rhiona and ricky’s birth story

i read this awesome story in my inbox recently and went to respond to the mama by saying “holy cow! that sounds aaahhhhmazing!” it’s extra awesome when first time parents have amazing births- i think it sets families up for health in many, many ways.

rhiona and ricky took my essentials for childbirth class and are a super fun couple. we have mutual friends, which is how they came to find my class, and i am so thankful they did! we wanted to work out a doula situation as well, but our little fam was heading on a trip to sri lanka (i know…right?!) right around her guess date- so i got them set up with a sweet sweet awesome doula friend of mine, alisa okamoto. her care provider is super loved in our community and we are really thankful to have a care provider like Dr Damon Cobb here! ENJOY this beautiful story, told by rhiona to her sweet little dash.


Cliff Notes Version: perfect birth and so grateful ūüôā

                                                            Dear Dash,

It was Wednesday July 9th at 10pm when I decided we needed to go for a walk on Moonlight ¬†beach to try and get you moving out. My due date was Monday July 7th, but I kind of wanted to keep you in my belly forever so I hadn’t done much (or anything really) to help you come out. It was an emotional walk because I felt you were coming soon and I knew I needed to be¬†ok¬†with that. Walking on the beach has a way of releasing emotions for me. I wasn’t scared to birth you necessarily, I just felt like pregnancy had zoomed by. I wanted more time with you so close to me. There were only a few other people on the beach; it was very dark and the cool crisp air felt so nice. The waves crashing calmed my mind. We walked a while and then I made your daddy take a picture of my belly before we got in the car to go home. I’m so glad we have that photo to remember our night because it turns out you were ready to meet us way faster than I thought. It’s the last photo of you in my belly and I will cherish it forever. We went home and around midnight I went to the bathroom and had blood. I was so excited, nervous, shocked! I was skeptical I was in labor, but it kept coming and it was pretty evident I had lost my mucus plug. I¬†texted¬†my¬†doula, Alisa, and she of course told me to sleep if I could. Ha! That wasn’t happening even if I wanted it to! I had an overwhelming feeling of anxiety pass through after I realized this really was active labor. I kind of wanted it to stop. I think I told your dad “I’m not ready. I don’t know if my body can handle labor.” I was afraid. Majorly. He went to sleep and tried to make me do the same. I laid in bed wide awake and a little terrified. At this point the surges weren’t really surges. My back would just kind of tense up and have a little ache every 20 minutes or so. All through the night it continued getting closer and closer. At some point in the dark of the night I started to feel more calm and in control, or was it that I was not in control?! I let my body take control and do it’s own thing. I guess I just took control of my thoughts. I was surprised I never even shut my eyes but morning had now come. Morning changed things. I knew I needed to shower, so I did that. Things slowed down a bit after moving around and showering. I thought I could get a nap in, so I choked down a bowl of oats and laid back into bed. I tried so hard to rest, but things just kept progressing! It felt very rapid. I quickly found that being on my hands and knees was my position, as it just made me feel the best. I was starting to get nauseous and I remember not liking it. I felt like I could handle the surges with ease, but the nausea was so annoying- totally cramped my style. By 11am your dad decided to call the¬†doula¬†to come over because he thought things were getting serious. I thought he was being silly but didn’t have the words to express this, so really, he was right. Ha. My surges weren’t that regular or consistent. They were kind of all over the place the entire labor. Sometimes they were many minutes apart and sometimes seconds apart. They were also quite long. I had a few 4 minute long ones and lots of 3 minute ones, which was super weird. When Alisa arrived, things slowed down a little. Alisa had me try smelling peppermint oil, while laying on my side leaning my leg off the bed to start things going. I wanted to kill her. ūüôā Whew, those surges felt strong. Crazy how positioning can change things so fast! I continued laboring until around 3 or so. We weren’t that sure how far along I was because of the inconsistency, so Alisa suggested going to Dr.Cobb’s office to get checked. I then started getting back to back surges. We decided to just drive straight to the hospital, and quick. In the back of my head I was slightly bummed that we were going to the hospital “so soon”. Looking back, this is hilarious to me. If we didn’t have a¬†doula¬†I probably would have accidentally birthed you at home. Oh, the car ride. I had dreaded this. We live in¬†Encinitas¬†and the hospital was in¬†Poway. That’s a bit far when you are deep into labor! Things got very intense for me while in the car. I closed my eyes the entire time. I pulled down hard on the handle above the window with each surge. It was a great release. I also pounded my hands on the roof of the car with some surges. The car ride is also where I first started what your dad calls my “yeti call”. Lots of strange sounds were coming out and I just had to let them. Looking back I now know I was transitioning. In the car. Joy! The car ride apparently took 30 minutes, but labor does weird things to your concept of time! Your dad kept saying “we are almost there” and then “I can see the hospital!”