We attended a SoundBirth session with Nicole and bought a crystal singing bowl when my wife was pregnant with our first child almost 4 years ago. The crystal singing bowl has always resonated with me. When it was my turn to have our second child, I was struggling to get pregnant. I was using the crystal bowl to try and stay calm and relaxed during the IVF process. On the super moon 2016 I went to a women's circle full moon sound session where I met Nicole again. The session was amazing. I had three rounds of IVF and was on my fourth when the session was on. Soon after the sound session I was pregnant!
I always intended on using the crystal singing bowl during labour. Leading into the last few weeks of my pregnancy I read the SoundBirth booklet again. I had played with a few tones while playing the bowl and was looking forward to toning during labour but I wasn't 100% sure what that would look like...I just trusted my instincts would be there on the day.
I didn't use the bowl during early labour which for me was 24 hours ... I used acupressure. My early labour was too intense to sleep through but I tried to rest as best I could. I started using the bowl when my contractions got to about 1 min long and 3 minutes apart. I played with a few different tones and used the word "lam" (for the base chakra) along with the bowl. For the next 6.5 hours I "lam'ed" to every contraction.
We laboured at home with my wife, our 3 year old, a dear friend, 2 amazing midwives and a beautiful photographer. By the end everyone including our 3 year old had played the bowl. It was the most incredible and intense experience I have ever had. Toning with the bowl gave me something to focus on. It broke the labour up into singular contractions. I would tell everyone when the contraction was about to start and someone would play the bowl for me until that contraction ended. My toning was so loud in my head but after I found out that it was controlled and not loud at all.
Yes I did ask my midwife at one point, "how much longer!!!" But never thought, "I can't do this" or "I need drugs" or "take me to the hospital" because the bowl kept me present and grounded. I felt safe and calm during the contractions. I did however at one point turn around to my wife and say I don't remember your labour being so painful! I truly believe without the bowl my labour would have been unbearable. I am generally an over thinker but as I said the bowl and toning gave me a singular present focus. I also love the sound the crystal singing bowl makes.
Thank you Nicole for doing what you do. I can't recommend the crystal singing bowl and SoundBirth enough!
Investing in a bowl from SoundBirth was by far one of the best choices I have made to have a great birth experience for myself and my husband.
While expecting our third child I thought a SoundBirth would allow my husband and I to connect during my labour. My last two births Daniel was really a bystander as I didn’t want him touching or interacting with me. I was in my own bubble as they say. I LOVED the sound and the feeling you get from the bowls and thought it may be something Daniel could do to help and participate in the birth.
What we got from the bowls during my labour was so much more than what I was expecting. My contractions started while I was listening to Daniel play the bowl. This was something we had been doing at night to relax. An hour later I was having a few strong contractions but they were very irregular. We started playing the bowl at 11.20pm. Daniel started playing the bowl as I had a contraction. I instinctively started making an mmmmmm humming sound during the contraction. It felt amazing, my body felt like it was floating and the pain would almost disappear. After that contraction I completely could understand what Nicole from SoundBirth had been talking about with her own birth experience. It was by far the best natural pain relief I had experienced. It then became quite intense having contractions 2-3 mins apart. It felt as if toning to the bowl had turned a switch and my body went into full birthing mode.
Daniel had become a huge focus and wasn’t allowed out of my sight. I needed him to play the bowl during each contraction as it was giving me so much relief. At times Daniel would miss the start of my contraction as he was trying to also fill the birth pool. The contractions would be so much more painful and intense if I wasn’t toning with the bowl. We used the bowl for what would of only been 20 – 30mins but I was having back to back contractions during most of that time. During each break I was so thankful for Daniel and the bowl. It was unbelievable the difference when using it.
Just before 12am I felt that things were a lot further along than we had thought before playing the bowl. I got into the birth pool and knew I was going to be giving birth soon. At this time I asked Daniel to stop playing. I started pushing and not long after I delivered a beautiful baby boy at 12:02am. He was so calm after birth he went back to sleep on my chest. It was the gentlest, calm birth and I feel without the bowl the intensity of such a quick/intense labour (I had experienced a quick labour before with my first son) I wouldn’t have felt the support and relief I needed and welcomed this time.
