Everyone told me to be prepared to “be late”! So I wasn't expecting it when I started my birthing time, two days before my guess date, and I didn't actually believe it was happening until we called my midwife telling her we thought I had food poisoning and needed to go to the hospital.
But let me rewind a little...
I really enjoyed my Hypnobabies classes and the home-play, and I know that listening to the CD’s and practicing my self-hypnosis kept me relaxed through the last few months of my pregnancy. I had confidence in my body and myself, and I wasn’t scared about giving birth. However I was nervous about finding the right doula. Our Hypnobabies instructor wasn’t a doula herself, so I had to look else where to find a Hypno-doula. We had a couple interviews with potential doulas that never felt right, until we met Carrie. After 10 minutes I knew that Carrie was the one!
Fast forward to June 7th…
My Mother-In-Law and some of her friends were in town visiting for a few days and we all decided to go out to dinner. At dinner everyone said that I didn’t have that so-called ‘look’ and that they thought it would probably be at least another week or so, and I really did too. I ate some heavy and decadent food, like lobster mac n’ cheese and crème brûlée but I was really just looking forward to getting home so I could relax and not talk about when I when I was going to “go into labor” anymore! After dinner my husband, Daniel, went out for a nightcap with his Mom and I went home and listened to a couple Hypnobabies tracks and went to sleep.
I woke up at 11:00pm with what I thought were horrible stomach cramps, which lead me straight to the bathroom thinking I had food poisoning. In the back of my head I thought that it was possibly my birthing time, so I downloaded an app to track the cramps, which were every 4 – 5 minutes or so. But I still thought I was just sick!
Around 1:00 am I decided that I needed to wake Daniel up because I thought I would need to go to the hospital if I was really having food poisoning. 30 minutes after waking him up I told him to call our midwife to find out what we should do. Of course she asked if the cramps were rhythmic and if we were timing them, and then she informed us that it wasn’t food poisoning but my birthing time! She told us to call Carrie and to keep in touch as things progressed.
We had this expectation that my birthing time would start out slowly, giving us ample time to get everything set up. Which lead to this romantic idea of baking muffins together and putting together charcuterie platters for our birthing team. The reality was that my pressure waves were pretty intense from the get-go and I wasn’t able to talk or even think clearly during them. I ended up shouting out to Daniel in between to “get this” and “do that”, as I sat in the bathroom thinking about all the things I needed to do but couldn’t make myself move. I spent some time in the shower, which felt amazing and then around 2:30 am I told him to call Carrie and get her down here.
While we waited for Carrie to arrive I tired to play my Hypnobabies tracks and get myself into hypnosis. Although I don’t remember much between 3:00 am – 4:30 am, I clearly remember the feeling of relief once she arrived! Carrie helped me deepen my hypnosis so I could relax in between and during my pressure waves, and just allow my body and baby to do what they knew to do. At some point I really started to feel pressure in my low back, so we moved from the toilet to my birthing ball, where I was able to sway a little while she massaged by back and read me scripts, all the while keeping in touch with our midwife.
Then boom, around 4:45 am my bag of waters broke, and I was pushing and I couldn’t stop myself! Carrie asked me if I was pushing and then quickly messaged my midwife to hurry because the baby would be here soon. She told Daniel to get the birthing tub inflated and filled and helped me get unto our bed in case our baby girl came before our midwife arrived.
My midwife said when she and her assistant ran through the door that Daniel looked like a deer caught in headlights! They quickly checked the baby’s heart beat and let me reach down to feel her head, and then helped me into the filing tub. Getting into the tub was the BEST feeling ever! Within 2 or 3 pushes our baby girl was born and I sat back against the tub as they placed her in my arms. I remember looking back at Daniel and feeling this love for him that I’ve never felt and then looking down at our daughter knowing that our love for her was more powerful than anything we’ve ever felt and that we would move mountains, if we had to, to give her an amazing life.
I will be forever grateful for all the support and love that Carrie gave to us before, during and after Everly’s birth. We can’t wait to get pregnant again and will without a doubt have Carrie as our Hypno-doula!!
Carrie was the backbone of my birthing experience! This was my first birth and after doing my share of research and asking around, I was set on using Hypnobabies. My midwife referred me to Carrie and going to her was the best decision I made. My husband and I took a private class with her at her home. She made us feel comfortable, gave us all her attention, and made sure all our questions & concerns were addressed. Carrie has a pronounced passion in what she does. And because I was drawn to her warm and caring heart, I asked her to be my doula.
