The Ingredients of a Great Birth

Baby Ivory

Baby Ivory

 

“She’s here!” Jun said.

 

It was a week after the birth, and Jun was calling to tell me about the birth.  She was breathless with awe at her accomplishment and at the perfection of her daughter, Ivory.  She gushed that though the labor was longer than she had thought it would be, the HypnoBirthing breathing and relaxation techniques made all the difference.  Her husband – who had been nervous – was strong and present for her.  And giving birth in water had been amazing.

 

I asked her permission to share a photo of her beautiful girl along with these comments from her course evaluation.  She happily consented.  I hope they give you an idea of what you can gain from working with me prenatally:

– Confidence and trust in yourself, your body and your baby;

– A safe and supportive environment in which to learn;

– Effective support from your husband/birth companion;

– Calmer, gentler, safe birth for you and your baby.

 

Allison:  What hesitations did you have about doing my course, and how did you overcome them?

Jun:  I had no hesitations.  I knew HypnoBirthing was the way to go after I saw some random YouTube clips of HypnoBirthing videos online.  If you are at all interested which videos got my attention, here they are:

Daisy’s HypnoBirthing Home Birth Water Birth

Gabrielle’s HypnoBirthing Water Birth

Oliver’s Gentle Water Birth / HypnoBirth

 

Allison:  What changes have you noticed since taking the course and doing the practices?

Jun:  It felt like a confirmation that my feelings about natural birth were right.  It also gave me more confidence that I too can have the experience that the women in the videos (above) had.  Most importantly and a big reason why I took this course was to get my husband to listen and understand what I wanted to get out of my birth experience.  It was important he heard it from someone with the experience and knowledge.  It has really opened his eyes to a new way of viewing birth.

 

Allison:  What specific aspect(s) of the course did you like best?

Jun:  I liked that all of our questions were taken to heart and explained with patience and love.  I liked how we were not just listening but also engaging and participating in the class.  It was comforting to feel that we were one with [you].  We never felt like we were being told what to do or think.  The atmosphere [you] brought to the room made us comfortable to ask the “stupid” questions.

 

Allison:  Is there anything you’d add to or subtract from the course?

Jun:  I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

Allison:  How do you feel about birth and your body’s ability to birth now?

Jun:  Of course there are moments when I get nervous and think “Can I really do this”?  But HypnoBirthing has taught me to have faith in myself and if all those other women can do it, so can I.

 

Allison:  Any other comments?

Jun:  Allison, meeting you has been a gift from above.  I can’t thank you enough for giving David and I an opportunity to prepare for our or my (LOL) ideal birth!  I look forward to sharing our birth story with you.

“We feel ready to meet our baby.”

The expectant couple

What a joy it was for both my husband and me to take a HypnoBirthing: the Mongan Method course, as taught by Allison. She is truly gifted at teaching and created a comfortable learning environment for us. After completing the course, it was a relief to hear my husband say that for the first time he felt prepared for our baby’s birthing day. What a blessing!! Thanks to Allison, we feel ready to meet our baby and find comfort in knowing she is only a phone call away.

C. Thibault, massage therapist

“Great Birth” and “Indescribable Bonding” Postpartum for First Time Mom

Daniella and her beaming parents

I was due to give birth on 5th February at the Japanese Red Cross Hospital in Hiroo, my obstetrician was a local Japanese doctor (Dr Kasai) who spoke very good English and was great throughout my pregnancy. I was told early on that Red Cross does not offer the epidural or gas, and the only pain relief available was pethidine.

I looked into more natural ways to relieve the pain on the day, and prepare myself mentally for the birth and eventually found hypnobirthing and pre-natal yoga. I believe they both helped me immensely in my approach and on the day of the birth. I was very positive about the birth process, which I think helped me relax towards the later stages of my pregnancy.

In the early hours of 31st Jan, I started to have period pain like cramps. I knew this doesn’t automatically mean I was going into labour and as it was very manageable, I didn’t think much of it and told my husband to head off to work as usual.

