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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Birth Centers in Phoenix

Posted on September 30, 2016 at 1:37 PM Comments comments (0)
Did you know that there are six birth centers to choose from if you are a birthing family in the metro-Phoenix area in Arizona?  Several of them offer Bradley Method classes on their calendar.  We will be offering a series at Willow Midwife Center for Birth and Midwifery that starts in October.  Please contact us if you would like to enroll.

Here is a quick run-down of the options, listed in alphabetical order.

Babymoon Inn

202 E. Morris Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85012
(602) 314-7755 

"Babymoon Inn birth center was born out of the passion of families who wanted to provide access to midwifery care and a freestanding, out-of-hospital setting for birth for families in the Phoenix area.   Babymoon Inn is a free-standing, out-of-hospital birth center, licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services,  accredited as a birth center by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers, and a member of the American Association of Birth Centers.  A birth center gives an option in Phoenix for low-risk women to experience birth in a comfortable, home-like setting where natural birth is our focus.

"Babymoon Inn provides a wide range of options and choices for moms in labor.  Your choice of either a beautiful jetted tub or a contemporary vessel soaking tub are available for water birth or for labor.  We have birth props, stools, and labor balls.  Our lovely garden provides outdoor space and an inspirational mural.   You are welcome to bring your family and may eat or drink during labor.

Our sanctuary is ready and our hearts are open for you.  Come visit!"

The Birth Haven

3303 S. Lindsay Road, Suite 125
Gilbert, Arizona 85297
480-664-7463
[email protected]

"The Birth Haven at LifeSpring Midwifery is the first birth center in Gilbert, Arizona. We offer traditional midwifery care, water birth, birth center and home birth, and well-woman care."


The Birth Nest at Caitlin Court

5622 W. Palmaire Ave 
Glendale, AZ 85301
623.748.7655

"The Birth Nest at Caitlin Court Birth Center offers a beautiful, relaxed and comfortable place to labor and birth your child.  Free from the rigid policies and procedures at a hospital, our birth center offers the comfort of home without the distractions of home. " 

Blossom Birth and Wellness Center
http://www.blossombirthcenter.com/

2928 N. 18th Place
Phoenix AZ 85016
(602) 256-7766

"Blossom Birth Center is a special place created to cultivate peace, love and healthy families. Blossom is an accredited birth center in Phoenix, Arizona where low risk, healthy pregnant women give birth naturally with midwives and a special Ob/Gyn with the heart of a midwife. Blossom is Licensed by the state of Arizona and accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC), as well as a member of the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC)."

Willow Midwife Center for Birth andWellness

2045 S Vineyard, Suite 136
Mesa, AZ 85210
480-565-5990
[email protected]

"Willow Midwife Center for Birth & Wellness is a boutique midwife and birth center in Mesa, AZ, just minutes from Gilbert, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler and Scottsdale. The Willow birth center offers comprehensive, individualized care for women including maternity carelabor & birth services, and wellness care."

Women's Birth & Wellness Center
http://www.yourazbirthcenter.com/

504 W University Dr
Mesa, AZ 85201
480-833-6582

"Women's Birth & Wellness Center is an independent free-standing birth center in Mesa, Arizona. Women's Birth and Wellness Center is an organization operated by women who are midwives, nurse practitioners lactation counselors and doulas. The focus of Women's Birth & Wellness Center is to provide education for women and families to make informed choices about their birth, their health, and their baby."


Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog post and on our website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer 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 and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

In Their Own Words: Annika's Story

Posted on April 15, 2016 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (2)
April is Cesarean Awareness Month.  As such, the blog topics this month will focus around cesarean birth journeys, and options that cesarean birth warriors have for subsequent pregnancies.  

If you would like to submit your story for our In Their Own Words series, please send your submission to krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.

Here is Annika's story of her primary cesarean, and her VBAC journey with her second child:

When you are pregnant with your first child you have all these wonderful naive concepts about birth…well, at least I did. Not to say I had a traumatic birth with my first child, but I would say it definitely was a sobering lesson for my husband and I.
 
Our plan was to have Landan in a birthing center with minimal intervention and in a birthing tub. The entire idea of a water birth and a welcoming atmosphere to me was literally heaven and I would dream about it almost daily. At our 39 week check up our midwife seemed a bit puzzled when she was examining my belly and feeling around for Landan's position and promptly concluded after a ultrasound that he was in fact breech and very comfortably nesting in my right rib cage. So with a referral in hand and a last minute appointment with Dr. Medchill we made our way to his office for another ultrasound to determine if I was a good candidate for an external cephalic eversion (aka, external flipping or rotating of the baby).
 
