Birthing Stories

It is with great pleasure that we announce the birth of our daughter, Mia Ariel Walker. A 4th of July baby! She is 6lbs 10ozs, healthy as can be and with a full head of hair. I’ve actually been meaning to write you a personal note, since your Birthing Through Hypnosis class and personal stories of homebirth were a huge influence on our decision to pursue a homebirth. AND, we could not have made a better decision. In fact, that Monday after your weekend class, I started calling midwives to get the ball rolling on it. Everything went amazingly smooth, and the Birthing Through Hypnosis techniques, primarily the visualizations and breathing, helped me get thru the birth. From the moment my water broke at 12:30 am on July 4th, I felt myself go into a very inward trance state, which allowed me to focus on working with the baby to get her into this world. I had mantras that were streaming thru my mind throughout the entire labor, and of course our doula, Kara Engelbrecht was able to provide a ton of support. Once I was 5 cm dilated, just one hour after my water broke, I got in the birth tub, and was in there for the remainder of the birth. Just 6 hours later, Mia came into this world. My husband was in the tub with me and caught our little baby, something that is so meaningful for all of us. There is no doubt the entire experience was incredibly intense (I certainly wouldn’t call it pain necessarily), but as I’ve told many people who seem most interested in whether I wanted drugs at any point in the process, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I knew I could do it, and I think I was able to will it to happen. I’m very fortunate to have had the time and energy in this first pregnancy to focus on not only physically preparing my body but emotionally preparing my mind and spirit – the latter of which I don’t think many people spend enough time on. I want to thank you so much for providing us with not only some incredible Birthing Through Hypnosis tools, but most importantly empowering words that helped us have such a beautiful birth. Continue doing what you’re doing, because it’s very inspiring to many people!

Joy

Mia (First Baby)

Hi Kristin,
My hospital phobias got too intense — we had a home birth afterall! It was a wild, beautiful, and great experience. Below is the announcement we sent to family and friends:

Big news… the baby has arrived!

Joaquin was born Friday, June 6 at 7:27 a.m. He weighed in at 8.0 pounds.

Janine went into labor around 4:30am Friday morning. Just over two hours later, her water broke, and 45 minutes after that, with an unforgettable look of fear (well, terror) and disbelief on Lome’s face, he declared, “!!I see the head!!” (Janine will never forget that look – it was pretty funny.)

We planned a home birth, but the labor was so incredibly fast (and extremely intense), we didn’t plan for Lome to deliver the baby! It was just the two of us in the bedroom – and then it was just the three of us. (Janine’s mom, Theresa, was downstairs in the kitchen cutting watermelon to hold us over for what we thought would be a much longer labor.)

As labor had barely begun, we were anticipating many more excruciating hours. Little did we know, Janine’s labor was precipitate, meaning the stages of labor advanced so very quickly that we altogether missed its more gentle beginning stages. (Think of the accumulated discomfort of 15+ hours of labor concentrated into 3 hours. Yikes.) Luckily around 6:30am we called Diana, our doula, and asked her to come over. We’d also spoken to our midwife Beah on the phone, but none of us realized how quickly things were advancing. Seeing the baby’s head got Lome to call Beah a third time. By the time he could speak to her, the baby’s head was already out. Via Beah’s instructions, Lome told Janine to give one last big push to get the baby’s shoulders out. Lome caught the baby, and brought it to Janine’s chest. Whew. (Theresa later said that from the kitchen she heard the baby cry, and froze – it couldn’t be the baby. The midwives hadn’t arrived yet!)

Seconds later, Diana arrived. With Beah still on the phone, Diana helped Janine birth the placenta. Later Michelle, the apprentice midwife arrived, and finally Beah (she lives an hour away).

Needless to say, two weeks later we’ve already had too many adventures to count, and too little sleep to think in complete sentences. We look forward to many more adventures with this little one (that won’t stay little for long…)!

Hope you and your family are well,

Janine, Lome, and Baby Joaquin

Joaquin (First Baby)

Dear Kristin,
I took your class in December and wanted to let you know about my beautiful little one, Elena, and the incredible experience I had when she came into the world.

