Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Honor The Midwife

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM Comments comments (0)
There was another Midwifery Scope of Practice Committee meeting last night at the Arizona Department of Health Services.  The consumers came out en force and made it abundantly clear that the requests to have a midwife attend a homebirth of a VBAC, a breech and twin births are Human Rights and Woman's Choice issues.  We know that there are risks involved.  It is our right to do our own research, to explore all our options and to make the choice with the risk decisions that we can live with.  Some women brought up an interesting point:  if we support a woman's right to terminate life with an abortion, why don't we support her right to birth the life she chooses to carry?

Here are my prepared remarks from last evening.  Due to time constraints, I didn't get to present all of them.  I did get most of the points across and I hope that the committee takes these points under consideration.

Thank you to Will Humble and the committee for the amazing, transparent proceedings.  I am so proud to claim Arizona as my home and wish that our nation’s capital would take notes.

Why are we, as consumers, choosing midwives?
We want the midwifery model of care – we want to be treated as individuals.  We like the time we get to know our midwife and for them to get to know us.  We like the approach that birth is sacred and it deserves the kind of time and care we get from our midwives.  

I want to repeat these important points from the presentation by Janice Bovee, CNM:  Midwives acknowledge the power and strength of women, the importance of self-determination, a woman's active participation in the care of themselves, their babies and their families.  Midwives offer compassionate care, they honor normalcy, they believe in watchful waiting, and they believe the birth experience has a profound effect on the mother and on humanity as a whole.  

Let’s remember: Who is driving this movement?
Consumers want the choice.  Consumers started this movement with no money in the bank and a lot of heart behind their belief that all mothers should have access to qualified, supportive, compassionate care in the home setting whether they are low risk, or if they are higher risk and want to find knowledgeable care at home.

What is a key point I want the advisory board to hear?      
  • Consumers want choice.  Licensed midwives have a choice.  Both have the right to choose.       
  • Consumers want access to compassionate care at home that honors their ability to give birth.

Midwives want the best outcome for the mothers and babies that they serve.  They know the extent of their training in normalcy.  Midwives want safe, non-emergent outcomes for the mothers and babies they serve.  

If midwives working in the home setting are going to say yes to any of the options being considered by the Arizona Department of Health Services, they will not do so if their training is just adequate.  Knowing how much they care about the population they serve, my guess is that the ones who say yes to those mothers are abundantly knowledgeable, or will take the steps to be so, before they agree to the care contract for VBAC, breech, and/or twin mothers.  

If a midwife knows that her clients needs do not match her skill set, then she can decline care to the mother.  She will decline care to the mother because above all, midwives care deeply about both the mothers and the babies – they want a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome not just sometime...Every Time.  They can and they do everything to ensure that outcome as they get to know their clients over the term of the pregnancy.  Even when it is the decision to recommend something that no client wants to hear before their baby’s Birth Day: the better choice for you and your baby is to transfer care.

Safety at home versus safety in the hospital:
I have had the privilege and honor of attending ICAN meetings for the last two years.  I have heard story after story of women who felt abused by the traditional obstetrical and hospital model.  They do not want to repeat the trauma that they experienced at the hospital.  They are choosing homebirths because they have done their research, and they are finding care providers that will provide abundantly qualified care at home.  When they choose a VBAC care provider who works in the hospital paradigm, a common theme is “stay at home as long as possible”.  How is this providing qualified care?  The scary word is “uterine rupture”.  If a woman is at home, alone without any assistance from a trained provider, how is this providing any care at all?

As a state, we have an incredible opportunity to provide the mothers who are laboring and/or birthing at home unassisted to receive qualified, caring, supportive, compassionate care.  The homebirth setting can be that place with clear goals to standardize training as we move forward, and that place can be the hospital with a greater shift to the midwifery model of care.  

Midwives honor us as women.  Let’s honor them as care providers.

  • Midwifery Scope of Practice Advisory Committee Meeting, February 11, 2013 - View the entire meeting HERE

What do you think?  Is the right to choose your birthplace despite your risk category a Human Rights or Women's Rights issue?
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.  

Link list
Rights For Homebirth
http://www.rightsforhomebirth.com/

Janice Bovee, CNM Presentation
See the recording at the 42:05 mark

Video recording of the MSPAC meeting:
http://www.livestream.com/azdhs/video?clipId=pla_ecdd7764-047a-4dd5-b749-1ab1a9f64bd2&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb

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®.


Meet the Doula: Nikki

Posted on January 13, 2013 at 5:51 AM Comments comments (4)
Our "Meet the Doula" feature is back in 2013.  

This month we meet Nikki Ausdemore.  I first met Nikki at an ICAN meeting - her spirit and her candor impressed me.  Not only is she very knowledgable about birth, she is also an inspiration for many a mama along their VBAC journey - she had her vaginal birth after 3 previous cesarean births.

Mini-Bio:  Nikki is a doula, student midwife, and placenta encapsulator.  She has been doing birth work for more than 6 years and has attended over 110 births.  She has 4 children and has a very supportive husband.





When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”? 
  In my first pregnancy while reading a birth related book.

