We all have glorious imperfections making us utterly human.
At some point in our life there may come a time when we feel insecure about ourselves. We might judge our ability to do something or feel self-conscious about the way we look. It does not matter how this feeling manifests in our life, but it is important to be aware of our thoughts and how they impact our view of ourselves. Once we remember that insecurities are a normal part of life for everyone--even those who appear to be extremely self-assured--we may find it easier to step back from the uncertainty that lies within and take a more realistic look at ourselves.
The desire to improve or better ourselves is a natural response that arises when we begin to compare our lives to those of other people. It might seem, for example, that we do not have nearly as much going for us as our neighbor, best friend, or coworker. In truth, what we think we see about another person is usually what they want us to notice. They may be putting on a mask, trying to make things in their lives seem better than they are. If we were to look at their lives a little more closely, we would also realize that they are human, full of glorious imperfections that make them who they are. Recognizing this may take some time at first. Should we, however, feel our uncertainties begin to surface, taking deep breaths while at the same time acknowledging each one of our gifts will help us become more centered. Doing this allows us to see the wonders that lie within and lets our inner beauty shine forth into the world all the more brightly.
When we hold up such a detailed mirror to our lives and weigh ourselves against others, we are not able to see the things that make us truly unique. Giving ourselves permission to appreciate all that God has given us, however, will make us feel more secure about ourselves and more able to use our gifts to their fullest.
by Tracy DoneganJune 2, 2006
Birthkeepers of the world are divided on whether pain does or does not have to exist in birth; each of us is firm in our stance that our belief is right. For many the notion of comfortable or even joyful birthing still remains just outside of our grasp. Undoubtedly millions of women have experienced painful birth and the idea that birth must be painful is widely accepted. Mothers who have comfortable or even painless births are dismissed as lucky, delusional or having a really high pain threshold. Women who openly plan a drug-free birth are smirked at with knowing glances of “just you wait…you’ll be begging for an epidural” and warned that no medals are given for going without.
HypnoBirthing is a unique antenatal program that teaches simple but specific self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques for an easier, more gentle birth that is often accompanied by a significant reduction in pain. HypnoBirthing is not about “training mothers to give birth”—when undisturbed we already know how to do that instinctively. HypnoBirthing is about getting rid of fear and allowing our bodies and minds to relax so we can birth our babies gently. To quote the much beloved Jeannine Parvati Baker’s article “Instinctive Birth”:
When walking a labyrinth, sometimes it looks as if we are going away from the center, even backwards. Yet, eventually all of the twists and turns bring us to the destination. Progress cannot be measured in that realm. The journey is most important because, once arrival at the center is achieved, one must walk to get back out again. If you give up, you might feel lost, for in the Western myth of the labyrinth, the Minotaur at the center holds the secret of how to transform fear into the power to give birth. (Midwifery Today Issue 68, Winter 2003, p. 16.)
We know that labour progresses well in an undisturbed birth, especially when the mother feels safe so her primal brain can take over. We don’t need training to give birth, but in this fast-paced world we definitely have lost the ability to relax. For mothers especially, life always seems to get in the way of the “indulgence” of true relaxation and mindfulness.
In HypnoBirthing, couples realize that severe pain does not need to accompany normal labour. HypnoBirthing, like any kind of relaxation, is perfect for homebirth as well as hospital birth. A common misconception for homebirth moms is that the pain of labour is necessary and even empowering. Yes, pain is a great communicator when something is wrong, but in a normal labour, pain does not have to be present. In HypnoBirthing we use a much softer language—we don’t experience contractions, but surges. The word “contraction” creates an image of contracting—or tightening; HypnoBirthing couples focus on releasing and relaxing. Our membranes don’t rupture—they release. Mothers experience a birth show instead of a bloody show.
How does it work? The muscles of the uterus were designed to give birth. Why would the uterus be the only muscle in the body that hurts when it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do? The response that I often hear is, “Well, we don’t use the uterus every day.” So let’s follow the logic of that idea.
Have you ever done a new activity—like going to the gym or raking leaves in your garden—something requiring some physical effort that you’ve never done before or not in a long time? While you are doing the activity the muscles don’t hurt; but two days later you’re soaking in a lavender bath for hours trying to ease the pain of muscles that you never knew existed. Then shouldn’t labour only hurt two days after birth?
