Amy Duncan BEd HPCE
Thanks for visiting Birth Body and Soul. I'm Amy, a Primary School Teacher, Hypnobirthing Practitioner & Childbirth Educator and a mother of 1 precious bub. I completed my teaching degree in 2011 and have dedicated my working life to educating young minds. I have always dreamt of retraining as a midwife but I've never quite found the right time to make the move. After completing the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth program in preparation for the birth of my own baby, I knew I had found the perfect mix of education and childbirth and trained as a practitioner.
I am passionate about educating and inspiring women and their birth partners to trust their bodies and their own inner strength; to give them a voice and to provide them with the knowledge and tools necessary to birth their baby in the most positive and empowering way possible. I believe in having a strong support team where all members are valued. I place importance on the teaching of skills that are life long and that can be used throughout the navigation of parenthood.
I offer group and private Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth classes, as well as the Positive Caesarean course, on Sydney’s North Shore.
My birth story
My husband and I completed the Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth program with the wonderful Kathryn Bell (Kathryn Bell Birth Support) when I was 27 weeks pregnant. Kathryn happens to be an old friend of my sister’s so having that personal connection with her made me feel completely at ease and I knew we were in the best hands. From the moment we left the first day of the course, we had an overwhelming feeling of support and I couldn’t wait to go into labour. By the end of the second day, I knew that Hypnobirthing Australia™ had to be a part of my life well beyond the birth of our child.
The next 9 weeks of my pregnancy went by without a hitch. I had been practicing my breathing techniques and listening to the affirmations and hypnosis tracks religiously each night. It was my favourite thing to do – to get into bed early and enjoy some deep relaxation before drifting off to sleep.
At this point of my pregnancy I was down to working flexible hours and so I had decided to go right up to 37 weeks. I had just two days left before finishing up and was excited to have a couple of weeks at home before baby came. The day before I was due to finish, I had an early morning midwife appointment. The previous week I had had some monitoring in the day assessment unit and some blood tests but everything was fine and I had been cleared to go after a couple of hours. This appointment though, went in a slightly different direction. When I arrived, my midwife took one look at me, took my blood pressure and hooked me up to the fetal monitor. I knew what this was. I knew what it meant. Further urgent blood tests and discussions between my midwife, the obstetrician and the renal doctor confirmed what I already knew… pre-eclampsia. It’s funny really, when I think back to earlier in my pregnancy it was the one thing I had a feeling that perhaps I would end up with. For what reason? I do not know.
So here I was, all ready to head into work for my final days, only to have to ring my employer and tell her that I was being admitted to hospital on the spot and that I wasn’t coming back. What a way to leave! After a few more phone calls to my husband, my mum, etc. I was whisked through the doors to maternity and tucked into bed. I cried. I cried with my midwife. I cried with my husband. I cried to myself. This wasn’t how it was meant to be. I was meant to go into labour at home, to spend as much time there as possible using all the tools we had learnt – affirmations, hypnosis tracks, light touch massage, acupressure, the shower, all of it! But here I was, not sure if I was going to be induced immediately, headed for a caesarian or take the ‘sit and wait’ approach. Feeling sorry for myself would be a complete understatement of my mindset at that time. I was in for the night, at least, so I got straight onto listening to “Baby Come Out” and had my husband bring me my mandala colouring book. The beautiful mandalas reminded me so much of a lotus flower opening and I willed my body to do the same. The next morning came the decision that I could go home, but I had to go back on Sunday afternoon to begin the induction process. Induction had been the thing I focused on during the fear release in our classes, so whilst I wasn’t scared, I was disappointed. But, I also knew that pre-eclampsia was serious business and was a genuine reason for induction. So, I calmly met the turn that my birth was taking.
What followed next was something I wasn’t expecting. Whilst quietly colouring and listening to my tracks, in walked an anaesthetist. “Hi,” she said, “I’m here to talk about your epidural”. I nearly fell off the bed. “I beg your pardon?” I asked politely. “You’re booked in for an induction on Sunday so I’m here to speak to you about your epidural, it’s best if we get it started as soon as your waters have been broken”. You can imagine how the rest of the conversation went. Of the experiences of my pregnancy that I am most proud of, this one was right up there. I thanked the lovely lady and politely declined her offer. She continued with risks, levels of pain and even tried to scare me by saying I would have to be knocked out if I needed an emergency caesarian, but I stood my ground. Before she left she asked why. When I mentioned hypnobirthing, she gave a knowing smile, wished me good luck and walked out of the room. I had never felt so empowered in my life. I got straight on the phone to Kathryn, my Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner, who reassured me that this wasn’t the end of my hypnobirthing dream and that I had made a personal and informed decision about the epidural. She gave me the courage that I could still do this.
And so, Sunday came and the induction process started. My waters were broken on Monday morning and by the early afternoon I had a beautiful baby girl in my arms. The day didn’t go smoothly, nor was it what I had imagined. But I did it. I had a vaginal birth, I birthed without an epidural, I had immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, a physiological third stage and my baby girl successfully breastfed within the first hour of her life before any measurements were taken. Everything was going to be just fine. It was, and still is.
The early days were bliss, heaven, I couldn’t have asked for more. My baby girl is the most relaxed and calm baby I have ever laid eyes on. Maybe it’s her nature, which she would have got from her Daddy. Or maybe, it’s because of the wonderful preparation we undertook in the lead up to her arriving earth side. The Hypnobirthing Australia™ Positive Birth program absolutely changed what could have been a scary situation into one that was positive, empowering and a great story to tell!