Having a Packed Toiletry Bag always in your Doula Bag

A toiletry bag review may initially seem like an unusual review for my blog.  However I know the benefit of always having a stocked toiletry bag in my doula bag.

Here are my must haves:

  • Female “Supplies” – There is something about the hormones at a birth, there have been quite a few births where my cycle started sooner than expected.
  • Toothbrush – I love Colgate Wisp for this.  The toothpaste and toothbrush are together.
  • Dental Floss – If you have ever had something stuck in your teeth, you know why you need this.
  • Deodorant – If a birth goes long and I want to feel fresh, a little deodorant and clean teeth can do wonders.
  • Mints/Gum – Fresh breath is important!
  • Lip Balm – Dry lips annoy me and I want to be peaceful at a birth!  I also like to have a few extra new sealed ones, in case mom didn’t bring some and wants it, I can magically provide.  🙂
  • Lotion – Dry skin is not fun.  Also have shared with Moms on occasion.
  • Hair ties – Hair in the face is also annoying.  I love having these on hand in case I forgot to grab one on the way out.  Also have shared with Moms at births.
  • Essential Oils – I love to carry a few in my bag at all times.  Peppermint and Lavender are must haves.

I was excited to have a chance to receive this toiletry bag to do a review.

My review is more for personal use than doula use, as I already have a toiletry bag I have in my doula bag.  However, as my boys grow they need their own toiletry bag when we travel and using a gallon zip-lock baggie just isn’t cutting it anymore. 😉

I liked this bag so much I may have to use it for myself and give them the one I was using.

IMG_7405I like that it can hang and the items inside are easily accessible.  There were a lot of pockets to put things in.  The pockets varied in size so I had no trouble fitting in my normal toiletry items.  Even my Sonicare toothbrush case fit, which is hard to get into my other bag. (Hence the reason I may keep this one and give my old bag to my son.)


I wouldn’t say it is compact when it is full and zipped up.  But I do carry a lot, so I don’t think it could be compact with all I like to bring.  I usually bring 2 toiletry bags and all my stuff fit in this one bag, so it definitely can fit a lot!  (If I packed my doula toiletries in it, it would have been much more compact.)


It comes with a soap case and toothbrush head protector.  I was thinking the soap case was kind of silly, who brings a bar of soap on a trip?  I just use the ones the hotel provides.  But I realized my q-tips fit perfectly in the box, so I put some little items in the soap box and was excited how they all fit.  So it turned out to be a great addition.

All in all I can easily recommend this Men’s Hanging Toiletry Bag.  It would be great for a doula at a birth,  as well as wonderful for anyone going on a trip.


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Great tip for calming a baby!

I loved this video with a very simple way to calm your baby.


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The Nurse Was Surprised – No one had ever done that before!

Donovan’s Birth

My pressure waves started early Thursday morning, June 12th (not sure
what time as I didn’t look at the clock when they woke me up) but I
finally got up after one woke me up at 6:40am. I had another one 10
min later so I decided to try and time them. Starting at 7am I
started timing them and I had 4 in a row at just under 10 min apart.
They stayed between 10 – 20 min apart for most of the day. I started
listening to my Hypnobabies script Easy Stage One on repeat.

Between 5 – 6pm they started to get more intense and they seemed more
frequent. I asked my husband to time them for me and they were coming
about 6 – 7 min apart and lasting about 30 – 45 sec. I continued to
breathe through them and listen to my Hypnobabies scripts the entire
time. I alternated between Comfortable Childbirth and Easy Stage One.

At about 9pm when the pressure waves were about 4-5 min apart for an
hour I asked my husband to call my mom to have her come down (she
lives down the street from me). When the pressure waves were
consistently 3-4 min apart and lasting close to a minute we decided
to head to the hospital. I took a 15 min shower first while my mom
hovered over me and my husband got everything out to the car.

We arrived at the hospital at 9:30pm on Thursday, June 12th. I was
taken to a triage room and put on the fetal monitor, my vitals were
taken, and a cervical exam showed I was 6-7 cm dilated. The triage
nurse was surprised at this because she said I was doing so well.

A different doctor was on-call for my OB’s group so they called him
to get labor orders (I also knew this doctor very well and was quite
happy that he was on-call). The triage nurse told me that I was being
moved to a L&D room and they would keep the monitor straps on me and
hook me up when I got to my room. I asked her if I could have
intermittent monitoring so that I could walk around if I wanted to
and she said she would call the doctor to ask. The doctor insisted on
continuous fetal monitoring, but I wasn’t required to stay in bed, I
just couldn’t go past the wire length.

I was then taken to my L&D room and introduced to my nurse. I was GBS
positive so I already knew that I had to have antibiotics but I had
requested a hep lock only so another nurse came in to put the hep
lock in. I had to have two bags of antibiotics and was able to move
around at the bedside while this was being dripped. During this time
I was sitting on the glider in the room and was listening to my
scripts. My husband and mom were with me and were awesome in helping
me stay relaxed and reminding me to take sips of water to stay
hydrated. As soon as my antibiotic was done I was disconnected from
the IV.

My husband gave my nurse my birth plan and to my surprise she read it
very thoroughly and clarified a few things with me. He also gave her
the brownies I had made and she was surprised at this and said no one
has ever given them anything like that before. She seemed very
appreciative of that.

I continued breathing and relaxing through my pressure waves and when
they started getting much more intense I found that standing leaning
against the counter and swaying my hips back and forth really helped
me through them. I felt better able to relax my birthing muscles with
my abdomen kind of “hanging” out in front of me.

