International Childbirth Education Week 2020

Leap ahead with childbirth education

January 25th – 31st 2020

I am proud to be a Childbirth Educator!

This week is all about celebrating childbirth education. It is the inaugural year and this year the theme is “Leap Ahead with Childbirth Ed”!

proud to be a childbirth educator

I became a childbirth educator for YOU!

Why?

Because, I want you to have the best birth possible. I know first-hand (watch my birth story here) that a great experience comes from great education and support; and I truly believe that the Hypnobirthing Australia TM Positive Birth Program is the best childbirth education available!

start out right with childbirth education

Benefits you may experience from childbirth education:

  • Less anxiety and fear surrounding childbirth
  • Feeling more confident and knowledgeable about childbirth
  • Increased likelihood of vaginal delivery
  • Feeling more confident in your care choices and the process of providing informed consent
  • Better understanding of pain management strategies
  • Greater skill set for childbirth
increases chance of vaginal birth

Regardless of which type of childbirth education you decide is right for you, I greatly encourage completing quality childbirth education before giving birth. Whether it is with myself, another Hypnobirthing Australia TM Practitioner, a Hypnobirthing Mongan Method Instructor, Calmbirth Educator, Shebirths Educator, other antenatal specialist, or whoever else, it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll make.

To all the childbirth educators out there – this week is to celebrate the empowerment and joy that we assist mothers in experiencing – THANK YOU!

Find out more about the Positive Birth Program HERE.

Looking for Hypnobirthing classes in Adelaide?

My Baby is Earth-Side: Now what?

First family photo

I’D DONE IT! I birthed my baby the way I’d wanted given the circumstances! I was on a high.

Here I lay, in my tiny hospital room, with my fresh baby asleep in the bassinet next to me. I know I need to sleep, but I’m still on such a high. I look over at my quiet baby boy. What am I supposed to do now? It’s great that he’s just laying there so quiet, right? Does he need his nappy changed? Is he too hot? Does he need to feed? Can I pick him up? When will I know?

New baby in bassinet

The midwife comes in. When did you last feed him? “When he came out”. How did he feed then? “Ummm, ok I guess – the midwife at the time didn’t say anything”. I think to myself “oh my god are you even feeding him properly? You have no idea what you are doing!”

And so it starts, this looming voice, confident that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and in fact, I’m probably failing, and now I’m not just failing as a person, I’m failing my sweet, little, helpless boy.

Newborn baby

Several midwives through different shifts visit me. Each seems to show me a different way to breast feed. My little guy still isn’t interested. What am I doing wrong? Can someone just tell me definitively what to do? I feel like whatever I try is wrong.

They tell me to only offer my breast if he’s hungry (how am I supposed to know?), to take it away if he doesn’t want it and put him back in the bassinet. Something small twinges inside me. Wait, this doesn’t feel right. But they’re the professionals. These midwives help hundreds of women just like me to breast feed each week. Why am I not getting this??

We rally on. A nurse comes in to discuss contraception. Are you serious? I’ve literally just pushed a baby out! Sorry, but sex is the last thing on my mind right now and I’m confident that will be the case until I see my GP in the next fortnight. She continues to pressure the matter. Really? Eventually she leaves. My husband and I look at each other in shock.

My little man still isn’t interested in suckling. I can feel the staff’s concern grow. I feel my fear grow that they’re going to force me to formula feed because I’m failing to produce the sustenance my beautiful boy needs. I’m concerned about the consequences of introducing formula so early. A midwife asks if I expressed antenatally. “Yes, but I could only get about 4ml over 5 or so tries”, I say ashamed of myself. “Where is it?”, she asks. “At home in the freezer, I didn’t think it’d be enough to use.” She convinces my husband to go get it.

Newborn baby open eyes swaddled

In the meantime, she encourages me to keep helping my baby cough up mucous that seems to have been bothering him for the last 12 hours. Her theory is that he doesn’t feel hungry because the mucous is in his tummy but he may need a bit of milk to help cough it up. 5ml might be all he needs; he only has a tiny tummy after all.

