examined me, I was only 2-3cm dilated, and there was meconium in the waters. This meant that I couldn’t go home, and as I had already been going for 12 hours, my obstetrician wanted to start an oxytocin drip.

The drip meant that I had to be on continuous monitoring, as well as attached to the IV line, which meant I couldn’t move more than a metre from the bed, let alone get in the bath or shower. The rate of the ‘synto’ was increased a few times, the surges were regular and very strong but only lasting about 30 sec. Jared kept talking me through the surges, but it was still easier than at home.

The midwife re-examined me at 5pm, and I had only progressed to 3-4cm. By this stage I was pretty sure the labour was going to end in an emergency caesar, but my obstetrician wanted to try an increasing rate of synto for another 4 hours.

As the rate of the synto kept going up, the surges got longer and more powerful. I started using the gas, which helped a bit, but I couldn’t manage the breathing and the gas at the same time.

I realised that at this stage, it was less about achieving a ‘natural’ birth and more about avoiding a surgical birth. I asked for an epidural, which was placed about 8pm, I thought this would allow me to better tolerate the increasing rate of synto, and allow for a rapid emergency caesar, cos I’d already noticed a few foetal decelerations by this stage.

By about 9pm the midwife came into the room to tell me that bubs wasn’t tolerating the surges, that she had spoken to my obstetrician, and that I was going for an emergency caesar NOW. I didn’t ask how bad it was because I didn’t really want to know, but I was pretty glad the epidural was already in. When we actually got to theatre, I was prepped and draped, and my obstetrician checked the epidural block.

I’ve had previous spinal surgery, and none of us were sure how low the block would extend. It turned out there was some lumbo-sacral scaring, and I was going to feel his incision. So I was un-draped, turned on my side, and the anaesthetist put in a low spinal block as well as the epidural.

After this it all became a bit of a blur, as the spinal block went really high, to the point where it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was turned, re-prepped and draped, but by this point my body was numb up to my neck, the anaesthetist was concerned I was going to need intubation in case I stopped breathing (I could hear him getting everything ready) and it was all I could do to focus on keeping breathing.

I have vague memories of someone telling me bubs head was out, I remember seeing him being held up for me, and I remember thinking (saying?) that he was very small, and that he wasn’t crying. I did hear him cry a little bit later, and I was SO relieved to hear that sound.

After this Jared went over to see bubs, and I was left by myself – this was by far the most terrifying part.

I was incredibly glad I had done the hypnobirthing, as breathing was so difficult, and I had to focus so hard on it, but I had been practicing that focus for weeks. Jared finally came back with bubs, the midwife asked me to hold him but I couldn’t feel my arms and I was worried I would drop him.

He was so alert, looking around, Jared asked me what we should call him so I asked him if he was a Felix? and then I asked him if he was a (our other name) and he made a face and a sound like no, so Felix he was. Jared and Felix stayed with me for a bit longer, and the block started travelling south again, to the point where I could breathe comfortably.

The rest is pretty straight forward, Jared and Felix went back to delivery suite while I was stitched up and went to recovery. My arms and body remained pretty numb until the next morning, but movement returned enough that I could hold him (but not really feel him) when I got to the ward. The midwife expressed some colostrum and fed him for me, and let him and Jared stay with me for as long as they wanted. By this stage I was so relieved that it was over, and that Felix was okay, even though things went nothing like I had hoped.

So in terms of the hypnobirthing, it wasn’t exactly a ‘success’ story, but I was able to use the techniques at home for 12 hours, and in delivery suite while the synto was running. The biggest disappointment was being attached to the CTG monitor, unable to use the bath/shower, but I still gave it all the best possible attempt.

I was incredibly glad I had my breathing to focus on when things started getting scary, for me this was without a doubt worth the classes and the practice.

So fast forward 2 weeks, we are home and doing well, my wounds are healing and Felix is amazing, although it would be nice if he let me sleep a bit more!

Before I did the hypnobirthing, Jared asked me what i wanted out of it. I told him that since as a doctor I knew way too much about what could possibly go wrong (and everything else), I wanted tools to focus on something else.

And given what eventuated, the hypnobirthing definitely provided me with that, more than I could have imagined.

So thank you for your teaching, it was invaluable, and although next time I might just go for the elective caesar, the skills I’ve learned have been very helpful in terms of relaxation, and letting go.

I’m sorry this is so long winded, but as I wrote it I realised I hadn’t really processed it all until now, so I just kept going. Again, thank you.
Dr. K, Jarod and Felix

2) Baby Norah – Drug-free birth

Just wanted to let you know that our baby girl ‘Norah’ was born on the 20th Oct 2011. After coming to your weekend Hypnobirthing classes, we listened to your CD’s and practiced relaxation leading up to our due date.

I went into spontaneous labour around 9pm, the ‘in between’ breaths helped me cope through the early stages of back labour as I continued to walk around and sway on all fours as much as possible.

As my contractions got stronger and closer together I used the balloon breaths, supported by my husband and Mum reminding me to breathe and counting down the contraction times. I was able to stay home until I was dilated 5cm, we then proceeded to the Birth Centre RPA.

The midwife was very supportive of me moving around and came to check on us as little as necessary, maintaining a calm atmosphere.

My husband read me scripts and repeated selected affirmations – I found the affirmations particularly helpful.

My labour was ‘established’ from 12am and Norah was born naturally with no intervention and drug-free at 7am in the morning.

We feel very blessed to have had a completely drug-free birthing experience thanks to Hypnobirthing and strongly recommend it to anyone willing to make the effort.

We are very grateful for your teachings and support, and wish you all the best for the future.
Thankfully, Hannah and Mark.

3) Baby Reilly – Quick drug-free Birth

Thank you for all the valuable skills I learned in the Hypnobirth sessions with you back in February 2012.

I gave birth to my baby boy Reilly Thomas 2 weeks early on the 22/04/12. He was a healthy baby at 3.06 kg and 50 cm long and had a full head of very spiky blond hair.

I had a very quick drug-free birth. It was an uncomplicated labour and I was able to use the breathing techniques we learned in the hypnobirthing classes to get me through the toughest contractions.

My water broke at 9.30 pm and we went along to the hospital and were sent home at midnight with the plan to induce if i didn’t start natural labour within 48 hours. At 1.30am the contractions became noticeable but not too painful and were approximately 3 minutes apart from the start.

The midwives told me to take the sleeping pill they had given me and try to get some sleep, as first time mothers usually have long labours.

Luckily I did not take their advice to take the sleeping pill.

Instead I sat on my fit ball and had a nice hot bath for about an hour using techniques you taught me to keep calm and relaxed.

Your suggestions to trust my body and my instincts were very valuable.

Despite being told by the midwives over the phone twice more to wait at home a little longer, I trusted my body and went to the hospital when I felt ready at about 3.30am.

Luckily I did, as I was already 9cm dilated by the time we arrived! Little Reilly was quickly born at 4.59am.

I was so happy to have achieved my wish to have a natural drug-free labour. I was glad I was able to put some of the hypnobirthing techniques we had learned in the course into practise.

It was lovely to go into labour feeling calm and empowered rather than fearful and stressed.
Thank you again, Lauren

4) Baby Evie – Active birth

Hypnobirthing baby EvieEvie was born on her due date, 8th April 2013. 

Glad to say Evie was born drug-free, a natural delivery. I came out unscathed too, no tears, no stitches, wow.

And yes I do look back on it fondly, and with a sense of pride in all 3 of us!

I used hypnobirthing breathing, visualizations and listened to the birth preparation cd through the entire process. Kris used the light touch massage and breathed the surges with me.

I was actually 8cm dilated when I arrived at hospital as I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible to avoid intervention. I had the courage to do so because of the birth breathing techniques and sense of confidence and empowerment I gained through learning and practising hypnobirthing.

The midwife commented afterwards that I was so relaxed, calm and composed and I would agree.

Having a drug-free birth was hard work but I was so in the zone, determined and focused and armed with all the right info and tools.

Kris was amazing too, a calm, gentle and supportive presence through the whole journey.

So, I just wanted to share and thank you for imparting your knowledge and experience with us. We are very happy and proud parents! Thanks again. Rebecca, Kris and Evie

5) Baby Oliver – Induced birth

It’s Elena, I  attended your hypnobirth class with my husband Gianluca a couple of months ago in May 2014. Our son Oliver was born last Friday, we’re both well and I wanted to share my birth story with you.

In the last weeks of my pregnancy I made my priority to stay relaxed and focussed on the imminent arrival of my baby, practicing breathing, yoga, visualisation, listening to the CDs and talking to the baby.

In the end I had to surrender to the fact that my baby was not coming exactly how I wanted him to, despite doing all the right things.

First day of induction at RPA didn’t do much, it only softened my cervix a bit. On the morning of the second day my waters were broken, and I was attached to a drip of synthetic oxytocin.

By 10am I was in active labour. I had no access to shower or bath, baby heartbeat was constantly monitored, and I had lots of uncomfortable internal examinations. Nevertheless, I managed to stay calm focussed and silent for at least 2 hours.