Much to our delight, Dr Medchill concluded that there was sufficient fluid surrounding Landan and the umbilical cord was not wrapped around his neck. So off we were to the OB Triage at St Joe's to attempt flipping Landan with our bags packed "just in case." While the idea of externally having my baby flipped was not appealing, I really didn't have a whole lot of time to really understand the gravity of what I was about to experience, nor do I think I would have cared to be honest.
 
I had my mind made up that this was going to work and I was going to get my beautiful peaceful water birth I had been dreaming about for 9 months. With my husband sitting at my head, Dr Medchill on my right side pushing Landan's head and upper body, and a head resident pushing Landan's legs and butt, they attempted 4 times to flip Landan with no avail. My son was perfectly comfortable where he was at, and no one was going to convince him to move otherwise. At this point, my husband and I had been dealing with this ordeal all day and both of us were so incredibly burned out. I was shaking thanks to the muscle relaxers they gave me so they could perform the procedure and I didn't even want to dare to think about how sore my belly was going to be once the pain medication wore off. So, seeing our exhaustion, Dr Medchill offered to perform a cesarean birth within the hour.
 
Looking back on it now, I am actually very grateful for his willingness to help us in the midst of our exhaustion. Let me be clear, he was not pushy by any means and if you have ever encountered Dr. Medchill he is the most kind, but honest, human being on this planet. In his professional opinion especially since I had showed no sign of labor, my cervix was completely shut, minimal effacement, and Landan was definitely not going anywhere from his comfy spot, the chances of my body kicking into natural labor and Landan flipping and descending through the birth canal was really minimal.
 
Since I had never had a vaginal birth to begin with, I also had what the medical community deems as an "untried pelvis," which essentially means no baby has ever passed through. Which can diminish your chances of having a successful natural breech birth even farther.
 
So, my husband and I decided to go for the compromise and I was prepped for surgery before the ink was dry on the consent papers. Looking back on it now, I'm actually incredibly grateful for how quickly they moved as my husband and I weren't really given the chance to think too much about what was going on. The cesarean birth, from what I remember, was rather uneventful. I remember being extraordinarily cold, and feeling very alienated being so exposed on the table, but the staff was really pleasant and made me feel comfortable.
 
Once Landan was born he was quickly cleaned, weighed, and swaddled, and brought over to me where we snuggled our heads together for a fleeting moment. My husband was allowed to take him from there to the OB Triage area to have skin-to-skin contact while I was being put back together. Granted, I would have loved to have that contact with Landan myself, but stepping back from that, it really was a special time for Danial and Landan. They definitely formed an unbreakable bond and for that I am absolutely thankful for. That was such a special gift that Danial was able to have with Landan and I wouldn't take that away from him ever.
Fast forward 5 months and we were a busy family with a new(Ish) baby still taking over our house. Since having Landan I hadn't really thought much about his delivery or the ordeal much as I was happy to have my son earthside safely. It was when I found out I was pregnant with our second child that month that my feelings and emotions about Landan's delivery and my upcoming delivery would soon start to bring to the surface all sorts of emotions.
 
Luckily for us, we decided to stay with Dr. Medchill and continue care through him as he was most familiar with us, and our previous experience with him was really outstanding. He didn't hesitate when I asked if I had the option of attempting a normal VBAC and said that I was a really good candidate and that he actually would encourage me to at least try.
 
Let me tell you, that was music to my ears! But at the same time, the question in my head was "what exactly am I going to expect?" I couldn't have the water birth that I had fantasized about during Landan's pregnancy, and I was definitely not going to get a very birth center like atmosphere in the hospital, so what exactly COULD I expect?
 
That's where getting involved with the ICAN chapter in Phoenix really helped me wrap my head around my options but also internally deal with some unresolved feelings from Landan's delivery that I didn't even know I had. Also, getting involved with ICAN really gave me confidence to ask questions that I didn't even know were subjects I could ask!
 
For example, I had no idea that I could ask to have intermittent monitoring which would allow me to get in and out of the shower along with walking freely without being attached to a machine all the time. So armed with information, my husband and I navigated the months leading up to Adaline's birth with optimism and trust in our care provider that we could have a fair trial of labor.
 
I'm not going to lie, while we had an amazing support group around us from our care provider, to our doula, to our family, there was some SERIOUS fear in me of the entire process. No matter how you look at it, the incision is always going to be there. It doesn't go away and that doubt of whether or not that area will be able to withstand labor and birth is constantly lingering no matter how many statistics you look at of the success of VBACs.
 