Basic physiology tells us that fear increases adrenaline in the body which creates a physical reaction by activating the fight/flight response. This redirects blood flow away from our organs to the limbs. The uterus is not a defensive organ and, just like the heart, cannot work effectively, comfortably and painlessly when blood is restricted and the muscles spasm. When adrenaline is present the body’s built-in epidural (endorphins) can’t do its work and it slows the release of oxytocin needed to help labour progress.
Every thought we have creates a physically detectable response in the body. Have you ever been embarrassed by someone or something? Blood races to your cheeks: Even years later just the thought of that mortifying event can recreate the same physical response in your face in seconds. Remember preparing for an interview or attending your first birth? You may get butterflies in your stomach, a dry mouth and clammy palms just by thinking about the experience.
Why is birth only painful for humans? If you’ve ever had a dog or cat giving birth you may notice that they seek out a quiet undisturbed location and usually show no dramatic displays of discomfort. I am not aware of any canine antenatal classes and I haven’t seen a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting—for Cats (yet!).
As birthkeepers most of us have believed that birthing a baby involves hours (sometimes days) of painful work. It is something to just “get through” and rarely an event that women look forward to. I believed this before I learnt about HypnoBirthing. Even women who plan on drug-free births prepare themselves to “embrace” the pain. As Jan Tritten stated in her editorial in MT Issue 74, Summer 2005, “At birth we are unblessed with a thinking mind. As adults, our minds become one of our biggest obstacles in pregnancy and birth. We listen to others, watch “Baby Story” on television, hear of cesarean rates and the ease of epidurals and completely lose our ability to do the task for which our bodies were supernaturally designed.”
When a woman repeatedly absorbs the idea that giving birth is very painful and must be medically managed, it becomes true. For a long time we believed the earth was flat—but was it the truth? I often hear that the pain is there so that mothers know they are about to give birth and they can get to a safe place—so that their babies don’t just drop out on the supermarket floor. HypnoBirthing mothers choose how they will experience the sensations of the uterus surging—some experience it as menstrual pain or strong Braxton-Hicks, i.e., a sensation that is not perceived as pain.
Another popular belief is that mothers who birth through painful labours are somehow transformed into confident, strong, empowered mothers. But what of the mothers who birth without discomfort: Are they less empowered, less confident mothers? Does the pain of birth bring about this transformation in the mother or does the experience of being fully present in mind, body and soul and birthing instinctively bring about new growth?
What is hypnosis? Like a computer the subconscious mind holds good programs and bad ones (horror stories of birth). Doing hypnosis is like running a virus scan on your computer—it finds corrupt programs or those that need to be upgraded, such as the belief that birth will be painful.
Your HypnoBirthing practitioner has no control over you; you decide to accept the suggestion that birth can be gentle and easy. Nobody can make you do anything you wouldn’t normally do. So you can rest assured that neither you nor your partner will leave the class barking like a dog. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis; you are always giving consent to let these things happen to you. Your HypnoBirthing practitioner simply guides you into a state of self-hypnosis. You are always in control and you have to want the suggestion to work.
Another misconception about HypnoBirthing is that we teach a technique known as dissociation or distraction. We firmly believe that pain does not need to exist in a normal birth, but when pain does exist you don’t try to distract from it but listen to the body. Pain communicates that something isn’t quite right and needs to be attended to. In my own experiences mums who have learnt how to relax themselves very quickly and easily yet have felt the need for an epidural have had malpresented babies: e.g., persistent direct occipitoposterior positions and with one couple, a brow presentation (and all hospital births). They are very in tune with the signals their bodies are giving them.
Our goal isn’t pain-free birth but the confidence to birth free from fear—which has the added benefit of increased endorphin production. I know this is a huge leap of faith for birthkeepers—when I learnt about HypnoBirthing as a doula I thought it was a gimmick and felt insulted as a woman and mother that once again we were trying to “train” mothers to give birth and further add to the doubt that women already have in their bodies to perform this wonderful miracle.
Since then I have seen the calm and relaxed births—mothers smiling through their surges—and I’ve seen full inductions with every intervention in the book; yet the vast majority of couples feel HypnoBirthing helped them get rid of the fear, increased their confidence and made their births really positive experiences.
