THANKS Santa Baby - Opti-mum Gifts Your 2017

Opti-mum have recently celebrated our 1st Birthday. We couldn't have done it without you all and this has resulted in a swag of beautiful, powerful and most importantly mindful birth stories. 

Having had a year of incredible feedback and humbling support, we have chosen to restructure and return the gift, making our exclusive midwife and educator facilitated courses more accessible. 

We are now offering the 2 day Birth Journey for $300 (was $450) and the 1 day Birth Skills (Essential Elements) for $200 (was $240) ... OR a combined package of $400. You can choose one or both courses as it suits. Birth Journey is intended for early pregnancy and Birth Skills for closer to the time of baby's arrival.

We recognise that historically Antenatal Education has been free (government funded) in New Zealand however that climate has now entirely changed and all expectant and subsequent parents can choose to invest in their education. Thankfully our approach is fresh, enjoyable and for many, a game-changer.

At Opti-mum we believe that the quality of your journey depends on the quality of the information you receive and as health professionals we have heard many times, "why doesn't birth come with a manual?" and "we didn't know that we didn't know!" We agree that in this modern fast paced world it should and you can, so these courses are designed to be your 'who, how to, why, what and when'. Our feedback suggests that Opti-mum graduates leave feeling calm, confident and excited about their journey. 

Our unique and evidence based approach explains why our Opti-mumma's say these pregnancy and birth workshops are "priceless", "worth every cent" and "skills for life, not just pregnancy" so we look forward to another year ahead where we gift our selves and those around us with presence. 

Yours mindfully

KeiShana & Lorna

In the Depths of Winter - Birth Story by Nina

Gradually over the course of my pregnancy I developed a very clear fantasy of the perfect birthing experience. 

In the depths of winter there is a dimly lit, cosy room with a wood burning fire roaring, the comforting smell of peppermint wafting through the house.  The birthing mother would be calm and strong and surrounded by a small group of supportive, caring people. There would be no fuss and no fear.  The mother would have complete control over her experience, which would be the perfect length, not too long and not too fast.  After relaxing between surges in her birthing pool, she would move to the perfect spot in front of the fire and birth her beautiful healthy baby.  Afterwards the mother, father and new baby would hunker down in their warm cosy cave of a lounge, eat nourishing food and rejoice in the amazing experience that just happened.

I also was holding onto the experience of birthing my first child. A very long drawn out labour of a posterior positioned baby. A brightly lit hospital environment, surrounded by a medical team who took all of the control and failed to communicate what was happening to us. I was also holding onto the feeling of failure because although I had practised hypno-birthing, I had caved and asked for an epidural.

And afterwards, being left so exhausted that other people had to hold my new baby because I kept falling asleep and holding her seemed reckless.

These two scenarios seemed worlds apart and in reality I was just hoping for an experience that fell somewhere in-between.

The day that Albi decided to arrive was this gorgeous sunny winters day.  It was school holidays and my sister and her family where visiting and had come round along with my parents to have lunch with me.  After lunch they took my eldest child off for an adventure on the tram and left me in peace to work on my latest quilt.  10 minutes after they left I realised what I thought were some Braxton hicks were actually surges and I was in early labour.  I called my mum and asked her to come back to keep me company and called my husband Tim to come home.  I spent the next couple hours chatting to my mum and breathing through my surges, while Tim set up the birthing pool and lit the fire.

As the surges got stronger I asked for the curtains to be closed and the pool to be filled.  I was supported by either my mum or Tim through each and every surge, I was never on my own and never felt out of control.  Eventually the surges were strong and close together and my mum our midwife.  She arrived so quickly and hot on her heels came my back up midwife.

She examined me and found I was 7cm dilated and after a brief stint in the bathroom I was then helped into the birthing pool.  Can I just add in here that pool felt amazing!  I stayed in the pool and worked through the surges and eventually my body changed from breathing through them to pushing with them.  We did this for a while until I was examined again and found that I was 9cm dilated but a sneaky little cervical lip was in the way.  It was suggested that I should get more grounded click here to learn about Earth as one of the Essential Elements to Birth to work through this and I moved from the pool to leaning against a footstool in front of the fire.  I was starting to find the surges felt intense in my back as I was breathing through them waiting for that lip to get out the way.  My magical midwife massaged the most amazing geranium smelling oil to my back as well as a heat pack. I had been in active labour for 4 hours.  My water finally broke and I started pushing again and in less than 30 minutes I gave birth to a healthy 3.96kg boy.  4 minutes later I birthed the placenta without really realising it was happening.

Once we were all cleaned up and sorted out and the midwives had done all the checks and care that they needed to and had left, Tim, Albi and I hunkered down on the couch with The Tour of France on the TV and hot bowls of vegetable soup to eat.

When I recount the birth of my second child I can now say…

In the depths of winter there is a dimly lit, cosy room with a wood burning fire roaring, the comforting smell of geranium wafting through the house.  I was calm and strong and surrounded by a small amazing group of supportive, caring people. There was no fuss and no fear.  I had complete control over my experience, which was be the perfect length, not too long and not too fast.  After relaxing between surges in the birthing pool, I moved to the perfect spot in front of the fire and birthed my beautiful healthy baby boy.  Afterwards we hunkered down in our warm cosy cave of a lounge, ate nourishing soup, rejoiced in the amazing experience that just happened and watch cycling on TV.


A Snapshot of Mindfulness

Greetings and welcome to this new addition to our website. We have just celebrated the first birthday of Opti-mum and decided to celebrate with you all by launching a blog that will provide some clarity around how mindfulness fits in to the world of childbirth.  As midwives and mindfulness practitioners we are offering a fusion of innovative and  creative antenatal education from a mindfulness perspective. 

We are aware of how trendy the concept of mindfulness is currently, which might lead you to think that it is a new thing. It is in fact an ancient practice that is associated with multiple cultures and religions for millennia. Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Maori and others all record the use of mindfulness in one form or another within their narratives.

All of these cultures have had contemplative practices that  intentionally focus on the present moment in order tocreate a mind body connection.  This is applied by using a combination of the breath, awareness of the senses and recognition of how our thoughts and emotions can influence our physical state. The by product of this practice is a quieting of the mind, a reduction in stress levels and an increase in our physical, emotional and mental health. These are critical factors that can have a positive impact on the woman, her partner and the baby during a pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.

Mindfulness has been extensively evaluated in large research trials which have continually demonstrated significant health benefits for a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions. Our Opti-mum courses combine the art of mindfulness with the science of physiology to create a comprehensive programme for you as parents-to-be, whether you are not yet pregnant or currently expecting your fifth baby.

If we have inspired a sense of curiosity, then click here to watch our recent presentation (performance) from the Pecha Kucha evening at the Christchurch Art Gallery.