DreamBirth® Stories

by Claudia Rosenhouse-Raiken

A visiting professor of Alexander Technique came to one of my classes and suggested a very specific and quick “image.” I opened myself to the suggestion. Then, something happened. Instantly my neck and back released. My whole body felt free and easy, my spine deliciously long. Astonishing! All I had done was to imagine my top vertebra moving in a certain direction, and magic happened. One quick image was equivalent to months, or in some instances, years of work.

My Doula training teacher mentioned, in passing, that imagery was a helpful tool to use during childbirth. When I excitedly approached her to get more information, she confessed that she had never used it herself; however, she referred me to the only book about the subject – a very small volume by Carl Jones, titled Mind Over Labor. I devoured the book. Although I experimented with some of its exercises, I sensed there was much more that was possible. A few months later, at a CranioSacral Workshop, my life changed. After watching my work, one of the assistants told me about Catherine Shainberg and The School of Images. My heart leapt: a whole school devoted to the study of imagery! Little did I know what an adventure was about to begin.

In 2003, I asked Catherine to teach me imagery for pregnancy and childbirth, and so began a collaboration, soon joined by other doulas and birth professionals, that continues to this day, vibrant and ever expanding, like DreamBirth® itself.

A combination of Catherine’s expertise and genius along with our experiences in the field, (as well as our questioning and prodding), created a system of short imagery exercises to facilitate, improve and address issues of pregnancy, childbirth, conception, postpartum, and early mothering. And thus DreamBirth® was born. Two years into the work I developed cancer of the uterine lining.

The discipline I was teaching my clients suddenly became life or death for me. I used imagery to help fight the cancer and to face the demons and underlying emotions that were emerging. I also used imagery to alleviate the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiation. When I beat the cancer, the very real benefits of the work became crystal clear to me. I often claim that because of my experience with cancer I got a PhD in Imagery.

My illness jump started me into the creative and revelatory aspects of the work, as well as forcing me to become a grateful recipient of the healing it promoted. As Catherine often says, I plunged in – and the work took on a life of its own, showing me the way. It still does. It is ever-present in my life and work; the imagery amazes me daily with what it can do, and the richness it gives all who work with it.

My cancer operation, as Catherine had foreseen it would, went flawlessly. I had used an imagery exercise called “The Garden to Prepare for an Operation,“ and my oncologist had been shocked at how well I reacted to the operation itself and the subsequent chemotherapy treatments. I never needed to take the anti-nausea medication, and on several occasions attended births on the days following my treatments. The exercise had created the very best outcome. In fact, right after the operation the doctor collared my husband, grinning, “I could see everything – I know I got everything out –the operation went perfectly. I am on a roll –I want to get to my next one –I am cooking today.”

Effects of the “Garden” Exercise

I teach all the pregnant women who work with me the DreamBirth® version of “The Garden” exercise. This powerful imagery exercise prepares women for birth so effectively that even if something unexpected occurs, the mother, the doctor, the midwives and the nurses experience the event and each other in a very positive light. I know that “the Garden” works because of my experience with a mother who went into labor before we had done the exercise.

Diane was in triage. She was expecting a second child, and her water had already broken. Second births tend to be quick, and the room was in chaos: people rushed in and out, her husband was not there, machines buzzed, and everyone felt the pressure of time. I wasn’t accustomed to so much confusion, and realized something was missing. “Have I taught you the garden?” I asked. Within minutes, not only Diane, but also the climate of the entire room switched, completely calming down. One half-hour later, her daughter was born in an easeful and calm atmosphere, which was gratefully acknowledged – by the nurses and doctor!

Verification of “The Garden” came from my colleague Rachel, a doula who had studied DreamBirth® with the initial group; she had been an Ob-gyn nurse for several years in the same hospital and knew the doctors well. Rachel finally overcame some skepticism and used “The Garden” with a birthing mom. Although she had been up all night at the birth, she called me first thing the next morning, exulting: “I can’t believe it! It really works! The atmosphere was so different!”

The exercise affects more than the mother; it affects the birthing environment and those in it. In another instance, Rachel worked with a doctor who had often been inflexible and unresponsive to birthing mothers, and who had routinely performed unnecessary episiotomies. (Having attended almost 200 births in 7 hospitals, I know that this painful procedure is rarely used – at least in New York City and its suburbs). That second call from Rachel confirmed my faith in “The Garden.” Rachel called to praise the exercise and the doctor: “Claudia – really — she was nice: so, so much nicer than I have ever seen her. The Garden exercise is incredible!”

Work continues and develops on its own

One of the most exciting parts of using imagery and teaching DreamBirth® is the way much of the work develops on its own. I have experienced many different scenarios, so I can easily create exercises for any situation that arises. More fulfilling however is the way that I see women I have worked with, with much less training than I have had, employ their own inner knowledge to create exercises on their own and use the work long after the birth.

I received this email a short time ago,

“Hi Claudia,

I hope that all is well with you and your family. Our daughter, Nour, was born on Fri., Feb. 25. She was 8 lb 6 oz, a full three pounds more than Behdis, but a much easier labor; although she was overdue by 3 days, and if she hadn’t been born by Monday, I was scheduled for induction on Tuesday: 6 hours in the hospital before giving birth; I took the epidural soon as I could (I entered the hospital at 8 cm dilation, was having heavy contractions and remembered how useful it [imagery] was with Behdis), and only 6 minutes of pushing (Behdis had been 10. I’d told my students I was aiming for 5-8 minutes and setting a new land speed record). I wanted to thank you again for the visualizations that you taught me while pregnant with Behdis. After I had the epidural and could focus, I was able to use them [the exercises] to very good effect, especially the one about visualizing my cervix dilating and the baby descending down a flower that’s opening. I also used the “garden” and “hands of light.” I was very, very relaxed when the time came for pushing (almost fell asleep waiting for the dr.) and was in very good spirits.

Take care and thanks again,

Pam”

And from my client Judith, who wrote about her experience, I heard:

“As an additional proof to me of just how powerful the DreamBirth® visualization work was, the next day in the hospital one of the nurses wanted to check my daughter’s blood sugar. She did this, and in a very ‘hospital-protocol,’ unfriendly way informed me that if her (the baby’s) blood sugar didn’t rise to what she perceived as an acceptable level, they would give her formula. So, I of course fed her again, but whilst doing so I drew in all my resources, and created a positive visualization for myself, with light flowing from me into my breast and through to my daughter. When the nurse checked her blood sugar again, she said it was just fine.”

Conception, birth and mothering, like my experience with cancer, are primal events. They provide a fertile ground to learn this kind of imagery work. During these primal moments there is a need to access our core, our inside ‘knowing’. DreamBirth® continues to amaze me. Here is what I have seen it do.

