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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 (0)
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




Q&A with SPB: Writing a Birth Plan

Posted on October 20, 2015 at 7:18 AM Comments comments (0)

Q: How do I write a birth plan?
A: Have a good conversation with your partner and your care provider, write down a wish list, and then be prepared for your birth journey, taking into consideration there might be a detour or two!





Here are the basics of what we share with our students:

1. EXAMINE YOUR FEELINGS
What is important to you?
What would you be willing to compromise?
What are your absolutes?

2. CONSIDER YOUR PRIORITIES
List your choices in order - Mother ranks hers, Coach/Birth Partner ranks theirs, and then compare notes and arrive at some sort of compromise.

3. EVALUATE YOUR SITUATION
Are your choices realistic given yoru choice of birth setting?
Does your birth team support your wishes?
If you find yourself wanting to make changes in birth setting or care provider, what are your options?

4. MEET WITH YOUR CARE TEAM
Ask for etra time during the "birth plan" appointment.
Bring a draft of your wish list to get their input, and listen with an open mind and a grain of salt - more on that below.

5. PREPARE FOR A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
Are you doing daily exercise?  Bradley Method Exercise Program
Are you eating the best whole food diet possible?  Brewer Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy

Those two things are the foundation for the possibility of a low-risk labor. Add in daily meditation for a good measure of positive energy for your upcoming birth journey.

6. BE FLEXIBLE
Bruss's mantra: "You are the birth that you bring with you."  Consider going into your birth journey with the idea that something is going to surprise you, something will disappoint you, and at the end of the day, transform you into the parent you need to be for your child.

Consider this: what is more important - sticking to your plan at all costs? Or, surrending to the birth journey, wherever it may lead you, and discovering something new about yourself? For the birth journey is an initiation of sorts; however it happens, it transforms us from maiden to mother, or from stag to father.

So, as instructors, we encourage our students to at least go through the process of preparing a wish list.  It allows the birthing family the opportunity to discover their priorities, evaluate whether or not they are in the right setting and with the right care provider for their dream of their birth, and then sets the compass for the general direction you want to travel along on this upcoming journey. This is the left-brain preparation for the birth journey.

Then, when the birth journey starts, there is a guideline to evaluate the path that is being traveled. When the birth partner has to take over being the mother's voice, they know what's important, what is not.  The birthing mother is free to surrender her unnecessary baggage along the way. I imagine it kind of like the settlers of old, leaving what they really did not need along the side of the road to arrive at their destination.  As we go deeper into "laborland", we surrender to the right brain that turns off the lists, turns off expectations, and simply does what needs to happen to birth this baby, wherever the path may lead.

For us, the compass was always set to "Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby". Each birth achieved that in a different way, and each one grew me in just the direction I needed to be the mother of our new family.

Here are some resources to consider:

A priority exercise we use in our classes HERE

A list of possible options to learn more about and prioritize for your wish list HERE

A starting point for writing a wish list HERE.  We encourage our students to use a list like this to clarify what they are dreaming of, and then using their own words when they write their dream down on paper.  Try to keep it to one page; if you go beyond one page, print on the front side only so that it is easily read when it's inserted into your file.

Finding the right care provider:
If you are getting red flags from your care provider when you start talking about the dream for your birth, consider if there resistance to your preferences is aligned with evidence-based care or personal opinion.  Explore their resistance: what experiences are filtering their response to your requests? And then listen to them: they have been around birth and have seen a lot of outcomes as trained professionals.

When you sit quitely with all the information you have gathered, what does your intuition say? If it's telling you that your requests are not extreme and you know that other families have been supported in them, go on a fact-finding mission: who was their care provider? How did that choice work out for them when they look back at their experience? If your fact-finding mission comes to the conclusion that you need to change providers, then change: you only have one journey to birth this baby.  Surround yourself with the right care for the path you are about to embark on.

Good resources to find about local care providers are childbirth educators or doulas in your area, any "birth circle" type gatherings, or your area ICAN chapter.  The birth community in your area will have an idea of who you might want to consider as your care provier for the birth journey that you are dreaming of for your family.



Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about care providers in the Phoenix area:  [email protected]

We wish you all the best as you prepare for your birth journey with your Sweet Pea.

Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe 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: Midwifery Care

Posted on May 5, 2015 at 7:49 PM Comments comments (0)
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®.
 


The Family-Centered Cesarean

Posted on April 30, 2015 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)
For today...another one from the archives, originally published in April 9, 2013.  Updated April 30, 2014 to include information about microbiome seeding; and a gentle cesarean checklist of options to review with your provider and prepare for a cesarean birth journey.

A "Family-Centered" cesarean?  A "gentle" cesarean?  A procedure that is Woman and MotherBaby-centered?  What?  Did you just read that correctly?  

Yes, you did.  There is a "new" trend in cesareans that is hitting the mainstream consciousness here in the United States.

While a lot of the focus during Cesarean Awareness Month tends to center on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), I also want to acknowledge that a VBAC is not the choice that all mothers want to make.  Here is an option for mothers who know they want, or are considering, a repeat cesaran birth.  It is also an option if a healthy, low-risk labor starts to change it's course and there is time for non-emergent cesarean.

I have linked to THIS post about a "natural" cesaran more than once in previous posts, and today I want to be a little more specific about what a "natural" cesarean is and why a family might opt for this.

To quote the article:
"The natural cesarean, or family centered cesarean, is a procedure developed in the UK which takes a “woman centered” approach to the surgery that now accounts for one third of all births in America, a cesarean. This approach to a c-section incorporates many important aspects of a vaginal birth, parent participation for one."

A family-centered, or natural cesarean strives to capture these components of a vaginal birth:

  • Mother watches the birth of her child by having the surgical screen lowered at the time of delivery
  • Baby is delivered slowly so that they can get some benefit from uterine contractions to clear fluid from the lungs and nasal passages
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Breastfeeding soon after birth
  • Continuous contact between mother and baby
  • "Seeding" of the mother's microbiome - read more about that HERE and HERE.

The idea of "seeding the microbiome" is a new concept.  Here is a quote from THIS article:
There is a difference between the microbiome of a baby born vaginally compared to a baby born by c-section (Azad, et al. 2013Penders et al. 2006Prince et al. 2014). During a vaginal birth the baby is colonised by maternal vaginal and faecal bacteria. Initial human bacterial colonies resemble the maternal vaginal microbiota – predominately Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Sneathia. A baby born by c-section is colonised by the bacteria in the hospital environment and maternal skin – predominately Staphylocci and C difficile. They also have significantly lower levels of Bifidobacterium and lower bacterial diversity than vaginally born babies. These differences in the microbiome ‘seeding’ may be the reason for the long-term increased risk of particular diseases for babies born by c-section.
~Rachel Reed, Midwife Thinking

And one from THIS article:
  • In the event of a c-section, be proactive. Mamas, we know this recommendation is not without its “icky-factor," but WOW it makes perfect sense when you think about it, and some believe it will be a standard recommendation in the future. Here goes: if your baby is born via c-section, consider taking a swab of your vaginal secretions and rubbing it on your baby’s skin and in her/his mouth. I know, ick. But when babies traverse the birth canal, they are coated in and swallowing those secretions/bacteria in a health-promoting way, so all you’re doing is mimicking that exposure. Don’t be afraid to ask your midwife or OB to help you collect the vaginal swabs—or do it yourself, if you’re comfortable. You have all the available evidence on your side.
    ~Michelle Bennet, MD, mamaseeds blog

So while your initial reaction might be one of surprise and disgust, think about it.  Please take a minute to read both of the excerpted articles and have a discussion with your partner and your care provider before you make up your mind one way or another.

Here are some of the benefits that are causing mothers to request this kind of cesarean option:
  • Less traumatic birth experience
  • Moms get to *see the birth* of their baby
  • Greater sense of satisfaction in regards to their birth
  • Establishment of the MotherBaby dyad immediately after the birth
  • Better breastfeeding outcomes
  • Someone who had an emergency cesarean with a previous child and does not feel comfortable with anything other than a repeat cesarean
  • A family with a known complication who wants to allow labor to start on the day of baby's choosing, but knows they will have a cesarean delivery
  • A family who planned a natural birth and had their course of labor  change before they were in an emergent situation

If you would like to have a conversation with your care provider about planning for a gentle cesaean as your birth plan or "just in case" plan, HERE is a list of options for you to discuss with them, provided by ICAN of Phoenix chapter leader Jenni Froment.  

