A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole at the end.
Eventually, the butterfly stopped making progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly...
Author Unknown

Deborah Saliby teaches hypnobirthing seminars and one-day workshops. We went to a one-day workshop, which was very nice, and even my super-skeptical husband felt pretty comfortable with it. Her seminars have gotten a lot of local and worldwide media attention, so they may fill up fast.
Her number is 510-541-1395, or 510-527-9266.

Hi Deborah,
It's Christine, from Hypno birthing and yoga.  I just wanted to let you know that I had Natalie on her due date!!  This past Monday she was born at 5:08 in the afternoon, weighed in at 7  lbs and 10 oz and 20 inches long.  I just wanted to let you know that the whole birthing experience was wonderful.  I did deviate from our plan a bit, but the folks at Alta Bates were wonderful.  I was able to get in the bath, and use a birthing ball and try different things.  They were very supportive of my choice to have a natural birth.  I checked in early Monday am around 2 am, and at about 11 am (I did get an IV, hep lock thing when I was admitted) I did ask for a little something to take the edge off.  It was fentinol (I think that's how it's spelled)  and that wore off in less than an hour. I did dilate pretty quickly, but we think because of the fentinol, it slowed my contractions (hmmm, something I should have realized even though it was a small dose).  Around 1 my doc came in and told me to start thinking about a small dose of pitocin and then I talked to the nurse and she was so supportive and said that as long as my contractions were getting closer and closer, that she would stall and that she really thought I could do it without anything else.  Well around 3 I started feeling the urge to breathe the baby out, but I wasn't really getting the baby anywhere, so I did "push".  But what really helped me get through the delivery was the yoga.  I was in all sorts of positions and the doc would say use this muscle and I did and I delivered Natalie without even tearing!  The other interesting part is while I was having my contractions towards teh end, they monitored Natalie, and her heart rate was still strong, and was pretty consistent through the whole process.  Some of the nurses credited that possibly to hypnobirthing, because I was pretty much quiet and mellow (except when I asked for the fentinol to take the edge off) the whole time.  Anyway, the birth was not like what I dreamed about, but I will say, that I'm sooooo glad I took hypnobirthing to get me through the first part of my labor and the yoga to get me through the delivery.  It was an incredible experience and Dan's friends are shocked that I delivered without drugs.  I just wanted to thank you so much for being an instructor and showing us prego girls that there is another way of delivering.  Although I did not stick to my birth plan, I was thrilled that I delivered without the use of drugs.  I'm not going to count the fentinol because it was so early on, and it really did not help with the delivery!!

Anyway, I'll get back into class as soon as I heel and have some time.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU again for being a fabulous instructor!!
ps, I'll send a pic as soon as we download them!
Take care!

Dear Deborah,
Over the past two years I had the pleasure of taking many of your Monday night class. The reason I stopped coming was a painful break-up and not wanting to run into my ex-partner who had taken the classes with me. I had always hoped that after time has healed the wounds I would come back and enjoy your class again. I am sorry it has come to an end and I hope to run into you some time in the future. I live in Oakland and am taking classes at Namaste which is close to home. Have you considered teaching here? Though they have great teachers there is no real Iyengar yoga class offered for example.
You may not remember me but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your kind and caring style of teaching. You made my life easier at a difficult time. I hope you are well and happy.


Why am I coming to your classes?
For many, many years I've had my own home practice and have been very  creative with my explorations.  My leaning as a teacher is more  towards the psychological and spiritual within the physical  exploration of the body.  I feel I have plenty of that somatic  psychology and spirituality in my life to gain inspiration from, yet  I was wanting an Iyengar teacher I resonated with to balance me with  the precision and alignment and interesting prop-based poses.  I find  it's sometimes challenging to find a teacher and class experience I  resonate with...I feel good about you because you are a heart-full  teacher, organized, you do interesting sequences, you feel familiar  to me in background, the room is spacious, etc.  I just need to be  introduced to one pose a class that is somewhat unusual to me and  that will get my imagination running...then I can go home and I can  build an hour or so around something I find intriguing.  I've been  wanting some new inspiration.  So that's why I'm coming!

Hi Deborah,
I am having fun with FB and found some mom's from a yogamommas group you helped us form in 2004.  I will always be grateful for your wonderful teachings as our hypnobirthing instructor and prenatal teacher!  Dave, Shad, and I now live in Charlotte, NC.  Shad will be 5 in Sept.  I hope you and your son are well and happy.   You deserve to be. Thank you for doing so much to aid in our joyous and medication free birth. btw, I'm a yoga teacher now.  :-)

Hello, dear yoga friends!!

Just wanted to let you know that I wasn't at yoga on Wednesday because we had our baby! Robert Tomas was born on Wednesday morning at 3:33AM at 7lbs 3 oz and 19 inches. He was born 3 days before his due date and was a natural birth. I would love to take sole credit for that but it was also due to the fact that I went into early labor around 10PM (at which point I was saying, "Oh, I'm sure it will be well into tomorrow morning before we have to go to the hospital") and was only at the hospital about 1 1/2 hours before he popped out. But I am happy to say I used my surge breathing the whole time (THANK YOU DEBORAH!!!) although I was mostly yelling it at the end, haha. :)

Anyways, we got home from the hospital last night and baby, dad, grandma, and I are are all healthy and tired but great. Audrey, can you please forward this to Michelle? I am sorry I will be missing her shower but I have sent her presents ahead - thank you for her address!

Much love to you all and your babies, and I hope to see you all soon. :)


Hey everyone... I was born on Monday, February 25 at 6:26 PM. I have a fighting weight of 7lbs 13oz and can stretch to 20 inches. I hear mom and dad call me Nate Mom and I shared a bit of an infection that extended our stay at Resort Alta Bates. I have enjoyed flirting with the nurses, so I've decided to stay a few extra days ( Mom wasn't much of a flirt so they sent her home this evening!) Like any good adventurer I don't know my upcoming plans, but I'll email you at my next port of call.
Love, Nathaniel AKA The Nat-Man

Now from Mom and Dad for our fellow Hypnobirthers...
The short version:
What a wonderful experience we had bringing Nathaniel into this world. Labor was a very short experience. The actual delivery was natural, but some complications arose after Nate was born. Hypnobirthing techniques definitely supported us through all stages.
The longer version:
During the day/night of Sunday I felt some "activity" in my abdominal/back area that wasn't really even what I'd consider cramping. I woke at about 3AM with some more pains and told Dan to keep sleeping, not thinking I was having any surges. I listened to the Rainbow relaxation cd andsome music for a few hours (honestly alternating between dozing and hypnosis).
I "awoke" around 6am Monday, feeling fine. Around 8AM more mild back pain began and I thought, hmmm... maybe this is some baby rhythms or bad gas! I'd never had any practice labor aside from mild abdominal tightening, so I didn't have anything to compare to. Then, at 10 AM, wham... definite back/abdominal cramping that had to be surges. By 11AM, I was having surges every 15 minutes. Dan had visited a client that morning, so I was breathing, meditating and listening to meditative music myself before 11AM. Dan returned home by 11AM and began working with me by reading/creating scripts to help me focus and go into a trance. I was definitely relaxed between surges. I didn't feel as calm as some of the women in the videos when a surge would hit, but Dan said he thought I was still trance like!
By 12:30, Dan called our doula because surges were every 6 minutes! She said go to hospital, we did and I was immediately checked in at 2:00 PM Monday, no visit to triage, being they could tell I was in active labor. I was already 4cm at admission. By 4:30 PM I was 10 cm. Pushing took 2 hours and Nate was born naturally and healthy at 6:26!
My doula and husband were incredible during the entire experience. I could not have stayed focused or relaxed when surges hit without them. Being reminded to relax my shoulders and face, being reminded of visualizations of "opening", being guided through relaxation visualizations helped each moment. Having them count backwards during each surge helped me realize they only last a certain amount of time!
After Nate's delivery, my placenta would not deliver. It took over an hour, and we continued the hypnobirthing techniques because it was becoming a medical emergency. Once it was delivered, I developed an immediate fever and it was discovered the placenta was infected. Hypnobirthing continued to help during this phase too because I was not feeling well and had to remain on an IV with antibiotics for over 48 hours.
I have already given a long account and will say that hypnobirthing techniques continued to help us the next few days as it was discovered Nate was affected by the infected placenta. He was taken to what Dan calls the Nursery, really the NICU, with his own infection and a few other complications arising from the infection.
After all the natural birthing and my desired to have oral Vit K given because I didn't want shots given to Nate, our son had to have IV's, blood work after blood work, shot after shot, and then the "light machine" for jaundice. So he didn't avoid all the intervention I had hoped for him to not experience! I had a very easy, healthy pregnancy and would not have predicted any of this. I would not trade our natural birth experience though for any other. Nate should be fine once he's through his course of antibiotics. He'll be at the hospital a few more days, and though it was terribly hard coming home last night without him, I'm grateful they are taking care of him.
Wow- looking back at what I wrote, I think I had a lot to share! I suppose I just wanted everyone to understand I feel Hypnobirthing techniques really helped me stay calm and focused through ALL stages of Nate's arrival. Good luck to all of you! What an incredible experience :)
Bernadette, Dan and now Nate

