Where can new and expectant mums turn when they need a little extra help?!

Preparing for and having a new baby can be a tiring time. Meet Vanessa from Bedrest Solutions who is here to help new and expectant mums with pretty much anything and everything you may want help with!!!

Introduce yourself….

I’m a mum of a young toddler who shares my love of reading. When I was pregnant, I developed pre-eclampsia and was on bedrest for 10 weeks. I found that experience so difficult and that’s why I became a maternity concierge. Previously I used to work as an early childhood teacher and train adults to work with children. I love being organised and helping others.

How can you support women BEFORE birth? 

I’m a maternity concierge, giving pregnant women a helping hand. Our services include Baby Showers, Nurseries, Packing the hospital bag, organising baby items, household chores, babysitting, errands and completing the items on your never ending to do list. While we help pregnant women who are run off their feet, we also specialise in helping women on bedrest.

How can you support woman AFTER birth? 

We provide new mums with a helping hand while they are busy bonding with their newborn. We can mind the baby while mum catches up on her sleep, look after the household chores, complete errands and more.

What are the main benefits a pregnant (or recently given birth) women could gain from your services? 

Expectant mothers gain more time to enjoy their pregnancy and newborn, reassurance that they are prepared for the baby and they can take back control during a difficult pregnancy.

What do you love most about your job? 

I love meeting expectant mothers during a very special time in their life and helping them to enjoy their pregnancy.
If you could give pregnant women 1 piece of advice, what would it be? 

Pregnancy can be hard, so it’s important to nurture yourself, both physically and emotionally. Whether that means a pregnancy massage, getting more rest, or taking your mind of all things baby related by doing something you enjoy.

What’s your favourite quote/mantra?

Live your dream

The Hypnobirthing Mum is on YouTube!

I have created a YouTube channel – “The Hypnobirthing Mum with Kerry Sutcliffe” – where you can view some short videos about things such as what courses are on offer, the benefits of hypnobirthing, and what kind of women do hypnobirthing for their baby’s birth.

 

I will be adding videos to this at regular intervals on various topics about pregnancy and childbirth so feel free to take a look (have a laugh at the hilarious still shots next to each video – why do they stop at such unflattering moments?!) and share with friends and family who you think would benefit.

 

Kerry xx

Here are some of the videos that have been uploaded…..check out the photo for the “Who does hypnobirthing” video!!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training for birth like an Olympic athlete!

This former professional athlete prepared for birth like she was going to compete at the Olympics! I often say that giving birth is like training for a sporting event and this mama’s training paid off. Read below what she did to get ready for birth…

 

“Lola was born on the 1st of June at 8.54am and weighted 3.4 Kg. I went into labour during the night and just 5 hours later she was born! I couldn’t even believe it myself. I was mentally prepared for a full day in labour but at 5am I was 4cm dilated and at 8.30 am I was 9! No time to even consider any pain relief. I spent the whole time repeating to myself the words “relax and down” (in Spanish) and visualising my uterus doing its job as I kept rocking my pelvis sitting in the shower, maintaining controlled breathing was the key to control every surge. It was tough but I’m very happy with my birth experience and we both are healthy and doing well. 

 

On a side note, I would like to share with you what I did in the first stages of labour before going into hospital. Maybe this can help other moms: To stay away from anxiety, I sat down on a Swiss ball rocking my pelvis and watched stand-up comedy on my computer for a couple of hours. That really helped keep my stress levels down and feel more relaxed. 

 

During my pregnancy I complemented all the hypnobirthing training along with other therapies: I did 3 acupuncture sessions through the week before my due date, on that week I also started to put some drops of clary sage in my pillow and for 4 weeks I’ve been also taking raspberry leaf tea prescribed by my naturopath. Also I used the Epi NO device every day for 10 minutes since week 37 to help me improve the elasticity of the perineum tissues. I think it all contributed to such short labour. Ah! And I took bicarb soda the last hour of labour to help me with muscle fatigue (remember the research I sent you?). 

 

For the last month I also spent every day for about 5 to 10 minutes in a deep squat position visualising the baby engaging in the pelvis and positioning correctly, I kept walking every day for an hour till my last day of pregnancy and swimming twice a week till week 39. I did gentle strength training with elastic bands up until week 40 and all my core training was based on diaphragmatic breathing involving the deep core muscles (no crutches, planks or anything similar, JUST BREATHING. After two weeks postpartum, my belly it’s almost flat and I started Kegel exercises and back to the diaphragmatic breathing the day after birth. 