At 11:45pm I was standing at the counter in the room when I had a
pressure wave and along with it a huge urge to push and I did push
some and had a big gush of fluid. I told my husband and my mom and
said to get the nurse because I felt like I had to push. My husband
said that my triage nurse who first checked me when I arrived at the
hospital overheard him tell my nurse this and he said she whispered
to another nurse, “that was fast.” My nurse came in and had me get in
bed to check me. I had another pressure wave with an urge to push,
and I did, and had another gush of fluid. She said I was about 9 cm
dilated and they were calling Dr. Wiseman and I should not push until
the last lip of my cervix was out of the way. The most difficult part
for me was having pushing pressure waves with that incredibly strong
urge to push and being told not to.

This was the point that I lost focus on relaxing because it was so
difficult to not push. My husband and mom jumped in to help talk me
through trying to relax and not push so I would dilate that last bit.
The nurse wanted to check me again during a pressure wave to see if I
dilated. She checked me and I did dilate to 10cm and was given the go
ahead to push. The doctor was still not there yet. I tried to push in-
between pressure waves to help stretch my perineum without the force
of a pressure wave behind it and I did fairly well with this. I used
the “breathing baby down” technique of pushing and was very vocal
with the use of “ahhhh” to get through this part.

My nurse was getting very nervous because she said she could see hair
and the doctor was still not there. Another nurse in the room assured
her that he would be there any second. He came in shortly after that
and they got everything ready and wanted me to turn onto my back and
put my feet in stirrups but I was more comfortable lying on my side
with my leg up so I stayed in that position. My husband and another
nurse were holding my top leg up while I pushed. The doctor was
wonderful at helping to guide my pushing so that I wouldn’t tear. The
pushing part actually felt wonderful and not at all uncomfortable.
When he was crowning I felt very, very tight and stretched but I
wouldn’t call it painful. This was very interesting to me since my
biggest fear that I had was the pain of crowning and of tearing.

I started pushing at about 11:55pm and my beautiful Hypnobaby was
born at 12:15am on Friday, June 13th. He was 8 lbs. 4 oz. and 20 in.
long. My husband didn’t want to cut the cord (he’s always a little
queasy around blood and stuff and was holding himself together pretty
well for what he saw), but the doctor kind of pushed the scissors
into his hands and said, “come on daddy” and showed him where to cut
and he did. A few more pushes and my placenta came out and was
intact. I did end up having a small tear that the doctor was debating
about even stitching but he did do one stitch as a precaution because
it was bleeding a bit.

The only drugs I had for this birth were the 2 bags of antibiotics
when I first arrived at the hospital and 2 Tylenol tablets after I
was in post-partum to help with some soreness. I refused the routine
Pitocin that is given after delivery because when I asked if there
was a reason I needed it the nurse didn’t have one and she said that
I was fine. Total time from active birthing time to delivery was
about 6-7 hours and this is my first baby. Total pushing time was
about 20 minutes.

This birth was such a wonderful, intense and incredible experience
and I am so thankful to the Hypnobabies program for allowing me and
my husband to have a birthing experience the way God intended for
women to have.

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“Slept” through most of my CDs, still worked great. Arrived at hospital surprised to find 10cm

Cienna’s Birth
First I want to say I started the Hypnobabies homestudy late (about 34 weeks) and that I had a really hard time not falling asleep in them.

Toward the end I would fall asleep to them at night and then listen to them again in the morning before I got out of bed. I tried to practice my on/off and center switch but wasn’t very good at it. After going and going all week, I finally told DH that I didn’t have anything planned for the rest of the time I was pregnant. “Good, let’s keep it that way” is how he responds. He doesn’t like being overscheduled. So Friday night we finally had a relaxing night. We watched a movie. I kept putting DH hand on my belly so he could feel how the baby was pushing or exercising. We joked that it liked to be up at night when I wanted to be sleeping. So we went to bed at 11 ish I think. If this was part of my birthing time, I was pretty clueless. I didn’t think anything of it.

I woke up at 1:50 am because I thought I peed my pants. But I had to pee a lot more. And more. DH asked what was up and I said I thought my water broke. He said “just go back to bed.” So I tried. But I couldn’t. I didn’t want to just lay there and think about it. So I went to the computer and worked on it. I put on my birthing day affirmations CD to help me be in a positive mindset. I used a computer website (thanks to whoever put that great resource up!) to time my pressure waves. They were about 5 minutes apart and 45 second long from the time I started timing them. I decided that maybe I should try to relax during the pressure waves. So I would breathe and use a “peace” cue. I was kind of disappointed because they were starting to hurt a little. But I felt like I could relax a little better doing the peace cue. So I did that until maybe 4:30 am and I thought it was time I focused and lay down to relax better and listen to my easy first stage birthing CD.

I called the midwife and woke up DH. I was trying to let everyone sleep as long as possible. I thought that I would probably give birth about 8 or 9 am because that is how long my other births were. A neighbor came to stay with my other girls so they could sleep. DH and I got in the car. I was listening to the Easy First stage Birthing CD the whole time and I think that helped me try to relax. I tried the On/Off lightswitch but never got the hang of it so I just used the  Peace” cue.

DH didn’t run any red lights because he said I looked like I was doing well. He used his “relax” cue and put his hand on my shoulder while I had pressure waves. I was breathing and I felt my hands get tingly and I thought, “I think I am hyperventilating” And with every contraction I started to feel tingly in my hips.

I walked into the hospital and then got in a wheelchair so I could relax more. The ladies at the triage were so kind. They pulled out all the consent form but after they looked at me they said “you better get her back here and check her out. The midwife was there. That last contraction was the one that I thought “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.” I held onto DH as he comforted me. I got onto the bed and DH pulled off my pants and shoes. The midwife checked me and asked if I felt pushy. I thought “pushy, I don’t know” but my body took that as a cue that it was okay to push.

The midwife, Darlene, said “she is fully dilated and at station +2. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have time to think though because my body wanted to push and all inhibition were gone. I asked that they put the bed up so I could be semi reclining. DH said that her head came out so quickly and then the next contraction her body came out. It was 6:06 am and DH said “it’s a girl.”

