Happy New Year Baby!

HypnoBirthing Croydon

Another year has passed and I have been reflecting on what 2012 has brought with it – it has been quite  a year both professionally and personally for me, with lots of people helping me along the way, usually without even realising that they are helping me. I have been blessed to encounter so many lovely people who I have enjoyed working and studying with.

In my HypnoBirthing™ I have worked with:

  • couples who have had babies in the breech position and HypnoBirthing™ has helped the baby turn;
  • cynical dads (you know who you are!) who have really embraced HypnoBirthing™, realising that it is actually based on common sense and I’m not the hippy that they feared;
  • mums who thought an elective caesarean section might be the easier option only to end up looking forward to a natural birth after using HypnoBirthing™;Croydon HypnoBirthing
  • couples who haven’t had ‘text-book births’ but who have raved about how great their experience was because HypnoBirthing™ helped them to ‘own’ the decision making process;
  • mums who have been hospitalised during pregnancy so the HypnoBirthing™ sessions have taken place at hospital;
  • a mum who birthed her baby on 10/11/12!
  • lectured to student and registered midwives on how HypnoBirthing™ can facilitate a ‘normal birth’ and helped midwives to understand how they can best help HypnoBirthing parents.

In my BabyCalm™ work I have worked with:

  • Expectant first time parents who were nervous about what on earth wouldhow to calm a baby happen when their baby was born who went on to have lovely early days with their newborn;
  • New parents who thought that they were getting this parenting-lark wrong but actually when we talked about it in the Colic & Crying Workshop realised they were doing a great job;
  • New first-time mums who made great new friends in the Mother & Baby classes;
  • New second-time around mums who wanted to do things differently this time

Of course, bullet-pointing it like this doesn’t give scope to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with parents this year – with them typically arriving a little uncertain and leaving with raised self-confidence.

I’ve spent another year studying and attending some great events:

  • At the Royal College of Medicine Hypnosis in Childbirth Seminar I heard how HypnoBirthing™ is being used in the NHS and about the research being conducted by Professor Soo Downe (watch this space!)
  • At the BabyCalm Conference in London I met Michel Odent who spoke on the importance of Oxytocin in the post-natal bonding process, Naomi Stadlen who spoke on ‘What Mothers Do’ and Oliver James who spoke on ‘Love Bombing’. All very thought provoking.
  • At the HypnoBirthing™ Institute Study Day in London I heard the founder of HypnoBirthing™, Mickey Mongan, speak about the improvements being made to the HypnoBirthing™ course.
  • Exhibited at the NCT Baby Show at Trinity School, Croydon, meeting lots of expectant and new parents and meeting lots of other birth and baby professionals
  • Exhibited at the Mothercare Baby & Me Event, again meeting a cross-section of expectant parents.

I was also awarded the Gold Seal by the HypnoBirthing Institute and the HypnoBirthing UK Advisory Board nominated me as the Regional Liaison for South London.

Croydon HypnoBirthingPhew! What a year! On top of all this, I took up running this time last year (not a New Year Resolution, just happened to find a fantastic pair of running shoes) and went from being able to run about 100m (I kid you not!) to running the Croydon 10K in October in 7 minutes less than I anticipated with the 2 best supporters in the world cheering me on!

I wonder how 2013 will top that!

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BabyCalm Review

I am very lucky. I get to work with expectant and new parents at a really exciting time in their lives. Whether I am working with expectant parents teaching HypnoBirthing or with new mums running a BabyCalm parenting class, I first see people when they are a little nervous and unsure and then see their confidence grow. I see them learn to trust that their body can birth a baby, that they can help their partner give birth or that they are a great mum just the way they are.

Today I had some lovely feedback from a mum who has just completed  the 4 week BabyCalm Parenting Course:

Wendy, Baby Sophie and Big Brother Jamie’s story:

“Thank you for your time and the opportunity to learn so many useful techniques to help me bond with my daughter. The course was so much more than I expected and I would recommend it to others whether they have their first baby or second (or more). The small group, the amazing venue and your calm approach created an intimate atmosphere and allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings without feeling embarrassed or self-conscious.”