 

Little Lola started breastfeeding just 10 minutes after being born and she seems pretty good at it! We are just working out the feeding routine, but that will take a couple more weeks I’m afraid. But overall I think I’m very lucky with her. 

 

Thank you Kerry for all the knowledge you provided me with to have the best birth experience I could imagine. 

 

Here’s a picture of the hairy little one!

Paula – mummy to baby Lola

lola campanero

 

 

 

“When she slipped out of me I just couldn’t believe it! That was it! I gave birth and it seemed so easy!!!” – The Birth of the beautiful Cassandra!

If you are in need of some inspiration for your birth, then read this birth story! There are so many wonderful comments from mum stating how amazing birth can be….

“I didn’t lose control for a second”

“A positive beautiful birth with no stress, no fear, almost no pain. A totally un-medicated birth that seemed like a walk in the park and I can now say we are born to do it this way! “

“Hypnobirthing classes gave me the strength to become a mother again and feel like I had the birthing experience every mother deserves!”

 

“Hello Kerry,  

I want to update you with our amazing news. So little Cassandra Anna Ingaldo decided to make her entrance in this world on Friday 25th of May at 1.27 in the afternoon.

 Her birth was calm, easy and quick! 

 I started having very soft and gentle surges around 4am in the morning. I listened to the ‘surge of the sea’ album and managed to fall asleep till 7.30am in the morning. When I woke up I was having gentle surges every 5 minutes and managed to have breakfast, read a book and play with my boy.

John couldn’t believe I was in labour – he was getting ready to go to his job. I told him better to stay home as you never know how things develop. I was right around 10am it started getting more intense. I went to my room listened to my meditation playlists, had a shower and concentrate.

I put all the hypnobirthing knowledge to use. It helped so much. I was in total control having surges that were lasting more than a minute every 3 mins, I wasn’t feeling the urge to go to the hospital!

Finally at 12.15 the waters broke and it became very clear we needed to go as surges were coming very close and more intense. Still I was in control.

I was at the hospital at 12.30 and the midwife was preparing the pool. I got in the pool at 1pm feeling the urge to push and baby came out at 1.27pm

I didn’t lose control for a second. I was able to listen and follow the midwife instructions and breath my baby out. I didn’t have any tearing. When she slipped out of me I just couldn’t believe it! That was it! I gave birth and it seemed so easy!!

John – who was an excellent partner holding and talking to me all the time – said he couldn’t believe how in control I was and how easy it seemed. He finally admitted our hypnobirthing classes helped a lot to achieve what we wanted.

A positive beautiful birth with no stress, no fear, almost no pain. A totally unmedicated birth that seemed like a walk in the park and I can say now we are born to do it this way!

Thank you very much. Hypnobirthing classes gave me the strength to become a mother again and feel like I had the birthing experience every mother deserves. Positive and empowering. Keep up the good work so many expecting mothers need to know about it.

Kind regards

Zenia & John”

cassandra anna ingaldo (zenia)

How can a doula support you before, during and after birth?

Virginia Maddock from Natural Beginnings is here to tell you more…

Introduce yourself in 50 words or less…

Hi. I’m Virginia, otherwise known as “Muuuuuuum!!!” to 2 boys (6 and 9yo) who were born naturally at home. I have been a doula since 2006, and am also a herbalist and nutritionist, so I am passionate about the natural side to everything in life. I am equally passionate about human, women’s and animal rights which infuse into everything I do.

How can you support women BEFORE birth?

I support women before birth by filling in any gaps in their knowledge about the process of birth; by making them aware of ALL their choices including place of birth, antenatal medical testing, hospital policies, and pain relief alternatives. I help them with writing a birth plan to reflect their vision for how they would like to be treated in the birthing room and what choices they have made for their labour and birth, by helping them to face and overcome their fears, giving them tools to manage pain so they can cope with the intensity that labour brings, and giving them techniques to create the space needed for their baby to engage in an optimal position for birth. By the end of their pregnancy women should be optimistically anticipating the rite of passage that will be their labour and birth instead of dreading its arrival.