I can say with confidence that there were MANY times where I just wanted to schedule a cesarean birth and go with what I knew and could expect. That is so much less scary then embarking on the marathon of labor and delivery where you have no idea what to expect. But, there was a really large part of me that just really wanted to experience the beauty of labor and be able to say that I could do it on my own.
 
So, I stuck to my guns and kept drawing from my support group of my husband, my doula, and my care provider. Much to my delight, on October 1, 2014 my water broke (which is definitely not a glamorous experience like Hollywood claims it is!!) and labor started with gusto about an hour later. My husband, doula and I made our quick exit to the hospital as my contractions were coming on with force and relatively quickly.
 
After a marathon of 17 1/2 hours of hard, active labor, my daughter was born on October 2, 2014 and was the most beautiful VBAC baby I could ever ask for. She absolutely made me work for my VBAC and I truly couldn't have done it without my doula and my husband, who stayed up with me the entire night going between the shower, birthing ball, holding the puke bin between contractions, making sure I drank water, and listening to me when I was so tired that I could feel my body giving in after 15 hours and asking for an epidural simply so I could take a 30 min power nap.
 
I have clients that ask me all the time how I was able to get through that VBAC and it’s really plain and simple to me. There is no part of me that hesitates when I say that I absolutely drew from the strength of my husband and my doula the entire time. Having my support group really helped me get through the toughest parts of that labor and then also being at peace with getting an epidural and taking a nap. When it boils down to it, that's what my body needed and having my support group there allowed me to listen to my body.
 
There is nothing I regret from Adaline's birth and in a way it was so healing for me and resolved so much self doubt from Landan's birth that I didn't even know existed in me until I was faced with the option of having a normal VBAC.

Now we are weeks away from meeting #3 and my husband and I feel so comfortable and armed with such confidence that we do know our options and are going into this second vaginal birth. I know, and for the first time, feel absolutely confident in my body; that it knows what to do and I also know how to listen to it as well. We have moved to a different state so having to switch providers was nerve racking until my husband and I really sat down and realized that we were completely confident with the criteria that we wanted and were setting for ourselves and also that we would find a care provider who was just as amazing as Dr Medchill was.
 
Luckily for us, we did find an amazing care provider and he is definitely on the same page as we are with this delivery. My hope and prayer for every single mother going through her VBAC whether it be after one or multiple cesarean births is that you really find your voice and find your support. I know that's what helped me navigate this incredible journey that I've been on the past 3 1/2 years and I only can hope that every single mother finds that strength as well.

Photographer Name: Allie Hannah Photography

Henna: Pheobe Sinclair 

Disclaimer: 
The material included in this video is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer 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 and video contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our 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: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson


 

Birth Story: Penelope

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 9:12 AM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
It’s birth story day!!  This week I am sharing a birth story from our Fall 2012 class.  In today's video, Courtney is talking about her family's birth journey with our Winter 2012-13 class.  Jake was working, so Courtney shares his words of wisdom for coaches, too.

Here is their backstory: 

  • Courtney was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes via blood glucose test (usually administered between 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy)
  • High Blood Pressure was measured at office visits from 36 weeks on; whenever she checked her blood pressure at home, it was normal
  • Midwife recommended induction at 38 weeks due to risks of having gestational diabetes (large baby, possible stillbirth) – Courtney negotiated for more office visits, more monitoring, and extra ultrasounds to “buy” two extra weeks of pregnancy


How their birth journey progressed:
  • Courtney and Jake agreed to induction on her due date with prostaglandin gels
  • After about 12 hours at the hospital, the couple was told that labor had not progressed enough so they agreed to an amniotomy (artificial rupture of membranes)
  • Baby was born vaginally with no other interventions at 11:56 pm


In Courtney's own words:

 

Video Highlights:
Note: Looking back, Courtney was so grateful she advocated for a longer pregnancy.  One of the biggest concerns about gestational diabetes is that babies are larger than average.  At birth (40 weeks gestation), their baby weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measured 21 inches long.  This is clearly *not* a baby that would be called “large for gestational age” when you consider the average birth weight for a term baby is about 7.5 pounds.

Which labor tools worked for you to manage the intensity?

  • Changing positions and moving around: we the used birth tub, knees on bed and arms draped over back of the bed, side lying position
  • Being surrounded by people who support your choices is probably the most important thing: husband spoke up and asked people who were in the room to leave; midwife was amazing; everyone on staff who walked in the room acknowledged reading and supporting their birth plan
  • Peppermint oil for nausea – helped control the pace of her breathing
  • Unspoken communication with a loving coach – even though it felt silly at the time, the practice in classes and at home paid off because he knew what she wanted with the wave of a hand.

 
What would Jake (husband) say if he were here?