My daughter came 2 weeks early, so it wasn't long after we finished our Hypnobabies class did we have to put all we learned to the test. This being my first birth, I had nothing to compare how effective Hypnobabies really was. But the following are the 4 things that sold me: 1) As Carrie was speaking my birth prompts to me, even my sister ended up falling into a deep relaxed state! Her face slowly fell right to the floor, since she was in the same room hearing everything. 2) My sister had 2 births before me and she was amazed how I was handling the contractions all the way to pushing time. 3) My midwife had to use a catheter to empty my bladder. My sister told me it was a very painful experience for her. So when she witnessed Carrie saying scripts for me to induce self anesthesia, she could not believe that I didn't feel anything. 4) Lastly, my biggest concern was to not tear. I expressed my fear to Carrie and she encouraged me to make that my main affirmation. So I did, over and over again while I was driving I listened to my affirmation CD. Well, with all the pushing I did I did not tear! Even my midwife was surprised that I didn't. Thank you, Hypnobabies!
I will be forever grateful for the attention and care Carrie provided from our classes to my birthing day! I can honestly say (and my husband can agree) that I could not have done it without Carrie. When she arrived at our home, my husband had a sigh of relief and was able to rest. Carrie was my strength during the moments I wanted to give up. She tended and comforted me from beginning to end. She was the most instrumental person and I feel blessed to have had her by my side.
Lucas’ guess date was June 5, 2016. Because I didn’t have him on this day I had a non stress test scheduled for the following Monday. During the regularly scheduled 40 week appointment, my OB talked about the stress test and mentioned a possible induction. Knowing I definitely did not want to be induced medically, I decided it was time to start walking to induce naturally. On the 8th of June my mom, my stepsister, and I walked about 4 or 5 miles. At 5:30 in the evening I was laying on the couch and felt a pop and a huge gush. MY WATER BROKE!
Little did I know I had been in early birthing. My pressure waves were consistently 20 minutes apart, but I attributed this to walking. As soon as my water broke I got up and went to the bathroom and then got in the shower. As soon as my water broke my pressure waves got closer and stronger. From 5 minutes apart to 4 1/2 minutes apart. I enjoyed the hot shower for about an hour and then lied down and listened to my Fear Clearing track and got into deep hypnosis. I hadn’t felt Lucas move in a while so Cameron called the doctor on call and was told to take me to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital I listened to Birthing Day Affirmations. I felt so calm, confident, and in control. We went straight to triage where I was checked for progression and was admitted. While in triage I listened to my Special Safe Place. I enjoyed being able to move during pressure waves so I kept my switch in the middle for the majority of my birthing process. Once in my room the intensity of the pressure waves seemed to intensify. We kept the Special Safe Place on repeat out loud in the room. I did a lot of swaying and talking to myself. I would repeatedly send my hypno anesthesia to my belly and back.
I was able to spend some time in the shower and really enjoyed the relief that the water provided. While in the shower I felt the urge to push but was told not to until I was checked to make sure I was fully dilated. I did not want to know about my progress but assumed I wasn’t there when I was told I could not push. They told my husband, Cameron that I was only at an 8. From 8 cm to 10 cm everyone thought I was taking a nap because I was so deep into hypnosis. This lasted for two hours. The nurse asked if she could check me and I was ready to push!
We turned on the Pushing Baby Out track and left it on repeat. I tried different positions and the lithotomy position felt right. I started with open glottis pushing and was encouraged to do “purple pushing”. After a long four hours of pushing I was holding my sweet baby boy. As it turned out he was posterior. I do not recall being informed of this and was unable to try the lift and tuck. The eight hours of active birthing and four of pushing were so worth it! I felt so accomplished and proud of myself. I accomplished a completely un medicated childbirth. I had an easier and more comfortable childbirth because I used Hypnobabies. I have already recommended it to so many people and will continue to do so. I cant imagine what my birth story would have been like if I hadn’t used Hypnobabies.
It was an easy choice to make when we decided to have our first baby at home. I knew I didn't want unnecessary medical interventions, and while most felt that I was crazy and often reminded me of how painful it was going to be, my husband and I never lacked belief that my body was strong enough to birth naturally. We were lucky enough to take our Hypnobabies class with Carri Mendes, who provided such a warm and safe learning environment for both my husband and I. While I was obviously the one caring the baby and eventually birthing the baby, the Hypnobabies curriculum including the daddies-to-be so much, that it never felt like I was going into birth alone. My husband, who is a coach, totally bought into the idea of Hypnobabies, as he often talks to his players about how much of their strength is connected to their mentality. With so many people not understanding or trusting in our choice to birth at home, it was Carrie and her constant reminders of remaining in our "bubbles of peace" that kept us focused and prepared!