The best thing was that it didn’t hurt. I didn’t scream or yell like I did with my first. I was so fearful that I would tear because I had gone so quickly to pushing. I tried to do it slow. The only thing I wish is that I could have had a mirror to watch her being born. So they put the baby on my shirt. (I didn’t have time to put the gown on.) They midwife checked for tears and there were none! I was ecstatic. It was over already, just when it was getting intense. DH keeps saying I looked so much more relaxed and comfortable than I did with the others.

We think all that Hypnobabies CDs helped. Even though I slept through a lot of them. They got us to a room in about 15 minutes and I went in to take a shower while DH and the nurses took care of Cienna. I still couldn’t believe it was all over so quickly. I was so happy to be free of contractions. And my other girls were still home sleeping! Good thing I didn’t wait until everyone had woke up on their own to get to the hospital. I can’t believe how close I was to having that baby in the car. I can’t believe I didn’t know how close I was to having her. I am so grateful that Cienna has no problems and that I didn’t have any either. With the other two there was always something we had to check up on (heart murmur, hearing, tongue tie, jaundice) and I was glad that I didn’t have any stitches or any excessive bleeding like I had had in the past. I attribute that to the pregnancy tea!

All I can say is “wow,” our bodies really do know how to have babies if we let them. I am so thankful for this remarkable experience and a new little daughter. We just need to figure out how to take care of her now!

Thanks for all your support and help!

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Ari’s Birth – My body is amazing!

Note: the word p**n is in here once or twice – though I don’t think I really felt any besides the crowning moment (and that was pretty brief).  What I felt is better described as intense pressure or force, rather than p**n.  Just a heads up for you.
I’m finally getting around to writing up Ari’s birth story.

Wednesday, after a fantastical day roaming the mall and chowing down at Olive Garden with my husband Dave and our son, I came home and put DS down for a much needed nap. After he was settled, I utilized some private time to take care of some personal needs in the restroom. Ummmm, there was what is termed “bloody show”.

I started to get kind of excited. I had bloody show with DS, but that was at 3:00 a.m. the day before he was born – so I wasn’t wanting to get too excited. Calmly dialing my midwife I tried to relax so that whatever progress was coming wouldn’t get reversed by an exorbitant amount of adrenaline.

When Heather answered I told her what was going on and she asked a few questions and I hung up, relieved and convinced that this baby was coming, but it could be within a few hours or even a few days. That helped me relax even more.

Then I called my doula, Amber, to share the info as well. She was excited for me and said she was at the zoo with her kids, but would go home to get some sleep so she could be ready whenever I needed her to come.

After that, I called Dave. Now, don’t start thinking my husband is lower in my priorities than these other ladies. That is hugely not true. The fact is that I know my husband, and I know he likes answers and I knew that unless I talked with Heather and Amber about what I was seeing, that I wouldn’t have any answers for him. So there.

We had a good talk and I told him things were fine, and I expected progress, but not at too swift a rate. I told him I thought I could manage things at home fine, but would let him know if I needed him home earlier than usual.

After talking with him, I called my sister and my mom as they wanted to come to help me, even though they knew they wouldn’t be present in the room for the actual birth. As they live more than ten minutes away, I wanted to give them adequate notice and enough time to pack up and make it to our home before Ari was born.

Ok, at this point I was really having a hard time not getting enormously excited. I could feel the adrenaline threatening to surge through every part of my body. She really was coming! I might not be pregnant until the 20th after all! It was getting to be too much to handle.

So I took a shower to settle my nerves and then laid down to listen to some Hypnobabies scripts. And that’s when DS woke up.

Nothing else happened for the rest of the day, in the way of pressure surges or discomfort. I felt fantastic and just went about our routine. DS and I played and teased and chased each other and laughed and hugged and enjoyed our special one-on-one time, knowing that I might not get these moments with him for a few weeks at least. It was fabulous.

Around 2 p.m. I started to get really, really tired and called Dave to ask him to come home early, which he did. We took DS to the local pond to see the ducks and get him some time outside so he would sleep really well. He loved it! Mostly he loved chasing us and laughing at himself. He is such a comedian.

After our walk we came home, had some dinner, put DS to sleep, sat down to watch some TV and fold some laundry. That was when regular pressure waves started to come. They weren’t intense, just enough that I would notice them and be able to tell Dave, “ok here’s another”, so he could note the time between each.

They were coming at regular 15 minute intervals around 8:30 p.m. so I called Heather and told her how things were progressing. That’s when she told me that another of her clients (who was a week away from her due date, while I was a week past mine) was at the same stage.


Yup. Same stage, except this other lady’s water had already broken so she was fairly certain her baby would come before mine. I told Heather I was fine to wait, as I couldn’t see anything really happening until around 2 a.m. She said ok, but to keep her posted on my progress – especially if things started changing quickly. Jokingly, she said the other lady could have her baby at midnight, and I could have mine at 6 a.m. The funny thing is, I don’t know if she knew how spot-on her words would turn out to be.

“Great!”, I said. “I’m good with that!” and went to take a bath in our jetted tub to relax further.

Dave came up soon after to see how I was doing and to let me know that the chick on Deal or No Deal had just opened up the case with the only large amount left and had lost the huge offer from the banker. Silly.

Anyway, I stayed in the tub, listening to the birthing day affirmations while Dave made me some red raspberry and peppermint herbal tea to sip. What a guy!

He stayed in the bathroom talking with me about different things; he was drinking cocoa, I was drinking my tea, and it was just overall a good time. I’m not kidding. The surges were consistent, but not unbearable and I was just happy knowing that Ari was coming.

Haul out the holly and throw a party, fellas! This baby was on her way.

