My sweet baby was born on 9/9, and it was a beautiful experience. Thanks in large part to you, I switched to a midwife practice at 35 weeks after seeing the chart you shared in one of the first classes about cesarean rates at different twin cities hospitals. This was the best thing I could have done, as I think this, paired with your class, was why I was able to have the labor and birth experience I’d dreamed of.
My labor experience went relatively quickly once I was in active labor (after a day of prodromal labor - I definitely listened to your guided Hypnobirthing tracks a lot that day). I used many of the tools you’d taught us when I was clearly in labor - focusing on an object, playing calm music (I downloaded the Hypnobirthing tracks without words!), using the different breathing techniques, and finding positions that felt best to labor in. Nick, my husband, had read up on what I’d been learning in class each week, and used affirming words and light touch to support me.
The midwives seemed to know exactly what to do and say to help me along in the labor process, and always made it clear that I was in charge of my body and what I wanted to do (for example, regarding cervical checks). Auggie’s birth itself was so calm, and honestly, one of the best experiences of my life. I felt strong and powerful. I think being in such a calm frame of mind and supportive environment made my body relax and my labor go pretty quickly (though it didn’t necessarily feel quick in the thick of it!).
Auggie was born via water birth, after maybe 10 minutes of pushing (though I was totally involuntarily pushing - my body was just working of its own accord, it felt like). Nick was able to “catch” Auggie and help bring him up to my chest immediately after birth, where he stayed for the 4 hours we were at the birth center. He was and still is a healthy baby, and my recovery has been very smooth.
My 3-year-old, Rowan, loves Auggie and is a great big sister - I can’t believe I have the family I’ve always hoped for. I’m so grateful for you and your class, Erin. Thank you for all of your insights and support - I hope you know the impact you’re making!
Congratulations to this Flutterby Hypnobirthing Family who welcomed their first babe earlier than expected… before class ended… and used their skills and knowledge to maintain their dream of an empowered experience! Many thanks to them for sharing their story.
I'm writing to let you know that Eric and I will miss our last class today because we had a surprise arrival this weekend!
On Friday night, walking home from a neighbor's house around 9:45, I thought I peed my pants (because waters releasing never happen like they show in the movies, right?!?). Shortly after, what I thought were Braxton Hicks started.
I popped my headphones in and listened to my Hypnobirthing playlist on repeat from about 1am - 6am. I was definitely in and out of wakefulness during that time, potentially dozing between each surge.
The surges started at 20 minutes apart, and advanced throughout the night until they were much closer together. The sensations were mostly in my back, which was not very pleasant, but I breathed through it.
About 6:30am, we called the NurseLine and they advised we come to Labor & Delivery at Regions to see if I was in fact leaking amniotic fluid. We called our doula a bit before 7am, and right when we called her I started feeling the urge to push!
Since we were only at 33 weeks 5 days, we didn't have our hospital bag packed yet, so Eric quickly threw together a bag while our doula supported me through surges.
We drove to Regions Family Birth Center and arrived a few minutes after 8am. I got to the triage bathroom to give a urine sample, but I couldn't pee, so I reached down and I felt a head! They rushed me to the delivery room and 3 pushes later, Lochlan was born at 8:24am, 6 weeks early!
It was an incredible and unexpected experience, but honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. I truly think the Hypnobirthing playlist and the prep work we did beforehand allowed me to be so calm and relaxed that labor progressed so quickly! Thank you for your class and all that you taught us!”
The day before I went into labor with Gemma, I had a routine midwife appointment, and a Biophysical Profile ultrasound. Standard for being over 40 weeks. I had already tried a few membrane sweeps, and the baby was cozy as could be. My midwife suggested that a herbal induction would be a good idea, since I was close to risking out of home birth care. I am a big believer in letting baby decide birth days, but said I would consider Sunday/Monday (42 weeks would be that Tuesday) if Baby didn't come over the weekend. Joe and I took the 3 kids to the YMCA to swim that evening. I had the results back that my BPP was a slightly lower number than wanted, so we agreed to a natural induction for the following morning at noon. I let my birth team (doula, photographer, friend/family) know. My neighbor/friend Stephanie, was going to come over at 9 to do my hair. If I had to have an induction, I was at least going to look nice for it.
