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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

A New Chapter: Meet Cassandra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honor The Midwife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?  Is the right to choose your birthplace despite your risk category a Human Rights or Women's Rights issue?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.  

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

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

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

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


Pregnancy Options: Certified Nurse-Midwives

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

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

 


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

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



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

Common Factors That Influence Labor

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleWe have now had 28 students complete our Bradley Method® classes and birth their babies through seven class series – pretty awesome to know that 28 youngsters are blessed with parents who took the time to give them healthy pregnancies and Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby births.
 
Each birth has been unique, and they have varied from intervention free to cesareans to everything in between.  What they all share is that the families made the choices they had to make for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  What are the elements that are consistent across the birth stories we have heard?
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleUnknowns:  There are many things that are unpredictable about birth…when will labor start, the manner in which labor will progress (consistent dilation vs. ebb & flow in dilation), how long it will take from the first contraction to holding your baby, how baby will tolerate labor.  If they are birthing away from home: when will they go to the birthplace, will they be sent home?  The procedures and interventions offered – those all depend on the birthplace and if there are standing orders once they arrive.  And the list goes on…who will be their nurse?  Which provider was on call?
 
Listed below are four things that are in your control through pregnancy and labor.  By making a realistic evaluation of your circumstances, you can influence your outcome in a positive direction by making good choices in the following areas.
 
Rest:  The biggest factor between couples that need or choose interventions and those who do not is how rested Mom is towards the end of labor.  If Mom and/or Coach have stayed aware and awake from the very first contraction and have been timing most of them, they will be spent when the hard work of labor comes. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleMost of labor is spent working up to the hard contractions that the body needs to have in order to push out a baby.  Active labor prepares the baby and the body: contractions function to align the baby in the birth canal, and to dilate and efface the cervix.  The length of the active first stage depends on how baby and body work together.  Then comes the work of pushing phase – again, this can take a few minutes to a few hours – it all depends on the baby and the body.
 
We know it’s exciting to be in labor.  We know you want to believe it’s going to go quickly.  We know you need to be rested, no matter how long your labor ends up being.  Trust me – we learned the hard way with our first birth and ended up with Pitocin and an episiotomy because I was exhausted.  We never want our students to repeat our mistakes, which is why we are so adamant that couples take a nap when they think their labor has started.
 
Our families that slept in early labor have had the energy to manage the latter part of labor with less intervention or prodedure(s) to augment labor.  If they have a fast labor, they have the energy and they emotional wherewithal for the “sprint”.   If they draw the “marathon” labor card, they have the energy reserve to say no to Pitocin avoid an episiotomy.  And for those that do say yes to Pitocin, they manage to continue to labor without an epidural.
 
So even when it’s their first baby, we encourage couples to sleep in spite of the excitement.  There is no way an unmedicated mother will sleep through the birth of her baby – they body will wake you up when it’s time to pay attention.  We have not heard, “We shouldn’t have slept” when a couple comes back to share their birth story.  What we do hear is, “We wish we had taken Krystyna and Bruss’ advice to sleep”. 
 
Support System:  We ask families to think about who can be an assistant coach, or to consider hiring a doula.  Wherever you give birth, be it at home, at a hospital or a birth center, there will come a point in the labor where Coach needs to go to the bathroom, or maybe eat something even if Mom has lost her appetite, or maybe Mom really likes counter-pressure – and if any of these are true, Coach can benefit from an extra pair of hands and eyes on Mom. 
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleWhen choosing an assistant coach, couples need to evaluate if the person they are inviting to their birth supports their natural birth choices.  If the person they ask is going to fret over every decision, or tell them that they just don’t why they won’t take the drugs, it will cause tension and that in turn increases the amount of pain and discomfort Mom will feel.  On the other hand, if the assistant coach has come to a couple of classes with the couple, and they have read the workbook or some of the books on the recommended reading list, or even if they just believe in what the couple is trying to accomplish and are willing to serve the needs of the couple, they provide an incredible gift of compassion and energy that helps the couple accomplish their goal of a natural birth.
 
Hiring a doula is a decision that merits thought and reflection as well.  My friend Rachel wrote a great post about factors to consider when choosing a professional labor support person.  The most important thing to ask before you hire someone is if Mom and Coach are willing to share the vulnerable and intimate experience of childbirth with the person they hire.  If you don’t feel completely comfortable or trust in the person you hire, you will experience unwanted tension.  So don’t hire the person that your friend used or the first person you interview just because it’s the easy thing to do.  Hire the person that you would be comfortable crying, doubting and being naked in front of.  If you have an unmedicated or even a less medicated birth experience, you will be sharing these emotions and lack of modesty with your doula as well as with your Coach.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleCare Provider:  The care provider is one of the most critical choices a couple can make during their pregnancy.  I wrote about this before, and you can read the considerations here.  In summary, if there are any red flags during prenatal appointments, pay attention to them.  If a care provider is not completely supportive of the options you want available to you as you prepare for an unmedicated labor, then be open to the idea that you will probably end up with unwanted interventions, medications or procedures; ones that are not necessary for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome. 
 