. My eyes were still shut, but this was slightly annoying to me because I knew we were still far…that is, until I actually felt the familiar speed bumps in the parking lot. I opened my eyes and saw we were there and couldn’t believe it. It felt like he did a magic trick. The car ride felt like 5-10 minutes at most to me. Alisa came and got our car to go park it while daddy and I walked into the hospital. It was a slow walk with a few breaks to ride out the surges. We got into the elevator and rode up to the fifth floor, the birthing floor. As soon as we got out of the elevator and onto the floor I took a step or two and threw up all over. “Hey guys, I have arrived, and look! I am ready! Sorry about the mess.” We walked to the nurses station and they just walked me right into a room…and gave me a barf bag. We met our nurse, Diane. She said she needed to check me. I was nervous because I had never been checked for dilation and was told it would hurt a bit. It didn’t hurt and I was EIGHT centimeters. I smiled so, so big. I knew I would have to get the standard IV or at least a saline lock next, but didn’t really want one. Nurse Diane came in and said I didn’t need either and I proceeded to give her a high five (I really just wanted to kiss her) while telling her how much I liked her. It was just a little thing, but for some reason being completely free of that was important to me. So far things were off to a great start! Nurse Diane was supportive and amazing and gave me so much peace because of that. I felt in control of my birth. She monitored you with a fetal monitor for a bit. It wasn’t really working well, but we could see you were well, so she let me get in the tub. She trusted my body and I loved her for it. From this point until you came out, my eyes pretty much remained shut. It helped me to stay connected to my body, your teeny body, and the great work we were doing together. We were in our own little world. The tub felt really nice. I was in there for a long while and I wish I could have just birthed you in there. I was starting to feel an urge to push. I said “push, push, pushy, pushing” a lot and that’s when I realized I had lost my mind. ūüôā The nurse called Dr.Cobb who was finishing up appointments at his office. He wanted me to get checked again to see how close I was. This meant I had to get out of the tub, which was no small feat. I tried and failed, a lot. Like a real lot. Somewhere in there, my water broke. I have no idea how long I tried to get out of that tub but it must have taken at least an hour. I may have used a bad word or two, but my lovely Alisa just said “I¬†knoooow¬†Rhiona.” I told Alisa that I just needed some help and she started saying encouraging things about how I didn’t need the help, I was strong, etc. That’s when I said “No, just help me out of this tub.”¬†Haha. I finally get out of the tub and make it a step or two but end up on the floor on my hands and knees. I needed something to lean on and your daddy got right down on the nasty hospital floor with me to support my head. I have never loved or needed your daddy more in my life. I gently rubbed my face into his neck and it felt so wonderful. I hadn’t pictured needing him like this, but I so did, and here he was. After a bit, Dr. Cobb arrived and I only knew it because I happened to open my eyes and see two man-sized bright red Nike shoes. That Dr.Cobb is so fancy. I eventually make it to the bed to be checked, what a journey it was to get there! Dr.Cobb asked if I wanted to know where I was at and I said yes. I only had a little tiny lip left to open. I tried laboring on my hands and knees and I started to notice a very primal energy coming over my body. The yeti call was back! The grunts that came out of my mouth…I cannot explain. The nurse kept asking if I was pushing and I accidentally ignored her…every time. I wasn’t so much pushing, it was more of a bearing down and it felt very good and very right. Dr.Cobb came back and watched me for a bit before suggesting a new position. He tied a sheet to a squat bar and had me pull myself in as I pushed. Pushing and pulling felt like a great release, kind of similar to what I did in the car ride. After a while he suggested the stirrups. I was kind of against stirrups, but trusted him. I started more controlled pushing in sets of threes. I was amazed how strong the desire to push was. It was like a huge wave coming over my body. It continued to feel intense, but good. Slowly it started to feel more intense and then ¬†for the first time in the entire labor process, I will say there was pain. But this was good pain, because then your head was suddenly out! The pain passed so quickly. Next, I felt lots of pressure and everything was just a blur because things got so intense and heavy. And then? You were on my chest!!! A big wet baby. You felt like a slippery fish ūüôā You were cute! Way cuter than I could have¬†imagined! It felt unreal. I smiled so big and didn’t stop, no tears, just smiles. We did it! It felt like I had won the best prize ever (probably because I did!). I looked to my right and there was daddy, weeping in a new way I had never seen. You were here. You were ours. So pink, healthy, and BIG! On July 10th, at 8:22pm my 9lb 3oz baby boy, you became ours. Forever and ever. And ever.

