Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth


Coach's Class

Posted on February 19, 2011 at 5:53 PM Comments comments (0)
Thanks for your patience through all our technical difficulties.  Part 2 of the Birth Story is up!

Olivia, Cody and Baby CJ share their Birth Story  

This family was the first family to deliver from our Fall series, and they wanted to come share their story during our Coach Class.  Olivia felt that their labor would not have been what it was without Cody’s great coaching, and their Birth Story is shared in two parts via YouTube. 

Please click on the accompanying links to hear about their birth, their feelings about taking The Bradley Method® classes, sleeping during labor, coaching, and their view on the somewhat controversial baby-led vs. scheduled baby care.  

Olivia uses the word “lucky” in regards to their experience several times in the video, and you’ll see it in the answers below as well.  I see it as not just luck, but a reflection of how prepared they were:  Practice makes Prepared.  They showed up to class every week, paid attention to mom’s exercise and nutrition, and practiced their relaxation outside of class time.  All those things added to the “luck” that was with them throughout their labor and delivery.  

I transcribed the Question and Answer portion of their presentation.  I also added some notes that be of interest to reader’s who haven’t taken Bradley Method® classes.  Feel free to read all the questions, or jump to the ones that apply to you and/or interest you.  

Question:  Which hospital were you at?
Answer:  Banner Gateway – we really liked Banner Gateway.  Our Labor and Delivery room was huge – it was awesome.  Our recovery room was really comfortable.  The nurses are awesome.  There are great nurses there – everyone was really good.  
Cody:  One thing we forgot to mention [during our Birth Story] was having to get the student [nurses] out.  There were a couple of times they tried to bring students in.
Olivia:  And Cody was like, “No, sorry, get out.”  Which at that point, I didn’t care if the whole Mormon Tabernacle Choir was in there.  You really do lose modesty; you don’t care.  You’re so uncomfortable; it feels like everybody is down “there” anyway.  

Question:  This week is “Coach’s Week”.  Is there anything you want to tell the coaches that you learned from Bradley classes, what you learned through the process of labor, any recommendations?
Cody:  I know it’s a lot of pressure, but you are kind of, like, the only one there.  And I think you need to take that responsibility on for your wife to feel comfortable.  She is not going to feel comfortable knowing that there is any responsibility on her.  I think you need to take ownership of your birth plan, anything that happens; if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, that’s your job to make sure it goes the way you two have discussed.  And I would also suggest having some help there…that’s what stressed me out the most…having to go between the baby in the nursery and mom.  It would have been nice to have someone there with us, or at least in the waiting room, where you could say, “Hey, come here” so no one would be left alone.
Olivia:  Even a doula; we thought about a doula and considered it, and we were, like, we’ll try it just us.  And I think that next time, we probably will [have a doula].  It would be nice for Cody to be able to go and just leave me in the room.
Cody:  I would also say have an arsenal of what works that relaxes your wife, and go through those and be familiar with them.  If the first time you do them is when you’re in labor it’s not really going to work.  And with us, as with other couples that I heard, what worked for them the most before labor didn’t work for them in labor, so have an arsenal of things that you can use.  And also I think the most useful thing for me was knowing the signs for the stages of labor, how it progresses and helping her recognize them.  That kind of gave her confidence, that, “This is good!”
     I would also suggest taking a lot of time off of work.  I loved having just the three of us at home.  It made the whole "getting used to" having another person in the family more enjoyable.  It was a celebration of CJ being home.  I took three weeks off of work – it was really nice.  

Question:  Did you put together a “Coach Book” for yourself with some of the materials [from class]?
Cody:  I actually had little cards of the stages.  I printed up a pocket-sized version of those and reviewed them.  We actually wrote down what we would do in certain situations.  We wrote down, “We’ll be at home until we have these contractions.”
Olivia:  You know, that [student workbook] is really great. Review it as much as you can before – have it with you in your head, because you won’t forget.  You (gestured at the coaches) especially won’t forget.  You’ll get nervous, but you’ll remember.
Cody:  She did go through and mark the things we’d need to know in the moment with tabs.  We had it with us, but there was never time to look at it.
Olivia:  He did get to review it before we went to the hospital, and he was really on top of it.  He did all the homework every week…luckily, he knew what he needed to know.  