The other reason to change, even if you feel that your choices are supported, is if you don’t have that level of comfort that I mentioned should be present when you are choosing a doula or assistant coach.  If there is any question in your mind about laboring with or in front of your care provider, then you may want to seriously consider interviewing other providers.
 
The couples that switched care during their pregnancy have all been happy with their outcomes.  One couple even switched as late as 39 weeks; and that gave their son the three extra weeks he needed for his birthday because their second doctor did not push for a non-medically indicated induction.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleListen to your instincts:  The capstone of having the labor you want is to listen to your God-given gift of intuition.  There is no explanation for it, other than it is Mother Nature’s way of helping you make the best decisions for your children. 
 
Do you want to eat or drink?  Then eat or drink.
 
Is something being suggested that you don’t feel like you should do?  Then tell your support team and have them help you advocate for what you do want to do. 
 
Is there a position you feel like you should be laboring in for no apparent reason?  Then get into that position and stay there as long as it is comfortable.
 
Which brings us back to where we started.  There are so many unknowns in labor, trust your instincts – they are your primal connection to your baby and your body.  As long as Mom and Baby are doing well in labor, there is very little that they can’t do while laboring. 
 
There are a multitude of things that can be done to help achieve the natural birth the family is striving for.  A solid childbirth education like The Bradley Method® offers information on the many options available to birthing families today, relaxation techniques to practice, and labor rehearsals to become familiar with different positions that are beneficial to a laboring mother.  We also encourage all of our students to keep lines of communication open between themselves and their care team to make sure every one is supporting the couples choices and committed to the ultimate Bradley™ outcome: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth stories.
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

More Homebirth Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

What has been your experience with herbal therapies for pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding?
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

In Their Own Words: Hanson Birth Story

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a birth story you would like to share? 
Please contact me at [email protected] if you would like to share your recollections for our Birth Story Archive.
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]

Guess who?

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

Training can mean that they have completed or are working through a certification process; maybe they are reading your birth books with you (see the bottom of this page for our suggested reading list); or maybe they have attended your Bradley Method® classes with you.  Any or all of these things will prepare a person to be the assistant coach you need them to be as long as they are willing to support your birth choices and are committed to helping you have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
 
A person’s presence in the birth space can very much affect the progress of labor – someone with negative energy can hinder labor; someone with positive energy can help it progress.  If the people you are asking to refrain from attending your labor press you for answers, stick to the facts.  Be a team together, insist that, “We made this choice” and avoid pointing fingers, “Mom (or Coach) doesn’t want you there because…”
 
If people do show up at your birth space even when you believe you have made your wishes clear, designate someone to be the messenger, or write them a note that someone else can deliver.  You can phrase it kindly – “Hi, (Person).  Thank you so much for expressing your support.  We are focused on bringing baby earthside and regret not being able to come out to see you.  We could really use your help after baby comes.  Would you be kind enough to come back and see us after baby arrives?  If anything comes up, we will let you know if we need you sooner.”
 
You may also find that the amount of people you have in the birth space is too much or too few.  If you find that all the people you said yes to is stressing you out, you have permission to ask them to clear out so you can focus on your birth.  If you initially decided you were going to go it alone and you find that you really could use an extra pair of hands, or you need a fresh energy after a trial of labor, bring a list of assistant coaches you can call in to support you.
 
It is your body, your baby and your birth.  The people in your birth space can potentially hinder or help your labor’s progress.  Set yourself up for success and clarify your “guest list” before labor starts.  Although it’s a tiny detail in the grand scheme of preparations you are making, you will be glad you did.
 
What influenced your decision to invite or exclude people from your birth?
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]
 

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

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





I finally got approval from all the families to post the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby pictures.  Here is a brief synopsis of their outcomes along with a birth story from one of the moms.
 
All of these are babies from our Fall 2011 Bradley Method® series.  Angelika got to be one of these babies, too!  The families enrolled in our classes with the intention of having natural births.  However, all of them took to heart our entreaty to evaluate all their decision points with the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby filter.  Most of them deviated from their birth plan, and definitely from what their expectation were…each birth is unique.  The beautiful element of these photographs is that these babies are all healthy, and so are their mammas.
 