Hubby returns with my tiny tubes of liquid gold. The midwife pinches and pulls my nipples for 10-15 minutes to get another few mls out. She heats up my frozen milk and syringe feeds the lot to my baby boy. In the next hour he coughs up a bit then takes to suckling at my breast.

We’ve been discussing discharge all day. I was ready to go home when they took me to the post-natal ward but wanted the little guy to successfully feed first. It’s 3pm the day after he was born now. He’s now suckling – I feel like it’s correct. The midwives are encouraging me to stay. All I want right now is to be in my own home. I’ve had enough of being in hospital. I’m ready to start this new life. We get discharged. Yey!

We get home! My mum is there! She has cuddles for the first time. She is completely smitten as expected. Then she leaves. Hubby and I get ready for bed. Here I am thinking, “he’s perfect. He slept pretty happily in the bassinet at the hospital so I can just put him down in there and get an hour or two before feeding him again. Then I’ll just keep doing that until I’ve had some sleep.”

This is probably a good place to remind you that Monday night, I got about an hour sleep because of my induction. Tuesday night, I maybe got an hour because I was so excited about how my birth went and how I was now a mum and how beautiful my baby was. I was in complete and utter awe. Now here we are, Wednesday night. I sit up in bed to feed him. Then I say goodnight and put him in his bassinet. Simple, right? WRONG!

Hubby has barely slept the last two nights either so I suggest I’ll go to the lounge room and put him down in the bassinet in there when I can and will get a bit of sleep. Ha! How much sleep do you think I got? Yep, that’s right, zip, none, nadda! But you see, what I didn’t realise at the time was that my little guy, with his whole 24 hours of wisdom but a life time of not ever being influenced by society, he knew that he needed to be skin-to-skin, at my breast, so that my milk would come in, so that he could be sustained, the way nature intended. He surely has been my greatest teacher, right from the start.

New mum and baby skin to skin

By Thursday morning I was exhausted. A type of exhaustion I have never felt before! If you’d told me a year ago that I could even survive this long with this little sleep, I would have laughed in your face. Thankfully he settled on hubby while I got some much-needed rest. When I awoke, my body was involuntarily shaking. My husband and I looked at each other, a moment of panic, trying to work out what was going on. He handed my baby to me. My body relaxed. I too needed my baby.

A visiting midwife tells me I must be doing something wrong, babies should get all the milk out in about 15 minutes each side. I shouldn’t have him latched for more than that because he will get tired. “Thanks”. Again, I feel like I’m doing ok…. it doesn’t hurt… but maybe I’m not. Maybe I am doing it wrong.

After a few more nights of just wanting to be skin-to-skin, my wise little man had well and truly brought my milk in. One thing I hadn’t been prepared for was just how much of a mess this breastfeeding gig would create! I had purchased a couple of packs of cloth nappies, intended for spit up. These, now 2 years later, are still named “boobie towels” in this household. But now, I could feed, then get 1.5 hours sleep before he would rouse ready to fill his tummy once more. This meant I could get 4.5 hours sleep per night! This I could work with!

Afternoon naps were my opportunity to top up my sleep – especially on nights where I hadn’t got my 4.5 hours. I was surviving. Some days I was so tired, I would cry. Some nights, I let him grizzle for 10 minutes because I just didn’t have the energy to sit up, I just needed to lay down and for the life of me, I couldn’t get him to feed laying down.

But eventually, 1.5 hours sleep at a time became 2 hours. Then 2 hours became 3 hours. Then just before we hit the 4 month sleep regression (more of a developmental progression so I don’t really like calling it regression), we were only waking once or twice a night for 5-10 minutes. “We did it”, I’d thought! Amazing!

Then once or twice became three or four times. Then at 7 months he basically just started refusing to go into his cot full stop. I wasn’t sleeping. I was crying from exhaustion again. One morning, I let him lay down in bed with me cuddling. He latched. He fell back to sleep. I was so petrified of SIDS that I couldn’t sleep.

After a couple of weeks of very light sleep with him in bed beside me, I started to sleep deeper. I had made sure my bed was safe for bed sharing. I was actually getting some sleep again. Yet I felt ashamed to tell anyone I was bed sharing.

