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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

NEW Birth Stories

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 9:37 AM Comments comments (0)

I will not be posting a Monday Mantra today.  SB1157 passed through the Health & Services committee on a party-line vote.  During my "writing time" I will be participating in a meeting this morning to plan the next steps to kill the bill.  I look forward to sharing an update tomorrow.

NO THANK YOU to the Republicans on the committee.  
Big Props to the Democrats who stood for women's rights. 

In the meantime, please feel free to peruse some of my favorites from our archives:

Pregnancy:
Chocolate Can Be A YES

Birth:
5-Step Plan for Labor
10 Wishes for Your Birth and Beyond

Postpartum:
Top 10 Postpartum Tips

NEW Birth Stories to share with you:





Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson




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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.



5 Step Plan for Labor

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 4:28 PM Comments comments (21)
Here are Dr. Bradley’s "Keys to Labor", as per his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth.  I love these simple steps – they could almost be considered a “recipe” for labor.  

If you follow these steps, you can figure out if you are in “real” labor.  If you are not, somewhere along these steps, your contractions will fizzle out.  And if they do, mama has eaten well, slept, and hopefully had a good nap so that you are rested for the next round of contractions when they begin again.  If you are in labor, you will go through these five steps and discover that despite the change in activity and positions, your contractions are progressing.  Now you can get excited because you will be meeting your baby sooner than later.  And then, settle down to "work", because labor is definitely an athletic event, albeit one of the most rewarding ones ever!
 
Eat
  • Mom should eat the kind of food she is hungry for: a meal, a snack, or a nibble, depending on where she has progressed in labor. 

A laboring mother should eat to her appetite.  Early in labor, she may be ready for a full meal.  We have students who go out to breakfast after they know they are in labor just to pass the time away.  If she is hungry, feed her accordingly.  As labor progresses and the body starts to divert bodily functions exclusively to labor and birth, you will see her appetite wane.  Later in labor, maybe she will want a bite of something – and definitely not the full meal she was requesting before.  If labor has been on the longer side and she is refusing food, or if she is being denied food and she is still hungry, you may consider clear broths for the dual purpose of an energy boost and hydration.

Drink
  • Mom needs to be drinking every hour.  Whether she wants a full glass, a few sips, or ice chips – keep her hydrated.
 
Dr. Bradley wrote in his book that a mother should “drink to thirst”.  We now know that thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  It is best to keep mom hydrated by offering her a glass of water every hour in the early stages of labor.  Again, as labor progresses, she may not want that full glass of water.  You can offer her a sip of water after every contraction, or maybe ice chips will be better.  Some mothers may even prefer sucking on a damp cloth.

Walk
  • At a good pace to rock baby down and encourage labor to progress.
 
Walking is a great way to speed up labor.  It is always a great way to work yourself into exhaustion.  You need to gauge how it’s working for your particular labor.  When you walk, are the contractions getting harder, longer and stronger?  If walking is not having that effect on your labor, then maybe you should just go for a 20-30 minute walk to labor baby down into the pelvis and exert some pressure on the cervix to encourage it to dialate, and then move on to the next step.  If walking is clearly making your labor progress, go for it.  You could walk until mom needs more help with relaxation besides reassuring words and counter-pressure.

Shower
  • Water has been called the “midwife’s epidural”. A warm shower or bath can do wonders to ease the intensity of labor.
 
Water has an incredibly relaxing effect.  It can literally wash the tension away.  Some mothers may like the full submersion and weightlessness in a birth tub.  Other mothers may prefer the soothing sound and the sensation of water flowing down her body.  If your birth place has the equipment, try both and see what works for her.  You may want to consider limiting your use of water to an hour at a time if mom is in the tub.  See THIS article from Penny Simkin for more information about how to use water in labor.

Nap
  • Now that Mom has fueled, hydrated, moved baby, and eased tension, do a relaxation exercise to ease her into a rest period.  An unmedicated mother *will not* sleep through the birth of her baby.
 
Mom has done everything she can to ensure a healthy, low-risk labor. She has nourished and hydrated her body as it prepares for the athletic event of birth.  She has walked to move baby and help dilate the cervix.  She has used water to dissipate any tension she may have been holding onto.  Now it’s time to encourage her into a side relaxation position, or which ever other position is comfortable enough for her to enter a state of deep relaxation.  Optimally, you want the mother to get a good sleep.  If it’s nighttime, then maybe she can sleep through the night, or until her contractions wake her up again.  If it’s during the day, hopefully she can get a decent nap.

You can definitely follow this labor pattern over and over, until the mother is unable to sleep anymore because she is going through transition, and/or having the urge to push.  It is definitely a way to manage labor without additional pain relief.  The love and support of an invested coach, replenishing energy, and rest can go a long way for a family to have a natural birth.

If you liked the way you labored, what was your recipe for success?

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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.


Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Dr. Bradley's Keys to Labor

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)
We saw that one of our mamas from our Fall class is in labor...so exciting!  I thought today would be a great day to share these instructions Dr. Bradley left for laboring mothers in his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth.

Here is a written version:


Here is a visual version:

I hope that one of them will be a great reminder for what you can do to have the energy you need to see your labor through from beginning to end when it's your turn.  I will write more about the principles behind these bullet points tomorrow :)


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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.


Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Commit to the Birth

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)
I have this poster pinned to my Pinterest Natural Pregnancy/Birth Board.  As we draw to the close of another Bradley Method® class series, I thought today was a great day to share this "pledge".  Do you love the way it takes the pressure off of the outcome, and focuses more on the journey??  That's what makes it a great mantra for me.

It is so important to remember that your birth is Your Birth.  The decisions you make are yours to live with.  Are you at a decision point?  Then make the choices that serve you, and don't pre-judge your choices with the filter of, "what will people say", or, "this means I am a failure".  Your care provider, your nurse, your "others I want to impress", they are not going to live with your choices.

You and your partner will live with this experience for the rest of your life.  Even if you don't get everything on your Wish List, you can approach your birth as a team.  You can decide to give your baby the birth that they need, whatever that means for your family.  Some families will have a textbook Bradley™  birth, some couples may choose to use an epidural appropriately and at the right time, others may welcome their baby via a cesarean birth.  In the end, how they arrive is just part of the story.

How you feel about that birth journey is going to depend on you.  Did you feel like you were listened to?  Did you feel like your dignity as a human being was honored?  Do you look back and see how you and your partner used your education about birth to ask the right questions, evaluate your options, and make the choices that were right for your family *in that moment*?  Is their someone on your birth team that will be your voice when you can't talk anymore...and do they know that is their role?