I am going to number the babies from left to right.  Baby 1 is our longest labor (so far) for this class.  This family labored for 51 hours!  Mom and Dad labored at home, they went to the hospital and found out they were only 3 centimeters so they followed Berman’s law (go home if your are less than 5 cm dilated and not showing any physical or emotional signs of late labor) and went home.  Mom rested, ate, labored and the couple had the support of a wonderful doula.  They rested that night and labored at home most of the day.  When they went back to the hospital on day 2, mom had not progressed as much as they had hoped but they were past a five so they stayed in the hospital.  When they had marked the 48 hour of labor, they opted to have the bag of waters broken to see if that would speed labor.  Guess what – the on-call doctor did not want to come in to the hospital so he told the nurse to start a Pitocin drip instead.  Mom and Dad evaluated their choices and their wise doula gave them invaluable advice, “Let’s redefine our birth plan and make the adjustment we need to keep the vaginal birth.”  Knowing that mom was exhausted physically, and that she had been dilated to 8 cm with no progress for several hours, the parents evaluated their situation and opted for an epidural so that the strong Pitocin-induced contractions wouldn’t sap what was left of mom’s energy.  Three hours later they welcomed their son via vaginal birth.  He was ready to nurse – Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.
 
Baby 2 is our Angélika.  Most of the hospital to homebirth stories we heard from families testified to the fact that their home births were significantly faster than their hospital births.  No transfer, no poking, no prodding, no weird or distracting noises.  So here we are, going into our home birth so excited that we are not going to have to move to the hospital since that had always stalled our labor in the past.  Labor starts and it is a completely different pattern than we have ever had before…the water broke at the midway point instead of at the beginning, walking slowed or stopped labor and laying on my side made things move along.  By the middle of day 2, I gave up on having the faster homebirth and resigned myself to be the mom that went to sleep and woke up ready to push.  You can read the long version here, suffice it to say Angélika was born about five hours after I surrendered and went to bed!
 
Baby number 3 was born to an experienced birth mom.  She has two older boys and this was her third child, dad’s first.  She made the decision to switch care providers at 39 weeks!  Although she had been with her OB for several years and had even followed her when she went into independent practice, she started to get red flags in her third trimester.  They couldn’t agree on her birth plan; and then the doctor wanted to strip her membranes a week before her estimated due date.  Mom made the decision to switch providers and moved to an OB recommended by another classmate that still allowed them to deliver at the same hospital.  Guess what?  This baby was ten days past his due date!  Had mom stayed with her first OB, who knows when he would have been born?  By changing providers, baby was allowed the time he needed to start labor.  This couple opted for a cesarean section to ensure a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Two factors led to their decision: three hours of pushing with no change in station, plus amniotic fluid that was stained with meconium. “Trust birth” as the saying goes…this young man was born with his cord wrapped not once or twice, but several times around his neck.
 
Baby 4 was an average length labor with a painful complication.  As labor progressed, she had a ring of pain that radiated from her uterus down to her upper thighs.  The lower baby dropped and engaged in the pelvis, the more sensation mom lost in her legs!  This mom and dad endured 18 hours of posterior labor – I award them the title of “Rock Stars” for staying drug-free for so long. It is truly a testament to her commitment and his coaching.  Her midwives recommended an epidural since she was not dilating past an eight.  Their baby was born an hour later!
 
Baby 5 was born to another multipara.  This mom was induced with her first baby…and she wrote her story out to share with you:
 
"Our birth choices were all made with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome in mind.  Our first big decision was choosing a care provider we were comfortable with.  We ended up with a wonderful group of midwives who totally supported our birth preferences and were obviously in favor of our choice to have a natural birth.  We had started with a group of midwives in Brooklyn, then went to an OB in Phoenix for a couple of months while we waited for our AZ insurance to kick in.  This OB was definitely NOT on the same page as we were (he wanted to induce before the new year so we could get a tax break...) so we switched as soon as possible.
 
When it came to our labor, we chose to hire a doula and labor at home as long as we could so we could avoid any potential pressure from the hospital for interventions.  As it turned out, my labor was so short that was pretty easy to do!  When we got to the hospital I was already 9 cm, so it was a matter of a little time, then onto pushing, and within the hour Amelia was born.  We chose to skip the Hep B vaccine in the hospital, and waived the vitamin K and eye ointment.  We know my STD status, so we knew she was at no risk, and we wanted her to be able to see the world as best she could with her newborn eyes!  As far as the Vitamin K shot was concerned, we did some research and decided it wasn’t necessary unless she experienced trauma at birth, which she didn’t.  We also chose not to bathe her so the vernix could do its job and she wouldn’t experience crazy changes in her body temperature.  We have yet to bathe her, and won’t for a while longer.  
 