Let’s start with the basics. The first exercise that I normally teach is called “Going into the Womb.” It is an exercise where you imaginally go into the womb and talk with your baby. Not only is it a daily time to connect with the baby, but it is also a perfect vehicle to suggest the baby’s perfect development. Later, after the 32nd week, the exercise is further developed. You not only go in to visit, but you ‘show’ the baby what will happen on the day of the birth, by clearly visualizing the ideal position, the ideal descent, the very clear waters and the free-floating cord, and then of course the emergence. That exercise is aptly called “Rehearsing the Birth”.

As with all of the DreamBirth® exercises do, the exercises use more poetic than realistic imagery.

I once worked with an obstetrician, pregnant with her first child, who came to me to learn Dream birth. I felt nervous that she might be turned off to the unrealistic (but quite accurate) imagery. I told her that if she wanted to use the image of a cervix opening, instead of that of a flower opening, she could – especially if the more poetic image of the baby sliding down the stem of an opening flower, and then out the very open flower did not suit her. “Oh God, no,” she said. “I see that all the time. The image of the flower opening works much better for me.”

Almost non-existent rate of back labor and lower incidence of cord wrap

The “Rehearsing the Birth” exercise alone is responsible for my remarkably small number of back labor problems. Out of 200 births only one was a back labor, and only for part of the time. (In the United States the normal incidence of back labor is about 30%.) “Rehearsing the Birth” is also responsible for a decrease in cord wrap.  When we first devised the exercise, we had no not included the cord ‘freely floating.’ but after attending a birth where the cord was wrapped not only around the neck but also around the leg, I suggested to Catherine that we needed to add something about this common occurrence.

Interestingly, when I do encounter a cord wrap, my client inevitably tells me that they had forgotten to visualize the cord freely floating.

One of my clients confided that when “practicing the birth,” she would be unable to visualize the cord freely floating and would see it all tangled up.  I knew that we needed to pay attention to this, for inner sight (or the inner voice) is often quite accurate.  Accordingly, I gave her an exercise where she could transform her arms and hands into light.  This way she could go inside and untangle the cord. The next week I asked her if she was experiencing the same problem.  She was relieved and reported that now the “ Rehearsing the Birth “exercise was quite easy.

Because the potential problem had been averted, I had no definite proof at the time of whether the cord was wrapped or not, but I recalled the incident when I received definite verification that the exercise to unwrap a tangled cord worked.

A previous client, who had moved back to Chile, called me long distance, in obvious distress.  She was pregnant with her second child, due in a few weeks, and the ultra-sound had shown that the cord was wrapped several times not only around the neck, but also around the left leg.

I had her do the DreamBirth® exercise to untangle the cord and reminded her of the exercise we used to rehearse the birth.  She asked if she should keep untangling the cord.  Experience has proved that the imagery can work right away, so I encouraged her to “practice the birth” and only untangle the cord if she had trouble seeing it ‘freely floating’ in that exercise.

Two weeks later she emailed me that the most current ultrasound had shown the cord to be freely floating. She had an easy, uneventful birth very shortly afterwards.

Another general ‘success’ must be attributed to DreamBirth’s® “Rehearsing the Birth” exercises. This exercise is responsible for the descent of many babies thought highly improbable by the doctor in charge.

Babies descending when doctor was positive they wouldn’t

One of my clients, who had taken an epidural, was opening and effacing very nicely, but the baby was very high and seemed to be staying there.

On one of my trips to get my client ice chips, I bumped into the doctor coming out of another birthing room.  Privately she confided,  “You’ll see –she’ll (my client) be a C-section. That baby is too high up – you’ll see, it will never come down.”

I returned, with the ice chips, and said to both the mother and her husband, “Now that you’ve have the epidural, let’s concentrate on seeing the baby sliding down the stem – (part of our” Rehearsing the Birth” exercise)- or any kind of sliding down that you want to visualize – and finish it off with the baby coming out and being put on your chest. “  In less than an hour the baby descended from -2 station, to +1 station, and my birthing mom successfully pushed the baby out.

We were all pleased, no one more so than the doctor.

This experience has repeated itself twice with that same doctor.  Even though the doctor communicated concern to the patients or sometimes just to me, approximately 85% of the babies descended in the way just described.

I had one father who loved skiing.  He decided to imagine sliding down ski slopes with the baby.  I must say that baby descended quite quickly, almost too quickly.

Tweaking the baby’s position during transition

My client, Beth, illustrates a rather dramatic example of tweaking the baby’s position during the transition phase of labor.

From our very first session, Beth had loved the imagery, and she took to it easily. When she started to labor at home, her labor also progressed easily – she preferred to do the imagery on her own.  She wanted no “interference” from either her husband or me.  Her process was very internal.

When we got to the hospital she was 8 centimeters and still very relaxed during her contractions.  Given her composure, it was a surprise to the doctor and nurses that she was already in the transition phase.  Many weeks before her labor started, Beth had told me she was planning to take an epidural when she reached 8 centimeters, and although she seemed to be dealing quite beautifully, she did not change her mind.  She asked for the epidural as soon as she was checked and was told she was completely effaced and 8 centimeters open. She progressed very nicely to 9 -1/2 centimeters with the epidural, and then the progress stopped.

 After almost two hours the doctor came in and examined her.  The doctor’s estimation was that the baby had twisted a little. “When this happens the baby’s head is not pressing in the right way,” the doctor explained.  “We’ll see if you can open fully. If you don’t after another hour or two, I’m afraid we might have to consider a C-section.”

After the doctor left, I had Sky take her eyes down to the baby, imaginally, and check the baby’s position.  Inner sight is uncannily accurate.  Ty went in to look at the baby’s position and reported that the baby had turned slightly to the left. So we did the exercise, similar to the one we did to untangle the cord. She imaginally transformed her arms and hands to light, went in, and helped the baby get in the perfect position. She told me that she was centering the baby’s head to her own pubic joint.  I asked her if the baby stayed in the right position when she took her hands off.  She said, “Yes.”

For the next 15 to 20 minutes I had her keep imaginally checking. Every time she checked, the baby was correctly positioned, but even more exciting was that all the signs of being completely open and ready to push were there. The doctor arrived exclaiming she had never witnessed a baby turning at that point in the labor, especially with an epidural. “This is fantastic!”  Thirty- five minutes later Beth’s daughter was out.

Turning Breech Babies

DreamBirth® imagery can definitely help turn a breech baby.