Then contractions became really strong, baby heartbeat dropped, there was talk of an emergency c-section. But I was already 10cm and I managed to give birth naturally, with the help of that vacuum thing.

My son was born after only 4 and a half hours of drug-free labour. I managed the contractions without having to ask for any gas or morphine or epidural, and I think hypnobirth helped me achieve that.

The midwife said I did extremely well and it’s uncommon for delivery ward to see women so relaxed during labour.

My husband did an amazing job, understanding what I needed and when. He was giving me massage, love, telling me when I needed to relax my shoulders, and giving me kind words of encouragement.

Afterwards I found it amazing how the sensations of baby moving down into the birth canal; the need to push, and the way my baby latched to my breast straight away; were extremely familiar feelings, as if I had done it before.

So I thank you for your teachings, they were very precious to me in these less than ideal circumstances of being induced. I hope my next birth will be a bit easier, but if I did well through being induced, I can do anything!

Actually, looking back on it, all I felt was working hard together with my baby, and sharing an amazing moment with him once he was born. Elena July, 2014

6) Baby Apollo – Empowerin Birth

My husband Tas and myself did your hypnobirthing weekend course back in July 2010. I successfully hypnobirthed my beautiful baby boy; Apollo Sidney into the world.

It was a very empowering and positive experience and I am thrilled that my son entered the world naturally and drug free!

After I woke up one night with surges at 12.30am my waters broke as soon as I stood up. Immediately my surges were 3 mins apart. After the initial shock and excitement that I was in labour I settled into the hypnobirthing breathing and my husband kept me relaxed, reading meditations and playing the cd’s. As we live an hour from the hospital after three hours at home we drove to the hospital.

I was so grateful for the breathing as it got me through that car trip, every bump and turn was a challenge. But the breathing I had been practicing for the last few months gave me a strong focus and provided a feeling of safety and comfort. I felt in control.

Once we got to the hospital I couldn’t believe I was only 1 cm dilated!!!  The surges continued for the next few hours. The midwives left us alone as they could see we had our own thing going on. In between many of the surges I actually slept.

At one point the midwife came in saying they wanted to speed things up as they were concerned I would not have enough energy to push. I felt as though I could keep going for days and was very surprised to find out I had been in labor for over ten hours it felt like much less. It wasn’t until my obstetrician was concerned for the baby and said it could result in a c-section if we didn’t get me further dilated that I agreed to some oxytocin.

So I live to tell the tale that even with the intensity of oxytocin I still did not need any pain relief.

We kept playing the cd’s and my husband kept reading meditations, he was so in tune with me it gave me immense strength. With each surge I went deeper in to my meditation and kept telling myself I can do this.

I was unaware of anything else and was totally consumed with my breathing. With each surge I needed to keep very still and visualised breathing in for 20 and out for 20 as a line on a graph.

I heard new things each time I listened to the meditations on the cd’s. Once I got to the bearing down stage (pushing) I was on the home run, pushing was a relief and was the first time that making noise seemed to help.

After an hour or so of pushing, and a drug free labor (no tearing and no stitches) my little darling was born.

Thanks Katherine for your course. It feels so amazing to have delivered my baby naturally and with a sense of calm and joy. Cheers

7) Baby Abbey – Amazing birth

We wanted to email you the wonderful news of the birth of our Daughter Abbey.

My husband, Christian and I attended your hypnobirthing classes back in November 2010 and are so thrilled and grateful to have had this experience with you.

Having the knowledge from your classes as well as the follow up practice, made all the difference with our amazing birth experience.

I had to be induced after waiting 2 weeks over my due date and, as I had a small leak of amniotic fluid, my Obstetrician wasn’t happy to let me go any longer. When we arrived at the hospital to be induced I was already 2 cm dilated, which was a very nice surprise after 3 weeks of stop, start surges.

My Obstetrician knew I wanted a natural birth without any interventions, so he agreed to try the gel as the least evasive means of inducing me. I progressed very quickly once the gel was administered; within about 5 minutes I had started having much more regular contractions and felt really queasy.

As the contractions started building, my husband put on my birthing cd and I started to focus within, as we had learnt in our course, using breathing to help me through each surge. I began feeling more pressure, so decided to try the spa, which was really wonderful! It really helped with the pressure, I was feeling.

After only 4 hours, of first stage, I had a deep urge to push and had to get out of the spa, so the midwife would see how dilated I was. Much to her surprise I was fully dilated.

When our obstetrician arrived he realised our baby had turned posterior during the labour and decided to turn her with suction, which was successful, only requiring a little gas to get me through this.

Abbey was born after only 45 minutes of second stage, despite having to be turned. My obstetrician and midwife couldn’t believe I had no tears at all, as this is quite common after the suction that was required!

Abbey was completely alert, looking around the moment she was delivered without any crying!

I felt so energised after the birth, I decided to get up and freshen up with a shower just over an hour after birthing Abbey, while Christian was able to hold his little girl.

My husband and I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful, calm drug-free birthing experience and already can’t wait for the next one!

Thank you so very much for teaching us that birth should be celebrated and for all the techniques that helped make our experience so wonderful!
Love Rebecca, Christian and Abbey xxx

8) Baby Momo – Home water birth

Your birth education course gave me a new outlook on birth! I changed my birthing place from the hospital and chose to home birth, because that was where I can be relaxed.

My first child’s birth, which was 10 years ago, was so intense and painful. But this time, I learnt more about birth and it was beautiful.

My partner Steve set up the pool for the water birth. We had the most beautiful midwife Myra assisting us. I put myself in a comfortable position.

We are ready. When contractions came, I started the deep breathing. While I concentrated on the breathing, I had a vision like this;

The baby is diving deeper and deeper…
I am following the baby deeper and deeper…
And the light from up above surround us and protect us…

And I didn’t feel any pain while I was visualising this image. My baby came down slowly but steady, and she was born in the water. The baby swam in the water and then Steve put her on my belly.

My baby was so relaxed, she looked like she didn’t even realise that she was born yet.

It was just a miracle. I was so glad to have had this beautiful calm water birth instead of a fearful birth I would have had if I hadn’t learned your birth education course.

So, thank you so much Katherine!
Akiko, Steve and Momo

9) Baby Georgia – calm quick birth

My husband, Ryan and I attended hypnobirthing classes with you on Tuesday nights back in September.

Firstly I want to thank you for not only helping us to have a wonderful and positive drug-free birth experience but you also helped me to eliminate any fear surrounding giving birth.

Before Hypnobirthing this was not the case!

Leading up to the birth I was actually full of excitement and felt no fear whatsoever about what was to come.

Not only were the relaxation techniques invaluable whilst in labour but I truly believe they have made a huge impact during pregnancy on the temperament of Georgia, she is such a relaxed and calm baby.

As for my labour, I woke with what felt like mild contractions but as I had experienced a ‘practice run’ a week earlier I assumed this to be the same again.

Regardless I took the opportunity to practice my breathing and relaxation. The surges kept up all day being no more than 20 minutes apart although I still remained in denial that I was in labour and went about my day as usual whilst practicing the breathing techniques.

Once my labour established, my surges become longer, stronger and faster. When my surges were less than 3 minutes apart, and at 1am we arrived at the hospital.

I was a little apprehensive to be examined, as I did not want to be told that I was not in established labour. But to our relief I was already 4cm dilated. By 4am my waters broke and immediately I felt the urge to push.

Just 25 minutes later little Georgia was laying peacefully on my chest staring into my eyes! Thankfully I did not have any tears or grazes and my blood loss was quite minimal. I am sure that this had a lot to do with the fact that I did not tense up during the delivery.

The midwives were amazed at the way that my labour progressed and thanked me for the great experience.

I truly believe that Hypnobirthing helped me achieve the drug free, natural birth that I was hoping for and feel that it was extremely beneficial during my pregnancy as well.

Ryan has also been extremely appreciative for the knowledge and reassurance Hypnobirthing gave him in order to support me through the labour.

We have been recommending it to all expectant mothers. Thank you for helping us achieve a positive birth experience!
Kind regards, Justine, Ryan and Georgia

10) Baby Hugo – Drug-free birth

At my regular checkup appointment at the hospital on the 2nd May 2009, things began to happen. I then knew the Hypnobirthing birth of our second baby was not very far away at all.

I had an internal or also known as a “sweep” by the midwife who said I was 2cm dilated. This could have meant that I may have been coming back that evening to give birth or, it was only a matter of a few days away.

I began getting excited as we were waiting for this day to come for a few weeks now. I must admit, second times around things are a bit different. My body was feeling a whole lot more tired, as looking after another toddler; there was not much time for resting! So, I was well and truly ready to meet our baby.

In the early evening of the 3rd May 2009, things started to happen. We came back from my sister in laws place, where we were celebrating my mother in laws birthday (mine is on the 5th May, yes I know a busy time). I said to Phil that I needed to go home after we had cut the cake, as I was not feeling well.