I also want to mention: these are evidence-based recommendations.  If your care provider scoffs at you and laughs you out of the room, thank them very much for their time and go have a conversation with another provider in your area.  Your local ICAN chapter or ICAN international are great resources for respectful, family-centered providers.

What do you think?
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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RIcaK98Yg

ARTICLES
ICAN
http://blog.ican-online.org/2012/04/14/the-family-centered-cesarean/

MIDWIFE THINKING
http://midwifethinking.com/2014/01/15/the-human-microbiome-considerations-for-pregnancy-birth-and-early-mothering/

MAMASEEDS
http://mamaseeds.com/blog/antibiotics/how-seed-your-baby-healthy-microbiome-last-lifetime/

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 (0)



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

Here is their backstory: 

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


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


In Courtney's own words:

 

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

Which labor tools worked for you to manage the intensity?

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

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

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


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

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

 

Two Paths to One Truth

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 7:28 AM Comments comments (0)
The final open meeting of the Midwifery Scope of Practice committee was held yesterday, June 3, 2013.  The whole time I have been attending or watching the livestream recordings, there has been a nagging thought that was tugging on my brain.

The Director of Health Services wrote THIS blog post that really helped me clarify the thought that had been rolling around in my head, and I couldn’t quite pin it down until I read his post:

Excerpt:
“In the draft rules, there are a handful of tests that women need to take if she wants to have Licensed Midwifery services.  These tests (HIV, Hepatitis B, blood glucose, and blood Rh factor) are the only way for the midwife to establish that the birth will be low risk and safe for the health of the newborn and mom.  The mom-to-be can still refuse the tests, but that means she wouldn’t be able to have a Licensed Midwife present during the home-birth because it wouldn’t be possible to determine if the birth is low-risk and suitable for a home delivery.”
       ~Will Humble, Arizona Department of Health Services Director

Here is an excerpt from the comment I left him:

"The ADHS is approaching birth as something that needs to be established as “low-risk” in order to proceed at home. Those of us who have had a homebirth, and the care providers who support us, have a belief that pregnancy and birth are low-risk from the outset.

The medical model wants birth to be proven safe; the midwifery model believes birth is safe until it is proven otherwise. We will continue to go around and around about what is best for mothers and babies until some sort of resolution is found between those two disconnected approaches to pregnancy and birth."

The good news is: thanks to the public outcry against the mandatory testing, that part of the rules and regulations is being left alone for the most part to stand as it was.  Some minor updates are being made to take account new information about infectious disease since the rules were last updated in 1999.  For the most part, consumers and midwives were happy with the verbal agreement reached by the committee about how testing is going to be written in the updated rules.

Sadly, the issue of the "Us Versus Them" mentality that exists between the medical model and the midwifery model has not been resolved.  Here are two interactions that happened at the June 3, 2013 Midwifery Scope of Practice Meeting that clearly illustrate the disconnected paradigms in two approaches to one fact of life: Birth Happens.

1.) The medical community does not understand the scope of midwifery training.
Transcript of video (http://www.livestream.com/azdhs) starting at time stamp 13:18
Maria Manriquez, MD, FACOG, President of ACOG Arizona: “In your explanation, that’s then inferring that you continue care of the neonate.  Does that imply that you are not providing the infant with a pediatrician or a doctor of it’s own at the appropriate time?  Correct me; I am assuming you are not implying that you then become the provider for the newborn?  You are practicing out of scope of practice! You’re not pediatricians or lay pediatricians!” 

Wendi Cleckner, CPM, points out that on page 24 of the May 24, 2013 version of the rules, the parameters of a midwife’s care for the newborn are clearly stated.  (There are 16 different clinical observations a midwife must make about the newborn, and if necessary, protocols for referrals that she will follow that are in the best interest of the baby, before she can say her role in that infant’s care is complete.)

Janice Bovee, CNM, MSN, “Midwifery, including Certified Professional Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives, in our programs, and in our training; we include mother’s pregnancy, intrapartum care, birth, postpartum care and care of the newborn.  We are trained in that.  That is part of the midwifery model.”