The exercise we use is similar to the one Beth used to turn her baby, but the following examples show us that turning a breech baby is not a straightforward matter. Each instance is quite individual, and there are different reasons why a baby is breech, and whether it is willing to turn. Although both Hillary and Jennifer exhibited some of this complexity and individuality, not every woman can actually hear her baby talk. Often the communication is visual, and it is accompanied by a feeling tone in the body.  Hillary however, was both very fluid with the imagery and could hear the baby talk from the very start of our work together

Hillary saw me about 5 times over a period of about 7 weeks to learn DreamBirth®. The last time she saw me was when she was 34 and a half weeks.  Her baby was still breech.  When we did the exercise to turn the baby, she said it felt difficult imaginally to turn the baby, so we went inside, imaginally again, of course, and asked the baby if there was anything we needed to know about the situation.

The baby responded, “I get dizzy.”

Many times a present problem has what we call ‘ancestral roots’.  There are events, ideas from the past, or from the very far past –passed on from generation to generation that are influencing the present scenario. Imagery is a beautiful tool to both discover the ancestral influence and to mitigate and change the effects – if needed.

I asked Hillary to go back inside and see if there was an ancestral component to this situation and to see if there was something we could help with.  Our ‘dreaming’ self has access to our fuller and greater knowledge. Hillary went in and saw a ship on its way to America. “I’m being shown my grandfather as a three or four year old boy.  He is there with his mother who is pregnant. I see both of them throwing up.”  She heard as well, “Your child has the same gene as your grandfather. They easily get dizzy and nauseous.”

I asked Hillary to find out if the gene could be ‘tweaked’, that is changed, so that her child would not be so prone to dizziness and nausea. Lindsay responded immediately. “I just saw them do that. Even before you asked.” Hillary then opened her eyes and reported that she was feeling a lot of movement from the baby.

Her doctor had told Lindsay that after the 36th week, a C-section would be scheduled if the baby had not turned.  We went in one more time to talk to the baby, asking the baby if she would be in the right position by the ‘deadline”. The baby’s response was, “If it feels good.”

I got an email from Hillary about a week later, after her check up, that the baby had turned.  She went on to have a vaginal birth. This is the email I received from her a very short time after the birth of her daughter:

“I was in early labor for 2 days, active for about 12 hours. Pushed for 2.5 hours. Not easy, but well worth it :) The imagery was VERY helpful. I’ll tell you a funny story about the doctor next week – she was being very pushy – and I stood my ground, then used imagery to open up my cervix. It was cool! Be well. See you soon.”

Jennifer’s experience with her breech baby was quite different.  I first saw Jennifer because she had just had a miscarriage and was understandably very upset.  DreamBirth® helps with the grieving, and it also helps tremendously with conception – which was Jennifer’s intense desire.

Jennifer was responsive to the grieving exercise, but could not really ‘see’ or ‘hear’ very much until we did one of the exercises to prepare for conception. It is an exercise where you imaginally” clean your bedroom” very thoroughly—vacuuming, dusting, mopping, airing out the rugs, clearing every corner and getting rid of all that is not needed. You re-arrange the furniture, if necessary, and then add something of beauty to enhance the room.  When Jennifer opened her eyes after that exercise she said, “That was very different.  It was the first time I saw so clearly. All colors became very bright and the walls became a beautiful yellow gold. And it was the first time I could see where to put the baby and all the things it needed. When I was pregnant I had not been able to visualize where to fit the baby in our one-bedroom apartment.”

Jennifer looked at me, “Do you think I miscarried because I wasn’t ready?” At my suggestion she went ‘in’ imaginally to talk to the soul who had left. She asked the question. The answer was, “Yes,” but she learned that it was also for her to understand and feel how much she wanted a child. Jennifer also asked the soul if it would be coming back. The soul said, “Yes.”

I have worked now with many women who suffered miscarriages. The answer to this question is very specific.  If the soul says it is not coming back, it will tell the mother what its purpose was (if the mother asks.)  If the same soul is intending to come back, it will say so and tell the mother what may be missing for the soul to incarnate again.

Jennifer’s daughter told her she was waiting for Jennifer to really want her. Jennifer saw the image of a baby with wide-open arms, reaching out to her. Jennifer did get pregnant again after about a year. We figured out that the new child’s birthday was almost identical to the day that the miscarried baby’s would have been.

During this second pregnancy, Jennifer was able to actively ‘hear’ her daughter. It was the first time I had witnessed that.   (Since working with Jennifer I have had a handful more that can actually ‘hear’ their babies.)  During her second trimester Jennifer would walk by a small fountain with many goldfish. Both she and her unborn child would comment on their beauty and movement.

I couldn’t wait for our weekly session to hear what the baby had said.  In the third trimester Jennifer was very busy at work, feeling pressured and tired.  During that time she could not hear the baby.  She could only hear when she was truly relaxed.

At week 32 or 33 her doctor told her the baby was breech.  Jennifer tried imagery and acupuncture, getting more and more upset that the baby was not turning. As the baby had not turned by week 35 we began to rehearse the birth with two scenarios, the one she had been rehearsing – seeing the baby come out an open flower – and then the cesarean version. The cesarean birth rehearsal was essentially “The Garden to Prepare for an Operation” exercise.  She imagined being in a beautiful garden, with people she loved and who loved her, and then seeing the doctors with hands of light and instruments of light doing the operation perfectly.  Before rehearsing this version we asked her body and the baby if they were willing to co-operate, and both were very happy to.

Jennifer was insistent she did not want to plan the date for the C-section.  She wanted to come to the hospital when her labor started.  She wanted her baby to be born when the baby indicated by starting labor that it was ready.  After much negotiating and promising that she would come to the hospital right away, the doctor acceded to her wishes.

About two weeks before the birth, Jennifer came in to see me looking very relieved. “I heard the baby say she “doesn’t want to swim like a fishy.”  She did not want to swim out the birth canal.  After that communication Jennifer practiced the birth, the cesarean way, in the garden.  Understanding that it was her baby’s choice made all the difference to Jennifer. When her labor began, she called her doctor and me, so that I could lead her again through the birth rehearsal, the cesarean way.  As predicted by the exercise, the operation went beautifully, and with DreamBirth’s® exercises to help with the healing, Jennifer was up and moving, carrying her baby in much shorter time than the doctor’s expectations.

DreamBirth’s® deeper and more potent aspects

DreamBirth® exercises can have a deeper and more potent aspect to them. The exercises can reveal the knowledge and wisdom of your right brain, of your innate knowing and, when necessary, can intelligently warn you.