Elena is my second child; my first child was born with an emergency c-section and I was very emotional in your class. Your words and the exercises in the class were extremely helpful to stay present with this second birth and to let go of the fears from my first birth.

You had asked to hear back from us with our birth stories. I have a beautiful story to report! Here it is:

For weeks, I practiced the relaxation exercises and took walks along the ocean visualizing my little one happily sliding through a warm cave onto a beautiful sunny beach squealing, “wheee!” I also read Ina May Gaskin’s book 3 times (no kidding) and had been doing the mantra, “I am getting huge” since my 37th week. Anyway, I woke up on Feb 22 (2 days after my due date) around 5 am with contractions. I had been 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced for a couple weeks already and tried to not read too much into the contractions and find myself disappointed from a false alarm once again. I had been having “real” (I hate that term!) contractions for 4 weeks that never became regular.

I just let my body do what it needed to do and went out for a pedicure and tea with a friend that morning and had a very happy time. My water broke at 1pm when we got back to her place…my friend joked that the baby was excited to see Mama’s toes looking so pretty and wanted to come check them out! I had a scheduled midwife appointment that afternoon, so my husband and I packed up the car prepared for whatever might happen. My contractions continued and seemed to be getting more regular and closer together, but the pain was very manageable. The midwife confirmed it was my water that had broken and that I was 4cm and completely effaced. We had something to eat and walked outside before checking into the hospital. The pain honestly wasn’t bad and my husband and I had a very joyful time knowing our child had decided to come that day. I checked in and was given an I.V. and monitored. Because of my first birth history, no one thought I was going to significantly progress until the next morning at the earliest, so they agreed to let me do intermittent monitoring and walk the hallways with the I.V. that Friday afternoon and evening. Basically, since I didn’t look like I was in pain, they left me alone which was exactly what I wanted.

Thanks to Ina May Gaskin’s good words of advice in her book, my husband and I kissed, cuddled, laughed and danced as I labored. Can you believe that? As I write it, it’s hard for me to believe that what happened could actually be possible. The doula was super supportive of being present but also protecting time for my husband and I to just be together (if that makes sense).

I wasn’t in unmanageable pain. I could feel the contractions, I could feel the baby dropping further and further down, but I felt ok. It sounds so crazy, but I felt good for the majority of my labor. I continued with the breathing and visualizations from Birthing Through Hypnosis and felt connected with my body and the baby. Thinking about each contraction bringing my sweet girl closer to my arms and picturing her sliding out onto a warm beach with joy really carried me along.

We all agreed that my husband should take the time to get some dinner around 8:30pm since I seemed fine and the doula was there with me. The doula said afterward that she sensed something might be up because I kept repeating that I didn’t want my husband to go far away, to try to find someplace close to eat. Sure enough, as soon as he left the contractions started getting very close and increasingly intense. I couldn’t sit or lay down, I had to stand and sway my hips…I’m sure it did look like a dance! I began to sing a song to the baby that I had sung to my son and to her through my pregnancy. Eventually, the contractions felt like they were almost back to back and I hung onto the doula who did my hip swaying dance with me and locked onto my gaze with very calm and supportive eyes (big help!)…that was truly painful! The doula said afterward that I was beginning to make the sounds that women make when they are about to start pushing…I felt like I had to go to the bathroom! The labor nurse came running in to see what was up and discovered I was fully dilated and ready to go! We had to call my husband who came running back just in time to jump behind me as I was already pushing around 9pm.

Elena was born at 9:27pm 8 pounds, 1 ounce.

Sadly, she had labored breathing when she was born. After a beautiful, brief time of holding her on my stomach, they had to call in a pediatrician to help her out. She had TTN which went into pneumonia and had to spend her first week on the outside in the hospital nursery. The doctors said the TTN is more typically seen with c-sections since there is no labor to prepare the lungs; so, I was told that the baby is very fortunate that I had the VBAC and that things could have been worse had I elected to have c-section instead.

She is doing great now, though. We are all home and doing great as a family of four.