i get goosebumps every time i read this story! what a sweet entrance into the world for little dash, and what an amazing set of parents he has! thank you SO much rhiona and ricky for sharing this beautiful and encouraging story with us. love you three!

if you or anyone you know is in San Diego and is interested in childbirth preparation classes, or online childbirth classes, please feel free to check out my website for more info, along with doula support and placenta encapsulation information, and a small online shop for all kinds of birth/postpartum related goodies!



Rosy and Damian’s HypnoBirthing Story

Rosy and Damian took my classes at Indigo Dragon in Leucadia. This was their second pregnancy, and Rosy was looking for something different from her first experience that was filled with a lot of tension, pain, and more interventions than she originally desired. It was SO fun getting to know them during our time together, a super sweet and fun couple! Here is their HypnoBirthing story, as told by Rosy


So what I wanted to share with you was about my birth story and how I really believe the [placenta] pills are magic! haha!
On Thursday the 20th around 1:30ish I started seeing the mucus like I texted you about and then probably around 4ish I started feeling a little crampy, but pretty minor. Then around 5 or 6pm I for sure was having surges but again, totally tolerable, so we were just going about our routine with dinner and stuff. We put Solana down at 8 and we went straight upstairs. Again, I was definitely having surges but totally tolerable. We were watching X factor and we even took out gifts and wrapping paper to do some wrapping. However, they were coming closer and closer and I was like “um, yeah, I don’t think I’m interested in wrapping gifts right now!” Damian was already putting it all away though so he totally knew. Funny because the noise was bothering me and that’s how I thought there’s no way I could wrap right now but the noise was him putting it all away.

Anyway, I got in the bath and shortly after they were super back to back. This was probably around 10:30-11pm. We were definitely listening to my affirmations and Damian was using his “script” and really mirroring me by swaying with me, like what we practiced, which totally helped. As long as I could start swaying my hips as I felt surge coming on then I could handle it pretty well. It was when I couldn’t sway in time that it was pretty painful.
We were also repacking our bag and making sure we packed our snacks and cookies his mom made for the nurses (good tip!) ūüôā So we were for sure leaving soon bc based on an app we were using on D’s phone, I was pretty far along! Somehow I made it down the stairs and into our truck although I definitely didn’t sit very well. I kept breaking into heavy sweats during surges too it was gnarly.
I was totally talking to Daniela [baby] on the way to hospital telling her to please take it easy (haha!) and not to come out in the car because I totally felt like she was coming!
It took us a bit to get from car to front desk of the birth pavilion bc I could barely walk! They needed about 10 minutes or so to get my room together so they put me in some little waiting room which, again, I thought I was going to deliver in! I couldn’t walk to room but I also could not sit in wheelchair so I was wheeled over on my knees! Must’ve looked hilarious!

We had gotten to hospital at 12:45 and were probably in our room around 1. I was on my hands and knees on bed bc that totally felt the best. They said I was 7-8 cm! We couldn’t believe it! Shortly after I was already at 9! If you were in the Encinitas area you could probably hear me at that point!! I was moaning so loud, and deep like we practiced, but I probably scared everyone! I was moaning and making funny sounds I think during surges. Anyway, the nurse was super chill because we had given them our preferences and put up HypnoBirthing sign you gave us..which I’m sure they thought was funny that we wanted silence bc I was far from silent! haha!