My client Mary connected very much with the imagery throughout her pregnancy and labor.  During pushing, she started to see an image that frightened her. Instead of seeing the baby slide out easily down the stem and out of the flower as she had been practicing– she suddenly started to see very high jagged gates – getting higher and more ominous, and dangerous to go through.  At that moment the midwife gave her the go ahead to start to push –but after the first few pushes the midwife had her stop – as there was excessive bleeding. Possibly the placenta might have been rupturing, a definitely dangerous situation to both the mother and baby. A  c-section was required.

Mary” went in” to look at the baby.  The baby was indicating it was fine, but going through the gate was not.

 I reminded her to visualize the doctors, nurses and technicians in the garden – with instruments and hands of light, as she had practiced in The Garden exercise.  She went into her ‘emergency’ c-section quite calmly. She ‘knew’, as her images had shown her, that it was becoming dangerous for her baby to come ’ through the gate’, vaginally, and that now he would be born safely.  At the post partum visit, she was both amazed that her images had shown her the danger – and very grateful that c-sections exist.

Reversing Funneling, Stopping Early Labor

Unlike Mary, Denise was not at all sure what she thought about imagery.  I had been highly recommended, so she was willing to do and practice the exercises, but was quite skeptical that anything would come of it.

About week 23 Denise called me in tears.  She had spent the previous evening at the hospital because she was having contractions. Although the contractions had stopped, the ultrasound showed that her cervix had thinned and that it was starting to open towards the bag of water’s side, (not the side towards the vaginal canal). This condition is called “funneling.”  The only answer, according to her doctor, was to go on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy, to make sure the cervix did not continue to thin and open.

Denise was convinced that this meant the end of her pregnancy.  She listened through tears at my telling her about two DreamBirth® exercises that I had seen stop early labor in at least three other clients. I told her she needed to practice the exercises often because the situation was acute.  As Denise was on bed rest, and she is by nature a ‘doer.’ she practiced diligently.  

The first of the exercises helps stop the contractions.  The second one, “Tying the Pouch,” essentially keeps the cervix from opening. In this exercise, although there are more details, you imagine the amniotic sac as an upside down pouch with drawstrings that close the pouch, and you knot the pouch strings very securely.  Two weeks later at her next exam, Denise was told that her cervix had reversed direction, and had thickened. The funneling, however, was still there.

At our next visit Denise reported the progress and told me she had changed the exercise slightly. She was visualizing a pouch now with two sets of ties, and inner one and an outer one.  Excited at the results she practiced often her new and improved exercise. Two weeks later the ultrasound showed that the funneling was gone, and she was put off bed rest!

Verification is good, but I was not sure if funneling could reverse itself on its own, and was perhaps not due to the exercise. Although I queried a few midwives that I knew on the subject, and looked up the subject in the medical sites on the Internet, I could not find any instances of it reversing itself.  I asked Denise to ask her doctor if this sometimes occurred. Denise obtained, at my request, the before and after ultrasounds, but the doctor’s response was quite definite.  She had never, ever seen that, or read about it, or heard about it.

DreamBirth® lowers blood pressure . . .

DreamBirth® has an exercise to lower blood pressure.

 Although I have seen it be effective many times, Carolyn’s story stands out because of the nurse’s reaction. I was with Carolyn in the recovery room after her emergency C-section. Suddenly the instrument board signaled that her blood pressure was high and the nurse came in quickly, took it again, and told Carolyn if it did not go down she might need medication.  I had Carolyn do a very short exercise to lower blood pressure. The nurse was watching the numbers and listening to what I was saying.

 “I don’t know what you just did,” the nurse pondered. “That was weird. The numbers went down when she was listening. That was really strange. I don’t know what you just did, but now her pressure is normal.” 

. . . and restores a baby’s heart rate

Anna’s story illustrates how closely related the baby’s heart rate is to the mother’s moods.

Anna’s cervix had started to open quite early. To ensure a safe delivery she was put on bed rest, and her baby’s lungs were helped to mature. By the time she hired me, at week 32, Anna’s cervix was open 3 cms.  Although she did the “Tying the Pouch” exercise daily, Anna, a very cautious person, decided to stay on bed rest even though the opening had stabilized. The plan was that at 36 weeks she would get off bed rest and start to move and lead a normal life. We all expected that once her labor started, it would go quickly.  Rosanna called me at week 38 because she thought her water had broken, and her doctor wanted her to go to the hospital to be checked.  

I met her at the hospital. Her contractions were just starting. Very excitedly Anna, accompanied by her husband and me, started to walk around the hospital hallways, encouraging her labor. As is very normal during prodromal labor the contractions were erratic and started to slow down.  Because her water had broken, the doctor decided not to let her go back home and let the labor pick up naturally.  The doctor decided instead to help the labor along by giving her pitocin.

Anna agreed, as she did not want to go back to Brooklyn  (more than an hour’s car ride), but when she realized that she had to stay in bed (or close to the bed) so that they could closely monitor the baby, and that she could no longer walk around – her mood switched. She felt confined and angry and became silent and sullen. Her dream of an easy, natural birth was gone. The pitocin drip had barely started and the contractions were quite mild, but the baby’s heart rate started to dip after every contraction. I knew that was not a good sign.  If the baby was doing this so early on, I thought, she would never be able to tolerate labor, and a potentially easy labor might turn into a C-section.  I asked Anna to go inside and connect with her baby. She did. I asked her if she could tell how the baby was, if she could see the baby’s expression.  “I can’t see her face,” she said quite petulantly.
 “Anna, look at her face,” I persisted. “Your eyes in imagery can travel.  Connect with your baby. Look at her face and eyes.”

 Anna and her husband were Russian. Perhaps because he too could feel the sullen, simmering, anger, he put on some Russian pop music.  As Anna closed her eyes, I closed mine too, and saw Anna pick up her baby and dance. I saw the baby smiling. When Anna opened her eyes, the mood had lifted. She told me she went in, saw her baby’s face, and then picked her up and danced with her. The baby was happy and smiling, she added.   I was struck, of course, with my having seen her image — and then I looked at the monitor –- no more dips!  The baby’s heart rate from that moment on stayed reassuringly perfect, exactly how the nurse and doctor wanted the baby to react to the contractions.  Anna’s daughter was born five hours later.

Increasing baby’s rate of growth

DreamBirth® can help almost any situation imaginable.  If an exercise does not exist, an exercise can be created.  After all, imagery is a language.  That is what occurred when I was working with Rachel, pregnant with twins.

Rachel was upset that one of her babies was quite a bit smaller than the other.  She knew this was normal, but wanted to use imagery to help them grow equally, and to grow to a healthy but manageable size. She used the “tying the pouch” exercise to make sure her cervix stayed long – which it did. She reached full term without going on bed rest: an unusual occurrence in the United States, for twins.