Hello Friends,
You are receiving this because Sarah EJ Cohen & Todd Snyderman had a baby girl exactly one month ago and they are so proud and happy that their hearts are > exploding. This is the story of that really great day. We've waited patiently and impatiently. We've nested the house. The family is gathered.We've yoga-ed, and protein-ed, and leafy greened together. We've passed all the tests . We've burnt all our fears. We've set every good intention for ease and protection. We're ready to open the door. Todd drummed and I danced. Round the Beltaine Fire. The Gods and Goddesses heard. And my waters began to flow. At 8 of 8 in the morning, I call the midwife. I see blood. Maria assures us it has begun. We count contractions all morning. Walk round the marina the long way. Greeted by all the flora and fauna. We keep it secret all day. By afternoon we tell our doula. a simple meal of soup and bread. She puts her hands where they are needed. We take each hour in little waves. By nine o'clock I start to wonder: When will the waves crest and swell? I'm happy with the way we're going but the night is drawing round. We never reached 4 minutes 5 or 6 for 13 and one half hours. Then like the hourglass flipping over, the surges came with barely a breath in between. The surges are crashing over our heads before we know it. The urge to push like a tiger uncaged, we are so calm the midwife's not here yet. We had no count down. We had no screams. Todd wills me to release when the urge comes, like a salmon up the strongest stream, it's impossible yet i'm trying; there must be someone here to catch. The dark goddesses are here for their day - this is their specialty - we are animals in our bodies - there's no denying them their due. Maria walks into the hurricane. 3 first time birthers huddled brave. She breaks the trance to assess us. We've got 2 puzzles that must be solved. And now down through Inanna's gates - it's time to face whats left of fear. I will walk whatever path is laid for me. I trust my team, I'm totally here. Now Todd and SJ must fly to separate posts, Where Maria assigns them tasks. They can''t go where I am going, but we're prepared for whatever's next. Maria guides me through all the gatekeepers, never leaving my side. all is well, i'm wholly disengaging until we are in the place where I can push. A maze of bright lights and nincompoops. 15 blank-eyed flat-faces file in. Todd announces "this will be different" - They self-select to stay or go. Maria and Doctor Amanda work together. Side by side by some miracle. I defer to Maria for every answer. Our questions answered, it's safe to go. Now comes the search for the right position. I grok wrongness curled up like a C. I turn onto my knees in searching. Balanced like a cat precariously. Finally someone suggests i turn round to hold the back of the chair. I plant my knees down firmly. Todd's eyes can meet my stare. My hands can hold me upright > In this way I can ride the storm. Now I'm ready to unlock the door. I'm standing in front of it face to face. Everything is in place, but as I lift my hand I notice there is no key in it. I'm chickening out. I cant believe it! a room full of people shouting at me to push - this is the moment - She's here, just on the other side of that door , the one i've been wanting to meet so earnestly and i'm chickening out. Unbelievable! I start to berate myself aloud for this ridiculousness. If ever there was a woman ready to face the unknown it is me. I've done every possible homework, i've accepted and surrendered and willed myself around and through. 3 pushes come and i push, but i back off at the very end. this sensation of her inside me is known and i can do this just fine, but now i'm being asked to push her past skin and that is unknown - this is supposed to be the peak of human experience right? but I dont know how far from the peak i am already. Am I at a "2" and we are going to "10"? Or am I at an "8" and "10" is just round one more corner? I tell myself I want to meet her and I want her on the outside. I'm grasping at straws in the flickering dark. On the 4th surge, Todd finds the key and puts it in my hand. Everything Rocky Balboa hears in his corner is exactly what I needed to hear. And as long as Todd kept saying it, I kept pushing. In one long breath, i pushed past all of it until she was out. Exclamations of joy all around the room. And her glorious cry immediately. She is pink and kicking and sturdy as i imagined her. I did it! She's here and she is indeed a girl with all her outside parts. And Todd is crying. So it must be real. They place her on my chest. I am still kneeling. I ungrip my one hand from the rail I am clutching to hold her. Todd is muttering the litany of realness. You did it, she's here, look at her, you did so good. I hand her back so i can turn round and sit down. I watch her be passed round without complaint. I think approvingly that she lets others hold her so peaceably. When she raises a little fuss after a shot, they suggest i take her. And at the sound of my voice she quiets down immediately. This i am unprepared for. I dare not let myself think that she would want me best - would need me most - the awesome power of it nearly drowns me. i am blushing and flushed, hoping no one can tell the difference with all the blood around. Then when she is cradled on my chest again And Todd on my right side They ask for her name. And we look at each other to see if we still agree. And we nod that the name we chose remains the right one. And I announce to the world slowly wrapping my mouth around each word like a deliberate sentence afterwhich nothing will ever be the same again > "Aradia Zorah Snyderman" -- and so it is... -- And now I have 2 "happiest moments" in my life: marrying Todd and birthing Aradia. I think they are so happy because they both felt like some of heaven, some of my fantasies came to earth and became reality. Both moments made me feel like "could life really be this good?" "dare i believe that i can have this much love for myself?" In the past month I've fallen in love again, just as hard as I did for Todd. And I know I'm not done falling. My heart opens in endless gratitude to the Universe that conspired to create the perfect labor and birth for me and Aradia. It was a warm fuzzy buzzing vibrating experience, like standing inside the bell of heaven while god rang it like a gong. And i wouldn't have missed it for anything.
wild creative blessings, sarah ejc
* * * * * * * * * Aradia Zorah Snyderman - born Friday May 2, 2008 @ 11:40pm, Oakland, California, Totally Natural Childbirth * * * * * * From: Sarah EJ Cohen

Hi Deborah,
Our little guy arrived 12 days early. He was born on May 30th at 3:42 AM, weighing 8 lbs 4 oz (thank god he was so early) and was 20.5 inches long. I had to be induced after my water broke on May 28th and spent about 18 hours in labor. The dreaded pitocin was manageable until about hour 8, but with the loving guidance of nurse Vanessa (a former doula), my doula Anna, and Dan, I was able to do the whole thing without an epidural, tapped into some of the hypnobirthing, and dug deep. Three hours of pushing latter, and out came little Cade whose heart rate never slipped even though the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. The hypnobirthing was really helpful during the pushing, especially. Dan used incredibly helpful relaxation techniques (mostly just talking to me and telling me to relax) which allowed me to restore some energy between pushes. It took a lot longer than expected (and there's some back story that I hope to get from my doula -- apparently they don't let women push for more than 2 hours, but with a team of people who supported the natural childbirth and the fact that Cade seemed to be doing so well, I think they let me keep going...though I have to admit, I was begging for an epidural at various points), so Dan's encouragement to relax was so important. I don't think we could have done it, or gone so deep, with out hypnobirthing. Here's a photo of Cade at 36 hours.

