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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Coming Soon: Willow Midwife Center for Birth and Wellness

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 10:44 AM Comments comments ()
Please join us to celebrate the
GRAND OPENING of
Willow Midwife Center for Birth and Wellness

Saturday, September 17, 2016
10:30 am - 3:00 pm

2045 S. Vineyard
Suite 136
Mesa, AZ 85210

The midwives who own Willow would like to be able to provide for families who cannot afford the fee for a birth center birth.  To make that wish come true, they are starting a foundation called Willow Wish.  Please come out to support the birth center and to bid on the items that have been donated for their fundraising efforts:

IVF treatment (sans human parts) from IVF Phoenix

Photography by Rebecca Turrigiano

Photography by Amanda LaRussa

Eyelash extensions by Erin Rudd

Birth Doula services by Ashlee Witham

Postpartum Doula services donated by three different doulas:

  • Lindsay Lutes-Etzold (3 hours)
  • Saundra Rozenboom (10 hours)
  • Ashley Anders


Placenta Encapsulation services by Michelle Ludwig

Birth Journey class with Dianne Hamre

Childbirth class series with Saundra Rozenboom

Lactation package with Sarah Kankiewicz

Pregnancy+Postpartum package with Stacy LePert: 
Belly cast (raw), placenta encapsulation, placenta print, and a gift certificate to use towards a crochet keepsake

Mama Pampering Gift Basket from Arizona Birthing From Within instructors (will include one set of Amorini Silver Nipple Soothers)

Mama Pampering Gift Basket from Arizona Bradley Method Instructors (will include one set of Amorini Silver Nipple Soothers)

Mama Pampering Gift Basket from Arizona Doulas

And of course...
a Sweet Pea Births swag basket!

We still have more donations coming in...so stay tuned! 

I hope to see you to celebrate and congratulate Belinda Hodder, CNM and Diane Ortega, CNM as they open their doors to provide another option for evidence-based, respectful pregnancy, postpartum and well-woman care in Arizona.

Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog 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 and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of Birthing From Within or The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of Birthing From Within, 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




Inside Look: Meditation for Mama Circle

Posted on April 13, 2016 at 10:09 AM Comments comments ()

April's "Inside Look" feature is an amazing new service available to all pregnant mothers in Maricopa County, Arizona.  It is offered by the midwife at Moxie Midwifery, Jennifer Hoperich.  The circle meets in Tempe, conveniently located off the I-10 freeway and Warner Road.  We have had the pleasure of experiencing Jennifer's amazing work in meditation. In a perfect world, every mama would be able to attend at least one of her Meditation for Mama circle sessions.

Tell me about the meditation circle - what's the intention? Who can attend?
The intention of the circle is to provide a safe and nourishing space for pregnant women to learn about and practice meditation as well as to deeply connect with their babies, themselves,  and each other.   All pregnant women are welcomed into the circle, regardless of when, how, where, or with whom they are birthing.
 
What are the benefits of meditation? How is it beneficial during pregnancy?
We know that any physical symptom or disease that stress causes or exacerbates can be alleviated by meditation.  This includes high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, etc.  Meditation assists with all of these, inducing better sleep, allowing for higher satisfaction with life in general, increasing patience and focus, and improving relationships with friends, family and coworkers.   These benefits can certainly be appreciated and enjoyed in pregnancy. 
 
In addition, it is my personal belief that babies who receive the benefits of the mamas meditating have a head start in life.  When they have been bathed with “happy hormones” from the beginning that becomes a baby’s baseline, their “norm.” If this can continue into their birth process, all the better!  As they learn and grow, and as they seek out a partner and an occupation, if they have safety, LOVE and harmony as their foundation, that is what they will seek out.  The aim of Meditation for Mamas is not just peace and calm now.  The aim, quite literally, is world peace, one human being at a time. Peace on Earth begins with birth.  In addition to the health benefits mentioned, pregnant mamas getting together create community.  And community is essential to a happy and healthy pregnancy and postpartum period.


Are there any contraindications during pregnancy?
The only contraindications would be for women who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness in which periods of sustained self-reflection could be harmful, such as Multiple Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia with active psychosis.  Women of all abilities and mobilities are welcomed. Meditation can be done seated in a chair, on the floor, or even lying down. 

What is your favorite aspect of this kind of group?
I love the permission in the space to just "be".  And, I love seeing mamas taking the time to connect with their babies without any distractions.  

What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining and has never done meditation before?
There is absolutely no experience necessary!  We cover the basics of meditation, including relaxed breathing, at every class. Some participants meditate every day, while others only meditate during class. Pregnancy is the perfect time to start new healthy habits.  It's often a time where mamas start eating more organic foods, exercising more regularly, and taking better care of themselves overall.  Adding in a meditation routine during pregnancy not only benefits the woman and her baby, but also everyone else in her life... her other children, her spouse, coworkers, etc. And, we know that it typically takes 21 days to build a habit.  So, once women are meditating regularly in pregnancy, they are much more likely to be successful in continuing the practice, after they give birth.  And, children who witness their parents meditating are more likely to pick it up themselves. So, it's a win for the entire family! 