How can you support women DURING birth?

I support women during birth by giving them the knowledge in my head, the compassion in my heart and the warmth in my hands. I help to create the ideal internal and external environment to eliminate fears and help women feel safe during birth, help with pain relief and endurance with warm touch, massage and natural alternatives where warranted, and help support their voice to advocate for their ideal vision of birth when interacting with health professionals. I also offer birth photography as an add-on to my package if women would like to capture their precious birthing and baby memories forever. My service is designed to give women the comfort, compassion and control they need to birth their babies with confidence.

How can you support woman AFTER birth?

I support women after birth by being an empathetic ear to listen to their birth story, by bringing my experience as a mother if they need some guidance, a shoulder to cry on when things feel overwhelming, or I can help facilitate referrals to other specialists when things feel too complicated. I also offer a ‘closing the bones’ ceremony to complete the birthing process and help the transition from a pregnant and birthing woman to mother. As an add-on to my services I offer placenta encapsulation to help women feel fantastic in those early days, new family photography to forever capture that delicious newborn period which will otherwise quickly fade into a fuzzy memory, and traditional postnatal belly massage to nurture the well-deserved, post-birth body.

What are the main benefits a pregnant (or recently given birth) women could gain from your services?

In the modern world where pregnant women can feel isolated and overwhelmed, hospital policies can be very impersonal, and birth is seen as an emergency waiting to happen, the benefits women receive from my doula service are evidence based birth education, knowledge about all her options, feeling heard, gaining trust in her body, her baby, and the choices she has made, and having the hands on support she needs to birth her baby with confidence.

What do you love most about your job?

I love watching couples change from hesitant and fearful to bold and empowered. I love seeing women make a smooth and amazing transition from maiden to mother, and the look of admiration and pride on the dad’s face when he witnesses the power that his partner has within her. Seeing new life emerge is the icing on the cake!

If you could give pregnant women 1 piece of advice, what would it be?

Know your options, face your fears, trust your intuition and find your voice. And don’t birth without a doula, especially in the hospital – you need someone to hold the space and be in your corner!

What’s your favourite quote/mantra?

This is not exactly birth related, but it applies to everything in life and is what drives me to be an activist, especially for health, birth and animal rights… “Never, never be afraid to do what is right, especially if the wellbeing of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” ~ Martin Luther King

Please provide details of your business

virginia maddock photo

What is a Doula and how can they support you in your goal of achieving a great birth experience?

Doula’s are becoming increasingly utilised by women as a form of support during their labour and birth of their baby.

Here, Amanda Bernstein from Essential Me gives you a detailed run down of what a Doula does and how one could support you, and your partner, during the birth of your baby…

 

Often I meet people in the street and they ask what I do.  Often I’m met with “Oh a jeweller! Cool, are you wearing any of your work?” or “Do you mean something like fencing where you fight people?”… Alas, no.  My mum is an awesome jeweller though!

Hi, I’m Amanda Bernstein and my business is called Essential Me.  I’m a Sydney based birth and postnatal Doula, supporting mums in the East / Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, Lower North and Southern parts of Sydney.  It’s a combination of Doula services and you can choose one or the other, or both.  The word originates from the Greek language and used to mean “slave woman” which overtime became “servant woman” and is now “support woman”.  Essentially, I support women and couples during their pregnancy, at their birth and in the postpartum period, providing continuity of care in their journey to meet their new baby.  Every time I’m at a birth it’s super special to me – I feel honoured that a couple who were effectively strangers invite me into such a personal time in their lives.  It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly or for granted.  Your baby will only be born once and I do everything I can to help make sure it is the best possible experience you can have.

Amanda Bernstein Sydney Doula Services Eastern Suburbs pregnancy massage

As a Doula, I work alongside your medical team – whether it’s your midwife, GP or obstetrician – and play a very different part to them at your birth.  A Doula is a non-medical role – I’m there to support you emotionally, physically and informatively.  Usually we meet for an obligation free interview, a kind of “get to know you” chat.  I think this is really important as if you’re going to invite me to your birth – one of life’s most intimate moments – I want you to feel 100% comfortable in my presence.  You need to be able to speak your mind, share your feelings and not hold back what you really think.