I went to bed that night, and listened to my Hypnobirthing relaxation track. It was quite a weird feeling, knowing I was going to have my baby the next day. I slept pretty good until 5am. I felt really uncomfortable. Joe was going to work a 1/2 day that morning, and come home when the herbal induction/acupuncture was supposed to start. When he left at 7am, I was painful, but thought it was from how big baby was and the movement. All the kids were up around 730am and I went to get them breakfast. I was having a hard time getting them what they wanted with the continuous pain I was feeling. I finally realized I was having contractions every 4 minutes, and was in labor! I called my birth team at 8:15 and told them I NEEDED them at the house now. I have a history of fast labors once I break through some LEEP scar tissue, so I was afraid I would have the baby alone. I let my neighbor/friends Kate and Kodi know that today was the day, and they came over right after Joe arrived to help me and the kids. I listened to my birth affirmations, while I folded laundry. I literally was on the floor moaning every time I had a contraction with bad back labor, so I thought doing something normal would be a good distraction. Kodi helped change Coral and took some pictures. I let my friend know that was doing my hair, that there was NO WAY I could stand still for it... so messy bun it was!
My mom and Joe's mom arrived around 9. They both missed Coral's birth by minutes, so they were pretty prompt about being here for the big day! My best friend Kacie, arrived shortly after. My photographer Stef, and doula, Staci arrived, and she did some hip squeezes to help with the back labor. We walked stairs, and did some hip swaying. I was only in the tub 5 minutes before Coral was born, so Joe and others got to filling the labor tub right away. I was able to relax in the warm water, and had a great playlist with Prince, Lizzo, The Police, and Jonas Brothers to get me into the groove. The second midwife, Holly, arrived. The water relaxed me a little too much, so my contractions started spacing a bit. I ugly cried in front of everyone, and complained that "This was taking forever"! Mind you, It was maybe 11am by this point, and people had been here two hours tops. I got out of the tub and asked to be checked. I had been a solid 6cm for the last week, so I was happy when Aly told me I was 9cm. I was motivated to get this kid out of me, so I went back to stair walking. My SIL Angela had arrived, so everyone I wanted at the birth was officially there! I got back in the tub when things were more intense and switched the playlist to my ocean wave noises. I used visualization from Hypnobirthing to help me through all the surges. I pictured I was in Akumal, Mexico... my favorite place in the world. I got out after things stalled again. Aly suggested eating something. Due to my Hyperemesis, I think I got 2 bites in of a sandwich before I said F the food.
Staci started doing Lift and tucks on my belly. I said I wanted a break, it was too intense.....and then with a deafening pop at 12:47pm, my water broke. After three natural births, I can say without a doubt, this was the most intense feeling of my life. Baby was higher up in my pelvis. It felt like an elevator went from level 3 to the ground entrance in a second's time. I was mostly quiet before this, but all bets were off now, and I knew what was coming. I SCREAMED for everyone to come down to the basement (Joe, kids, parents were all upstairs). I pulled off my pants and jumped into the birthing tub. I'm so thankful Kate was there at that moment, and got these last few minutes on video for me. I could tell this baby was bigger than the other three and kept saying "oh God, oh God, oh God". In my head, I was saying this baby is flipping huge, and there is no way It is coming out of me! I pushed twice and roared. The head was out. I waited for my next contraction, and Aly told me to lower my butt down into the water and kneel. The contraction came and the rest of the body came out. I caught the baby in my arms and pulled her up at 12:51pm. I started crying. This was almost 42 weeks of HG, and struggling with everything after a previous loss. Everyone in the room cheered! Charles was upset with how loud I had been, and started crying too. Coral and Graham came over to see the baby. Joe announced correctly (He said Coral was a boy), that we had a little girl! It wasn't a shock to me. I felt the whole pregnancy, that I was going to have a girl. I also was rubbing her bum at the time and didn't feel any part. Charles cried again, because he wanted a brother, but got over it quickly.
My after pains came on pretty fast, so I told everyone I needed quiet. The kids, parents, and Angela went upstairs so I could get my wits back. Another 10-20 minutes, and we were back up in my bedroom, doing a champagne toast, and having a pizza party! We were all shocked to find out that she was 8 pounds 8 oz. - three pounds more than Coral, and two pounds more than the boys! I am so blessed that Gemma really did come when she wanted. It was exactly how I wanted the birth to go. All the people I loved and wanted there were present. My pregnancies may be tough, but holding on to that baby in the first few moments is worth every IV, Zofran pump, and sickness. Happy Birthday Gemma Emily!
-Dani (Who also happens to be an awesome Hypnobirthing Doula - Check her out at Dani the Doula!)