My hypnodoula, Amber, came over at eleven, and worked with Dave and I through more surges. I am now a fan of doulas. I think every woman deserves to have one – especially first time mothers…and, well… all mothers really. She was fabulous! She would suggest comfort measures to Dave that he could do for me, i.e. foot massages – mmmmmmm, as well as being there to help me remember my Hypnobabies techniques and cues.  She supplied so many comfort measures that I hadn’t even thought about and really made me feel catered to and pampered.

For the next two hours I laid on my bed, on my left side, just relaxing. Whenever another wave of pressure would begin, I would say, “here comes another one,” and then Dave or Amber would use the verbal cues and phrases to help me relax into each one. They would firmly press down on my shoulder and then softly run their hand down my arm once while repeating the phrases.

There were a few other positions I tried during the waves, standing against Dave, leaning back into him while he did what’s called a belly lift, sitting on the birth/exercise ball. Not a fan of those for this birth.  I quickly returned to laying on my side in bed. Much better.

Heather and her assistant, Fara, came over at about 2:00 or 2:30 a.m. after finishing their work at the other birth – the birth of the baby belonging to the lady who was at the same stage as I was, at 8:30 p.m. Crazy, huh?

They took my temperature, checked my blood pressure, listened to Ari’s heartbeat, and then observed me for a few minutes before asking me how I felt things were going. I told her I wanted to kick this thing into gear and wondered what I could do to move things along.

She gave several options, and I chose to take a warm shower. I think I was in there for about 30 minutes. It was lovely. Every time another wave of pressure would come, I’d just flip on the Hypnobabies techniques in my brain and relax into them. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the pressure was relaxing and equivalent to a Swedish massage on a Mediterranean cruise. Good grief no. It was pressure. Pressure you can’t ignore, but it was not something that threw me into convulsions of agony and screaming terror. I don’t do Hollywood, thanks. Those waves were just surges of intensity that I had to focus on – deep focus.

Note: for some reason, I equated a painless birth with a silent birth. Don’t ask me why. No one ever presented the one to be the same as the other.  I thought it could only be “pain free” if I kept my mouth shut.  Turns out that wasn’t the case for me. I felt free to walk, move, talk, command, joke, laugh, etc. And I did.

Anyway, after the shower, I sat on my birth ball, a.k.a. exercise/yoga ball, through a few surges before deciding to get into the tub.

The tub was a small kiddy-type pool that was deep enough for me to sit in and have water cover me up to my chest. I like my water hot. Otherwise, it’s not relaxing – it’s annoying. Dave had filled it prior to Heather’s arrival, but I had no interest in it until about 3:00 or 3:30 a.m., but man, oh man! Did it ever feel good!  I didn’t listen to any of my scripts while in the tub, I had Amber there and she supplied me with the focus and verbal cues from Hypnobabies to help deepen my relaxation and focus.

I went through two pressure waves in the tub, while it was just Dave, Amber, and I in the room. My mom and sister and niece had arrived before Heather and Fara, but I’d asked that they not come in until after the birth. Some people like to make it a big family reunion at birth time, others want to do it unassisted. I wanted it to just be Dave, the midwife, her assistant, and Amber. I didn’t want any pressure to act a certain way, or do or not do something. I wanted the freedom to just do whatever the heck I felt like doing in the way I felt like doing it. Strong minded little gal, aren’t I? None of this was a surprise to my mom or sister. As I mentioned earlier, they both knew early on in my pregnancy that this was the plan and had no problem heading off to bed in our spare room.

Starting at around 4-ish (I think – after all I wasn’t really focusing on a clock at this time), the pressure started becoming more intense. I started to cry. I couldn’t not cry. Every part of me just wanted to sob and sob and sob. So I did.

I was blubbering to Amber that I couldn’t do it. That this pressure would never go away and I was going to be experiencing these waves forevermore and Ari was never going to come. Amber just told me that this was a good sign that it was almost over. My hormones were kicking in to a different gear to get my body prepped for the final part of this birth.

Amber then asked Dave to go and get Heather and Fara, who were downstairs. Sometimes having a midwife in the room – or a doctor – will halt things, as the woman feels some sort of pressure to show progress. This can, in some cases, lead to things backing up – so they had gone out of the room to let me do what I needed to do. Heather was just making notes in my file, and Fara was catching a power nap. I didn’t give them much time to do either.

I don’t really have a timeline of what came next. More pressure, more intensity, more breathing into each wave, more periods of rest. Yes, rest. The body is amazing. In between each amazingly intense period of pressure, there were minutes of rest – enough to give me the energy to last through the next wave. Honestly, there were a few of those rest/breaks where I almost fell asleep.

The most vivid memory of the rest periods was the one immediately preceeding the urge to push. I remember it was long, and I felt like I was zoning out and into a dream. Then the pressure started to kick in. I had been “aaahhh”-ing, in my deepest voice through the last six or seven waves, but this one was even more all-encompassing than I could breathe into. I had no idea a muscle in my body – the body that I don’t exercise on a regular basis – could do anything with that amount of force.

Suddenly I had to push, hard. And I felt my water break. There was a bit of relief, but then I started to feel a stinging – what I’ve heard referred to as the “ring of fire”. Hmmm, this may be too much information, but I think it’s more like what it might feel like to have a really nasty bout of diarrhea passing over a new scratch. Yup. I think that would be the closest approximation to how it felt.

Then I thought Ari had crowned. She hadn’t but I thought she had. By this time I was shouting. Yup. Shouting with all my captain-of-the-world intimidation factor. “Please! Please! Take her out…please!”

I was yelling because I thought her head was there and everyone was just sitting around looking at it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Heather was monitoring my progress and making sure that everything went as it needed to, Fara and Dave were applying counter pressure to my hips, one on each side (neither of them alone could do it strongly enough for me), and Amber was up by my right shoulder helping to soothe me, and letting me squeeze her hand to a pulp (she denies I squeezed it that hard).

A few minutes later, Heather told me she had crowned and asked if I wanted to feel her head.