Aren’t I the lucky one working with such lovely people?

HypnoBirthing: If Carlsberg did labours…

Last week one of my HypnoBirthing couples had their first baby. The mum recovered so well that she emailed me less than 90 minutes after to tell me that the birth was,

‘less than 8 hours labour, no drugs, natural placenta delivery, and no stitches’.

That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Today she sent me the full story:

Julia, Stuart and Baby Alexi’s birth story:

‘I decided to do HypnoBirthing after a recommendation from a friend who found it fantastic. Although I was a little sceptical and my husband was very sceptical I thought it would be worth giving anything a go for an easier labour.

Using HypnoBirthing I ended up having the dream labour. Contractions started at midnight. We arrived at hospital about 4 o’clock 5 cm dilated. I was in the birthing pool by 6 AM and to the surprise of my midwives gave birth at 7:23 AM with no drugs required not even gas and air. I would describe the pain as uncomfortable, but my birthing plan indicated that the midwives not offer me pain relief unless I asked, and the uncomfortable feeling was not significant enough for it to cross my mind to ask. Clearly HypnoBirthing had a big part to play in achieving this. Additionally I did not tear at all and have not been sore since. I put this down to the perineal massage suggested by HypnoBirthing.

Helen the Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner I chose to have the lessons with was superb. She had a great calm but no messing manner and handled my highly sceptical husband well. I would thoroughly recommend her.

My husband is saying to his mates “If Carlsberg did labours ….”

If you are reading this wondering if it is worth the money, with no guarantee you will have a labour like mine, I would say if it gives you a chance you could have a birth like mine, then it is worth every penny.’

Julia hasn’t mentioned in her testimonial that Alexi was born ‘in the caul’ i.e. in the amniotic sac. This is considered to be very lucky. It is also a sign that Julia was very relaxed and that her midwife allowed the birth to play out naturally.

If you are pregnant and like the sound of a HypnoBirth, contact me on 0208 405 3499 or at helen_redfern@hotmail.com

Beautiful HypnoBirthing C-Sections

‘Beautiful HypnoBirthing C-Sections’ – An oxymoron surely?

Beautful HypnoBirthing Ceasarean

Well, no actually. HypnoBirthing is not prescriptive about how and where babies should be born. As a HypnoBirthing Practitioner I want the parents that I work with to be relaxed during their pregnancy, looking forward to the birth of their child. Most of the parents I work with want a wholly natural birth and most experience that but sometimes that can’t happen for a variety of reasons. What I’m most proud of is that all the parents that I have worked with have been happy with their birth experience, however it played out. That happiness derives from the techniques learned and confidence gained from HypnoBirthing.

So, take a look at the following article, by yours truly, on how HypnoBirthing techniques can be used through pregnancy and any type of birth.

Beautiful HypnoBirthing C-Sections

It would be great to have some comments on how HypnoBirthing has helped you with your birth, whatever the circumstances.

Am I normal?

I recently worked with a lovely couple who were preparing for the birth of their second child after a traumatic first birth experience. At our last session they told me how confident that felt about their upcoming birth, that they had enjoyed our HypnoBirthing Sessions and that they had enjoyed specifically working with me. The father said that one of the best things about me is that I am ‘normal’. How we laughed! Perhaps my new tag line should be ‘Helen Redfern – She’s Normal’. However, I knew what he was getting at and I understood his preconceptions about what I might be like. This got me thinking how we Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioners are perceived.

So, am I normal? Well, I’m pretty average. I’m a thirty-something mother of two who discovered HypnoBirthing during my first pregnancy. I had feared birth and assumed that I would partake of any pain-relief on offer. However, my research (I’m perhaps not average in my need to research anything and everything) showed me that almost all the pain-relief options available had a downside either for me, my baby or both of us; well that was no use! It was then that I discovered HypnoBirthing, had two great births and decided that I really wanted to add teaching HypnoBirthing to my portfolio of skills. Really, I am pretty ‘normal’.

