***Please note the heavy sarcasm before jumping in… this is a funny post, not a serious one!***
Bet I can’t make you can’t say HCACBAC 5 times fast… hell I bet you don’t even know what it is short for. Before you get all out of shape trying to figure out our new cryptic birth code I will break it down for you…
I know… you have heard it all now right? I mean, one of the growing VBAC trends these days is the HBAC, or Home Birth After Cesarean, so why can’t I have a home cesarean after a cesarean right?
We take all the OR equipment, and we can set it up in my living room, fully equipped with an OR staff, fishy pool in the case we need it, and all the other perks home birth comes with. Maybe I can even hire someone to play the drums and do some sort of a spiritual chant in the background right… I mean that is what all home births come with… right?
I can’t help but laugh hysterically at the whole thing, while trying to poke fun at all the anti-home birth advocates out there. But in reality, I have to thank some of my favorite birth advocates for helping with this whole idea in general. It was actually born on my private facebook page yesterday after posting an update about my kidney stone saga.
Yes, I brought up the scissor cesarean in my bathroom… If you have ever had a c-section, or a kidney stone, or even both, you can and will know why I can say I would rather do my own HCACBAC rather than have a kidney stone. Kidneystonesarethedevilduringpregnancy.
But just when you thought the conversation had made a peak in amusing comments, it got better.
I want to thank Brooke, one of my fellow ICAN ladies for coining the term HCACBAC during this discussion. She is truly is an innovator, and advocate for all women. But I have to say, much of my chipper mood came from the poking fun of Dr. Amy… I am sure you know who she is, especially after my post about her exploiting dying American women.
As sad as it sounds, I could picture her in a straight jacket, plucking away at keys with her nose just to write something about those dangerous home cesarean advocates and their agenda… maybe that is slightly evil of me?
I may take Michael’s dad up on his dremel, and if that doesn’t work, it will be Ben’s tool set for the home kidney stone ectomy. Because at this point I will take anything.
But mark my words, I will be a huge advocate for the HCACBAC community… just wait and see!
I have known Michael for a little over a year, but I have known her through the childbirth community since her oldest son was born. I have watched from a far her choices of home births, and being a hypnobabies advocate, and birth professional in my area. I was looking for something fun to do, and I talked to her about doing an interview about hynobabies and her experiences…
So welcome Michael, and enjoy reading!
1) What is Hypnobabies?
Hypnobabies is Hypnosis for Childbirth. Some call it “hypnobirthing” but that’s a completely different program. Hypnobabies teaches moms *real medical hypnosis* from Gerald Kein’s famous Painless Childbirth techniques for the birth of their babies. With this technique, moms can enter hypnosis, deepen it themselves and remain mobile during labor, completely comfortable at all times. Using and practicing the Hypnobabies creates an automatically peaceful, relaxing and more comfortable pregnancy, a calm confident “Hypno-Dad”, and an easier, fearless and often pain-free birthing for the “Hypno-Mom”. I mention Hypnosis for birth and I’ve seen people immediately start putting up a wall. They’re confused by the fake stage hypnotists and what Hypnosis really is. It is NOT someone controlling your mind, or having you do silly things while they wave their hands around your head in dramatic ways. All Hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You are always in control of your own mind and your body while in hypnosis. You choose to enter hypnosis, stay in hypnosis, accept the suggestions, and emerge from hypnosis at all times. Stronger-minded and stronger-willed people are easier to hypnotize; not the other way around as is usually assumed. Hypnosis is not religion-oriented at all, just a way to direct your inner mind toward the positive for great personal benefit. What I really love about Hypnobabies is that it’s a complete childbirth education course, in addition to the self-hypnotic techniques. Because it’s a complete childbirth education, they don’t have to go elsewhere to another class to fill in any gaps.
2) Why did you choose Hypnobabies?
My aunt was taking a class to become a hypnotherapist. She first led me to the idea of using hypnosis for birth. I was honestly skeptical. I’m a Christian and was pretty clueless about hypnosis, having only ever seen the stage hypnotists and hearing about “mind control”. I thought it was someone *else* controlling my mind, which is false. I had already decided on a homebirth, so I figured I would look into the hypnotic techniques as my method of birth preparation. In my internet search I found that there were no Hypnobabies instructors in my area. I thought that I would benefit more from a live class so I took another program that did have an instructor near me. I was sorely disappointed. I learned next to nothing about Hypnosis, and it didn’t even touch on what to expect from the birth process itself. It took me a couple of months to figure out that I was severely lacking (and trying to write up my own scripts!!) I talked to my husband about buying the Hypnobabies Home Study program. In his mind, we’d already taken a class. He asked “Can’t you just… tough it out?” I bought the home study. I learned MORE about hypnosis AND birth in just the first weeks “class” than I did in the entirety of the other program. I felt like now I had something that would help me. Because I was so far behind in all this, I read the entire 5 courses in one sitting.