I got Liam (my first born) organised and into bed by 7pm and then I decided to have something to eat. As I sat down to eat my dinner (spinach and cheese pie) I heard and felt a “pop”, then a warm gush of water trickling down my leg. I had just realised that my waters had broken. This had not happened in my first pregnancy so I was not sure what to expect. I went to that bathroom where it felt like I was doing a wee forever! I then realised our baby was coming to meet us very soon and started getting excited and letting the good hormones (endorphins) kick in.

8.30pm: I started to get what was like a mild period pain and this was bearable but decided to call the hospital and alert them. The midwife at the birth centre and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown said that it was early stages of labour and to stay home for a while and see how things go.

We decided to call my mum and tell her to come over and get ready to sleep here the night, as we knew we needed someone here to care for Liam if we needed to leave quickly if things eventuated, in the middle of the night. And, we were right…

9.30pm: By this time I was still having what I thought was period pain, apparently, they were mild contractions. This was slightly uncomfortable but the real pain or pressure I was experiencing, was in my lower back, towards my spine. I began to worry (only for a bit) that perhaps the baby was not in the right position and possibly breech.

So we called the midwife again. She again mentioned that until the contractions were at least 7 mins apart for at least half an hour not to come in and just stay home and see how things go. She recommended a shower, which may help relieve some of the lower back discomfort. I decided against having a shower at home as I had a funny recollection from my first birth, that this may speed things up. As we are now living approximately 20 minutes further than where we were living at the time Liam was born, we decided this was not the best option and that we would simply leave home that bit earlier.

This continued until 10.15pm when I decided not to call the midwife back and instead to leave for the hospital immediately. We called my sister, who was also to be present at the birth, and told her to leave soon and meet us there.

At this point I was concentrating very hard and was very focused on my breathing as the surges or contractions were getting closer together. They were not necessarily stronger, they were just constant and things felt like they were just starting to roll into one another very quickly.

At 10.40pm: We arrived at the hospital, met my sister Monica and went in to the birth centre where the midwife guided us to our room. She left us there for a short time while she was attending to another woman who was labouring at the same time, in the other room.

11pm (approximately): I had lost track of time but my sister told me this was the approximate time. The midwife asked me to get on the bed so she could check how far dilated I was and see how things were progressing. I did not want to get on the bed as this was very uncomfortable for me and would place pressure on my spine, even more. She asked me if I wanted painkillers for the pain in my back and I agreed as it was getting unbearable and sidetracking me from concentrating on my breathing and having a positive birth experience. She again asked me if I had a shower at home and I had said ‘no’ so she then advised me to have one here.

She said I was only 2-3 cm dilated! I was so disappointed as I was already 2 cm dilated on Saturday at my appointment. Not sure how this could have been accurate!

11.15pm: At this point I decided to have a shower and then immediately the relief of the hot water on my back was fantastic! It relieved some of the pain and discomfort and allowed me to re-focus and realise the birth of my baby was coming very soon. At this point I noticed my breathing techniques had changed to faster breaths and were a bit shallower. This helped me get through as each surge became rolled into the other. We did not time any surges, but I just knew it was not far away despite the midwife thinking I was going to be there all night labouring!

She actually mentioned to my sister, after she checked how far dilated I was, that I could have stayed home a bit longer. She thought that, as I was so calm and not screaming or hysterical, I was going to be there for some time. But I knew that my body was ready and this was the time.

My husband decided to fill up the bath so I could get in and have a water birth as we did with our first baby, but unfortunately there was no time as the bath takes quite some time to fill up.

11.30pm: At this stage I was still waiting for the painkiller for my back pain (Panadeine forte) and then things changed, I felt a drop and then felt a sudden urge to begin birthing my baby. I thought that this was too early and could not have been happening so fast, but told my husband to go and call the midwife, NOW!

The midwife arrived with the painkiller which I immediately swallowed and then she asked me to come over to the mat where she had a bean bag and asked me to crouch down and lean over so she could check to see how far things had progressed.

I said that I felt the baby was coming and could not stop the sensation to keep pushing. I did not quite make it to the bean bag, knelt down and immediately the midwife said to me the baby’s head was already out and that we were having this baby now! My sister and husband got so excited and it was almost like the next few minutes were like the blink of an eye.

12.02am, 4th May 2009: The midwife had explained that I should have a little rest, just relax and then take a deep breath and give one big push. Then voila… out came my beautiful baby boy, Hugo!

It was such an amazing experience all over again. Very similar to the first birthing experience, however just a whole lot faster and this time not a water birth, Hugo was born on land! The shower was very soothing and I must say that water in labour, is the best form of pain relief for me, very soothing and calming. The heat packs also are a good option.

I do truly believe the HypnoBirthing experience has assisted me to have these calm, natural drug free births and actually enjoy the amazing experience.

Believe it or not I would do the whole birth experience over and over and not change a thing. I would do anything to have that moment of birthing my baby again!

Staying focused and remaining calm is the key. From the minute my waters broke at home until the baby was born, I hardly said two words! I closed my eyes, used hand signals when I needed to express myself and just took myself to some other place, where I focused on my body and had positive thoughts the whole time.

Afterwards, the midwife even said to me “you were a quiet achiever, I had no idea you were so close to labouring”.

But, having experienced this before, I knew I just needed to listen to my body and I am glad I did!

Hugo – born 12.02am 4th May 2009
8 ½ lb – 3.765 KG
50cm long and a head full of black hair!

You can read here the birth of Hugo’s older brother Liam which was published in the Cosmopolitan Pregnancy Magazine.
Regards, Belinda, Phillip, Liam and Hugo

11) Baby OSKAR – Magical Birth

Just wanted to let you know that our beautiful little boy OSKAR was born last Saturday after just 3 hours in hospital!

It was a magic experience and we truly believe that the hypnobirthing course lay the foundation for that. I had a great birthing experience, with little discomfort and no drugs required so that Oskar was alert, happy and calm from day one. We are now settling in at home and so far, everything is going well.

My waters broke in the night but I did not have any contractions, so I still went to work in the morning (this was supposed to be my last working day…) Mild contractions started in the cause of the morning, but I did not go home until midday. Mark was out of town, so I called him to come back and just rested in front of the fan for some heat relieve. I read a book, listened to a rainbow relaxation CD and just let my body do what it was supposed to do.

Contractions weren’t bad at all, so even when they came every 10mins or so, I was still expecting false alarm, as I was only 37 weeks. When Mark came home, we called the hospital and they asked us to come in. On the way there, contractions came every 6mins, but on inspection the midwife told me that I was only 2cm dilated, so left it up to me if we wanted to go home or just for a walk. We decided for the walk and then contractions got a bit stronger, but still not painful. Back in the delivery suite I opted to have a bath.

While Mark ran the bath, I listened to another relaxation exercise. In the bath, I experienced 2 very strong surges and on the third one I already had a strong urge to push. This was actually the only part I could not do according to “hypnobirthing textbook” no way I was able to “breath the baby down”- the urge to push was the strongest urge I have ever experienced. Mark then called the midwife who got me out of the bath and could not believe that I went from 2cm to fully dilated in just one hour. The third stage lasted for another 45mins or so and my doctor nearly did not make it. But then Oskar was born at 6:33pm, healthy 3314g and 51cm. Mark was allowed to help delivering him and we spend some quiet time with Oskar feeding straight away after birth in the delivery suite.

Thanks again for all your advice during the course, we truly believe that this highly contributed to our birthing experience.
Kind regards, Nina

12) Baby FINLAY – Natural Birth

I would like to thank you for helping me to have a calm, drug-free and natural birth. I attended your HypnoBirthing classes on Tuesday nights in November 2007.

On 10th February 2008, I gave birth to my beautiful son, Finlay Henry.

Armed with the skills of hypnobirthing and a few months of breathing and meditation practise, I was able to go through labour and the delivery of Finlay without the intervention of drugs, and with no stitches. The midwives at the Mater were extremely supportive, and my Obstetrician was amazed. My husband jokes that the delivery could have been a Scientology birth as I was practically silent throughout the whole experience.

At 4.30pm, I arrived at the hospital. It was the day before I was booked in to be induced; as I was one week overdue. I was seven centimetres dilated and my surges were approximately 2-3 mins apart.

The midwives guided me into a warm bath where I stayed for approximately 2 1/2 hours. I completely lost track of time and focused on remaining calm and relaxed whilst breathing over the surges. I then felt an overwhelming desire to bear down, and when they examined me about 4 1/2 hours after arriving at the hospital, the head was visible. I reached down and felt it with my finger.

My obstetrician was keen for me to position myself on my back on the bed. But I clearly knew the position I wanted to give birth in, after watching the labour DVD in your first class – on my knees leaning to the back on the bed. It was perfect. This is the only time I made some soft grunting noises after the midwife suggested that it might help push the baby down. It did.

At 9.57pm, Finlay arrived. I was amazed how great I felt. My body was full of endorphins and my recovery was fantastic! No need for even a panadol.