No matter how your baby arrives, YES answers to those questions can make many different birth scenarios empowering and fulfilling.  Knowing that you trusted your instincts and made the best possible choices for your birth, allowing yourself to adjust your expectations, be present, and let your labor be a labor filled with love...at the end of the day, those are the things that will matter as you look back at your experience.

Wishing you a Happy Birth-Day, Fall Class of 2013!!  (And to anyone else who finds this message encouraging and timely!)

What was important to you during your labor?
Was there anything that made you feel honored as a birthing mother?
Please leave a comment - it will be moderated and posted - thank you!

Note on the image: I tried finding the source listed on the image.  www.birthwares.com looks like it is no longer up - you can visit the wordpress site http://birthwares.wordpress.com/ to read more about the creators of this image.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson 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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.
   


Meet the Doula: Laura

Posted on June 2, 2013 at 5:34 AM Comments comments (3)
Our featured doula this month is Laura Correia, CD(DONA).  Laura and I met through the Rights for Homebirth movement.  It is a pleasure to bring you her interview - this is a woman who knows her calling.  I found that her passion about birth and supporting families speaks through the page and to my heart.  Enjoy getting to know Laura!

About Laura:  I am a DONA certified birth doula in the greater north and west Phoenix metro area, including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Anthem, Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, and Goodyear. I love to use my gifts and talents being able to help women have a satisfying and successful labor and birth. It's my goal to get to know a woman in such a way that I can encourage her in the way that allows her to have the very best birth experience she can. I consider it one of the best blessings to help a baby come into the world! Please email or call me at (480) 44-BABY4, for more information.

When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”? 
In 2002. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, and going through Crisis Pregnancy Counseling training with a woman who became a friend. As we approached the end of my training, she said she was becoming a doula, and needed 3 certification births, and would I mind if she attended my labor? She was amazing! I never ended up becoming a counselor, but became a doula instead! 

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
After a typical hospital birth with epidural, an unmedicated hospital birth with a midwife, and then 2 birth center births, I realized there was a woman with me in some capacity in every single birth. My husband was a FANTASTIC coach, and I couldn't do it without him; at the same time, I really NEEDED a woman there (a nurse the first time, my childbirth instructor the second time, a doula the third time, and a midwife the last time). 

I decided to pursue doula work when my last child was 2. My oldest was old enough to babysit in a pinch (finding 24 hour childcare is often one of the biggest obstacles for doulas) and since they were all homeschooled and used to being home with each other, it worked. I had a supportive aunt who encouraged me and helped me with the cost of training. I also realized there were different needs in the community for different doulas. As a fairly calm, more quiet, strong-in-my-Christian-faith woman, and okay with hospital or medicated birth if the mom desired it, I would appeal to a certain type of laboring woman. I realized it's okay to celebrate our strengths and areas of expertise as doulas. :)

Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?
Birth doula.

How long have you been a doula?  
I have been a doula since 2008. I have been certified with DONA since 2010, and have Rebozo and TENS certifications with them as well. I have additional breastfeeding training, and I am Neonatal Resuscitation certified as part of my path to midwifery.  I have experience with hospital (planned medicated and unmedicated), birth center and homebirth. I have attended waterbirths, VBACs, teen or single moms; accompanied in cesarean section births and for expected stillbirth. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
I love being a part of the strength women and their partners’ find when being stretched beyond what they thought possible. It's a difficult journey for most, but women are amazed at when they've accomplished, and men look at the mom of their new baby with such awe at their perseverance and strength (unmedicated or otherwise)!  Helping a woman feel respected, educated, and informed is also a big part of the satisfaction I get as an attending doula.  And of course, it's always a blessing to see a new baby come into the world. 

What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
It's not my birth- it's hers! I am there to support her in HER choices, even if I personally wouldn't chose that path. My goal is to be an encouragement; to help mom feel empowered and confident in an uncertain journey; to make things as relaxing and calm as possible- whether through environment, thoughts/fears, communication or comfort measures; to validate her feelings.  My professional motto is "Seeking to enrich labor and birth experiences" and that can come in a variety of ways.

How do you work with and involve the Coach?
I have worked with coaches that are most comfortable sitting in a corner, and those that are catching their baby... and everything in between! My goal is to help the support person feel the most confident and comfortable they can, and to experience the labor/birth to the level of involvement they want. As a doula, I want to take the pressure off of the coach to be the source for all knowledge and physical help, because that doesn't allow them to experience the birth for themselves. I often will demonstrate how to massage gently, offer positions that he can aid in, and offer food and drink for him to provide for the laboring mom. It's also a comfort to both the coach and the mom to have me available for coach to take bathroom breaks, go on food runs, and take quick catnaps. Typically my biggest help for the coach is being a calm and experienced presence; letting him know that when things get intense, that it's all part of the process, and reassuring him that those are good signs!

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
I've had to call 911 for a mom that labored quickly and felt she was going to birth at home unexpectedly; been dismissed as a doula after a homebirth transport to the hospital; watched a family grieve with the loss of their firstborn; worked in births where the birth team was rude, loud, and demeaning. In all of these situations, I stay present for the mom and dad- a compassionate presence, and I validate their feelings and choices.  And then I go home, and cry, sleep, pray, journal, and/or talk with my mentors. I believe doulas HAVE to have those she can decompress with, otherwise there's too much pent up frustration and often, anger- towards choices made, providers, and "the system," and bitterness grows.

I develop an emotional connection with my clients, and so when they hurt, I hurt. I include a postpartum appointment in my services, and that is where we can talk about what, how, and perhaps why things happened the way they did. I validate mom (and often dad)'s feelings about a birth that went very different that planned. However, I also provide another perspective to things, which often helps them to perceive the experience differently. Lots of times, new moms overlook all the amazing things they did, or the strength they had, focusing only on where things DIDN'T go according to plan. I help her see the good choices she made, and encourage her in where things went "right."

What keeps you working as a doula?
Being there for women. I love helping laboring moms realize how strong they are, helping a couple (or mother/daughter) grow closer together through such an intimate time, and being a compassionate, experienced and non-judgemental guide in the process. Often my clients and I share similar spiritual beliefs, and they appreciate my sensitivity and ability to welcome God into their birth experience through prayer, music, and focus. I feel like my doula work is a gift and a calling - and a responsibility!- from the Lord, and that in itself keeps me going.

What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
I charge $600, and it includes 2 prenatal appointments (usually 2 hours each), the entire labor and birth, 1-2 hours postpartum, and a separate postpartum visit one the family is home. I do not vary my fee depending on length of the birth; my quickest client was 10-15 minutes, and my longest was 29 hours. I don't want moms feeling pressured to "birth quicker!" because of financial considerations. 