“No! Just get her out!” This was not a moment, in my mind for emotional milestone memories. This party had gone on long enough. The girl had stayed inside me for a week longer than I had planned, and I was done being a human hotel.

Ari had other plans. Heather told me to stop pushing (which actually felt good) as Ari had her arm up under her neck, with her elbow under her chin. She wanted to come out head and shoulders above the rest – literally. Silly girl. So I rested, and stopped pushing while Heather gently worked with Ari to move her elbow so I wouldn’t tear as she came out.

Soon after, I was pushing Ari out. Man! I don’t remember ever feeling something so wonderful and freeing as that moment. It was so nice to just release her. Heather caught her and brought her up to my chest for me to hold and cuddle.

Everyone helped me sit back against the tub (I’d been kneeling down, leaning over the tub the entire time), while Heather used that little bulb syringe-thing to clear Ari’s airway for her first breaths.

Amazing. I just sat there, in the water, holding this little girl to whom I’d just given birth. She looked just like DS had looked when he was first born – only not as puffy, and much more alert. Dave was leaning over the tub from the outside with his arm around me, crying and kissing Ari and me.

After a few seconds, I asked someone to get my mom and sister. The words were barely out of my mouth before they were in the room. They had been standing outside the door once I started shouting. My sister had been ready to cart me off to the hospital, as she didn’t know how far along I was at that point.

It was those last three surges that I would have been ready for the hospital too, except there was no way on earth I was going to have those surges out of the tub, and there was no way I wanted anyone else touching me except Heather and Dave, and there was no way I wanted to have this baby in a hospital. Not a chance. I knew then that it was almost over, and even if I might have been doubting my ability to finish this birth, I knew that no one else in that room did.

The thought process during birth was very interesting. Every time doubt would creep in, encouragement would beat it out; from Heather, Fara, Amber, Dave, and from some source that I know was heaven-sent.  I read somewhere that hospitals have convinced courts that women in birth are in so much pain that they don’t know their own minds – and therefore can’t make wise choices.  I disagree.  I don’t think I’ve ever known my own mind as completely as I did during Ari’s birth. There is some additional power God must give to women in labor, and I am grateful.

And DS slept through the whole thing! What a kid.

Do women know their own minds during labor? Heck yes! I knew exactly what was going on and how I felt and what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I’ve rarely been so uninhibited in voicing my opinions – and that’s saying a lot.

Was it painful? That stinging part before she crowned was and that only lasted enough time for me to recognize it, mention it, and then my focus shifted and I don’t remember it continuing beyond that. The rest of the experience was just more pressure/force than I’ve ever felt in my life.

Would I have a homebirth/waterbirth again? Absolutely.

Is a homebirth/waterbirth for everyone?  Nope.  Where and how to have your baby is a very intimate and personal decision into which I believe you should put a lot of thought, research, and prayer.  Every baby is different.

Is there more to the story than what is here? Yes, but I’m hungry and so is Ari, and memories come back in context of other conversations, so I hope this will do.  🙂

p.s. thanks to my doula, Amber for the picture!

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Imperfect Student, sleeping through CD’s – Still had a great birth!

I just wanted to add a few Hypnobabies-specific things that I experienced with this birth from my own point of view.
I wasn’t sure how well the program was going to work.  I sometimes forgot to listen to my CDs and I didn’t remember to do the finger drop/eyes open practice 5 times a day.  I was worried that because I wasn’t as devout as I had planned to be that it wasn’t going to work so well for me.  Plus, it seemed like I fell asleep whenever I listened to the CDs.
Then I went into labor….
I LOVED using the Open and Release Cues.  I listened to the Birthing Day Track several times when I was in early labor, and then I turned it off and listened to CDs that I used to relax to in pregnancy.  While listening to the music I would pace or sit on the birth ball and say “Open” on my inhale and “Release” on the exhale of every breath.  When I had a particularly powerful pressure wave then I would also say “Peace” along with the other words.  ONE time during labor I said that it “hurt” and it was early in labor, and I was trying to lay in bed to rest, but that seemed to be the worst position for me and I was not breathing or focusing when I experienced it “hurting”.  I listened to my instincts and got out of bed.  It felt much better for me to be upright during the rest of my birthing time.  This made sense for me, since I preferred to practice my Hypnobabies with my light switch in the middle anyway (I did not do well with the switch off).
I wasn’t sure that I was really in labor (since I had pre-labor for a week and there were no other signs like bloody show or anything).  When the midwife arrived at 4:45 am I was hoping she would tell me I was really in labor.  She told me I was 6-7 cm and baby was +1/+2 station.  I relaxed even more when I realized the baby would be here soon.  My husband said I used the word “safe” for the first time after my midwife arrived.
I got in the birth tub at this time.  I had about 3 pressure waves in the tub that were intense, but I found my rhythm easily and they didn’t seem any stronger than before.  Once, between pressure waves…I had a conversation with the baby.  I told our baby that the birth would happen soon and that we were ready for her and that it would be a gentle and wonderful experience for her.  On the VERY next contraction…I felt the downward pressure of her head in the birth canal.  I told the midwife that the baby was coming.  I was amazed that the labor ended and the pushing phase began as soon as we had that little talk.  :0)

I used the AHHHHHHHH exhale pushing.  It was great to vocalize.  My husband was a bit surprised since I didn’t vocalize during any other part of the labor.  I had read about this technique and planned to use it though, especially since my 1st dd was born very quickly.  When I started to feel the ring of fire, I just said “Peace, peace, peace”  Over and over.  At one point my voice got into a higher pitch and my midwife directed me to look into her eyes and blow.  It was really easy for her to communicate with me and I immediately opened my eyes and kept eye contact with her.  At this point, the baby’s head was halfway out.  On the next push our baby was born.