I once worked with a mom who called me one evening very distressed (at 32 weeks) saying HypnoBirthing wasn’t working for her. She had been practicing (listening to her CD) every day and repeating her birth affirmations (positive statements about birth), yet throughout the day she’d had a pain that just wouldn’t go away. I suggested she call her doctor and the next day the relieved mom called me to tell me she had a UTI. No amount of relaxation or deep breathing will stop this kind of pain—pain is alerting us to something not normal going on in the body. This mom went on to have a lovely gentle birth with only the sensation of menstrual cramps. Had HypnoBirthing been only about distraction from pain then the ending to this story might not have been so wonderful.
About 70% of HypnoBirthing moms need no pain medication. As long as a mother is having a normal birth, with confidence and free from fear, birth need not be painful. HypnoBirthing mothers don’t need to be distracted from any part of the birth experience. They are fully aware and totally engaged in the experience. In HypnoBirthing we trust in the body’s natural ability to birth gently and easily—if we can just get out of our own way and let our bodies get on with the work of birthing.
To learn more about HypnoBirthing visit www.HypnoBirthing.com.
The term "fight or flight" is also known as the stress response. It's what the body does as it prepares to confront or avoid danger. When appropriately invoked, the stress response helps us rise to many challenges. But trouble starts when this response is constantly provoked by less momentous, day-to-day events, such as money woes, traffic jams, job worries, or relationship problems.
Health problems are one result. A prime example is high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. The stress response also suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. Moreover, the buildup of stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. We can't avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them. One way is to invoke the relaxation response, through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson. The relaxation response is a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.Breath focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response. The first step is learning to breathe deeply.
Deep breathing benefits
Deep breathing also goes by the names of diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing, and paced respiration. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises.
For many of us, deep breathing seems unnatural. There are several reasons for this. For one, body image has a negative impact on respiration in our culture. A flat stomach is considered attractive, so women (and men) tend to hold in their stomach muscles. This interferes with deep breathing and gradually makes shallow "chest breathing" seem normal, which increases tension and anxiety.
Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm's range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs doesn't get a full share of oxygenated air. That can make you feel short of breath and anxious.
Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
Practicing breath focus
Breath focus helps you concentrate on slow, deep breathing and aids you in disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations. It's especially helpful if you tend to hold in your stomach.
First steps. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. First, take a normal breath. Then try a deep breath: Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).
Breath focus in practice. Once you've taken the steps above, you can move on to regular practice of controlled breathing. As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, blend deep breathing with helpful imagery and perhaps a focus word or phrase that helps you relax.
Ways to elicit the relaxation response
Several techniques can help you turn down your response to stress. Breath focus helps with nearly all of them:
· Progressive muscle relaxation
· Mindfulness meditation
· Yoga, tai chi, and Qi Gong
· Repetitive prayer
· Guided imagery
Creating a routine
You may want to try several different relaxation techniques to see which one works best for you. And if your favorite approach fails to engage you, or you want some variety, you'll have alternatives. You may also find the following tips helpful:
· Choose a special place where you can sit (or lie down) comfortably and quietly.
· Don't try too hard. That may just cause you to tense up.
· Don't be too passive, either. The key to eliciting the relaxation response lies in shifting your focus from stressors to deeper, calmer rhythms — and having a focal point is essential.
· Try to practice once or twice a day, always at the same time, in order to enhance the sense of ritual and establish a habit.
· Try to practice at least 10–20 minutes each day.
By Madisyn Taylor
The role of a mother is infinitely complex and one of pure tenderness, compassion, and unflagging loyalty
Mothers throughout history have been worshipped, revered, analyzed and even criticized. Every one of us was created through the wondrous workings of a woman's body; each of us has a mother. But being a mother is more than a biological concept. In India, women who are profoundly nurturing, compassionate, and wise are publicly acknowledged by the title "Holy Mother." Those who have never met their biological mothers often have mothers nonetheless in adoptive parents, relations, and friends. There are human mothers and spiritual mothers, Mother Earth, and mother goddesses. The role of a mother is infinitely complex and one of pure tenderness, compassion, and unflagging loyalty. The mother represents fertility, stability, creation, and sacrifice.