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey? 
  I knew I wanted to be involved with moms and babies after having my first 2 kids.  However, I also knew going back to school with 2 young children was not in the cards, so I opted to go the certified doula route to see if birth work was for me.

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

How long have you been a doula?
  I have been a doula for 6 years - DONA trained (no longer certified), certified through Nurturing Hearts Birth Services (NHBS).  In addition, I am a childbirth educator and a student midwife.  

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
  Having the opportunity to help moms experience the excitement and empowerment of birth.  Seeing a new life enter the world.  It never ceases to amaze me.

What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
  Her body, her birth, her choices. I am there to support the mom in whatever choices she makes.

How do you work with and involve the Coach? 
  We often work as a pair to support mom.  I offer suggestions and encouragement for the coach in how best to help the laboring mom, and I support the coach (ensuring he/she eats, sleeps, etc.) throughout the birth process.

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with? How did you handle it? 
 The loss of a client's baby would be the toughest situation I've dealt with. Along with the midwives who attended her, we continued to support and encourage her, hold her up spiritually and emotionally while she birthed her perfect little baby, and I was available for support and encouragement after the birth.  

What keeps you working as a doula? 
  My love for the process, the awe of the experience of birth, and the love of the moms I serve.
 
What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours? Is there a
different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor? 
  I offer 1-3 prenatal visits (whatever mom and dad require), services the day of the birth, and 1-2 postpartum visits.  My fee is the same regardless of the length of labor.

Do you offer any other services to your clients? 
  Placenta encapsulation, use of a tub to labor and/or birth in depending on birth location.

Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing? 
  Watch my 3 boys play baseball, run my 4 kids to and fro, study midwifery.  :)      

Nikki's Contact Information:
480-628-6730  Cell

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®.

Pregnancy Options: Certified Nurse-Midwives

Posted on October 12, 2012 at 8:02 AM Comments comments (1)
Another group is calling for a week of recognition – this time it’s the American College of Nurse-Midwives.  October 7-13, 2012 is National Midwifery Week "...created by ACNM to celebrate and recognize our members.”  Read more about their organization HERE.

The Bradley Method(R) Series03 Family with Belinda Hodder, CNM I am happy to participate in their campaign to bring the awareness of midwifery care to a larger audience.  We had an epiphany when we experienced midwifery care, and we are delighted to see many of our students making the choice to have midwifery care for their pregnancies and births.
 
As part of the awareness campaign, visitors to the website were asked to write and De-bunk a Midwifery Myth.  Here is the one I chose:
Midwives only attend births at home.
FALSE
 
When we were pregnant with our first baby in 2004, we started care with my gynecologist, because, after all, wasn’t the other part of her title “ obstetrician”?  I thought I wanted a homebirth, but that wasn’t going to happen because in the U.S., as a general rule doctors do not deliver babies at home.
 
We proceeded to have baby#2 and baby#3 with the same OB/GYN group.  When it came time to deliver, we had to take the chance that the doctor on call was going to respect our wishes to have an un-managed, unmedicated, and vaginal birth.  Thankfully, we only really had to advocate for our choices once, and that was our first birth.  Thereafter, we got the reputation for being “that” couple that had big babies without pain medication.
 
Had we known then what we know now, we may have chosen to have hospital births with midwives.  Yes – they work in the hospital, too!
 
Certified Nurse-Midwives (“CNM”) are professional health care providers.  They are a mix of medical and natural,, since most of them are registered nurses, and they also have a philosophy of care that respects and works with the natural process.  They can work as a CNM after passing a national certification exam, and they must meet the requirements set by their state health agencies.  They are available to counsel women through all phases of their reproductive health, from wellness, preconception, pregnancy, family planning, annual exams and menopause.
 
In regards to pregnancy, CNMs work within a paradigm where pregnancy is healthy, birth is normal, and Mother Nature is allowed to work until there are clear signs that other decisions need to be made.  They work within an evidence-based model, which means that there is a “conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” [1]  If and when their patient's needs goes beyond their scope of practice, they have an established relationship with an obstetrician who can come in for consultation or transfer of care.
 
For families who are not ready to make the move to a home birth, a certified nurse-midwife that works within the hospital model or at a free-standing birth center may be an option to explore.  Families that know they want more personalized and individualized care where they are treated as healthy pregnant women may think that midwives are a good choice.  Instead of a treating a pregnant woman like patient who has to prove they are healthy because they are expected to be sick and needing treatment for their “condition” of pregnancy, midwives take the time to get to know the woman, her history and a trust is established that has a different tenor than the patient/doctor relationship.
 
Now, not all obstetricians treat their patients like they are sick, and not all midwives come with sunshine and rainbows.  However, if you are sure that you want a birth with as few interventions as possible, it is a good idea to look for the care provider that is going to support your choice not just with their words; they also need to show that they believe in natural birth with their actions and their patient outcomes.
 
If you are looking for some options in the Phoenix area, here are some midwifery practices other Bradley™ students have used:
 
 
 

 


And new to the East Valley – we have our first student receiving care from this group in our Fall 2012 class:

What are your thoughts on midwifery care?
 