Question (from a coach):  That’s my thing is, I am worried that once I am in the moment, am I just going to blank out?
Olivia:  You won’t - you will be amazed.  It’s exciting – it’s super-exciting and you will be super-excited and you’ll remember.  You really do – you’ll be surprised how much you remember.  It’s actually funny to say this, but it’s such a natural thing – it just happens.  There were a couple of times where I was scared and that’s why it was really lucky that we know that was part of it: being scared, being a little unsure of yourself is all a part of it.  So knowing that actually made it a little more doable.  And it is doable.  People would tell me before, women that had babies naturally: it is painful, and it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but – you can do it. I am excited to try again with the next one knowing what I know now.  It makes me feel even more confident.  

Question:  How much did he weigh?
Olivia: 8.5 pounds
Cody: All the protein she ate.
Olivia:  Good stuff!  The [Brewer] diet is awesome – it’s a really great thing.  In the beginning [of the class series] I was opposed to writing down everything I was eating and annoyed with it.  Now I actually pulled out my nutrition sheet the other day and I was like, “I’m going to start doing the [Brewer] diet again!”  I felt really great eating all that protein and he’s been really healthy.
     My note: The Brewer Diet is taught by all Bradley Method® instructors.  It was developed by Dr. Tom Brewer to help pregnant women achieve optimal nutrition during pregnancy, eating a well-balanced diet from all the food groups and achieving a daily protein intake between 80-100 grams of protein. By following his dietary suggestions, research suggest that the baby’s birth and overall health outcomes are improved; while minimizing the mom’s possibility of developing pre-eclampsia or toxemia of late pregnancy. 

Statement (from a mom-to-be):  I don’t know what to expect.
Olivia: No matter who you are, it’s going to be different.  I would like to tell you what to expect, but it will be different for you.  It will be so worth it.  And if you have to use the drugs, don’t worry about it.  There were times I was so consumed with having the baby naturally that it stressed me out.  Well, what if I needed the drugs?  Just letting go of that helped.   
     My note:  The Bradley Method® classes teach couples how to ask questions regarding interventions, including drugs used during labor and delivery.  Especially if they are in a non-emergency situation, we teach that you can ask questions.  At a minimum, couples can ask “why” is an intervention indicated, that they know “what” the intervention entails, what some alternatives might be, and then evaluate whether the benefits of the procedure or drug being offered outweigh the risks to mom and baby.In addition, we talk about being prepared to make choices.  We discuss possible deviations in the course of a natural labor, and invite our couples to talk about what their choices might be as they formulate their birth plan so that they are mentally prepared for dealing with those options ahead of their actual labor. 

Closing advice from Olivia:
Regarding the end of labor:  You do get an energy surge – you think that you don’t have anything left, and then you find that you do.  And after the baby is born, there is another adrenalin rush – I didn’t go to sleep until 11:30 that night (CJ was born at 7:30 am). 

Regarding breastfeeding:  Breastfeeding is challenging.  If that’s what you are planning on doing, it’s good to take some classes.  And it’s nice to talk to other women who are doing it.  That was probably more difficult even than the delivery, was getting used to the breastfeeding.

The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Star students faced with a tough decision

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (2)
We had graduates Angie and Cody and Baby Tinsley visit our class last night.  Angie and Cody were star students, meaning that they did everything possible to stay healthy and low-risk to increase their chances for a natural birth.  

Angie was faithful in eating a well-balanced diet and eating a minimum of 75 grams of protein on a daily basis.  This kind of diet provides mom and baby plentiful nourishment and a full compliment of vitamins and minerals.  In baby, it builds strong, vital organs and body to handle the stress of labor.  For mom, it’s the best opportunity for healthy uterine tissues as it stretches to accommodate baby, as well as the energy reserves for labor.  

Angie also exercised on a daily basis.  Before she started classes, she was running every day.  After she learned some different ways to condition her body without taking the risk of undue pressure on her body, she opted for aqua aerobics for her stamina building and did her pregnancy exercises daily to strengthen the muscles she would use in labor and delivery.  

Thirdly, they were relaxation experts.  Cody would do relaxation practice every night when he got home from work.  He claimed it was the best way to get Angie to sleep after her busy days!  

Angie went into labor on Saturday morning at 2:00 am.  Tinsley was delivered via cesarean surgery on Monday afternoon.  Their total labor from start to the cesarean was 63 hours.  Although they did everything right to prepare, sometimes there are labors that end in a cesarean.  After input from their certified nurse-midwife, the parents decided to have a cesarean instead of more labor, with the prevailing thought that the most important outcome is Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.

For the full story, check the blog on Friday.  You will get to watch a video as they share their experiences with our class.  For today, here are the questions and answers between the family and our students last night.  