I didn’t even realize I was saying the Peace cue during the pushing until I watched the video.  I was also surprised at how in control I felt with the pushing.  Because of the AHHHHH exhale pushing…I felt as if I knew what to do when it was time to push her out.  With my first baby…I just screamed during the pushing.  This time I felt very natural about pushing and like I had a plan of action instead of feeling out of control.

I would describe certain parts of the birth as intense.  But, when I was checked at 5:00 am, I just wanted the MW to tell me that I was at least in active labor.  I had no idea that 30 minutes later I would be holding our baby.  So, that should tell you how intense (or lack thereof) I experienced it.  It also seemed as if it got easier as the time passed.  I remember when I was pacing, it was most intense…and that is when I was making the first efforts of getting focused.  It never got MORE intense than it was then, even when I was in transition.  When she was being born, it was markedly more gentle and easier than my first experience.  Almost like a more dulled sense of burning than when DD#1 was born.

So, those are my Hypnobabies-specific tidbits.  I just wanted to add to what  my husband told in his story and let you all know how well the program worked.  I also want to say that the fear release was important, as things came up for me that I didn’t realize I needed to deal with (like my mother).

Take Care,

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Aurora – Most significant moment in my life!

I first want to say that there has never been a more significant
moment in my life than when I finally held my brand new baby girl
before they had even cut the cord.  I know I will never forget that.
It would have been worth anything I might have experienced- good or

Next I want to say that my birth experience was a very positive one,
and that it seemed to me to be about half as long as it actually was-
16 hours.  I was able to maintain focus throughout nearly all of the
experience and have to say that I am a true believer in the
effectiveness of the Hypnobabies program.

On June 28, at about 9:30 in the evening, my membranes released as I
was exiting the vehicle upon arriving home.  My husband and I had
gone to see a movie and run a few errands earlier.  I had just
finished eating out at a restaurant.  My husband said he noticed that
I was choosing some odd combinations of food and eating more
carbohydrate and protein than was normal.  He says he didn’t say
anything at the time, but wondered if I was stocking up for the
birthing time.

I followed the doctor recommendations and called the hospital to let
then know.  They told me that I didn’t sound like my membranes had
released and they didn’t really believe me.  I told them I was sure.
They said to wait about 2 hours and then come in.  So I baked
brownies and my husband installed the car seat.  I packed up a few
last minute items that I really wouldn’t need and then we started the
trip to the hospital.  I walked in through the ER and up to the
birthing ward by myself…no wheelchair needed.  The nurses again
didn’t believe that my membranes had released. They had me give a
urine sample, get undressed, and then wanted to check me.  When they
went to check me, I gushed amniotic fluid, so they had to believe
me.  They said that I was dilated 1 cm.  I wasn’t worried, but asked
that they not announce that anymore.  My husband reminded them that
the information on the Hypnobabies program was in my file and asked
that they respect our decision to use it.  The first shift nurses
were overwhelmingly positive about it, and cooperated perfectly.  I
listened to the CD’s, used my cues, and was progressing slowly.

The midwife later asked that they place an internal heart monitor on my
baby’s head so that she could keep track of the baby.  I didn’t want
this and asked that they not do it just then.  Later, the midwife
determined that I was progressing too slowly and that since my
membranes had released, there was a chance of infection.  She wanted
to begin IV pitocin, and that required constant monitoring.  So, they
put on the internal monitor and began the low dose of pitocin.

My husband did not have time to do the change of plans script and I lost
focus here a little bit.  Additionally, the shift of nurses changed
and the new nurses were not cooperative with the program at all.  My
husband ran interference for me, but they wouldn’t make any changes
in their procedures or terminology for me.  This made me lose focus
even more and I began to be uncomfortable.  I asked for something to
increase my comfort level and they gave me a mild medication in my

My husband was trying to help me regain focus, but it took a
little while (and the nurses becoming more involved with two other
women who had come in to have their babies) before I was able to do
so.  I think at this point that they mostly wrote me off and spent
more time with the other women. (This was fine with me.)  I continued
to progress and listened to my husband and used my cues during
pressure waves instead of listening to a CD.  I asked for another
dose of medication about 4 hours later and they gave it to me.  Then
once again they disappeared and left my husband and I alone.

It seemed like only a short while later that I felt my body take over
and begin to push at the end of each pressure wave.  No one was in
the room and I was afraid they would be mad at me for pushing, so I
tried to relax so much that it wouldn’t happen- thinking I was doing
it.  That just made the pushing more intense.  I was not experiencing
any discomfort at all at this point.  I would grunt involuntarily and
kept looking at my husband like “Is this ok?”.  He was getting upset
because he thought they should be there if I was pushing.  We didn’t
know that the other two women were pushing too and there weren’t
enough nurses to go around.  By the time they got there and checked
me, the baby’s head was nearly crowning.  I pushed her head out
between pressure waves and experienced no damage to my perineum at
all.  My husband says that the time I grunted till she was born was
maybe 15 minutes.

She was born perfect at 1:29 in the afternoon on the 29th of June.
She weighed 8lbs 10oz and was 19 inches long.  Her head was 14 inches
around.  I would recommend Hypnobabies to anyone.  I believe that it
made all the difference in my birthing time- even with the less than
perfect conditions that I experienced at the hospital.

Thank you all for your kind words and help these last few weeks.
I’ll keep in touch, but probably not as often.  I’m busy loving on my
beautiful baby girl.


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Amelia’s Hypnobabies Beautiful Birth

Amelia arrived safely into this world on a Tuesday evening after a quick and natural labor. She is a happy healthy baby, joining her 3 older sisters into our growing family.