3) Can you tell us how Hypnobabies helped with your birth experiences?
I have had three VERY unique births. The first of which, I had only NINE days of practice with my Hypnobabies tools. NINE days, need I emphasize more? They really suggest at least 6 weeks of practice! I started my birthing time at 5am. I experienced no discomfort at all until 4pm. My son was born at 10:26pm. Between 4pm and his birth I had some pretty severe back labor as my son had turned posterior. The original program that I had taken had this underlying thought that if mothers experienced pain “they didn’t want it enough”. So I was disappointed in myself. However, Hypnobabies does NOT teach that at all. Looking back now, I’m rather proud of myself. Back labor was tough, and at the end was painful. I think I was holding him in. My mother’s plane arrived at 4pm, she didn’t get to my house until 6pm. My midwives said they saw me visibly relax when she walked into the room. Imagine what I could have done with 6 weeks of practice! As it was, I used every break in between a birthing wave to use my Hypnobabies tools and go completely loose, limp and relaxed so I could rest for the next one. That helped tremendously. My mother commented that I would go so deep and relax so completely into her arms that she had to hold my head out of the birthing tub. The next birthing wave would start and I would pop right up and start moving around for comfort.
My second birth I started practicing in my second trimester. I wanted the best use of time and practice, especially with my first baby running around. I hear the “time” excuse a lot. “I don’t have the time for all that practice.” Who does? In reality, everyone is working or doing something in their lives that takes up time. It’s about priorities! What do YOU want out of your birth and are you willing to put the “TIME” into it to get it? In all honesty, I would put my cd’s on before bed and listen to it as I fell asleep. This was a perfectly acceptable way to practice. My conscious mind wasn’t the part that needed to pay attention. My subconscious did. When I got up to pee in the middle of the night, I would put the cd back on. During any down moment during the day, I practiced the “finger drop technique” which is unique to Hypnobabies. It’s what allows moms to use their hypnosis as well as walk around and bounce on the birth ball. I definitely wanted to be able to do this, so I practiced it a LOT. In the end, my second son’s birth was nothing short of enjoyable! It was definitely intense. I knew that going in. Birth is intense! But his birth was intense joy, intense pressure, intense stretching. I laughed during my birthing waves, I enjoyed them. I had mild discomfort during transition, but I had amazing support and I knew comfort measures that helped from having had my previous son. Pushing was wonderful and I enjoyed it immensely. It felt productive! I gave birth to a 9lb 5oz baby boy with absolutely no tearing. Hypnobabies taught me not just to use hypnosis for birth, but positioning to aid in descent. I learned to “breathe” my baby out (which I did in combination with the utter throw down pushes my body produced.) But I was able to ease his head out gently. You can see his birth on youtube : (By the way… Check out Midwife and Science & Sensibility writer Amy Romano in the video!)
4) Tell my readers about your outstanding hospital birth?
Ahhh Trillian. Well first off I have to thank my incredible mother. And my insanely awesome Doula and dearest friend – Emily. Their loving, unfaltering support during my pregnancy and very long birth (by my standards) were nothing short of the best anyone could ever imagine or hope for. I love them with all my heart! Trillian’s pregnancy was such a stressful one. I developed blood clots in my first trimester and was put on blood thinners for the duration of the pregnancy. Home birth went out the window with the snap of a finger. With that, I was thrust into the high risk category, which meant a hospital birth at a big teaching hospital. My dad was a paramedic, I’ve been around hospital all my life. This time though, I was scared out of my mind. I started my Hypnobabies practice EARLY in this pregnancy so I could have the mental relaxation and positive reinforcement to help me get through the pregnancy with some sort of sanity. At every bloody appointment I went to, I had one nurse who loved to tell me “You could die”. Okay, I don’t know if she “loved” to say that, but she did. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Pulmonary embolism is the number one killer of pregnant women in America.” Regardless of whether it’s true or not, they had no cares about how saying something like that repeatedly would make me feel. So like I said, stressful.
