Alexa’s Birth Story

I am so pleased that we decided to follow The Gentle Birth Method programme as it gave my husband and I the confidence in having a natural birth. Dr Gowri Motha’s Self-Hypnosis classes were phenomenal in allowing us to visualise the actual birth in the calmest way possible, and when it came to the day of our sons birth, this technique allowed me to deliver with total focus. On the day I went into labour, I had been practicing many of Francois Freedman’s Pregnancy Yoga techniques at home that I had learnt in her excellent classes I had attended in London. Being a Yoga Teacher myself I was deeply grateful to learn from such a leading light in our industry, and she has further inspired me to learn more about teaching pregnancy yoga as a specialist subject. In the end, I delivered our beautiful baby boy in the hospital in less than five hours, with no pain relief whatsoever, and no gas and air. Thank you so much to the whole team of women who work for The Gentle Birth Programme and especially to Kaisa who assisted us on the day itself with amazing massage, reflexology and homeopathic remedies.

Alexa Kho-Hinkson

Benefits of Self-Hypnosis and Visualisation

Credit: gentlebirthmethod.com

Benefits of Self-Hypnosis and Visualisation

1. More effective relaxation… less anxiety and fear.
2. Greater awareness and ability to re-interpret bodily sensations.
3. Increase or decrease speed of labour.
4. Enhanced belief in one’s expectations for control of discomfort.
5. Easily incorporated with other techniques (e.g., breathing techniques, imagery).
6. Greater control of the cervix opening.
7. Greater communication with baby before and during delivery.
8. Greater self-control over rapid increase in pain and the “unexpected.”
9. Improved sleep: means greater stamina and endurance
10. Greater focus, clarity, and ability to “detach” from the discomfort better.
11. Mentally prepared for painful sensations and ability to alter perception of them.
12. Greater confidence and trust in body functions and sensations during labor.

Rosie Bray – Birth Story

rosie_cRosie wants to highlight the importance of early conditioning using Self-hypnosis and Visualisation. Starting as early as possible in pregnancy gives you more of a chance to become an expert at the technique for labour. Rosie also feels that she did her homework, following the dietary guidelines, having treatments and so on, so that she was ready for labour.

I started seeing Gowri in my fourth month of pregnancy; I had had an easy first three months, not too much morning sickness and I felt pretty healthy but I lead a stressful life (work-wise) and I wanted to give something back to my baby and my body. Gowri had been recommended to me – by a friend who had had a fantastic birth experience using Self Hypnosis and Meditation. On hearing more about it I became more and more fascinated by it and felt it was something that was right for me and my husband. Too much in life is done without thought and giving birth is not something you do every day of the week so I really wanted to focus on it and give it my 100% and The Jeyarani Way seemed a good way to focus on birth and switch off from the worries and stress of work.

We attended a 4-week class in July – which was still three months away from my due date but it was the best thing I could have done, the longer you have to let the information settle into your brain the better.  This is a form of conditioning and the more time you give yourself the better it is for your confidence and your preparation. I firmly believe that you need to give yourself a good amount of time to understand that you are going to have a baby and that you are in control of your labour, and that it is something to look forward too, rather than fear. Too many people go into childbirth with their eyes closed, in some sort of denial. They fear the ‘pain’ that they believe is involved in labour and so before they have started they have already made it a negative rather than a positive experience and this can have a detrimental effect on your labour.

I found Gowri’s classes very beneficial, and went for top ups in September – I was also listening to her self-hypnosis tapes as often as I could. Plus I was having treatments every other week.

Three days before Louis was born I went to see Gowri; it was a Friday and a full moon. Gowri told me that the baby was ready to come out, and that he would be here in the next few days. I was excited and felt confident and ready for his arrival. I went home and my husband and I spent a really happy weekend preparing our home, we went to the supermarket, we saw friends, we went out for dinner and we lay in and enjoyed each other’s company as we knew our baby was coming soon. On the Sunday night my contractions started; faintly and gradually throughout the early hours of the morning; they were not uncomfortable and I managed eventually to sleep. Monday morning I woke, no more contractions and I wondered if I had imagined it, I got out of bed and noticed that I had my show, then I realised that things had definitely started and I was going to be on my way. I telephoned Gowri and told her and she suggested I come in that afternoon and that she could get things moving a little faster.

My husband and I got to Gowri’s about 4 pm; I still felt fine. Gowri examined me and thought I was 2 cms dilated, she then started working on me, she gave me reflexology, some cranial work and by the time she had finished with some Bowen Technique I was contracting lightly. Charlie drove us home and by the time we reached home I was contracting every 5 minutes for about 20 seconds. This was manageable and we packed our bags and made some dinner; things were moving very quickly by this time and I was definitely in full labour. I was on all fours by this stage, using techniques I had learnt in my yoga classes, I found them very useful, combining this with the breathing we had worked on in self-hypnosis. A couple of hours of contractions passed quickly but not pleasantly. There were moments I thought that it would be easier to go straight to hospital and have an epidural. My husband knew how much I wanted to have a natural birth but without his support and encouragement I would have been tempted to go for the easy option.

