The name "HypnoBirthing" may conjure up of all sorts of weird, whacky and nonsensical images. When I first came across it for the birth of my third baby 13 years ago, I was in all honesty ready to try ANYTHING - after the medically managed births of my first two babies. Fast forward to 2018 and I've been teaching this program on the Sunshine Coast for 6 years and have had the pleasure of meeting over 300 couples who have taken the plunge to discover and learn!
For many couples, the events surrounding birth can be overwhelming and dis-empowering; as we move through a time of actively managed labours, where women no longer trust their bodies or their deeply intuitive mind.
At 36 weeks Ebony contacted me to enquire about joining a HypnoBirthing course. At this late stage, I offered to take her and husband Tom through the program week by week - just in case baby came before the full program had finished. As it turned out her daughter waited - and gave Ebony another week to ensure she had chance to practice her techniques of remaining patient and calm!
At 42 weeks, medical induction was looming and we kept in touch during the lead up. The threat of induction made her feel anxious, stressed and very emotional. Ebony was induced; waters broken, syntocinon administered, constant foetal monitoring, scalpel monitors that failed, a busy hospital room with interference and minimal privacy or intimacy. Not what physiological birth is all about! But this is what can happen in the modern way of birth management. However, Ebony and Tom came away from that experience feeling empowered, positive and at peace from what they had learned through their sessions with me.
From what could have turned into another horror birth story, instead husband Tom had the confidence to suggest non-invasive alternatives that helped Ebony find her focus and the trust in her body that she needed to birth her baby calmly and in control.
This is a crucial element of the HypnoBirthing program - teaching partners about their role in birth, how they can advocate, speak up and protect their women amidst all the activity in a hospital setting that goes against natural, physiological birthing. Partners that trust and believe in birth, in their woman and their baby can guard the birth space with confidence. Tom did this perfectly and had he not - then the birth of their daughter may not have been as empowering as Ebony writes:
"I just wanted to thank you for all of your help with preparing Tom and I for the birth of our beautiful little girl, Callie Eve McGrane on 06.06.2018.
My pregnancy lasted for 42 beautiful weeks. After trying EVERYTHING to start labour naturally I was booked in to get induced on Wednesday, 6th June. The threat of being induced made me feel very stressed in the few days beforehand however you were so supportive and helpful throughout that time which helped a lot.
Following our hospital appointment on Tuesday 5th, they booked us in to get induced that night. The sudden change made me feel very anxious & super emotional but thankfully my hypnobirthing techniques kicked in to help me come to terms with it.
The midwives broke my waters that night and started the drip the following morning. Your classes and the skills you taught us helped immensely. We were able to stay calm and we welcomed our beautiful little girl 7.5 hours after the drip started, without any other intervention or pain relief.
Due to being induced the midwives were monitoring our bubs heartbeat the whole time. The first fetal scalp clip didn't work consistently, so we tried a heart rate monitor around my belly. This also didn't work consistently so we tried a 2nd scalp clip. This one also kept dropping in and out & there was a period of time when the midwives couldn't find our bubs heartbeat. Because of this the head midwife suggested we try a 3rd clip. This was in the midst of quite intense surges.
Your classes gave my hubby the confidence to ask the head midwife to have a discussion outside (as I had 3 midwives asking me questions whilst I was trying to breathe through my surges). Tom was able to make an informed decision and requested we try the shower for a little while as I knew in my heart that our little girl was OK. Thankfully the shower helped and I was able to peacefully focus back on my breathing. This worked wonders and within another 1.5 hours we had our little girl in our arms.
Throughout the majority of my labour, someone was constantly touching my belly to monitor our little girls heartbeat. Because of your wonderfully thorough, supportive & educational classes, I was able to stay in my zone with the confidence that Tom completely had my back.
I am forever grateful to you for empowering both of us & helping us achieve our goal of a positive & peaceful birth experience! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Tom & Ebony Xx
This isn't a blog about how to parent or how to successfully raise competent, conscious young adults. I'm still working all of that out. Whether we're adjusting to life as a new mother with a small baby, or navigating our way through the toddler years, or reaching the stage that I'm at (12 yr old 'baby' boy, two teenage girls and a 19 yr old boyfriend) - it's essentially much the same.
It's a wild ride into the unknown with important decision-making at pivotal points being crucial to their safety, health and development (both physical and mental). What I do know for sure, is that Yoga has given me the tools to stay grounded - and sane on my journey as I guide them to their own independence and freedom.