I created a very simple exercise for Rachel to use every time she ate.  Her diet already consisted of food with very high nutritional value – she wanted only the best for both herself and her babies.  During every meal she would visualize the broken down food becoming light, and then flowing equally to each of her children.  The exercise worked, at birth they were of almost equal weight.

I used a similar exercise with Melissa whose baby’s slow rate of growth worried her doctor.

The doctor modified Melissa’s diet to include more protein and other foods with high nutritional value.  In spite of the change in diet the doctor felt there had been very little weight gain.  So we decided to use some imagery. First I had her ‘see’ with her inner sight to see if there was any blockage, either along the cord or along either side of the placenta.  It looked clear to her inner eye.

Very similar to Rachel’s exercise, with every meal she visualized the nutrients going through the placenta, then the cord, and then into her son. That following week the baby gained over a pound.

DreamBirth® transforms negative situations into positive

I had a doula client who was a neuroscientist, as was her husband. During the interview I gave them a short exercise so that they could experience what I was talking about.  After all, this work is primarily experiential. They looked at each other, smiled, and said, “She is regulating”.

They showed me a study that demonstrated the effects of ‘regulating’. The purpose of the study was to map what the brain does in a stressful situation and to map the brain when that stressful situation is ‘regulated’.  In order to ‘regulate’ a stressful response, very simple imagery is used. The study they showed me involved two groups. Both had to look at a yellow square and a blue square.  Both groups were told that they would sometimes be shocked when they looked at the blue square, but never when they looked at the yellow square. The experimental group (the regulating group) was told, as well, to imagine something very pleasant when they looked at the blue square. The difference in the brainwaves and physiological measurements was dramatic. Although the shape of the waves was similar, the height or intensity of the group that “regulated” was about half the size of the group that did not imagine something pleasant when they looked at the blue square.

The images and experience of the DreamBirth® exercises, in effect mitigate whatever happens, so that the brain, the body, the mother and the baby literally experience the event as the image dictates, and not necessarily as ‘reality’ dictates. When DreamBirth® is used, events that are normally experienced as traumatic, often are not. The exercises literally transform the experience.   In a C-section, for example, instead of experiencing the sterile room, the sharp cutting instruments, and the fear; the mother, partner and baby experience being in a beautiful garden with people they love, and all instruments and medications become filled with light.  Not only are all instruments and medications light, but the doctors’ and nurses’ hands and arms are also transformed to light and they do everything perfectly.  It is not a surprise then, that all involved experience the event quite positively. Mothers are happy, babies are calm and the body heals swiftly.

A quote from Christina, one of my clients who had a scheduled caesarean is in order here:

“At 37 weeks it became clear that I would probably have a caesarean birth. We incorporated caesarean images into our work.  I envisioned both types of birth and told my son that either one was fine and prepared him for what to expect. At 38.5 weeks he was born by planned caesarean. He came out a healthy, alert baby.  He wasn’t afraid or anxious or confused like a lot of caesarean babies.  He was calm and happy and looking all around.  After the nurses cleaned him up and brought him to me at 30 minutes old, he was hungry. I put him to breastfeed, and he latched on and ate on the first try!  I attribute his comfort and ease at being born to the DreamBirth® imagery I had done.

My surgery went quite well, and I healed very fast.  I was not in pain after the first day, and I was able to take care of my son.  I am sure the DreamBirth® exercises contributed to my fast recovery.”

Helps tremendously during active labor

Of course, what is most appreciated by the birthing women is DreamBirth’s® help during the actual labor. Two stories come to mind that illustrate DreamBirth’s® help during labor, especially because for both of these women the change in their ability to handle the contractions changed dramatically as soon as they started to use the exercises.

Liz’s Birth

Liz’s water broke, and her labor came on suddenly and furiously, untypical for a first birth. While I was on my way to her house, Liz’s husband called to tell me that the contractions were less than four minutes apart and very strong.  I got to the hospital before they did, and was able to get to Liz as soon as she got out of the car. The sudden start of the contractions, and the intensity of her pain made Liz forget all that she had practiced.  She did not have the luxury of a slow early labor, or of many lessons with me as she had hired me quite late in the game.

All Liz wanted at that point, expressed through her tears and panicked eyes, was an epidural. That changed however as I put my hands on her lower back and softly talked her through one of our exercises for labor.  Visibly Liz started to relax. The exercise has her breathe in light that melts and softens each part of the body that needs to stay relaxed –the forehead, jaw, shoulders, etc.  As I kept talking her through each contraction we were ushered into a birthing room. Because it seemed to calm her, I kept walking her through the imagery.  “The Garden” exercise must have been fully operational that night because a normally quite conservative hospital (in Long Island, NY) was allowing her to birth upright while following my images. After thirty minutes of continually repeating the exercise to her, I figured she (and I) might need some silence. Wrong. She looked at me, panic-stricken.  All she could say was, “Words, words. Do the words.”

The doctor found she was now 8 centimeters and completely effaced.  In less than 15 minutes she was ready to push. Out came her son in less than 30 minutes of pushing.  All of this was a very rare occurrence in that particular hospital where most mothers want and are offered an epidural at the very first sign of discomfort.

Lauren’s birth

Lauren’s case taught me how quickly a woman can change from total panic and pain, to calm and ease.

I met Lauren at the hospital instead of her house.  Lauren had tested positive for the StrepB Virus, and so she had to get to the hospital earlier than normal to make sure she received antibiotics four hours before the actual birth of her baby. That is the protocol -  to avoid giving antibiotics to the baby.  Giving antibiotics to the baby was what Laura very much wanted to avoid.  Laura was a Birthing Center patient; that is, she was planning to labor and give birth in The Birthing Center part of the hospital, but she still needed to be checked  at the regular Labor and Delivery’s triage.  When I joined the couple in the small, curtained-off space in triage, I quickly assessed she might need some help gracefully segueing into the regular hospital floor to birth, instead of the Birthing Center where no epidurals are given.  Judging from appearances Lauren was panicked and in a lot of pain.  Her voice was high pitched , fists clenched, shoulders scrunched high, and pain registered in every muscle of her face.  I thought to myself that she might actually need the epidural to relax her body enough so that it could open.

I put my hands on her lower back and got her sounds to be lower-pitched.  We experimented with some of the imagery to see if she could respond.  I was focused more on how to transform into a positive the idea that an epidural might help her.  In the middle of my mental musings, I heard her mutter to herself, “Yes, I can.  I can do this.”

My attitude instantly changed.” Yes,” I was sure.  “Let’s give her a chance.  Let’s turn this around.”  I spoke to her firmly, “Okay, Lauren –now you’ve got to listen.  Any sound that comes out of must be low and sustained, and with an elongated vowel.  You can do this.  I will talk you through the labor exercises –follow the images, and do what they say.”