  • Be prepared for everything
  • Expect everything to not go the way you want it
  • Try to predict what she needs so she does not have to say it


Some images from their birth:
 
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Early labor after induction with prostaglandin gels. They are using the labor position we call "The Prom Dance".
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Using the deep tubs available for laboring at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
Courtney & Jake's Birth Journey
The awe that hits many couples after Sweet Pea arrives...we hope that you are supported in your birth choices so you can feel awed by your birth journey, too.
 
PostScript:
Courtney and her husband Jake were the last couple that enrolled in that class series with a last-minute phone call, “We really need to get into this class!”  You would be hard-pressed to find a birth worker who would say no to them!!  It is so humbling to hear that saying yes to them when we had a full class already made a big difference for their birth. I praise God for His wisdom and His incredible design.

 
What did you learn from your birth journey?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
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®.

 

Monday Mantra: Gift of Birth

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 2:18 AM Comments comments (0)

A couple of birth stories have really brought to mind a mantra that was so beneficial to Bruss and I when we were laboring with Otter:

"We will give our baby the gift of the birth that she needs."

It was so important to us that we have undisturbed time, free of the pressure of "the clock" for things to happen, free of vaginal exams that have always been difficult for me due to past trauma, and most of all - we wanted to be free of any interventions.

Believe it or not, even though we were birthing at home, there were things our midwives were prepared to offer us to help "speed things up". We asked the two most important evaluation questions, "Is Mom okay? Is Baby okay?"

Once we were assured that we were both laboring beautifully with no signs of distress, we politely declined and kept on the course to birth - no interventions, no exams, no time pressure.

We knew that the best Birth-Day present we could give her was an undisturbed birth.  Although it took a heck of a lot longer than we had anticipated since we were laboring out of the hospital (my labor always slowed when we transferred from our home environment to the planned hospital births), we were happy to give her just that: time, patience and the birth that she needed.

How this mantra applies to your story is going to be unique and individual.  I would love to hear what you did to give your baby the birth that (s)he needed.

What did you do to give your baby the birth that (s)he needed?
Please leave a comment below - it will be moderated and posted.

Want to read Otter's birth story? It's in two parts - startHERE


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 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®.    

Birth Momma

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 2:47 AM Comments comments (1)
I got a call from a student tonight that brought to mind this poem that I wrote for another student last year.  I wanted to share it with you today in case any of you reading this need a reminder or the acknowledgement that you are amazing, miraculous and wonderfully made.

Your body is able to create life, to birth vaginally and then to hold and feed your baby. Never let anyone bully you out of the birth that you want.  Read, read, read. Watch documentaries and attend informational meetings.  Ask questions.  Ask more questions.  Once you are armed with information, make the decisions that you and your partner agree are the right ones for you, your baby and your birth.  

The ultimate outcome is Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.  Make your decisions so that no matter your birth path, there are no regrets when you have your Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. 

BIRTH MOMMA
Pregnancy 
Two souls in one body 
You were gifted with a new life 
Growing inside you is a marvel 
You are a miracle

Birth
You are chosen to carry this life
You are chosen to nurture and love
You are chosen to love and fulfill
You are chosen

Birth Momma
Take the energy of those before you
Draw from the energy of those who support you
Receive the energy all around you
You are wonderful

Birth Momma you are
You are powerful
You are determined
You are amazing
You are magnificent

Birth Momma you are strong
Take what you need to take 
Surrender what you need to surrender
Release what must be released 
Embrace what must be embraced

You Are The Birth Momma
Allow your body
Allow your baby
Allow your birth
Be, Birth Momma, be


Here is a version that you can repeat to yourself as an affirmation:
BIRTH MOMMA AFFIRMATION
Pregnancy
I am two souls in one body 
I am gifted with a new life 
Growing inside me is a marvel 
I am a miracle
Birth
I am chosen to carry this life
I am chosen to nurture and love
I am chosen to love and fulfill
I am chosen

Birth Momma
I will borrow the energy of those before me
I will draw from the energy of those who support me
I will receive the energy all around me
I am wonderful
Birth Momma I am
I am powerful
I am determined
I am amazing
I am magnificent
Birth Momma I am  strong
I will take what you need to take
I will surrender what you need to surrender
I will release what must be released 
I will embrace what must be embraced
I Am The Birth Momma
I will allow my body
I will allow your baby
I will allow our birth
Be, Birth Momma, be

                
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 (0)
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®.

 

Spring Start

Posted on March 6, 2012 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® classes Chandler, AZ
Spring is around the corner…and it’s time for a new set of families to join us on the journey towards their birth.  I get so nervous before our first class that I don’t even eat dinner…and when class is over I realize that we have been blessed with another great group of folks and that I am really hungry!
 