If you wish to proceed from there, we arrange for at least two further prenatal meetings.  At the first one, we discuss your preferences around birth (all your hopes and wishes) and I go over with you what your options are.  I truly believe that you have choice and evidence based information is important.  From this conversation I create a birth plan (AKA birth preferences – as things don’t always go to plan!) and send it to you.  This is an important step as it means should something not go to plan at your birth, you understand why.  There will be a medical reason why things will deviate from your preferences and you won’t have trauma around them after the birth.  The birth plan is something I can use as a Doula in the hospital setting to advocate for you – for your wishes – and to make sure you consent to anything that strays from this.  You’ll take this plan to your pregnancy care provider to sign off on during your pregnancy, so there are no surprises about your requests at the birth.  It will give you a chance to discuss anything out of the ordinary with them, or anything that may clash with your wishes – like potentially hospital policy.

In the second meeting we discuss your fears around birth and address any concerns or queries that you may have around the process, and what happens next.  We’ll talk about natural things you can do to be in optimum shape and condition to birth your baby, and can even go over some positions for birth, breathing techniques and visualisations.  Though of course, you may have already done this in your independent birthing classes.  Importantly, it’s spending more time getting to know me (and me you!) and feeling more comfortable and at ease in my presence.

Then, from your 38 to 42 weeks gestation (ie your due month), I’m on call for you.  You can contact me 24/7 with concerns, queries, questions, and importantly if you think you’re in labour.  I then attend your birth with you.  If you’re low risk, your hospital may even offer you access to a homebirth or their birthing centre instead of the delivery suite – and I can support you and your partner in your labour and your birth in all of these locations.

To your birth, I bring my giant Doula toolkit (or some say a bag of tricks!).  This includes lots of things like motivation and encouragement, massage and acupressure, essential oils and homeopathy, rebozo techniques, photography and more… Most importantly, I truly believe in you and your ability to birth your baby.  As a non-biased support person, I’m there for you no matter what and will back you in your choices.  I can provide you with lots of information so that you totally understand the risks around the decisions you make.  I strive to ensure that you are 100% present for your journey, that you consent to every step of the process, and that if this deviates from your birth plan, you fully understand why.  Given in 2018 we have postnatal depression rates of something like 1 in 7 women, 1 in 16 partners and PTSD in 1 in 10 new mums, I truly believe that having a Doula is a massive step towards improving these numbers.

We’ll meet after the birth to debrief your experience.  It’s the chance for you to own your story and having been at your birth, I can help you to fill in any gaps.  Often during a birth, time is warped and it can be hard to judge how long there was between each event or even which part came first.  Debriefing is an important step to ensure you have no question unanswered or “stone left unturned” so to speak.  I can also help you with feeding and settling techniques, and go through an approximate “what to expect” for a 24 hour cycle with your newborn baby (not quite a routine).

In this postnatal Doula role, we call it “mothering the mother” and so I do whatever it is that you need to best be able to look after your baby.  I can help you fold a load of laundry, hold the baby so you can shower, cook a nutritious meal and even pick up some groceries for you on my way.  And if you don’t have much support around, you can book additional postpartum Doula sessions with me too. My role encompassing all Doula services, is varied and allows me to offer a true range of support for you in so many different ways.

 While I absolutely love this Sydney based doula support work, it does mean I need to juggle some other things in my personal life.  My children are young (currently 6 and 3.5 years old) and are at school / preschool 5 days a week.  My amazing husband can help cover the nights and weekends, and we have a demi pair (like a nanny) who lives with us who helps with the drop off and pick up times from school.  Given I have to drop everything on the fly to attend a birth, it’s essential that I have these sorts of measures in place.  It also means I don’t commit to very much personally.  When we are invited to something I can only say “I’m on call for a birth at that time so while I’ll do my best to be there, there is a chance I’ll be supporting a Doula client”.  Also, as I mostly see my clients on nights and weekends (as they work in the day and that’s what usually suits them), it does significantly limit the time I can spend with my husband and kids.  I try to keep one week night free a week to spend with my husband, and at least one of the weekend days to spend as a family – tricky when we juggle things like swimming, jiu-jitsu or dance classes – plus kids birthday parties etc…  I see this mostly as a sacrifice for loving the Doula work I do.  Every job has its ups and downs, and the “job” part of being a Doula doesn’t feel like work to me as I love it so much, it’s more the missing out on other opportunities in my life that is the down side.

