Levi James was born at 10:59am on Friday, May 2nd! We were blessed to have the gentle waterbirth we had hoped for, and, after a bit of extra recovery for me, are home and healthy. On Wednesday, I had a doctor’s appointment where I was hoping they could strip my membranes to get things moving. Instead, they found me dilated to zero and couldn’t strip my membranes. Thursday morning, we had an ultrasound to check the amount of amniotic fluid, which was good. We went home to wait (I had lots of pineapple and did a little nipple stimulation around 4:00 Thursday evening). Around 5:00, I started feeling nauseated and didn’t want to eat much dinner. Then I started having very manageable surges. This was really the first time I could easily identify a surge, before this I had just felt a little constant ache like menstrual cramps. This time, I could feel when they started and stopped. So I started timing them and found them 8-12 minutes apart and 30-90 seconds long. We went to bed around 10:30, but I woke up at 12:30 to stronger surges that were 90 seconds to 2 minutes apart and lasting about a minute.
We left for the hospital shortly thereafter, and when we arrived I was 6-7cm dilated. (Funny story: the parking structure had “expectant mother” parking nice and close, but the structure was being washed so I walked myself through the parking structure and hospital all the way to triage since a wheelchair sounded so uncomfortable). Through each surge, I would stop walking and hold onto my husband's arm or a chair or whatever I could find and breathe deeply through it, focusing on relaxing my jaw. I had expected to use the prompts or the scripts we practiced in HypnoBirthing during the birth, but instead I just focused on my jaw and muscles relaxing and swayed my hips through them. I got in the birth tub as fast as possible and it felt WONDERFUL. If you ever have the opportunity to use a birth tub, DO IT. I was able to relax enough that I was sleeping between/through surges when I was 8-9cm dilated while my husband napped on the couch.
Occasionally I would start to have more trouble focusing on my relaxation, so I would get out of the tub and stand/walk for a surge or two and then get back in. That seemed to “reset” how wonderful the tub was and I was back in control. I think I panicked a bit during 3 or 4 surges the whole time and said things like “I want to be done” and moaned a bit, but the rest of the surges were manageable and (YES IM GOING TO SAY IT) not painful.
Around 10:15 (I think), my body started pushing. At first it freaked me out and I tried to stop pushing but I couldn’t; I asked the nurse if it was okay if I pushed and she said to do whatever my body told me to. So whenever I felt my body start pushing, I just joined in and pushed with it. I was making some lovely sounds when I pushed but otherwise was very relaxed and quiet. The ring of fire appeared, and that stung (yes, pain with that) but was manageable also. At that point I was so ready to have that baby out, I even told my husband to make him come out, so the sting felt like progress. Baby’s heart rate dropped a bit at the end, and they told me to push whether I was having a surge or not. I believe I said “no thank you”, but they said that I needed to get the baby out now. So I pushed and pushed and Levi came out about 2 minutes later, at 10:59 after about 45 minutes of total pushing. Then I started having a few problems: I started bleeding pretty heavily and they quickly gave me an IV with Pitocin (to contract my uterus to help the blood vessels close) which stayed in for 12 hours and then a couple bags of saline because I had not drank enough during labor and was dehydrated. The bleeding was under control pretty quickly and I didn’t really have more bleeding issues. We spent time with Levi and then moved down to our recovery room....Levi’s doing great, healthy, and breastfeeding is going pretty well.
I’m so glad about how our birth turned out (horay hypnobirthing and birth tubs!)! Thanks so much for the extra encouragement, advice, and getting us on the HypnoBirthing wagon!
"Our son came into the world in a birthing tub late Christmas night in our home. It was such a touching and beautiful experience for all of us, including our 2-year-old daughter who started running around the room looking for baby toys. The labor lasted a mere 5 ½ hours from the onset of the first noticeable wave. They were a lot more intense than I remember them being when my daughter was born and lasted longer. The breathing techniques, shoulder massages from my husband and midwife (Debbie Healy of Open Arms Midwifery), visualizations, and some vocalizations helped me stay relaxed and let the birth unfold. Our son weighed 7 lbs, 9 oz and is very healthy. He enjoys nursing, cuddling and taking naps. After experiencing a hospital birth with my daughter, I have been in awe over the beauty and simplicity of a home birth. Britt Wanta and Debbie Healy were excellent. Thanks again Kerstin to your contribution to such a peaceful and gentle birth!"
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“I loved how smoothly the birth flowed; and also how the pregnancy gently led into the birth led into the fourth trimester. My first child's appearance seemed so abrupt but with HypnoBirthing, because I had been preparing for the birth throughout the whole pregnancy, in some ways it was a nonevent. One just naturally flowed into the other just as nature intended.”
"Hi Kerstin, Just thought you'd like to know we had an 8 1/2 lb baby boy this morning at 5am. Mom and baby are happy and healthy. The HypnoBirthing worked like a charm. You couldn't even tell she was working until she started breathing the baby down, which only took three surges. Start to finish, the process lasted about 2 hours. Thanks for all your help!"
"I wanted to send a quick note to say hello! J is already a year old which we can't believe and I wanted to share how much we still carry with us from our HypnoBirthing classes. In particular, I often hear your voice reminding us to ask questions if we're ever uncomfortable about something and to advocate for him and ourselves! He's a super chill, awesome kid, which we attribute, at least in part to all the relaxation practice before he was born."