I offer discounts to previous clients, active duty military, parents placing baby for adoption, and those in full-time Christian ministry. I have also been known to provide significant discounts -occasionally- for hardship situations, and accept barter as partial payment as the need arises. 

Do you offer any other services to your clients?
Placental encapsulation; a "birth journey" story for the baby book and/or to share electronically; all pictures, along with some that I edit. 

I am a Christian childbirth educator for an online format that I adapted from Jennifer VanderLaan's book, "The Christian Childbirth Handbook" and also teach a free one-day childbirth class for crisis pregnancy moms through New Beginnings Crisis Pregnancy/Post Abortion, 1-2 times a year. 

I am also a hobby-level photographer, and take pictures of labor and birth (with the parents' permission), for them to keep.

Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing? 
I danced professionally with a ballet company before I had kids, and still love to take a class at Ballet Arizona a couple times a year (usually when I'm dancing around my kitchen!). In the past 5 years I've taken up running and have done numerous 5Ks, 10K, and half marathons. I have completed 3 full marathons with my best time being a 4:06. I also like to hike, having done a rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon, and a hike up Yosemite's Half Dome. Obviously, I love to push my body, I think because I see so much correlation in it to birth. 

My family is amazing, and made up of my 4 kids (ages 7-16) and an AMAZING husband who are so supportive and encouraging to me and my love for doula -and now student midwifery- work. Spending time with them is always a favorite, whether watching them cook with my husband, or reading books together, or watching House Hunters and the Cosby Show with them! After a year of dealing with a diagnosis of clinical depression, I am learning to heal from past hurts, and to again enjoy entertaining and spending time with friends and my church family. Other than birth, I have a passion for healthy marriages, mentoring, counseling, and non-judgmental, transparent (and often messy) Christianity. My husband is a pastor at West Greenway Bible Church in Glendale, and teaches Bible at Arizona Christian University, and combined with my work in the birth community, that keeps us hopping! 

Oh, and I can also turn ANYTHING into a birth analogy. It's a gift, really. ;)

If you would like to contact Laura to schedule a complimentary interview, you can reach her via:
Phone: 480.442.2294 (480-44-BABY-4)

Was Laura your doula+?  Please let us know about your experience.
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.


Planning Your VBAC – Where to Begin

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 4:02 PM Comments comments (0)
I open today's post with the reminder that April is Cesarean Awareness Month. The World Health Organization and evidence-based practice only supports a cesarean rate of 15% or less.

While a cesarean birth can be life saving and necessary, and we are so grateful for the technology when our students need this intervention, we encourage you to know the difference between a variation and complication. Is Mom okay? Is Baby okay? If yes to both questions, asking for time can spare both Mom and Baby from an "unnecesarean". 

The current cesarean rate in the US is around 32-33%, so our wish at Sweet Pea Births is that by raising awareness, only the necessary cesareans are performed, and that over time we see our national cesarean rate back down to at or under 15%.

If a VBAC is not an option you want to explore, I encourage you to explore the ideas and additional readings HERE to learn more about a family-centered cesarean that may be a gentler experience for both mother and baby.  With time and planning with your care provider, these are possible and a beautiful option for families that want and/or need a repeat cesarean.

On to the topic:  Where do you begin if you want to plan for a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean?  

These notes are from an ICAN meeting presented by ICAN of Phoenix chapter leaders Stephanie Stanley and Jessica Franks on January 23, 2013, hence they get the author by-line on this one.  Thank you, ladies, for your constant support of the cesarean community in the Phoenix area.  Here are the steps that Stephanie and Jessica identified in hindsight of their VBAC journeys.

Step 1:  Find a supportive care provider
Your options for finding a supportive care provider in Arizona include an obstetrician in a hospital setting, a Certified Nurse-Midwife in a hospital setting, and Naturopathic Doctor who also holds a Certified Professional Midwife license in a home setting.  In addition, you an interview at Women’s Birth and Wellness Center in Mesa, Arizona, to see if you are a candidate for a VBAC at their birth center.  If you are in the Phoenix area, you can check the ICAN Phoenix provider list HERE to see which care providers have been supportive as per first-hand experience from VBAC mothers.

Step 2: How do I know if someone is truly supportive?
The only way to really know if a care provider is going to go along with your choice for a trial of labor that you hope is going to lead to a vaginal birth is the interview them.  Schedule an appointment with them and meet them face-to-face.  Here are some questions you can ask – you want to keep them open-ended so that you hear their spontaneous answer.
  • How do you feel about letting a VBAC mom go to forty-two (42) weeks gestation?
  • How do you feel about natural birth?
  • What are specific protocols and what is the timeline you follow with a VBAC mother?
  • Which pushing position do you support when a mom is attempting a VBAC?
  • How do you feel about doulas in the labor and delivery space?
  • What are my options if I should need a repeat cesarean?
  It is important to get out of the mindset that the obstetrician or care provider as the authority over you.  You are the consumer.  You are hiring a person to care for you and your baby.  A big red flag warning is the statement, “Well, we’ll deal with that when we come to that.”  That usually means that, “When we get there, we are doing it my way,” so consider it a sign that it may be time to move on to the next person on your list.
Step 3: Be Healthy, Starting Now
Your nutrition is vital to your health, your pregnancy, your baby and your birth.  Maintain a healthy diet and exercise on a regular basis.

Krystyna’s note:  A comprehensive childbirth education class, like The Bradley Method®, prepares mothers over the course of the twelve week series to eat well to build a strong body and a strong baby, and we have a pregnancy exercise program that builds stamina as well as the three major muscle groups that support pregnancy and labor: Back, Belly, and Bottom.

Step 4: Mental Health
Your mental health plays a significant role in your pregnancy and birth.
A childbirth preparation course can educate you on the course of labor so that there are *less* surprises – all labors have an unknown factor and you can’t be “completely” prepared.
  • Work through any fears you had going into your last birth, or that have arisen as a result of your previous birth.
  • Strive to reduce stress and tension in your daily life.
  • Surround yourself with supportive, positive, and helpful people.
  • Be honest with yourself and with your partner – you need to address how both of you are feeling in regards to your past birth and the preparations for a VBAC.
  • Identify what your needs are, and what needs to be addressed.  Do the same for your partner.
  • Evaluate your mindset: are you going to go along with what your doctor tells you to do, or are you going to educate yourselves as a team so that you can make informed decisions?