We also decided to encapsulate my placenta this time around.  It was an option presented by our Bradley® instructors, and we were encouraged to do so by our midwife and our doula.  We went home from the hospital the day after our birth because Amelia and I were both doing well.  I wanted to see my 3 year old, and felt like I would be happier resting and enjoying my family in our own home.  
 
It was a different experience from our first birth.  I felt like we were much more informed and able to make more decisions that were Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome-minded.  That said, I was induced with my first because of high blood pressure, and while it wasn’t my ideal birth plan, it was a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby based decision.  I also got an epidural after nearly 12 hours of a Pitocin induced labor, and I was able to progress quickly after that and go on to have a vaginal delivery.  I truly believe that I would have been too exhausted to push had I not gotten the epidural, so again, I don’t regret that decision.  An epidural was much more favorable to me than a C section!  We did have a doula with our first as well, and she was instrumental in keeping us calm and grounded through uncharted territories!  
 
With our firstborn Max, though, we hadn’t researched the vitamin K shot or the eye ointment, so we did both of those.  We also were not informed about the benefits of placenta encapsulation, so it wasn’t even on our radar the first time around.  I stayed in the hospital with Max for two nights, and felt like I needed that amount of time!
 
I definitely liked working with midwives the second time around rather than an OBGYN like we did with Max.  I liked my OB with Max, but I was definitely more comfortable with the midwives and felt like we saw eye to eye on our birth choices.  If we do have another, we will probably consider a home birth since Amelia’s birth was so fast and relatively easy.  That will be a whole new territory to explore, but we’re definitely interested!"
 
I hope these stories demonstrate the importance of a care provider you trust and have a rapport with, as well as the importance of making the choices to have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Happy New Year to all these babies and their families – ours has been wonderful so far.  Angélika started laughing today – pure joy!
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
We are now enrolling for our Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to May 21, 2012
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]
 

Your Care Provider

Posted on December 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM Comments comments (1)
“Care providers” was the topic of birth circle last night.  It’s curious because just this week I got a call from a midwife that I respect along the same topic.
 
One of the tenants of The Bradley Method® is consumerism.  We advocate that parents are responsible for the decisions they make, therefore their choice of care providers is one that should not be taken lightly.  This decision may be one of the greatest factors that determine the kind of birth they will have for their child.  We encourage them to find a provider that supports the choices and options they want available for their birth.  Here in the Phoenix area, there are many options for the hospital, birth center or home settings: obstetrician, certified nurse midwife and licensed professional midwife. 

We ask that they consider hiring someone they can have open communication with – that there is a mutual respect.  The student has to respect their provider’s training and knowledge.  We hope that the care provider will respect the student’s interest in making the best choices possible and advocating for mom and baby with information they have learned for themselves.  Above all, a student has to trust that their provider has their and their baby’s best interest in mind.  You have to believe that they want a Healthy Mom and Healthy Baby outcome just like you, or they wouldn’t be making the recommendations they are for your care, or insisting on having certain protocols in place for your care.
 
If you don’t believe your provider will support you in your decision to have a natural birth, and/or you feel that they do not have your best interest in mind, think about doing your research and find someone who you can trust and that you do feel has the same beliefs about birth and your choices that you do.  You will be glad you made the switch when you have the birth with a provider who helped you have the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth you prepared for.
 
This sentiment is reflected among many advocates of natural birth, not just the Bradley Method®.  There was a Hypnobabies® instructor, a few independent childbirth educators and doulas in attendance at last night’s meeting.  Many of them gave examples of former clients who had been well-served by making the decision to change providers even as late as the last weeks of their pregnancy. 
 
So how do you find this care provider that has your best interest in mind and supports your choice for a natural birth?  First, ask your current care provider how they feel about the choices you want in your birth.  As much as possible, make them open-ended questions.  It’s easy to say “yes” when they want your business, or maybe they haven’t thought through what a “yes” answer means.  Later in your pregnancy what you thought was a “yes” may turn into a “maybe” or a “no” for a host of reasons, and if you don’t trust them when they tell you why the answer has changed, you may or may not have the birth you wanted.
 
For example:
“Will you support my desire for a natural birth?”
vs.
“What has been your experience with couples who want a natural birth?”
 
Can you see how the first question is a “yes” or “no” answer, while the second one might get you closer to their true feelings about natural birth?
 