In addition to my Doula services, I’m also a Ka Huna bodyworker and a Pilates instructor.  Ka Huna massage is an incredible Hawaiian style that uses long flowing strokes from head to toe and back again, over and under the body, and this underbody work is so unique and different to any other style, making Ka Huna a full body massage in one sweeping motion.  You are encouraged to relax deeply on the table and truly let go – physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I didn’t get into Ka Huna to become a massage therapist, rather it’s the personal development that comes with it that I gain so much from.  You see in Ka Huna, we focus on the flow of love energy, and if I can stay present and focused, not thinking about the laundry or what’s for dinner or any negative things that may be happening in my life, then I feel so much more positive in general.  When giving a massage, I draw on my Lomi Lomi Heartworks (another Hawaiian style of massage) techniques which makes the massage like a meditation – I imagine I’m breathing air in from my head to my heart, and love out my arms and hands into the body on the table.  I’m trained in pregnancy massage and bring a little bit of flow to each birth with me too.

 As a Pilates instructor, I specialised in pregnancy Pilates and postnatal Pilates for recovery.  I offer a unique mobile service to you where I come to your home in Sydney and help you apply functional Pilates exercises back into your everyday life.  This helps to reduce the risk of injury and allows your body to adapt as your baby grows.  This is available during pregnancy and usually as a postnatal service.

Thanks so much for reading all the way through this blog article.  I hope you have enjoyed my sharing all aspects of my busy lifestyle and exactly what’s involved in being a Doula (or hiring me).”

 

If you’d like more information or to connect with Amanda Bernstein, the Sydney Doula, please check out:

Website: www.essentialme.com.au

Phone Amanda: 0411 607 608

Facebook & Instagram: /essentialmeservices

The birth of the beautiful Isla Belle – “Isla is the most placid and happy little baby, Nick and I are completely smitten and loving every minute of this journey.”

“We were lucky enough to be blessed with a little girl on February 21st, Isla Belle Roberts was born at RPA at around 12pm.

In the lead up to her birth with weekly ultrasounds we were constantly being told she was going to be a very big baby, finally as I reached 38 weeks she was running out of room so we decided it was best to induce labour and welcome Isla a little bit earlier to ensure there was no complications with this huge baby being born.
I was lucky enough that after the induction my waters broke naturally and contractions started themselves so there was no need for intervention or oxytocin drips, this baby was ready to come out itself!
Due to the induction, labour was quite long and my surges started straight away being 3-5 minutes apart and 1-2 minutes long. Having the hypnobirthing techniques we learnt and practiced were crucial in the first few hours of getting through this labour, I was able to go into myself, calm my self and baby’s heart rate down in order to get through the long hours and control my breathing the entire time. Practicing my breathing became the most crucial tool I had to get me through the relentless surges. Once I felt I was ready to push, Isla came into the world in only about 8 pushes, with the obstetrician saying he could tell I had been practicing my ‘pushing breath’ as it was perfect and I got through the birth without a single tear or graze!
Although the labour and birth went nothing like we planned it didn’t matter at all, in the end it turned out being the most perfect birth to a beautiful baby girl, weighing in at only a normal 3.4kgs after all that…
Isla is the most placid and happy little baby, Nick and I are completely smitten and loving every minute of this journey.
Thank you again for all your help, I’m so glad we did this class with you and can not recommend it highly enough to soon to be mothers!”
Amelia & Nick – parents to baby Isla

The beautiful birth of baby Ernie – “It was the most incredible experience and I would do it a million times over.”

I love receiving positive birth stories – it’s why I do what I do. To know that other women have experienced really powerful, beautiful and amazing births that leave them feeling like they would give birth again “a million times over” is what it’s all about for me.

Check out the wonderful birth story of baby Ernie and read how his mum and dad have been telling everyone how great his birth was!!
“Hi Kerry!

You’ve been on my mind too, it’s been a very full few weeks but I’ve been dying to let you know how we went with the birth.

Little Ernest Dilanchian was born at 2.58am on Sunday the 4th of feb – my birthday!

