Author Archives: jkragten

Laura’s Birth of James

Although I work in the medical field I felt very strongly about having a natural birth. I was terrified of the medical procedures that I have seen done in order to deliver perfectly healthy babies from young healthy moms. I was thrilled when a friend told me about her hypnobirthing experience. I called Dr. Jenn right away and signed up for the class. It was exactly what my husband and I were looking for.

My birth experience began at 1am on Thursday June 31st 2011. My husband was working a night shift and shortly after going to bed I woke up to an unusual feeling, I rushed to the washroom to then realize that my membranes had released. The surges had not started so I tried to get some sleep even though I was so excited. In the morning still no surges, my husband tried to rest and my midwife was very supportive in letting me try to get my labour to progress naturally. I listened to the rainbow relaxation tried some visualization, had a pedicure (because I knew that would keep me calm and relaxed)  but all day no surges just some very mild cramps that were very inconsistent. That afternoon I went to see Dr. Jenn for some acupuncture. By 5pm I was on my way home having regular mild crampy surges. Since it had been so long since my membranes released my midwife asked me to come to St. Josephs hospital to check on the baby. Everything was fine and my labour was progressing we returned home and I continued with hypnobirthing. I was able to sleep between surges by 3am my surges were 4 min apart and lasting 1 min so we went back to St. Joes and met up with our midwife. This is the point where time distortion took place for me, all I can tell you is while in the hospital I continued with the breathing, listening to the CD, my husband kept me calm and I rested between surges. Thanks to the hypnobirthing classes my husband knew exactly what to do and say and at 1122am on July 1st James was born. He was alert and happy from the moment they placed him on my chest. My husband and I were so happy we finally got to meet our son and we were able to bring him into this world in a calm loving way. I am happy to say we followed our birth plan no IV, no medication, no epidural and a very Sweet Baby James.

New Birth Story: Sarah’s Birth of Jackson

Here is an AMAZING HypnoBirthing story by an AMAZING girl and her AMAZING husband. I absolutely loved working with this family and almost cried when I saw little baby Jackson 11 days later! Here is a beautiful story by a girl who came to me not too sure of her birthing abilities and left the most confident woman ever!

Jackson’s Birth: March 28th, 2011

In a nutshell, my birthing experience was AMAZING! I don’t think I could have done it without the help and knowledge of Dr. Jenn’s Hypnobirthing class.

Both my husband and I never knew much about what to expect. When we learned that having a baby didn’t have to be a medical experience we were thrilled to know that there were other options out there for us. Although we had our baby in a hospital setting, we were able to have a natural birth despite all the offers for an epidural.

I was sent to the hospital to be induced. I was 11 days past my expected date of arrival. When we were told we were going to have to wait, we were somewhat disappointed, but later to have everything start all on it’s own. When I was sent down to labour and delivery, the nurses were very forward with wanting to give me an epidural. My husband (being my super supporter) explained to the nurse that we had a specific birth plan in mind and that we really wanted to stick to it as best as possible.

My labour started around 2:30am and by 9:24am my son was born. When he came out he was immediately put to my stomach and started to do the breast crawl. Not having an epidural allowed him to be alert and allowed me to be able to get up and was within a half of an hour. Just seeing how aware he was, was the most special feeling in the world for both of us. It was so special to see him respond to the sounds of our voices, he was so calm and still is right to this day!!!

Anyone can enjoy the same experience that we did if you just have an open mind and remember that in the end, nothing else matters when you get to hold your little one in your arms and become a family for the first time!!! It’s magical!!!


Why are we so afraid of birth?

When I was a little girl my Oma always told me that birth wasn’t painful. Since I believed everything she told me, I never feared childbirth. I always said I would have a natural birth and there was something inside me that told me I would be able to do it. Whenever someone would tell me a horrible birth experience, I would ignore it and think “that won’t happen to me.”

But what was that inside me that told me I could do it? I don’t like pain, I hate being sick and I’m the first one to complain about having a little cut. To me, there was something about birth that needed to be experienced.

In 2007 Ava was born at home with no issues, no complications, and actually not much pain. At that moment, I realized there is something so amazing about natural birth. The more relaxed and confident you are, the less pain there is. 3 years later I gave birth to Lily (at home) in less than 3 hours. Although more intense, I wouldn’t call it “painful.” It was pain that wasn’t painful…if that makes any sense.

I see a lot of pregnant women in my office and I feel so fulfilled when I can help prepare them for birth emotionally and through chiropractic. However, so often they express to me that they are so happy to be pregnant, so excited to meet their baby but they are so afraid of giving birth. One woman actually said she was going to “erase the whole birth part from her mind” and maybe the baby will magically appear.

I thought, what is happening with all these women? Why are we so afraid of something that is so innate to our bodies? Why do women feel their bodies are somehow destined for failure? Hundreds of years ago most births were accomplished in less than 3 hours, and birth was never a sickness or a medicalized event. The natural flow of labour was never interrupted by monitors or machines and women were never confined to a bed or told what to do during birth.