Like magic, she now became calm and composed.  With every contraction she would utter a very long ‘y e-e-e-e-e-s’ and follow my words, breathing out everything that bothered her as a light smoke, and breathing in golden blue light that melted all the obstructions that needed to melt.

Lauren
“‘ye-e -e –sed” herself to the Birthing Center.  Her face remained very calm, her forehead smooth, her hands soft and open as she continued to ‘y-e-e-e-s’ through every contraction.  I would remind her softly of the simple imagery to let the warm light melt her muscles, light up her child and melt her cervix, when it seemed appropriate. She stayed in the birthing pool until she was ready to push, and then pushed her son out into the world.

A week later I asked Lauren if she had just been able to deal with the contractions better, or whether the contractions had hurt less, as the change in her had been so dramatic.  She thought about it. “No, they actually hurt less.”

And, yes, whoever can stay present, calm and relaxed will have an easier labor.  All childbirth education classes teach that. But how you get to that state of mind is the hard part, the problem to solve.  Having attended nearly 200 births at this time, I’ve seen women (and heard the blow-by-blow experiences of others whom I have taught DreamBirth®, but whose births I have not attended), and there is nothing out there that so quickly and easily helps a woman get in that dreamy, internally focused, easily breathing, right-brain state or that eases the labor contractions and enhances the woman’s ability to deal with them more gracefully than DreamBirth®.

DreamBirth® has many exercises to deal with the contractions. Although it is easier and more effective to use if the exercises have been practiced and internalized, made one’s own, such practicing is minimal, and can be used in the moment without practicing at all.

DreamBirth® sets the stage for calm, natural births

DreamBirth®, while not the obvious “star” of the following stories, set the stage for these relatively easy births. Each baby was in the right position, easily descended and was birthed without any medical intervention.

Jessica’s birth
Jessica’s midwife recommended me to her, and although it is not customary to hire a doula so early, Jessica hired me when she was only 12 weeks pregnant with her first son.  In terms of learning and using DreamBirth®, hers was an ideal situation.  It allowed Victoria to use and integrate the exercises into her daily life as well as into the birth with ease.

Jessica was open to the imagery from the start, and she happily practiced all the exercises I recommended.  She did not experience any problems until she and her husband wanted to move into a bigger New York City “Co-Op” apartment.  Such apartments require the approval of a board of directors, and it is often difficult to get the board’s approval.  The stressful situation prompted Jessica, now six months pregnant, to call me.

“Michael and I need to meet the Co-op board next week.  Is there an exercise I can do that will help?  We really love the apartment.”   I created an exercise for her.  Although she and Michael had to jump through a few hoops, they got the board’s approval.  Jessica had enough time to paint the apartment and buy new furniture before the baby’s arrival.  Imagery had helped her avoid a crisis and unnecessary tension, too.

Using the imagery, Jessica was thrilled to get to know her son before his actual arrival.  She focused on enjoying her pregnancy and practicing many DreamBirth® exercises that let her experience her body’s beautiful flexibility, and its ability to morph and open. Her body became open and flexible when she imagined floating in water, elongating with water or actually becoming water, flowing easily and gracefully around any obstacle. The DreamBirth® exercises had easily swept away any fears she had about childbirth.  Her face relaxed, and her whole back expanded when she did the exercises; while administering CranioSacral sessions, I marveled at how my hands could feel the effects of the imagery on Jessica.

Not all of the stress comes from the birth itself.  When both Jessica’s parents and her mother-in-law expressed the desire to attend the birth, and some negative and long-standing jealousy issues with her sister arose threatening to interfere with her birth, Jessica was able to talk about her feelings with me and practice short DreamBirth® exercises that addressed the issues.  She acquired a new perspective on things that relieved the stress.

One week before the birth, Jessica’s wonderful midwife reported her 70% effaced and 3cms open.  This is not unusual, and it can occur in the weeks before a birth without any pain whatsoever, even before any discernible contractions. Such a condition means that when labor begins, there is less work to be done.

 “We call that three for nothing,” I told her.

Jessica’s contractions were already 4 or 5 minutes apart when she called me.  Over the phone I reminded her of the “Blue Vase” exercise.  She had practiced this imagery exercise daily, so “tweeking” it to help her stay relaxed and open was easy.  I helped her see and feel that with every out breath all the things she didn’t need went out of her, and as she took a breath in, she breathed in the same golden-blue light of her daily exercise. Now that she was in labor, the blue-golden light could help her melt and release all parts of her body that didn’t need to work so hard – her forehead, her jaw, her shoulders, her buttocks, her vaginal muscles, inner thighs, calves, arches.  Over the phone I heard her breathing slow down and gratefully deepen as she followed the exercise.

“She’s in the bathroom, throwing up,” Michael told me as I came through their door.  Jessica’s labor was progressing fast!  I took a few bottles of water and one of Gatorade into their new, white-tiled bathroom.  (Dehydration causes very painful contractions that are not really effective; in fact, the two conditions can create a” double whammy” kind of nasty combination.)  Jessica was glad I was there, but she did not want to budge from her position near the toilet bowl, and so onto my knees I went to join her. The cool white tiles are indelibly etched in my sense memory.

 I put my hands on her lower back, asking if that helped.  She weakly nodded and smiled.  She took a small sip of water after each contraction. I softly suggested DreamBirth® exercises, helping her release all in her body that needed to stay open and soft.  The vomiting stopped, and the intensity and rate of the contractions increased after only one hour in her bathroom.  We called her midwife as soon as the contractions were three minutes apart.

 “Come straight to the Birthing Center,” welcomed her midwife. “ I’m already here.”

Michael and I packed luggage, and Jessica held on to the extra pillow;.  I maneuvered my wheeled birthing bag but dropped it on the floor every time Jessica had a contraction.  She leaned against the closest wall while I pressed on her lower back and reminded her to use her imagery to melt her jaw, her shoulders and her buttocks with the golden blue light of each breath.  A New York taxi got us to the Birthing Center in 20 exhilarating minutes.  

The midwife checked Jessica’s cervix and listened to the baby.

 “Baby girl,” the midwife lovingly told Jessica, “ you and your baby are doing wonderfully. You are six and a half centimeters, and I think with this exam you are now seven.  Want to get in the tub?”

Jessica gratefully floated.  The contractions were close together and quite intense, but Jessica’s body and face remained serene as she followed the imagery.  In less than thirty minutes she reported, “I feel like I have to go to the bathroom.”  I looked at the midwife.  We asked if she felt like having a bowel movement only during her contractions or all the time.  “All the time,” answered Jessica.  “ I have to push!”