Thank you to Tiny Moment Photography for the beautiful pictures!
Flutterby is located in the Twin Cities, and provides Hypnobirthing as well as other classes and services for expectant families. Erin Stertz-Follett, Flutterby's Owner, is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Certified Hypnobirthing Educator, and Certified Birth Doula who has taught and assisted hundreds of families. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Sharing is caring!
My HypnoBirthing practice had turned into a reality!
Our baby boy came into this world about 12 hours after my contractions started. I was 38 weeks and 1 day, and Henrik was 7lbs 2oz , 20 inches. I had seen my midwife that morning, and she had told me that I was dilated to 3cm. For the rest of the day at work, I sat on the birth ball and moved my hips in circles. I was excited that I could go into labor at any minute, so I wanted to help the process along. I tried to remind myself that I could also just as easily not go into labor and end up waiting three more weeks for the big day to arrive. I had occasional little “twinges” in my cervix, but I wasn’t sure if they meant anything, so I dismissed them.
My husband Jake and I ate dinner, and then around 7pm I started to feel exhausted, so I decided to go to bed early. I laid on our bed and started listening to the HypnoBirthing tracks like I had done for the past many weeks. After a while I started feeling little “cramps” (I had never experienced a contraction before). At first I thought nothing of them, but as they continued, I realized that it was the beginning of labor! Jake came in the room and I told him the news! He said, in denial, “they’re probably Braxton-Hicks.” He admitted that he would be shocked if our baby really was coming!
My contractions increased a little by 9pm, so Jake filled the tub and I sat in it for an hour. I told Jake to go to sleep at 11pm because I knew I would need him to be well rested to support me through the delivery. I didn’t feel I needed him to sit with me during the early part of labor, as I was feeling fine just meditating on my own. I also didn’t want both of us to stay up all night. He downloaded a contraction app so that I could keep track of how long they were lasting and how frequent they were occurring and he went to bed. In the early part of labor, the contractions lasted 30-40 seconds and they occurred every 6 minutes. Then, towards the end of my laboring at home, they were lasting about 60-90 seconds and were 3-4 minutes apart. From 11pm-3am, I alternated between laying on my left side in bed, rolling my hips on the birthing ball, walking a little, and doing some “cat and cows.” Somehow my husband slept through all of my moving about. I breathed through each contraction and rested during the breaks. While breathing through an intense contraction, I would place my hand on my lower abdomen and make sure my hand was moving up and down with my breath; this way I knew I was relaxing and staying loose. During the night, my bowels definitely cleared out (if you know what I mean), and I felt that I passed my mucus plug (it looked like a mucus/clear/blood tinged glob and It seemed to come in stages- smaller at first).
At 3am I felt the contractions were increasing in intensity. I had to really focus to breathe and relax, and the contraction app reaffirmed that they were longer and more frequent too, so I knew it wasn’t my imagination! Knowing that I had been “a 3” earlier that day, I was confident that I had made progress after the many hours of laboring at home, and I felt that I wanted to be at the hospital for the rest of the laboring. I excitedly woke up Jake and we packed our bags in the truck (with a few contractions in-between) and left! It was such an exciting moment! Knowing that we were driving to the hospital for the final stretch! I had a few contractions in the car on the way there and also on my walk into the hospital, for which I had to pause and let pass before I could continue walking.
We arrived to the birthing unit at 4am and I was happy to find out that I was dilated to a 6. It was nice to know that my “work” of relaxing and breathing through contractions had paid off. The nurse checked on the baby when I was admitted, but then let me move around the room, go on the birth ball, and sit in the tub as I pleased. The midwives and nurses were amazing! They told me about all of my options, but gladly supported my wish to deliver my baby naturally. I didn’t have a birth plan or instruct them to avoid any certain vocabulary, and I didn’t feel I needed to. They were all very respectful, and allowed me to take the lead. They told me I could eat lightly and drink too, so that was nice to know I had the option. I had a bite of an energy bar, but other than that I didn’t have an appetite.