We arrived at the hospital at about 10 pm, the Birth Centre at Queen Charlotte’s. A male midwife, Willy, examined me and said that I was already 7-8 cms dilated, which was fantastic I had moved very quickly. Gowri had expected this and had said on leaving her practice, that I would probably be 5 cms by the end of the evening, she had also said the baby would be born at 4 am that morning and that the baby would weigh about 8 lbs 5 oz. The midwife hooked me up to some gas and air, unfortunately the birth pool was not available as it was already in use, so Willy, my midwife and my husband decided to run the bath in the en-suite bathroom so that I could get in that. The bath, the warm water was a great pain relief even though I kept getting out and threatening to go home. The contractions were over pretty quickly and the urge to push followed, I suppressed the urge to push for a while but it got stronger and stronger and within minutes the baby was on its way down the birth canal. The most amazing sensation was being able to feel the top of the baby’s head with my fingers, I could feel the amniotic sac he was in and the top of his head I knew he was so close to being born and it felt incredible. I think that after a maximum of six pushes, the baby’s head crowned and I knew that there was only a few left to go. This was probably the hardest part, I knew his head was bigger than the opening; I did fear tearing but the bodies natural instinct to birth the baby was far greater than my fear and with one more huge primal scream and push his head and shoulders were born. This was a tense moment, as I needed to keep my hips under the water so that the baby would not float to the top. I then had to wait for the next contraction for the rest of the baby to be born. He was born and before I knew it he was in my arms and screaming; he was the most amazing thing I had ever seen and I was overjoyed. I remember seeing the umbilical cord round his neck and panicking, but it was fine but the panic had stopped me from looking what sex he was until my husband told me. My husband cut the cord and held him while I then contracted the placenta.

He was born at 12.10 and weighed 8lbs.9ozs Gowri had got it right!

I feel incredibly lucky that I had a fantastic birth experience and that it is an honour to be a mother and to have given birth. I know that I did my homework and that I worked very hard at the diet, the meditation and the yoga. I re-conditioned myself and my way of thinking over the last 9 months, I believe that one needs to change the tape in our heads – childbirth is associated with pain in modern day and we need to change our way of thinking. To focus on pain is negative and childbirth is the most positive thing I have ever experienced.

Rosie Bray

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Uma Birth Story – July 2001

The empowering birth of Abhisheka using self-hypnosis. This story also illustrates the importance of feeling in control of your surroundings and being able to give your complete attention to the birth.

ABHISHEKA born 13 July 2001

It was three weeks before the due date for the arrival of my second baby. At the end of the self-hypnosis class, when Gowri made a comment about being as ‘relaxed and ready for the birth as Uma’, I was a little surprised, because I was about to start maternity leave and felt I needed another three weeks to chill out before the baby arrived, and I didn’t really feel too relaxed at all, because our household had been through a stressful period of conflict between myself and my mother in law.

But in fact Gowri was right about being ‘ready for the baby’ because I immediately felt rather weird on the journey back to Brixton, and the first contractions I pottered about, packing up the recycling and breathing low into my belly – just as we’d been doing in that evening’s class. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was still in the trance state that I had been in during the class, because as the contractions grew stronger I simply felt more relaxed and easeful. Everything was perfectly fine, and I was easily slipping into a quiet trance state with every contraction for a couple more hours.

At about 1 am my husband called our midwives, just to let them know things had been ticking along nicely since nine that evening, but that I was still relaxed enough to chat to them on the phone. They were soon round, and by about half past two it seemed as if the baby was ready to be born. But just at that time, our older son woke up with teething pain and cried out for his mummy – on reflection I think we should simply have brought him down, but at the time that’s not what we had planned, and so first of all his uncle went into comfort him, and then my husband went up to be with him for about two hours – and downstairs the whole labouring process magically seemed to slow right down. Until four am the contractions continued, but here was no sign of the baby arriving.

By the time my husband came back down and my brother had finally settled our older son, I was feeling tired and a bit bemused about what was going on. Our wonderful Brierly midwives (a team from King’s College Hospital who specialise in home births) were as bemused as we were about how things had slowed up completely. In retrospect, it seems clear that my concerns for my older son, and the residual stress and anxiety over the conflicts with my mother in law were hindering the progress of labour. In fact, although I didn’t speak at all through the labour, and just kept on with quiet yoga breathing and self-hypnosis, the only words I used at all were a single sentence expressing my vehement feelings about my husband’s mother!