Thank you, Janice for defining the scope of practice for midwives for Dr. Manriquez and anyone else who is unclear about exactly what midwives are trained to do.  A midwife is trained to practice in the home setting, so she must assume some of the care that a pediatrician would perform in the hospital setting because childcare is not in the obstetrical job description.  Whether she works in the home, a birth center or a hospital, a midwife is willing, capable, and knowledgeable in the care of both the mother and the neonate as part of her scope of practice every day of the week.

(Side note: can you see how midwives start to lower the cost of healthcare in this simple illustration?  One person caring ably for two people, instead of two people caring for two people.)

2.) The medical community does not understand the rigors of midwifery training.  The fact that practitioners of midwifery care are not learning to do surgery does not mean that their training is inconsequential. 
The second exchange, that occurs at time stamp 26:23 of the meeting:
Maria Manriquez, MD, FACOG, President of ACOG Arizona: “Is there any room for demonstrating actual; I know that you’re at least, that’s what Wendi has communicated, that you have to demonstrate physical competency?  So, all of the physician providers have to demonstrate competency.  So what physical competency is demonstrated by licensed midwives?  So there’s an exam, there’s NARM certification, but it doesn’t spell out specifically what and who signs off on that particular practitioner.”

Wendi Cleckner, CPM: “That’s what we’re adopting as the CPM process, is NARM.  The national organization does all of that and there is a clinical aspect; that you are in front of a qualified examiner who takes you through scenarios, you have to work on models, you have to demonstrate your clinical skills in front of them, and then they pass or fail you.”

Maria Manriquez: “We break it down even more specific.  So you can be knowledge, medical knowledge approved but not clinical, and vice versa.  So, is there an opportunity to have that information?”

Wendi Cleckner: “It’s on the website of NARM.”

Maria Manriquez: “So on the website, I could go and look you up and see that you had passed both the medical knowledge portion and the (unintelligible)?”

Wendi Cleckner: “If I did not pass all the sections, I would not be a CPM.  You would not be certified, you would not get your license, if you didn’t pass all the sections.”

Mary Langlois, CPM: “You also have to pass an apprenticeship.  So, you have a preceptor who is designated to oversee your competency.  So you’re taught by the preceptor, and the preceptor also does skills check offs and oversees you and helps you manage the deliveries.  So not only do you have to complete the clinical side, and then you would have to complete all your documentation, you take it to NARM, you take the practical examination, you pass that, then you take the written.”

I especially love Mary’s comment because it reminds us that the midwifery model is personal not just to the woman receiving care, but also to the woman who is providing the care.  Another women who saw her passion, helped her hone her skills, and took the time to teach her.  She was not taught in an amphitheater setting, and not in a residency program designed to weed out the weak links, but in the intimate, person-to-person knowledge transfer, one or two students at a time.

Without too much extrapolation, I think it is easy to see that the medical model of training looked at the eons-old midwifery model of knowledge transfer and sterilized it to suit the needs of the medical community.  If we are honest with ourselves, we need to ask ourselves what the conflict is really about. 

Is it really about the safety of the mothers and the babies, or is it the continual push of one system against another?  One system still trying to prove it’s soaring above the other one that is merely trying to stay grounded and true to its roots.

As Bradley™ teachers, Bruss and I recognize that there is real value brought to the table by both knowledge sets.  We help couples find a path to stay healthy and low-risk so that they a variety of birth options available to them.  If they want midwifery care at home or at a birth center, great!  If they want midwifery care in the hospital – fantastic!  If they feel comfortable with the obstetrical approach, we know there are care providers that support natural birth.  They have choices. 

Although very seldom, occasionally there are developments that move a couple’s pregnancy or birth out of the healthy and low-risk category wherever they are seeking care.  We want those couples to have specialized obstetrical care so that they, too, can have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcomes like their low-risk counterparts.

Director Humble and his team are in the unique position of being able to set the tone and the groundwork for collaborative care to really take root in the United States.  It is our hope and prayer that a peaceful, respectful and collaborative model of care will be pioneered in the state of Arizona. 

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.



Time To Rally Around Our Midwives

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)
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®.

Planning Your VBAC – Where to Begin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thresh’s Birth Story Part 2

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)
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®.


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