When and Where do you meet? How much does it cost? What does a mama need to bring/wear to be comfortable?
We meet at Moxie Midwifery, 8400 S. Kyrene Rd. Ste. 120 Tempe, AZ 85284, every Monday at 6:30pm.  The group is free, and participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle, a favorite pillow, and a blanket.  And, all of those things are also provided, if they forget! 


Is there anything else our readers should know about meditation or the mama circle?
Meditation is a powerful de-stressing and balancing tool that is helpful to and accessible by all people, all walks of life, all demographics, all socio economic categories, and all religions.  I am excited to share it with pregnant mamas in the Valley!

For more information about Moxie Meditation you can click the links below:

HERE IS A VLOG FROM LAST YEAR THAT I SHARED AFTER A MEDITATION SESSION WITH JENNIFER - SHE IS AMAZING!!


Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog 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 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 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
 


 

Q&A with SPB: Midwifery Care

Posted on May 5, 2015 at 7:49 PM Comments comments ()
Happy International Day of the Midwife to the midwives of the world.

Facebook image - source: KNOW YOUR MIDWIFE

We are so blessed with so many amazing midwives in our birth community.  Here is a little more about why Sweet Pea Births advocates for midwifery care to be an available option to all birthing families:










~~~
Here is a little more about the different ways a health practioner can certify to become a midwife - excerpt from THIS article:

There are two types of midwife in the United States:
**Nurse-midwives are educated and licensed as nurses first, and then complete additional education in midwifery. They are known as Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs). CNMs are licensed to practice in all 50 states. They are usually licensed in individual states as Nurse Practitioners (NPs).
**Direct-entry midwives are educated or trained as midwives without having to become nurses first. They may be Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) or Certified Midwives (CMs). The legal status and requirements for direct-entry (non-nurse) midwives vary from state. They are usually licensed in individual states as Licensed Midwives (LMs) or Registered Midwives (RMs). The Midwives Alliance of North America tracks the laws and regulations in each state for direct-entry midwives.

For a good explanation of the way a midwife is different from a doula read this excerpt from the bump:
"A midwife is…a health care provider and a doula is more of a childbirth coach. You might choose to have a midwife instead of an OB for prenatal care and to deliver your baby — midwives can deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers or even in your home. A doula, on the other hand, doesn’t replace your healthcare practitioner but rather can add extra services, such as helping you with techniques to manage pain during labor and even providing support and help during baby’s early days." 

A midwife's main scope of practice is the health and well-being of the Mother and the Baby.  She is doing "watchful waiting" through the pregnancy and birth, ensuring that everything is proceeding and staying healthy and low-risk.  If things start to vary or complications develop, depending on the midwife and whether they are home- or hospital-based, they may encourage the family to seek co-care or transfer care to an obstetrician who is trained to manage pregnancy that is moving away from low-risk.  

In the Phoenix, Arizona area, home birth families have the choice of doing co-care with Certified Nurse Midwives in the hospital setting, and still maintaining the midwifery model of care.  This allows for families to continue with "watchful waiting" and preserve their autonomy as consumers of healthcare.

Why hire a midwife?
The first study to compare birth outcomes between midwifery and obstetrical care was published in 1998.  Here are the conclusions:

"After controlling for a wide variety of social and medical risk factors, the risk of experiencing an infant death was 19 percent lower for births attended by certified nurse midwives than for births attended by physicians. The risk of neonatal mortality (an infant death occurring in the first 28 days of life) was 33 percent lower, and the risk of delivering a low birthweight infant was 31 percent lower. Mean birthweight was 37 grams heavier for the certified nurse midwife attended than for the physician attended births. Low birthweight is a major predictor of infant mortality, subsequent disease, or developmental disabilities.

Certified nurse midwives attended a greater proportion of women who are at higher risk for poor birth outcome: African Americans, American Indians, teenagers, unmarried women, and those with less than a high school education. Physicians attended a slightly higher proportion of births with medical complications. However, birth outcomes for certified nurse midwives were better even after sociodemographic and medical risk factors were controlled for in statistical analyses."

Excerpt from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/98news/midwife.htm

For the study abstract, click HERE
To read the study, click HERE

Is homebirth safe?
There are several studies that have been conducted around the world that show midwifery is safe - find a reference list HERE.  The big question remained: would outcomes be comparable in the US, where we do not practice socialized medicine?

The MANA study found that:
"Among 16,924 women who planned home births at the onset of labor, 89.1% gave birth at home. The majority of intrapartum transfers were for failure to progress, and only 4.5% of the total sample required oxytocin augmentation and/or epidural analgesia. The rates of spontaneous vaginal birth, assisted vaginal birth, and cesarean were 93.6%, 1.2%, and 5.2%, respectively. Of the 1054 women who attempted a vaginal birth after cesarean, 87% were successful. Low Apgar scores (< 7) occurred in 1.5% of newborns. Postpartum maternal (1.5%) and neonatal (0.9%) transfers were infrequent. The majority (86%) of newborns were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 weeks of age. Excluding lethal anomalies, the intrapartum, early neonatal, and late neonatal mortality rates were 1.30, 0.41, and 0.35 per 1000, respectively."
~Excerpt from THIS article




Are you curious about midwifery care??
Here are some posts where we share our birth journey with midwives:

Midwives Make a House Call - Third Trimester

Preparing for our Homebirth - Third Trimester







Link List
1998 Midwifery Study
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/98news/midwife.htm
http://jech.bmj.com/content/52/5/310.abstract?sid=52c15f2a-a71c-45d5-a827-c403cb953fa1
http://jech.bmj.com/content/52/5/310.full.pdf+html?sid=52c15f2a-a71c-45d5-a827-c403cb953fa1

MANA Homebirth Study
http://mana.org/blog/home-birth-safety-outcomes

Homebirth Studies Reference Page
http://mana.org/research/section-a-best-available-studies-grouped-by-design-level-of-evidence

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included in this blog and 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®.
 


Q&A with SPB: Benefits of Meditation

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM Comments comments ()
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Here is the video with the answer to today's question.  Keep scrolling for more of the information we learned in our Bonus Class with Jennifer, and for links to on-line meditation resources!



What is meditation?
The practice of concentrated focus to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.
(Adapted from the definition in the Farlex Medical Dictionary)

Different ways you can meditate:

Focus on:

  • Sound
  • Object
  • Visualization
  • Breath
  • Movement
  • Attention


Why do we want to reduce anxiety in pregnancy?

Anxiety during pregnancy may:

  • Lead to low birth weight
  • Increase the complications of labor
  • Increase the risk for miscarriage
  • Increase the risk of birth defects
  • Lead to premature delivery
  • Increase the use of prescription medications
  • Make pain worse during labor
  • Stress family members


What are the benefits of meditation?

There are three main benefits of meditation that you can access whether you are pregnant or even if you are not:

  • The more a person meditates, the higher their endorphin levels.  Endorphins are the pain-relieving and pleasure-enhancing hormones - we can always use a boost!
  • Increased levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) - it is an immune-boosting hormone that defends against disease, improves mood, balances brain chemistry, benefits vision, hearing, muscles, bones, and regulates blood pressure.
  • Increases levels of melatonin - it is a hormone that improves sleep, assists with a general sense of well-being, and it crosses the placenta! Your baby benefits from that sense of well-being, receiving the assurance that all is well. Good levels of melatonin have been shown to lead to an improvement in relationships with others.


In addition, clinical evidence illustrates that meditation is highly effective in the treatment of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance dependence and abuse, ulcers, colitis, chronic pain, psoriasis, and dysthymic disorder.

Three main kinds of meditation that have been scientifically studied:

Mindfulness Meditation
This type of meditation comes out ot the traditional Buddhist meditation practices.  In formal mindfulness practice, the meditator sits with eyes closed, focusing the attention on the sensations and movement of the breath fro approximately 45-60 minutes at a time, at least once a day.  The essence of mindfulness meditation is not what one focuses on, but rather the quality of awareness the meditator brings to each moment.  "The goal of mindfulness is for you to be more aware, more in touch with life and whatever is happening in your own body and mind at the time it is happening - that is, the present moment." (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Relaxation Response
This is another kind of mental focusing.  Meditators are taught to focus upon the repetition of a word, sound, prayer, phrase or movement activity (including swimming, jogging, yoga, and even knitting) for 10-20 minutes at a time, twice a day.  They are taught no to pay attention to distracting thoughts and to return their focus to the original repetition.  

Transcendental Meditation
This has its origins in the Vedic tradition of India.  The meditator sits with eyes closed and concentrates on a single syllable or word (mantra) for 20 minutes at a time, twice a day.  When thoughts or feelings arise, the attention is brought back to the mantra.  Jennifer mentioned one of her favorite types of focus music are the kirtans by Govind Das & Radha.  

How to work it into your daily routine:
Jennifer mentioned that it takes 14 days to get into the habit of a daily meditation practice.  The really amazing difference it can make is that not only will it improve your pregnancy experience and quite probably enhance your labor and birth, you can also reap the benefits during postpartum, and beyond!  All the hormones that are created (endorphins, DHEA, melatonin) are a HUGE plus for sleepy, tired parents of newborns. 

I hope you are now inspired to find a way to work even a minute of mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine.  Our attending students received a handout that Jennifer shares with all her clients with three simple meditations that can be done in under five minutes; plus they got a nifty magnet with over a dozen affirmations that can be used as focus points.  

These are some online resources for free recordings that you can play if you want some guided meditations to get you started, or if you just need fresh ideas to work into your daily routine if you are already meditating:

www.chopra.com

www.freemindfulness.org

www.relaxationresponse.org

Local resources:
www.meditationlearningcenter.com

www.pathsofgrowth.com

www.moxiemeditation.com

Jennifer is a knowledgeable midwife and hypnotherapist.  If you would like to be in touch with her with one or both aspects of her business, here is her contact information:

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®.

Birth Story: Baby P Born At Home

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 10:02 PM Comments comments ()



We are thrilled and honored to share a very special birth story today.  Our guest blogger, Cassandra is a newly minted mother of two - congratulations!!  Today she shares the story of Baby P's arrival. It is the complete opposite of last week's marathon labor birth story. She and Baby P definitely had a different path!



Baby P is baby #2 for our family; you can read my son’s home birth story from 2012 here on the blog.

I have been blogging about certain aspects of my second pregnancy on Sweet Pea Families over the course of the last few months; fears, affirmations, newborn essentials, and most recently musings over my labor, what it would be like and who would be there. I had grand visions of a coming together of many women in the late afternoon or evening, laboring peacefully in the birth tub with plenty of laughter and wearing the cute new bra and panty set I purchased to look nice for the photographer that would be there. My daughter would definitely be born in the water since coincidentally her brother, even though we were in the tub, was born over the water. But, as it turns out (again!) babies decide things for themselves and we, as mothers are simply a vessel for whatever their life holds for them.

My son was born at 43 weeks 3 days from my LMP. Dates were ambiguous due to irregular cycles and lack of ultrasounds, but with no vernix, long fingernails and an aging placenta at birth he was definitely a longer cooked baby. Going that far past my “due” date was definitely an emotional time: not knowing what to expect as a first time mom, worrying, comments from family/friends/strangers, etc. etc.

Baby #2 was surprisingly conceived after my first cycle at 25 months postpartum. I got a positive pregnancy test on cycle day 30 and a twelve week and then twenty week ultrasound both matched up with my LMP due date. So, this time was different, we knew! It was always in my mind that maybe I just cooked babies a little slower than most but as the pregnancy progressed I didn't really think there was any way I was going to go past my due date. I was so cramp-y this time, so much more pressure down low, so much more active, I had a completely different lifestyle chasing an almost 3 year old every day than during my first pregnancy.  But alas, my due date came and went and then a whole other week passed. At 41 weeks I was having doubts about the baby coming out any time soon and really just couldn’t believe I had gone so far again. 

At 41 weeks 1 day, a Monday, I was feeling good and talked with my midwife about just waiting it out another week and seeing what the weekend held. At 41 weeks 2 days, Tuesday, I was totally done being pregnant. My son and I had a great, exhausting day that day. We played at home, went grocery shopping, had a coffee and muffin date and met with a friend at the park to play in the sunshine for 3 whole hours. We came home and made dinner and he stayed up past his bedtime while my midwife came over for our weekly appointment. We chatted about the risks of the pregnancy progressing past 42 weeks, how we (my husband and I) each felt, what natural induction methods she likes to use and ultimately I decided I really just wanted a membrane sweep right then.

I had one with my son that resulted in losing my mucus plug and then starting labor two days later and I was ready. It was the night of a super new moon and I finally felt at ease to try and do something (at this point we weren't employing any kind of help labor start tactics). If my baby and body weren’t ready I trusted that nothing would happen anyways and we would continue waiting.

We were done with the sweep around 7PM with caution from my midwife that there could be spotting and cramps during the night, all totally normal and to try some nipple stimulation if I wanted. My son went to bed and my husband and I settled in on the couch for some Netflix while I hooked up to my breast pump for exactly ten minutes. We went to bed shortly after as we were both really tired from a long day and I fell asleep pretty quickly. I felt cramps on and off through the night in a very sleepy haze, my son slept horribly and was crying most of the night but thankfully my husband was comforting him and I spent most of the night able to drift in and out.

I woke up at 6:40AM and had what felt like bad period cramps, sharp, painful cramps super low in my pelvis that went away very quickly. I wondered if I should still be having cramps 12 hours after the sweep (?) and hoped they would go away soon. I got up to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and had lots of bowel movements. This used to happen to me every time I had period cramps so I wasn’t surprised; and afterwards laid back down to try and sleep some more until my son woke up. 

He was up a little bit after 7AM and I was still having the cramps so I text my husband around 7:15 and asked if he could come home for a little bit to be with our son until these cramps went away. I was fine in bed but T was asking for breakfast, etc. and I just felt icky and wanted to stay resting. He didn’t respond so T and I read books in bed and then looked at photos on my phone. Around 7:45 I was still having them so I called my husband (he hadn’t seen the texts) and asked him if he would just come home from work for a little bit. T and I stayed in bed cuddling, goofing off, laughing and watching videos of him on my phone. 