Link List:
  • http://www.midwife.org/National-Midwifery-Week
  • [1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2349778/pdf/bmj00524-0009.pdf
  • http://www.valleywomenforwomen.com/midwives
  • http://drkells.com/index.html
  • http://www.bethanywomen.com/  
  • http://www.stjosephs-phx.org/Medical_Services/Center_for_Womens_Health/195830
  • http://www.midwifephoenix.com/index.htm
  • http://momdocmidwives.com/
                                                                             



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®.

Natural Labor Coping Techniques

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM Comments comments (1)
Here are some of the ways we recommend our students manage their labor without analgesics or anesthetics.  Even when they are used in labor, we are so happy that our couples use them as tools to manage a long labor and their children are born nursing vigorously and with high APGAR scores.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Mom and Coach are informed. 
Through the course of The Bradley Method® class series, parents are taught about what to expect as “normal” in labor, what the variations on normal might be, the different options and interventions in labor, and how to recognize a complication that warrants a change in the plan for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.    

We also teach positive communication, something intended to strengthen the parental bond, as well as serve for positive interactions in the birth space with care providers and support personnel.  Our goal is that parents have the tools they need to evaluate labor, communicate their needs to care providers, and ask the questions they need to make informed decisions about the choices they may have to make in labor.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Mom and Coach are athletes. 
An athlete with an eye on crossing the finish line does four things:  They train, they rest, they nourish and they hydrate.  Dr. Bradley called his patients “obstetrical athletes”.    

His nurse, Rhonda Hartman, designed a training program just for moms to prepare them for labor.  We are still teaching our couples this training program, starting with week one of class and continuing until the time of birth.  We also “train” relaxation.  Each couple is encouraged to take the weekly technique and practice at least 15 minutes per day so that there is muscle memory for relaxation when it is needed in labor.   

We continually harp on the importance of sleep in the weeks leading up to labor and once labor starts.  We learned this lesson the hard way, and as excited as we know our students are going to get as they anticipate the birth of their child, we want them to try to rest.  Getting to the magic number of “10 cm” is only the first part of labor – once they reach 10 cm, they also need energy for the second stage of labor to welcome their child into this world.   

We also echo Dr. Bradley’s advice to eat if you’re hungry, drink if you’re thirsty.  He makes the analogy that going through labor without eating or drinking is like playing a full game of football without any substitutions.  The body is working and burning energy to birth your baby, it makes sense to follow mom’s physical cues.  As long as mom is okay and baby is okay, we have found that mom’s appetite will naturally decrease as labor intensifies; and as with an actual marathon, that the need to hydrate is as important in early labor as it is when mom is close to crossing the finish line.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson Water is your friend.
As stated above, a hydrated mother makes for an optimal obstetrical athlete.  She is hydrated for energy and optimal hormone distribution throughout labor.   

 Water is also a excellent relaxation tool.  It works magic in labor: the warmth and the sensation move tension away from the body and adding a layer of relaxation as it works to soothe the mother’s body.  I have heard it called, “The Midwives Epidural”.    

Many hospital moms now have access to the birth tubs that are used very effectively at birth centers or at home births.  If  using a birthing tub or home bathtub is not an option, then the shower can also be an effective tool.  The sensation of water will still massage and soothe the body.  With a shower hose attachment, the water can also be directed at the body where it is the most soothing for the laboring mother. 
  

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Use abdominal breathing.
Abdominal breathing is taught in many settings to deepen relaxation – yoga, hypnosis, meditation, stress relief, and in The Bradley Method® of natural childbirth classes!  Abdominal breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing.  Basically, you are allowing your belly to rise and fall as you breath instead of your chest.  If you watch children breathe, or if you remember what it was like to breathe before someone told you that you needed to suck in your stomach, you will know what it means to breath with your abdomen.   

Abdominal breath is an important foundation for relaxation.  It slows down our mind and it allows or bodies to release tension.  We teach abdominal breathing in class 2 so we can build on it through the rest of the series.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Coach is a relaxation expert. 
Coach needs to know what relaxes their partner.  Does mom respond to physical touch?  What kind of touch?  Does she like a strong counter-pressure or gentle effleurage?  Does she like a relaxation script, a prayer or a story read to her?  Does she feel safe in her birth space?     

By the end of The Bradley Method® class series, we have covered these, and many more questions, to help the Coach be a relaxation expert on their partner.  We also teach 11 different relaxation techniques for coaches to put into their “toolbox” to use as needed as labor progresses.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Have a trusted assistant coach. 
Champion sports teams have a stellar assistant coaching staff.  The head coach doesn’t try to do it all – he delegates and finds the best person to train his team so that he can keep his eye on the big picture and continue leading and motivating his team.   

We have noticed that couples with an assistant coach generally end up with births that are closer to the birth wishes they made in preparation for their labor.  The extra set of hands, the extra energy in labor make a difference.  The couples that hire doulas also have an experienced birth professional to help them manage the map of labor.  A good birth doula doesn’t take over the birth, she will help the couple to recognize the signs of progress and make suggestions for coach to support the mom.   