In the end, I was 34 weeks when they first discovered low fluids. We made the deal to see if I could up my fluid levels over night and if so they wouldn’t induce me. Thankfully, I was able to do just that. But the very next visit, my levels were lower than before. I had been downing water like crazy, so that let me know something was wrong. I should have been able to keep it up with oral hydration alone. They also happened to discover her being a footling breech. Here in America, they like to refuse to induce (let alone birth at all) a breech. That would mean an automatic c-section. I made another deal, give me that night to see if she would change position, since she had been head down when I walked into that office. They wanted my fluids up anyway before they started the pitocin, so the deal was made. That entire night I pestered the baby until I felt her head in my hip. I prayed she’d turn head down all the way, and the next morning the resident was completely shocked to find her head down! Induction it was. The next couple of days I was so thankful for the childbirth education that Hypnobabies had first provided me 4 years ago. There was a LOT that I now knew about, and I had options. There’s a quote that I love that says “If you don’t know your choices, you don’t have any.” For the life of me I can’t remember who said it, but I feel that it rings true.
They wanted to use cytotec with me but I refused. They wanted to rupture my membranes (wasn’t their concern that I had low fluids?? Not a day ago, they had threatened me with stillbirth if I didn’t go to the hospital ASAP because of low fluids. Now they wanted to take away ALL the fluids?). I refused and said that if we needed to in the end, that was fine but I wanted that protective bubble as long as possible. I opted for a foley bulb to aid in manual dilation. That got me a couple centimeters. Then the rest was all pitocin– upped slowly. I had to remain on the monitors, but they put me in the room that had telemetry. I moved around a LOT. I slept on the floor on blankets instead of the bed because that was what was most comfortable for ME. I sat in the shower for hours. I was very comfortable just using my hypnotic tools, and staying in my “zone” for about 36 hours. I asked that the nurses provided me be ones who would help me achieve a natural (drug free) birth. I had a couple of awesome doctors who kept people out of my room.
There are a lot of what if’s for me. What if I popped my water earlier? What if I had taken something to help me sleep during the night? That was what did me in, I was so SO tired. I had been in the hospital the week prior. I was in the hospital the night before the induction. I was pooped. I was becoming very uncomfortable. I was proud of myself for using my Hypnobabies to handle the back to back birthing waves that never really went away. They were constant. I ended up getting an epidural when I was checked and found to –still- be at 5cm. My goal now went from drug free, to vaginal birth – period. I feared that if I wore myself out too much, I wouldn’t achieve that. I hated the epidural. It didn’t work the first time, leaving my left hip open to all the discomfort. So they had to administer it all over again. They thankfully left it a “low dose” epidural. I didn’t feel the discomfort, but I felt the birthing waves. I could move my legs and feet, but couldn’t really feel it when I scratched my leg. 6 hours later, I was checked and found to be at 8cm. I told them that I didn’t feel rectal pressure but I felt vaginal pressure. They said it would be a while and walked out of the room. I told the nurse again that I felt like she was coming out. She checked me and baby’s head was a knuckle from crowning. I birthed my baby into my hands, with the help of a WONDERFUL nurse to help catch. The video seems to be utter “panic” around the baby being born “without assistance”. The truth is we planned it out, and made it seem urgent. They had their chance, they walked out. Lol I had her 15 minutes after they found me at 8cm. Don’t underestimate mothers, especially a third time mom! There was worry about her health being that she was only 35 weeks, but she came out, peed on me, then nursed. My healthy little thing, I was SO happy. You can see me “breathing” her out here in the video. I did very little pushing, my birthing waves did it all for me. So I literally just breathed and “ahhhhh’d” her out.
5) Would you change anything about your births?
Had this been asked days or weeks after their births, I’d probably say yes and list some things I would have changed. Now, I pretty well accept them. They helped form my thoughts and opinions today. They showed me how much I can overcome, and just the amount of control my mind has over my body. I’m proud of myself, and I’ve loved the birth experiences that I’ve had. Even Trillian’s, though it was less than my idea of “ideal”. I believe that it has gone a long way in helping me to overcome my fears of a hospital birth. I learned just how in control I am over my own reproductive health, even if it takes an argument or two. I learned how backwards their reasoning is sometimes! I learned how loved and cared for I am by the people I chose to be on my support team. They were up and tired just as every bit as I was! So, no. I wouldn’t change anything.
6) Do you think your experiences would have been different had you chose a different birthing method?