As the day progressed, the cramps came and went but still over 30mins apart and not painful enough to stop me in my tracks. I went about my day as I always did, making sure I ate well and stay hydrated.

By about 6pm, I was starting to get the feeling I might be ready but as it really still didn’t feel intense enough I really wasn’t worried, and at this point the surges (contractions) were still over 15mins apart.

My husband got home at 7pm, and I was still very relaxed but they were now around 10mins apart. He made some dinner for us, and after that they became a little more intense. I still didn’t feel the need to go to the hospital, and preferred to stay at home. I took a bath, relaxed and at every surge I used my surge breathing (as per hypnobirthing), and my husband read to me from the book to keep me relaxed which helped a lot.

We headed for the hospital around 9pm. When they checked me over, my surges were now 5mins apart, and definitely getting more intense. I was hoping for a water birth, but both rooms were already occupied so I went into a standard labour and delivery room.

From around 10pm onwards all I could concentrate on was my surge breathing, and using all the positions I got from yoga to get me through the surges. My husband was amazing and kept reminding me to breathe as we had practised, and passed me water after each surge, and kept me cool with a water spray.

As the surges got closer together, I began to use my birth breathing which made the surges much more bearable, esp. during the exhale. Don’t get me wrong, they were very intense and my goal of not making any sounds did not happen. So I decided to use the vocal toning I learnt at yoga, together with my birth breathing. This was so good, breathing out and making the deep ‘O’ sound helped me drag the exhale out longer and ride the surges better.

Around 4am, the doctors asked me if I wanted to have my waters broken for me, as I was fully dilated. I was hoping for a birth with nil intervention, but by now I thought I was ready to have the baby. 15mins later, our gorgeous baby girl Daniella was born. I did end up getting a episiotomy, but had the drug free natural birth I wanted.

As soon as she was born, they placed her immediately on my chest, which was very important to me and Red Cross supported this. She didn’t leave my chest for 2 hours, as they did what they had to without her leaving me. 15mins after being on my chest, she wriggled her way to my breast and started to suck. It was such an amazing experience, and for me the best part of the whole birth. The bonding in those 2 hours is indescribable.

I believe I had a very positive birth, and I wanted to share it with everyone. Maybe I was lucky that officially my ‘active’ labour was only 6.5hrs, but I think the techniques I gained from hypnobirthing and pre-natal yoga all played a part in my great experience.

11 weeks old now, Daniella is a very good baby, who has been eating well since birth, and growing very well.

Sylvia, in Shinagawa, Tokyo

A Doula Shows a Mother Her Own Strength

Genny and her daughters

I was Genny’s doula for the birth of her second child, Sophie.  During the birth I was struck by the difference between whatI saw and what the hospital staff seemed to see.  What I saw was a powerful mother; the staff seemed to see a patient.  I wrote up my vision of this birth for Genny and this was her response:

“When I initially began reading it, I easily recognized myself and the sensations of my early labor. As I continued to read, I was taken back by this woman who was enduring a powerful, intense event!  That woman was me. I AM that woman!! Through my birth experience, I found a new strength with in myself. I did feel as though I wasn’t strong enough to endure the intense surges.  Thankfully, your guidance and support helped me persevere!  I somehow mustered the strength and confidence to trust my body and get onto my knees and began to deliver my sweet Sophie’s head. That moment is one that encourages me daily. The strength I had at that moment reminds me of how powerful my mind and body can be! I continue to trust my body, as it has proved its capable strength with out a doubt.

“Thank you Allison for everything!!”
Genny, RN, educator, and mom of two
Iwakuni Naval Air Station, Japan

Coaching the Values-Driven Entrepreneur and Mother of Three

Renee Elliott

I’ve completed ten coaching sessions with Allison and I am thrilled with the work we did together.  In every situation, Allison was able to guide and support me through my difficulty.  Each time, I had a breakthrough, was able to look at the situation differently and move beyond the upset.  This, for a life coach, is not unusual, but there are two things that put Allison in a crowd of her own.  Firstly, she is a lovely mix of compassion and wholesome American with a bit of funny thrown in.  Secondly, she has an absolutely incredible ability to remember things, so much so that it almost seems like she remembered everything I said from the first to last session, down to teeny weeny details.  We would be talking about something on session 6, for example, and she would refer to some comment I had made months earlier at the beginning of our coaching and then something related from a few weeks after that – and then pull everything together to make a brilliant point.  I was floored because most people’s memories are not that good.