As we enter our third year of teaching, a few things have become clear to me about what we do.  The overarching message of The Bradley Method® is not just natural birth – it’s about the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  We have seen many families choose different paths to this outcome, and at the end of the day, 98% of them are happy with their births.  They felt empowered by their knowledge, their rights as consumers to ask questions through the birth process, and the couples made decisions together so that Mom and Baby are well and healthy after labor.
 
To that point, it is really important that our students understand that we are here to convey information.  We are not medical professionals, nor do we want to dispense opinions.  We are people that are passionate about birth and willing to share our knowledge about the birth process with other couples striving to have a natural birth.  We will help them recognize what is healthy and low-risk, we will share strategies to communicate with each other and their birth team, we ask them to do their own reading and decide what they want, and we will encourage them to use their knowledge to make Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby choices.
 
There are three things we have learned that are controllable in the great range of variables that accompany pregnancy, labor and birth. They are nutrition, exercise and sleep.  Interestingly, these three things also carry through to postpartum health; more on that in a future post.
 
Until you are holding your baby in your arms, no one knows how long your pregnancy will last, how long your labor will be or how long you will be pushing before you meet your baby.  What you can do is make good choices to make sure you and your baby are at your best to have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy and so that you are ready when the trial of labor begins.
 
Bradley Method® classes Chandler, AZNutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy.  As Bradley® instructors, we teach our couples to eat according to the eating plan created by Dr. Tom Brewer.  He proved through his patients and with clinical trials that there is no magic pill for a healthy pregnancy – no drug company can sell you this.  What you can do is eat a protein-rich, whole food, well-balanced diet and see tremendous results for mom and baby.  Food is literally the building block of the body…and during pregnancy, your baby is knitted together with the building blocks you provide.  Whether your labor ends up being an intense sprint, a prolonged marathon, or something in between, you can build a body and a baby that can endure and surpass your expectations in labor.
 
Bradley Method® classes Chandler, AZThe second component of a healthy pregnancy is exercise.  Moms need stamina so that they can keep their energy up for the duration of their labor.  Options for stamina-building exercise are things like walking, swimming, pre-natal yoga; anything that you were doing before your were pregnant and is approved by your doctor can also be on the list of safe exercises.  We also teach specific exercises that work on toning the pregnancy muscles so that the back, belly and bottom are strong and ready to support the positions used during labor, and the effort of labor itself.
 
Bradley Method® classes Chandler, AZOur students that come back and share their birth stories with other classes have confirmed another point we teach in class: sleep is a great way to avoid unnecessary pain in labor.  True sleep is the tipping factor in the outcomes we have heard.  We learned this lesson the hard way with our first-born. 
 
We were so excited to be in labor and I was so determined to be all-powerful and strong that I wouldn’t give into any “weakness”.  As Bruss and our doula took turns taking naps, I scoffed at them.  It turned out to be the wrong decision.  After being awake for 24+ hours, and laboring with Pitocin and no epidural, I was exhausted by the time it came to push.  That led us to choose an episiotomy, a surgical incision to enlarge the vaginal opening.  Ouch.  It was a long, painful recovery – almost nine months before everything felt normal and painless again.
 
We decided to sleep in labor after that experience.  I have slept at the beginning when contractions have barely started, between contraction in active labor, and with our last baby, we even slept through most of the active phase of labor. 

True. restorative sleep is a decision to let your body get the rest it needs.  An unmedicated mother can give into her need to sleep – no unmedicated mother has been know to sleep through the birth of her baby.  At some point, the contractions are to the point where you need to pay attention; and you will when the time comes.
 
Just like us, the students that were too excited and did not convince themselves to sleep seem to end up with more interventions.  Many of them end up with an epidural in the last few hours of labor.  When used judiciously, this helps them achieve the relaxation they need to finish dilating and get to the pushing phase.  The babies are exposed to the anesthetics for such a short time that they come out healthy and able to breastfeed.  Thankfully, many of them have avoided episiotomies.
 
The ones who are able to sleep during a portion of their labor have the energy to manage the late stages of labor without an epidural and seem to have fewer interventions.  The good news is that the repeat moms who didn’t sleep the first time manage to sleep in subsequent labors.  When they are nourished, strong and rested, they have much different second labors and are able to achieve the natural outcome they wanted and prepared for.
 
It is with great joy and anticipation that we embark on another twelve-week journey with our new class.  We are looking forward to getting to know them, watching the friendships develop, and waiting for the new families born the days their babies are lovingly and intentionally welcomed earth-side.
 