I was ready to no longer be pregnant. We tried to schedule an induction on Tuesday morning. My OB, Dr. F., knew I wanted to have a natural labor, so we agreed on no pitocin, just to break my bag of waters. I was already 4 cm dilated, so it was bound to be a quick labor. However, Monday night, Labor and Delivery from the hospital called and canceled my induction, they were just too full. Even though I knew it was a possibility, I was really bummed. I was ready to meet this little girl, and even tho I was only 39 weeks, it was the longest I had been pregnant with any of my kids. So Tuesday morning, I called my OB and made an appointment to just get checked out. He checked my dilation again, and I had progressed to 5cm, so I had made some progress since my last appointment 5 days before. I also asked him to strip my membranes, hoping that would help things start on their own. After doing that, he told me, “Okay, see you tonight.” I certainly hoped so.

The rest of the day I tried to just keep busy. I went with Grace and Emily (my two little ones), and my sister-in-law Diana and her little girl, Aubree to McDonalds to let the kids play. I was feeling crampy by then, but that happened the last time I was checked, so I tried not to get my hopes up. That afternoon, the cramps had not really let up, and I noticed I was having semi-regular contractions, so I started timing them. Some were 5 minutes apart, some 8 minutes apart. Some lasted almost a minute, some just 20 seconds. But they weren’t stopping. I called Matt, and told him to go ahead and come home from work, just in case.

Around 3:30, I called my OB’s office to talk to the nurse practicioner, to see if she thought I should come in. We lived about 30 minutes away from the hospital, and it was getting close to rush hour, so she said I should come just in case. They weren’t painful at all, and still only semi-regular, so I wasn’t sure if they were the “real thing”. I decided to waste some more time, and try to eat supper, before going, just to make sure the contractions wouldn’t stop. I also called and left a message with my doula to give her a heads up.

Around 5PM, right before I went to eat, I got up from the couch, and a small gush of fluid ran down my leg. I told Matt, either I just peed myself, or my water just broke. Walking to the bathroom, it became very apparent my water had broken. I tried to eat a few bites of spagetti before leaving, but the contractions were starting to pick up, and since we live a good bit away from the hospital, we decided to go ahead and leave. I called my doula again, and left a message with my OB that it was for sure the “real thing”.

The drive to the hospital was luckly uneventful for rush hour. I closed my eyes and listened to my Hypnobabies hypnosis scripts on my ipod, which was extremely helpful. We arrived to the hospital around 5:45, the contractions at that point were only a couple minutes apart, and while I couldn’t walk while having one, they were still very manageable. We checked in at the admit desk, and they took us fairly quickly to one of the l&d rooms. I changed into the hospital gown (at that point my pants were soaked), and laid down in bed for monitoring. It was about 6PM at that point.

My birth plan called for a hep-lock and intermittent monitoring, and they were very respectful of that. My wonderful OB, Dr. F., walked in while they were placing the hep-lock, and reminded them. He checked my dilation again, and I was about 6 cm and completely effaced. My OB then sat down in the room, and worked on a chart, just waiting and watching.

After the 20 minutes of monitoring was over, I moved to the birth ball and listened to my scripts on my ipod, completely zoning out to what was going on around me. My wonderful husband Matt, and doula Lydia, massaged and put pressure on my lower back during contractions, which were at that point, pretty much constant. I concentrated on relaxation using my hypnosis, and while the contractions were very intense, I still felt very much in control of what was going on.

After a while, I felt what I thought was a huge muscle cramp in my lower abdomin, and started to lose concentration somewhat. At that point, not much thought process was going on in my head, but I decided to move back to the bed and stretch out to relieve the “cramp”. Dr. F. checked me again, and I was completely dilated, and the baby was about halfway down in my pelvis (which was probably the cause of my “cramp”). He asked me how I would like to push, and I didn’t care, so they started breaking down the bed and put up the stirrups. At that point, I told them, “She’s coming!”, and after a couple pushes, she was out. I don’t remember a “ring of fire” or any real pain from her coming out, just relief that the “cramp” stopped. Matt cut her cord, and they handed her to me. At 7:27Pm, only 2.5 hours after my water broke, she was born.

She was very alert right away. I held her for a while, then let them take her to wrap up and weigh while I was cleaned up. She was 8 lbs 4 ozs, about 1/2 a pound bigger than Grace and Emily, and 2oz smaller than Kiersten. They gave her back to me, and she took to nursing right away. Actually, I couldn’t get her to unlatch to take a pic with the nurse, so I just told them to take it anyway 🙂 We hung out in the l&d room for a couple hours afterwards, letting Amelia nurse and checking her out.

My thoughts about the birth:
It went definitely like I wanted it to. Hypnobabies worked wonderfully for me, even though parts were definitely uncomfortable, it gave me the tools to stay in control of my body, and make it through the rough parts. I would definitely recommend Hypnobabies to anyone wanting a natural childbirth.
Looking back, I probably should have headed to the hospital earlier. Getting through the admissions process and getting the hep-loc placed, etc, would have been much easier before the contractions got so intense.
Having a very supportive husband and a wonderful doula also helped immensely, I recommend getting a doula to everyone.
Also, anyone that lives in the DFW area, Dr. Fogwell is an awesome OB. He completely supported everything on my birth plan, and just hung out in my room while I was laboring.

My birth plan:
We got a lot of positive feedback on our birth plan. I can’t take complete credit for it, as I swiped some of the wording from the Hypnobabies yahoo forum I belonged to. Here is the link to the birth plan if you are interested.

Special Thanks to:
Above all, to my wonderful husband, Matt, the loving father to my children, for all his support. To my mom, who came down to stay with us a few days early just to make me feel better, for taking photos during the labor and birth, and for all her help taking care of the girls while I was in the hospital and during my recovery. To my sister-in-law Diana, for all her help taking care of the girls during my labor and the couple days afterwards. To my wonderful sister, Nicole, for all her support, all the time! To my doula, Lydia, for her moral support during my pregnancy, and support during my labor. To my wonderful OB, Dr. Fogwell, who has caught 3 of my 4 babies. I can’t say enough wonderful things about him. And of course, to the hospital staff, for their support of my ideal birth.