Jessica leaned on the bed, upright, while the midwife checked her, saying, “Baby girl, go ahead, push.”  

And push she did.  For about twenty minutes she pushed upright, leaning on the bed  and then on all fours on the bed for ten more minutes, until the head and then the body of her healthy son emerged.

“Great job, baby girl.  You did incredibly; a true Goddess,” the midwife whispered and  placed the baby on Jessica’s chest.

 Jessica smiled proudly, looked into her son’s eyes and at her husband’s. Then she looked at me and at her midwife, murmuring, “ Thank you, thank you.”

Catherine’s birth
Catherine’s pregnancy and birth were so easy there is almost nothing to tell. Blonde, beautiful and Canadian, she hired me when she was almost six months pregnant.

 Both she and her husband loved “Rehearsing the Birth” exercise. They laughed in my office as they both saw the baby with the same color hair.  Catherine accepted the idea that practicing the “Blue Vase” exercise would strengthen her ‘imagery muscle’.  She loved all the water exercises and created a most wonderful ‘garden’ in “The Garden” exercise.

The only problem that weighed on her was not of her own making.  Two years earlier, her mother had been in a car accident and now suffered with persistent headaches.
Formerly a cheerful, optimistic person, her mother was now quite discouraged and depressed, and nothing seemed to help. Catherine was afraid that her mother’s condition was weighing heavily on her father as well.   We decided to work on her parents, long distance, through imagery.  While her mother’s headaches did not go away completely, they clearly abated.  What did improve, remarkably, was the spirit of both of her parents.  Catherine was relieved.  Now she felt she could focus completely on her daughter and her impending birth.

 By the time I got the phone call at eight in the morning, a day before her due date, Catherine had labored for about four hours.  She reported that she still did not need me because the DreamBirth® exercises were helping her deal with the contractions quite easily.  I called her again at 10 a.m. and again at 11:50. “I’m fine,” she claimed. “I still don’t need you. That light really works. It diffuses each contraction.”  At 1 p.m. I got a phone call from her husband. “They seem much stronger. She would like you to come. “  I reminded him where on her lower back it was best to apply pressure, and to remind her to melt, especially her jaw and forehead, with the light.  When I arrived, a breathless  forty minutes later, her contractions were occurring three minutes apart.  She was in the shower, very inwardly focused.

Her husband told me how impressed he was with how Catherine was doing. Catherine emerged from the shower and said to us,  “I think we should go now.  I’m feeling rectal pressure.” And so we went, again directly to the Birthing Center as her midwife was there already.

When we got there the contractions were coming every two and a half minutes, and she was between 8 and 9 centimeters. She insisted on getting into the tub, only to come out 10 minutes later as the urge to push was quite intense.  Her baby emerged after half an hour of pushing.

A few weeks later I visited her at home. We were exchanging notes, perceptions/and observations about her birth process. “Actually, Claudia,” she told me. “the DreamBirth® exercises really allowed me to get through most of my labor without help. I loved having you there, but it was the imagery that allowed me to get as far as I did without help –it really helped during the contractions. You should tell people they won’t need a doula if they use those exercises.”  Music to my ears!

Riley’s Birth

Riley’s story must be told, not only because DreamBirth® set the stage beautifully but because it shows us something about the mystery of birth.  Riley not only loved the DreamBirth® exercises, but she actually sought me out because she heard that I used DreamBirth®. Riley was a natural master in the use of imagery; she told me a story of her travels to Spain with a friend.

The women had no reservations at any hotel, and when they arrived all hotels were booked.  After following a few false leads, Riley closed her eyes and asked for help and to be shown where she and her friend could spend the night.  She saw clearly a hotel, or a building near a plaza. As the plaza was well known, they easily found it.  She recognized the building from the image she saw with her inner eye even though the building did not have any sign identifying it as a hotel.  Trusting what she had seen however, they knocked on the door. It was not a hotel, but it was the home of  a family that rented rooms out to tourists, and sure enough, they had one room available!

Understandably, Riley had no problem with the DreamBirth® exercises.

Daily she practiced visiting her son in the womb and “Rehearsing the Birth.” She could easily see him sliding down the stem of the opening flower, coming out effortlessly. About two and a half weeks before her actual birth, Riley called me. “I’ve had contractions for two hours now.  I guess this is it!”

“How are you dealing with them?” I asked.  “Do you want me to come over?”

“No, not yet. I’m easily dealing with them.”

An hour later she called me back telling me the contractions seemed to be slowing down, and sure enough, I got another call about an hour later telling me they had stopped completely.  I told her not to worry.  It wasn’t her due date yet, and these contractions had most likely advanced the process.  At her next exam Riley was 80% effaced and 2 cms open. “Two for free,” I reminded her.

Six days later the scenario repeated itself, but this time the contractions lasted about four hours before they stopped. She had not needed my help.  At the next exam she was still 80% effaced but was open 4cms.  The following week, no matter where I traveled, I carried my birth bag for Riley.  After all, she was open 4cms, and as effaced as she was, it was clear that this was not a typical first birth.  The third phone call was from Riley’s mother.

Riley’s mother had recently arrived from the West Coast; she wanted to be present for the birth.  She reported that Riley’s contractions did not seem to be abating.  When I asked if they were stronger than they had been, I heard Riley sound a long, long vowel during one of them.  Her mother confirmed the noise by saying, “Yes,  she says they are a lot stronger.”

On my way to the hospital I got a call to meet them at the Birthing Center floor, as her midwife was already there.  Riley, her husband, and her mother arrived a few minutes before I did.  They were not in one of the birthing rooms.  Instead they were in the entrance hallway, with the midwife calmly repeating: “Good job, baby girl. Wonderfully done!”  (Yes, it was the same midwife that attended Victoria’s birth.)

The midwife told me softly: “All the rooms are occupied.”

Riley did not want to go upstairs to the regular labor and delivery section.  After a silent deliberation on her part, the midwife decided we would go to the family waiting room (as it was currently empty) and labor there. All five of us went into the waiting room with its couch, easy chairs and table and chairs. During each contraction Riley was very inwardly concentrated.  She moaned softly and circled her hips as she leaned on a chair. Every once in a while I would remind her to breathe in golden light. Her husband silently would put his hand on her shoulder or stroke her cheek.

 As Riley labored, friends and relatives of another birthing woman, entered our sanctuary.

“Okay baby girl, we need to find another place.”