I focused inward and used my husband as my main support. I would talk between contractions, but once a contraction started up again, I would stop talking and focus on my breath. I didn’t want to spend any energy by talking during contractions. Jake played meditation yoga music in the background, which I realized I liked for the final stages of labor. I had a hard time focusing on the HypnoBirthing tracks during a contraction, and just thought of the affirmations on my own as it worked for me. I sat in the tub for about an hour, and then for the rest of the time I laid on my left side in bed or stood up and folded over the raised bed so Jake could massage my lower back (which tightened up whenever I had a contraction). If I felt any nausea, Jake would hold peppermint oil near my nose. The smell really seemed to help. I threw up a few times, but I didn’t mind, as I knew it could mean that my labor was nearing the end. I was amazed at how great I felt in-between contractions; it was what I could look forward to after a contraction. Towards the end, when my contractions were quite strong and more frequent, humming calmed me and kept me focused; it let others know when I was experiencing stronger contractions, too.
At about 8am I was full dilated and effaced. The midwife offered to break my water, and after about 15 more minutes of contractions, I decided that I was ready for that. I continued to breathe baby down until about 8:45pm, when the midwife told me that I could start pushing if I wanted to. At first I declined and continued to breathe baby down, but the pressure started to increase and I felt that my body was feeling ready to naturally push at that point. They could see his head too, so after about 3 pushes, Henrik Jacob was born! The last few minutes of the delivery were so amazing to experience. So much preparation... and the time had finally come. When my midwife placed Henrik on my chest just seconds after he was born, it was the best feeling I have ever experienced. The feeling of his warm (so warm) and waxy skin on mine is something I will never forget.
My baby did so well on his journey into this world. Jake was an amazing birth partner and was just as amazed as I was that our baby had finally come. We felt so blessed. After enjoying our baby for a while, the midwife showed us that all of the blood had been pulsed out of the umbilical cord and it was ready to be cut. I did the honors, since Jake has a weak stomach when it comes to things like this. Henrik stayed lying on my chest for at least the next hour and a half and my nurse patiently helped me through learning how to breastfeed right away. The entire birth was a blessing. I was so grateful that I was able to deliver Henrik naturally. My HypnoBirthing practice had turned into a reality. Right after Henrik was born, I was amazed at how great I felt physically. Mentally, I was exhausted, as I had been awake for over 24 hours by the time he was born. I didn’t have any tearing either which was really nice. I had done perineal massage throughout the later part of my pregnancy, so that may have helped me avoid it.
The goal for my son’s birth was to deliver naturally. I used a well-rounded approach that incorporated things I had learned throughout my life, including what I learned in the HypnoBirthing class. I chose a midwife as my provider so that I would feel more support in my goal to deliver naturally. I encourage everyone to seek a care provider that aligns with your birthing preference and thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions about the birthing process. But whether you plan to deliver with an OBGYN or a midwife, with epidural or naturally, I feel that Erin’s HypnoBirthing classes can provide some wonderful tools for making the birthing process more enjoyable. The relaxation techniques, confidence-building, and increased knowledge about the process can help anyone in the early hours of laboring at home, and beyond. Erin empowered me to follow my dream of delivering my child naturally and gave me wonderful tools, both physical handouts and then mental preparation practices, which I was able to utilize when it came time to deliver my baby boy. The birthing affirmations that were in the HypnoBirthing tracks were great too. They were calming, and gave me a good energy for my pregnancy and birth.
I would highly recommend Erin’s class to any pregnant mamma! It was money well spent. Thank you for everything, Erin!
Erin Stertz-Follett, Flutterby's Owner, is a Certified HypnoBirthing® Educator, Certified Hypnotist, and Certified Birth Doula who has taught and assisted hundreds of families. Feel free to email her at email@example.com with any questions!
The more you can ignore "early labor," the better....
We had our baby five days ago, and I used HypnoBirthing myself for the first time (baby #4)!
I slept through 90% of my labor! I went to bed listening to the (hypnosis) audio track, and woke up the next morning to what I thought were mild waves/surges. I breathed through them for about an hour using the surge breathing technique, never leaving my bed. Then I started shaking...
Realizing the shaking was transition, I called my midwives, and they started on their way over (this was our first home birth as well). 45 minutes later, Baby E was received by my husband on our bathroom floor. Then we waited for the midwives to arrive to help us with the rest. She was my biggest baby, and this was by far my fastest, easiest birth! It was truly amazing!
I had so many people tell me throughout my pregnancy that having the baby this way "wouldn't work," and I'll admit that at times, even I was skeptical. But it really did turn out just the way I was hoping. I am so happy to have discovered HypnoBirthing, and am even more excited to support clients choosing this program now that I have personal experience!
- Kara (doula with Sacred Space Birth Services)
Erin Stertz-Follett, Owner