P.S. please add (I forgot to mention) that during the pushing, Dan also did a lot of affirmations -- another thing we learned in hypnobirthing that was so helpful! I hope to see you soon! Love, Cecily

Hi Deborah,
I just wanted to share the wonderful news that baby girl Maisy Adelyn Matthews arrived 2 days after her due date on June 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm. She weighed 7 lbs, 7 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. Attached are a couple of pictures. I had an amazing first time mom birth- I went into active labor around 10 am, water broke around 12:30, and Maisy was born at 5:19 after only 20 minutes of pushing. I was in the hospital less than 24 hrs and was able to use relaxation to really help to cope. Thank you for all of your wonderful instruction and encouragement throughout the pregnancy... You'll definitely see us attending post natal yoga, just as soon as I can get around okay again!
Cheers, Rebecca, Todd and Maisy

Hi All,
Baby Mateo Esparrago was born on Thursday, July 3rd at 9:22am. He was 9 lbs. 10 oz., 21 inches, vaginal birth. As many of you, it seems I have been in labor for months with my early braxton-hicks. Weeks before the birth, I was having crazy contractions at 5 minutes apart, then disappear after 2 hours. I started bleeding about a week or two before the actual birth. We induced naturally on Tuesday, July 1st and I woke up early Wednesday AM feeling 'different'. Got to Alta Bates at 4:20AM Wednesday and delivered the following morning. I hardly have any recollection of time since I requested they drape the clock (so I could be in my own bubble and not be focused on time), but I was au naturale for most of the labor. It was incredible- I even experienced euphoria through some of them, the most incredible high. 8cm and 6 hours on increasing Pitocin later, the euphoria started fading and I got the epidural. More Pitocin later, I quickly opened to 10cm, then pushed for 4 hours!! I had to keep fighting for a vaginal birth through the whole process. Recovery has been challenging- 3rd degree lacerations, and an injured fermoral nerve on my right leg from pushing for so long. I've gained 80% feeling back on the leg and though it's taking awhile to heal, I am improving. Just having to get creative on how to get up and down the stairs of our house and carry the baby for a short period of time while standing. I am no longer on the walker I came home with, so that says a lot. Baby Mateo brings absolute joy to my life and has given me so much strength through these past rough weeks. I'll be posting a more detailed story about his birth on my blog at http://mattandkitty.blogspot.com/ for those interested. Not sure when that will be, as I am in the midst of new parenthood and recovery, but I'm working on it. Congrats to all with their new babes. Can't wait 'til I'm up and about again to meet everyone!
xo, Kitty

Hi Deborah,
I just saw you on Solano Ave today and that me reminded me that I wanted to thank you for the wonderful pre-natal yoga classes you teach. I loved coming to class each week to see all the other pregnant women at various stages of pregnancy, and to see them growing week to week. And I loved being in the calm environment you create with the music and your voice. I found being pregnant to be quite restrictive but your yoga class helped me see it as a very special time to be savored and not endured. I always felt refreshed after class, and I think feeling relatively fit and strong gave me confidence going into labor and helped with the delivery of my little girl Keira, 6lbs 13oz, on May9th ---she's 3.5 months already! Wow, that has gone quick. Anyway---thanks again! I've attached a pic of Keira and me in Tahoe on a camping trip we went on about a month ago

Hi, We wanted to let everyone know that our baby decided to come three weeks early and was born on August 30, 2008. We had a boy, his name is Emmett Parley Bates, he weighed 6 lbs, 4 oz., has a full head of hair and is healthy and well. The birth happened really quickly and was pretty crazy as we almost didn't make it to the hospital. My water broke at 11:35 pm and he was born at 2:03 am. There wasn't time to fully use hypnobirthing scripts and relaxations, but our practice helped me to breath and relax between surges. We hope everyone is well and look forward to hearing about how everyone is doing.
Best, Bronwyn and Ren

Hi Everyone!
I don't know if it was the castor oil or the arrival of the IV, pitocin laced, bag in the induction prep room. My body kick started into labor....before the nurse could stick me with anything, so we asked to go home to see how labor would progress..... Ewan Jack Riley was born 6.39 am Oct 2nd, 8lbs 4oz, 20 3/4ins long. He arrived within 20mins of returning to the hospital, a mere 7hrs after our first trip. We were known as the couple who almost had their baby in the car! There was no time to 'breathe the baby down' -- HE WAS DOWN! Our class did help me keep focused and relatively calm, I think I only swore twice during active labor, which lasted 4hrs. The class also gave Kevin and I the confidence to express our wishes and ensure they were met -- I had the birth experience I had hoped for and we are now the proud parents of a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Congratulations again to Bronwyn and Ren, good luck Joni and Lauren and thank you Deborah. We look forward to getting to together with everyone soon. >
Best wishes, Hannah, Kevin and Ewan

Alexander Charles Ledbetter was born on November 6, at 11:02 am 7 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long. He was overdue by 12 days--just did not want to come out of the cozy womb. Micah, Xander and I are doing well--we're both absolutely in love with the little guy. Despite our best efforts to have Alexander start on his own, we ended up going in for a pitocin induction on Wednesday November 5th--the latest they would let me. Within 1 1/2 hours contractions were coming every 2 minutes, and I was able to breathe through them for several hours--credit the hypnobirthing. Labor lasted 14 hours,and the whole process was calm, meditative, and amazing. I did opt to have drugs about halfway through. We had a great doctor-nurse team who worked with me to breathe the baby down. Micah received the baby, cut the cord, and snuggled in the bed with Alexander on his chest after the birth.
Look forward to getting together in the future.
Lauren, Micah & Xander

Hello, dear yoga friends!!
Just wanted to let you know that I wasn't at yoga on Wednesday because we had our baby! Robert Tomas Salas Bixler was born on Wednesday morning at 3:33AM at 7lbs 3 oz and 19 inches. He was born 3 days before his due date and was a natural birth. I would love to take sole credit for that but it was also due to the fact that I went into early labor around 10PM (at which point I was saying, "Oh, I'm sure it will be well into tomorrow morning before we have to go to the hospital") and was only at the hospital about 1 1/2 hours before he popped out. But I am happy to say I used my surge breathing the whole time (THANK YOU DEBORAH!!!) although I was mostly yelling it at the end, haha. :) Anyways, we got home from the hospital last night and baby, dad, grandma, and I are are all healthy and tired but great. Audrey, can you please forward this to Michelle? I am sorry I will be missing her shower but I have sent her presents ahead - thank you for her address! Much love to you all and your babies, and I hope to see you all soon. :)

Just wanted to say thanks again for the excellent experience we had during hypnobirthing. Although labor was really long for me and got to be a bit more painful than I wanted to handle (I did eventually get the epidural), the hypnobirthing was an invaluable tool and I could not be happier that we chose that as our birthing preparation. It really did eliminate our fears about birthing and I ended up really looking forward to the process of bringing Jack into the world. The breathing and relaxation techniques really kept me grounded and helped me breathe through all the stages of delivery--epidural or not. I had the most wonderful delivery experience and it could not have been more positive! Thanks again for all you did to help prepare us--it was perfect.