I am so very grateful for your class and for your encouragement. I tell all my pregnant friends about your class and my Birthing Through Hypnosis experience. Thank you so much, Kristin!

My best wishes to you and your work,

Luci

Elena (First Baby)

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know that we have a new son!!!! He is our 3rd child, born on 3/30. He was born at 8:10 a.m. My water broke around 2:30am, so I only had about 5.5 hrs of labor. The girls call him Baby Ty. He is almost 10 lbs and he is very long at just over 22″. I don’t know anyone in our immediate family that had a baby so big. The girls were both around 7.5 lbs. We were expecting this baby to be about the same size since I was the same weight that I was with Eva. Of course, this is the baby that I decide to birth totally natural at home!

I don’t know if we are more shocked over the fact that he is a boy or his size. My midwives actually asked me if Tim was in shock when Tyler was born because he was so calm and quiet. But, that is just Tim under pressure. The birth was a beautiful experience. We really wanted to do a hypnobirth in our Jacuzzi at home. I did all of the labor in our jacuzzi and it was wonderful. I was able to use the jets on pressure points along my spine. The Birthing Through Hypnosis helped me to get into a trance so I didn’t really feel any pain until the last 20-25 min. That is when I started to push him out and realized that he was stuck. His head was coming out, but his shoulders were slamming against my pelvic bone. It was beyond excruciating. So, I had to get out of the tub and switched to the birth throne (a.k.a. the toilet). His head was partially out, but I still couldn’t get his shoulders out. Then, instinct kicked in and I stood up and Tim held on to me tight to keep me from falling. Within 2 pushes, the baby was out. Fortunately, the midwife was right there to keep him from falling into the toilet 😉 It was the best sense of relief in my entire life when his shoulders finally came out. I could never imagine giving birth in a hospital again. This was the best experience and the best medical care that I could have ever imagined. We had 2 midwives and 2 doulas present. One of the doulas flew in from Ireland just for the birth. (She helped me through the pregnancies and births of both Angelina and Eva.)
He was blue and flaccid from only his head being partially out for so long when he was stuck. All the blood was rushing to his brain to protect him. But, the midwives were able to treat him very quickly and he started breathing and turned pink in less than a minute. It was incredible. So, he actually got very good apgar scores (7 & 9). Angelina was able to cut his cord, and he started nursing in less than an hour after being born. His head is much bigger than the girls so he barely fits into a Pooh hat that was at least an inch too big for the girls at birth. Also, the newborn t-shirts and diapers barely fit him. He is so chubby. Fortunately, I didn’t tear, but I dislocated my pelvis and sacrum. My chiropractor came by this morning, so I should be able to walk down stairs by tomorrow. My milk came in yesterday morning and he is eating voraciously and loves to sleep. So far, he is just the perfect baby. Amazing!

Love,

Carolyne

Tyler (Third Baby)

I was in your May SF Birthing Through Hypnosis class. I was going through some of the paperwork from my pregnancy yesterday and was reminded that you were interested in hearing/reading our birth stories. Mine is below. Thanks again for your class. The balloon breathing and top-down breath were instrumental in my labor and birth, and while we didn’t use the scripts (even though we practiced them quite a bit), I definitely used visualization with the help of four photos from our honeymoon and had bits of the honeymoon script my husband and I created running through my mind between 6 and 9 cm dilated.

We are so proud to announce that Bryce was born Wednesday 8/15 at 7:30am at UCSF Medical Center, one day before my due date. After 26 hours of a wonderful labor at home with our midwives, doula and my cousin, Bryce was born naturally and unmedicated just 45 minutes after our arrival at the hospital. He came out a little blue and needed some help from the neonatal ICU staff, but all signs and tests are showing that he is completely healthy, alert and now breastfeeding. He is 6lbs 15.8 ounces and 18.89 inches long. He has dark sandy blonde hair (like his parents) and it looks like he’ll have blue eyes

Thanks for all your love and support and please understand that it might be a while before we can call or email you back.

