Embracing Birth came into being from observations made by local midwife Karen Scanlen. Karen noticed shortfalls in support options and services available for pregnant and birthing women in the Newcastle and Hunter regions.

Deciding to complete a Hypnobirthing course, the initial step was made, and Embracing Birth has now become a thriving small business meeting the needs of women and their birthing partners. Hypnobirthing is the signature course facilitated by Karen. It refers to the use of hypnosis and associated techniques to let go of fear and condition ourselves to release favourable hormones during birth.

Women and their birth partners are provided with the knowledge to use a combination of breathing, relaxation, visualisation and affirmations to create an optimal environment for birth. In small groups course participants are guided with practices to use. A folio of resources and hypnotic birthing downloads is shared and experienced, filling the final weeks of pregnancy with joyous anticipation for the arrival of their new baby. Clients often state the comprehensive program provides an opportunity for couples to plan the birth they desire together as birth partners become an integral part of the experience rather than someone looking on.

The beautiful stories of many Hypnobirthers continue to fill podcasts, magazine articles and support groups surrounding pregnancy and birth. The birth of Chloe is another one of those inspiring stories. Her birth was at Newcastle Private Hospital in 2020, following an induction of labour due to medical circumstances. Thank you, Alicia and Lee, for sharing your story.

Chloe & the Colour Green
At 5:31pm on the 29th April 2020 our darling daughter Chloe was born into the world via induction amid the COVID-19 outbreak. We were recommended to consider engaging a doula to assist us with our pregnancy and birth. Karen came with high praise and when we met, she instantly made us feel at ease. We were comforted to have her by our side on our pregnancy journey.

At 28 weeks I was told that I had Gestational Diabetes and would need to start injecting insulin and to birth via induction. We were shocked and felt lost at receiving the news.

At our Hypnobirthing session with Karen.
I was able to open up, cry, and I was given great advice. Both Lee and I came away with tools to help us deal with change and prepare my mind and body for what was to come. I chose the colour green from the Rainbow Mist track as it focused on being healthy for my baby. I surrounded myself with dim green lights and a soft green blanket and I used these every day for 10 weeks while watching TV, reading and sleeping. We created affirmation cards and placed them around the house so I was always surrounded by positivity. When I think about my pregnancy now, I feel a soft, shimmering, mint green wash over me and it calms my mind and body.

Then COVID-19 arrived.
As the virus progressed and lockdown was initiated, Karen would no longer be able to be our doula but she still went above and
beyond to adapt her services and make sure we felt prepared. At 4pm on the 28th April at the hospital I had Cervidil tape inserted and removed at 7:30am the next day. We dimmed the lights, put on quiet music and I hugged my green blanket, bathed in green light. At 8:30am my waters were manually broken, and the Oxytocin drip was put up. My body now did what it was made to do, and I started breathing through the surges. Through each surge I pictured the idea of riding a bicycle uphill and coasting down the other side. This allowed me to focus on the surges and time just slipped by until 4PM.

Karen said that Hypno mums often go within and labour calmly, with midwives often being surprised at just how far they have progressed, we just never imagined that it would happen for us. Up until this point I had been breathing analgesic gas to sooth the peaks of pain and I had attempted to have a warm shower. Now the surges became so intense that I enquired about stronger pain relief and an epidural was agreed upon. Before the anaesthetist came to the ward the midwives checked my progression and full dilation had been achieved, they were surprised that our baby was already on her way and that it was too late for pain relief.

Our obstetrician arrived.
After 45 minutes of bearing down, Chloe arrived at 5:31pm. Lee, being so calm and informed, had the confidence to hold onto Chloe as she was delivered. It was a proud moment for him to bring her up onto my chest for my first glimpse of our baby girl and smiling to each other as a new family. I still keep in touch with the mothers and beautiful girls birthed from our Hypnobirthing class and it has been amazing to see them all grow and change together.