I would have to assume yes. I really don’t think I would have had the pain free birth experiences that I have had, had I NOT used Hypnobabies. Their program is so detailed and easy to learn, and their techniques are what helped me in ALL of the births, no matter the outcome. Roan’s birth was super hard, but I accomplished a LOT with only 9 days of practice. Willem’s birth was so amazing, I had the practice behind me and I could literally just sit in the tub, enjoying and relax with my “lightswitch” tool that I learned. Trillian’s birth was empowering thanks to all the incredible information I’d learned and put to good use. Granted this was my third birth, but I had the confidence to say no to a procedure I felt would do more harm than good. I learned how to talk with my care providers, ask the questions, take the time to think it through. Not just blindly jump into a situation. That coupled with my hypnosis, made her birth that much bearable if not easier than had I not. There are so many wonderful programs out there that have excellent childbirth education. It’s my feeling though that the education, and the relaxation techniques – combined with the deep Hypnosis to help in pain elimination really goes light years beyond any other program that I’ve heard of. Hypnobabies really has it all. No offense of course!
There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY. There is only what feels right to that individual mother.
I want to thank Michael for opening up for an amazing post, and great birth experience to share with my readers!
Just something short and sweet today since there is so much hoopla over this new “Homebirth Study”. Major problem I see with it? It is not focused on planned home births with medical professionals which has been shown to be as safe as hospital births in other studies. In an attempt to spin Doctor, the group that published this study (in the heat of a public debate and legislature in New York City) did not focus on planned home births, but rather all home births.
Why is that a problem?
Because lumping in emergent situations or people who accidentally gave birth at home, or gave birth without a medical professional present in with people who researched, studied, and planned a birth at home with a medical professional is just foolish.
There should be two completely different studies.
One study focusing on the accidental home births, which no doubt would result in a three times higher risk of neo natal death.
And one study focusing on planned home births with medical professionals.
The problem is, the study on planned home births will not yield the alarming neo natal death results they want in the public eye. Which would not prove the hysterical point they are trying to make about home births being so “dangerous”.
A couple awesome posts proving why this study does not yield appropriate results?
Amy Romano, Midwife and awesome writer (who taught locally at the Yale School of Midwifery this last semester) wrote a blog called Meta-analysis : The Wrong Tool (wielded improperly)
Jennifer Block, Birth Advocate, Writer, and Author of Pushed wrote another awesome article about it too titled AJOG Home Birth Study Political?
The Big Push For Midwives made a press release also regarding this study. All great reads. Many other birth related organizations including CIMS (the coalition for Improving Maternity Care) also spoke out.
Just going to how how many true professionals in the field know the horrible inaccuracies being shared through this fly by night study.
Next weeks there will be two episodes of TLC’s A Baby Story which include Home Births. One with the local midwife Amy Romano who is a good friend of mine. But what will be most touching to me is Karen Kilson, my late doula, and best friend will also be featured in the same episode. She passed away in October suddenly of a heart attack, and I think I am still in disbelief today. Watching the episode featuring her will probably make my disbelief even stronger as I will be able to see her alive and well, doing what she did best : supporting women in labor.
But the real point of this post today is my amazement that A Baby Story is FINALLY branching out into alternative types of birth. Not your typical mainstream hospital birth, scheduled cesareans, elective inductions and all of the births that make me scream my head off at the TV.
I think it is good for TLC to really start showing other types of birth, not just the typical drive through hospital service, because there are so many women out there who use shows like this as a form of education on birth, and become scared to death from the scary hospital births. I know I certainly got my share of scares when I was pregnant with my oldest by watching that show. I am glad I know better now, and know that the majority of the problems in these births come from the mismanagement or over management of the births.
Another positive message of this show is, with trained medical professionals, home birth is a safe birth option, which many of us know, but it certainly is not mainstream knowledge. By showing women that may not know any better that home birth is a safe option for birth, there may be more that make the educated choice for home birth.
The two families featured in the show are The Sheehan and Malak families.
The Malak family’s show is described as : ” Finding out they were expecting their fourth child was shocking to the Malak Family. The plan is to have this baby at home. But after 10 hours of labor and no relief in sight, will Maria find the strength to push through?”
Which kind of pisses me off. 10 hours of labor is nothing, especially natural labor. Try 26 hours like I went and then we will talk. This mentality regarding childbirth is what is creating and aiding the mentality of the women who say “OMG I would NEVER have a baby without an epidural” or the women who end up in the hospital, in labor and requesting an epidural at 2 or 3 centimeters which then sets them up for a longer labor, and possibly a cesarean section.
The Sheehan Family’s show is described as : “Glorvina and her husband, Jason, were ready to try something different. They did some research and found a midwife they trust, and are ready to have a water birth at home. When delivery day finally ensues, Glorvina realizes fast that she’s not in control.”
Dun Dun Dun! They make it sound like a dramatic episode of Private Practice in which Addison Montgomery busts into the room screaming the mother needs a c-section or she is going to die. Which was the farthest thing from the truth for Glorvina.