Watch Angela speak about her amazing experience on the Exploring SoundBirth video testimonial
When Nicole asked if I would like to borrow a crystal bowl for my birth, I agreed instantly. I had never used one before but the bowl was so beautiful and the idea appealed to me as I had found singing during my last birth very helpful.
My three children were in awe of the bowl and took turns practicing for the birth day.
The contractions started just after midnight, the day after my due date, and we prepared the birth room, filling the pool and lighting the candles. The contractions came fast and strong and I almost forgot about the bowl, but my eldest son brought it into the room and began to play. He listened closely to me and played as I sang my gorgeous baby girl, Amelie, out into the world after an amazing 2 hours, with only 6 minutes of pushing!
The birth was exceedingly beautiful and the bowl such a part of this, I would highly recommend it to every birthing woman.
Shane and I found it to be a very bonding experience not only for us and our baby, but for each other as a whole. The experience opened up new conversations about each of us, and we learn more, and more ways to connect in turn better for our baby.
Being very anxious when first coming to the information night about my pregnancy by the end of the sessions I felt much more at ease and by letting go, in control with tools to deal with the unknown being our first pregnancy.
On completion of the course its great to use the CD to continue practicing the techniques and I have found the doing them when I wake up and though out the day I feel more at ease and my blood pressure has come down also.
I have also had comments saying that I am looking better.
Nicole was very easy to connect to, and made us feel very comfortable and safe. We had a few good laughs which are good for the soul also. We totally recommend 'SoundBirth' and look forward to using it in November
when the birth of our lovely baby is due.
Thank you Nicole. Renee and Shane with Love.
Wow, I am so happy that I did the step on searching for crystal bowls during labor, and even happier that I had found you, even though you live on the other side of the world!
On October 1st 2013 I came from work and my children brought me a small box and at first I didn’t know what it was until I looked at the return address and it said Australia! Your CD had arrived! I did my routine duties (as my youngest calls it lol). Got the children to bed, ate, and did one of my Statistics assignment. While actually still working on the assignment, my water broke. That was at 10pm. I let my Midwife (Liz) know and she said to get rest, but instead I started cleaning and listened to the CD. Went to bed at 1am, slept till 5:50pm and woke up with some mild contractions. Liz came by to check on me and the baby. Contractions had stopped; I did some errands, made a cake and some food for Midwife, Doula and the others for the long labor ahead.
I contacted Shar (my friend who plays the crystal singing bowls) to let her know today is the day and that I will let her know to come over once it is closer. I was afraid that it might not work out, since we were supposed to meet on the 4th for some SoundBirth practice.
At 1pm my contractions were anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds. Midwife came at 3pm and decided to stay, I was able to do things around the house and stop while having a contraction. My back started to hurt and the birth ball was so uncomfortable that I decided to get into the birth pool at 5:55pm (great number), contractions were stronger as well. By this time, my doula and Shar have arrived as well. Shar set her bowls up near the birthing pool.
I sat down inside the pool, feeling a little scared, having people surround the pool, and look at me. But I felt at ease since they were all woman. But what I decided to do was that I sat on that raised part and the pool, had my legs spread apart and relaxed my whole body and closed my eyes. Shar started as well with her crystal bowls and I know from past experiences that crystal bowl meditation is one of my favourite mediations. I sat in the pool, meditating for 15 minutes, breathing through my contractions, and listening to the bowls.
It was so helpful, having the bowls there, I truly believe they helped me in opening up and relaxing like I’ve never relaxed before.Sitting there for 15 mintues, I felt a shift, I knew something changed. I went on all fours, then held on to the side of the pool and I knew this was it… the peak of labor. At one point I wanted to yell out “I can’t do it!”, but I remembered the toning so just let out a deep moan and then again during the next contraction. Then I felt the babies head come out! I waited one more contraction and she was born at 6:20pm.