"Hi Kerstin, We just wanted to let you know that we have delivered a healthy baby girl. Addyson Jo Brauer was born September 21 at 2:16 pm. She weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. I have to tell you that this was by far the best birth experience I have had. I didn't even feel like I gave birth! I wasn't tired at all, instead very energized. I started having surges that morning like I always had every day for the past couple of weeks. Jason went to work and I proceeded to go back to bed to get extra rest. I figured if they were the real thing, they would wake me up. I had had a few mornings where they had woke me up but they never amounted to anything.
At 10:30 am, I let Jason know that I was pretty sure this was it so he needed to come home. When he got home, we got last minute stuff together and then he had me start to listen to the birth affirmations cd. We had decided to have an anchor of him rubbing my belly which worked really well. We called our Doula around 11am and worked on relaxation while we waited for her to get here. Our Doula got here around 12:30pm and fed Jaydon while Jason helped me. Then they switched jobs. Jason then finished up the packing and loaded up the van. We decided to call the clinic to let them know we were coming in around 1:30pm. They told us to just go to the hospital and they would let the doctor know. When we got down to the van, I lifted my leg to get in the backseat and I could feel her right there so I started to tense up because I knew if I didn't we wouldn't make it to the hospital. I had a hard time relaxing in the van because of feeling her head so low and being worried we wouldn't make it but I did my best for the 10 minute drive.
When we got there, our Doula got a wheelchair and headed up to the birthing center while Jason parked the van. We arrived at the birthing center at 2pm. They got us in the room and our Doula helped get me in the bed. We got my clothes off my lower half and I had to get in bed without changing anything else. The nurses were busy getting the things done they had to do such as running the strip and getting the table ready. The nurse checked me and I was 7-8. My water broke and 2 minutes later I could feel her coming so the nurse checked again and said to have the doctor come quickly. The nurse didn't even get her second glove on as the baby's head was coming out. My mom came in the room and saw her head be delivered and someone came in right behind her and saw the feet. That's how quickly she was born! It lasted 16 whole minutes!
The only time I felt any pain was when I got out of my relaxation. The doctor didn't even make it there, she was 4 minutes too late. She walked into the room and looked so disappointed because she missed it. She couldn't believe I was smiling and laughing after just giving birth a few minutes ago. When she checked me the next day she said she had patients that were really interested in the HypnoBirthing and that she was anxious for me to get certified to teach it. I had told her that if this worked for me, I had every intention of learning how to teach and she remembered that. She also said that if she got pregnant again, she was coming to me because I made it look easy. So I guess besides telling you our birth story, I also would like to find out how to become a HypnoBirthing teacher like you.
I have so many people who are full of envy over the 16 minute labor we had and both of us are just in awe of our birth story. We have you to thank for it! I can't wait to hear back from you. Thank you again Kerstin!"
Update: Valli is now a certified HB practitioner! Congratulations Valli!
Kerstin's first HypnoBirthing family to take the class and they were kind enough to share their experience. Enjoy!
"Hypnobirthing helped me survive a labor that stalled and thus lasted 6 days on 11 hours of sleep. That alone should let anyone understand how important this class is for anyone that wants to give birth with or without medical intervention. The techniques were so effective I did not realize I was in labor. I got no sleep, but because of the relaxation techniques, I thought I was in a sort of early/pre labor.
I initially signed up for some classes at a birth class center/store and the classes were long and felt like bad therapy sessions. I only lasted for one of four classes. The hypnobirthing classes were a totally different story. I found Maria's direct and honest style refreshing. What I liked the most about the class was that Maria was approachable. Her teaching style is more of a peer mentorship approach. I think the fact that Maria was able to rely her own experiences helped me tremendously.
I am a nerd and had read about childbirth and pregnancy ad nauseam, but the hypnobirthing class provides something that can't be learned via reading or video. It provided me with tools that I used beyond childbirth. Hypnobirthing techniques helped me with my insomnia and they were even useful in preventing me from vomiting in my first and second trimesters. I was able focus in a stressful, medically complex birth that involved pre-ecclampsia.
I began the class weary of attempting an unmedicated birth. I learned about the strength of my mind with the exercises she taught my husband and I. I can't recommend this class enough!"
"I cannot begin to say enough about Maria and hypnobirthing! My husband and I took her class for our second baby and the experience was amazing! Not only is she a great educator; calm, informative, and helpful - but the practices and education led to an amazing birth experience! It is the number one thing I would recommend for anyone about to welcome a baby to the world. Not only is it useful information for actually giving birth (no matter what kind of birth you are hoping for), but also helpful techniques to know before and after having the baby (calming techniques are a big help with a toddler!) Thanks to hypnobirthing I had an 11lb baby, with no meds, and stayed incredibly calm and peaceful the entire time! (And I'm a type 1 diabetic to boot!) I would put more stars if I could!"
"Hi Kerstin, Piper Lynn was born on October 3rd at 8:47pm, Carl & my 1 year anniversary!! Thank you for adding the class for us in August- we had an awesome birth experience and HB helped me stay focused, calm, and relaxed (even with 20 hours of labor). Piper arrived calm and alert- she latched on within the first 45 minutes- and she is the most content baby! I attribute that to HB. Carl was a rock star, and helped me especially the last 5 hours of intense surges and the delivery of Piper. Thank you again!"
“I had a gentle natural birth with both my children, but I enjoyed my HypnoBirth. The breathing and relaxation techniques enabled me to be more present and work with my body. An hour before my son was born I was quoted as saying, ‘This is fun!’”