Kiersten, Grace, and Emily came up to the hospital Wednesday afternoon to meet their new baby sister. They all were very excited, taking turms holding her. Emily was especially facinated, looking at her tiny hands and ears, and rubbing her head. Grace held her for a while, and curled up next to me in bed. Kiersten, of course, loved holding her, being the experienced big sister she already is. The girls sported their new “Biggest Sister” (Kiersten), “Bigger Sister” (Grace), and “Big Sister” (Emily) T-shirts.

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Amberle’s Smooth Easy Birth with a Midwife

Amberle was born at 6:25ish on May 6. I woke up Monday
morning around 4 with cramping thinking to myself, if I don’t get
back to sleep I’m not going to have a very good time! I plugged in
my easy first stage track on my iPod and didn’t wake back up until
about 6:30. Between 6:30 and 7 though, I had about 5
contraction/cramps and started wondering just how fast this birth was
going to be!

As I went about my day I made sure I got some of my last minute
things done such as grabbing some receiving blankets from the store,
and picking up my Medic Alert bracelet from being repaired. Monday
went along pretty normally save the every 20-60 min cramps.

Although by Monday evening I was pretty sure this baby was coming
out, off to bed I went at my normal time after a nice long hot bath.
I managed to sleep from about 22:00 to 0:30, so I got recharged a
bit. By 1:30 I decided I’d better wake up my husband, and get him to
write down the wave times so that I could focus on my training. With
my first birth, I used meditation to take my mind off of the waves,
and found hypnosis similar enough that it was an easy journey.

We called our midwife at 3:30 and with my contractions actively 3-
5min apart, my husband was starting to think we should skip that
stage and head to the hospital. My midwife kept talking to me on the
phone trying to “hear” a wave, but with my training, and tolerance
thre wasn’t much to hear. She asked if I’d like her to come over to
check on me and I did.

She got to our house around 4:30, watched me for half an hour and
checked me at 5. Then she believed me, not that she had doubted me,
but I was working through the waves so well that she wasn’t sure this
was “it.” Once she found I was 6-7cm dialated though, she was ready
to be guided by me. A few washroom breaks later, the last of which I
had two waves going up the stairs, another at the top, and two in the
washroom while trying to get back to them, we all decided that it was
time to get to the hospital. Rush hour would be starting relaitvey
soon, and it’s better to have a baby when you’re not in a car! 🙂

We arrived at the hospital (she had gone ahead) at 6, and as my
husband, son, and I were walking in, things changed. I went from
great focus to the mantra of “almost there” or “almost done” as I
knew from my son’s birth that if there was this much pressure and
need to push and sensation with the waves, then it was time.

We were in the birthing room at 6, my water broke while pushing in a
squating position at 6:15, and Amberle was born at 6:25ish. The only
catch was when our midwife couldn’t find Amberle’s heart beat
(because she was engaged and too low) and I had to get on the
birthing bed. That’s when I felt tearing start, and did end up with
2nd degree tearing. I’m convinced that if I’d been able to stay
squating, I wouldn’t have torn, but we will never know for sure.

Amberle was 7lbs, 7oz and 20 1/2″ long. She had a smaller head than
her brother, and looks a lot like him, just daintier. Her birth went
much more smoothly than her brothers, and I fully give the credit for
that to our midwife. She let me do what I had to do. I paced
between waves, danced through them with my husband, and up until she
told me I had to get on the bed I was free to work through things on
my own. This was a great experience!

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Abigail’s Birth Story

Just wanted to post and say I had Abigail early Thursday morning just
after 5am. My birthing time started at about 8:30pm Wed night. I had
visualized my birth being about 8 hours so right on the money. We
called my parents once we were sure it was time so they could watch

I actually got tired and decided to lay down and rest for about an
hour. I played my ‘birth guide’ cd as I slept. The frequency of my
waves slowed down, but got more intense. At a certain point I felt
re-energized and needed to get up. As soon as I did my waves picked up
in frequency and I felt the urgent need to go to the hospital. We
called our doula to meet us there. My waves were 5 minutes apart in
the car.

I decided once we got to the hospital that instead of using the
wheelchair I wanted to ‘work out’ my waves on the way into L&D. Maybe
not the best idea since 3 couples arrive after us and passed us in the
parking lot. At this point I was stopping every 10 feet. It turned out
the 4 couples showed up at the same time and there were only 2 rooms
available!! I actually labored standing at the nurses station for
almost an hour. I had my MP3 player on with my birth guide and every
time I had a wave (2-3 minutes apart at this point), I leaned forward
on the counter and tried to go as limp as possible.

After a while I got nauseated and needed to sit down. I guess the look
on my face was so peaceful (even though I was going through the most
intense waves) that they didn’t realize I had hit transition! I
finally got taken to a room and things got fast and furious. My
husband, doula, and nurse were fantastic especially when I expressed
that I wanted someone else to do this and please help me! My nurse
later said that the look on my face never mirrored the intensity of
what I was going through. Thank goodness for my Hypnobabies training.
The baby was actually +1 as I dilated from 8 to 10 which took about 1
hour, so the pressure was quite intense. I rocked my hips, panted and
let out low groans as my doula directed me and manage to resist the
very strong urge to push.

I was on my left side most of the time and then instinctively rolled
to my right for the last 10 minutes until I was complete. I had a high
leak but my bag was still intact so the nurse was going to have the
midwife break my water. With the next wave I asked if I could push.
She said yes and I pushed my water out. Pushing on my side didn’t feel
right so I went onto all four and called out for more pillows. I
leaned forward, pushed and the baby crowned! I pushed again and
birthed the head, one more and out she came. I carefully made my way
back onto my back and they gave me my sweet little girl. Once the cord
stopped pulsing they let Howard cut it and they sewed up a 1st degree
tear. She weighed in at 7 lbs 12 oz, 19 1/2 inches long and lots and
lots of long dark hair.

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