I met Brooke and Joel early in their pregnancy with baby Maple. At the time of writing this blog post Brooke is now weeks away from meeting her second baby. Her experience birthing Maple was pretty remarkable; an unplanned homebirth with only her partner present. Brooke suffered intense pelvic pain during her pregnancy and was unsure of how she would cope with labour. Turns out she did just fine - with the emotional support she received from Joel and her own trust and belief in herself and in nature, the birth of Maple makes quite a story!!
The newest review from the Cochrane Collective states that:
"Continuous labour support appears to offer impressive benefits and no harm to women and newborns, especially when provided by someone in a doula role.
Women with doula role support were an impressive:
39 percent less likely to have a cesarean birth
35 percent less likely to have a negative birth experience
15 percent more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
The review also found that the doula role was associated with notable but non-significant (not clearly different from women with no continuous support) reduced use of synthetic oxytocin, any pain medication while giving birth, and newborn admission to a special care nursery.
Read the full report here >>
Creating the time for self care is the biggest gift you can give yourself. When we talk about 'self care' this often brings up images of massages, pedicures, retreats, etc. These, whilst awesome and amazing, are genuinely unattainable on a regular basis for many of us, either due to finances or the demands of a busy life.
What if there was something that was free, somewhere you could go where you didn't have to travel, didn't have to arrange childcare for, something that was available at every point in your day, something that you would always be able to use and have by your side to turn to in times of need?
How A Routine Appointment Nearly Led To Emergency C-Section And What This Couple Did To Avoid Surgery
Sunshine Coast University Hospital
A standard routine appointment at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at 39 + 6 weeks pregnant picked up that Loreleigh baby's heart rate was lower than normal. Loreleigh and her partner Paul were planning on only a quick visit, but the midwife arranged for her to be checked with the team leader and more accurate equipment. The result was the same.
The team leader then called for a second opinion who also confirmed that the heart rate was low. They then called the on call doctor. During this time there was a flurry of action by about 6 midwives and doctors. She was promptly changed into a gown, an IV was placed in her hand, compression socks were placed on her legs.
They even went as far as shaving me - prepping me for c-section surgery.
Loreleigh and Paul share their story and how HypnoBirthing helped them. It's not all meditation and zoning out - HypnoBirthing educates couples so they have the knowledge needed to take responsibility, deal with overwhelming situations and make good decisions for the birth of their child.
I am a huge homebirth advocate after the planned homebirth of my third baby, but it's not the place of birth that matters, it is what and who that are in that place which has the strongest influence. What is important is privacy. This is the key to birthing normally, as all mammals insist on privacy to give birth.
This teaching and doula journey of mine has led me to meet many, many wonderful women. At 7.51 am on 29 April 2017, one of those women gave birth to her third baby at home in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. I met Renee during her first pregnancy and have been friends ever since. I taught yoga at her beautiful rural home wedding when she was pregnant with her second baby. This woman has a man who is devoted to her, who cried openly as he read his wedding vows - a man in love with life.
I introduced this woman to Birth Photographer, Ilsa from @goodwolfphotography - another woman who I've connected with through this journey - who's creativity caught my eye some time ago. These two incredible women came together and shared an intimate, sacred experience - that which is birth. Raw, emotional, cherished moments were captured that show how powerful and incredible women and BIRTH truly are.
How Does HypnoBirthing Prepare Dads for One of the Biggest Events of Their Life - the Birth of Their Child?
For many men, the fear of watching their partners going through childbirth is real; feeling unable to help and having no control of the situation. This is one situation where where many men feel helpless and inadequate, especially given the standard education in the hospital antenatal classes, where the couples are told how much pain is involved leaving them feeling fearful about what lies ahead.
Bringing a new life into the world is an intense and powerful experience for both the mother - and the father.
What if Dads were given the support and education to prepare THEM for birth?
It was three years ago in June 2014 that I attended my first birth. My doula studies and paperwork complete - I was ready for the hands on experience of birth support. That month of June 2014 brought a couple who trusted me to assist them in their journey after a traumatic first birth.
On 1 May 2012 I taught my very first HypnoBirthing couple, Michelle and Daniel. Since then I've had the pleasure of teaching hundreds more!! Each couple I teach are prepared and excited for the birth of their baby and have their own unique experience and story to tell. I am a collector of stories and use many of them in my classes. This whole website actually started off from Michelle's birth story!