Step 5: Take A Childbirth Education ClassThere are several options for birthing families these days.  Here are some of the classes mentioned in the meeting:
  • Birthing From Within
  • The Bradley Method®
  • Hypnobirthing: might work better if you have a yoga background
  • Hypnobabies: some consider it a more “user-friendly” version of Hypnobirthing
  • Private Comprehensive Class taught by a doula or independent childbirth educator

Krystyna's Note:  The Bradley Method® is fabulous as a comprehensive preparation course. You can click HERE to see what is taught through the  course of the 12-week series.  However, we do not do anything in-depth to address any past birth trauma or fears that you may be bringing to the birth space.  If you are interested in The Bradley Method®, please contact me to discuss some additional resources I recommend for VBAC couples enrolled in our course.

Step 6:  Plan To Hire A Doula
Doulas are an essential part of your birth plan.  A doula is a woman whose only role is to support a family through their labor, birth and the choices they want for their birth.  They may offer ideas for labor positions, moral support and hands-on help, among other things.  Typically people hire their doula between 24-30 weeks.  There is no “right time” to hire a doula, so even if you are earlier or later than this window, you can make phone calls and find the right person to support you and your partner through your birth experience.  Some insurance companies cover the doula fee, so call them and ask!
Step 7:  Get Family Support
The support of the people closet in regards to your decision to VBAC is very important. 
  • Educate your family – invite them to come along to a cesarean support group meeting, such as ICAN.
  • Honestly express why this is important and what led you to this decision.
  • Understand that if something or someone is not helpful, supportive or positive, then it or they do not need to be a part of your birth.

Krystyna’s Note: My favorite line of conversation I have heard at an ICAN meeting, and that I know share with our students in regards to birth choices is this: 
“I have taken the time to educate myself and make the right choice for our family.  Do you really think that I would make a choice to intentionally harm myself, or our child?  If we cannot come to an understanding, or at least agree to disagree, this topic is off the table and no longer up for discussion.”


Step 8: Educate Yourself
Knowing the facts about VBAC will give you more confidence in your decision, as well as prepare you to educate those who may question the safety of your decision.
  • Read, read, read.
  • Read positive VBAC birth stories
  • Talk with your care provider – know their VBAC numbers
  • Ask questions and research the information you are finding

 Step 9:  From a Birth Plan
A birth plan is a great way to organize and prepare your goals.  It is a tool to help you articulate the vision you have for this birth.  Birth plans are typically written around 30 weeks, but there is no “right time” to write a birth plan.
  • Write your VBAC plan
  • Consider writing your cesarean birth plan
  • Talk with your care provider about your birth plan.  If your care provider is not on board, talk with them to explore if there is a way to make it workable.  What are your absolutes, and are your communicating them effectively?
If you are absolutely confident that other care providers have supported the choices you are making, then it may be time to interview other care providers.

Step 10:  Breathe
It will be okay!  Your body knows how to have babies.  In the swirl of activity, remind yourself to relax and enjoy your pregnancy!   
Krystyna’s Note:  However this birth is going to go, your body is still in the midst of the miracle of creating an entirely new human being over the course of the pregnancy.  You are an amazing, creative goddess – enjoy the glow and revel in your growing baby bump!
 
Are you planning/have you had a VBAC?  What is/was been important to you?
 
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
LINK LIST
Family-centered Cesarean
http://blog.ican-online.org/2012/04/14/the-family-centered-cesarean/

ICAN of Phoenix Provider List
http://icanofphoenix.weebly.com/valley-resources.html    

Bradley Method Course Outline
http://www.bradleybirth.com/krystynabowman?Page=5

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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.

A New Chapter: Meet Cassandra

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 8:48 AM Comments comments (1)
Bruss and I would like to welcome Cassandra to the Sweet Pea Births Family.  She will be a regular contributor to the blog and you will start seeing her around the internet on our other social media platforms.  I am looking forward to sharing her areas of expertise with our students and readers.  Bienvenidos, Cassandra! ~KRB
 

Hi, I am Cassandra Okamoto and I am a new contributing writer here at Sweet Pea Births! I thought I would tell you all a little bit about myself & then share my birth story, which just happened to take place almost exactly one year ago.   

I am wife to my wonderful husband, Eric, of four years, and mother to our one-year-old son. I quit my career in telecommunications finance at 34 weeks pregnant and have stayed home ever since. SAHM, wife, mother, all roles I am still struggling to understand, identify, navigate, and balance a year later.   

In 2009 I began a whirlwind adventure into all things nutrition, holistic healing, natural living, conscious consumerism, and sustainability, not only for our earth but also for us! This led me to obtaining a certificate in Holistic Nutrition from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in 2010 and exploring the world of healthy pregnancy and natural home birth before becoming pregnant in 2011. Now my days are filled with post partum/nursing nutrition, toddler nutrition, gentle parenting, and being the best facilitator to my son as he explores the world.   

My pregnancy was filled with tons of herbs/herbal tea, chiropractic care, yoga, massages, nutritious food, walking, weight training (until my due date!).  Everything progressed very normally.

At 43 weeks 4 days (according to the date *I* believed my baby was conceived), I woke up around 9:00 am and while laying in bed felt some slight cramps that were coming and going about every 5/6 minutes. I had no signs of labor up until this point and I knew this could last for days or even weeks so I just relaxed, read, and then got ready for the day. My husband was taking me on an afternoon date to see The Lorax!    

While I was getting ready they were coming a little stronger and by the time I met my husband at 1:00 pm, I was stopping for a breath at each one. I LOVED the movie but about an hour into it I just couldn't get comfortable during the contractions and I asked if we could leave so I could lie down (I still haven't seen the end of that movie!).   

We got home about 4:00 pm and I tried laying on the couch while my husband changed our bed sheets and made me something to eat.  That wasn't very comfortable and I settled in on the floor.

Around 5:45 pm I called our doula. I knew it could still be a very long time and didn’t want her to come prematurely but wanted to give her a heads up so she could plan her night. She was on her way to teach a birth class which was from 6:30-8:30 pm and I told her to just come after! She had to run home and get her things and said it would probably take about an hour and I figured I could definitely go on like this for three more hours and 9:30 pm would be perfect. 

The bed was now ready so I got in, surrounded myself with pillows and tried to rest, but they were really coming now. I also had to get up and pee a lot, which was no fun. I felt the best lying down, I needed to be supported and just try and sink into the bed when a contraction would come. I tried the birth ball for one and I just felt so unstable without the support of the bed and pillows all around me. I would have some on the toilet though and would brace myself against the door; the support of the door and the toilet beneath was good too.

Around 6:45 pm they were more intense and hard for me so I started moaning through them, it actually really helped. I decided I needed to call our doula back and have her come now. I also called our midwife then to give her the heads up as I was definitely feeling this was the real thing and hoping to have my baby with us sometime the next morning.    

Our doula arrived around 8:00 pm, and I was so happy to see her. I was still in bed, surrounded by pillows and not opening my eyes – just moaning through each contraction. She set up the birth tub and it was super noisy but I didn’t mind at all, during my contractions I was in my own world and although I would still have my eyes closed between contractions I could still hear and understand everything going on around me.