I’d started having contractions on Thursday evening, they progressed over night, Sevi and I taking turns to time them, then died off during the day on Friday.  I kept in contact with my midwives at the birth centre and kept listening to the affirmations and meditation music to get me through the nights.  F

riday day came and went, in hindsight now I can see how I could have helped the process progress through the days but TBH I was happy to sit quietly with my husband Sevi and enjoy Netflix, recuperating from no sleep the nights before!  Friday night the surges were regular but still 20 mins apart and then on Saturday things started to progress, I spent a lot of time in the shower and on our exercise ball, saying my favourite affirmations over and over in my head – in particular “my body and my baby know how to work together” and “every surge brings me closer to my baby”.

Around 11pm on Saturday night I started feeling like I couldn’t manage the pain on my own so asked if we could come into the birth centre.  We went in, I was given a panadeine and a sleeping pill as I was only 3cm dilated and we came back home to see if we could keep riding it out.  I was at this stage in the shower constantly, Sevi was napping as we didn’t know how much longer we were in for.

By midnight I had a strong urge to push so we made our way back to the birth centre.  My favourite midwife was there and she had the bath ready for me to get straight in, which I did.  I was vocalising a lot by this stage, Sevi and my midwife we quietly encouraging but I was in my own zone.

At this point I remember being incredibly aware of everything happening in my body and not feeling pain – just incredible power with each surge.  Pretty much within an hour of getting to the birth centre again I was giving birth to my baby boy!

My midwife reminded me to hum so I wouldn’t lose my voice which I am eternally grateful for and I hummed him out in the bath, on my knees.  I can remember the crowning being a sharp feeling, but I focussed on my baby and imagined him moving downwards.  The affirmations were running through my mind every time I felt myself being overwhelmed.

All of a sudden he was slipping out and I scooped him into my arms.  It was the most incredible experience and I would do it a million times over.

Sevi and I both tell everyone how amazing the birth was at every opportunity!  I wanted a water birth and I am so thankful that it all went to plan, and honestly I have you and hypnobirthing to thank.  Can’t wait to catch up in person and talk it all through, Ernie would love to meet you.

Thank you so so much for your sessions and for staying in contact, I will be forever thankful!”

Victoria – Mummy to baby Ernie!

The beautiful birth of Clara Ann!

Below is the birth story of the gorgeous baby Clara who is one of the few babies who actually arrived on her due date!