Question:  Were you allowed in the operating room?
Cody: They actually let me stand there and watch her come out.  They put a doughnut around mom’s skin so you can’t really see inside.  You see the midwife up here [by mom’s ribcage] and the doctor down here [by the abdominal area], and the midwife is just shoving her elbow into her stomach.
Angie: I wondered why I was in so much pain; why my ribs were in so much pain afterwards.  And he told me the midwife had her elbows on you, shoving her out.
Cody:  And how [Tinsley] shot out is just like what you see on the videos with a natural birth.  

Question: Going into the c-section, what were additional options or choices you had?
Cody:  [The midwife] told us we could wait, which we thought about it, and with how long it had been so far, we didn’t want it to get stressful on the baby.
Angie:  Like I said, when [the midwife] basically said that, and I hate to say this because I feel like I gave into what she wanted, but when she said, ” I feel like in the long run you are going to end up with a c-section, I feel like the shoulders are hitting, she’s too big, she’s not going to fit through”, and thinking now, I shouldn’t have [agreed].  I feel like I should have waited a little longer, you know? I guess, my thinking was I didn’t want to get the baby stressed, there could have been more complications because they were stressing to get her out.  But at that point there weren’t any signs of stress.  
(My note:  It is possible that Angie’s great nutrition factored into Tinsley handling 60 hours of labor without showing any signs of fetal distress.  She was strong and well-nourished, making the long labor a possibility for this family.)  

Question:  Once you said you were going to have a c-section and you were on that track, what other kinds of choice did you have to make? Cody:  We had said, if possible to put [Tinsley] to the breast, but it wasn’t possible at that time.  Also we wanted to know if I could cut the umbilical cord, and they said no.  Me being there – I was standing by [Angie's] head the whole time and they said I could stay with her – that, we got.  

Question:  Was the placenta removed as well?
Cody:  That was another [choice we had to make], the uterus being pulled out of her abdominal cavity [as part of the surgery].  We told them we didn’t want them to, because sometimes they do that.  So they pulled the placenta out all at the same time.  Right as soon as the baby came out, they took her to mom’s head so she could see her, and then me and [the nurse] went over to [the incubator] to wipe off baby’s vernix.  Then, right after that, while [Mom] was getting sewn up, we went to the nursery to give Tinsley her bath.  

Question:  Did you have double-stitching for repair?
Cody:  We did not have a birth plan for a c-section. 
Angie: It was like “that” long. (Angie gestures to show a 2” space)
Cody:  That was not allowed, basically.  We thought that everything was going to go perfectly, have the baby in 24 hours and be out.  But there was one thing we did put on there, double-stitching [the uterus], because we felt that could give us the best chance for a vaginal birth next time, if that’s what we wanted.  

Question:  Did you have a doula?  Where was she during surgery?
Cody: We did, but [the hospital] only allowed on person in [the operating room].  Our doula was out in the waiting room with the grandmas.  

Question:  Looking back now, is there anything you would have done differently?
Cody:  More walking. It caused her a lot of back pain, so we didn’t do it as much.  But we should have walked more.
(My note: In class we talk about how walking can open the inlet of the pelvis, and this can help shorten the length of labor.  Additionally, back pain while upright might indicate a posterior, or “sunny side up” baby:  the bony back of the baby’s head is against the spine causing a lot of discomfort.  There are several things that can be done to help turn the baby into an occiput anterior position, the optimal position for labor and delivery.)
Angie:  After that first contraction at 2:00 am on Saturday woke me up – literally I rolled out of bed and landed on all fours to handle that.  None of the Braxton-Hicks contractions had ever made me do that.  I should have recognized that and I should have slept that day.  Instead, I went on a two-hour walk with my mom in the next neighborhood, watching people put up their Christmas lights.  Then I showered and my mom and I went to IKEA to wander around for a couple of hours.  I should have realized sooner that I was in labor.  I think I didn’t because I have a high pain tolerance. It wasn’t until we were on the way home from IKEA and the clock in the car was in my face that I realized the contractions had a consistent pattern – about 12 minutes apart.  I should have slept on Saturday instead of doing everything I did.
     All through labor the pain was manageable – nothing made me stop in my tracks and take my breath away.  I think that it might have been everything we learned in Bradley® class – the relaxation, using abdominal breathing, working together, counting the contractions.  It did make it hard to recognize true labor, though, because I never felt like I was in pain.  

Question:  What did the epidural feel like?
Angie:  It was the weirdest feeling ever.  I felt like a whale – like dead weight when I have to be moved, like I weighed 300 pounds.  I could only move my hands.  I hated every minute of it.  For the surgery, they doubled the dose. 
Cody: The after effect was a lot of shaking, uncontrollably.  