Hi yoga moms,
I wanted to share the news of the birth of little Melina Azul on Friday.
While it wasn't the birth we'd planned it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and worked out beautifully.
We had a hypnoBirth for the first 18 or so hours (this after my water
Breaking), but my contractions were still 7-8 min apart. The good but surprising news was that I was already 8cm dilated. Even so, with the long contraction interval the doctor said without the aid of Pitocin it would likely go on for another 18+ hours. I was exhausted and excited about seeing my little one, and decided with great clarity that the best thing for us would be to start the Pitocin drip and also get an epidural. (I remembered Jen saying how it allowed her to be so present.) I flew through the remaining labor and by the time they turned the epidural down for "pushing" I was so excited to reach the finish line that the intensity of the final three hours barely phased me.
I hope you all are well and look forward to seeing you as soon as we're ready to be out and about.

I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl on May 4th - my exact due date.  Her name is Laila Ruth Shapiro.  She weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz. and labor was pretty quick - about 4 1/2hours - and while not at all painless, I didn't need any drugs.  I'm recovering well and enjoying the new baby very much (except her late night farm animal noises).  Thank you so much for the yoga, I think it helped with labor and it certainly helped with the discomfort of pregnancy.  I'm so glad to not be pregnant anymore!  It just wasn't as fun the second time around (and to think my grandmother came from a family with 14 brothers and sisters! yikes!)  Maybe I'll be able to make it to postpartum yoga someday.

Hi Deborah,
We just had our baby Monday night. thanks to li, our doula, and your hypnobirthing teachings, we delivered in four hours. We are in awe that sequoia Luna mah is in our lives. Will be joining postnatal yoga hopefully in a month or two. Thanks for asking. I think li sent you the link to our website with the pictures? Thanks for asking about us.

Hi Deborah!
Thanks for the kind words.  Yes, it sure was a lot of deep breathing.  Everything we learned in hypnobirthing really helped!  It didn't turn out quite how we expected, but the ultimate goal of vaginal birth was achieved.  There were 2 times when they were really pushing for a c-section but we found a way around it both times.  I did end up having to have pitocin since my water had been broken for 2 days and I wasn't dilated nor was I having regular contractions (just once every 10-60 minutes). We (I say we because Adam was a HUGE part of it) managed the evil pitocin contractions with breathing and relaxation for 6 hours but when they checked me, I wasn't dialated at all and the baby's heart rate was dropping.  I didn't want a c-section, so they offered the epidural to help my body relax further.  It ended up doing just that after 6 more hours of contractions (I could still feel my legs which was great).  The epidural wore off by the time it was time to push so I could feel everything, which was just what I wanted!  What an amazing experience it was to push him out.  I was the greatest 7 minutes of my life.  They said I was a great pusher, and I attributed it all to the breathing techniques I learned from you.

It has taken me 10 weeks to find the time to write you a note of thanks - but I figure better late than never. I wanted to thank you for sharing your birth expertise with us during the Hypnobirthing course this Spring. I am happy to report that we followed  through with the plan of a natural childbirth! Even though the doctor decided it was time to induce 6 days past my due date and ordered pitocin to get things started - I still managed to get through without any other medical intervention. The HYPNOBIRTHING techniques helped prepare us for a relaxed delivery.  I truly believe the affirmations worked - my body and baby worked together for a smooth delivery, we had a baby that was the perfect size for my body and we were overjoyed to have her finally with us! Jeff did a great job coaching me through the surges- I could not have made it without his guidance and support. The team at Alta Bates totally respected the relaxed environment we wanted and supported a natural childbirth in every way that they could.
Justine Taylor Simons was born on May 31st, 12:24 am. 6lbs 10 oz, 19.5 inches long. I thought it might be helpful to provide feedback about one aspect of the labor that I was not prepared for in case it could help others in the future. While I was able to relax and concentrate on positive thoughts during the surges - I was not prepared for the examinations from the nurses to see how labor was progressing. The exams interrupted my focus and felt intrusive. I felt it had nothing to do with my baby and body working together. I felt I did not have a tool to manage the time during the exam and began to fear them.
I think it would be helpful if the HYPNOBIRTHING course covered this area of delivery and provided some ideas of how to manage the necessary checks as part of HYPNOBIRTHING not an interruption to it. I know it would have helped me cope with this aspect of delivery.
When people ask about our labor it is such a blessing to share a positive history - it was one of the most incredible mind/body experiences of my life. I feel lucky to have found methods and experienced people who let us know it was possible to have a child in a positive, healthy, and natural way. I'll send you a photo album link so you can see a few pictures of our precious girl.
You really touched our lives - thank you!

Dear Deborah          July 4, 2005
It's been almost three weeks since my baby arrived, and I want to take a moment to thank you for your role in helping my pregnancy and birth go smoothly. I loved your prenatal yoga class and know they helped me stay comfortable and centered.  The hypnobirthing techniques we learned from you were invaluable in maintaining relaxation during labor, especially in the early stages of what turned out to be a long (32-hour) labor.  I managed to give birth without any medication, which was my goal, and so our daughter was remarkably alert and awake as soon as she was born, and I recovered quickly.  So thank you for all of your support and teaching over the past months.  Your insights contributed much to my happy pregnancy and birth and I'm grateful.

Hi Deborah!
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I would definitely like to tell you all the details. When I see you next I can tell you the whole story. To sum up though... it was a wonderful experience and I am SOOO glad I did the hypnobirthing. Labor was an intense 7.5 hours but I was so excited and happy the whole time. No fear at all. His head was a little cocked in there so I had some back pain but I felt focused and calm the whole time. I even snoozed through a few contractions in the shower at the hospital. Chad and my doula were great about talking to me through the whole event and using cues that reminded me of the relaxation practice.  They also had some good techniques like the "hip squeeze" that helped a lot with the backache.  I pushed about 45 minutes I guess. The breathing down thing wasn't working for me so I ended up pushing, but it wasn't tiring. I did get a tear that needed stitches so the only meds I got was the local for the stitches. Afterward I was really happy (probably really high on endorphins). I wouldn't say it was easy, birth is an intense experience! But it wasn't traumatic or seriously painful. All the discomfort had a place because I knew what was happening to my body.
I'm looking forward to seeing you in person.
I'll stop by the studio some time soon, or Chad and I could drop by your place with some goodies from the bakery if you schedule allows. There is One fact I have to save for when I see you in person. To give you a hint,
it was the relaxation CD that got me into labor. ;-) It's a good story.
Thanks from both Chad and I for getting us going with the hypnobirthing and the great Yoga classes. The top three choices we made in the whole pregnancy and childbirth were our doula, the hypnobirthing, and the yoga.
I'm so glad we fell into these things.
Our baby Sage is doing great. He was 9lbs 5oz at birth and in the last three weeks has beefed up to over 11 lbs!
Hope all is well with you!