If you look at birth in the past and then you look at birth in our society today, I can understand why birth is so frightening to women. They watch tv shows where everyone is having emergency c-sections or they hear horror stories of their friends, sisters, aunts or co-workers having painful inductions, forceps delivery or episiotomies. Nobody witnesses normal birth…sometimes not even doctors. Normal birth is rare now and this is so sad to me.

Nobody realizes how important natural birth is to humans. If we interrupt birth with medications, epidurals or cesarean section we lose the flow of all the love hormones that facilitate attachment between mother and baby. Also, the more we intervene and interrupt a labouring mother, putting her into a state of fear, the more likely she won’t be able to birth properly, thus putting the baby at risk.

Look at this from an animal perspective. If a mother elephant is in labour and feels she is in danger she can actually stop her labour and allow it to re-start when she feels safe. This is the same in humans. If we are afraid of birth, we will not be able to birth normally.

If we accept birth as a normal, natural part of life…just like breathing or digesting our food then our bodies will be destined for success. All women can birth, we are designed for it, and it can be the most beautiful, empowering experience you will ever have.

Dr. Jenn

My Birth Stories…

The best thing an expectant mother can do is surround herself with positive birth stories. When we expose ourselves to thoughts about birth being a normal, natural experience it is more likely that there will be a successful outcome.

For some reason, many women (although not doing it intentionally) love to tell pregnant mothers their “birth horror stories” filled with pain, screaming and emergency situations. This is not what birth is really like. Therefore, this page of my website is dedicated to POSITIVE birth stories that are going to empower mothers.

Although this is a simple concept, I hope these stories can inspire women to achieve their own amazing births. If she is having a difficult labour, or feels like she needs to escape, my hope is she will remember these stories and be motivated to continue on.

I was changed by the births of my daughters. I do what I do today because of how beautiful and empowering my births were…

Let’s begin with my birth stories…

Ava’s Birth: August 12th, 2007

I had just graduated from chiropractic college and was so excited to finally be able to relax and wait for my first baby. I had a wonderful pregnancy (besides morning sickness which disappeared around 14 weeks), and had full confidence my body would be able to birth. After much thought, I decided I really wanted to have my baby at home, in the comfort of my own surroundings. My due date (or guess date as I like to say) was August 25th so when the beginning of August hit, I really didn’t think I could wait 3 more weeks!

The day before I went into labour, my midwife Tonya came over for my home visit and to drop off the home-birth kit. She said, “I don’t know why I’m going to leave this here…you’re not going to go into labour.” I look back and it’s almost as if our Schnauzer Winston knew it was coming, because he went into her bag and stole the headband Tonya always wears at births. It was like he wanted her to stay.

The next day we were so bored and so ready for our little princess Ava to arrive but we were told over and over that first time mothers always go overdue! I turned 38 weeks that day so I was planning to start some acupuncture to get things moving the next day…I didn’t have to!

We decided to rent a movie and just relax. About half way through, my husband decided he didn’t want to watch the movie anymore and went into the bedroom to read. Around 11:30 I thought I felt a cramp like, tightening sensation. I dismissed it as nothing…until I felt another one about 10 minutes later. I went into the bedroom and said to my husband “I think I just got a contraction!” He replied as follows…and I still laugh…

“I read the Birth Partner and it’s probably your body just getting ready for labour.” As he finished his sentence, we BOTH heard a loud “PING” and my water broke! We immediately got the midwife folder off the shelf and pulled out the sheet that said “when to page your midwife.” #1 was…if your water breaks.

After a minute or so, Tonya called us and assessed the situation. After confirming my amniotic fluid was clear and the baby was moving normally, she said to call me when my contractions were closer together. This was all happening around 12:30am.

For the next 4 hours, we were so excited. We knew it wasn’t going to be much longer before we met our first baby! We just relaxed, talked, made tea and snacks and tried to pass the time. I was coping quite well.

At around 4:30am, we paged Tonya and she said she would come over. When she arrived, she checked me and confirmed I was in active labour. She listened to Ava’s heartbeat and she was doing excellent! She told me to try to relax in the tub so that is what I did.

About half an hour later I wanted out…I needed to MOVE! I wasn’t into sitting still during my labour. I got up and walked around…a lot! Unfortunately, little Ava wanted to position herself backwards in my pelvis so I was getting a lot of back labour. My midwife suggested I try lying on my side. My labour at this point had become really intensified…but I was still coping well. She checked me again and I was still only 3cm. I was a little disappointed at that point only because the back labour was getting to me. My midwife tried some positioning tricks, rubbing and pushing into my sacrum and finally suggested trying the sterile water injections into my lower back. When she gave me the injections, that was the only really PAINFUL thing I experienced during my entire labour, the rest was just an intense tightening.