Around 8:30AM my husband finally walks in just as I was about to call him again, he had brought breakfast and I was so happy because I was starving! I used the opportunity to finally get up and go to the bathroom again and the cramps were still coming, fairly frequently and kind of radiating down and out into my pelvis. Definitely still cramps though, did not feel anything like a “contraction”. We decided to call the midwife as she emphasized calling her as soon as I suspected anything since my son was born fairly quickly after active labor began. 

I dialed her at 8:37AM and left a message. She instructed on her voicemail that if she didn’t call back in 15 minutes to call our other midwife. Right afterwards I text our photographer, she has a son that she needed to make arrangements for so I wanted to give her as big of a heads up as possible if there was any chance I was going to be in labor today. “Hi it’s Cassandra, I might be in labor today!” I told her about the sweep the night before and that I was just having cramps so I wasn’t sure and I had called my midwife but was just waiting to hear back and that I would keep her updated. After that I came out of the bathroom and tried to lean into our hallway wall during one of the cramps to see if that alleviated the pressure, it didn’t so I headed back to the bathroom. I was starting to think this was a membrane sweep gone horribly wrong and I had brought these insane cramps on myself and now who knew what was going to happen!  

I felt much better on the toilet. I would push down into the sides of the toilet seat during the cramps and kept having to pee or poo so it was better anyways. 15 minutes passed so I called our second midwife at 8:51AM. We talked for 8 minutes about what was happening (cramps, mucus tinged with blood, bowel movements) and I had two of the cramps while I was on the phone with her. She said she couldn’t tell I was having them and it sounded like early labor stuff and to try and lie down and rest between them, eat something and to let her know when they seemed to undergo a change. So I got off the toilet and lay down in bed and asked my husband to bring me some pancakes. I was still so hungry and so happy to be eating, I had two bites and then another cramp came and I immediately needed him to take the food away from me. I also did not want to be lying down. There was NO way I could rest; so back to the toilet I went.

I listened to my husband and son playing a Frozen matching card game in the other room and was still trying to understand what might be happening to me. The cramps got stronger and I asked for a chair from the kitchen to put backwards in front of the toilet so I could drape my arms over the back and press into it during the cramps. At 9:17AM I had a cramp that left me shaking and immediately breaking out into sweat all over. This was intense! I text my midwife “Ok getting hot and sweaty and shaky. Can’t rest” and she responded she was on her way. There was also a lot of blood after that and I finally knew this was definitely labor. 

Midwife called at 9:21 while she was driving and I couldn’t even really talk to her. I text my photographer at 9:24 and said “Ok def in labor. Midwife coming over now, 15 mins away.” She wrote back that she would be over in about 15 or 20 minutes too! This was when I told my husband to start filling up our tub – it had been inflated and ready to go for weeks and he just needed to fit the cover on it and then add water.

I had wanted to alert my friends from my blessingway when I was in labor and now that midwives and photographer were out of the way I could finally let them know. I sent out a text to everyone in the group at 9:27AM that said “Baby’s coming, send love – need it already <3” I remember trying to make sure that I included everyone and that I was trying to count the names and count the girls in attendance and it was hard for me to concentrate, but I did get everyone! The responses were just starting to come in when my midwife walked in about 9:30AM. 

Just before then I was starting to get worried about continuing to do this on my own as my husband was tending to the tub and playing with our son so I was really happy to see her. She asked if I was pushing and I was kind of caught off guard, pushing!? No way, what? I was definitely not pushing! Then another wave came and AH! There was a head! I was pushing!? I half yelled out that I was pushing and she asked if I could feel the baby’s head. I said no but then I barely reached up and the head was right there. She told me I needed to get off the toilet, which was seriously the last thing I wanted to do. She helped me down onto the birth stool where I tried to sit and then hold myself up against her but it was really unstable and I needed to get down. This entire time I could feel baby’s head right there. When I got off the stool I felt her head kind of suck back up a little and wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing but I heard hands and knees and I just kind of fell onto the floor in that position, head facing the corner, butt facing the doorway. This all happened in a couple of minutes and soon our photographer, Kirsten, walked in. She was greeted in the bathroom doorway to my bum and then a little bit of baby’s head starting to come out.

On the next push I moaned out so loud and low, it didn’t even really sound like me, I think this was the first noise I made the entire time. I was proud of myself that it was loud and low and not high pitched screaming (like I was with T). I knew I had to keep it that way and gosh the burning, ah! I literally just gave way to the burning, told myself it was happening and just feel it, don’t fight it and then her head was out! I said I wanted the rest of her out, just get her out! but I knew that wasn’t what I really wanted. Tearing so badly again was one of my biggest fears around labor and I knew this was the moment. My midwife told me to pant and I tried but couldn’t really so I started just breathing shortly and blowing raspberries, I could do that and it calmed me down and gave me something to focus on while I just stayed in hands and knees with her head out. I heard my husband say something like oh my gosh eyes! A little nose and mouth, awww! I kept up my breathing/blowing and then all of a sudden her body was out!