Hi Deborah -
I hope you are well.  I don't think I ever let you know that I pretty much had the delivery of my dreams -- 6 hours from beginning to end.  In case you are interested, or want to pass on my story to people in your class, here it is.  I did a lot to get my labor to happen "on time" (acupuncture, etc.) Because I had gestational diabetes and my doctor was concerned about me going too far past my due date.  My water broke in the morning on my due date (Jan 9th), but I didn't have any contractions or anything. The doctor said I needed to go to the hospital immediately, but we ignored that advice and stayed home for 5 hours, taking walks, doing nipple stimulation, etc., to get labor going.  We got to the hospital, but still nothing, and I was barely dilated or effaced. I refused to be put on pitocin, but I checked into a room and spent the next 2 hours "running" back and forth and doing nipple stimulation. At about 3:30pm, labor started with a bang (no gentle beginning).  I went from 0 to 60 in about 2 minutes.  I knew I wanted an epidural before labor started, so I got one at 3 cm (1 hour into labor).  Felicia Roche was our doula and she arrived in hour 2, when I was about 5 cm; she was incredible, because the baby got stuck in a high position and Felicia helped her come down.  After 5 hours, I was fully dilated and was able to push. The epidural never really worked (it numbed my legs really well), but it took the edge off during transition so I was delighted that I had it. When it came time to push, I could feel everything, so I knew how to push. 45 minutes of pushing and little Anika Lieberman Venezia popped out (we decided to do the matriarchal naming thing and used my last name). Dan was just fabulous -- with me every step of the way and incredibly encouraging and loving. The experience drew us even closer together.
I used the hypnobirthing techniques the entire time (breathing, relaxing my muscles, going into myself but staying present enough to listen to what was going on around me).  It helped me stay completely relaxed and calm the entire time. I found that the breathing and meditation exercises we had done beforehand were crucial for an easy delivery.  It was a great experience. Most importantly, I think it helped me prepare my mind and body for what was to come, so I knew how important it was for me to stay relaxed.  So --from a skeptic (I'll admit it!) -- thanks!
Thanks so much!
Warm regards,

Hi Deborah,
Just wanted to check in and let you know that my son, Dexter, arrived 8 days early on Oct 3 at 231am -- 5 and half hours from the time I got to Alta bates to the time I delivered!  He was 7 lbs 7 oz and 19 inches long. I wanted to let you know how incredibly helpful the prenatal yoga classes proved to be for the birth/delivery.  Given that I was a novice and somewhat of a skeptic about the role of yoga in childbirth, I was impressed with my ability to breathe through the contractions and maintain calm.  I honestly did not attend your classes with the intention that it would serve a direct purpose to the child birth -- I thought at most it would check my stress level during pregnancy -- but I was delighted when the breathing techniques I learned in your class allowed me to pass on the epidural and any other interventions!  I can't believe I delivered without any drugs!! Anyhow, thank you thank you thank you!  I am now a true believer and cannot imagine not taking your class again for child #2! 
Hope all is well on your end!
Warm regards and many thanks,

Well we finally received our little one into the world.  She was 6 days overdue but all is forgiven.  She was born on Tuesday at 11.47pm after an extremely fast labor (from 2 centimeters to fully dilated in less than 3 hours and then just 2 pushes!!).   We walked the corridors for an hour and doing cat/cow intermittently really helped.  Yoga breathing was KEY of course but also I really focused on keeping my facial muscles and tongue relaxed.  It was an awesome experience and yoga practice definitely helped me through it.  So keep it up girls.
We named our daughter Theodora (Divine Gift) but we call her Theo. She was just a little one at 6lbs 14ozs.
Thanks for all your help.

Hi Deborah,
Sorry that it has taken so long for me to write.  I have missed pre-natal yoga and your presence SO MUCH.  I have been thinking of you and hoping you are doing well.  We have a beautiful daughter.  Her name is Zoe Jane Hodge Milcoff.  She is happy and healthy and we could not ask for anything more.  She was 8 lbs 5 oz.  and 20 1/2 inches long.  She was born at 10:30 am on January 4th.
My labor was intense.  The most intense experience I have ever gone through but so worth it!  It was about 12 hours.  I was able to go through the entire labor with no drugs so I am happy about that.  The breathing that we do in yoga helped me tremendously.  The technique that helped me most was the simple deep breath that we learned to take into the belly.  We would do this in every class.  Breathing into the belly and providing that space for the baby was invaluable.  When I was in a lot of pain, my instinct was to fight the pain BUT instead of fighting the pain, I took that opportunity and trusted that deep breath and it made it easier.  I really had to surrender.  So, thank you for all of your support.  I miss you and the class so much.  I look forward to yoga with baby and hopefully running into you at some point.  If you don't mind, send me an address and I will send you a birth announcement if you would like.  Her are some pics for now.
Julie Milcoff

Now that things have settled down a little (and Mikey is currently sleeping peacefully in his sling and seems unlikely to interrupt this narrative), I wanted to let you know what a difference your teachings made to my whole labor experience!  As you know, I'd been having pre-labor contractions since February 1, which started getting increasingly intense.  By the morning of February 18, I was in early labor.  We stayed home as long as we could, practicing every deep breathing technique we knew of, and by the time I was admitted to the hospital, at around ten thirty pm, I was 100% effaced and 4 cm.  The midwife who triaged me was one of your Hypnobirthing students, but unfortunately, I only spent five minutes with her and don't remember her name.  I ended up stalling out at 7cm for six hours and finally resorted to some medical options, namely, pitocin and an epidural, as the next step would be a ceasarean.  After two hours of pushing, (Ron said that I pushed 300 times in those two hours!), Mikey was born, 19 hours after being admitted.  He decided to present sunny-side up and at 9 lbs 8 oz was quite a challenge.  Since we spent so much time at the hospital while Mikey was sick, I got to know my labor and delivery nurses and midwives quite well.  They were so fantastic!  Apparently, I was the talk of the unit for a couple of days, because everything was pointing towards my needing a c-section, but I am convinced that my practice of yoga with you was what made the critical difference.  Not only was I in pretty good shape, but I was calm, relaxed, able to try all sorts of crazy birthing positions and had great endurance.  This turned out to be really important, because Mikey's lungs were stuck in "transition".  Since he was born with acute pneumonia and pulmonary hypertension, his lungs were filled with liquid and he couldn't breathe on his own.  By delivering him vaginally, his lungs were squeezed during birth, expelling some of the fluid.  If this had happened as a c-section, he wouldn't have had this benefit.  So, thank you.
P.s. I had an incredible doula.  If anyone is interested, her name is Teresa McLean.  She's helped at over four hundred births, is a lactation consultant and was a godsend during that long labor and those horrible weeks at the hospital.

Dear Deborah,
Thought I would forward this to you as well...felix's birth was amazing- thank you for all your help.  Yoga and your relaxation cd came in very handy!

Hi, Debra --
It's Thursday afternoon and my beautiful baby is asleep next to me -- life is good! I know you heard the happy news from Corrina that our son, Luke McCoy Wade, was born early Monday morning, healthy and BIG -- 9 lbs 6 oz and 23 inches.
We did have a long, hard labor, but with a combination of our doula, yoga, hyponobirthing, and some interventions, were able to have a birth experience we feel positive about and, most importantly, a healthy baby and mom.
In a nutshell, I'd say: -- hypnobirthing techniques of breathing, relaxation, and visualization (Esp. in the tub, which I ended up loving) got me through the first part of labor at home, which for me personally was the hardest stage -- medication got us over the hump in the middle where we got hung up at just 4 centimeters after 14 hours of laboring -- whew.
-- Yoga made the final delivery stage downright comfortable; I was able to hold positions and access strength I know I didn't have before I was pregnant, and even actually enjoy this stage (I thought of you saying, "enjoy the pose" :) )
Throughout the adventure, our doula provided essential support and insured that the hospital team at Oakland Kaiser stayed supportive of our choices, too.
I will definitely see you when I come to post-natcl yoga with Rosie, hopefully sooner rather than later.  Thank you again for all your teachings and for the community of women you create -- it has made all the difference for me!