It was an incredibly empowering experience. Thank you, Selina

13) Baby DAKOTA

Sending you my sincerest thanks and appreciation for all that we learned from you in the Hypnobirthing class that my partner Steph and I attended in August 2006.

On November 16th, we welcome our second son Dakota Charlie into the world and the birth experience was all we could have hoped for, and more.

I hope you don’t mind me sending you our story, I am just so thrilled with how things turned out!

My contractions started at around 6.30am on the 16th November. They were 15 mins apart and very dull so we went about our normal morning routine with our 2 year old son.

At 8am, we called my mum to come and sit with us, as she was to look after our son when we went to hospital. I sat with my son and mum and partner in our lounge room from around 8.30am till 10.30am with contractions coming every 10mins or so.

I was amazed to be able to sit and chat and play with my son only pausing to focus and use my Hypnobirthing breathing through a contraction. After the contraction passed I felt relaxed and happy and continued playing with our son.

At 10.30am the contractions were 5 mins apart and becoming more noticeable so we headed off to the hospital. When we arrived just after 11am the midwife offered to do an internal, which we declined, as I wanted to stay focused on my relaxation and breathing.

We didn’t use the CD’s during the birth. I had the rainbow relaxation on my iPOD which we took to the hospital, but to be honest I didn’t feel the need to use it as I was happy with the level of relaxation I was achieving on my own.

I listened to the rainbow relaxation every day from the time we completed the weekend course and found I would often fall asleep (no matter what time of day I listened to it), it was extremely beneficial and the imagery helped me to relax.

Steph would remind me of my breathing, encourage me and also, was my voice to our midwife. She explained why we wanted to delay having an internal when we initially arrived. She communicated with the midwife as to my progress when she popped in and out of the suite.

During the transition stage, I did begin to feel I was losing my focus and Steph picked up on this straight away, and helped and encouraged me to focus once more on my breathing and our baby.

This may not sound like doing a great deal, but at the time it was special and important to me. I didn’t have to communicate in words how I felt or what I needed, but that my birth partner could read me and know what I needed from her.

We didn’t use any of the light touch massage or deepening techniques during the labour as I found that I was able to relax sufficiently without the use of these techniques.

The discussion we had during classes, explaining the contracting of the uterus muscles to facilitate dilation of the cervix was the most beneficial to me.

As I breathed through the contractions and felt the tightening across my abdomen, I visualised the muscles tightening and pulling upwards and nudging the baby down as you had explained.

This helped me to trust my body and to try and change my thought pattern from interpreting the feelings as pain to envisioning the baby descending lower and lower and viewing the sensations as my body working, to deliver our baby.

Once I could view the contractions in this way, I just tried to focus on my breathing and to keep my body as relaxed as possible so as to not interfere with the process. I did, towards the transition stage, try the use of gas as the contractions were feeling very strong, however, I didn’t find it useful and it was quickly abandoned during the third stage.

We didn’t have a written birth plan, however, our OB was aware we were hoping to use Hypnobirthing and was also aware we wanted to have as little intervention as possible.

The midwife that attended was fantastic and, once she assessed Steph and I were comfortable and not needing any instruction etc, she was more a silent party in the background which was fantastic. My OB was supportive of Hypnobirthing as his wife had studied it for the birth of their daughter.

By 11.35am the midwife returned and again suggested an internal, which we agreed to and I was found to be 8cm dilated. Shortly before midday, I felt I was in transition and needed to push so our OB was called.

I was not able to breathe our baby out as was taught in the lessons as the need to push was so overwhelming, but found the breathing helped after the baby’s head was delivered as my OB needed to unwind the cord from around his neck.

So, with a final push at 12.26pm just 6 hours from first contraction, our beautiful baby boy Dakota Charlie was born and placed straight into my arms. He didn’t cry initially he just stared with wide eyes and took in all around him. He was 52.5cms long and weighed 3.9kgs.

This birth was a completely different experience to that of my first son’s. This time I was up and showering shortly after the delivery and felt full of energy and alert. I was not tired or drained and was able to spend the next few hours bonding with our new baby boy.

Our family and friends all commented on how well I looked after the birth and for me the recovery time was remarkably different. Photos taken immediately after the birth are in stark contrast to those taken even 2 days after my first son Luka’s delivery, I looked exhausted and drained in all those photos, until around day 4.

I think for me the difference between my first birth and the second was my attitude to the birth. I felt scared and overwhelmed at Luka’s birth. I felt I had no choice but to give in to the control of the staff, as I didn’t know how to give birth. The birth was for want of a better word, ‘directed’ and ‘controlled’, by external people.

For Dakota’s birth I felt calm, confident, centred and had a huge trust and faith in my own body’s ability to birth my baby. I knew that my only task was to relax my mind and in doing so, my body would be allowed the opportunity to do what it is designed to do. This trust and confidence in my body was for me what was hugely lacking in my first birth.

I can not thank you enough for all you taught us in the classes. Our bub is now 3 months old and is a well-natured little boy who barely cry’s and is happy and healthy. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed my son’s arrival into the world and look back fondly on the experience. We will definitely be using the Hypnobirthing techniques for our future babies.
Thank you again for everything. Yvette

14) Baby Malcolm

As I sit to write this, Malcolm at my breast, we enjoy our eighth morning together. So many thoughts, so many emotions, so much to remember. Much lost to the ethers as nothingness, infinite love fills all the spaces, all the corners of my being. Full up to the brim with delirious joy and delight.

hypnobirthing childbirth, mum and baby

Last Thursday, January 7, I awakened with the first contractions, around 10:30. I had gotten to sleep around four hours earlier. After weeks of thinking ‘any day now’ I was thrilled to know that today was the day we were going to meet this soul mate of ours.

We were very clear about our birthing philosophy and plan. Above all else, we were planning for a no-fault birth. We were clear about our preferences and were very aware of the Truth that we were not in charge of the process. This baby would come at the right and perfect time and in the right and perfect manner.

We were dedicated to implementing our preferences, and, our first priority was to have a healthy baby and mama at the end of the process. Ours was to plan, to prepare, to be ready to receive the gifts and miracles awaiting us as we surrendered the process to the natural order and blessing of the Universe.

The short version of the story is this. It was perfect. The hypno-birth breathing worked during the entire 34 hours of labor, after which we had a c-section and were finally able to hold in our arms our sweetest of bundles of joy.

The rest of the story…

It was perfect!! Everything. Especially the relations. Jason and Pernille (our birth companion) were AMAZING, the birthing staff – midwives and assistants – were kind and gentle, competent and knowledgeable, the medical staff – doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists – were efficient, clear, focused, expert. We had the right and perfect birth experience.

We had been practicing our hypno-birthing breathing and imagery throughout the pregnancy. I had been listening to the cds and practicing for five months. Jason and I had been doing the ‘practice birth’ exercises together as well as some of the physical stretching and imagery work. We were ready.

When I realised I was feeling surges I woke up Jason (who wondered if he’d overslept) and called Pernille. After four hours at home I was ready to go to the delivery ward. We got together my overnight case and the birthing bag and called the taxi.

Pernille is our very good friend, colleague and comrade here at Lund. We asked her to be our labor companion and translator. We were told that everyone at the delivery ward spoke English. I am so, so, so very grateful that she was there. The first two shifts of midwives and assistants didn’t speak English much at all. Her presence in that capacity alone was invaluable. Of course, she did so much more over the course of the hours.

While the surges were mild to moderate in intensity I dropped into a deep trance state, doing my breathing and imagery. As things become more intense this allowed me to relax and rejuvenate in-between surges. I was content to lay on one side or the other, Jason was by the bed holding my hand and talking with me through the breathing. As things continued to intensify I began squeezing his hands and requesting specific imageries. Both of my birth support partners rose to the occasion with grace and love, consistency and patience.

Pernille breathed with me, spoke me all over the world. Most vividly I remember her talking me hiking up the Himalayas. It’s hard work and we breathed all the way up the mountains. From the very top we could see the vistas and we Knew. We Knew that we are one with the mountains and the mountains are one with us. She spoke to me of flower petals opening and blossoming (like my cervix), stretching to meet the sun, to absorb the energies and glory of my breath. Each surge was the unfoldment of an additional petal of the very dense and petal-plenty lotus blossom that was my cervix. As the hours passed and we came to more powerful surges the walk up the Himalayas was assisted by a pack-mule to carry the heavy things. Still we took long, slow breathes as we hiked the steep mountain trails, arriving at the top to Know. Knowing that we are one with the mountains and the mountains are one with us.