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 Robles-Bowman, 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®.
 

In Their Own Words: Hanson Birth Story

Posted on February 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM Comments comments (2)
I am grateful to Jennifer and Devin Hanson for giving me permission to add their birth story to our Birth Story Archive.  Their generosity is premiering our first twin story.  They have an inspiring story that is a testament to faith and belief in your body, your coach and your birth team.
 
Jennifer was also kind enough to share some thoughts about Bradley Method® classes, care providers and life as a momma of twins.  Read our “virtual interview” below the links to her birth story.
 
The story of the Hanson twins begins with a momma of twins who wanted a natural birth and was ready to do whatever it took to avoid an induction.  Although their due date was October 10, 2011, since she was carrying twins, she was told they would be considered term on September 20, 2011.  I have great respect for her midwives at Valley Women for Women who allowed her to go “past due"...twice.
 
What would you do if you were 40 weeks plus four days pregnant?  You may have seen this already…if not, try this if you can…I know I would have a hard time accomplishing this not pregnant!

Momma went into labor naturally two days after their labor dance, and here are links to her birth story. 

Link to Part 1 The story of their twin sons' birth starts with the account of her labor at home and then at the hospital…
"After many months of preparing and learning (using mainly the Bradley Method®), we were able to achieve the natural, unmediated childbirth that we had hoped for. We had a beautiful, peaceful labor and a delivery that can only be described as "dramatic" but one which God's hand of protection was completely involved in every step of the way. We also have to thank our incredible team of nurse-midwifes who took such wonderful care of us during the pregnancy and allowed us to let the twins come when they were ready (which happened to be 6 days past their estimated due date) and encouraged us to still go for a natural birth, even though Isaac was breech until around 38 weeks (when he turned on his own). Truly, I can not say enough positive things about midwife care - personal, encouraging, sensitive, relaxed and fun. I've honestly missed those ladies since we've had the twins - something I would never say about any other health care provider I've ever had. "
 
Link to Part 2 Their birth story continues with the account of her natural delivery despite a trying second stage:
"While my labor was calm and peaceful, with me being completely in-tune with my body and in-control of what was happening to me, the delivery was chaotic and stressful, with me being so distracted that I couldn't even tell when contractions were happening. I felt out-of-control to the point of panic at times. It was not at all what I had envisioned when I pictured the delivery of my sons, however I believe it would have been far worse had our midwife Belinda not stepped in to fight for us amidst the chaos of doctors and hospital politics. (I should mention here that the OB practice we went with offered something called "collaborative care" with twins. We were to be cared for and delivered by midwives, but a doctor would be available should an emergency arise.)"
 
SPB: What did you take away from The Bradley Method® classes that helped you in your birth?
JH: I think what I took away from the Bradley® classes was confidence that what I believed (that my body was designed to birth children) could line up with reality, even in a hospital birth. And that I had the right to advocate for the kind of birth I felt was best for me, my husband and our twins.
 
SPB: What did your husband-coach feel was the most important lesson he learned?
JH: Devin read a number of chapters in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which he felt was very helpful. The Bradley® classes reiterated what he had learned from the book. However, I felt going to the classes together helped me feel more confident in him as a coach and helped bring up some good conversations about "How will we handle ______ during the labor/birth/recovery."
 
SPB: Based on your experience, what advice would you give to pregnant women who are looking for a care provider?
JH: I would encourage women to find a midwife or a care provider that has CNMs working for them. We were so encouraged and supported by our midwives. They helped to build our confidence and helped us navigate the "politics" we dealt with because we were expecting twins and wanted a 100% natural birth. Now that the medical bills are rolling in from the hospital, I would also recommend hiring a midwife out-of-pocket and birthing at home or at a birthing center, it is very likely to be cheaper (and less stressful than the hospital!!) This is what we plan to do next time around.
 
SPB: How is life with the twins?
JH: Life with twins is... a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Weston and Isaac are adorable and I love being their mom. We get lots of attention when we go out, which took some getting used to. But now I've learned to be gracious, patient and polite to all their admirers and can enjoy it when people stop us. What's funny is that when I'm out with just one of the twins I get zero attention and now that feels weird. They are such sweet babies. In fact, as I'm typing this I can hear Weston waking up and laughing/cooing to himself - he is a big time morning person and it brightens my day so much to start the morning with his cooing and smiling. Isaac kinda hates waking up, but once he's awake he showers me with morning smiles too.

Many thanks to the Hanson family for making their inspiring story available to breech mommas, twin mommas and natural birth mommas across the world wide web and for allowing is to link to it.  We wish the Hansons all the best as they continue their journey together as a family.  Weston and Isaac, you are very blessed young men.