Even if you feel like you want to be just Mom and Coach, you can benefit from an assistant coach coming in for a period in labor.  When we labored with Angelika, a dear friend of ours came in and labored with me when Bruss needed rest.  I had been laying down the first day, resting and napping since we know we have long labors.  Bruss had been checking in on me, taking care of our older children while we waited for family to arrive to tend to them, and he took care of feeding all of us.  He REALLY needed to sleep after dinner that night.  Andrea came, labored with me as long as she could, and when it was time for her to get back to her own family, Bruss was rested and ready to be head coach again.  I am forever grateful for her time that night – it allowed for Bruss to rest and restore for the long work we still had ahead of us.   

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  Break the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. 
We break the Fear by teaching couples what to expect in a normal labor, along with the many variations on “normal”.  We also break the Fear by discussing the complications and sharing strategies and options for them to consider if they are among the small percentage of people that face complications in labor.   

We break the Tension by teaching Mom and Coach to be relaxation experts.  We break the Tension by teaching couples to communicate together, and how to communicate with their care team for effective and positive interactions.   

We break the Pain by reminding mothers that labor is an athletic event.  It isn’t always easy, however it is doable.  We invite couples from the previous class come share their stories with our current class.  I have seen the “light bulbs” click for both Moms and Coach when the other “first-timers” share their stories.  It makes it more realistic to hear that other newbies had Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcomes by using the information they learned in class.  It reassures them that the intensity is brief compared to the joy of holding their children.  The new parents confirm that the work is worth the effort, and that staying the course and/or making Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby choices are rewarded with a happy family outcome.    

We also encourage couples to find affirmations, prayers, scripts and/or music to draw energy from in labor.  Labor is an exercise in intensity that ebbs and flows.  Having something to focus on besides the intensity that is growing helps to focus mom on the work that she is doing.  They can also restore and encourage her when she wants to give into the pain.    

By having knowledge, training and tools, couples are well on their way to a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.   

What was a natural labor coping technique that worked for you during your labor?   

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®. 

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®.

 

More Homebirth Secrets

Posted on March 2, 2012 at 7:32 AM Comments comments (0)
Here are two more herbal therapies we used in preparation for our homebirth.  As I commented in my first post about the things we did differently as a result of our choice to have a homebirth, I have no idea why these are not more widely used in pregnancy.  The only idea that has occured to me since then is that since these are not pharmaceuticals, there is no money to be made from promoting them.
 
Herbs have been used as “medicine” for countless years.  As such, I must put on my Bradley® instructor hat here and say that these worked for our family; each family must do their own research and decide if any of these herbal therapies are suitable for them.
 
Red Raspberry Leaf
The most common way to use this herb is to make a tea and drink 2-3 cups per day.  I learned about it from our first doula, who recommended I drink a tea made from Red Raspberry Leaf in the third trimester for uterine toning.  I wasn’t sure about using herbs since the FDA regulates none of them.  Since then, I have learned to do research and trust my source if I am going to use herbs, especially during pregnancy when everything we consume passes on to the baby.
 
“Most of the benefits ascribed to regular use of Raspberry tea through pregnancy are traced to the nourishing source of vitamins and minerals found in this plant and to the strengthening power of fragrine - an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus itself. Of special note are the rich concentration of vitamin C, the presence of vitamin E and the easily assimilated calcium and iron. Raspberry leaves also contain vitamins A and B complex and many minerals, including phosphorous and potassium.”
 - susunweed.com
 
Red raspberry also turns out to be a source of calcium, and some mothers find that it helps with milk production.
 
Read more about red raspberry leaves here
 

Polly-Jean Five-Week Antenatal Formula
This was another recommendation from our midwives.  Not having used herbal therapies like this in our other pregnancies, Bruss and I decided to trust their expertise and take the herbs.  The following is an excerpt from birthjunkie.com.  I have commented on the benefits below – they are in the purple text and NOT from the website:
 
"Polly Block, a midwife, writes in her book, Polly's Birth Book--Obstetrics for the Home:

"We have found the Polly-Jean Formula--an herbal combination that gravidas begin taking five weeks prior to anticipated date of delivery--to be a boon to the home birth movement. It assists in the following ways:
 
  • Much easier labor and delivery – ours was easier in the sense that the active phase was very short…if you have read our homebirth story, you already know that our early first stage was almost two days long.
  • Longer and easier labors for women who tend to have precipitous births – I wish!
  • Shorter and easier labors for women who tend to have long labors – if this made my labor shorter I am very grateful.
  • Bigger dilation before discomfort arises – yes!  I could feel my cervix popping open with the easier contractions; our active phase of labor (late first stage-transition-pushing) was only about three hours out of the 44 total hours of labor.
  • Minimization of postpartum bleeding when taken in conjunction with the “Good Program” (the “Good Program” is spelled out in Polly’s Birth Book) – I don’t know what the Good Program is since I didn’t read the book; I have not lost a lot of blood in the past, and there was definitely very little blood loss with our homebirth.
  • Shorter periods before lochia stops – we found this to be true; the period of postpartum bleeding was much shorter this time – I was also taking my placenta pills, so that may have factored in as well.

Other formulas on the market have helped many mothers, but over the years midwives have found that these formulas did not assist enough in preventing hemorrhage in women with borderline anemia, the Rh-negative factor, and other conditions. We found that when pennyroyal was included in the formula, bleeding continued to be heavier than it should be. We also found that black cohosh seemed to increase the normally stepped up production of estrogen, adding to the hemorrhage problem. Jeannne Johnson and I eliminated both these herbs when we developed our formula.