Jason spoke with me of our dreams, our goals, our Visions, our hopes and process. Our unfoldment. He reminded me of how the breath is love, that our lives are love, that with each breath, each surge our precious baby was coming closer and closer. That very soon we would be able to hold our angel in our arms. He helped me to remember my role model of birth, Hercules, my childhood cat, who purred through labor. He reminded me of who I am, of what we are about – Love and Magnificence – that this was part of our process as individuals, as family, as community, as a world unfolding and expanding the Universe. Jason reminded me of the naturalness of this process, that my body and our baby’s body were in bio-social dialectical relations to unfold the birth. That I was not in charge, the Divinity within us has everything under control. In our defencelessness our safety lies. We are innocent and whole, we are immortal souls. We are souls simply having a body experience. I am an immortal soul, not a physical body. My sweet love held my hand and whispered softly in my ear the secrets of our love, our dreams, our most beautiful hopes and wishes for our baby and all the people in the world. He talked to me throughout the night, helping me to actually sleep in-between surges, to dream of the beautiful futures we are co-creating.

I followed my breath. I counted. In to the count of four, out to the count of eight during the in-betweens. I imagined my cervix opening like a flower, melting like chocolate. During the surges themselves I didn’t count, I repeated my mantras in my head as I relaxed into my breathing. ‘Unity. I seek Unity with God, Self, and Others.’ ‘Breathing. I am breathing underneath the surge.’ ‘Dancing. I am dancing barefoot under the water.’ (This accompanied by much hand-dancing in the style of Wow Hall Deadheads.) ‘Long slow, long slow, long slow.’ Even, (especially?) during the exceptionally intense surges, I imagined my breath as a wave of pure white love rushing to our baby, going to all the parts of me that needed it.

The midwives and assistants would come and go periodically. They were not intrusive. They asked a couple questions, would hold my hand if needed during a full-bodied surge, and were very helpful. Many were quite impressed by my breathing. They recognised that I had tapped into a Source of something that provided great comfort and support. They knew that I was calling up my own endorphins to negotiate the intensity of the surges, and that I was in a flow that allowed for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation rather than in a state of resistance that releases empowerment to the wind.

I was in timelessness and couldn’t really tell you at what point in the process anything happened, not even so much as the exact order of things. It was the second day and I remember it was light outside (which means it was some where between 8am – 3pm) and then it was night again. The important parts of the experience I’ve already shared. The rest of the details are rather unimportant except to say that they happened. My membranes were released, I started a cytosine drip, after monitoring the baby they stopped the cytosine, then did more monitoring, then restarted the drip, then we all agreed that it was time to shift tracks and prepare for a cesarean. Ultimately, my cervix dilation peaked at 6 cm, after stopping the cytosine it returned to 4 cm and stayed there. Given the length of time laboring already (34 hours +/-) and the evidence of some baby distress it was an easy transition to make, the shift from bodily laboring to surgery. The surgeons were straightforward and gentle. Everyone was clear, calm, and focused.

Jason, Pernille and I went up to the surgical ward together. Pernille waited in the receiving room during the procedure while Jason was by my side the entire time, both of us eagerly anticipating the moment we could see our child. We heard the little one first. Two gurgled cries evoked my tears of joy. They quickly took the baby to the receiving room with Jason. The room was right there and the doors open so I could hear. Then Jason was there, looking a bit like a stranger in scrubs, he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “It’s a boy.” A boy! So unexpectedly expected. What a joyful wonder life is. Jason and our baby boy sat next to me a bit before returning to our former quarters to wait for me.

Our little fella was coddled and fondled by Jason and Pernille. He got his first bath by midwife and Dad. I was so excited to get rolled back into the room so I could finally hold my son. He was so big! So beautiful! So perfect in every single way. Within moments he was nursing while we snuggled heart to heart, skin to skin.

We, the baby and I, stayed at the hospital three nights. As far as I was concerned, I couldn’t get home fast enough. We got home Monday evening, tired, thrilled, and ready for the next bit of life as a family of three.

Because of the hypno-birthing

Many folks have commented that I look too good, too rested, for a new mom. I credit the hypno-breathing. This and surrendering the process to the Divine Plan of the Universe, allowed me to relax and rejuvenate during the labor. I was confident that all was well, going according to Divine wisdom. It was out of my hands and I could relax knowing the Truth in this. Hypno-babies routinely are calm and restful, sleep and eat well. This is credited to the months of practice, the meditation and breathing, while pregnant. I can’t say for sure that this is why,or the only reason why (these things are always the result of many factors, no?) but I do think it has had an impact. Malcolm is a sweet, sweet boy. He is very agreeable and strong willed. He is a hardy eater and sleeps well, anywhere from 2-4 hours at a stretch.

I extend many thanks and much appreciation to Katherine from Sydney Wellbeing Centre in Australia. You were kind enough to reply to all my emails asking questions about hypno-birthing techniques and more. You are thoughtful and generous person dedicated to helping women experience fear-free and pain-free births. You are transforming the world one baby at a time. Imagine a world populated by people who were born in a moment full only of love and divinity, connected and whole.

15) Baby Archie

Funny how time flies when you have a little one. I just wanted to jot down some of the details of Archie’s birth – I know that I found reading other people’s birth stories really useful, when I was pregnant.

Hypnobirthing worked really well for me and, although Archie’s arrival didn’t go exactly as planned, it was still an overwhelmingly positive experience. Thanks so much for the lovely cd that you sent too – I haven’t been able to listen to it as much as I’d like, but it’s a real treat!

The whole birth process started when I was about 36 weeks pregnant. We’d been to the final Birth Centre info session that evening and had a bit of a laugh about how I was only a few days away from the 37 weeks at which you are able to give birth, at the Birth Centre. Then, at about 1am, I woke up, and felt the ‘pop’ that I’d heard about, that evening – yes, my waters had just broken.

I didn’t have any feelings of being in labour though, but called the hospital and, as the Birth Centre was shut that night, was advised to come in to the labour ward, with my bag (we had been meaning to get the bag ready, but of course hadn’t got around to it).

After a bit of monitoring, it was clear that I wasn’t in labour, so we went back home. This set the pattern for the next 5 days, when I went into the hospital to check the baby’s heart rate and any contractions I was having each morning, but, thanks to the great midwives at the birth centre, was able to just wait for labour to start naturally (lots of walking, curries, pineapple, the odd glass of wine, and lots of listening to your great birth rehearsal cd!).

On the 5th day, one of the fantastic midwives at the birth centre decided to check for sure that it was my forewaters that had broken – yes they had, and I was about a centimetre and a half dilated without even knowing it.

That evening, by about 10pm, I told Ali that I wasn’t coming to bed as I was having some contractions and wouldn’t be able to sleep. We then hung out at home for about 3 or 4 more hours, during which I had a nice long shower, listened to the CDs and spent a lot of time on all fours.

During this time, I realised that by swinging my hips and practicing my breathing through the surges, they were very manageable. I found that the sleep breathing technique worked for me more than the balloon breathing; so stuck to that.

When we got to the hospital, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know how dilated I was, in case it was a disappointment. I was persuaded that it was worth checking and was already at 8cms – so I got really excited about the prospect of meeting my baby in the very near future.

I got into the bath and that was the best time of my labour – it was so peaceful and I was able to sort of gently bounce up and down in the bath.

Unfortunately, I then started to get a bit hot and Archie’s heartbeat got a bit faster and, as my waters had been broken for so long, the midwives were concerned about the possibility of some sort of infection. So out I came and at that point everything came to a grinding halt.

Neither standing up nor walking around would get things going again and, as it was now about 6am and I was getting a bit tired, I decided to go across to the labour ward for a drip to get things going.

Through all of this, I was able to stay chilled-out and even see the amusing side of things with this baby that kept changing his mind about whether or not he wanted to come out.

We had a great midwife in the labour ward who totally understood what we wanted with regards to keeping a calm environment and, even though I was hooked up to a heartbeat monitor and the drip, I was able to get into my own space up to and during the first part of the second stage.

Unfortunately, the lip on my cervix meant that I had to move onto my side from all fours, for the final stage – when I wasn’t able to move, I did find that a bit of gas was handy for the big surges.

By this stage, I was quite keen to see the baby and have a rest, so I found it impossible not to push – Archie was then born at a quarter past 12 after 14 hours of ‘proper’ labour to great joy all round!

I did tear, but to be honest, didn’t notice it happening, and remember quite a jolly atmosphere as I was stitched up. The midwife from the labour ward reckoned that I’d done a great job and, up in the maternity ward, the nurses seemed quite surprised at the contrast between the description of my birth on the notes, and my description of it as a good experience – which it really was, and I know that it was the exercises, before and during the birth, that made it that way.

Ali was also a great help – really looked after me, and was also quite exhausted after having to hold my leg in the air for 2 hours when I was labouring, on my side!

Although Archie was quite jaundiced and sleepy for a few days after the birth, he soon started feeding well and has been in rude health ever since. He’s such a good baby and is giving us a great introduction to being parents – slept through the night from about 3 months, and is generally a jolly, beautiful little fellow.

Thanks so much, and I’ll hopefully see you during my next pregnancy for a bit of a refresher!
Love, Ellen, Ali and Archie xxx

16) Baby Harry (Archies Brother)

I just wanted to drop you an email as I gave birth to another lovely baby boy about 3 months ago. He’s called Harry and is a little gem.