By the time he turned 9 months old, I sold his cot. We were both sleeping the best we had ever slept (except that sweet spot of a couple of weeks where he was only waking once or twice). Now, here we are just over 2 years old, and we are both loving our bed-sharing journey and no longer look back. When people ask I say confidently, “Yes, we co-sleep”, “No, he won’t want to sleep in the same bed as his Mumma forever”, “Yes he still wakes in the night, but the beauty now is that he lifts my shirt up, latches, sucks for 5-10 minutes and is back in dreamland without me having to fully awake”.

This motherhood gig has definitely proved to me how strong I am. It has taught me to be more flexible. Just when you think you’ve got it, they throw you in another direction. But together, you learn, you bond, and although it is hard, it is the most beautiful experience.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the insight into my early days of motherhood and I look forward to sharing more later. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Edriana X

Have you watched my birth story vlog? If not, CLICK HERE!

Want to know more about me? CLICK HERE!

Need support with sleeping? Check out The Beyond Sleep Training Project.

Pregnant and wanting to have the most positive experience you can when you birth your baby? I’d love to work with you, CLICK HERE!

My Birth Story – Hypnobirthing in Adelaide

My Birth Story – Hypnobirthing in Adelaide

I put this vlog off for too long because I had this voice telling me I had to have freshly washed and straightened hair, make up, no bags under my eyes, and because I needed enough time to sit down by myself (i.e. without my 2yo son pulling up my shirt).

Then I thought, you know what, I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture. I’m a mum. My audience are or soon will be mum’s. This is what it looks like. Falling out pony tail, no make up, bags under my eyes because I can’t remember the last time I slept 8 hours straight, dogs dreaming in the background, special appearance from Lincoln.

Then, I’ll apologise because I’m definitely still learning when it comes to video editing! But the story and what I’m here for is more important than a perfectly edited video… so here it FINALLY is! My birth story!

Please click for more information on the following:

What is Hypnobirthing?

Swinging pocket watch hypnosis

The first thought most people have when they hear about hypnobirthing is “isn’t that just for hippies?”

Myself and my husband have both been there! I actually dismissed hypnobirthing when it was first suggested! I’m so glad I changed my mind!

So here I am, now a true believer, I thought I should clear up some myths about hypnobirthing!

The “hypno” part of hypnobirthing refers to hypnosis. But, hypnosis might not be what you think it is…

Hypnotic spiral

All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.

Yes, you will learn self-hypnosis as part of the Positive Birth Program, but no, you won’t be clucking like a chicken as your baby crowns! Actually, there won’t be any pendulums or black and white spirals and I definitely won’t be controlling you!

The use of hypnosis provides us with a state of mind where we can relax deeply, be calm and be more open to suggestion. In fact, most of us enter hypnosis several times a day! Have you ever been “in the zone” when you are working out, watching TV, or reading a book? Have you ever driven to work or home on ‘auto pilot’? Have you ever caught yourself in a light dream state just before dropping off to sleep?

woman sleeping peacefully

Over your years to this point, I can almost guarantee that, whether you realise it or not, you have been hypnotised to fear birth.

  • Have you watched a movie or TV Show that shows a woman giving birth? Were they on their back, in a bed, screaming?
  • Have you heard one or many ‘horror’ stories about birth?
  • Does everyone you have ever met think/tell you that childbirth is the most painful experience anyone can go through?

Unfortunately, fear has a detrimental impact on birth. We are designed to birth feeling safe and when fear replaces our feeling of safety, there are physiological changes that occur in our bodies that make it more difficult to birth.

Yoga with a view

In the Positive Birth Program, you will learn to use self-hypnosis to:

  1. release any fear you have of birth;
  2. condition yourself to release endorphins (your body’s natural feel good hormones) during labour; and,
  3. enable yourself to be calm and relax deeply during the birth of your baby.

So what do you think? Did I blow your mind? Is that what you thought hypnobirthing was all about?

A Letter to the Expecting Mother

To the dear expecting mother who reads this letter,

My greatest hope for you is that you know you are enough, that you are capable, and that this adventure before you, while difficult, will be one of the most beautiful, magical adventures of your life.