The Polly-Jean Five-Week Antenatal Formula tends to create a balance in the stepped-up hormones toward the end of pregnancy.  Over the years women have reported that they have found no better 'female corrective' than the Polly-Jean formula, pregnant or not."
  - Except from www.birthjunkie.com
 
As I researched for this post, I found that the Polly-Jean Five-Week Antenatal Formula contains a blend of herbs that lend the following properties: uterine stimulant, uterine toning, hormone balancing, anti-nausea and anti-vomiting, galactagogue (increase milk supply) and pain relief.
 
Allow me to reiterate that as a Bradley® instructor, and as a consumer and research driven mama, I strongly suggest that you do your own research and decide if either of these herbal therapies are right for you.
 
Our midwives at Freedom and the Seed have an herbalist in their office.  If you have any questions about using herbal therapies for pregnancy, postpartum or for breastfeeding support, you can start by calling Juliana Soderberg at 602.482.5544. You can also visit her website at www.herbaljules.com.

What has been your experience with herbal therapies for pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding?
 
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®.

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]

Guess who?

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 5:32 PM Comments comments (1)
Our students are coming down the home stretch in their pregnancies!!  We invited some alumni from our last class to come share their birth story tonight so that our students could hear from the parents fresh from the birth experience. 
 
Their story brought up an interesting point that was echoed by some of our current students.  What do you do when uninvited guests show up at your birth?  How do you keep them from coming in the first place?
 
This is a touchy subject – how do you tell your loving family or your devoted friend that this is not the time when you want to see them?  What do you do when a well-meaning person arrives at your birthplace and all you want to do is have them leave?
 
The direct way...
The direct way...
The nice way...
The nice way...
You can tell people to leave either way. How you say it will definitely make a difference in the long run.
Among the topics we encourage our couples to discuss before labor starts is who they want at their birth.  There is definitely an emotional component to labor that will allow or hinder progress if mother is not feeling safe, ready or supported.  Who will be there that will encourage the couple and support their birth choices?  With whom will they feel comfortable sharing an intimate and vulnerable experience?
 
Things to consider:
  - Will you be okay if they see you using the bathroom?
  - Will you feel okay if they see you naked?
  - How will they react if you are impatient or rude to them?
  - How will they react when they see you uncomfortable and/or in pain? 
     Will they be okay with it?
  - Do they support your choices for a natural birth and your birth wishes?
 
If you answered no to any of these questions, then think twice about having the person/people you are considering to be present at your birth.  Mom and Coach need to clarify their list of people who are a yes and then communicate their wishes to their family and friends.
 
Belinda Hodder, CNM, who is at Valley Women For Women, has a great suggestion about breaking the news to everyone.  She suggests having your birth plan ready in time for your baby shower.  Bring several copies to the event and have “Sharing the Birth Plan” be one of the activities.  This way the announcement of your wishes is public and clear.  If you are asking people to wait to see you until a certain point, you have the opportunity to tell everyone together.  Hopefully no one will feel like they are being singled out since they are not the only ones being told not to come until you are ready for them.
 
Mothers and Mothers-In-Law are an interesting set of people in relation to labor.  I have seen a midwife’s site that explicitly states if a mother wants either of those people at her birth, she will refer them to a midwife that is comfortable with that scenario.  She does not take clients who want soon-to-be grandmothers present since her experience is that they negatively impact labor.  On the other hand, we have had several students whose mothers were present at their birth.  It all turned out okay – they all had their babies with their mother in the birth setting, and many of them said that they couldn’t have done it without them taking on the role of assistant coach.
 
If you like the idea of a mother-figure being with you and yet you think you don’t want your mother attending the birth, you can hire a doula who has the personality traits plus the know-how you want in an assistant coach.  Interview several doulas until you find the right balance of personality and experience that fits your comfort zone.
 
If your family members are not going to be asked or welcomed in your birth place and you are going to have a doula or other assistant coach there, stating the facts without emotion is the best suggestion I can offer.  Instead of saying, “You stress me out” or “I don’t think you can handle it” or “You have not been there for me why would I want you there now” or any variety of other reasons why you would carry negative emotion towards someone, stick to the facts.  “We have asked/chosen this person to attend our birth because they have the training to be an assistant coach.” 

Training can mean that they have completed or are working through a certification process; maybe they are reading your birth books with you (see the bottom of this page for our suggested reading list); or maybe they have attended your Bradley Method® classes with you.  Any or all of these things will prepare a person to be the assistant coach you need them to be as long as they are willing to support your birth choices and are committed to helping you have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
 
A person’s presence in the birth space can very much affect the progress of labor – someone with negative energy can hinder labor; someone with positive energy can help it progress.  If the people you are asking to refrain from attending your labor press you for answers, stick to the facts.  Be a team together, insist that, “We made this choice” and avoid pointing fingers, “Mom (or Coach) doesn’t want you there because…”
 
If people do show up at your birth space even when you believe you have made your wishes clear, designate someone to be the messenger, or write them a note that someone else can deliver.  You can phrase it kindly – “Hi, (Person).  Thank you so much for expressing your support.  We are focused on bringing baby earthside and regret not being able to come out to see you.  We could really use your help after baby comes.  Would you be kind enough to come back and see us after baby arrives?  If anything comes up, we will let you know if we need you sooner.”
 