I have thought a lot about this and, knowing her as I do, can draw only one conclusion.  I believe it is because Allison completely LOVES what she does and really, truly cares about the people she coaches.  That is why she is such a brilliant coach.  I have recommened her to about ten of my friends, most of whom have coached with her and have been totally delighted with the results.  One girlfriend who has done more than ten sessions said, ‘Allison surprised me with things she said and really made me think.  I can’t say that about many people.’

Renée Elliott
I am the Founder of Planet Organic, UK, and author of family cookbooks and food/recipe blogs.

Coaching Helps New Mother to Thrive

Day One: new baby, new mum

Allison’s HypnoBirthing training allowed me to feel confident and sure of myself about the birth of my child. I’m not sure if I could have done anything to prepare myself better for the roller coaster ride of the first few months of motherhood, but the New Mums coaching sessions I receive from Allison are a vital part of surviving and thriving through them!

First, it is very comforting to know that every week, you are able to pour your heart out to someone who isn’t going to judge you about your worries, your frustrations, your middle-of-the-night inspired “I’m a bad mother” moments.

After Allison listens to your outpouring, you both question some of the thoughts you’ve expressed, imagining how you’d feel without them and analyzing if the opposite of the thoughts could also be true. I find this work challenging actually, but I love it, and the process always leaves me feeling physically and mentally lighter.

I love practical solutions, and I’ve been able to go away after each session equipped with another tool to help me at first cope, then grow and thrive as a new mum.

Chrissy, teacher and mum to Ella

Tokyo

Chrissy & Ella’s Birth Story, Aqua Birth House

Ella, 5 months

I really wanted a natural birth because of my desire to move around and use any position I liked during birth, and because of my belief that a birth without any medical interventions is best for baby and mother. Giving birth at Aqua Birth house, using HypnoBirthing techniques allowed me to achieve this dream!

On Monday the 5th of September, I had to visit the doctor affiliated with Aqua Birth house as I had reached week 41 of my pregnancy with no sign of baby. You can only give birth at the birth center between 37 and 42 weeks and if there are no complications. The doctor said my cervix was soft and I was 1.5cm dilated and that I’d have to come in to his clinic to be induced with Pitocin the following Monday if baby hadn’t appeared by then.

Perhaps Ella didn’t like the sound of induction, perhaps it was down to all the combined efforts of natural induction I tried that evening- lots of pineapple, acupressure points and clary sage oil, or perhaps this day was my real due date after all! Whatever it was, I was woken up by my first surge (contraction) at around 11pm. I immediately used the HypnoBirthing breathing and vizualisation techniques I knew so well. I can’t express how much they help! They allow you to work with your body through each surge and I can honestly say I quite enjoyed most of the surges- the ones towards the end were a bit more intense!

The surges came every half an hour throughout the night, waking me up each time but I slept in-between. By the morning, they were about 15 minutes apart but not regular. My mother-in-law and husband were at home with me but I liked keeping the surges secret for the moment! I went ahead with a normal day with stretching and a good breakfast. By midday it was obvious the surges were the real thing as they were getting more intense and closer together. My mum-in-law massaged my back throughout each one, and my husband chose a rom-com for me to watch for distraction! I was too distracted to watch it though, and I remember doing some much needed vacuuming and dusting instead (very last minute nesting!). The surges continued to intensify and I spent most of the afternoon in the bath listening to the HypnoBirthing relaxation tracks. By 6pm, it was obvious I should think about getting to the birth center as the surges were getting close to 6 minutes apart. I hadn’t eaten yet, and I have to say: prepare something quick and easy before! I hadn’t, and my husband’s efforts were unfortunately not quick or tasty enough and I didn’t manage to eat much as my surges were quickly getting closer together. I recommend using a contraction app on your smart phone by the way- easiest way to time them. By 7pm the surges were coming regularly at 5 minutes apart and we left in a taxi for the birth center.