To read more of Jennifer's writing, you can visit her blog:

Do you have a birth story you would like to share? 
Please contact me at [email protected] if you would like to share your recollections for our Birth Story Archive.
 
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®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]

Our Homebirth Story - Part 2

Posted on October 14, 2011 at 8:19 AM Comments comments (1)
Click here for Part 1 of "Our Homebirth Story"

My mom arrived from Chicago to relieve my aunt at around 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon.  She came in to see how I was doing.  She asked, “How are things going?” which of course started the tears again.  Being a woman of great faith, she said a beautiful prayer over us, then gave me a kiss and left the room to go take care of the kiddos.  I pulled myself together and decided I wanted to go see our children.  I missed them and one of the benefits of a homebirth is having those you love near to you.  We took a quick cruise around the house and saw the kiddos, and we decided it was cool enough to try walking outside again – maybe just one more time – to see what would happen.  

This walk confirmed our suspicions.  This baby wanted me on my side.  Nothing upright was working to progress the labor.  I lost it again – why was this happening to us?  Why couldn’t just once, my body work like a “normal” woman in labor??  

Up to this point, we had had student midwives checking vital signs on mom and baby.  I asked if we could have Wendi check me the next time just to be sure that we were both doing as well as they thought we were doing.  I wasn’t concerned about infection despite the fact that the membranes had ruptured going on 18 hours.  I had been good about taking Vitamin C every couple of hours, we hadn’t had one vaginal exam or external vaginal probing that was introducing germs “upstream” as we say in class.  My concern was simply that although I felt strong and the baby sounded good, we had been going at this since 5:00 am on Thursday morning and I wanted peace of mind that we could continue at whatever pace the baby needed.  

Bruss and I also talked about having the midwives go or stay, and we were not sure what to ask of them.  We conveyed this to Wendi when we talked to her.  I felt so bad having them stick around for “nothing”.  At the same time, I was wondering when we would call them back when our labor finally picked up.  Having spent so much time with us at our prenatal visits, they knew our birth history and knew that this had been our labor pattern in our previous births.  They assured us that they were comfortable, and happy to continue waiting patiently for baby to make her appearance.  

In the meantime, this birth also confirmed our choice to have a homebirth.  We had been in labor for 36+ hours now.  If we had been in the hospital, we would have been subjected to multiple vaginal exams by now.  If we had gone home and then returned after our water broke, we would have had a very hard time leaving again without signing a multitude of forms when it was clear that labor was not progressing.  I had declined the GBS test since we made an educated decision to take supplements that supported a healthy vaginal track, and I was confident that Dr. Ross’ KST check confirming that I was GBS negative was accurate.  Under medical care from an OB, I would have had to have the GBS test and had I tested positive, I would have been pumped with penicillin and IV fluids every four hours.  By now my hand would be swollen at the hep lock site, and my feet and face would be puffy and uncomfortable.  

At home, we were allowed to have the gentle birth we wanted for our child.  We listened to my body and followed the cues, however unbelieving that "this" was our labor.  We were able to sleep and eat to keep our energy up.  Our baby was monitored with a Doptone monitor every hour for a few seconds, which let us go back to the position we needed to be in for her more quickly.  Our midwives were supportive and encouraging that we were doing well and to keep going like we were going.  

Bruss kept in touch with Andrea and Dr. Ross via text throughout the day and night – they were our doulas by text!!  As they made suggestions he would try them if we hadn’t tried them already, as they gave us words of encouragement he would convey them.  

I would say I finally “accepted” the birth around 8:00 pm.  Bruss had given me wonderful assurances that this was the labor our baby and I needed every time I had started to cry.  He assured me that he was ready to labor just he and I – it had also become clear that having all the people around was starting to stress me out.   Despite the fact that a doula would be there to support us, he wasn’t willing to call in another person to add to the group of people in the house already.  

We decided to watch a movie and both proceeded to fall asleep.  The midwives continued to come in and monitor us through our sleep.  I was still getting up every 45 minutes to use the restroom.  One thing we did REALLY well is stay hydrated.  We found that we still had the contractions when we stood up and moved from the bed to the toilet.  As I accepted that this was our labor, I remember reading birth stories about women who slept through labor until they woke up in time to push.  I figured that we might as well give it a try – who knew – maybe this could be our birth story since short and sweet was definitely out!!  

It was my perception that the contractions were every half hour.  I could sense that I was moaning in my sleep, yet they didn’t feel so strong that they woke me up until it was time to use the restroom.  The midwives told me later that they had watched and felt my belly when I was sleeping, and I was having contractions about five minutes apart in my sleep.  