The birth was very different from Archie’s and my hopes for a calm water birth were absolutely not realised.

However I think that the Hypnobirthing was once again invaluable – although in terms of getting through stage 1 of labour, it almost worked too well as I really didn’t realise how far along I was – here’s a bit of a story of how it all turned out.

The run-up to the birth was a bit stressful as my bump measurements were getting smaller rather than bigger and there were some concerns about the size of the baby, for about the last month. This meant that I was quite keen to just get on with giving birth and meeting the baby.

Also, I really found that with a toddler, the final stages of pregnancy were not a heap of fun – which explains why when the midwives offered a stretch and sweep with about a week to go to my due date I was quite happy to go for it. I had quite a few false starts after this when I thought that the Braxton Hicks were turning into something more productive and then a couple of days later my waters started to leak.

We all went up to the hospital where I got checked out but nothing was happening. Unlike at the Birth Centre at RPA, the folks at Hornsby were keen to keep me in and to be honest, it was a pretty peaceful environment so at about 9pm, Ali went off home leaving me in the ward where the nurses seemed confident that as I wasn’t in labour by now, I would have to be induced the next morning.

Soon after going to bed, I was pretty sure that I could feel some real surges (this had happened earlier in the day though and despite lots of walking in the streets around the hospital, nothing had happened) so I decided to just keep quiet, listen to the relaxations and then decide if I really was in labour. About an hour or two after this, after just being able to lie calmly and work out that the surges were getting longer and closer together, I decided to let one of the midwives know, and I really felt that I should call Ali – thankfully, I managed to do this just before getting to transition! I had thought that I’d be able to walk to the birthing room, but a few steps in found myself hanging off some door-handles with an unmistakable urge to push… at which point a wheelchair seemed like a very good idea.

Once in the birthing room the baby’s heart rate was checked out and everybody seemed quite concerned that it was decelerating a lot during contractions and I was informed that it was essential that he was born as soon as possible. At this point to be honest, all thoughts of breathing the baby down were pretty much out of the window. As it turned out, despite my best efforts at pushing, after about half an hour, Harry was stuck and really not well. It’s all a bit of a blur but an obstetrician had joined the two midwives and a paediatrician was also attending. Thankfully, Ali had arrived and although he was a bit shocked to find things so advanced, he did a great job of supporting me.

The obstetrician suggested that a ventouse delivery was necessary so that went ahead, but then Harry’s shoulder got stuck and it really did feel like a bit of an emergency with everyone swinging into action, pressure being applied to my belly and then – whoosh- Harry was born! He was very grey when placed on my tummy, but after a little oxygen went lovely and pink and his Apgar scores were good – especially given how stressed he had been.

Compared to Archie’s birth it was just so fast, but despite all of the things that cropped up, I feel that I coped well, and infinitely better than if I hadn’t done Hypnobirthing. I still can’t believe that I got to transition while just lying peacefully in bed with the odd deep breath.

Also, although the birth was not without intervention, I did feel very well supported by the staff at Hornsby, and this time around, as I had no drip or any drugs at all (well, just a little gas and air when getting a couple of stitches) I really did get to experience that ‘high’ afterwards and it was just beautiful to feel so great when cuddling our new baby and giving him his first feed.

Harry is a lovely baby – very smiley, although he has not been as ‘easy’ as Archie was – something which I at least partly put down to the distress he experienced at birth. From the shape of his head, it seems clear that he was coming into the birth canal at a bit of an angle but we’ve been doing some osteopathy which seems to have helped loosen up the tightness down one side. Archie is a great big brother and Ali and I are just thrilled to have cooked up two such gorgeous little boys.

Thanks so much for all of your help – from when I was trying to conceive Archie, up to our last session before Harry’s birth – I feel so lucky to be able to look back on both births and feel really good about them – which I think is really important given that it’s such an intense experience and you do find yourself revisiting it. Love from Ellen, Ali, Archie and Harry xx

17) Baby Roman – Pain-free and drug-free birth

My husband and I attended your weekend HypnoBirthing course in Annandale in June 2010.

3 months have already passed since Roman was born. I thought I should write a quick note (better late than never) to tell you how much the HypnoBirthing techniques helped.

After doing your course, I set aside time at least once a day to listen to the relaxations on the cds and this really helped me prepare for the birth.

On the drive to the hospital I was very panicky – my faith in what my body could do flew out the window. After a while I calmed down and settled into a pattern of breathing.

I found that concentrating on the balloon breathing during each surge gave me something to focus on. Also having an understanding of what my body was doing (particularly the muscles of the uterus) helped me to manage the sensations.

My labour was drug-free and it was quite a quick (he was born 2.5 hours after I was 3 cm dilated).

The last hour or so was very intense with little or no time between surges so the balloon breaths were back to back.

Each contraction felt like an extremely intense hardening sensation – I don’t remember it as pain.

I had thought I would be quite active and vocal in labor but I found that I wanted to be in the zone, still and quiet. When I came out of this zone, it became intolerable. So I returned to the quiet, still space and breathed through the surges.

Prior to learning the techniques, I had always thought of myself as a big wuss who couldn’t give birth without an epidural. So I really, really believe that Hypnobirthing is the way to go. Regards, Rebecca

18) Baby Melody – Home Birth

Thought I’d send a note to share my birth experience after taking your hypnobirth course.

I had an amazing experience. Hypnobirthing worked brilliantly for me and I’m a huge believer in its benefits.

After taking the course, I practised religiously, every day for two months. I listened mainly to your birth visualisation and also the rainbow relaxation tracks. I also found the birth affirmations very comforting towards the end of my pregnancy. My husband would listen to the Hypnobirthing CDs periodically, to become familiar with the techniques.

I was due on May 23rd and went into labour on May 21st at 2:30am. At this time I positioned myself on a fitness ball at the side of my bed and leant over onto a stack of cushions. I had my husband put on the birth affirmations CD. I listened to the Hypnobirthing CD and focused on my breathing. With each surge I breathed balloon breaths to move through and then I completely relaxed in between surges. I stayed on the fitness ball, focused like this for four hours and didn’t move at all. My husband had to tell me to try and move, as my legs were looking a bit purple!!

hypnobirthing couple with babyBasically I found the breathing and visualisation techniques worked amazingly. I didn’t feel any pain, only pressure and a huge sense of relaxation in between surges. I could feel the endorphins running through my body and would go with the flow and welcome them.

My husband and I had arranged for a doula to attend our birth. She was very impressed with how I was going, so much so that she didn’t know how progressed I was. After four hours I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. At that point my waters broke and I could feel movement in my pelvis. The doula suggested we make our way to hospital. I made my way downstairs as surges were coming on top of each other.

As each surge built, I’d focus on my breathing and make some noise at the peak and then completely relax at the end, with a huge sense of relief and even joy that I had made it through the surge so easily and my baby was coming closer to being born.

When I made my way to the bottom of the stairs and to the car I felt my baby’s head move down more and thought “something’s going on here”. I put my hand down and felt my baby’s head emerging.

The doula told my husband to grab some towels and she called triple zero. My baby was born two surges later on our kitchen floor, delivered by my husband, at 9:54am on May 21st. The ambulance team arrived 5 minutes later and baby and mum were both doing well. In total the labour was approximately 7 hours.

The reason why I did hypnobirthing was to be able to experience a natural, drug-free birth, but I was also scared of the pain of labour. While I knew the outcome was going to be beautiful and special, I felt like I’d been conditioned all my life through horror stories of other women’s births and television/movie depictions to believe that labour and birth was incredibly painful and traumatising.

I feel truly blessed to have had an easy, pain free birth for my first baby. When I arrived at the hospital it seemed like a lot of other women had experienced unnecessary trauma and intervention. I’m so glad that I birthed my baby, Melody Lain, in the comfort of my own home. I breathed her down, on my own without any drugs or intervention.

Thank you Katherine for teaching me the skills of hypnobirthing. My birth story was published in my local paper, the Penrith Press (see below)

BEN Knight was crouched on the kitchen floor of his Glenbrook home, hands outstretched. His heart was thumping.

Leaning on a wall above him, his wife Rebecca was about to give birth to their first child.

It was too late to go to hospital – the baby’s head was already showing. Ben would have to deliver it himself.

“I was half panicking, not knowing what to do,” Ben said.

“In the back of my head I thought, ‘Should I boil some water?’. That’s what they always do in the movies.”

Family friend Cara McDonald had called 000 and was passing on instructions. Ben was poised, ready to catch the baby as it emerged.

“I was a bit worried about how to catch it,” Ben said.

“I had a towel at first, but Cara said I should use my hands.

“But I thought it would be OK – I’m a pretty good catcher.”

Rebecca had been in labour for seven hours, using hypno-birthing techniques to help control the pain.

Knowing the average first-time labour was about 12 hours, Rebecca had assumed the birth was still hours away.

“But all of a sudden I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom – I had a few contractions and thought I had dilated,” she said.