When my birthing day began, I was in complete disbelief that it was actually here. With very irregular contractions, and being only 1 CM dilated after 12 hours of contractions, I began to lose hope that I was going to be able to survive a home birth. My husband insisted that I begin listening to my birthing day Hypnobabies tracks, even though I didn't want to, "in case this wasn't the real thing yet". But despite my protest he began playing them throughout the house. As we walked and walked and walked around the neighborhood, my husband continually repeated relaxation cues and positive affirmations from the tracks. After 47 hours (yes 47!) of irregular but strong pressure waves, my midwife finally broke my water and filled up my birthing pool!
As I stepped into my pool, with my Hypnobabies tracks playing in the background, I entered into a different world, a world of hope, a world of strength, a world of belief, and most importantly, a world of peace and relaxation . With each pressure wave coming every minute, and my husband cuing me to relax, I began to drift into a sleepy slumber, only briefly woken by the pressure of each coming wave. After 5 hours of my body opening up, my midwife actually had to have me get up and out of the pool, and turn off the Hypnobabies tracks because I was "too relaxed". With in minutes of getting up my body instantly went into pushing mode, without any instruction from my midwives or even my own mind. My body was ready and knew it was time, and for the first time, after 53 hours of labor I was able to fight against the pressure waves and push my baby into my arms!
If someone had told me I'd be laboring for 3 days, with no meds, and no nurses, I may not have made the choice to birth at home, but due to the amazing love and support of my Hypnobabies instructor and midwife team, my husband and i never felt anxious, or unprepared for what was to come, and we were able to welcome our sweet boy into a room full of peace, love, and relaxation. He never cried, he just took one huge first breath, and stared up at his new family.
Not long after I announced I was pregnant with our first child, I noticed how quick others were to provide unsolicited advice on what I couldn’t do. There was the expected “you can’t have wine, sushi, etc.,” but I also often heard the “you can’t work like you used to” or the “you can’t work out like you used to.” And most prevalent was the “you can’t give birth without an epidural. It will just be too hard.” It is entirely possible that I would have accepted this type of defeatist messaging, had I not been fortunate enough to have had Carrie as my doula, and to have enrolled in her Hypnobabies course.
I believe it was thanks to Carrie and the work I did through Hypnobabies that, when I suddenly started having intense pressure waves at 12:30 a.m. one night, while I was still 37 weeks pregnant, I knew with complete conviction that I could deliver my baby naturally, and I would be doing it that very night. By the time my husband and I arrived at the hospital at 2 a.m., I had achieved such an inward focus and deep concentration that I barely registered the faces of the various hospital staff I encountered. To this date, I don’t believe I could pick any of the nurses, doctors, or other staff that were there that night out of a lineup.
Carrie arrived shortly after, just as I was reaching transformation and experiencing the most intense pressure waves. I focused on her and she was completely focused on me – knowing exactly what techniques to use to take the edge off of the pressure waves, and giving me the confidence that I needed to cycle through the peak of each wave. Before I knew it, I had reached the pushing phase, and at 5:36 a.m., I pushed my son into this world and then held him in my hands. I don’t think there are words sufficient to describe that moment, but the closest one is euphoric.
In our society, where pregnancy and motherhood are riddled with so many cant’s, I had the privilege of starting motherhood by affirming to myself, “I did it. I can do anything.” I firmly believe that this empowering experience – likely in combination with the endorphins running through my body – made our first days at home with our son an absolute joy. It felt as if the positivity that surrounded his birth stayed with us as we experienced all of the firsts of parenthood.
If you are considering hiring Carrie as a doula, my advice is: Go for it – with her help, you will be amazed at what you can do.
This was my second pregnancy and I was absolutely determined to have the birth of my son my way, since my first son was born by C-section due to complications which I attribute to unnecessary interventions by the hospital staff, since he was two weeks past the guess date. I had used the hypnobabies home study course with baby #1 but never really got to implement it fully during my birthing time, since once I was administered pitocin everything got really intense and I was unable to focus. I knew that chances of having a VBAC are much higher if you have a doula, and I wanted to use hypnobabies again, and that is how I found Carrie, who turned out to be a godsend.