Our mothers determine who we become because they are not only the life givers, but the most influential person in our young lives. Before we are old enough to understand that influence, mothers give us the beginnings of our spirituality and value systems. A mother lauds accomplishment and ignores minor faults, she both teaches and shields her children from misfortune, and hides her own tears, preferring to laugh so her children can laugh with her. She is both a sharer of grief and a healer of many pains. And every mother gives of herself knowing that someday her progeny will leave her. For these reasons and more, motherhood is a sacred institution, not limited by narrow constraints. It is also not unusual to seek the guidance of a mother in a wise woman or a grandmother because each woman is taught to be a mother by her own mother, whether she chooses to have children or not. Other ways to see Mother is to find a source of motherly nurturing in the earth, which gives us so much and demands little in return. Earth mother continually blesses us with her bounty and we are even born and eventually go back to the universal mother
The definition is necessarily broad because mothers of all types exist in part to put a smooth veneer on the rough edges of life for those they love. A mother never stops growing, never stops becoming more motherly. Though some may argue that a mother is a woman who gives life with her womb and nourishment with her breast, it is important to remember that a mother, any mother, is also one who gives life with her tenderness and nourishment with her love.
A while back I was asked to give my perspective as a Doula from a birth experience. It has taken me some time to gather my thoughts. I truly consider it an honor to participate in birth as a support to the mother and father during this critical and demanding part of life.
I began teaching birth classes 5 years ago with the intent of giving women who were desiring to have an unmedicated birth education on how the body works and powerful tools to help manage her brain and body, as well as the many body processes taking place in birth. As I proceeded I soon came to realize the support a mother needed to accomplish her goal and the more support the better. I embarked on the task of becoming certified as a Doula to more fully offer this support.
What surprises even me, is the strength of a women in birth, and even more so a determined mother who wants to be empowered by her birth experience. So for the women who have allowed me to be their coach, doula and support through their brith, this perspective is for each of you. This is what I observe and see in each of you as you so powerfully give birth.
IT works! Your effort and practice and determination pay off. It surprises even me how well this method works. I come home after each birth and exclaim to my husband. "IT WORKED!" "She did it." and "She did it beautifully!" I note the midwife, doctor and nurses and their amazement at how well she did and their awe of the experience as a witness to the birth. It is an amazing experience to watch.
The Labor. What is also true with each birth and surprising to the on looker is the total exhaustion, and mental toll on the mother. What looks like a mother asleep and deeply relaxed on the outside, is a mother fighting a mental battle to keep her mental focus on controlling what she can control and letting go of what she cannot. At times, she calls out in moments she has lost her focus saying she can labor no longer, that she has reached her limit. And yet, with a few prompts, encouragement, and loving touch she once again can go quickly back into her birth experience and once again be deeply relaxed. This usually signals she is almost to the finish line!
The birth. As a woman pulls the last bit of strength that is left within her, she is able to dig deep to find more, and more until she has given birth to her baby. This is truly amazing to witness. This picture of human strength surpasses all understanding as a women teeters between life and death to bring forth life. As women we don't get the feat we just accomplished! Why? Because this is what our bodies are designed to do.
The reward. As she brings forth life and the new little human is placed on her chest a glorious reunion happens. She is rewarded for her labor, she is empowered.
And at the same time wonders if she did is right! These are the perplexing question I get asked. "Did I do ok?" "I felt like I was out of control." "I thought I would be better at it." This is when I wished I had a movie to play back for them. I wish we as women would be better at accepting our accomplishments instead of questioning or comparing our abilities to another.
My wisdom. I ask to each of you to enjoy your reward, and don't question yourself. YOU birthed a baby! And you did powerfully well. Women are powerful in many things and in many capacities, and yet none will surpass the ability you have within yourself to bring forth life. So take the reward, no matter how your birth comes even if it doesn't look exactly like you pictured it would come. Be grateful for your abilities and the frailties of you own humanness. And be gentle and kind with each other as you share your experiences of birth with each other.
Normally I would not post a picture of a woman so scantily clothed. I believe that modesty is a sign of respect for oneself and ones beautiful body.
The reason I post this picture on my blog today is that it depicts a beautiful woman who belongs to an African Tribe. She does not dress in a way of subduction but in the dress of her everyday life and customs. With that said I wish to share with you her story, It is a beautiful story of the worth of a soul. It is the wish of my heart that each of us could understood our individual worth better, and treat each other with an understanding who we truly are. Every human being upon this world has something of value to add to this beautiful world. We each need to know our own song and the songs of each individual we meet.
Of all the African tribes still alive today, the Himba tribe is one of the few that counts the birth date of the children not from the day they are born nor conceived but the day the mother decides to have the child.