You may also find that the amount of people you have in the birth space is too much or too few.  If you find that all the people you said yes to is stressing you out, you have permission to ask them to clear out so you can focus on your birth.  If you initially decided you were going to go it alone and you find that you really could use an extra pair of hands, or you need a fresh energy after a trial of labor, bring a list of assistant coaches you can call in to support you.
 
It is your body, your baby and your birth.  The people in your birth space can potentially hinder or help your labor’s progress.  Set yourself up for success and clarify your “guest list” before labor starts.  Although it’s a tiny detail in the grand scheme of preparations you are making, you will be glad you did.
 
What influenced your decision to invite or exclude people from your birth?
 
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]
 

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (7)
Bradley Method® Fall 2011 Series Chandler, AZBradley Method® Fall 2011 Series Chandler, AZ





I finally got approval from all the families to post the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby pictures.  Here is a brief synopsis of their outcomes along with a birth story from one of the moms.
 
All of these are babies from our Fall 2011 Bradley Method® series.  Angelika got to be one of these babies, too!  The families enrolled in our classes with the intention of having natural births.  However, all of them took to heart our entreaty to evaluate all their decision points with the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby filter.  Most of them deviated from their birth plan, and definitely from what their expectation were…each birth is unique.  The beautiful element of these photographs is that these babies are all healthy, and so are their mammas.
 
I am going to number the babies from left to right.  Baby 1 is our longest labor (so far) for this class.  This family labored for 51 hours!  Mom and Dad labored at home, they went to the hospital and found out they were only 3 centimeters so they followed Berman’s law (go home if your are less than 5 cm dilated and not showing any physical or emotional signs of late labor) and went home.  Mom rested, ate, labored and the couple had the support of a wonderful doula.  They rested that night and labored at home most of the day.  When they went back to the hospital on day 2, mom had not progressed as much as they had hoped but they were past a five so they stayed in the hospital.  When they had marked the 48 hour of labor, they opted to have the bag of waters broken to see if that would speed labor.  Guess what – the on-call doctor did not want to come in to the hospital so he told the nurse to start a Pitocin drip instead.  Mom and Dad evaluated their choices and their wise doula gave them invaluable advice, “Let’s redefine our birth plan and make the adjustment we need to keep the vaginal birth.”  Knowing that mom was exhausted physically, and that she had been dilated to 8 cm with no progress for several hours, the parents evaluated their situation and opted for an epidural so that the strong Pitocin-induced contractions wouldn’t sap what was left of mom’s energy.  Three hours later they welcomed their son via vaginal birth.  He was ready to nurse – Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.
 
Baby 2 is our Angélika.  Most of the hospital to homebirth stories we heard from families testified to the fact that their home births were significantly faster than their hospital births.  No transfer, no poking, no prodding, no weird or distracting noises.  So here we are, going into our home birth so excited that we are not going to have to move to the hospital since that had always stalled our labor in the past.  Labor starts and it is a completely different pattern than we have ever had before…the water broke at the midway point instead of at the beginning, walking slowed or stopped labor and laying on my side made things move along.  By the middle of day 2, I gave up on having the faster homebirth and resigned myself to be the mom that went to sleep and woke up ready to push.  You can read the long version here, suffice it to say Angélika was born about five hours after I surrendered and went to bed!
 
Baby number 3 was born to an experienced birth mom.  She has two older boys and this was her third child, dad’s first.  She made the decision to switch care providers at 39 weeks!  Although she had been with her OB for several years and had even followed her when she went into independent practice, she started to get red flags in her third trimester.  They couldn’t agree on her birth plan; and then the doctor wanted to strip her membranes a week before her estimated due date.  Mom made the decision to switch providers and moved to an OB recommended by another classmate that still allowed them to deliver at the same hospital.  Guess what?  This baby was ten days past his due date!  Had mom stayed with her first OB, who knows when he would have been born?  By changing providers, baby was allowed the time he needed to start labor.  This couple opted for a cesarean section to ensure a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Two factors led to their decision: three hours of pushing with no change in station, plus amniotic fluid that was stained with meconium. “Trust birth” as the saying goes…this young man was born with his cord wrapped not once or twice, but several times around his neck.
 
Baby 4 was an average length labor with a painful complication.  As labor progressed, she had a ring of pain that radiated from her uterus down to her upper thighs.  The lower baby dropped and engaged in the pelvis, the more sensation mom lost in her legs!  This mom and dad endured 18 hours of posterior labor – I award them the title of “Rock Stars” for staying drug-free for so long. It is truly a testament to her commitment and his coaching.  Her midwives recommended an epidural since she was not dilating past an eight.  Their baby was born an hour later!
 