I continued to use the self-hypnosis techniques throughout, and rested well between the contractions, always feeling peaceful and quiet. By six am it was clear that we needed a little more rest, and so we settled down quietly – relaxing with the self hypnosis through the contractions, which were still coming regularly.

After a couple of hour’s rest in this way, the midwives felt that labour had slowed so much that it probably was wise for them to leave, but whilst we still discussing this, my brother took my older son out to the park. The sound of the front door closing, together with the sight of the midwives with their jackets on, ready to leave seemed to re-start the labour immediately. I stood up to say goodbye to the midwives, my waters broke quite explosively and gushed out. So the midwives took their jackets off, sat down and I knelt forwards, holding onto my husband. From that point onwards there were only a few contractions as the baby moved down and out.

The birthing stage was rapid – Abhi’s head was born after only a couple of big contractions, and then his body followed straight out ten seconds later. He weighed eight pounds and four ounces and was in fine health. No tears or grazes – I felt completely comfortable afterwards, and still calm and focused as I had been throughout the labour.

So thank you Gowri for the self-hypnosis – the birthing experience was really empowering – a magical time of quiet and and gentle focus.

Uma

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Carol Johnston Birth Story

After an induction, epidural and forceps delivery of her first baby, Carol was amazed to find that she “enjoyed” giving birth to her second child. Although initially sceptical about self-hypnosis she found it invaluable during labour, and realised that her body and baby know what to do, and there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

EAU BABY!!

You probably won’t believe me, because after the induction – pethedine – epidural – forceps of my first baby two years ago I hadn’t thought it possible either, but I enjoyed giving birth to my second child.

Like every other woman, I’ve heard all the stories, read the books, seen the movies. Like them, I couldn’t believe there could be an alternative: of course childbirth hurts, they’re called labour pains, aren’t they? When I first heard about women in labour using a water pool the best I expected was that it might make the pain tolerable, but after the technological nightmare last time, it seemed worth looking into. The hospital put me in touch with Dr. Motha at the Jeyarani Health Centre and I went along for a consultation, expecting to find the doctor behind a desk and a list of technical specifications on temperature maintenance and sub-aqua monitoring. To my dismay,  I was seated on a cushion and told I was to be given a lesson in ‘self hypnosis’, which didn’t appeal to me at all. However, I soon found that this bore no relationship to my somewhat sinister idea of hypnotism, but is a way of teaching conscious relaxation. ‘Relaxation’ classes are held throughout the country, but there you’re taught to pant, grunt and strain every time the famous ‘urge to push’ comes. This is not only unnecessary but counter-productive, Dr Motha tells her (somewhat sceptical) classes. The uterus is a strong muscle specifically designed for this one job – let it work without tension, let the muscles relax, allow the baby to slip through easily, naturally; do not be afraid for fear leads to pain and pain to fear. We learnt to relax our bodies completely and at will, learnt to think positively and joyfully about the birth of our babies. All very well in theory, I thought, and I must admit all this relaxing has cured my bad back, but pain free labour? I still didn’t really believe it.

When my waters broke at four in the afternoon I was having no contractions but went to the hospital. An evening strapped to the monitoring devices hearing the woman in the other cubicle did nothing to help and by eleven o’clock the doctors decided to send me up to the ante-natal ward for the night and maybe induce me next morning – exactly what I’d been fearing all along.

On my own in the ward, I finally decided to stop fretting and do something positive. I sat in a dark corner and relaxed as we’d been taught, shutting off everything around me and concentrating on letting myself open up, welcoming my baby. By midnight I was being hustled back down the stairs by a nurse who refused to wait for the lift – ‘Hold on, dear, we don’t want you having it up here!’ I’d gone to 6cms dilation in less than an hour, and it was only when I realised that I should call a midwife and started trying to cope with the hospital scene again that it began to hurt. Once left on my own in a delivery room I stood leaning on the bed, which immediately helped – sitting or lying down were excruciating – and started to calm myself down again. My husband and Dr Motha arrived together and I relaxed still further, knowing that they would now deal with the outside world for me. Dr Motha turned down the lights and gave my husband directions on how to set up the pool and, I suspect, strict instructions to be a quiet, supportive but non-interfering presence. I was still a little frightened by the pain I’d felt and my body was trembling with the pressure of standing; the relief getting into the pool was immediate, as the warm water took my weight, soothed me and washed away the sweat. I soon found a rhythm, kneeling in the water, leaning my head on my arms on the side, breathing deeply as each contraction did its work. I concentrated on keeping my muscles soft and loose and opening to help my baby; I could feel each contraction and was aware of the effort my body was making and the effect it was having, but felt no pain.