“Ben got the car packed to go to hospital and I was about to get in when I put my hand down and said, ‘I can feel the head!’.
“So he basically had to deliver it. I had another contraction, the baby came out and he caught it.

“He was blown away, totally shocked.”

Beaming with pride, Ben drove his wife and new daughter Melody to Nepean Private Hospital filled “with a huge feeling of elation and ecstasy”.

“It was great – we’d brought her into the world and she was healthy and cute and Rebecca had done it easily,” Ben said.

“I told my boss and he sent an email out to all the staff – now everyone’s calling me Dr Ben. “This article by Nicole Hasham, appeared in Penrith Press on the 16th June 2009.

19) Baby Jasper – Natural Birth

During the last five and a half months, I have thought a great deal about what it was that enabled Jasper and me to birth together with such an amazing partnership. Going through the hypnobirthing weekend course with you, doing the exercises between then (32 weeks) and the birth and, finally birthing Jasper.

I can say that those things that went “click” in my mind initially, were what stayed with me through the birth.

The first was the re-enforcement that, as women, our bodies are built to give birth.

I think innately we do know this, but face it, most of us have had a constant stream of horror stories, each worse than the last, throughout our lives. Comments about the horrific pain and the inevitable interventions that compound the pain, until we believe there is no other way to birth, lead us to believe this is our lot in life as women.

Probably the most powerful thing for me was that it was not just me involved in the birth. There are two beings involved and the harnessing of the two working together, as it is meant to be, instead of one in isolation was, I have no doubt, what enabled Jasper and me to have such a wonderful, unforgettable and incredible experience together.

The knowledge of just how our bodies worked during birthing proved invaluable because, once I knew and understood the way our muscles were designed to work, I then understood how to work with and take my queues from my body. To flow with and relax and let Jasper do his thing – beautiful and amazing!

The imagery that helped there were the blue ribbons and imagining them as totally elastic. This allowed for really rhythmic and effective surges. In the weeks leading up to Jasper’s birth I swam every day in salt water and because of the buoyancy of the water, I found I could really “get” the feeling of how my breathing and muscles worked with each surge.

Birth Breathing

Which brings me to the breathing. Each of the breathing techniques were really helpful, but I should say that I was probably not such a model of the silent-type hypnobirthers that we saw on the videos! I found that instead of a silent exhalation I was substituting with a deep primal low roar…?!! very effective for me as I was totally in the zone of working with Jasper in a relaxed state – each to her own!

I remarked to Webby (my support person) a little after 11pm that I had started to have quite marked surges quite suddenly. I think she probably thought that these were not so strong as I seemed totally relaxed about the whole thing and we each went to bed. I probably thought at this stage that I would be relaxing, doing my breathing and imagery and sleeping in between surges. Wrong!

Birth positions and squatting

The surges started at 8 mins apart and quickly went to about 5 mins. I felt an overwhelming urge to squat during surges, so by the time I had laid down on the bed to sleep (!) it was time to get off the bed and squat again and I was missing the beginning of the surge. I then lay on the floor and was quickly in position at the beginning of the surge and had the breathing down pat – beautiful!

About the squatting, because apparently not many women do – I like squatting and so I suppose I was more used to doing this than most.

I had read also that if you were to squat during labour it could firstly, help the baby to get into the right position and secondly, could shorten the birth canal by up to about one third, so shortening labour.

So I really practised squatting throughout my pregnancy – but, as I say, it was something that was quite natural to me. By the time Jasper was born squatting was a bit of a joke with everyone. Even so, though this was something I had in my armory, it was a real primal urge that had me squatting right from the word go with each surge and not something that was learned. I believe this helped Jasper enormously and the main reason that the whole birth seemed so “right” and easily natural.

At about 3am the surges were coming anywhere from between 2mins to 5 mins but were much stronger so I woke Webby. I don’t think she believed I was very far along as I was totally in control and relaxed and organising with her what to take and where things were, then just going into the surge whenever they occurred and remaining totally lucid and with-it in between times.

We rang the midwife just to let her know that things were on the way. She listened to me during a surge – I told her that I had done hypnobirthing – and she said that I sounded great and that I would know when to come in.

My waters broke at about 4.15am at which time Webby started thinking that it might be time to go in. The surges were coming erratically – sometimes 2 mins, sometimes 5 mins. Webby rang the midwife again and she said it sounded like the labour was trying to establish itself.

I was totally in control and not having done this before, didn’t really know whether or not it was time to make tracks. I think Webby thought we had best make a move, as she was more than a little frightened of us having a home birth! (I had been joking with her previously that I would come in to wake her up when the baby’s head had crowned!)

We arrived at the birth centre at around 5.15am with the surges at the very strong stage. With each one, I did the slow balloon breathing as well as I could, I would probably have to say I had at least two breaths and sometimes more during a surge.

What it did do, is allow me to concentrate on working with Jasper, practice the opening blossom visualisation, which was another one that really clicked with me, and remain totally focused, relaxed and calm. During the next half-hour or so, the surges were very strong and close.

My midwife remarked that I was sounding expulsive and asked whether or not I was trying to push because I thought that was what I had to do. I said that I wasn’t trying, that I was just going with what my body was telling me.

Birthing and Pushing Phase

At that point she had a look and could see Jasper’s head. Without even thinking about it I had switched some time ago to birth breathing and, was using the ‘J’ pattern with the thrust of my out breath, going right down to the bowel area as you had described and I had practiced.

So no real pushing as such, just a great breathing down of my baby with Jasper doing his bit perfectly!

(Just about that- after I had been to your weekend I was telling a girlfriend all about it and she said to me that if only someone had told her that giving birth was like doing a poo she would have had her first one out in half the time and, that it was only with her second child she realised that was what she had to do!). Webby did some light touch massage, which was incredibly soothing.

I was still squatting as this was the most comfortable for me and allowed a really effective use of each surge, but my midwife had to ask me to change to all fours as there was no room for her to deliver Jasper (his head would have hit the floor!). That was a hard thing to do! I was nearly welded in that position!

So just before Jasper’s head came, she asked me to stop pushing for a moment to minimise tears which I was able to do without any trouble. Another push and Jasper’s head was out, another two pushes and Jasper was born.

Amazing! We were all in awe and just sat gazing at my beautiful, perfect little boy.

So, only an incredibly minor tear which didn’t need stitching, and I left the Centre mid-afternoon feeling very well physically and mentally.

I did do the perineal massage you recommended (not one of the more pleasant things I have done, but totally worth persevering with) and plenty of pelvic floor exercises. All invaluable.

As we were going down in the lift a woman who worked in the Delivery Suite section of the Hospital remarked to us that she knew we must have come from the Birth Centre, because a new Mum was walking out of the Hospital and not having to be wheeled out in a chair and how healthy and normal Jasper looked with his “normal vaginal birth” head. Jasper is a delight and we really have a very special bond.

How I learned about Hypnobirthing

I first learnt about Hypnobirthing from my Naturopath when she gave me a bundle of information leaflets about everything from foods to avoid during pregnancy to ultrasound’s to hypnobirthing. The leaflet sat with all the rest of my accumulating wisdom on pregnancy and beyond.

After a cursory glance for some months, I started reading through totally different and unrelated sources, about hypnobirthing and different women’s experiences with the method.

I was intrigued, because not one woman seemed to be able to put her finger on what it was exactly about hypnobirthing that helped her through the birth of her baby – or rather that each woman had taken something different from the hypnobirthing method.

However, the overwhelming message from each of them was that it had helped them all birth their babies with control and calm. To the extent that some women experienced little or no pain at all. And that all women seemed to have really experienced the birthing, rather than just getting through the dreaded experience we are all taught to expect.

Definitely worth more than a cursory glance!

After some research through the net and other reading, I decided to book into your weekend course. I mentioned this to my midwife and asked her whether she had any experience with hypnobirthing.

She told me that there had been about 10 women through the Birth Centre and that each of them had incredible birth outcomes. She thought it should be mandatory for every woman to do it without her really understanding at all what it was all about.

I heard later that this birth centre has asked a hypnobirthing practitioner to give a lecture to them about the method – this after initially telling this particular practitioner a few years before they had no interest at all in what she had to offer…small steps!

Since Jasper’s birth, I have been telling everyone about my experience. Most women, especially (younger) women who are yet to have children, do not believe it is possible to relax at all when birthing a baby. Therefore a lot of them dismiss the whole scenario as too far out of their belief system; end of story.

Such a shame.

The deeply engrained, negative experience stories are ever prevalent and in some ways, worn like a bit of a badge of stoicism and the inevitability of being a woman. Many women who have given birth, listen and are quite receptive to “new” ideas, and then go on to tell their too awful to forget experience.

I know this is long-winded so feel free to use however much or little of it you wish. In any event, if it can help just a few women, that’s great. My apologies for taking so long! If anyone wants to contact me about hypnobirthing, I would be more than happy for them to do so. If I can help further in any way please let me know.