Somewhere between 10 and 11 pm, I could no longer sleep through contractions.  We decided to use the shower again.  We put a birth ball in there and let the water wash over me.  You know what happened – the contractions spread out again.  Since our baby was CLEARLY happier with labor when I was lying on my side, we set up a layer of towels in the shower and made a towel pillow.  I lay on my side, and sure enough, they contractions started getting hard again.  Although they were uncomfortable, I was happy to bear with them since I knew these were the type of contractions that were going to get us to the point of meeting our baby.  

Before we knew it, the shower stopped working as a relaxation tool, too.  I had a strong need to void, but I couldn’t do it anymore.  We decided to move back to the toilet to see if I could void in the toilet.  It didn’t take me two seconds before I declared that this baby was coming out *now*.  The birth stool that had been taunting me for 24 hours was finally going to be put into use!  

We got on the birth stool. I asked our midwife Wendi if this was really it.  She asked me to try pushing and if I didn’t feel any pinching, to go for it and work with my body.  The next contraction came and I could push without pinching – so we did.  This is the one time when we could have used an extra pair of hands.  Since we didn’t have them, Bruss got behind me and supported me in a dangle position off of the stool so I could bear down and also use more gravity behind the push.  Trying to be mindful that we were capturing this on video for possible use with future students and for our children to see, I made every effort not to yell out too strongly.  

We asked one of the student midwives to go wake up our children and my mom since it was clearly time to push.  Squatting didn’t feel as good as it had with our other children.  After a few pushes in the squatting position, I felt like it would be best to move to my hands and knees, so there we went.  Bruss ended up on the floor with me, and as a contraction came, I would lean all my weight on him and bear down.  This is the first time I have been clearly conscious of the baby moving through my vaginal canal – it was amazing.  I could feel her crowning, and I remember that Night Owl looked at my bottom and said, “I see the baby!”  I told him to talk to her and tell her to come out, which he did!  A couple more pushes and I could feel that we had delivered her head.  Before I knew it, I was holding our lovely little Angélica in our arms and overjoyed with the wonder of the work we had done together.  

We pushed a total of 20 minutes – the most amazing 20 minutes of our birth.  My mom and Night Owl got to watch the majority of the pushing phase.  Puma came in just as Wendi was passing Angélika ("Otter") up to my arms.  Our photographer who we have known for six years got to capture the birth of our new family.  Our midwives were there supporting and loving on the whole process, one of whom was able to capture the birth on film.  It was a room full of love and joy.  

We marveled at this new creation that was now part of the Bowman family.  We looked at her face, her belly, her fingers and toes.  We checked to make sure that we were indeed holding the newest little sister…and we were!  The senior student cleared out Otter’s stomach and nose with a little tube syringe.  She had taken in some fluid and was having a hard time getting her breathing started.  Within a few minutes of skin-to-skin contact with mom and some massage stimulation, her breathing assumed a normal pattern.  She got her full measure of blood – her cord stopped pulsing, we delivered the placenta, and then we cut the cord and got in bed.  It was probably an hour from the time we delivered to the time we all got settled in bed for the first time.  

The whole process was amazing.  It was beautiful to allow Otter the birth she needed.  The old mantra of “Trust Birth” was proven true once again.  Why had our labor started and stalled for two days?  Our little miss had the cord wrapped around her belly twice.  Although Wendi assured us it was not constricting anything vital, it is not something she has seen very often in her 11 years as a licensed midwife.  Our baby and my body knew that Otter needed to ease her way out so that her wrapped cord stretched as needed and supported her through the passage from her safe home inside my womb to her new home outside with us.  As a good friend said to me the day after, hindsight is always 20/20!!  

At our first postpartum visit Saturday afternoon, Wendi asked us if we had any favorite parts in our birth.  My first answer was holding the baby!!  We also liked the lack of time-driven pressure – we got what we wanted: the birth our baby needed.  It was amazing to have our children be part of the birth process.  They had gotten to come in and check on me, encourage me with kisses, and I hadn’t had to leave them to go to the hospital for three days.  Night Owl got to watch his sister's birth – and now we get to hear his version of events.  His godfather came to visit this weekend.  He asked NIght Owl to tell him about the birth, and this was his answer, “My mommy screamed and the baby popped out!”  Clearly, I wasn’t as low-key as I had hoped, yet it hadn’t scared him and he is delighted to tell people about his experience.  

So we are now *officially* home birth advocates.  We are incredulous that it took us four births to get here.  It has been a great way to close the chapter on our childbearing years.  We are forever grateful to the women at Freedom and the Seed who so lovingly tend to the families in their care.


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®.