Birth story - Baby P born at home

She handed her to me and I sat back on the bathroom floor and held her, it was 9:51AM. Not even an hour and a half from when my husband walked in the door with breakfast and our baby was here, so mind blowing.

I felt fantastic. I had so many emotions rush me all at once and I felt energized and ecstatic and it will definitely be engrained in my mind as one of the best moments of my life. I got up and walked to the other room to lie down in bed and seriously just could not believe how great I felt. T was right there in the doorway watching the entire time and once I got settled in bed  he climbed right up to touch and kiss his new baby sister.

Birth story - Baby P born at home

Needless to say the tub was not filled up enough for me to get in it once I had to get off the toilet and the pictures are not going to be anything like I had imagined. I did not get to diffuse my Serenity blend or light my beeswax candles or stare at the affirmation wall I had created in the bedroom, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. So intense, but so quick and so perfect. It was a beautiful sunny day and after everything was cleaned up we all hung out in bed as a family of four watching movies, reading books and playing games and I couldn’t have even imagined the amount of bliss I felt.  
Birth story - Baby P born at homeI needed no stitches, which literally made me want to jump up and down and cry out with joy and I have felt pretty great every single day since.
 
Birth story - Baby P born at home

I learned so much from baby P’s birth, there was not a single sensation that felt the same as my last labor and birth. Again, mind blowing. It was a great reminder to throw out any and all expectations I may have surrounding this little girl and being her mama, as we truly are never in control.

Congratulations, Cassandra, Eric, and new big brother T !!
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®.

Birth Story: Penelope

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 9:12 AM Comments comments ()
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®.

 

Time To Rally Around Our Midwives

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments ()
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
(Submitted as a Public Comment)
Open Letter to the Midwifery Scope or Practice Committee:

  It feels like healthcare in the state of Arizona is going the way of the public school system.  Professionals who are out of touch, some of them not working in the field anymore, or as is said quite often, "couldn't cut it in the classroom," are making rules and regulations for the folks who are in the trenches, getting their "hands dirty" every day.  It is bad enough that teachers are overwhelmed with rules that have them teaching to tests instead of using their God-given talents to teach and inspire a younger generation.    

  Please do not let that model of decision-making work against the professionals who put their hearts and souls into ensuring that mothers and babies have a safe start in life.  Go back to the drawing board; honor the tradition of midwifery that existed long before the field of obstetrics.  Midwives have been bringing babies into the world since time immemorial.  Just because they do not use surgery as their prime mode of delivery does not make them any less professional than their obstetrical counterparts in the hospital.  Birth is intrinsically low-risk and a healthy time-period for the majority of women.    

  Mothers who are induced, given drugs that slow down labor, then given drugs to speed up labor, forced to be still due to all the wires and cords they are attached to, forced to attempt pushing in a semi-supine or supine position: THAT IS NOT BIRTH.  That is a medical event that has been managed into a high-risk situation.   

  Midwives know healthy, low-risk birth.  They know that a mother who had a previous cesarean for iatrogenic reasons deserves a second look.  She is not broken, and necessarily incapable of a vaginal birth just because a doctor in the hospital decided she was out of time after her medically managed event.    

  The right to self-determination is the foundation of our country.  Rules and regulations that start shackling those rights will be resisted, especially when you are talking about taking away the rights of mothers, parents-to-be and their children.   

  You might consider writing a trial period into the new rules and regulations.  I know that VBAC is already basically approved - along with that, allow breech and twins.  I have a firm belief that midwives who know how to assist these births will vette their clients.  As long as both parties are in mutual agreement, then they will proceed into a care agreement together.  I cannot believe that professionals would risk the lives of their clients by entering into a care contract that would jeopardize the life of the mother and/or the baby they serve.  Midwives know that there is a segment of the population that is best served by the care of a surgeon - they will know who needs to be there and lovingly send them in that direction.    

  If the state sees that the professionals are taking too many risks and that mothers and babies are having more adverse outcomes, then the rules and regulations can be re-opened and modified.  I suspect that the opposite will happen, however, we will not know unless the opportunity is provided for the midwives to demonstrate that they know what they can and cannot attend as professionals.   

  I also want to address, "one life is one too many", in terms of maternal or neonatal demise, or in lay terms, when mothers and babies die.  I find that this statement highly suspect and the height of hypocrisy coming from doctors who are trained to perform abortions, and/ or who offer the option for mothers to terminate pregnancies for suspected or known deformities in their unborn children.  In my opinion, you can't fight for life in one setting while being willing to extinguish it in another.   