I truly believe that playing the crystal bowls had made a change, (especially her playing the sacral one). Since I had a traumatizing childhood I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to let go of the past and I didn’t want to tense up during my first home birth. It was truly amazing! We also did not know the gender, so it made it even more precious after we found out she was a GIRL.
Now, as for my husband and children (all boys). He was the runner and he wanted us woman to be in peace, so he was watching the boys and helped the Midwife get some things she needed, while I was in the pool. I felt like I was in a tribe, with all woman and the bowls .
Sandra Golaszewski, Texas
Mother of 4
When organising my home birth I looked for many tools to help me with pain relief and stay away from the hospital and using drugs in my labour such as massage, oils and my birthing pool. Lucky for me I found Nicole and SoundBirth just one day before my EDD. Little did I know I would go over my EDD by two weeks, so I had plenty of time to listen to her CD and practice “singing my baby to me.” If I hadn’t discovered SoundBirth and Toning and the crystal singing bowls I believe that my labour would have gone very differently.
My daughter was mal-positioned and my labour was very slow to progress and establish and the first two nights I laboured it was just me and the singing bowls. They kept me focused, relaxed and sane in the early hours of the morning. By the third night my contractions where demanding so much of my attention I had to put the bowl away (my friend who was going to play it for me hadn’t arrived yet) but the toning alone made every contraction almost enjoyable. I could see it coming, start toning tone through its peak and feel it gently fade as my voice did to.
The next day my midwife laboured with us all day and she said “if a contraction had a sound it would be the sound of the Crystal singing bowl.” I couldn’t put it more perfectly myself. Unfortunately the labour still wasn’t progressing so we made the decision on the fourth night to go to the hospital as I felt like I was beginning to lose it. Here they offered me gas and I took it. It was HORRIBLE! With the toning I owned every contraction and felt its ‘strength’. With the gas I lost all control and the contractions felt like waves of drowsy PAIN that where happening to me rather than with me.
Unfortunately in the end my baby was deliver by emergency caesarean and I wasn’t able to achieve the home birth. But if I hadn’t found Soundbirth I would never have been able to labour as long or as hard as I did and I would have ended up at the hospital much sooner losing any power over my body and my labour. Also, I never would have felt comfortable toning or making any other noise in my labour and my contractions would have never felt so enjoyable. I was able to labour at home for four amazing days and got everything out of my labour I had hoped for and can honestly say I didn’t feel any pain with my contractions while I was toning. I was just carrying myself along with the contraction rather than fighting against it.
I will be going for a VBAC next time and Soundbirth will again be my primary pain relief. I can’t say enough good things about Nicole and Soundbirth and the Crystal singing bowls. I can only tell you that you should find out for yourself and you will have an amazing labour and birth experience.
I had hoped for a natural birth at home, however, my first son was induced due to pre-eclampsia. The doctors had told me I may not be able to dilate as I have cervical scarring from a previous procedure. A number of times throughout labour my baby and body went into distress so we were put on a short time frame to dilate. Using the crystal bowl and toning taught to me by Nicole Lloyd I was able to “get in the zone” to focus and visualise full dilation, in spite of the pressure and hospital sounds that were going on around me. We did successfully dilate and I had the vaginal birth I was hoping for.
I had a very difficult and long labor. Hoping, and well prepared for my natural birth, I finished by having a 40 hour labour ending in a Cesarean. Looking back at it I think apart of the presence of my husband and my friend, it was the crystal singing bowl that gave me strength, courage and capacities through those difficult hours. If I give a birth to another child I will use a bowl again.
I had the privilege recently to be involved with a labouring woman in hospital whom I shall call Amy. Amy had a great attitude, a wonderful support crew and a beautiful large crystal singing bowl.