When I arrived at the birth center, my surges were monitored and the midwife found that they had become weaker and irregular. I was 4cm dilated. She said that I could either return home or stay over and hope that they resumed in the morning. My husband tells me that I became quite annoyed by the suggestion I had to wait and that I insisted I was going to have the baby that evening and I’d walk up and down the stairs to get the surges going again.

The next few hours really are a blur, but the surges certainly returned and by 11 pm I was already 10cm dilated and wanting to push. The time between 8 and 11 was spent in the tatami room upstairs and then in the delivery room downstairs, changing positions between all-fours and on my side, with lots of cushions in-between my legs. I listened to the birth affirmations section of the HypnoBirthing CD most of the time and used lavender oil. I felt very calm and relaxed.

My primary midwife called a second midwife and my bath was run. I got in the bath, which felt extremely relaxing. I got too relaxed it seems as my surges weakened. The midwives suggested that I would get too tired to push if I remained in the water. Perhaps this is where I could have been more insistent about my wish to give birth gently in water by bearing down rather than by pushing but the offer that it would be faster and less tiring if I squatted tempted me, so I got out of the bath and went to the birth stool. I remember noticing that it was 11:45PM on the 6th at this point and I thought it would be cool if I could birth my baby by midnight! It wasn’t to be the 3 easy pushes I had hoped for. Ella was posterior so it was a bit more difficult to get her down the birth canal, but there’s no backing out so you just go for it!

I felt her head and she was still in her sac, my waters hadn’t broken even at this stage. At 12:39pm the midwives started telling me to put my hands down to catch her but I almost missed her as I thought they were still telling me to point my chin down as they’d been telling me the whole time. Luckily I got their meaning and, along with my husband who reached round me, we caught our baby girl. We brought her up onto my chest and we lay back onto the bed. The cord was left connected for a good 3 minutes while Ella was on my chest. She found my breast soon after and suckled. The midwives left her there for about half an hour before taking her to be weighed and measured. She came back quickly and my husband, Ella and I were left alone for about an hour. We were helped up to our tatami room and spent the rest of the night sleeping all together on the futon. I fully recommend the birth center if you speak a little Japanese. Feel free to mail me if you are considering a HypnoBirthing or drug-free birth center birth! chrissybodington@gmail.com

 

Coaching for Empowered Relationships

Amy and her boys

During my lifecoaching sessions with Allison I was able to learn skills that allow me to step back from a situation and assess the way I truly feel, open my eyes to new possibilities, and move forward with compassion towards myself and others.  I have been able to cultivate an understanding of my own response to situations and realize that my intuition is a vital tool in making beneficial decisions.  Allison has a calm and reassuring demeanor.  I truly appreciated and thrived under her non-judgmental and gentle style of coaching.  Thank you, Allison!

Amy, homeschooling mother of two, Dallas

Coaching During Family and Career Upheaval

 

Michelle

 

I have never been one to seek out help to work through the challenges that I face with work and family, but the opportunity to work with Allison came at a time when I felt that I could benefit from an outside point of view —  I was ready to take a chance to make some changes.  I find working with Allison refreshing…she is bright and insightful and is able to make observations about aspects of my life that I had never considered.  She puts me to work each time we meet, assigning me a manageable, but meaningful task designed to help me to get “unstuck” with a problem.   The thing that amazes me the most with our time together is that Allison asks a question or make a comment that sticks in my mind with me until the next time we meet. She has the ability to ask essential questions that have enabled me to overcome some difficult hurdles.  I look forward to our every meeting and can’t imagine why I waited so long to find a life coach.

Michelle, University professor and mother of two, NH