When a Himba woman decides to have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child who wants to come. And after she's heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child's father, and teaches him the song. When they make love to physically conceive the child, they sing the song of the child as a way of inviting the child.
When she becomes pregnant, the mother teaches that child's song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people gather around him/her and sing the child's song to welcome him/her. As the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child's song. If the child falls, or gets hurt, someone picks him/her up and sings to him/her his/her song. Or maybe when the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the Himba tribe there is one other occasion when the "child song" is sang to the Himba tribesperson. If a Himba tribesman or tribeswoman commits a crime or something that is against the Himba social norms, the villagers call him or her into the center of the village and the community forms a circle around him/her. Then they sing his/her birth song to him/her.
The Himba views correction not as a punishment, but as love and remembrance of identity. For when you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when the Himba tribesman/tribeswoman is lying in his/her bed, ready to die, all the villagers that know his or her song come and sing - for the last time that person's song.
This to me depicts the power of a woman to change generations. When we can know of our child's great worth, and teach them of their worth , teach others of their worth, celebrate their worth, and remind them when they make mistakes of their worth. We then truly change the world!
Begin today by understanding your own great worth.
My daughter’s birth is something that I had been hoping and dreaming of for years. I had taken a hypnobirthing class two years ago at the Riverton Hospital in hopes of having a hypnobirth with my first baby. Unfortunately, my first labor didn’t go as planned. I thought my doctor and team was going to be supportive, but they ended up encouraging me to use the medicine provided instead of going natural. I ended up getting an epidural and walked away from the experience feeling ripped off, to say the least.
Since then, I was determined to have a natural birth the second time around. I took Karen’s hypnobirthing class this time and it was so amazing! I felt much more prepared than I had in the past and I could picture how I wanted my labor to be. I spent many hours listening to affirmations, meditating, “talking” with my baby and imagining my labor in detail.
I went into labor naturally 12 days after my baby’s “due date”. After getting a foot zone from Karen in the afternoon, I decided to relax and practice my meditation. That night, we went out to dinner and while waiting for the table, I started to have really strong surges. I didn't think much of it, because I had been having surges for 3+ weeks, so I just assumed that they would stop again. The surges averaged about 8-9 minutes apart for 2+ hours, so I started to think that this might actually be it.
We headed home to finish packing and clean up the house. I rocked my almost-two-year old daughter to sleep and told her that she probably wouldn’t see us in the morning. I cried knowing that it was going to be the last night where I could rock her for as long as I wanted to. I called my parents to let them know that they would probably be getting a call from us in the middle of the night.
The surges were consistently strong and some of them were 7 minutes apart. I decided to get some rest and fell asleep listening to affirmations around 11:00pm. I woke up around 1:00AM because I couldn’t sleep through the surges anymore. They were 6 minutes apart and I couldn’t talk through them. I spent the next two hours sitting on a yoga ball and listening to calming music. When my surges started to be 5 minutes apart, we decided to head to the hospital. My parents arrived around 3:00AM to stay with my daughter and we drove to the Hospital.
I checked into the hospital around 3:30AM. I was dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced. The contractions were pretty manageable at the time and they were fairly far apart when I was lying down, so I told Karen that she could just head over when she was up and ready for the day. I tried getting some sleep, but was pretty unsuccessful.
Karen arrived around 6:00AM. She suggested that we walk the halls, so that’s what we did. It was refreshing to get out of my room. I would have surges while walking and Karen would show my husband what he could do to make my surges easier. I loved how involved he could be in the birth process too! We walked for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then my body started to shake. I was so cold! Karen suggested that they check me, and I had progressed to a 4+.
We continued walking the halls more and tried a few different positions to stay as comfortable as possible. Annie, my midwife, arrived at around 7:00AM and gave me more suggestions on positions. My baby was posterior, so some of the positions were ones that I wasn’t familiar with in order to take pressure off of my back. At 9:00AM my body started shaking again and I was so cold. I began throwing up, so we decided to check me again. I was dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced. I couldn’t believe it! My body was doing it! I started crying because I just couldn’t believe it was working! I mean, I expected it to work, but after staying dilated at a 1 for over 15 hours with my first labor, I was afraid I’d have the same problem this time.
