Heather’s Birth Story: Hypnobirthing

One mama gives us the scoop on this alternative birthing method and shares the pretty and not so pretty moments of her birth story.

Heather’s Birth Story: Hypnobirthing

If I had to describe my son’s birth in three words, they would be:

1. Long. I was in intense labor (we’re talking can’t sleep and occasionally vomiting level of intensity) for about 53 hours before my son finally arrived!

2. Empowering. This is not a word you often hear used to describe childbirth but definitely one I felt and still feel deeply. There is nothing quite like bringing a child into this world, and knowing that it was your body that carried and nourished him for months and months. You faced your darkest fears during the hours of grueling labor and you pushed your brains out, all the while terrified that you would not actually be able to get him out. And then, somehow, you did it! It is arguably the hardest and most rewarding thing you will ever do in your life, and you will never see yourself the same way again. And I believe women who have an assisted vaginal birth or Cesarian should feel exactly the same amount of pride and empowerment. You did what you had to do to bring your child alive and healthy into this world. You are amazing! So no matter what kind of birth you had, just repeat after me and believe it: “I am woman. Hear me roar!!!”


3. Painful. Pain is definitely something most first time moms-to-be worry about, and for good reason. Whether you have a vaginal birth or Cesarian, there will be some amount of pain before, during, and/or after the birth. I use the word “pain” because I frankly get really annoyed when it’s referred to as “discomfort.” Seriously? A bit of gas is discomfort. Going through any amount of labor or birth unmedicated, and recovering from it is a bit beyond discomfort if you ask me. That said, how you manage the pain and how you perceive it will make all the difference in the world. This is why I pursued the very enticing childbirth method called Hypnobabies.

I had heard about hypnobirthing before becoming pregnant, and it sounded amazing. That self-hypnosis could ease or negate any pain during labor and birth? YES, PLEASE! SIGN ME UP!!!

Hypnobabies courses can be quite pricey and we were already required to take a Lamaze course at the hospital where we were planning to give birth, so instead I ordered the home study course which consisted of a text book, work book, and lots of CDs. With the CDs, you would just lay down, close your eyes, and listen to the woman telling you in soothing voice how to relax and focus and only feel pressure. Sometimes I fell asleep. It was pretty awesome. There were a lot of scripts for your partner to read to you, giving you cues to “turn off your light switch” which was to signal your body to relax and be numbed by “powerful anesthesia.”

All the Hypnobabies materials warned that you were to practice A LOT or it would not work. We definitely did not practice enough. Hypnobabies definitely helped me to relax and get through the first two-thirds of labor, but once we got toward the end, wow, I was a big hot mess.

After laboring away at home for about 12 hours, we decided to call and check in with our midwife when my contractions were 1 minute long and about 5 minutes apart for a couple of hours. She said to call back when we were at 2-3 minutes apart for a few hours, and mentioned that it would probably take a while. Boy, oh boy, did it! It took about 30 hours to be exact! Hopping in the cab at 1am for our 30-minute commute into Manhattan at that point was about the worst thing I could imagine. Pure torture. I see the appeal of a home birth for that reason alone!

We finally got to St. Luke’s and I was thrilled to hear I was already at 5 centimeters! I thought we’d be done in no time! Luckily the Birthing Center (a 3-room natural birthing facility within the hospital) was completely empty, and our angel of a midwife met us up there and helped me labor for another 10 grueling hours.

I cannot emphasize it enough that you need to pick your care provider and birthing support system very carefully. They can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a scary, stressful and horrendous one. Figure out the birth you want, and choose a doctor or midwife who supports that (but do your homework and be prepared for any kind of birth, since anything can happen). If you want to and have the resources, hire a doula. Most partners, no matter how much they study and how loving and supportive they are, will be relatively useless. It’s just a fact that you need to keep in mind.

By this point I hadn’t slept in over 2 days, my Hypnobabies practices had been thrown out the window, and I was like a wild lioness during each contraction. My whole body was just overwhelmed with such intense pain. Nature took over. Screaming, cursing, you name it. And then the wave passed and I’m joking with my husband and sipping on chicken broth for a few minutes until the next wave hits you like a freight train.

Our midwife kept helping me to relax, and giving me various “exercises” to do to get my little one to drop down and help me dilate more. She had me doing bounces on very low medicine balls, lunges down the hallways, and these excruciating squats while hanging onto the hallway handrails during contractions. It was nothing short of torture, but I can promise you had we been in a regular labor ward, I would have ended up with an epidural and eventually a Cesarian. Neither of which I wanted. Our midwife was amazing. She never once offered pain medication or a transfer. She finally broke my water, and after two hours of pushing my 8 pound bouncing baby boy was born at 1:13 PM on Christmas Day.

I remember a comment the doctor who confirmed our pregnancy made to me (suffice it to say we didn’t return to that doctor), “You aren’t given an award for giving birth naturally. Why put yourself through that?” If he asked me that again now I’d say, “It was a small price to pay to give my son the best birth he could possibly have.” It was insanely painful, but doubly so it was exhilarating, emotional and empowering. I pushed my body and mind to their limits and no one can take the mama pride I have for what I have accomplished for my family. I plan to do the same for our next child, but let’s just say I really hope he comes out a lot quicker…

Heather Tomoyasu is a blogger on her site US-Japan Fam, owner of Miny Moe (multi-brand variety packs that allow parents to find the best brand for THEIR baby), author of “Legit Ways to Make Money From Home” (available on Kindle and iTunes), founder of Tunes 4 Bay Ridge Tots, writer for Mommy Nearest, and mommy to a yummy toddler! You can follow and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Image Source.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

Keep reading Show less

There are major health benefits when baby looks just like dad, says study

They had fewer emergency room visits and were less likely to suffer from asthma + illness, according to findings.

We’re the ones who carry them for nine months, so it can be a bit of shock when a baby is born looking nothing like us. It might even feel a bit unfair, but don’t take it too hard, mama. Science proves looking like dad has some big benefits for babies.

Keep reading Show less