Here is her hypnobirthing superstar mum Holly writing about Clara’s birth…

“Hi Kerry! I just wanted to let you know about the birth of our daughter, Clara Ann on 8th February. She was born at 19.40 weighing 3.74kg (8lb 2oz for us Brits!) Andy and I are over the moon with her and it was an amazing surprise to find out we had a little girl at the end of it all.
Here’s my hypnobirthing story…
I knew a bit about hypnobirthing before I fell pregnant as I knew friends who’d used it and had amazing births. As soon as I saw that positive line on my test, I knew I would be getting in touch with Kerry to book into a course. The hypnobirthing classes and the material we went home with were invaluable in starting me off on a route to a positive, informed and empowered birth. The best thing about hypnobirthing for me was that it gave me the power to own my own body and realise what a natural process pregnancy, labour and birth are. I was able to thoroughly research everything armed with reliable research links sent to me through Hypnobirthing Australia. There wasn’t anything I didn’t feel I was unprepared to discuss at any of my hospital appointments.
I chose to have a hospital birth because this was my first baby and I wanted the safety and security of a hospital. What I will say is that during the 9 months I carried Clara, I found myself more and more wishing I’d had a home birth as I was so keen to test out all those natural hormones! I complimented my hypnobirthing with a shed load of herbal teas designed to help prepare your body for birth and followed some research I found on eating dates to help labour (although after 4/5 dates a day for 4 weeks I’m happy not to see another one for a while!)
Hypnobirthing was an amazing way for me to involve my husband with the pregnancy and the birth. He learnt alongside me. We avoided baby books and google and just went with all the vast array of sensible research you sent us. We’d practise light touch massage and in the weeks running up to my EDD we’d do the birth rehearsal. I put up affirmations in my kitchen onto personal photos I loved and felt represented each one. I read them daily and practiced my tracks as much as possible. All of this led to me feeling calm about the birth. I didn’t feel scared at all. Only in the last couple of weeks did I start to feel apprehensive but it was more fear of the unknown than fear of birth (besides, I don’t think I’d be normal if I didn’t have a few wobbles before the big day!!)
Unbelievably, Clara arrived bang on her due date. I think she felt as ready and prepared as I did! I put on my tracks at the start of early labour and tried to focus my breathing as much as possible. Everything went well at home although I found that a lot of my plans to lay and listen to my tracks went out the window as it took a lot of focus for me during  my surges. I assumed early labour would be slow going and I’d have time to chill between surges but my body was having them every 5-10 minutes from the minute I woke up that morning. I tried to labour at home as long as possible but once my waters released we thought it was time to go!
Once I got to the hospital, things ramped up quickly. I was that women in a wheelchair in the lift with her waters flooding over the floor!!!  I’d packed all my candles and got playlists on my phone ready for labour. I even took my laminated affirmations to have around me in the labour suite. We never got them up though as we were so focussed on the labour. The ‘Quiet please we’re hypnobirthing’ sign did make it onto the door and our amazing midwife, who knew nothing about hypnobirthing, took our birth preferences and info pack off for a read and came back a convert I think!
I arrived at the hospital at 1.30pm at 2cm dilated. I’d asked not to be checked but Clara had meconium in the waters so they were needing to check me and her heart rate. I felt a little twang of disappointment that I felt so far along yet wasn’t dilated. I managed to get in a bath surrounded by my candles and Melissa reading me the affirmations. By 4.30pm I was 10cm dilated and by the miracle of nature I felt my body change and experienced spontaneous pushing. Unfortunately, Clara took her time to get out and I pushed at full dilation for nearly three hours, although I had no idea it had taken so long as I was so exhausted and high on birthing hormones. All my hypnobirthing felt like it went out of the window and I thought I’d never do it. I heard myself say over and over “I can’t do this” and I was shaking and feeling totally overwhelmed. Looking back it was classic transition signs.
Time had no meaning for me and I look back and feel it was like I was in a daze. Only now can I see how all those birth hormones were working! My husband was simply amazing. I couldn’t have got through without him and his constant encouragement (even if he did say he wanted to throw the iPhone and Melissa and the tranquil chambers out the window since it got stuck in a loop that neither of us were in a position to change!)
When Clara arrived and they passed her into my arms I think I was in shock that I’d done it. I’d birthed my baby safely and naturally without any pain relief at all!
Afterwards, I looked back to analyse my birth and felt like I’d ‘failed at hypnobirthing’ because everything I thought I’d do I didn’t. I wasn’t that calm women laid in a bath from the course videos. I was a noisy shouting women finding that I could get through each surge so I could get through the next. I might not have been actively focusing on ‘every surge brings my baby closer to me’ but I’m pretty sure it was there in my subconscious! Things on my birth preferences kept not happening, such as I wanted a physiological third stage. They advised against it as I was bleeding heavily. However, I was already knowledgeable as to why this could happen and the risks involved so I didn’t need to ask what they were doing and was able to make conscious decisions to say yes to the drugs I needed to help me.
However, as the week has passed, I now look back and think to my myself what did hypnobirthing do for me? And the answer is it empowered me to feel like I owned my body. It taught me that my body is strong. My body is amazing. It gave me a positive view of pregnancy and birth and guided me away from all the negativity we hear about how awful labour is. It gave me strength to feel relaxed in my physical and mental preparation for birth. Above all hypnobirthing gave me the tools to calmly face whatever turn my birthing took.
As Melissa (Hypnobirthing Australia Director) says “I am a strong women”. We are all strong and we all deserve to experience a positive birth no matter what turn that birth takes. I for one cannot praise Hypnobirthing Australia enough and I will now go forwards as one more women to help share with others that birth is a natural process that we should all own.”

From planned vaginal breech birth to caesarean section and calmly meeting whatever path your birth follows!

The absolutely adorable baby Alfie was born recently and here mum Emily talks about how her planned vaginal breech birth was going so well but ended in a caesarean birth, yet that didn’t stop this hypnobirthing star from having a very positive and inspiring birth….

 

“Hi Kerry. Sorry for the delay, just thought I’d send some pictures and info on the birth of Alfred (Alfie) last week. I can’t believe he’s already 9 days old.

Thank you so much for your guidance and support with our breech baby. I really think that if I hadn’t done the HypnoBirthing course I’d have rather different feeling about the outcome of the birth. Apologies if I’m repeating myself on  what you already know regarding the birth story.