As with baby #1, this one did not seem ready to come out on his “due date”. I went in for the non stress test at 41 weeks and was promptly advised to schedule another C-section then and there, simply because my amniotic fluid was slightly low, but not into the danger zone. I was confused and surprised, since I had been told by my doctor that she was very open to doing VBACs and that the hospital was trying to lower their C-section rate, that they so quickly threw all that out the window once I hit 41 weeks. Carrie was so helpful with sending me research and encouragement to stick to my intuitions, and I decided to decline the advice of the hospital staff and I had to sign a waiver releasing them of liability since I refused to do a C-section and I went home. Two days later I went back for another non-stress test and was given the same advice by the hospital. Again I declined the C-section and went home. The next day I went to see my OB who seemed very displeased to see me still pregnant, and she stripped my membranes and told me that I was dilated to about 2 cm. I went home praying that it would happen naturally that night.
I awoke on Friday the 13th of May still very pregnant and impatient! I was texting with Carrie frequently and she was being such a strong and supportive voice to me that it really helped me to calm down and just trust my body. I knew my baby would come when my body was ready for him, but I decided it was time to help him out. I drank a smoothie with 1 tablespoon of castor oil and waited one hour. No pressure waves yet, so I had some juice with one more tablespoon of castor oil. By 5 pm still nothing, so I decided to go and get a super delux pedicure to help myself relax and in hopes that the foot massage might kick-start things.
While sitting in the chair, lo and behold, I started having intense pressure waves that were coming consistently from 7-10 minutes apart. I came home and cooked dinner with my husband as they continued to come stronger and closer. The castor oil finally kicked in (it’s a powerful laxative) and I was unable to eat much dinner. Finally I texted Carrie and told her to come as the waves were consistently coming now every 3-4 minutes for over an hour. She arrived at my house quickly and I decided to take a bath while she began to coach me using hypnobabies scripts. The bath didn’t last long as I felt like the waves were already super intense and that we should go to hospital since they were so close together. We arrived at the hospital around 9:30 pm, and they checked me.
I didn’t want to be informed of my dilation so they told my husband while Carrie continued to coach me as I alternated from the birth ball to sitting on the toilet. I had no real concept of time as I was so focused on just relaxing and the hypnosis was really helping me to just feel the waves as pressure. There was no pain at all, just intense pressure that was definitely manageable with the support of Carrie there to remind me to just trust my body and allow it to open. I guess we were in triage for almost 3 hours before they moved me to a room upstairs where we continued to use all our hynobabies cues, and had dim tea lights throughout the room and music. I don’t think I spoke to a nurse more than once. I felt so in control of my body and my mind, and I attribute that all to hypnobabies. Not once did I feel like I needed any kind of pain medication or that this was something I couldn’t do.
At one point, I think it was around 3:30 am, my water broke. They checked me shortly after and I was told that I was very close but not to push yet as it could set me back. We decided to put on the birthing time track and continued to change positions. I was going from the toilet, to the birth ball, to lying on my side with the peanut ball in between my legs. I was so hypnotized I guess I was even falling asleep in between waves.
Finally I was informed that it was time to push. At the time I was on the bed leaning on all fours over the birth ball facing the back of the bed. The nurses wanted me to turn around and get on my back and I refused. I knew that at that particular hospital they only “let you” deliver in the lithotomy position but I was just listening to my body and that was the most comfortable position for me at the time. I may not even have been able to move if I wanted to. I had no idea how quickly this next part would happen. I was just groaning and sending all my energy down and out when I heard them all saying they saw the head and to get ready. My doctor wasn’t even there yet!
I remember saying to my baby in my head, “this is it, you are coming out in the next 2 pushes!” and that is exactly what happened! I felt my babies head travel from far up to down and out and he flew out so quickly no one even caught him and he landed on the bed! I had pushed him out from a station 1 in 2 pushes. They started telling me to turn around and grab my baby! So I did and there he was! My healthy 9 pound 5 ounce, and 21” baby boy was born at 5:07 am on May 14, 2016. It was the most wonderful and elating experience of my life. I feel so empowered knowing that I trusted my body and my instincts to allow it to do what it was created to do, to give birth, without any interventions or medications. I did it thanks to hypnobabies and Carrie with her awesome wisdom and support and I don’t think I could have done it without her. Thank you so much Carrie!