Although the water injections didn’t seem to help at first, 2 or 3 contractions later little miss Ava decided to turn into the optimal position and labour quickly…and I mean quickly got underway. All of a sudden I felt the urge that the baby was moving down. Once again Tonya checked me and I was 9cm! My body was doing it all by itself. I didn’t feel like I needed to push, I felt like my body was moving the baby out almost like a conveyor belt. All I felt I needed to do with each contraction was to relax and breathe and add to the natural pulsations that seemed to be doing the job of moving the baby down for me. I remember thinking, if I were unconscious right now, this baby would make her way out on her own!

At this point, I was in the zone. I knew where I was and was aware of what what happening but was almost “in another world.” My birthing world. I had no concept of time, it was almost as if I was in a dream. I remember my midwife calling the second midwife and quickly getting things set up. A few minutes later at 8:21am Ava arrived! It was the most amazing moment of my entire existence. The minute she was out, the second midwife Georgia came in the door. Everything was beautiful!

Within seconds they handed me this gorgeous baby. I will never forget when she looked right up at me and opened her eyes. I knew she wasn’t scared at all. It was the first moment in my entire life when the universe made total sense. I still cry thinking about that moment. I will never forget that day. I had a beautiful home-birth, uninterrupted by bright lights, machines or monitors. Just me, my husband and Tonya…and of course our dog Winston who stayed by my bedside the entire time.

Lily’s Birth: May 6th, 2010

My second pregnancy was a breeze. I felt great the entire time (sick again in my first trimester, but that’s alright). I thought, this time I’m not going to find out the sex of this baby and I will get an amazing surprise. When I hit 37 weeks, I thought for sure she would come at any moment since her sister was born at 38 weeks. I was totally ready. I adjusted my last patient (very sadly) and went home for some much needed rest. I waited…and waited. When I went over 38 weeks I started feeling “overdue!” I know…you can laugh, but I had never gone this far before. 2 days before she decided to come, I got out my acupuncture needles and visualized myself going into labour and holding my baby. It did the trick!

I woke up Wednesday May 5th around 6am with some irregular contractions. They ranged between 10 and 20 minutes apart. I thought to myself…wow…day birth? I sent my husband to school (he’s a teacher) and said I would call him if things progressed. I called my midwife and let her know I was getting some contractions and she said she would be available the entire day. So…I waited…

My husband came home from school early because all his lady colleagues sent him home because they were worried about me…so sweet. But nothing seemed to be happening. I would get contractions here and there but nothing became regular. I figured when the sun went down, things would pick up. I was right!

I didn’t feel like cooking so my mom and dad offered to have us come over for dinner. I packed Ava a little bag to sleep over…just in case. At that point, I had a “mommy radar” feeling that it was going to be the night. I was pretty excited. I started having more regular contractions at the dinner table and around 7pm I told Tom we better go.

When we arrived home, knowing how fast Ava’s birth went, I paged our midwife Tonya. She came over and assessed me. She told me I wasn’t in labour and I was only 1cm dilated, but would probably go into active labour within the next day or two. I just knew it was going to happen. So we turned on the TV, watched a few shows and tried to relax.

When the sun went down, a huge thunder storm came through and I went into full blown labour around 10:45pm. We called Tonya back and she checked me…I was in fact in labour, but was only 3cm. THIS TIME…I didn’t let that get me down. I remember with Ava 3cm to birth wasn’t too long. Tonya decided to stay. I was coping great…until back labour kicked in…however this time I knew what to do. I knew I had to move that baby through my pelvis and get her turned around.

My husband still tells people about the gymnastic type lunge I did for a few minutes, but somehow I must have wiggled her around in my pelvis because within moments she turned. After that, I felt a giant urge that she was moving down.

My legs were getting really tired from leaning against the side of the bed so Tonya suggested I sit on the birth stool. It felt comfortable at first, but my body told me I needed to be on all fours. I climbed on the bed on my hands and knees and felt she was almost crowning. My husband supported my upper body and I just let her move through. Her head emerged within moments and 1 small nudge later, at 1:23am the rest of her body slid out. I turned around to see the most beautiful little baby girl ever. Crying loud and bright pink! As soon as I picked her up she stopped crying and the universe made sense once again. I couldn’t believe I had another girl. I was so excited for Ava, I never had a sister.

Once again, the second midwife walked in just as she was born, but all was well. I had another beautiful 2 1/2 hour  home-birth that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Once again with my husband and dog Winston by my side…although this time Winston was on the bed…obviously not thinking anything was strange about the situation taking place in his house. After all, he had seen this 3 years ago. To animals, I guess birth is totally normal. I wish this was the same in humans.

After the birth we were in complete awe of what had just happened. We lied together, me, Tom and Lily, skin to skin. We made toast and some tea and it was the most calm and peaceful moment in my life – as if the world had stopped around us. Whenever I think back to that moment of bonding after birth I realize how lucky I am. It was a high no drug could ever match and a moment in a woman’s life she will remember as if it happened yesterday.

Lily is the most calm baby I have ever known. I really attribute this to her gentle entrance into the world.  She can just look at you and you know she is thinking…”life is beautiful.”

Dr. Jenn

Please feel free to email me POSITIVE birth stories, especially those that will inspire other women. I will post them on my website. I look forward to reading them….