As Amy's labour got going, the support crew took it in turns on the crystal bowl to easily generate a beautiful deep, rising vibration in the room that was very relaxing and hypnotic like. It was clear to me that this was very helpful for Amy in getting through each contraction. As the contractions became stronger, the calmer Amy seem to become. She was easily able to take herself to a peaceful place with mindful breathing and meditation. The beautiful low tone of the mesmerising singing bowl helped keep Amy in what I like to call the 'labour zone'. The atmosphere in the room was one of peace, harmony and there was the easy flow of laughter and joy.
Everyone took turns playing the crystal bowl and Amy made us laugh as she protested if there was a break in the sound.
The big stand out thing for me on a personal level is that when I went home after a 9 hour shift, I felt totally energized which is unusual. I felt so uplifted and alive and I was still wide awake and buzzing at my usual bed time! I realized that it must have been the vibrations in the birth room from the crystal singing bowl.
It would be worth investigating what the crystal singing bowl could do for you, not only in labour but for pregnancy relaxation and vitality. I think that perhaps it is also great for life in general.
Susan Krachler (Registered Midwife)
From the very first encounter I had with the Crystal Singing Bowls, I knew that I needed to have one as a tool to help “my ladies” in their labours. It just made sense to me, as a labour and birth companion.
Very easy to use, and very easy to “teach on the spot” to dads or other birth attendants, its a tool that anyone present at a birth can use, freeing up the doula to physically support her lady when called upon.
Bringing the bowl into hospital was an interesting experience. Many of the midwives and doctors asked questions about it, and one midwife commented that she felt it relaxed the whole room. My observation of my labouring lady was that it definitely did relax her, and it helped create more of a “sacred space” for her in an unfamiliar and intimidating place. Toning along with the bowl certainly seemed to help achieve our hoped-for outcome in a time when we were “racing against the clock”.
In a homebirth situation, it was wonderful to be able to simply hand the wand (striker) over to dad so the bowl could keep being played while labouring mum needed my physical support. The bowl was only played for an hour in that situation, and that certainly seemed to be the time when a lot of progress was made.
I feel my bowl is in invaluabale tool in “my doula bag”, having seen the benefits of having it present in a variety of birthing situations.
Maxine (birth doula)
At my Mum’s homebirth, I was the one in charge of playing the bowl, and it was surprisingly easy to use. It was a great way to help share the birthing experience with her and my family. It helped soothe her and it felt wonderful being able to help in some way. Playing the crystal bowl at my Mum’s birth, in my opinion, was a great way to help out.
Jacob (Age 12)
My beautiful friend Nicole asked if I would be there for the birth of her third daughter Kira. She was planning a water birth at home. I was thrilled to have been asked and couldn’t wait!
Nicole started labor late in the afternoon, she called to let me know her progress. At around 7 o’clock she asked me to come over. We all managed to sleep for an hour or so before labor started in earnest. Nic’s Mum was there, as well as Steve and the girls.
Nicole asked me to bring one of her crystal bowls into the birthing room, she knew exactly which one she wanted ’and needed. Nic’s Mum played the bowl through the first few contractions. When she left the room at the next contraction, Nicole demanded that someone play the crystal bowl. I started playing slowly and softly as the next contraction came. I watched and listened to stay in tune with where Nic was at in her contraction. As she peaked I played faster and louder. As the contraction subsided so did I.
After a while I respectfully asked Nic if she wanted me to keep playing ( I didn’t want to be annoying or hindering her progress in any way.) She gave me a definite YES! We went on through the night, me playing and Nic laboring. She made the usual laboring noises and they were in tune with the sound of the bowl. I felt as if I was right there with her through every contraction. She felt like I was there holding her hand…that she was not alone. Kira was born just as the sun peaked over the horizon. We were all there to welcome her.
Nicole’s home birth was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life so far. I feel honored to have been there and honored and grateful that Nicole allowed me into her personal space as I played the crystal bowl. I will never forget the night of Kira’s birth.
Janet (Nicole's friend!)
Since the workshop I have really embraced increasing the amount of music in our home. I have been re-inspired to play the native American flute. I got Tony playing the drums and me toning/chanting along with it, have created a little lullaby and have been singing it and playing along on the piano every day, and I have acknowledged my fear of making strange noises during labour.