Question:  When did they remove the catheter?
Angie: Not until the epidural wore off.  The surgery was around 5:00 pm, and they took the catheter out sometime in the middle of the night.  

Question:  How was your recovery?
Angie:  I am not going to lie to you – it was awful.  Because I was in labor so long, and the added stress of the cesarean surgery, I had a lot of fluid built up.  About a week after the surgery, they had to re-open a corner of the incision to drain the fluid. The first time they did it, I felt like my bag of waters broke again – there was that much fluid.  I had to go to the doctor three times a week for a while to the dressing changed, and then twice a week.  

Question:  How did the breastfeeding go?
Angie:  If it weren’t for Cody, we wouldn’t have made it.  He was there to help us and support us – literally. I was so engorged – there is the analogy of latching onto a balloon.  On top of that, I was so out if it – it took me three weeks to get out of what I called “the zone”.  Cody did everything to support our breastfeeding.  He would stand behind me in the rocking chair, and hold my breast – “sandwich” it like they showed us, and then hold Tinsley so that she would latch, and then he would hold the baby while she nursed. I can encourage you to stick with it, ask for help, call your Bradley® instructor – there are a lot of resources out there.  We eventually figured it out.  Cody came home from work one day and I was breastfeeding without him there – it had finally clicked!   

A big thanks to Angie, Cody and Baby Tinsley for coming to share their birth story with our students.  We appreciate their allowing us to use their experience as a "teachable moment" for our current class.

Disclaimer:  The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes
available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American
Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Writing Your Birth Plan

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (2)
We had graduates from our fall class, Elana, Dean and Baby Eli, tell us their birth story at last night’s class.  This family had an outcome that was very close to the plan they wrote using information they learned in class, research on the internet, and feedback from their care provider.

They emphasized that although you write a plan, it is also important to be flexible and make decisions that result in having a healthy mom and a healthy baby.  Here are the questions that the class asked after hearing their birth story:

1.  In response to hearing that Mom had to wait to push until the doctor arrived from her office hours:
A coach asked:  I thought your doctor would be at the hospital when you are in labor?
Answer:  It depends on your doctor’s practice protocol.  In a large practice with several doctors, there is probably a doctor on call at the hospital every day – they take turns doing 24 hour shifts at the hospital.  In a single-practitioner office, they may have a doctor they partner with so that they can have time off and do “on-call” for each other.  This particular doctor works 3 miles away from the hospital where she has privileges, and she had been in contact with the nurses’ station throughout the day to check in on Mom’s progress.  If you have a concern about who will attend your birth, clarify what your doctor’s protocol is and figure out if their protocol matches your expectations.
2.  Upon hearing that our graduates asked almost every care person that attended to mom if they had read the family’s birth plan, a student asked:  So you walk into the hospital with a piece of paper - what do you do with it?  Who do you give it to?
Answer:  You bring your birth plan with you to the hospital.  Bring several copies just in case a nurse or care provider hasn’t read it in your file before they visit you in your labor and delivery room.  If you arrive at a point in your labor that you are admitted, you give one to the triage nurse upon admission.  Keep the others with you so that you can post one in your room, and pass them out if necessary.
     A birth plan informs your care team about your wishes for a normal, uncomplicated labor.  It can also outline your wishes in the case of an emergency situation.  It also serves as a point of reference for any decisions you are faced with in your labor.  Before you were in the heat of the moment, how did you feel about the options and choices that you are faced with during labor and delivery?  This helps remind you and your care providers what your wishes are regarding your care.
     In the event that you have to deviate from your birth plan, you and your partner have probably already discussed how you feel about different options in the process of preparing your birth plan.  You are both probably in a better position to make an informed decision regarding Mom’s care.
     This couple had also outlined their wishes for baby’s care after he was born – they did express that the only person who probably didn’t read the birth plan was the baby nurse.  In the wave of emotion that they were caught up in after the birth, they forgot to ask if she had read the birth plan. Although she didn’t follow their exact wishes, they felt like baby had the best care possible given the lack of communication.
3.  After hearing Mom’s side of the story, a pregnant student asked:  So what does it feel like?  Is it what you expected?
Graduate’s Answer:  If you have ever had cramps in the abdominal area, or (sorry if this sounds gross) you have had a big bowel movement, it’s just magnified.  They are sensations you have already had, just “bigger”.  It will feel like the biggest poop in your life, but it will be such a relief, it will feel so good when you are holding your baby.  If it tells you anything, I would do it again!

Disclaimer:  The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes
available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American
Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.