Anyway, she was just letting us do our thing when D stepped aside and asked her what the plan was because I really felt like Daniela was coming but I wasn’t trying to push bc no one was telling me to, and earlier a different person had told me not to push bc if I did too early when cervix wasn’t ready I might end up having cesarean (thanks?!).
So the nurse was like, “Oh she can let me know when she’s ready, I was just laying low for you guys.” I was like, um yeah, I’m ready!!!
I pushed like 3 times maybe and had her at 2:31am! It was so fast…within an hour and a half of being there!

The crazy thing too is that my water never broke..she came out in the sac..it broke naturally. Our nurse said they believed in what old cultures say about being born “under the veil” and those babies were called “caul bearers” and how intuitive they are. We looked it up and it’s so trippy! Only 1 in 80,000 are born that way! Look it up! SO interesting!
It’s all about royalty and stuff..One of the requirements to be the Dahli Lama is to have been born under the veil! crazy huh! anyway, i could go on because we started realizing there were all sorts of interesting connections with the mystery of it all. pretty cool.

Anyway, we were in complete shock that I had her so fast and that there were ZERO problems AND that I was able to do it without MEDS!!¬† YES! I didn’t tear (Didn’t with solana either) so that was great too.
Damian said that he could see how in the zone I was when he would put affirmations on, especially at the hospital. He also put on my labor music from Solana when I was pushing. It was just all around so incredible. Don’t get me wrong, it was crazy…! But so awesome regardless. I totally feel like a warrior, like I accomplished something pretty amazing. Damian was seriously in shock (mainly bc it was so different than first time) and sooo proud of me- it was so cool!

She weighed 8 lbs 7 oz!!! crazy big!! we thought solana was big- she was 7lbs 14 oz.

Sorry this was so long. I really want to thank you for everything. You really helped us so much. All your support, education, and encouragement is so appreciated.
I LOVE HYPNOBIRTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


AH! Rosy, I love your story so so much! I know you had some fears about reliving your first birthing experience over again, and I’m so thankful you were able to finally overcome that and focus on this new pregnancy, new birth, sweet new daughter! I’m glad some of the physical comfort measures that we practice in class were so helpful, and so thankful that you had the birth you were really desiring. You are quite the warrior mama, and it’s no wonder Damian is so proud of you! Thanks again for sharing. What a blessing to be a part of your pregnancy, labor (thanks for the updates!!), and postpartum experience with the placenta pills! Lots of love to your family of four!

If you are in San Diego and are interested in taking classes with me, please feel free to take a peak at my business website for more information, schedule, pricing, and other services. Thanks!



say it with me now


i am so excited about what 2013 is going to bring to my life- personally, spiritually, professionally … a lot of big milestones, big additions (both personally and professionally), and just a lot of energy about what lies ahead- i am SO on fire for all of this! last year at this time i was telling myself- i am going to see where this takes me, see if it can actually become a legitimate business! and a year later, it is. and it is continually growing into something that i never even imagined it would be … i am beyond thankful to so many families who have walked on this journey with me through their births this year- witnessing families becoming families, witnessing the first breaths of life, encouraging others along the journey through education … i am still in awe that this is my life.

but it is. and i have found IT. what so many people look for in terms of career and passion. THIS is where i am at my best, where i’m not ashamed, where i’m content yet always striving and desiring to learn more, where i know that i am following His will. not many people get to feel that way. i count myself immeasurably blessed for feeling so.

2012 was the year of keaton becoming a little boy, no longer a baby. he is smart, funny, and is learning how to make solid choices given the parameters. i am in awe of his sweet personality, and his simultaneously rambunctious nature. i can’t wait to watch him grow this year. so much lays ahead for this little man, and i trust (and pray!!) that he will handle it in stride.

i will be adding a new set of classes to my list of services in 2013, as well. this will be an exciting addition for san diego families- something that just hasn’t been available! i am looking forward to not neglecting this blog in 2013 either. i know you’ve heard it all before, but now i have a plan. my intention is 2 new posts a week. 1 personal, 1 professional. anything else is icing on the cake for you. well, for me actually. well, for all of us.

and more birth stories, lots more. i have too many sitting in my inbox! too many empowering nuggets of personal experiences to share with y’all!!


what are you looking forward to in 2013?