About 45 minutes later, we decided to break my water. I went to the bathroom afterwards and while going pee, I started throwing up. It felt uncontrollable because I threw up about five times. I made my way back to the bed and I sat in it like I was in a chair. I started having really painful back labor. My surges were really strong and close together. This was the first time during my labor when it was incredibly hard to relax. I decided to listen to some affirmations while Karen, my husband and Annie were doing some light touch massage on my belly, hands and feet. The light touch massage changed everything! My mind immediately focused on that rather than the pressure from the surge. I was eventually able to fall asleep in between surges.
Around 11:45AM, we checked again and I was dilated to a 9. I couldn't sit in the bed any longer because the back labor was so strong. We moved to the yoga ball and I put my arms above my head to hold onto a bar. This was the hardest part of my labor. Mentally, I was able to stay relaxed and strong during my surges, but in between surges, I started to question if I could do it. I was afraid that it was just going to get harder, and I didn’t know if I could handle it. Looking back, this moment was harder than any other moment during the birthing process. I felt helpless and so tired. I was very happy to have such a great team to remind me that I could do it at that time.
We were waiting until my body was ready to push, because we knew I was getting close. I got back onto the bed and put my feet in the stirrups. I really wanted to feel my baby girl moving down, but my back labor was so bad, that it made it really hard to focus on anything else. Suddenly, I felt this surge. It started slow, with little pressure, then it got stronger and stronger, and my body started pushing completely by itself! I started yelling, “I’m pushing!” (Which I realize now was completely dramatic.) I stayed as relaxed as possible and let my body do the work. I was so grateful to have Karen there because she kept reminding me to wait during the surge. My immediate reaction was to push, but instead, I waited, and my body did the pushing itself. It was a surreal experience. I pushed for about 35 minutes (twice as long as my first labor since this baby was posterior) until my sweet girl arrived.
Gracie was born at 12:34PM on Aug. 31, 2017 weighing in at 8lbs 1oz and 20.5 inches long. They immediately put her on my chest and I kept telling her “I missed you so much!”
My labor was everything that I had hoped for and more! I didn’t have a single needle in my arm and I didn’t need any Pitocin. My body was able to do what it was designed to do, without any extra “help”. It was such a calm and loving atmosphere, exactly what I wanted my daughter to be born into. To have so many people in a room who care and respect the birthing process is an amazing thing. It was an empowering experience that is a highlight in my life. I’m actually looking forward to being able to experience it again.
October 20 - I woke up at midnight with what started off as heavy contractions. I got out of bed and walked around to see if they would subside. Nope, they stayed steady and strong. So I knew we were going to be having a baby soon. I got in the shower did some dishes and then woke up the hubby. After I getting ready I called Karen to let her know what was happening. For some reason I was so nervous with this labor. Hearing Karens voice and the support and directions that she gave me was just what this momma needed. My husband took my daughter up to grandmas and I stayed home breathing through my surges. As soon as my husband got home I told him we needed to go to the hospital. Before, I was in labor I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. But this time I was so nervous at home. Getting to the hospital and having my team with me is what I needed to help me feel empowered and safe. I needed my husband, Karen and my doctor. We arrived at the hospital at about 3:00 am. Karen arrived about 15 minutes later. The nurse got us all checked in and hooked up to monitors and checked to see how dilated I was which was at a 4.
We followed Karen’s instructions and walked the halls, we would sit on the yoga ball. Which this was the best thing, we laughed and talked and it was so great when I was having a contraction I had my amazing team to help me through them. When I would need to lay down we would go back to the room and Karen would help with the surges. She would zone my feet and have me lay or sit in certain positions. I was amazed how much it helped! She also kept an eye on the amount of fluids I was drinking and made sure that I had food in my tummy. She was cute,she would also make sure my hubby was not getting exhausted and kept an eye on him to eat and drink and rest as well. About two hours later my doctor came in and wanted to break my water. That was not in my birth plan and having the support of my husband and Karen we decided to wait. So back to the walking,laying down and yoga ball. A little while went by and there was some concern with the amount of blood I was loosing. My placenta was starting to tear away from my uterus. Karen could see that I was then starting to get really nervous. She told me to breath and to tell my body to slow down the bleeding. I did just what she said I went into my breathing and talked with my body and a little while later the bleeding did slow. Then our baby girls heart rate would dip then come back up then dip again. We found out later that she had a short umbilical cord which was getting pinched. So the pressure was on to break my water. The concern was an emergency C-Section if the babies heart rate dipped too much. The interesting part was if we broke my water or if we didn't break my water there was still the chance of an emergency C-Section. I talked with my husband and Karen and I just closed my eyes and prayed and about 15 minutes later my water broke!