And so we all moved to the large room where childbirth education classes are given. Forget laboring in a tub!  The laboring continued – Riley continued to be very inwardly focused, swaying and moaning-  becoming water, breathing light, seeing her baby slide down. The contractions were getting closer together and stronger. The midwife checked the baby’s heart rate with the Doppler.  “Baby is fine,” comforted the midwife, “but I think we should take a look at what’s happening to your cervix”

While Riley leaned on one of the tables, the midwife gave her an internal exam. “You’re 9 cms, baby girl! Let me check the status of the rooms.”  Providence must have intervened as a room had just become available.  Riley was starting to feel rectal pressure strongly, so the midwife checked her again. “You can’t push yet, baby girl, not yet. You still have a rim that I can’t push back.  If you push now it can swell.’

And so began the most difficult part of Riley’s birth.  Her body had the almost uncontrollable urge to push – but she had to fight against it. The midwife, Riley’s mother and I took turns looking into Riley’s large blue eyes, her curly brown hair now matted and wet with sweat, the midwife coaching her, “Blow, baby girl, blow, blow. That’s right, keep blowing, no pushing, blow, blow, blow.”  When the contractions subsided, Riley’s body went limp, leaning against her husband, the bed, or one of us.  She was getting tired.

At one point, when Riley’s mother was intently looking into Riley’s eyes, helping her to blow out, the midwife looked at me, “When it’s working between mother and daughter, there is nothing more beautiful.  Look at them.”

For ninety minutes we helped Riley not to push.  Every half hour the midwife checked Riley internally. The rim was still there and would not budge. Meanwhile I was imagining pouring warm sunlight, trying to melt that rim. I visualized the midwife’s fingers full of light, helping to melt the rim. I talked to the cells of her cervix.  Finally at the third exam the rim disappeared.  “Okay baby girl, “ she sighed, “let’s push!”

After five pushes Riley’s son emerged and was placed on her chest. Her son, not a laid- back type, made his way to the breast and latched on immediately. As Riley and her husband were taken in by the spell of their newly born son, and I was gathering my belongings, I saw Riley’s mother in the rocking chair, looking at her daughter.  She asked for the exact time her grandson was born. After hearing it, she said, “Riley, your son was born the exact day, and exact time, to the minute, that your brother was.”

The only sound in that room was that of dropping jaws, awed by the mystery.

Increasing the strength and size of contractions, during pushing

Jane’s birth and her experience while pushing taught me something new about imagery and the literal, physical power that it can engender.

Jane developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. Her doctor advised inducing the baby at 38 weeks, as the baby was growing more than was desirable or advisable, as is normal with gestational diabetes.

Jane negotiated with the doctor’s practice not to be induced until her due date, and Jane knew from my coaching that the beginning of the induction, even with the pitocin, could be as easy as the early labor of a normal non-induced labor.  During our prior work together Jane had created quite a wonderful support team in her imaginal “garden” and was prepared to see all medications that were to be given to her turn to light – perfect for her.[ I always ask a woman how many support people appear in her garden – the answers vary widely, from “just one visitor” to “I can’t count them; there are so many.”  Jane’s garden was populated with “too many to count.”

The induction progressed nicely but slowly.  Many hours after reaching active labor, Jane chose to have an epidural. The back-to-back pitocin-induced contractions were getting too hard to handle easily, and her concentration was beginning to wane.

We refreshed the “Garden” and “Rehearsing the Birth” exercise, seeing and feeling the baby coming out and being put on her chest.  Jane’s doctor responded very positively to the DreamBirth® exercises.  So much so, that when Jane was fully dilated and started to push, the doctor helped create imagery for the baby to “swim like a fish, under the pubic bones, like under an underground cave,” so that the ‘fish’ could swim up and out towards the light. [Catherine later expanded that doctor’s imagery and wrote a very beautiful exercise for the pushing phase of labor.]

Jane was able to push the baby past the pubic bone, but then progress stopped.

Her contractions were losing steam, even with the pitocin. The baby was close, but not close enough to suction or use forceps. The four of us, Jane, her husband Myles, the doctor and I “saw” -  in our minds’ eyes – the baby come on out, but to no avail – Jane’s contractions continued to lose strength, and the baby was not budging.

In desperation Myles went behind her and pressed the acupressure points on her shoulders. Those points can help the baby descend.  In a flash of inspiration I asked if I could do that, figuring that if I added imagery while I pressed it might be more effective.

When I went behind her to press the points, I simultaneously closed my eyes and saw the room full of figures of light.  I asked all who I saw with my inner sight to help.  As soon as I closed my eyes and pressed Jane’s shoulder points, Jane would touch my hand. Her contractions strengthened about five-fold.  The doctor’s and my jaws dropped.  At the same time, out of Jane, emanated a sound unlike any other I have ever heard, somewhat like a wild war cry. Her belly rose like a giant ocean wave, tsunami size. A few pushes with those almost supernaturally strong contractions and her nearly 10 pound daughter emerged.

I left shortly after as it was my own daughter’s birthday and Jane, Myles and the doctor wanted me to attend the remainder of her party.  I left elated, and convinced that those acupressure points had done the trick.  I was going to tell Catherine and the other doulas about my discovery. Forget imagery, this pressing of points really works!  I am, after all, an eminently practical person.  I like results.

I went to visit Jane the next day, and commented to her that I had never seen such a physical change before and that I had never witnessed contractions of such strength.

Jane looked at me surprised. “It was not just physical for me. I was closing my eyes and seeing the room full of my ancestors, living and dead– all of them were in light. I would ask them for help and then I would touch your hand to also receive your energy. It felt very physical. I felt like they were helping to pull her as I pushed with everything I had left.”  Without our realizing it, the same image had come to each of us, at the same time, and worked its magic.

I have subsequently pressed those acupuncture points at many other births during the pushing. This acupressure has very little effect without the imagery, and in Jane’s case the imagery took on the color of prayer on both our parts.

DreamBirth® facilitates connection between unborn child and mother

DreamBirth’s® greatest gift is the connection it engenders between the unborn child and the mother and father. Practicing “Going into the Womb” daily allows the connection to be experienced viscerally. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by quoting one of my clients, Sharon, who wrote about her experience during labor:

“While I was in labor, I felt very close to my baby -  like we were going through it together – and I could imagine and ‘see’ her safe and okay in there, even though it was a painful experience for me. . . . I never once felt like giving up or panicked when that stupid fetal heart rate monitor slipped out of position or had the batteries die – because I truly felt calm and that the baby was just fine. “

After so many experiences, I can confidently claim that Sharon’s experience echoes that of probably every mother that has used DreamBirth®, – the imagery establishes a strong, healthy, easeful and positive connection between mother and baby from the very beginning –  sometimes from even before conception – so that the bonds at birth are as tremendously beautiful as they ought to be.