Our love,

Eileen and Chris

Bryce (First Baby)

Dear Kristin,

I took your Birthing Through Hypnosis class 2 years ago before I had my son. It worked so well, I used the technique again for my daughter, just born 3/22. You can feel free to use this story anonymously if it gives other expectant mothers encouragement and reassurance. Your class helped me greatly to reduce my fear of childbirth and give me a great tool to take control of my birthing experience. With your help, I delivered both my children with not too much pain or trouble, relatively quickly and easily and no pain medication. In both cases, my birth experiences were better than I had hoped.

Thank you!

Lily

Tyler (Third Baby)

For my first child:

Five weeks before my due date, I took the train to the office and began feeling mild contractions. Though I felt a little “off,” the contractions did not continue, so I went ahead with a presentation to 100 people. That night, at 3:30 am, I felt a sudden gush of water. I knew my waters had broken, and I started laughing because it was so ridiculous that labor started so early. I called the hospital, and after the nurse grilled me and pronounced that I told a pretty convincing story, she asked me to come in. I had not packed my hospital bag, so my husband and I scrambled to throw things in. I sent emails to work to explain that I had to cancel meetings because I was heading to the hospital. We arrived around 6:30 am. I was having mild contractions. The doctor confirmed that my waters had indeed broken and warned that because of the risk of infection if I did not deliver on my own within 24 hours, they would induce. I had dilated only 1 cm by then. The rest of the day, contractions got steadily stronger, and by the evening, they became quite uncomfortable. At midnight I was hoping to hear that I had dilated maybe 6-7 cm, but I was really bummed to discover that I had only dilated 3 cm. The doctor wanted to induce me then, but I begged to try on my own just a little longer. They agreed to wait one hour.

I put on the Birthing Through Hypnosis CD and turned off the lights and entered “the zone.” When contractions started, I felt intense pain and I would bring my knees up and squeeze. Then I willed myself to focus on the “voice” in the rainbow relaxation meditation and I would relax and the pain would melt somewhat. When the contraction finished, I would fall asleep until the next cycle. I was dimly aware that the nurse came in to check every once in a while.

At one point the “voice” stopped. I panicked and called my husband to somehow make it come back. I frantically asked for “Track 2! Track 2!” Meanwhile, contractions were coming and I tried desperately to remember the “strawberry mist,” but it was not really working. Finally, the “voice” returned, and all was well again. Turned out the batteries had run out, but thankfully my husband had bought backup batteries at the gift shop.

Finally, around 2:30 am, I needed to go to the bathroom, so I stripped my monitors off and headed that way. Meanwhile, my husband wondered where all the doctors had gone, so he went hunting. While in the bathroom, I felt especially strong contractions and began moaning. I was wondering if maybe I was 5-7 cm and if maybe it was starting to hurt enough that I might think about asking for an epidural. The nurse outside the door asked me to come out to be checked, first sweetly, and then more insistently. I told her, “In a minute. After I go first.” Finally, I gave up and went back to bed. She checked me quickly and declared “10 cm and pushing.” She pushed some magic button and all the lights went on and people and equipment appeared suddenly from nowhere. I was amazed.

They pleaded with me, “Don’t push. The doctor’s doing a C-section next door.” Though they asked me to breathe a certain way, I did not know how I could possibly keep my body from doing what every fiber meant it to do — push the baby out. Finally, the doctor arrived. After 30 min, I finally pushed the baby out at 3:07 am, less than half an hour before my 24-hour goal.

For my second child:

Five days before my due date, at 3 pm, I was driving the car home and started feeling mild contractions and my own leaking that could mean my water had broken. I called the hospital, who recommended I come in. We arrived just before the Ob-Gyn Department closed at 5 pm. During the drive, my contractions came every 3-4 minutes and lasted 50-60 sec each. A doctor saw me at around 5:15 pm and confirmed that my bag of waters had indeed broken. Immediately after he left the exam room, water poured out all over the floor. He predicted that, given how fast my previous labor had gone, I might deliver within 3-4 hours or so. He was kind enough to take me himself in a wheelchair down to the Labor & Delivery Department around 5:30 pm.