Hi everyone,
Just a quick note on my labor and delivery.
We had a beautiful baby boy May 23rd 2006, at 11:31 pm, he was 7lbs and 15ozs. The labor started at 2:30 am that morn.. I guess it was pretty long. It was a back labor and quite a challenge but the hypnobirthing was a life saver. Every time I would start to lose control of the breath and panic a little the pain was horrible but when I focused on my breath the 20 in 20 out I was fine I was in such deep trance I couldn't really tell anyone when the contractions were over and this went on until I was having them every minute. My mom was finally like , "I think we need to go to hospital now". Jonathan said we should wait and I kind of feeling that way too, because I didn't want to move, and I was afraid they would send me home. We went around 7:30pm. When we got there I was 9 sonograms, they rushed me into a delivery room. My midwife was there by 8:30.
Because he was posterior my midwife suggested pushing and I just wanted it done, I was getting tired, and tired of counting to 20 over and over, so I agreed. I pushed about and hour and half. But I continued to stay in trance, it didn't hurt and I didn't scream. All the nurses, my midwife, my mom, and Jonathan were in awe. Later an nurse told my mom she always thought that hypnobirthing was a joke but I changed her mind. Everyone kept saying "Burning Ring of Fire", but I didn't feel it, I didn't know what they were talking about. Also I was asked to rate my pain level and I said I didn't know, no one asked me again.
I do wish we could have practiced the birth breathing more because I didn't really feel confidant with it and that was part of my decision to push.
Anyway I healed quickly. I did bust a blood vessel in my eye but it's almost gone.
We named our baby Oliver Nicolas Santeramo, he's almost 9lbs. now, he fusses about and hour every afternoon but sleeps really well at night so I can't complain.

Hi Deborah,
Thanks so much!  I am sure a regular yoga practice helped things go smoothly.  I really enjoyed your prenatal classes and have to tell you what a great teacher you are!  Thanks so much!!

Dear Deborah,
It's been almost three weeks since my baby arrived, and I want to take a moment to thank you for your role in helping my pregnancy and birth go smoothly. I loved your prenatal yoga class and know they helped me stay comfortable and centered. The hypnobirthing techniques we learned from you were invaluable in maintaining relaxation during labor, especially in the early stages of what turned out to be a long (32-hour) labor. I managed to give birth without any medication, which was my goal, and so our daughter was remarkably alert and awake as soon as she was born, and I recovered quickly. So thank you for all of your support and teaching over the past months. Your insights contributed much to my happy pregnancy and birth and I'm grateful.
July 4, 2005

Try Deborah Saliby at 510-541-1395, or 510-527-9266. She offers a one-day workshop or a series. We did the 1 day workshop, it was very good at helping me trust my body to do its job; birth is not done w/ the intellect! Also her pre-natal classes are great and the breathing I learned (and practiced each night) turned out to be what I used during labor to dissolve the pain and move along (no meds, most labor at home, a great birth experience).

Try taking a class from Deborah Saliby. She is a wonderful teacher who accomidates all levels of flexibility and fitness without passing judgement. I attended both her prenatal and postnatal classes, and there was always a wide range of participants, from the folding-chair variety to the can't-touch- my-toes variety. She adapts poses to suit your body. The prenatal classes don't feel that hard, but I found that they were actually quite toning. And I'm convinced that the breathing exercises and the pelvic strengthening and opening helped make my labor a lot easier. Deborah teaches a couple of places, but the class I attended was at 7th Heaven, which is near the Ashby exit off I-80. Sometimes husbands or partners came along, and they were welcome too. My husband and I also took a one-day workshop on ''hypnobirthing'' (basically, yoga breathing and relaxation techniques) with Deborah, which was great. My husband, by the way, can't even touch his knees without bending them.

Deborah Saliby teaches in Pt . Richmond now, and she's an excellent teacher. I did pre-natal, post-natal, and now regular yoga with her. She's good at describing poses and talented at guiding relaxation!!

Hi Deborah and former HB classmates -
I'm writing to let you know that our son Michael arrived 6/30 (3 weeks early - surprise!).  It was such a positive experience - I wanted to give you that encouraging news as you close in on your own due dates. Things went so fast (water broke at 9:45 pm, contractions started at 10:30, checked into Alta Bates at midnight and he was born at 1 AM) that I never had time to get into a full-on trance, but breathing and visualization got me through w/o drugs, and I give a lot of credit for the speed of the process to how relaxed and confident I was from our practice and affirmations.  In fact, the nurses said Alta Bates does 25 births a day and that mine was one of the top 3-4 all-time that they'd seen - they literally couldn't believe how calm I was and how fast things moved. Both Michael and I are in great shape - as predicted, he's a calm, alert, happy baby.  We're totally smitten with him, can you tell? :) Best wishes to all of you with your own impending arrivals!  Let me know how things work out, and feel free to contact me if you want any specific details about Alta Bates or the birth. Thanks for your work as instructor - we really enjoyed the class and benefited from what we learned.

Hello Deborah
Isabella Anais gave us new meaning for Labor Day weekend!  Coming ten days early, Isabella arrived on August 31 at 3:09 pm.   She entered the world very alert, wildly kicking (as in utero) and screaming with a head full of jet black hair, brown eyes, weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and measuring 19 3/4 inches long.  Happy to report we had a great birthing experience.  I'm so glad I went to your class even on a minimal level.  The yoga, breathing and what we learned from your one-day hypnobirthing class helped tremendously in active labor.  I basically sat in a relaxed lotus position for five hours and breathed....In the end, I had an epidural but I have to say, it was an incredible experience for my husband and I, one we look back on with much joy. 
Recovery is going well and I hope to join your postnatal class with Isabella soon.  Hope all is well with you!

Hi Deborah
A little tidbit of my birth story, between feedings and diaper changes!
I was planning a home birth, in the tub, with just Jay and my midwives and doula. As those of you who take/took Deborah's Monday/Friday morning yoga classes know, I was two weeks postdate and had been monitoring Leo's well being with stress tests at Summit hospital. Though he was never in any distress, throughout the postdate period and birth, my fluid levels dropped precipitously from one day to the next, signaling that the placenta was no longer functioning properly and that Leo could become stressed if we waited much longer and that, ultimately, it was better to act decisively while he was floating happily around inside me. My midwives, doctors, Jay and I all decided without hesitation that on that Friday, September 19 that we would induce labor within the hospital. Though I had envisioned a peaceful home birth, it was clear that this was the responsible thing to do. In a sense it was my first decision as a parent, to place Leo’s well being before my own preferences.
I had to let go quickly of my expectations and to adjust to the hospital setting at Summit. Here is where all of the yoga, meditation, and hypnobirthing practice became invaluable. Leaving most medical details aside (those of you who are interested, I can describe them in more detail later, perhaps at a mom’s group), I drew deeply on an internal sensibility, so that I could produce some sense of the birth I had envisioned in the hospital. The staff at Summit realized immediately the difference of my attitude and gave me great leeway and a lot of time to labor naturally and generally respected my preferences and values. In short, I went into labor, with just a hint of hormonal suggestion, at 2:30 in the morning on Saturday. My contractions woke me up when they were about four minutes apart, and I started to do some yoga, didn’t call the nurses or my midwives or Jay. And then I put on the Gentle Surge tape when it was clear my labor became active. At around 6:30 am I called the nurses to tell them. By then, I was anticipating each surge with deep breathing, and each surge thereafter  presented me with a choice:  to meet it like a wave (to swim out to it, my midwife said over and over) or let it fall over me with pain. In this sense, the hypnobirthing practices helped greatly. I labored like this to eight centimeters by early afternoon and then my contractions weakened and became farther apart. I continued to labor in this state for several hours, though it was clear my surges were no longer productive. At that point, the doctors suggested pitocin, which I had not needed to induce, and my midwives, though generally against it, agreed. I accepted it, along with some pain relief, and Leo was quickly born, without tearing me, on Saturday night. Throughout the labor, there were many surprises (nausea, shaking), but it was ultimately a fine birth, not the one I anticipated, but a very fine birth nonetheless. 
Leo was born 8.5 pounds and twenty inches long, a robust baby for having stayed so long in the womb! He has since gone on a growth spurt and has regained the birth weight that he lost (13 oz.) and then a healthy sum; grown 1.5 inches in length and a centimeter in the diameter of his head. We will celebrate his third week birthday tomorrow, with friends and cake leftover from my baby shower.
I hope this e-mail finds you all well and that your births and babies and pregnancies are healthy and peaceful.
All best,