  At what point does life begin?  That is a debate for another day, however, since "one life is too many" is a term that is thrown around in the debate when consumers ask for the midwives to be able to attend their VBAC, breech and twin births, it is something to think about and possibly explore further.  I am not advocating for a pro-life position; I am simply trying to point out the hypocrisy of the "one life is too many" argument.    

  The state of Arizona is at a crossroads.  You can proceed with the draft rules as written and force healthy, reasonable women into unassisted births because they know that birth is a natural, non-medical event 98% of the time.  The 2% who need extra care and attention, and possibly a hospital transfer will probably die because they choose self-determination over medically managed model of birth.    

  The other option is to sit down with the professional midwives.  Consumers are choosing midwives because they prefer the time honored tradition of midwifery care, and watchful waiting during labor and birth.  Sit around the table with them; listen to them - they know how to safely do their work.  Consumers want midwives to be able to assist in a greater variety of birth situations because we do not want to be subjected to the traumatic and/or patronizing care they received in the traditional doctor/hospital setting.   

  Arizona has the potential to set the standard for a new era of honoring the tradition of midwifery.  We can be the state where women and parents are free to choose care and midwives are free to offer care. Arizona can be a beacon of light to open the path for better maternal and neonatal outcomes when women of all race, class and creed can be treated as equal partners in their healthcare choices.   

Signed: Krystyna Bowman, Chandler, AZ

Readers:  For a summary of the proposed changes to the rules and regulations, check out THIS blog post.   

Would you like to post your own public comment to the proposed changes in the Midwifery Scope of Practice?  You can do so HERE.

Are you in the area?  Please join us for a rally tomorrow at the NWC of 18th Ave and Adams Street from 12:00 - 2:00 pm.  For more information or to contact the organizers, click HERE.

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


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®.

Labor Support: Meet the Monitrice

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM Comments comments ()
I am so excited to announce a monitrice service for couples that want to have a natural birth outcome in a hospital setting.  Jennifer Hoeprich, LM, is now extending her skill set to families who want to stay home as long as possible before heading to a hospital for their birth.


What is a monitrice?
A monitrice is a professional, medically trained, labor support person, who provides clinical monitoring within the home environment, including cervical dilation exams, auscultation of fetal heart tones, and monitoring of general well-being of mother and baby, during labor. The monitrice helps couples to assess their progress in labor, to determine the best time to leave for the hospital, where the birth is to take place.


How does a monitrice differ from a doula?
The focus of a monitrice is to provide clinical and educational support, while the focus of a doula is to provide emotional, mental, and physical support. Our monitrice service only provides services within the home environment. She only accompanies the couple to the hospital if complications arise, whereas a doula remains with the client during their transition from home to hospital.

How is a monitrice different than a midwife?
In the role of monitrice, the practitioner does not provide services at the actual birth. She does not "catch" the baby, or provide immediate postpartum services. A midwife provides all prenatal care, all labor and birth care, and all postpartum care.

Who would find monitrice services beneficial?
Couples who have chosen to birth in a hospital with an obstetrician, but who wish to labor at home for an extended period of time would benefit greatly from monitrice services.  They might want to stay at home in order to avoid unnecessary hospital interventions (such as movement restrictions, food restrictions, Pitocin augmentation, breaking the water prematurely, epidural, etc.).  Although they are choosing to wait longer before "going in", they can have that feeling of "safety" with consistent, professional monitoring, 

How do you envision a couple utilizing monitrice care?
A couple would interview the monitrice at her office and determine that the services are in line with their birth plan. They would then have two prenatal visits to get to know each other, and for the monitrice to assess baseline vitals and good health in the pregnancy.

The monitrice would be on call for the couple, starting at 36 weeks. When the couple believes labor has begun, they would contact the monitrice to give her a head's up. They may request her services at that point, to help determine if this is the "real thing" or may wait to call her over, once a labor pattern is clearly established.

Once the monitrice has arrived at the couple's home, she will assess maternal blood pressure, pulse, signs of infection, and hydration level. She will also asses fetal heart tones, and upon request from the couple, the mother's cervical dilation. The monitrice may make recommendations as to positions that would be helpful, encourage eating and drinking, and may provide herbal, homeopathic, or flower essence remedies, as appropriate, and as desired.

She will perform clinical monitoring every 30 minutes or every hour, depending on the stage of labor and the client's wishes. She performs monitoring respectfully, and can monitor the woman in any position the woman’s choosing, including in the shower, or in the labor tub. Once the couple determines that they are ready to leave for the hospital, the monitrice wishes them well and departs.