Baby 5 was born to another multipara.  This mom was induced with her first baby…and she wrote her story out to share with you:
 
"Our birth choices were all made with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome in mind.  Our first big decision was choosing a care provider we were comfortable with.  We ended up with a wonderful group of midwives who totally supported our birth preferences and were obviously in favor of our choice to have a natural birth.  We had started with a group of midwives in Brooklyn, then went to an OB in Phoenix for a couple of months while we waited for our AZ insurance to kick in.  This OB was definitely NOT on the same page as we were (he wanted to induce before the new year so we could get a tax break...) so we switched as soon as possible.
 
When it came to our labor, we chose to hire a doula and labor at home as long as we could so we could avoid any potential pressure from the hospital for interventions.  As it turned out, my labor was so short that was pretty easy to do!  When we got to the hospital I was already 9 cm, so it was a matter of a little time, then onto pushing, and within the hour Amelia was born.  We chose to skip the Hep B vaccine in the hospital, and waived the vitamin K and eye ointment.  We know my STD status, so we knew she was at no risk, and we wanted her to be able to see the world as best she could with her newborn eyes!  As far as the Vitamin K shot was concerned, we did some research and decided it wasn’t necessary unless she experienced trauma at birth, which she didn’t.  We also chose not to bathe her so the vernix could do its job and she wouldn’t experience crazy changes in her body temperature.  We have yet to bathe her, and won’t for a while longer.  
 
We also decided to encapsulate my placenta this time around.  It was an option presented by our Bradley® instructors, and we were encouraged to do so by our midwife and our doula.  We went home from the hospital the day after our birth because Amelia and I were both doing well.  I wanted to see my 3 year old, and felt like I would be happier resting and enjoying my family in our own home.  
 
It was a different experience from our first birth.  I felt like we were much more informed and able to make more decisions that were Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome-minded.  That said, I was induced with my first because of high blood pressure, and while it wasn’t my ideal birth plan, it was a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby based decision.  I also got an epidural after nearly 12 hours of a Pitocin induced labor, and I was able to progress quickly after that and go on to have a vaginal delivery.  I truly believe that I would have been too exhausted to push had I not gotten the epidural, so again, I don’t regret that decision.  An epidural was much more favorable to me than a C section!  We did have a doula with our first as well, and she was instrumental in keeping us calm and grounded through uncharted territories!  
 
With our firstborn Max, though, we hadn’t researched the vitamin K shot or the eye ointment, so we did both of those.  We also were not informed about the benefits of placenta encapsulation, so it wasn’t even on our radar the first time around.  I stayed in the hospital with Max for two nights, and felt like I needed that amount of time!
 
I definitely liked working with midwives the second time around rather than an OBGYN like we did with Max.  I liked my OB with Max, but I was definitely more comfortable with the midwives and felt like we saw eye to eye on our birth choices.  If we do have another, we will probably consider a home birth since Amelia’s birth was so fast and relatively easy.  That will be a whole new territory to explore, but we’re definitely interested!"
 
I hope these stories demonstrate the importance of a care provider you trust and have a rapport with, as well as the importance of making the choices to have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Happy New Year to all these babies and their families – ours has been wonderful so far.  Angélika started laughing today – pure joy!
 
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]
 

Positive Communication

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 6:08 PM Comments comments (2)
Communicating with your Care Provider  

Tonight’s class was about Variations & Complications of Labor.  The Bradley Method® believes in teaching this topic so that parents are prepared for the outside possibility of a variation of labor.  We strive to introduce these in an informative way while leaving out the flashing sirens of fear and doubt.  

In previous posts, I have written about choosing your care provider and your rights as a patient consumer of health care in a hospital setting; both will affect your outcome when faced with critical decisions during the birth process.  Bruss suggested I write about communication since it’s tied to making a good decision if you face decision points in your pregnancy and/or labor.  So let’s expand on a related topic: talking to your care provider so you can assess the recommendations they are making at any point in your pregnancy or labor.  

There are many variations in labor.  Some women will labor quickly, others slowly.  Some women dilate continuously, other women dilate a centimeter or two every few hours, some women might even experience what is termed “reverse dilation”.  Women manage the pain of labor differently – some moan, some chant, some scream.  Some women have the water break early, other women have the water break as they are pushing, and rarely babies are born “en-caul”, having their bag of waters intact and then it’s broken after delivery.  

Possible complications in labor are things like placental abruption, uterine rupture, a baby in a transverse position, a baby in fetal distress that has been determined by having the doctor listen with a Doppler or fetoscope…we aim to cover the things that are true medical complications when a cesarean is medically indicated.  

I like Henci Goer’s definition of informed consent.  It means that any time an intervention is suggested, you have the legal right to know what is being recommended, and that it must be conveyed in a language that you understand.  You must also know why it’s being recommended, the potential problems and side effects, alternatives to handling the problem, the pros and cons of the alternatives, including doing nothing.  (See page 105 of Thinking Woman’s Guide To A Better Birth)  

Your frame of mind going into these situations needs to be focused on a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  The person in front of you is not the enemy – they are a person who is trained and is trying to do their job.  If there perception of a situation is different than yours, then it’s vital to clarify where you are in labor.  The most important questions to ask when you are faced with a “fork in the road” as Bruss calls them, are, “Is Mom okay? Is Baby okay? How much time do we have?”  