Hi all,
Thought I might finally get this out to you as it has now been almost two weeks since our little guy was born...we're still working on some names, although Galen is the name he communicated to me in the womb - no doubt he'll retain it somewhere, either as a middle or "spiritual" name. Can't wait to see all these wonderful new human beings -  maybe in December we can do a reunion?
Our son was born at home Wednesday, October 8, 9lbs 8oz, 21 1/2 inches long after about 4 hours of active labor and the most extraordinary natural, gentle, spiritual birthing I could have ever envisioned!!! He's a wise old soul who's graced the earth and our family and he's as beautiful as ever. So there you have the stats.
Now for the story... I was blessed with the attendance of my dear friends Anna Vinther and Kim Lefebvre who supported me throughout the process of opening to this miracle, Anna, with her extraordinary and intuitive knowing of what I needed in every moment with Hypnobirthing practices and experienced wisdom of natural birth; and Kim with her amazing gifts of clarity, presence, intuition, she set the energy and held the highest level of light to welcome and guide our son to his earthly home with us. My husband John and daughter Olivia were amazingly present and actively assisted in welcoming our little guy by cutting his cord, flowing their love to both baby and me while we engaged together in the ancient and most primal dance of birthing new life, and welcoming a new soul. And with the assistance of my amazing midwives, Nicole and Valeri whose expert care and guidance were essential in the birthing of this extraordinary being on to our planet Earth - he arrived in a fully intact bag of waters, which is termed "in the caul" and is very rare and special, I feel as complete and whole and healed and "used for a purpose greater that I have ever known" as I write this today! Blessed is this life we live and what we are here to do. Peace and Blessings to all.
Love, Laura, John and family

Dear Deborah
Malcolm was born on the third stroke or so of midnight on Nov 12 (they asked us we wanted the 12th or 13th!). It was a smooth labor.  We went to the hospital at a little before 5pm at which time I was about 5 cms dilated and contractions were about 3 min apart.  Like last time around I hung out at about b5-6 cm for another 4 1/2 hrs and then went to 10 over the course of about 30-40 min,. I breathed him down (or pushed him out) in about 10 min. He was 8 lbs 13 oz and 21.5 inches.  I had 37 or some outrageous number of stitches, but recovery was a breeze compared to last time. He eats voraciously and is enormous now. He has his 2c mo checkup today. As we don't have a scale at home I'm curious to see how much he weighs and how tall he is.  Yoga and hypnobirthing served us well again.  The Dr and nurse were both very curious and very impressed with the whole thing.
Thanks Debra!

Hello Deborah,
You have been on my mind and it has taken me this long to get a note to you.  I had my baby girl, Yahminah Shai Watson, on the fifth of this month.  I stayed home until I was dilated 9 cm and then went straight to the hospital and began pushing.  I had an all natural birth and am so thankful for the hypnobirthing breathing techniques.  At the end, the only thing I allowed myself to think was expand my belly on the inhalation, and breath down and out the pain on the exhalation. 
The breathing techniques also helped me the first couple of weeks with breastfeeding when I was a little sore but needed to nurse.
Can't wait to see you in postnatal yoga.
Thank you again for the yoga and hypnobirthing instructions.  My birth was such an amazingly powerful and healthy experience.
Meghan Clouse

The Hypnobirthing made all the difference!  Our OBGyn is a believer now.  He said he could never have delivered a better birth if he'd thought it up on his own. You are an inspiration! Thank you
See you in postnatal yoga sometime soon
Camille Calica

With only twelve minutes of pushing, the surges of energy rising from within mama's womb came like volcanic eruptions.  Neither cosmic dust, nor layers of granite bedrock, would deter this newborn's arrival. With nervous hands placed around the nape of her neck, ILIANA DOLORES MONTES DE OCA CALICA plunged into the grasp of her awe-struck father.  Announcing the sex, papa brought little ILIANA to the breast of her mama and with cord still attached, she began to feed.  Not a drug in sight, but the euphoric medicine of blood, birth and baby; mother, father and child began an insatiable love affair that most certainly carries with it the tens of billions who have come before them along this journey. Little ILIANA cries when she is not held tightly, and sneaks a smile when her tush is cleaned and pampered.  She thankfully resembles her mother and will undoubtedly be a rosebud heart warrior like her mama is.
Papa loves wrapping ILIANA like a mummy and calms her with the rushing sounds of amniotic fluid (a loud Ssshhh-ing sound near her ear).  Mama's voice puts her into a trance and they can often be found jostling the rocker in the corner. We are so lucky to have so many well wishers and hope that ILIANA will be joined by brothers and sisters who will all shed some light into the darker places of this world.
ILIANA was born 7 lbs. 3 oz., 20 inches long, at 4:52pm on Tuesday, May 18th 2004 in Berkeley, CA. Pictures of the little Jaguar are attached.
Thank you all for the love.

Hello all
Wanted to let you know that Cole Isaac Edlin was born at 6:03 pm on 8/23 at 7 lbs 13 oz and 21 and 3/4 inches.  All are fine and happy.
The hypnobirthing was very helpful.  We had a major issue in that I had some rare syndrome--a subset of pre-eclampsia--that they hadn't picked up on until I went into labor.  I was totally able to manage all the issues with regular labor, but couldn't actually breathe because my liver swelled up—so had to take very short breaths--I even managed to relax and breathe in—but only until a count of 3.  We went to the hospital very early, were almost discharged to labor at home with "indigestion" but then they ran blood work and came back and said--the good news is you are having your baby NOW. Apparently it's life threatening to us both--and results in low platelet counts so that an emergency c-section becomes more risky. So luckily my body did know what it was doing and was already trying to get the baby out fast!  And the relaxation stuff from the class really was helping that process as well.  Because they kept talking about possibly needing to speed up labor more and more (and I was worried about safety, etc.--some of the basic assumptions from the class about being safe, etc. weren't in play any more) I chose to have an epidural soon after they ruptured my membrane. The relaxation and breathing etc. all really helped all through, even after the epidural to keep us focused on the birthing process and resulted in bringing a wonderful, healthy little boy into the world!  We're all doing fine now and are very happy. Thanks for your message on yoga, deepening--we missed the class--but I'll look on your web site in the hopes that you teach a post-natal class!!!

I truly appreciate your commitment, kindness, knowledge, expertise, and sensitivity, both as a yoga teacher and hypnobirthing instructor, Deborah.  I am certain your openness and welcoming spirit helped to prepare us for the birth of our baby, as much as your technical skills and huge store of information to share.  Thank you very much!
With great thanks, Darcy 

Hi Deb -
We had baby Claudia a week late on Monday, October 4th.  She was a whopping 9 lbs. 4 oz.
It was the most beautiful birth imaginable.  I did all my hypnobirthing at home - listened to my tapes, meditated, danced, took a shower, stayed really focused.  Norman was an amazing help - applying counter pressure and keeping me really calm and centered.  I started labor at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night. We got to the hospital at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning and I was 6-7 cm dilated.  By the time I was out of triage I was transitioning. It was interesting because with all the nurses and the lights, I started to lose my focus and thought I need drugs to get me to the end.  Norman stayed really calm staring in my eyes and forcing me to center and concentrate. She was born after 2 pushes at 4:50 a.m., 35 minutes after they got us to our room -- NO DRUGS!!!!!! Au naturale!!!!! I feel great.  Left hospital Tuesday and am thinking of coming to yoga tomorrow at 7th heaven.  IS still 11:15 a.m.?
She is beautiful with a full head of curly black hair -- which as you know from Sophia is like night and day literally!  Hope to see you tomorrow!
Lots of love, Julie