Finally – thank you for all your imparted wisdom and care. It truly guided me in the direction of having an unforgettable and empowering experience, which I don’t doubt for one minute, will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The birth of a baby means that life will change unreservedly and is a joy beyond imagination. Having the knowledge which you gave to me to be able to birth Jasper in such a way compounded that joy and will be with the both of us for the duration.

Birth Support Partner’s point of view 

Since Jasper’s birth I have been telling everyone about my hypnobirthing experience.

Webby, my hypnobirthing support partner and best friend asked me to write a few lines for her as she is finding it hard to find some time to put pen to paper.

As a support partner, her memories of my Hypnobirthing birth are going to stay with her forever, as a very positive birthing experience.

She said the main things that stood out for her were three “c’s”: calm, clarity and control.

She couldn’t believe how calm I was and how clear I was between surges.

She said it was like someone coming up for air from underwater – that I would go totally into the surge and be completely absorbed with it, then be totally normal between surges as if nothing was going on… (something was going on, believe me!).

Webby also found the level of control I had over my body was amazing. So when the midwife asked me to stop pushing, it was really easy and immediate for me.

Webby was really, really impressed with the whole hypnobirthing method.

Especially after having been through two of her own births and having been a support partner with other women giving birth – she definitely endorses hypnobirthing for every mum-to-be.

Directly after Jasper was born the midwife said to me that, I was amazing. At the time, I thought this was a nice confirmation for all new mums to hear from their carer.

However, then I remembered hearing her also say to Webby that hypnobirthing was incredible. Webby and I were talking later and she said that the midwife was truly impressed by the whole birth.

Thank you for all the wonderful hypnobirthing information you provided us, it has been of immense help for both myself and my hypnobirthing support partner.
Best wishes, Bettina Jasper and Webby

20) Baby Berlin – Quick birth

My partner Ryan and I did Hypnobirthing classes with you in March 2008, and I just wanted to let you know we had a beautiful little girl on the 10th of June, we named her Berlin Natalie.

My labour was incredibly quick.

I started having really mild irregular contractions from 2pm. I called the hospital at 5.50pm to let them know that the contractions were about 5 mins apart.

They were a lot stronger at this point, but more uncomfortable than painful. I was told that the contractions should be 5 mins exactly apart for two hours, so to take two panadol to take the edge off and call back after that.

As soon as I got off the phone it felt like the surges were coming closer and closer together. I had a bath, then used the birth ball while leaning over the back of the couch.

By the end of the two hours, I was desperate to get to the hospital, as the contractions were beginning to feel quite painful and were so close together that I had no time to recover in between.

I did find though, visualising the baby moving down the birth path; did help to dull the discomfort.

We got to the hospital’s birthing unit at about 8.10pm. As soon as I’d changed into the hospital gown and got to the bed, my waters broke. Ryan went to get one of the midwives as I felt like I needed to push.

She came in to check how far dilated I was, and found the head crowning instead.

She was fantastic, and was happy for me to breathe the baby out. Berlin was born at 8.44pm weighed 9 pound 3, and was 49 cms long. Her eyes were alert right away.

I asked for the cord not to be clamped until it had stopped pulsating, which took another 40 mins.

The midwife was really excited about our birthing and said it had been one of the best experiences of her career. Seeing how Ryan supported me through the breathing and how calm and peaceful we both were.

Thank you so much for your classes! The breathing techniques really did help shorten the whole process for me. I’m so pleased that I’m now able to share a positive birth story. I’ve recommended the classes to everyone I know!

Since this story was published Lauren had another baby. Berlin now has a baby brother Madden (see story below)

21) Baby Madden – birth without drugs

I wanted to let you know that we just welcomed a little boy into our family! He was born on the 27th August 2010 and we named him Madden James.

Once again, Hypnobirthing provided us with a beautiful birth experience, a peaceful labour without drugs.

On the Thursday morning, three days after my due date, I began to get really mild irregular surges. At ten o’clock, we called our friend Lisa, who had agreed to look after Berlin for us, to tell her it was probably a good idea for her to come over just in case we had to rush to the birth centre (with Berlin, labour had only been two and a half hours long, so I was preparing for this labour to be even quicker).

Of course, as soon as Lisa arrived, the surges went away almost completely – very disappointing!  The surges returned again later in the afternoon, once again irregular, but never more than ten minutes apart.

I went to bed feeling quite frustrated that the early stage of labour was taking so long this time around. During the night, I only had two surges an hour. I woke up at twenty to the hour, every hour and experienced a surge, then another one 6-8 minutes later, then nothing again until the next hour.

At around 5am, the surges were coming more frequently, but still weren’t regular (4mins apart, then 8mins apart, then 3mins apart, never more than ten mins apart again).

By 6.15am, I got up to have a shower, as they began to come at regular 2min intervals, but I wasn’t sure whether they’d slow again once I got out of bed. They continued at two mins apart though (using the breathing, they were uncomfortable but not painful).

I called our midwife, Jeannine, to let her know and she told me to get to the birth centre immediately. I got Ryan out of bed to get ready, and then called Lisa to come around to watch Berlin.

We got to the birth centre at 7.40am. Jeannine checked me before I got into the birthing tub, and found me at 4-5 cms dilated. I had a small leak of my waters after the check.

Getting into the water was such a relief. I ended up hopping back out though, after about an hour and a half; because I felt like the surges were starting to slow down (they were still the same intensity, just further apart).

I was out of the water for about an hour and a half. Jeannine rubbed some clairy sage oil into my ankles. I tried a few different positions (kneeling on the floor over a bean bag, leaning forward against the table, leaning against Ryan) to help me breathe through surges.

Jeannine checked me again before I got back in the water, and found that I was now 5-6 cms dilated. There was still a big bag of waters between the opening of the uterus and the baby. We discussed breaking the waters manually, as Jeannine thought that once they were broken, the baby would be out very quickly, but we decided to just wait a while longer to see if it happened spontaneously instead.

After getting back in the water, I again tried a few different positions to help with the breathing. I found that being on all fours, and leaning my forehead against Ryan’s shoulder (he was sitting in the tub with me) was where I felt most comfortable.

Jeannine came in periodically to check how we were going, top up the hot water in the tub and to check the baby’s heart rate, but for the most part, she left us alone to focus on the breathing.

I think it was around 1.20pm when I started feeling more pressure, and like my body wanted to push with the breathing.

At this point, I kept telling Ryan that I ‘didn’t want to do this anymore!’, so I knew I was close to the end. Jeannine came in to see if I wanted my waters broken to hurry things along, but when she saw me, she knew that was no longer necessary.

I continued with the birth breaths, and at 1.37pm my waters broke. There was meconium in the water, so another midwife, Vanessa, came in to assist. I kept breathing; they told me when to rest, but I went with my body’s natural surges.

It was quite funny when only the head was out; the midwives told me to stop lifting my bum out of the water. I had to tell them through my breath that I was trying to keep my knees on the floor. But the head was acting like a buoy and was lifting me out.

They had to push down on my lower back to keep me weighted down, and at 1.41pm, our little man, Madden James, entered the world!

I lifted him out of the water for his first cuddle, while the midwives rubbed him with warm towels to wake him up. My second stage was only 4 minutes and no drugs were required.

I didn’t tear this time, so I didn’t experience the really sharp shooting pain as the head birthed this time around. When his shoulders birthed, I did get a small graze on my old scar though (no stitches needed).

After our first few moments together, Ryan, Jeannine and Vanessa helped me get out of the tub (still holding Madden).

They moved me over to a mattress set up on the floor, with a beanbag to lean against. I offered Madden his first feed, while Jeannine checked to see the progress of the placenta.

Just like last time, it readily to come out with one small push (I didn’t have the injection to hurry it up). It wasn’t clamped until it stopped pulsating about ten minutes later.

This third stage took eleven minutes. The labour in total was 7 hours and 37 minutes.

After this, I was offered a shower, but chose instead to get into bed with Madden for more bonding time. After a couple of hours, I had a shower, and by 5pm, we were discharged and on our way home.

Our midwife Jeannine, was really impressed with how focused we were for the duration of the labour. She commended Ryan for being with me for the whole time, using the soft touch massage on my back. He really was an incredible support for me once again.

Madden has been an incredibly easy baby so far. He’s not a big crier. He loves his sleep, and he’s been putting on about half a kilo a week, so feeding is no problem either.

Berlin loves him and had no problem adjusting to him joining our family, which is just fantastic.

Once again, I’m so pleased that I had a positive birth experience. I’m also so proud that I managed to do it again, without narcotics – despite my telling people of Berlin’s birth story, and the benefits of Hypnobirthing.

I got the impression that a lot of people thought that it was a fluke that I had a peaceful labour without drugs.

I had been a bit nervous about impending labour as, with a toddler to look after, I hadn’t had the chance to listen to my hypnosis cds very often. In the end though, the breathing came very easily and naturally.

Berlin turned two in June. She’s a lovely little girl; very sweet and happy and calm.  I feel that we are still seeing the benefits of Hypnobirthing in her today.
With love,
from Lauren, Ryan, Berlin, Madden xxxx

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