I guess I can’t be all that surprised that TLC had to throw in dramatic wording to get viewers on birth, after all, who wants to watch some crazy hippies birthing at home right? UGH!
So much has gone on this week in my life, and in the world that I thought it would be best to really cover it all, and post why these events are important.
ABC News covered two high profile news stories regarding birth, and promotion of Natural Birth as well as Out of the Hospital birth.
Now to talk about things going on around the world of Blogging… I try to keep up with as many of my favorite blogs as I can, but with two kids, and the increased amount of things I have going on in my life it is hard to make my way every where I want to be.
If I forgot you, or your awesome blog, I am sorry!
National Institute of Health is holding its VBAC Conference this week. No ya don’t say right? I have only talked about it how many times in recent weeks right? LOL Well there are a lot of good posts, and posts about the conference coming up. I will be starting my live coverage tonight starting with The Feminist Breeder’s Radio Special. You can watch all of my live updates on NIH’s VBAC Conference here.
And last but not least, the highlights from my own life this week.
So overall, it was a pretty good week.
I am thinking about doing this type of a post weekly, so it you like it, comment and let me know!
Yesterday the Center for Disease Control (who collects National Medical statistics) release a report that detailed information on out of hospital births from 1990 to 2006. I want to stress that the information ended in 2006, there is a good reason, but I will get back to that later in my post. What the information shows is a small, but noticeable increase in home birth, and births that take place in Free Standing Birth Centers. But surprisingly, this study also shows that the majority of women making these choices have already had at least one birth, in the hospital.
The number of midwife attended home births increase from 43% to 63% during this period of time. Which we already know that home birth, when attended by a trained medical professional is as safe as a birth in the hospital, if not safer because the lack of unnecessary intervention that takes place routinely in the hospital setting.
Unlike most people, I sat down last night, and actually read the study, news articles on it from ABC, and other various sources, and really analyzed it to write this post.
A couple interesting pieces of information that I pulled out of this study…..
Just to touch on a couple of these numbers, and pieces of information, what alarms me the most is the people choosing home birth. Mostly white, married, mid-aged women. When studies are showing more and more that the most at risk patients for unnecessary procedures, and some of the highest cesarean section rates are low income, unmarried, women of African American decent. Which is why I believe that in Health Care Reform we should be including more options for home birth insurance coverage, as well as alternative birthing coverage options for mothers who are low income on some form on medicaid.
It also shows that many of the women who are choosing home birth are very educated consumers. We need more child birth education options available to women, especially in the low income bracket. Programs that offer free classes paid by public health funds, WIC programs, etc.
33 of the home births, were to very young women, 15 years old or younger. There could be a lot of different explanations for this. But the one that stands out to me most is young women who hide their pregnancy until the baby finally comes and surprise! It doesn’t seem that in today’s culture too many young women are signing up for any birth experience that doesn’t include someone with MD after their name and an epidural.
6,582 were their second baby. What this shows not only me, but one of the authors of the Study, Eugene Declercq, is that women are opting for their second birth out of the hospital because of what could have been a negative first birth experience, or just did not care for the hospital style maternity care system. Eugene was quoted in the ABC News story as saying “The fact that it’s primarily women who had kids before and had birth in hospitals before, certainly suggests it’s a reaction to their prior birth,”
Which I completely agree with.
The numbers for other subsequent births include, third births at 4,500, fourth birth at 2,851, fifth birth at 1,808, sixth birth at 1,137, seventh birth at 827, and eight or more at 1,438.
Now that groups like ACOG and AMA are seeing these numbers, and this change, they are worrying because these births are taking money out of their own pockets. They have not been shy in recent years about their home birth policy, and how they feel about it even with a number of studies showing the safety. With these new numbers, and developments, they have gone public saying that films such as The Business of Being Born and celebrity home births are having a great influence on the choices women are making for their births, but before opening their mouth, they should do their research.
Remember that little 2006 number I pointed out earlier in my post? Well The Business of Being Born, the first mainstream film that showed home birth, as well as promotes it as a safe option was released in 2007. Oooops!
So how are they going to explain this change, and how it happened before this mainstream film? Maybe the fact that women were fed up with the maternity care system in hospitals long before Ricki Lake decided to work on a project on it? It is nothing new that women do not like the one size fits all care the hospital maternity care system provides.
But that is a whole other post in itself.
A couple other things I wanted to talk about is where home birth is most popular, and rising.
The states with the highest home birth numbers are :
States with notable increases in home births :
I found the number of home births in my own state of Connecticut to be sad, but again, a whole other post in itself.
If you would like to read the full study yourself, the link for it is