Bless you and thanks!!
Yes, it really was an awesome experience, I can't believe how long it's taken me to surface and get in touch with you and the group, you've all been in my thoughts and I thought I might have been able to get out to the last meeting but surrendered to the ease of staying put! So, we had the fortune to have a last minute swicheroo in plans and came somewhat coincidentally into contact with a wonderful homebirth midwife who was happy to take us on so late in the game (a week before the due date). There was more fairytale timing with the actual labour as she had two other clients who birthed on the same day and she managed to attend us all!
On the evening of Wed 6th I started having a few mild contractions and asthe night progressed they seemed to get more regular. We timed them for a while, called our doula who left her house and then I called her back and told her it felt like it was mellowing out and that I thought we'd be better off getting some sleep. Thanks to the hypnobirthing I was coping easily with the surges and could feel them doing their thing with no pain. I was right though, and they subsided by about four a.m.. Thursday night followed a similar pattern, although we went out for a curry and I was enjoying my surges in-between bites of a spicy fish dish. We got home and went to bed, this time I just breathed through the surges on my own, playing my hypnobirthing c.d. and birthing affirmations ( really such a good idea- who would a thought it- I’m such a fan). At 6. 30 a.m. I breathed through one nice big surge and felt some thing pop, my waters had broken! I called the midwife at this point who said she was on the way to the hospital with a client who had a surprise breech. She said she'd be done in around an hour and to call if anything happened. We called Jaqui, our doula, as well, and she offered to come over. The surges, though had totally gone quiet. It was a beautiful day and we had a festive breakfast, while I gradually leaked, wondering what was going on.  We all ( David, Eva, Jaqui, my mama and I ) went for a walk in the sunshine. After a while David and I went off for some time alone and I found myself confronting a few last minute fears about labour and the pain involved, I was really feeling the need to get in a quiet "zone". At around lunch time Lucero, our midwife, came around to check in and set up the birth tub.  At this time, her second client of the day was 4 centimeters dilated and having contractions 2 minutes apart. To prevent the tub from cooling before we used it, David filled up the tub with two tanks of extremely hot water. At about 8:30pm we got a call from the midwives saying that Coba (the second birth of the day) had delivered her 10 1/2 lb daughter and they were free. Almost immediately my surges started up again and this time they were much more intense.  Jaqui arrived at around 9pm by which time David and I had showered and lit candles and oil burners so that the house was fragrant and entirely candlelit. The contractions were really building in intensity and I'd vomited a couple of times. (my hearty pasta dinner was too heavy to stay down).  It seemed like a short time before we were calling the midwives and I was able to stay relaxed while the intensity continued to build. We moved from the bedroom into the living room with David supporting me and relaxing music playing. The midwives arrived around 10:30pm and soon after I had what I thought were an urge to pee.  David assisted me to the bathroom and a contraction on the way took me down to the floor and being on all fours felt primal and surprisingly comfortable.  When I made it to the toilet Lucero checked me and I was fully dilated.  Lucero asked me if I wanted to deliver the baby in the bed or in the tub.  And the tub was where I wanted to be. It was then that we discovered that the tub was too hot to get into at 115 degrees, and then came the farcical scene of getting the tub cool enough, with midwives assistants pushing the screens out of the windows so that saucepans of water could be thrown out so that colder water could be added, with David supporting my weight while instructing the doula and other assistant midwife on where to find the wrench to get the cold water tap to budge. Eventually we managed to get the temperature down enough, and getting in the water was an immense relief.  I could move more easily and it took away some of the intense sensation.  David got in, too, and was a comfortable chair for me. I could feel the baby descending and the birthing affirmation that kept coming back to me was "each surge brings my baby closer to me".  What  was getting me through these last intense contractions was this affirmation and talking to my baby in between each surge, telling her I loved her and how brave she was and how glad I was that I would be seeing her soon. I just remember starting to moo and make all kinds of incredible sounds.  I had no urge to push until the baby was crowning.  I got her all the way down the birth path just with breathe and sound.  It just took two pushes to get her head and body out.  David caught the baby and what a little beauty.  Lots of black hair and a girl just like they said. Her name is Coral Lena Jandra Schlussel-Moon

Dearest Deborah,
I am guessing since you haven't seen me in yoga...you have assumed we delivered... Gabriella Grace Maniatis blessed us with her presence on Friday 10/29!  the delivery was quick--and I managed with just a kiss of fentanyl--no epidural...all due to you and your wonderful classes.  many thanks for your guidance and inspiration!  can't wait to introduce you to her in post-natal class.  I bet you make new moms work REALLY hard...can't wait to get restarted!  by the way, when do you think it is safe to start again--3 weeks?  in any case, just wanted to let you know how much you and your class meant to this pregnancy and me...I attribute my healthy pregnancy and safe delivery to yoga.  I really can't thank you enough. 
see you soon! 
best wishes and heartfelt thanks,
katie, theo and ella maniatis

The first time I got a leg cramp during my pregnancy I woke up crying because it was hurting so badly. I felt like I wanted an epidural for it. After taking Hypnobirthing, I retrained my mind to not fear the onset of one coming on, and utilizing the tools of deep relaxation, working with my breath, and pointing my toes towards me, I was able to manage them. I still get them at night from time to time, but it never escalates to severe pain and honestly are not painful and totally manageable. Oh and of course my husband is quite happy not waking up to a wife in pain!
Teresa Chan

Hi Debra,
We wanted to get in touch with you to thank you for all your help with Hypnobirthing, it really paid off. Also wanted to give you an overview of labor, which ended up being long and challenging, after moving very quickly initially. 
At our doctor's appointment on Tues (7th) afternoon, Teresa was already 3 cm dilated, without even really feeling a contraction!  The doctor said it could happen that night, and lo and behold it did... Active labor began at 11:30 pm, and by the time we got to the hospital at 4:30 am Teresa was 8 cm dilated!  So we were thinking this was going to be a quick labor.  In the hospital, things slowed down--at 12 pm Teresa was still 8cm.  The doctor recommended breaking the membrane and an epidural.  This was very tempting, because Teresa was so tired.  Luckily we were able to compromise on a short fentanyl drip (30 minutes).  This enabled Teresa to rest and was out of her system by the time the baby was born (10 hours later). Throughout the labor the nurses were amazed at how calm Teresa was and her pain tolerance--we attribute this to her hypnobirthing practice and prenatal yoga. 
Finally by a little after 8pm Austin was born.  They had to use a brief vacuum assist, because it turns out that, not only did he have a large head, but his arm was sticking out as well, blocking the canal!  All and all we feel lucky that Teresa did not need a c section.  If she got the epidural she may not have been able to push Austin down far enough to be sucked out.
Thanks for all your help, even though it was a difficult delivery, it could have been more difficult if Teresa was not so prepared.
Gabe & Teresa

Here's the newest hypnobirthed baby!
Citlalmina Carcamo-Knight was born April 14th, 2005, 1:13 PM weighing out at a healthy 8 pounds 10 ounces. Labor was VERY long (33 hours) and arduous but drug-free and natural. The baby was posterior and this slowed the birth process significantly.  I am convinced that without hypnobirthing and our incredible midwife, we would have ended up with a lot of medical intervention, and very possibly a c-section.   We are so grateful for the experience of hypnobirthing (thank you Deborah!).  And, of course, the beautiful reward to all of the work is our perfect, precious baby.
Lisa and JB, we're dying to know about the two (or three) of you! We wish all of you joy in the remainder of your pregnancies and your birthing experiences!
Nicole & Silver

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