The couple will have a follow-up visit, including assessment of mother's vital signs, stitches (if applicable), a check for any signs of infection, breastfeeding support, and baby weight.  These visits occur at 1 week postpartum and 3 weeks postpartum, as most obstetricians only provide one postpartum visit at 6 weeks.

In the rare event that a complication should arise during labor, the monitrice will accompany the couple to the hospital.  Once they arrive at the hospital, the monitrice will provide a report and labor records to the staff. 

What kind of care is included in your fee?
The fee is $625. This includes two prenatal visits in the office, four hours of labor monitoring, and two postpartum visits in the office. Labor monitoring above four hours falls to an hourly rate of $50.  I am happy to offer a discount of $200 to any students of The Bradley Method®; their fee for service is $425.

As an added service to our clients, our monitrice service also rents, which includes set up and take down, the Birth Pool in a Box  labor tub, for $200. 

For more information about Moxie Monitrice Services, please visit 
www.moxiemidwifery.com or call to set up a free consultation.  You can also search for "Moxie Midwifery" on Facebook and @moxiemidwifery on Twitter. 

More about Jennifer:
Jennifer Hoeprich is a licensed midwife and monitrice, who provides services in Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Maricopa, and Casa Grande.  She attended her first birth at age six, when her dog Cinnamon had puppies. She was the only attendant and knew then that she had found her calling. In 2001, Jennifer obtained her Bachelor's Degree, Minoring in Women's Studies. She experienced a natural birth with her son, in 2004 and began her journey into midwifery, shortly after. In 2005, she became a certified doula, and in 2008, a certified childbirth educator. She then obtained her midwifery license in 2011, and began the practice, "Moxie Midwifery." In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys being with her family, playing guitar, crocheting, and doing yoga. 

What do you think?  Would you use a monitrice service?  Why or why not?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.

Disclaimer:
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.
Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Thresh’s Birth Story Part 2

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM Comments comments ()
Today is a continuation of my birth story from earlier this week. You can read Part 1 here.

Thresh's Birth Story
Thresh's Birth Story
Out of the tub & resting in bed
There is a lot that happened right after Thresh made his entrance into the outside world: getting into bed, skin to skin between Thresh and his daddy, cutting the cord, delivering the placenta, eating Greek yogurt with almonds, diapering Thresh, being made a smoothie with a piece of my placenta, trying to breastfeed, my midwives and doula cleaning up and later on being stitched up; but instead of detailing the events I want to reflect more on how I felt that night and beyond about my son’s birth.

It was the greatest thing I had set out to accomplish in life, and I did it! Every day since I have been amazed at the strength, determination, and physical abilities I am now capable of since becoming a mother.

The most over powering emotion of the night was that of shock. I really could not believe everything that was going on. I had a baby outside of my body; all of the physical sensations were entirely overwhelming in themselves and our lives would be forever changed. Amidst the shock though, were huge feelings of gratitude and comfort.

It was dark and peaceful all around me, with only the light of the huge full moon through the window and my lightly burning beeswax candles. I had an essential oil blend diffusing throughout the room and I was in my bed with my familiar sheets and blankets wrapped around us. There was so much love, from my midwives, doula, and husband, for me and for my baby. I was so happy to be surrounded by people with such love for us, and between the shock of what had just happened and the apprehension of what was to come, I felt safe and comfortable.

Although my birth story technically ends around 3 or 4 AM on March 8 when everyone was cleaned up, packed up, and ready to leave our home, that level of love and comfort continued on for the entire week.

I could not imagine giving birth any other way. I trusted my body, my self, and the process and truly experiencing all that it was changed who I am forever. When my thoughts wander back to that night I can feel the support and warmth of my bed, the hot water on my belly, how slippery my baby was (who wouldn’t stop trying to poke his eyeballs out with those tiny, tiny fingers), how delicious the food brought to me was, and the trust I had for everyone and everything around me. 

A year has passed and I still feel empowered when I think about it! But also extremely thankful for the resources, child birth educators, herbalists, chiropractors, yoga instructors, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants and other mamas that played a huge role in me achieving my goal of natural child birth.

So there you have it, the how, when, where and personal reflections of my first time giving birth. The story of my 8 pound, 20 inch, Pisces water dragon who reminds me every day that birth is the easiest part of becoming a mother ;)

What were your first thoughts after giving birth? How do you feel when you think about your birth experience today? Tell us in the comments!


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. ~Krystyna
 
Disclaimer:
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.
Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

A New Chapter: Meet Cassandra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.    

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