Once it broke I just cried. I had this wave of emotions come over me, for some reason knowing my water broke meant that it was go time and that the contractions would be getting stronger and we would be holding our beautiful baby girl soon. The contractions were so strong and the pressure on my lower back was beyond intense. Karen would push on my lower back and my husband would be by my face and holding my hand. The nurse checked my dilation and I was at a 7 1/2. Then I felt my baby just drop, that feeling was so amazing to feel. To feel your body know just what to do is beautiful. I had communicated what I felt to Karen and then my nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push and said to not push yet since I was not at a 10. Well, as the nurse was talking my body was already pushing on its own. I went from a 7 to a 10 in less than a minute. Right then my doctor came in and checked me and my baby girls head was crowning. Then it was show time, about 5 nurses came in and from there everything felt so intense. The surges and burning sensation were something I cannot explain. Karen knew just what to do and what to have my husband do. She could tell the pain was starting to take over. I cannot explain how amazing she is! She grabbed my husband and had him grab one of my hands and he stood him right by my head. She then grabbed my other hand looked me straight in the eye and directed me when to breath and when to push during each surge. I needed this so much. When a contraction was over Karen would have my husband fan me to help cool me down. About 15 minutes of pushing our little girl was here! Weighing 6 pounds and 9 ounces! Karen then stayed to help me with skin to skin and nursing my little one. She was beyond sweet to tell me she would stay as long as we needed her to. Let’s not forget we have all been up since midnight and it was now 11am the next day.
To have an unmedicated birth or a medicated birth everyone needs that team to help them. When things go not according to plan to have a doula who understands your birth plan and can communicate your needs and wishes to the staff is just what every family needs. I was amazed at how Karen knew what my body was doing and she could tell me what is going to happen. To have her communicate to me in such a personal way and to tell me what my body would be doing and that it was okay was such a comfort. Karen will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Born: June 2, 2017 at 7:50 am, 7lbs 10 oz, 21 in
June 1st my midwife, Annie, stripped my membranes. Later that day I started to feel some strong surges so I decided that we needed an outing before the baby came. We ran to Shopko where we had to stop occasionally so I could breathe through the surges then we went out for dinner at El Toro Viejo for dinner. The contractions were getting closer together but I wanted to get the kids in bed before we went to the hospital. After the kids were asleep I called my mom and asked her to come over so she could watch the kids while we were gone. The surges were becoming quite uncomfortable but still bearable so I took a bath to help ease the pressure. The bath worked and I was able to breathe and relax through each surge. I was feeling really good at this point. I felt like I was totally rocking the relaxation that I had learned from Hypnobirthing.
When the surges became about three minutes apart we headed off to the hospital. When they checked me I was still at a 3.5 which is where I was when Annie, checked me that morning, so we hung out for an hour to see if I had progressed. After using the birthing ball and walking around they checked me again but still no progress because the baby was face up, so we went home. This was frustrating because I really felt like I was in active labor and should have been progressing.
As we were leaving the surges were becoming more intense and moving towards my back. While we were at home I took another bath to relieve the pressure that was becoming more and more intense. After being home for a couple hours I decided that I couldn’t do it at home any more. My husband was amazing during this process and helped me breathe and relax through the surges as well as offering support and counter pressure.
We went back to the hospital about 2:30 am. When they checked me again at this point I had progressed to a grand total of 4. Again I was frustrated and disheartened. I was in a lot of pain during the surges yet nothing was progressing. Annie came about 3:30 am and really offered a much needed second support to my husband and I. At this point neither of us had slept at all and we were struggling. After walking, bouncing on the birth ball, and doing about a million squats I was finally at an 8.
While I was pushing I yelled a couple times that I couldn’t do it anymore but my husband, Annie and the nurses were right there to assure me that I absolutely could do it and helped me with positive affirmations.
After Isabelle was born I felt a little let down because I felt like I hadn’t handled it as well as I wanted to but my husband assures me that I did great. Looking back I am so glad that I did a natural birth and used hypnobirthing. I love that my body was made to give birth without intervention and I let it and embraced it.