You are likely feeling very anxious about what your baby’s birth day will bring, about what you will experience, what your baby will experience, what your baby will look like and probably what your life will look like after your baby makes his or her way Earthside. Trust in yourself. As a human being, and as a mother, you have all the answers deep within yourself.

The day your baby enters this world will be astonishing. If you have a positive mindset and are well informed, you will make the best decisions for yourself and your baby. Know that for most women, we have the ability to birth naturally (i.e. without medical intervention). There are incredible benefits for mother and baby that come from experiencing natural childbirth. If this is you, I bow down to you, you beautiful, magnificent goddess of a woman who birthed her baby soulfully!

There are many factors in our lives that have changed through the years, and many of these factors have compounded to increase the rate of women requiring medical intervention. While people all over the world are doing amazing things to minimise or remove these obstacles, there is still a small percentage of women who will need medical intervention to birth their baby, and this is OK. I repeat, THIS IS OK. If this is you, I want you to feel confident and involved in the decisions made during your birth, I want you to feel strong, empowered, unstoppable. You made the choices required to bring your baby into this world and you should be celebrated as much as any other mother. You too are a beautiful, magnificent goddess of a woman who birthed her baby soulfully!

Now you are a mum, to what seems like the most tiny, most dependent, little pooping blob you could have ever imagined. But what now? Your heart tells you one thing, your brain may tell you another, and your mother/mother-in-law/sister/friend/nurse/doctor tells you something completely different. Oh and did I mention Doctor Google?

You will need help. I repeat, you will need help. This too is OK! Actually, its not just OK, this is necessary. Our village looks a lot different to how it used to look. Some of us have to find our village in places we would never expect. This help might look like someone cleaning your house, maybe it will look like someone making you some meals. It could also be a shoulder to cry on when you just need to vent or to grieve the parts of your pre-baby life that you miss. It could be a multitude of things. If you can’t find this village where you would expect, try social media groups, mums groups, or scheduled activities with your baby.

Please never forget that there is always someone willing to have a chat. On the back of your baby book (in South Australia, Blue Book) you have a list of numbers you can call. I can tell you that the Parents Helpline was added to my contacts very quickly. They have been very reassuring for this new mum at times when I have been a worry wart. If it helps, make regular doctors appointments in advance. You can always cancel them if the appointment is approaching, but it is always nicer to talk to the doctor you know and trust rather than having to panic about not getting an appointment when you want something looked at or having to go to another doctor with whom you are unfamiliar.

Know that you are enough. You had the primitive ability to create, grow, and birth this baby, and you now have the primitive ability to raise this baby. Everyone has an opinion, and what ever you do, not everyone will agree with your choice. This has been one of the biggest game-changing facts for me as a mother. Again, be informed, but you, I repeat, YOU make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Know that no one is perfect. Life is about balance. You know what you can and cannot handle, what your family can and cannot cope with, and this is why you make the best decisions for your family.

You will change. This transition in to motherhood that no one really talks about, is HUGE. Sandra C. Kassis said “you never understand life until it grows inside of you.” You will change physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You will change in ways that you could have never dreamed. It is a journey. Your unique journey. It takes time. Not days or weeks or even months, but years. Be patient. You are learning a lot of new things. You are learning a new way of life. The person you will become is going to be incredible. It may not be easy getting there, but at the end of it, you will be amazed at how far you have come. Talk to your family and your friends about what is happening. If you need to talk to others, do so. You matter. You are strong and fierce, whatever this journey brings, you’ve got this!

If you ever need to chat, I’m just a DM or email away 😊

I leave you with this…

You are stronger than you think on watercolour background

Edriana Xx

The Birth Partner

Birth partners are so important during birth! There are so many roles the birth partner can play and they are paramount in the mother’s birth experience.

A birthing mother is designed to seek out a safe space for the birth of her baby. This space should be comfortable and familiar, a space where she can deeply relax to allow her body to do what it has been designed to do, to open and guide her baby earth side. The event that is to unfold is sacred and is deserving of the safest of spaces.