So, am I an unusually ‘normal’ person compared to my HypnoBirthing cohorts? I don’t think so. Yes, we come in all shapes and sizes; yes we come from a diverse range of backgrounds but we all want the parents we work with to look forward to their birth experiences, for their babies to be born safely and we are not prescriptive about how/where that birth should be.

So, if you and your partner are considering HypnoBirthing don’t worry about what the Practitioner will be like. However, I would say that it is worth speaking to a few practitioners first before booking your course so that you can find the one that you particularly gel with.

In the meantime, I’m teaching tonight so I’d better get my ‘normal’ clothes ready…

What’s a HypnoBirth like for Dads?

HypnoBirthing® is very much for both parents rather than just the expectant mum. Fathers are a very important part of the HypnoBirthing process and dads often thank me for giving them a role during the pregnancy and the birth itself – no more standing in the corner of the delivery room wondering what to do with themselves! Anyway, as before, I think a HypnoBirthing® dad can explain this far better than me so I’m going to hand over to Nof, very proud father of Santino:

Gill and I are the proud parents of Santino.

Prior to the birth we were bombarded by our friends’ birth stories which included 36 hour labour, all manner of drugs and potions, and lots and  lots of pain and screaming!

Gill’s labour lasted for just seven hours. I’m in no doubt that this was due to the breathing exercises and visualisation learnt during Helen’s HypnoBirthing® classes.

As the Dad, it was amazing to feel part of the whole experience and to help keep Gill focused on her breathing. 

Santino was born alert and calm with no distress. It is absolutely true that a baby will pick up on their mother’s anxieties.

Incidentally, I use the techniques gained during our HypnoBirthing® sessions for everyday life

Helen was brilliant and I have no hesitation in recommending her for HypnoBirthing®.

What’s a HypnoBirth like?

I’m asked what HypnoBirths are like all the time so I thought I’d hand over to the lovely Gill and her baby boy for a first-hand description:

To my surprise, my waters broke 3 weeks before my estimated due date!  The classes that we had with Helen really helped to keep me calm because I knew what was happening so wasn’t afraid and the positive affirmations I had been listening to on the Rainbow CD came straight to mind.

I phoned the hospital and they said I should go in so the baby could be monitored.  The baby was fine and as my surges hadn’t properly started yet (they only felt like strong period pains) I was allowed to go home which I was really pleased with.  As it was the evening I thought I better try and get some sleep before things really got going!  I played the Rainbow CD and slept until 3am when I woke to much stronger surges.  I stayed in bed for about an hour practicing my slow breathing and then went down stairs to sit on my birth ball and continue with my breathing and my husband gave me the light touch massage which really helped.  I timed my surges and when they lasted over a minute and were 2 minutes apart I phoned the hospital.  I don’t think the midwife I spoke to believed that I was ready to come in, because I was so calm.  She tried to persuade me to stay at home longer but I knew that my labour was already quite advanced so we made our way to the hospital.

They examined me after about half an hour; they were amazed that I was fully dilated.  I truly believe that this was because I worked with my body every step of the way and helped the baby’s descent through effective breathing techniques and because I was calm, my body naturally did what it was supposed to do.  After another hour and a half and with the help of birth breathing and visualisation our beautiful baby boy had arrived!  He was alert and I felt totally exhilarated and empowered!  We had skin to skin contact and he latched on to breast feed very quickly. 

My husband and I really enjoyed our classes with Helen.  She helped us to feel totally relaxed and explained the concept of HypnoBirthing® perfectly.  We had fun with the classes and learnt an awful lot!  We knew how important it was to put into practice everything that Helen taught us, so we tried to practice as much as possible and listened to the Rainbow CD most nights.   The breathing techniques we learnt also helped us both in our day to day to lives and I can now see how effective positive affirmations and visualisation can be, it’s very powerful! 

I had such an amazing birthing experience.  We couldn’t have done it without the help of Helen and HypnoBirthing®.  I would highly recommend the course to anyone!