I am not sure what time it was when the first batch of hot water was in the tub but that is when I got in, it wasn’t very deep but it was actually perfect. The water felt good. I got on my knees and laid over the side with my arms outside, I began to lose it a little in the pool. The contractions were so strong and honestly I wish I could describe how they felt but I can’t, I couldn’t really explain to my husband right after and by now I can’t remember as vividly. They were HARD though, I got really scared that this was going to go on for hours and hours and hours and I knew I wouldn’t be able to last that long. 

I kept asking my doula if she thought I had a lot longer left and she just kept telling me to focus on each contraction and not think about anything except that one. She held my hands and repeated “think about being soft and open in front of your baby” during the contractions and I did. I spread my legs out wide during each and thought about my cervix as butter melting away. Between contractions all I wanted to do was rest, I just wanted to lie down. I started sitting back in the tub during the breaks just to try and find some relief, even though it was more work to get back up as soon as I felt another contraction coming.

During this time I had a non-stop feeling that I had to pee. I would get out of the tub and go to the toilet but during contractions it started feeling so much better if I pushed like I was peeing. Our doula put a chux pad outside of the pool and I spent a couple contractions coming back from the bathroom leaning on the outside of the pool and pee would dribble out each time. She said a little bit of pee in the pool was fine and I was SO happy because it seriously felt so much better when I could do that during the contractions.

Somewhere in here I was asked if I wanted the student midwives to come hang out in the other room but I said no, surprisingly (for my worrisome nature) I didn’t feel like anything was wrong and the only thing I was worried about was that labor was going to go on forever and I wouldn’t be able to make it through.

I started feeling some spasms on the right side of my belly during three contractions and then at 9:55 pm my water broke! It was the wildest feeling ever, I really had NO idea what it was – it felt like a big gush and then bubbles coming out. I don’t know if I made a weird face or something but my doula immediately asked if my water broke and then I knew what it was!

The very next contraction was a pushing contraction – it was the craziest thing I have ever felt. It was like my stomach was literally ejecting my baby out. It would happen about three times each contraction. It wasn’t as “painful” as the other contractions but VERY overwhelming and honestly scary to me because it was SO strong and so involuntary – my body was doing it all without me and it was nuts! I don’t think I actually pushed with the contractions for awhile, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything – it felt like my body all on it’s own. My doula told me to reach down and see if I could feel my baby and I could! His head was about half a finger inside.

After a few contractions his head was closer, and then I would feel it come down and go back up. It then started coming down and staying down, but during the break between contractions would go back up.   

My husband replaced my doula in front of me holding my hands during these contractions while she went behind me and put counter pressure on my back. It felt amazing, I didn’t really feel that much pressure in my back/bum and I think it was because she was doing that. The beginning of a couple came without her ready and they were SO MUCH WORSE.

Our midwives arrived around 10:40 pm. They checked my baby’s heart rate and it sounded good and I was relieved. I hadn’t felt any movement from him and a couple of times it crossed my mind that maybe he wasn’t ok or alive (I know that is awful but it was in my thoughts). Pretty soon I started feeling burning on the inside, then a couple more contractions later and I was feeling a terrible burning on the outside – I could reach down and feel my son’s head RIGHT there.

I had felt something slimy sticking out of me earlier and my doula had checked me with a flashlight and mirror and saw that it was just part of my bag of waters. Our midwife noticed the same thing at this point and wanted to make sure she knew what it was, she couldn’t get a good look with the flashlight so she told me I needed to stand up. I thought there was no possible way in the world that I could stand up even if I tried but somehow everyone helped me up, a contraction hit and my baby just shot/tumbled/fell right out, it was 11:20pm on March 7th, 2012.   

March 7, 2011
March 7, 2011
My husband & I admiring baby immediately after his arrival
Later this week I will be sharing Part 2 so watch for it on Friday! In the mean time I would love to hear from you in the comments: where did you birth your baby(ies)? Was it what you expected or planned, why or why not?    
 
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now. ~KRB    

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson 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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.    

5 Things You *Can* Plan For During Pregnancy

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)
We welcomed “our” first baby from our Winter Series – it is always a thrill to hear a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth story.  It is even more exciting to see the joy radiated in the face of the transformed new mother, the proud new father, and then see the fruits of their labor snuggled up in mama’s or papa’s arms.

There is one important thing we want to convey to families.  The day of your baby’s birth is the birth of your family.  With subsequent babies, it is still the birth of your next family, as a family of __, whichever number that happens to be.  It is a day we hope you will treasure and celebrate, because it the day your child was welcomed into your loving arms.

While all of our students sit through twelve weeks of class in preparation for a vaginal, anesthesia-free birth (weeks that FLY BY faster and faster every time), the reality is that every family is going to have their unique birth story.  Some students are going to have a fast labor.  Some students are going to have a slow labor.  Some students will choose to use some kind of pain relief system other than abdominal breathing and relaxation techniques.  Some students will deliver vaginally, and some students will welcome their babies via a cesarean birth.

The message we hope to convey to our students is that information and knowledge increases their opportunity for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome regardless of the method of delivery.  We educate them on the importance of staying healthy and low-risk by being mindful of all the things they can control.
1) Diet.  They can be diligent about following the pregnancy-eating plan laid out by Dr. Tom Brewer.  It sets them up to build a strong baby and a strong, healthy pregnant body that will excel during the rigors of labor.

2) Exercise.  They can follow Dr. Bradley’s exercise plan that builds stamina and strengthens the muscle groups that a mama will need in labor: her back, her belly and her bottom.  It is most effective when a mama does all the exercises as suggested in the student workbook – a weekly progression that eases any mama into a healthy routine, even a mama who did not have a regular exercise plan before she was pregnant.

3) Education.  Do you know the physiological process of labor?  Do you know what to expect as you progress through labor?  Do you have strategies to cope with the sensations of labor and have you practiced them more than once?  Have you learned about the different variations and complications of labor, and have you and your birth partner talked about strategies and choices you would make if you face them in your labor?  (P.S. You will learn all this and more in a Bradley Method® class.)

4) Care Provider Choice.  Are you with a care provider who supports your birth choices?  Do they believe in the natural process?  Do you know their cesarean rate?  Is it reflective of the beliefs about birth that they claim to have?  Are you confident that you haven’t ignored any “red flags” that may have come up in the course of your pre-natal care?  And if any of these are a, “No” answer, what are you doing about it?  Have you asked your friends or a birth worker in your area to help you find a care provider you will be at ease with?