The birth partner, usually someone who has a loving and trusting relationship with the mother, will help the mother feel at ease and protected. The mother may be conditioned to relax with something as simple as the unique smell of their birth partner. Hands up if you instantly feel more at ease when you wrap your arms around your mother or partner and inhale their unique scent?

Hands up again, if you feel your troubles melt away in the arms of your loved one? A good hug, or even better, a good pash, will release oxytocin. This amazing love hormone peaks during love making, breastfeeding and, you guessed it, birth! It is vital for effective labour. The closer mother and baby become to being ready for birth, the greater number of oxytocin receptors become available. It has become common practice to use a synthetic version of this hormone to induce or progress labour, but unfortunately, the synthetic version doesn’t have the same effects on mother and baby (a story for another time). So why not try to skip the synthetic version, have a good “cuddle” and enjoy all the benefits including the potential to progress labour and increase natural pain relief?

On the point of natural pain relief, did you know we have a complex but beautiful concoction of hormones that help us in birth and beyond? Check out Dr. Sarah Buckley for all the goods! I’ve already mentioned oxytocin, but another important player is endorphins. Endorphins are said to be 20 to 40 times more powerful than morphine. Move over epidural and endorphins come at me! How can we increase endorphins? We release these when we are relaxed. The amazing birth partner will most definitely help mother to relax. As well as being familiar and comforting, the birth partner can assist with setting up the environment to be more relaxing, providing massage, and protecting the mother’s sacred birth space.

When a mother is bringing her baby earth side, she is vulnerable. It’s a time where she needs to go deep within herself and focus all her energy on relaxing, and letting her body do its job. Sometimes, doctors and midwives will talk with the mother about the birth, and about her progress. Sometimes she will be in a great space for these conversations, and sometimes she won’t. A great birth partner will be on the same page as the mother, he or she will know what the mother wants and will have the mother and baby’s best interests at heart. In the circumstance where mother doesn’t feel she can have those conversations, her amazing birth partner can help her out.

Sometimes, decisions need to be made during birth. They may be decisions that the mother and birth partner have considered and discussed, but they may not be. In the circumstance where a decision needs to be made and the mother and birth partner have no previous knowledge on the subject, a conversation will need to occur with the care provider enabling the mother to have enough information to be informed and to be able to provide informed consent. In the thick of birth, this can often be difficult. It may be difficult for the mother to find enough energy to convert away from birthing her baby to talk at all, yet alone formulate the appropriate questions to have this kind of conversation. Birth partner to the rescue again, he or she can ask the right questions to get enough information for the mother to be able to make an informed choice.

All of these above factors and more are reasons why birth partners are so important! They are so vital in one of life’s most beautiful and sacred events and should be celebrated along with mother and baby.

Edriana xx

Welcome

Hello!

Thank you for visiting my blog!

As you may have already seen, I’m Edriana and I want to help you experience your best pregnancy, birth and life beyond.

I am an Adelaide mum who graduated from Flinders University in 2012. I studied a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and a Diploma of Language (French). During high school and uni, I had a lot of casual and part time jobs, ranging from Swimming Instructor to ABA Therapist to Barista. Then, I worked full-time in Workers Compensation for almost 5 years before the birth of my son Lincoln.

I’m also a wife. I got married just after I turned 21 years old; when you know, you know. My husband is very supportive of my dreams; he was actually the person who convinced me to become a certified Hypnobirthing Australia TM Practitioner. He knows first hand how passionate I am about positive birth and probably thought he’d get a break from hearing about it if I had a new audience haha.

My dream is that, as a society, we become better at supporting families through the sacred time of pregnancy, birth and post-partum. Right now, we have a lot of work to do. I’m starting by sharing the Hypnobirthing Australia TM Positive Birth Program TM as I believe this is a great start for families and will reduce the number of women who suffer traumatic birth experiences. Mothers should never be made to feel like they are unheard, broken, or like they failed. Mothers should be able to transition into their new lives as a mum (to one, or two, or three etc.) feeling like the strong, magical, and courageous goddess that they are!

If there is anything you think I can do to help more families, let me know! If you want to help by collaborating in some way, let me know!

Edriana xx