Between contractions, I enjoyed the water, a smile, a drink; when the ‘urge to push’ came Dr Motha quietly reminded me to just breathe deeply. There was no need to set my teeth and strain; I could feel the baby’s head coming down a little further each time, gently opening his way into the world. If I’d tried to force him, I would have torn myself. At that moment I did feel a sudden sharp pain and thought ‘Ow, must be nearly there…’ I put my hand down to feel how much further I had to go and felt the baby’s head! The next contraction came, caught me unready, I yelled, the baby yelled, my husband yelled, ‘You’ve done it!’ and I was standing up turning round to take my baby from Dr Motha, feeling exulted and quite incredulous that it could all be over so soon, so beautifully. My baby nuzzled me, and smiled.

Later, my husband and Dr Motha left and the midwife went to fetch a wheelchair to take me to the postnatal ward – I could have taken the stairs two at a time but she insisted that I sit down; perhaps she felt that she had to do something other than check the heartbeat and write up the notes. That was when I heard the woman in the next room, shrieking and sobbing in the accepted, expected torture of childbirth.

And I wanted to tell her, there is another way, a way so old that after centuries of innovation, research and drugs testing we’re now having to rediscover it and tell each other a truth so simple is seems incredible – your baby knows what to do and there’s nothing to fear but fear itself Effortlessly, naturally, you gave your baby a body, eyes, a brain, life itself; the same way, you can give birth.

Carol Johnston

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Philippa Egertan Birth Story – July 2000

The positive magical birth of baby Otis during a lunar eclipse, using self-hypnosis and visualisation.

Baby Otis (weight 7lbs 15oz) was born on Sunday, 16th July 2000, at 1.14am during a lunar eclipse.

It was an amazing experience for me, a truly spiritual one. My pre-labour was long; it started at 3 am on Friday morning and then I went into full labour at 3 pm on Saturday afternoon. My contractions were painful early on so I couldn’t sleep, so my obstacle was being tired too early on. The birth unit was empty except for one mother and baby, so my partner and I were able to move around and change scene from time to time. I used a tens machine all along and then was in water for a long time. I actually gave birth squatting outside the pool. It was a very magical night and whilst I was lying in the pool the windows were open and I could seen the moon.

The reason that I got through my birth and it was such a positive magical experience is due, I think,  to your Self-Hypnosis and Visualisation techniques you taught me. All along I recalled my safe place and used by breath constantly and was conscious of everything,  but nothing could touch me or harm me. Your teaching helps every mother to reclaim a positive attitude towards birth, which is often fast disappearing in medical intervention. My baby is very lucky to have had such a good start and journey into the world.

Philippa Egertan

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Atsuko Birth Story – December 2011

The day my husband and I had been looking forward to came suddenly.
On 8th December around 5 am,I woke up to go to the bathroom as usual and I realized my waters had broken. At almost the same time I had quite a strong pain in my back and I thought,  “This is not just a tightening, this is it!!”  The next contraction came soon after about 5 minutes later.

No time to do all of the things that we initially planned,  like Harry giving me a massage and feeding me etc,  with having to get ready so quickly. We called the hospital who advised me, being a first time mother, to have a shower and take our time before heading down but I don’t think they realized how close it was.

Getting ready to leave after my quick shower, progress seemed more intense with each contraction and they were coming every 3 minutes. Because it had all came on so quickly there was a point on the way to the hospital, where I thought I was going to panic but I was also aware of myself and I thought “I have to do something with it”,  then Gowri and Debbie’s voice came into my mind when they taught me the relaxation techniques at the Visualisation class. That helped me a lot to breathe properly and relax myself so that I became more calmed and got back in control of myself.

When we arrived at the hospital about 7:30 am, the midwife examined and told me “ Well done, you are ready to give birth!” I was already fully dilated!

While I was trying to find the best position to cope with, the midwife ran water into the pool and my instinct was to choose to get in the water. I was holding my husband’s hands at every surge and able to breath out through the contractions.

My little boy Kensuke was 3420g, born at 9.02 am when he slipped into the water, which was such a beautiful a moment when I look back. It was a very quick, natural birth and I thank Gowri for teaching me as well as Debbie who had given me her warm hands and treated me through my pregnancy. My placenta took a long to come out though so Debbie gave me Reflexology which worked well to bring on good contractions. I believe the Gentle Birth Method I followed prepared my body more thoroughly. Also I thank my husband Harry who supported me throughout the whole pregnancy to the birth. I had no complications and my legs were not swollen at all through to the end of my pregnancy. I think it was because I stuck to the diet and life style Gowri recommended so thank you very much!!!!!!

Since giving birth, baby Kensuke is a very calm and easy-going baby; he is breastfeeding well and sleeping well which I think is partly down to the healthy pregnancy and birth he went through with me.

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