We tell our students to gauge the amount of time not only by words, but by actions.  If you have time, you will only see the nurse and maybe your main care provider, or the student midwife and maybe the main midwife in a homebirth.  If you are facing an emergency, there is markedly more activity.  There are teams of people monitoring both mom and baby, as well as maybe getting ready to move them.  

One of the reasons it is so important to take care when choosing your care providers and birth facilities is that sometimes there isn’t time to ask all these questions.  If Mother and Baby are already compromised and there is no time to ask questions, you must trust that the care providers and the birthplace will do the best for your family.  Do you have this level of trust with your care provider?  Do you have this level or trust with the birthplace?  If you answered “no” to either of these questions, it’s time to seriously consider making a change.  Although true complications are rare, if you are part of the small percentage, you want to ensure that you have the best chance for a good outcome despite any complications that may arise.  

I am going to pull from my post on Patient Rights for the rest of the conversation you can have with your care team once you establish there is time to talk and consider your options:  

If both are well enough and there is time, then you can continue with questions such as:
 - “What is the problem?”
 - “What are the symptoms or test results causing concern?”
 - “Could this be normal?”
 - “What is the most likely cause?  Are there any other possible causes?”  

If the care provider agrees that Mother and Baby are well enough to let labor proceed and let nature take her course, continue to trust that Mother and Baby are working together and that you will be meeting your baby in due course.  You can address other probable causes – is mom hydrated?  Is she emotionally ready and relaxed enough to accept her labor?  Are you using the best positions in the appropriate stage of labor to allow gravity and physiology to move things along?  

If after asking this series of questions Mother and Coach decide that further action is worth exploring, then you can continue with these questions:

“What exactly are you recommending?” – Paraphrase it back to ensure you understand what the recommendation is. 

“What are the benefits of this procedure or drug?”  - You want to listen well, and paraphrase again.  You can also ask if their opinion is based on fact or observation.  

“What are the risks and known side effects of this procedure or drug?” – Ask to see the insert if it is a drug and there is time to read it – you may be surprised at what is in the fine print and the care provider fails to mention. 

“Is this an established procedure (or drug) or is it being offered as part of a trial?” – This is very important to know, especially if it is something whose short-term or long-term effects on an unborn child or a newborn are unknown.  

“What are alternatives to this procedure or drug?” – Again, care providers have routines based on what their protocol is – sometimes there are other options that they don’t mention, not from malice, it could be simply because they are not accustomed to being asked for alternatives. 

“What are your qualifications for making this recommendation?” – Who are you talking to?  Student midwife or Professional Licensed Midwife?  Nurses come in many varieties: a student nurse, an LPN (one year of schooling), an ASN nurse (two years of schooling), a BSN (four years of schooling).  Beyond that, how long have they been working as a nurse?  If you are talking to a doctor: are they a resident (student) doctor, or an attending (more experienced) physician?  How long have they been a resident or an attending?  

“Who would be performing this procedure?” – This is an especially important question to ask if you are in a teaching hospital or at home with the professional + student midwife.  Every family needs to make a decision regarding their comfort level with students literally practicing on you based on their individual preferences.  On a personal note, while I am all for students learning, when it come to my body and our child, I want a trained and experienced professional to work on us.  I am okay if a student wants to observe, however, only someone with extensive experience and knowledge is going “to do” something or administer something to us.  

“What else can we expect to happen, or which other interventions typically follow as a result of this drug or procedure?” – In the interest of full disclosure, this is a very important question.  1.) You want to know how they will measure the efficacy of the intervention.  2.) When you accept one intervention, it is likely that other interventions or compromises will follow.  If there is time, you want to hear all of the other interventions or protocol they will have to follow that may be a result of the first intervention you agree to have.  

“What happens if we choose to do nothing at this time?” – Back to full disclosure – there are ways to phrase things that force you to make an immediate decision.  If you ask this question, it tells you the other side of the story, or the whole story in regards to their recommendations.   

You have a couple of options in the event that you want to choose differently than your care providers are recommending and/or if you feel like your concerns are not being heard by your care provider. 
1.  If you have done your research and you have heard the benefits and the risks of a procedure or drug, and you are confident in your decision and want to refuse, hospitals have documents called “Against Medical Advice” that you can sign.  You accept the risks inherent in your decision and relieve the hospital of liability.  I have no idea if midwives have a  similar document…I will have to ask!
2.  In the hospital setting, you can ask for an Independent Patient Advocate.  This person acts as a liaison between the patient and the care providers.  It puts someone in between you and the care provider, and it is implied that they would convey information in a neutral way.  Sometimes taking away the “authority” of the person conveying the information relieves the pressure and lets a patient make a decision without feeling the pressure of “The Doctor” or “The Nurse”.  

Whether you are experiencing a variation of labor or a true complication, effective communication with your birth partner, with your doula, with your midwife, with the nurses and doctors will directly affect your outcome.  If you are knowledgeable about what normal variations of labor are, then you can have conversations about your care to determine the best positive outcome for your situation.  If you are not confident or trained in what to expect during the labor process, you may wish you had known a little more.   

Do you have any communication tips to share?  What are they?

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

0