5) Rest.  This seems to be a common denominator between the low-risk families who have births that are close to their wish list, and families that make different choices.  As long as the mother and coach rest at some point in their labor, then they can usually make it through to holding their baby on the outside with fewer intrusions and interventions.  We found this out the hard way – when you do not rest, you have to make different choices because there is a limit to the human body.  Labor is some of the most rewarding and some of the hardest work a woman will do in her life – and the body does much better when it can performing at it’s peak.  Rest, or lack thereof, can definitely influence a family’s birth experience.

We want all our students to know that they have set themselves up for success – they have done a lot of things right to maximize the opportunity for their wish list to come true.  As long as all things stay healthy and low-risk, then they have a really good opportunity for an anesthesia-free vaginal birth.

We also hope we have shared the correct information for them to make informed consent decisions.  There are times when there are choices to be made in spite of doing lots of things right.  Communication skills and key informed consent questions are a part of our coursework as well.  At the very least we hope that they will remember these questions:
  • Is mom okay?
  • Is baby okay?

If you get a “no” to either of those questions that is when you rely on the trust relationship you have built with your care provider.  You trust that the team you chose will get you to the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome however they need to get you there and that you will look back with no regrets.  Again, if you don’t have this level of trust, have you thought about finding a care provider that you do trust implicitly?
As long as both of those are “yes” answers, then you can go on to the next series of questions:
  • Tell me more about what you are recommending.
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the expected benefits?
  • If we say yes to this, what else are we saying yes to – what other interventions are likely to happen?
  • Are there any alternatives?
  • What happens if we just wait and see?
  • Can we have a minute to talk about it?

There will be times when a couple has to deviate from their wish list because the birth moves on from healthy and low-risk to one with true complications of pregnancy.  These are situations that fill the room with people and actions need to be taken.  There are also times when you are still having a calm conversation, and the choices a couple make together and in conversation with their care provider prevent the room from filling with people so that some variation of a gentle birth is possible.  Sometimes that means a transfer to a hospital setting for closer monitoring from a birth center or a home, and sometimes it can even mean a different birth than you planned for no matter the setting (one such example is a natural cesarean – read more HERE).

Even when families do not end up with the birth that they prepared for, many of them come back and tell us that they still had a positive birth experience.  They report feeling empowered by their communication and the decisions they made together, they make a good recovery from interventions or cesareans thanks to the diet and exercise plan they followed throughout the course of class, or that there were no regrets about their choice to change care providers.  

The biggest boon , very much "in my opinion", is that  Bradley™     babies that thrive because they were built to be strong, healthy babies, building block by building block with a good diet during pregnancy.  In addition, many Bradley™ mamas commit to breastfeeding, some despite tremendous obstacles because they want "something" to work out, especially if their Birth Wish List had a lot of deviations.  While it is hard for some and not the choice for everyone, these moms do not regret the extra time and effort to develop the breastfeeding relationship they have with their babies.

Our parting wish and prayer for all of our students is that they have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome that brings a couple closer together as they build the foundation for their family.  We hope that couples use the skills they learned in class to communicate and to work together, that they trust the mother’s instincts about what kind of birth their baby needs, care providers that support their choices, and when needed, have the skills to safely bring the family to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. 

We wish them a birth experience with no regrets and a foundation that is built with the knowledge that their child was, “brought into this world [intentionally,] knowingly, and with great joy” as they start the next step on the journey with their new family.  
 (Quote is from the completion certificate found at the back of The Bradley Method® Student Workbook – revised with our own wishes for our students.)

What do you think leads to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.    

Our Lesson on Emotional Relaxation

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)
The key to The Bradley Method® is relaxation.  As such the coursework teaches about three types of relaxation.  I summarize them this way:

  • Physical - release of muscular tension
  • Mental - going to your "happy place"
  • Emotional - safety, acceptance, surrender


Our third child taught us what emotional relaxation was.  We had planned to conceive our first two children.  Although having a third child was on the horizon, we had not "started trying"...here is Bryan's birth story:

Bryan's story begins back in November of 2008.  I had just hired a personal trainer so I could get a kick in the rear and lose the baby weight.  Things are going well, I am losing weight...and then, I start having morning sickness.  I can't stand to look at food - and I am gaining weight...you, guessed it, blessed with Baby No. 3!!! 

This time we did find out what we were having.  Ysabella was so excited for her baby sister - she was thinking about names, making plans for their play time, praying for her little sister...I could not imagine the disappointment if it was a girl.  I also did not want her to be angry with God, so when the magic day came, we said, tell us...and it the answer was BOY! After a little time, Ysabella got used to the idea and we started thinking about boy names.  Ysabella wanted Ryan after one of her favorite movie characters.  Bruss wanted William after one of his favorite uncles.  Neither was budging and it was getting contentious at the dinner table.  Mommy saved the day by suggesting a compromise "B" from Bill and all of "Ryan" and we came up with Bryan. So, Bryan had his first name.  

Once we settled on the name, we started using it when we were talking about "the baby".  He is the first pregnancy we had that we got to go to the hospital calling the baby by name...or so I thought. We found out he was breech in early July, you can see our post on How we turned our breech baby for that side-story.  

I started having mucous-y secretions the week before he was born, so our summer plans in Payson changed.  We came home early because I was thinking 26 hours (1st) - 14 hours (2nd) - this was bound to be a 5-8 hour birth, right?  And I didn't want one of those hours to be Bruss and I driving down the hill with two kids and two dogs in tow. 

Well, my water broke at 9:30 pm on Tuesday, July 28th.  My brother Eduardo who was staying with us to help with the kiddos.  He had been here since early July to help, and it was the one night he went out with his friends.  We had kicked him out since he had been so attentive to us he wasn't going out with his friends.  Figures, right?  So we called Tia Gloria to come over and spend the night in case things progressed as I was hoping they would.   

An hour goes by - leaking and no contractions.  We had learned enough from our first two labors to know that my body likes to shift gears slowly, so our best bet was to go to bed.  I called our doula - a new one to us called Jenny - to let her know my water broke, we were going to bed, and we would call her in the morning, or sooner if things progressed faster than we thought. 

Off to bed - Eduardo gets home - excited to see that we are in labor!  He and Tia Gloria go to bed, too - ready to tell the kids that we are gone in the morning.  My contractions don't get any stronger because I am able to sleep through the night.  

I remember waking up in the morning and realizing that I was probably not going to have an eight hour labor since there were no strong contractions yet.  No wake up in the middle of the night - which means contractions are easy.  I am beginning to realize I am not going to have a five hour labor when I wake up to use the bathroom at two am - and I go back to bed to continue reserving energy. 