Shane and I found the SoundBirth workshops to be a very bonding experience not only for us and our baby, but for each other as a whole. The experience opened up new conversations about each of us, and we learn more, and more ways to connect in turn better for our baby.”
Being very anxious when first coming to the information night about my pregnancy by the end of the sessions I felt much more at ease and by letting go, in control with tools to deal with the unknown being our first pregnancy.
On completion of the course its great to use the CD to continue practicing the techniques and I have found that doing them when I wake up and throughout the day I feel more at ease and my blood pressure has come down also. I have also had comments saying that I am looking better.
Nicole was very easy to connect to, and made us feel very comfortable and safe. We had a few good laughs which are good for the soul also. We totally recommend ‘SoundBirth’ and look forward to using it in November when the birth of our lovely baby is due.
Thank you Nicole and team
Renee and Shane
…..we loved it!!! I can especially talk of my own feelings on this, as I have perhaps done 20 hours of baby and birth related ‘courses’ so far and yours was by far more ‘worthwhile’ than all the rest put together!!!!
I loved your class and I think it provided the group with very valuable information, awareness and exposure to tools that will help them in everyday life as well as during labour and birth. I especially loved the practical side of playing all the different bowls and experiencing the “sound bath” from you at the end.
Bronwyn (student midwife)
Yesterday my friend Saani greeted me at the door with four stunningly beautiful and glorious sounding Koshi Chimes and I just have to tell you all about them. These simple but elegantly designed chimes each produce an amazing and unique synergistic chord, aptly named after the four elements.
The sensations I felt through my body when I first attended a SoundNutrition Session with Nicole from SoundBirth and the Koshi Chime was played over me, were nothing I have ever experienced before or since and really gave me a sense of the power of sound to move body energy as well as connect mind, body and spirit.
Saani took me to that session when I was battling an infection post surgery in February of last year and then arranged a private session with Nicole after my first IVF transfer. Funnily enough it was the day before I was due to have my pregnancy test and I was really struggling to hold it together. I was trying my best to remain hopeful but inwardly was sure that the test, like so many others I had taken in the past, would be negative.
Once again the Chimes and the Crystal Singing Bowls astounded me with their effect! I felt an unbelievable shift in energy across my entire pelvic region the memory of which will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was frankly indescribable and well, we all know how that turned out (positive)!
I don’t tend to delve too much into the esoteric. My New Ageiness tends to be limited in scope to Natural Health, Herbalism, Body Therapies etc. Things that are pretty rooted in either the physical and or the emotional but in one way or another pretty tangible. So for me to feel that Crystal Bowls, Koshi Chimes and Sound Therapies generally have merit I have to have experienced something physically and or emotionally, some sort of shift that could reach my awareness on a physical level or else I kind of just put it down to ‘nice to do but of questionable actual benefit’.
There is no doubt though that music and sound in general has a power over the human body, mind and spirit. How often do we feel compelled to move when we hear a particular song? Children especially exhibit this, particularly before society has taught them to be self conscious about singing and dancing. Singing and learning to use my voice, and subsequently learning piano and guitar has been of great benefit to me in dealing with years of infertility, so it makes logical sense that sound should play a part in my pregnancy and the birth of this miracle baby. Serendipitous I would say.
I’ve been blessed with lots of gifts over the last nine months. At my Baby Shower I felt awkward about presents so we made it a no present event. Gifts came anyway and were thoughtful and special and very welcome. Even my broken leg was a gift as friends and family gathered to support me and help me through it in so many ways and showed me how loved I am. It also forced me to slow down and rest. I had no choice and though it was maddening at times, it was a necessary part of the healing process. I am learning to accept help and ask honestly for what I need, it is an ongoing journey but I’m making progress I think.
Thank you to all my beautiful friends and family for everything you bring to my life, and thank you Saani for my wonderful chimes.
Kirsty MacDonald, 10/7/13
(This was taken from an e-mail Kirsty wrote to her friends during her pregnancy. She gave birth to her baby boy in July 2013)