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January 2017:
Baby Elijah's Birth Stor

What Professionals are Saying:

"It was amazing to watch someone labor with seemingly no pain!" - Laurie Perrin, Obstetrician

"This is how all births should be! Calm, focused, relaxed." - Sid Kamrava, Obstetrician

"Absolutely marvelous! I would have never believed it if I had not seen it. My client was so focused and yet so comfortable all through labor, enough to even brush her teeth at 8cms. I will definitely recommend Anne's HypnoBirthing classes to all my clients. Thank you Anne..." - Jill Colin, Certified Professional Midwife

"Wow! Your baby is so much calmer than most of the newborn babies I see. I need to learn more about HypnoBirthing!" - Lee McGarey, Pediatrician

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Another Mother's Story:

The class taught me to embrace contractions (surges). "Think of them as bear hugs," our instructor would say. For the first time in my type-A life, I learned to relax. Most of all, I learned to trust my body. With each passing week, my confidence grew. I would have no problem giving birth. It would be a magical experience. My body would know what to do. I could picture it." - Beth Fisher, 2006

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Discover HypnoBirthing:

giving birth

Three mothers talk about the surprises they faced during childbirth
As told to Heather Millar
AMERICANBABY.COM ~ NOVEMBER 2006

Like kids, no two births are quite the same. Some come as a surprise. Some end short and sweet. Others, well let's just say they're a little more labor-intensive. The point is that your little bundle's entry into the world can unfold in a million different ways. However, it happens, you'll be telling the story for the rest of your life. Here, the stories of three women who experienced different deliveries with their own set of unique circumstances. What they share: three healthy children.

Anne Swanson

Age 29
Las Vegas, NV
Daughter: Michal, 3 years, 11 months

I have a thorough, scientific approach to life. I earned a full college scholarship and degree in chemistry. But despite my inquisitive nature, for most of my pregnancy, I didin't think too much about the actual birth and assumed I would have an epidural. (Case in point: My sister Pam had given birth a year earlier than I did. At her shower, I told everyone that she was crazy to try for a natural childbirth with no drugs.) But seven months into my pregnancy, I went for my routine ob-gyn checkup. My doctor asked if I'd thought pain control options. I said, "I want the epidural." "You can't have one," he answered. "What? No way!" I gasped, really surpirsed.

My doctor reminded me that I'd had surgery for scoliosis - an unnatural curvature of the spine - and as a result, I can't curve my lower vertebrae, although I can bend at the waist. If a patient can't move the middle of her back, the anesthesiologist can't properly insert the needle to deliver the epidural pain medication. So an epidural wasn't an option, but I knew I would need something to cope with the pain. I considered IV drugs but opted against them. The I read about birthing methods from Lamaze to Bradley, but nothing appealed to me. Finally, I cam across HypnoBirthing.

It's an approach taught by Marie Mongan, a New Hampshire hypnotherapist. Mongan's idea, based on the work of an early-20th-century obstetrician, is that in most births, you have a fear-tension-pain cycle. Fear of childbirth sets off a fight-or-flight reaction in your body, sending oxygen (and blood) to your arms and legs and away from your uterus, which leads to cramping and pain. HypnoBirthing teaches you to trust your body and let birth unfold rather than fight it.

My husband, Jeremiah, and I went to our first class, where we saw movies of two drug-free births that were quiet and serene, the opposite of everything I'd seen or heard about childbirth. We worked hard at learning the techniques. Every night we did guided relaxation exercises that trained my mind and body to reach deep levels of relaxation; during labor, I would be able to re-create that mental state when I needed it. For example, I would repeat things like, "My body knows how to birth my baby."

I started to practice everyday: I progressively relaxed each part of my body, starting at the top of my head and working down to my toes. I visualized all the colors of the rainbow. I imagined a glove with anesthesia touching different parts of my body, providing pain relief with each touch. Gradually, the relaxation techniques started to work. I though, "Wow, this is incredible." After the exercises, I just felt different. I was well-rested and rejuvenated. My thoughts weren't flying all over the place anymore, and being able to relax allowed me to sleep during late pregnancy. That was a gift.

Labor didn't start until four days after my due date. My mom and I were shopping when I felt my first "surge" - in HypnoBirthing they're called surges, not contractions. I breathed with the surge, and it was not painful. We kept shopping and also stopped to eat. At about 6 p.m., we went home. By then, the surges were about seven to eight minutes apart, but I kept doing the relaxation techniques unitl 2 a.m., when I was ready to head to the hospital. As Jeremiah drove, I listened to a relaxation tape to keep me centered.

Listening to a soothing CD can help to relax a mom-to-be who is experiencing labor pains.

In the hospital triage room, I leaned calmly against the wall each time I had a surge. The nurses looked at me and thought I looked too relaxed to be very far along. "It's too early," one nurse told me. "You're probably going to go home." Another nurse checked me, saw I was 7 centimeters dialted, and said, "Oh, my goodness, let's get you a room."

Once there, we dimmed the lights, and Jeremiah put on my favorite relaxation CD. I visualized my cervix muscle as blue satin ribbons and imagined my perineal tissues as the opening petals of a rose bud. I told myself, "Open, open." I visualized my daughter moving down the birth path.

Around 6 a.m., the surges slowed down, and I was able to take a three-hour nap. I woke up as my doctor came in. "If the contractions don't start again, we're going to have to do a Pitocin drip," he said. I asked him to give me 20 minutes of privacy, during which I tried nipple stimulation to get natural hormones flowing again. The surges returned.

As the surges increased in intensity, I went further into myself. I focused only on what my body was doing and what I needed to do to relax. I didn't pay attention to anything or anyone else. I didn't eat, drink, or make any noise. It was like riding a wave. It would go up, then down, then I'd rest for a moment between contractions. My mom says she kept waiting for me to make a sound, but I didn't. Surrendering to the process was the hardest work of all. If I had allowed myself to lose focus, I think I would have had discomfort; instead, I kept my focus and felt no pain. The doctor brought nurses into my room to watch. "This is how birth should be," he said.

I was fully dilated, but my daughter was still very high in the birth canal. Not seeing a point in dragging things out, my doctor encouraged me to bear down. But with HypnoBirthing, you don't hurry things along, you just let them happen. I waited for the urge to push, which took about an hour. Then I started doing "birth breathing" (a rapid inhale and very long, slow exhale) to use the abdominal muscles to breathe the baby out.

The the nurse said, "She's crownng! Look at your baby!" They put Michal on my chest and she started to nurse right away. I looked at Michal's feet and thought, I can't wait to do this again. And, I have to teach this!

I've become a certified HypnoBirthing instructor since our family moved to Las Vegas three and a half years ago. And I'm now teaching the techniques to my 210th couple.

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