My nurse and began admitting procedures. Contractions started hurting more, so I put on the Birthing Through Hypnosis CD maybe around 5:45 or so and blocked out everything going on around me. The contractions got worse and closer together. I told my husband to watch the monitor for the next time I had a break between contractions so he could help me go to the bathroom. But the nurse was never able to get the monitors to pick up either my contractions or the baby’s heartbeat because I was so deep in my “zone” that I never responded to her attempts to move me. The contractions would keep coming in one wave after another, and never seemed to subside long enough for me to make it to the bathroom. I was surprised they seemed to hurt so much so quickly and I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to control the pain as well as the first time. I just wanted very badly for it to all be over as quickly as possible.

Then maybe around 6:20 pm, the doctor came to check me. I took off the Birthing Through Hypnosis CD so that I could respond to her questions. She checked my lungs and I was gripped by really tough contractions and the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. The doctor and nurses are reluctant to do an exam to see how much I had dilated because they didn’t want to introduce risk of infection. But they finally decided to check and, to their great surprise, declared that I was “complete.” I asked, “What does ‘complete’ mean?” Someone told me I was 10 cm dilated and the baby was coming NOW.

The pain was so bad I started screaming and flailing out of control for a minute, but then I calmed down and tried to systematically push. I asked for a mirror to watch what was happening, and I could see my baby’s head coming into view. But mostly I closed my eyes and concentrated on pushing. Then at 6:39 pm, I felt a big bloop . . . and then relief. I thought, “That must be the head – what a relief! The rest will be easy.” Then another bloop, and she was out.

The nurse said in her 15 years, she had never seen anyone focus so intensely, cope with pain so well, and deliver in such a controlled and deliberate way. The next day, another nurse told me people were still talking about my birth on that floor.

Anonymous

For my first and second child

Hi there:

Just wanted to let you know Colton was born last Friday! Thanks to Kristin’s class, we wound up going with Homestyle Midwifery, which was a magical, wonderful experience. We had Laura Pliska as our doula, who provided amazing support and got us through a long, long labor without an epidural. Hooray for all the support there is out there for pregnant moms. Kristin, please keep giving your class–it was an incredible turning point for us.

Cheers,

Melissa

Colton (First Baby)

Hello and congratulations on your baby girl! You are an amazing woman. So glad to hear you are back to teaching soon-to-be parents about Birthing Through Hypnosis and their choices at birth. It helped us greatly. Thank you again. I had an amazing birth…..or should I say Tallulah had an amazing birth! All totaled, it lasted about 7 hours, barely made it to the hospital (Homestyle Midwifery angels at St. Luke’s), no drugs, no stitches, no tearing, but WOW, it still felt like a train drove thru me! Tallulah was 8 lbs. 2 oz, 21 inches and is just gorgeous! She’s 7 1//2 months now, can’t believe so much time has gone by so quickly. I attached one of the million photos of my little love.

Be happy!

Radha and Tallulah

Tallulah (First Baby)

Hi Kristin,

I just wanted to let you know how much my hypnotherapy refresher helped me through my labor. As with my first baby, I didn’t get to use a lot of the techniques. However, hypnotherapy helped me stay calm. This was very important since my labor/delivery took under an hour and our son Collin was unexpectedly born at home! Staying focused was good for me, the baby, and my husband as we were all under stressful circumstances. I know things went more smoothly because of the skills I reviewed with you.

Hope you and your new baby girl are well and
thank you again for your help!

Joanna

Collin (Second Baby)

Therapy With Kristin

My goal as a therapist is to help each of my clients feel more empowered, balanced, and whole in their lives. Achieving this allows each client to uncover his or her unique path toward leading a fulfilled and meaningful life. Seeing my clients achieve and embrace a life of being at ease is a gift I receive nearly every day.
Kristin Nemzer

Kristin Nemzer

LMFT, CH

Kristin Nemzer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Hypnotherapist. She has been working with individuals, couples, and families for over 20 years and loves her work. She holds licenses as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California (License MFC 42308) and in the state of Hawaii (License MFT 480).

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