At 6:30 am, we called Jenny.  The plan was to start walking and see if we could get a regular pattern established.  It worked!!  We were five-six minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds... So, I decide to take a shower before we go to the hospital - because my legs needed shaving - dumb, Dumb, DUMB!  dumb - really?  Dumb - I was by myself.  DUMB - sitting on a rickety stool? Bruss left me alone - he will feel bad about that for a long time, and he is good about telling our students never to leave their partners alone once they start labor.  

Well, that stool broke in the shower and I fell to the floor.  Ysabella must have heard something, because she comes running in to see if I am ok, and then runs to the kitchen and announces, "Mom just broke the stool into a ba-zillion pieces!) 

So, Bruss comes running - our plans to labor at home until our contractions were four minutes apart are gone.  We call Jenny to tell her the change and off we rush to the hospital.  I think my legs were almost done being shaved at this point, so I am sure I finished the last two strokes and got out of the shower to towel off, dress and drive. 

By the time we finally get there and are in triage, it is around 9:00 am on Wednesday morning.  I am calmer - Bryan was okay when we got there - his heart tones sounded good.  In triage, they read our birth plan,  they confirmed that my water was broken and tried to start pitocin.  We denied the pitocin but made the nurse feel better by telling her I was Strep B positive and she could stick me with other stuff. 

So the day continues.  We are happy to see our OB from our first two children is on call Wednesday.  We had never drawn her when she was our primary in the practice (and we lived in Ahwatukee), so it was a treat.  We made some comments on how she would finally get to catch one of our babies.  She hadn't heard we were pregnant (we had moved to Chandler and switched to the local office), so she was happy to catch one of our babies, too. 

It becomes apparent that labor is going to be slow in starting up again.  We had made some progress in the afternoon, only to have it taper off by dinnertime.  I start to get discouraged.  We hear that my mom has landed in Phoenix from Chicago, so she is going to relieve my aunt and go help Eduardo with the kiddos.  We talk to the kiddos.  Ysabella, ever sweet, says, "I guess God didn't want me to meet Bryan today - that's okay.  I can keep waiting."  Sweet, sweet, sweet! We decide to ask for a breast pump.  

Nipple stimulation had helped get Brussito's birth going - maybe it would help again - walking around the hospital all day hadn't done the trick.  The nurse says that we can't have it since there is no hospital protocol for it.  At 5:00 am, Dr. Ragaini comes in and asks, how did the breast pump work?  I have never had anyone try that before and I am curious to know how it works - I was hoping you would be our guinea pigs.  *GASP*  I try not to lose it in front of her.  

Once she leaves, I lose it.  I am angry that a nurse decided to give us some BS line because she didn't want to get in trouble.  Bruss and I think about Pitocin because I want to meet our baby today.  I figure between our breast pump and a little Pitocin, we are going to meet our baby. Bruss dutifully goes home and gets our breast pump and "falls into the shower" - I was so upset since I felt stinky after being in the hospital for 24+ hours.  He gets to visit with the kiddos who are very happy to see him.  

He comes back and agree that it's time for Jenny to go home and shower and see her daughter off to school.  SO the breast pump has little effect, and they start the Pitocin. We also make a call to our friend Andrea, our Bradley teacher for Bruss' birth.  Andrea wants to come - we say yes!!  She was the "Hail Mary pass" we needed - fresh energy, a good person for Jenny to work with - they were my red-headed power pack! 

We now see our second doctor - Dr. Ragaini's shift was over and Dr. Villa was on call.  He checks - mom and baby are doing okay - he is fine with letting us labor some more because this is our third baby and by the grace of God, he is not concerned that our water has been broken for 24+ hours.  I mention this because some caregivers-hospitals consider this a medical liability and insist that people with a broken bag of waters for 24 hours must have a c-section. 

We have a new nurse at 7:00 am, too.  She keeps coming to check on our progress - and can't believe that I can still handle the Pitocin without an epidural.  Next hour - she ups the dosage of "Pit" again.  And so on and so forth every hour with no effect.  Now she is wondering if I am human.  "This much Pitocin usually works on mother's - they would have been asking for the epidural a long time ago" she says.  Now, it had worked to a degree, the contractions were getting closer and stronger, just not at the pace the nurse expected for the dose of Pitocin I am receiving. 

Jenny and Andrea go get lunch.  At around noon, Dr. Villa comes in and sees me playing with my phone, trying to find tango music to play for Bryan to see if we can get him motivated.  He takes one look at me and says in his nice/sarcastic way," You better get serious if you are going to have that baby today - you aren't even close yet " 

The doulas come back with some suggestions - castor oil, walk some more, go home.  I just want to be alone with Bruss, so they excuse themselves.  Bruss gives me the pep talk of my life.  We cry, we pray.  We decide to follow the course we are on - active labor with Pitocin and a new confidence that God's will be done and that we are all in His divine protection. 

At around 2:00 pm, I get a whisper in my ear.  Literally.  Chills up my spine and everything.  The voice says, "Victor" in Spanish.  I am amazed when I realize that this is supposed to be Bryan's middle name.  I ask Bruss," What do you think of Bryan Victor?  He will be victorious over this birth when he comes out - I think it works!"  Bruss agrees with me, says that's okay if that's what I want.  

BAM!  I have the first real, take your breath away contraction. I use several four letter words, tell Bryan that he could have indicated that he wanted his full name several hours ago and then get ready to get down to the business of laboring.  I ask the nurse if she will take the Pitocin off now since I know I am not going to need it anymore.  She refuses because she doesn't want us to back track...little did she know. 

I can look now and see that naming him, giving him a full name, was the point that I accepted him.  I accepted that the pregnancy was not an accident.  I accepted our baby and surrendered to his birth.  The emotional block I had set up that was literally slowing my labor was gone.

Labor starts in earnest. Sometime in the afternoon, my mom stops by to pray with us.  I chant through contractions, squat between them to encourage baby to move down.  Jenny leaves to see her daughter again after school and to have dinner with her family.  Bruss and Andrea are a great team.  Brett, Andrea's husband brings them dinner.  I don't want to eat, just work at meeting our baby. 

Thank goodness I had kept working out with the trainer throughout the pregnancy and slept during labor.  I am feeling strong.  I am in tune with my body.  When dinner break is over, I direct Bruss, Andrea and Jenny with ways they can help me.  

Then I stop wanting to talk - and Bruss takes over. All I want to do is squat on the floor.  The nurse takes a good look at me and realizes that she better get the doctor.  Somehow they get me on the hospital bed and Bryan is already crowning - he was delivered in what I remember to be about three pushes.  