On Friday 19th Jan after our follow up session I’d prepared for a house warming party at ours and thought about the new affirmations we discussed. At the end of the party I felt a small amount of liquid and wondered if it could be my waters. Although the amount was negligible, it definitely wasn’t wee or discharge and it kept coming every time I moved (but like I say, it was a really small amount). I slowly started to move people out of the party and pulled my husband aside, asked him to put down the beer in case we needed to go to the hospital. I remember at first thinking, ‘oh crap, what do I do, there are people in the house, I’m tired, I need to clean up, this isn’t supposed to happen for another week or so!?’

Then I immediately smiled and though, if this is it, this is it, bring it.

After clearing out the house at about 11pm I called the hospital, as we were attempting a natural breech birth they’d asked us to give them a shout as soon as we thought we might be in labour. The hospital staff were really relaxed and said to come in and they’d check me out to see what’s going on. Chris roughly finished packing the bag while I sat and relaxed. I told him not to bother with half the stuff as i felt like I’d be coming home in an hour or so anyway. We took an uber to the hospital and as I got out of the car I took 2 steps when my waters really really broke. There was no question or doubt in my mind then, baby was enroute. Despite having a laminated hospital bag packing list, we of course forgot half the contents. With a natural breech attempt they like to monitor any contractions and bubs heart rate continually on mobile devices to check all is in order. So they had me tucked up in bed with a cup of tea and some monitors. At about 2:30am I think I started to feel some contractions which came about every 10minutes and I managed to sleep in between each one. Having downloaded the HypnoBirthing tracks onto my phone I found it really helpful to have them playing through the night. They really kept me relaxed, especially the affirmations. Relaxing into each contraction I felt in control and content that my body knew what to do.

By 7am they were coming every 5-7mins and felt stronger but in my docile relaxed state I don’t really remember. I let the midwife know things had ramped up since I was admitted and they got me going comfortable in the delivery suite advising that the breech specialist was enroute and there were two breech attempts happening that day.

At 08:30am I was examined and was 4cms. My husband had set up the room into a relaxed environment and was launching into some light tough massage which really helped. However, we’d forgotten the heat packs.

Just when I was getting into my ‘marathon mindset’ things sped up. A lot. Maybe I should have prepared for a sprint? By 11am I was at 10cm and was ready to push. Breathing and vocalising through each surge really helped but I could tell the endorphins had kicked in. Everything else was still and it felt like i was only concentrating on 1 thing which was getting through each surge. Saying to myself, ‘if I got through the last one, I’ll get through this one’ helped although I was surprised how quickly they’d ramped up. At one point I said I couldn’t do it, not recognising that I was in transition. I asked for gas, had one blow and spat it out, I think it was easier with nothing.

Once I’d started to breath the baby down things felt quite different, slower and more time between surges for which I was thankful for. The drs were very hopeful and commented that everything was ‘textbook’. I even felt my baby’s bum with my hand which was encouraging. However, the babies heart rate began to drop and very quickly the specialist advised I was going to be taken in for a cesarean. I don’t remember much else, other than feeling like I totally trusted the team to make the safest decision for my baby. The babies heart rate dropped again and there was no time for an epidural. I was put under general anaesthetic and my baby was delivered at 12:07 without me even being awake or my husband in the room.

None of that mattered, my baby boy was healthy, happy and safe. When I awoke 2hrs later I was united with my baby who immediately fed and settled on my chest.
HypnoBirthing really helped me ‘calmly accept whatever turn my birthing took’. If I’d have known that my first birthing experience would have ended like this I’d have never believed it but it was still a positive experience. Just to have my boy healthy and with me is all that matters. I’m not going to pretend that being rushed into theatre isn’t traumatic. Hearing words fly around like ‘don’t push, no time for epidural, we need to get her under now’, are things that will stay with me but trusting the medical team looking after me I truely feel like birthing was a positive experience. No I didn’t have my dream water birth surrounded by candles, letting the surges pass silently with my husband at my side for the delivery but I got my baby, healthy, bright eyed and hungry. It doesn’t mean that I can’t aim for that next time.

Thanks again for your support. I have been recommending your course for my prospective mums-to-be in Sydney.

Best, Emily & Chris.”