We find out when his head emerges that his cord is wrapped around his neck - another blessing that he had a slow and steady descent. Bryan was born at 6:57 pm on Thursday, July 30th.  Thank goodness he was two weeks "early" - he was already 9 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches long. In the end, it was five hours from the time I got "the whisper" to the time Bryan was born.  God proves once again that he has a sense of humor.

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe 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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  
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®. 

Common Factors That Influence Labor

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM Comments comments (21)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleWe have now had 28 students complete our Bradley Method® classes and birth their babies through seven class series – pretty awesome to know that 28 youngsters are blessed with parents who took the time to give them healthy pregnancies and Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby births.
 
Each birth has been unique, and they have varied from intervention free to cesareans to everything in between.  What they all share is that the families made the choices they had to make for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  What are the elements that are consistent across the birth stories we have heard?
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleUnknowns:  There are many things that are unpredictable about birth…when will labor start, the manner in which labor will progress (consistent dilation vs. ebb & flow in dilation), how long it will take from the first contraction to holding your baby, how baby will tolerate labor.  If they are birthing away from home: when will they go to the birthplace, will they be sent home?  The procedures and interventions offered – those all depend on the birthplace and if there are standing orders once they arrive.  And the list goes on…who will be their nurse?  Which provider was on call?
 
Listed below are four things that are in your control through pregnancy and labor.  By making a realistic evaluation of your circumstances, you can influence your outcome in a positive direction by making good choices in the following areas.
 
Rest:  The biggest factor between couples that need or choose interventions and those who do not is how rested Mom is towards the end of labor.  If Mom and/or Coach have stayed aware and awake from the very first contraction and have been timing most of them, they will be spent when the hard work of labor comes. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleMost of labor is spent working up to the hard contractions that the body needs to have in order to push out a baby.  Active labor prepares the baby and the body: contractions function to align the baby in the birth canal, and to dilate and efface the cervix.  The length of the active first stage depends on how baby and body work together.  Then comes the work of pushing phase – again, this can take a few minutes to a few hours – it all depends on the baby and the body.
 
We know it’s exciting to be in labor.  We know you want to believe it’s going to go quickly.  We know you need to be rested, no matter how long your labor ends up being.  Trust me – we learned the hard way with our first birth and ended up with Pitocin and an episiotomy because I was exhausted.  We never want our students to repeat our mistakes, which is why we are so adamant that couples take a nap when they think their labor has started.
 
Our families that slept in early labor have had the energy to manage the latter part of labor with less intervention or prodedure(s) to augment labor.  If they have a fast labor, they have the energy and they emotional wherewithal for the “sprint”.   If they draw the “marathon” labor card, they have the energy reserve to say no to Pitocin avoid an episiotomy.  And for those that do say yes to Pitocin, they manage to continue to labor without an epidural.
 
So even when it’s their first baby, we encourage couples to sleep in spite of the excitement.  There is no way an unmedicated mother will sleep through the birth of her baby – they body will wake you up when it’s time to pay attention.  We have not heard, “We shouldn’t have slept” when a couple comes back to share their birth story.  What we do hear is, “We wish we had taken Krystyna and Bruss’ advice to sleep”. 
 
Support System:  We ask families to think about who can be an assistant coach, or to consider hiring a doula.  Wherever you give birth, be it at home, at a hospital or a birth center, there will come a point in the labor where Coach needs to go to the bathroom, or maybe eat something even if Mom has lost her appetite, or maybe Mom really likes counter-pressure – and if any of these are true, Coach can benefit from an extra pair of hands and eyes on Mom. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleWhen choosing an assistant coach, couples need to evaluate if the person they are inviting to their birth supports their natural birth choices.  If the person they ask is going to fret over every decision, or tell them that they just don’t why they won’t take the drugs, it will cause tension and that in turn increases the amount of pain and discomfort Mom will feel.  On the other hand, if the assistant coach has come to a couple of classes with the couple, and they have read the workbook or some of the books on the recommended reading list, or even if they just believe in what the couple is trying to accomplish and are willing to serve the needs of the couple, they provide an incredible gift of compassion and energy that helps the couple accomplish their goal of a natural birth.
 
Hiring a doula is a decision that merits thought and reflection as well.  My friend Rachel wrote a great post about factors to consider when choosing a professional labor support person.  The most important thing to ask before you hire someone is if Mom and Coach are willing to share the vulnerable and intimate experience of childbirth with the person they hire.  If you don’t feel completely comfortable or trust in the person you hire, you will experience unwanted tension.  So don’t hire the person that your friend used or the first person you interview just because it’s the easy thing to do.  Hire the person that you would be comfortable crying, doubting and being naked in front of.  If you have an unmedicated or even a less medicated birth experience, you will be sharing these emotions and lack of modesty with your doula as well as with your Coach.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleCare Provider:  The care provider is one of the most critical choices a couple can make during their pregnancy.  I wrote about this before, and you can read the considerations here.  In summary, if there are any red flags during prenatal appointments, pay attention to them.  If a care provider is not completely supportive of the options you want available to you as you prepare for an unmedicated labor, then be open to the idea that you will probably end up with unwanted interventions, medications or procedures; ones that are not necessary for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. 
 
The other reason to change, even if you feel that your choices are supported, is if you don’t have that level of comfort that I mentioned should be present when you are choosing a doula or assistant coach.  If there is any question in your mind about laboring with or in front of your care provider, then you may want to seriously consider interviewing other providers.
 
The couples that switched care during their pregnancy have all been happy with their outcomes.  One couple even switched as late as 39 weeks; and that gave their son the three extra weeks he needed for his birthday because their second doctor did not push for a non-medically indicated induction.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleListen to your instincts:  The capstone of having the labor you want is to listen to your God-given gift of intuition.  There is no explanation for it, other than it is Mother Nature’s way of helping you make the best decisions for your children. 
 
Do you want to eat or drink?  Then eat or drink.
 
Is something being suggested that you don’t feel like you should do?  Then tell your support team and have them help you advocate for what you do want to do. 
 
Is there a position you feel like you should be laboring in for no apparent reason?  Then get into that position and stay there as long as it is comfortable.
 
Which brings us back to where we started.  There are so many unknowns in labor, trust your instincts – they are your primal connection to your baby and your body.  As long as Mom and Baby are doing well in labor, there is very little that they can’t do while laboring. 
 
There are a multitude of things that can be done to help achieve the natural birth the family is striving for.  A solid childbirth education like The Bradley Method® offers information on the many options available to birthing families today, relaxation techniques to practice, and labor rehearsals to become familiar with different positions that are beneficial to a laboring mother.  We also encourage all of our students to keep lines of communication open between themselves and their care team to make sure every one is supporting the couples choices and committed to the ultimate Bradley™ outcome: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth stories.
 
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.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  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®.

 

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