Second, you can ask around.  Do you know someone who had the type of birth you want?  Ask them who their care provider was and see if they are 1.) taking new patients, 2.) a match with your insurance carrier if you have insurance coverage and you want to stay in-network, and 3.) a good fit with your personality, which leads me to…
 
Thirdly, be willing to interview a few providers before making a final decision.  There are plenty of books and websites out there that have lists of questions, so I am not going to repeat their good work.  I will direct you to the book Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon for one of my favorite lists.  Some providers will grant you time with them for no charge, where others will charge you for their time.  One mom at birth circle relayed her experience of having to pay 3 different doctors a $125 office visit fee when she was looking for a doctor that would support her choice to try for a VBAC.  Although it was pricey, she said it was money well spent.  It gave her the opportunity to have the VBAC she wanted with a doctor who supported her choices while she kept an eye on the healthy mom, healthy baby aspect throughout the birth.
 
If you are leaning towards or firmly set on a natural birth, it would a good idea to find out your care provider or the practices cesarean rate.  If it’s higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended 10 - 15%, you have more questions to ask.  Along those lines, if you are in a practice with multiple providers, you would be wise to ask how many of them support natural birth.  If their call schedule rotates and you don’t know who you will “draw”, you need to consider what that means for your birth choices.
 
Another consideration if dad wants to be actively involved in supporting mom through her birth is to have them interact with your provider.  Rachel Davis brought this point up in her doula post.  If a potential care provider respects dad and treats him as part of the birth team, then you will probably have a good experience in the labor space.  If the provider keeps directing the conversation towards mom and excludes the dad, then this might be an indicator for the way he will be treated in the labor space.
 
Lastly, don’t be afraid to change providers if you feel any hesitation or reluctance on either side of the relationship.  It is harder for us to “break up” with them since we have an ingrained loyalty to our care providers.  We hold them in high esteem and we would never want to hurt their feelings.  Remember that you are one of many patients they are going to see that day, so they may not take the “break up” as hard as you think they are.  If they do, have an open dialogue with them and see if you still feel the same after talking it out.
 
We tell our students that care providers see the good, the bad and the ugly about birth.  If they are saying no to something, or asking you to consider, or take action it is because a personal experience, or an experience in their practice has influenced the way they approach labor and delivery.  They are the professionals and they know birth! 
 
If and when your care provider is saying no to something you want, or they are making suggestions during your pregnancy or labor, they have a good reason.  Listen to them and thoughtfully consider it if there is time.  If there isn’t time because mom and/or baby is in trouble, you want to be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you hired someone you trust will do the best for you so that both mom and baby are healthy after delivery.
 
Example: if you have had no interventions and mom and baby look like they need a position change to help baby out, you need to trust their suggestions.  If mom and baby have done well with no interventions and suddenly things take a turn that leads the care provider to recommend a cesarean, you have to trust that, too. 
 
To build on an earlier statement, they are as interested in a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome as you are.  When you consider what it costs them to practice in the pregnancy, labor and delivery field of medicine, I’d like to think it’s unlikely a person would take on that liability if their heart weren’t committed to what they are doing. 
 
To close, I will go back to the Bradley Method® analogy of birth as an athletic event.  Mom and Coach prepare so they work together as a team.  Hire the Team Manager that you trust implicitly.  You will face decisions in the course of your pregnancy, labor and delivery.  We wish you a Team Manager that is the person who you trust has the expertise you want for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome, whatever that may mean for your particular situation. 

What are your thoughts on choosing a care provider?
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
We are now enrolling for our
Spring Series
March 5, 2012 to
May 21, 2012
 
For more information
or to register,
please call us at
602-684-6567
or email us at [email protected]

Rights for Homebirth

Posted on November 25, 2011 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)
Rights for Homebirth Event
Rights for Homebirth Event
Supporters gather at Wesley Bolin Memorial Park in Phoenix, AZ
Our Midwives!
Our Midwives!
Wendi Cleckner and Marinah Farrell from Freedom and the Seed
Mini-supporters
Mini-supporters
Brussito and Ysabella holding signs
Dept of Health
Dept of Health
Supporters gathered
Rallying the crowd
Rallying the crowd
Wendi comes out and tells us to *roar*
Midwifes help people too
Midwifes help people too
Supporters rally
The Rally's Message
The Rally's Message
All Mothers should have access to a home birth
Twins and their family
Twins and their family
Twins are Natural Too
Breech Babies
Breech Babies
Bryan was a breech baby
VBACs
VBACs
Momma and her son advocating for her right to a homebirth
The kiddos and I attended our first rally as a family.  It is hard to convey to them what we were going to do before we arrived.  All they knew was that they needed to go potty in case we didn’t find a restroom, bring snacks, and wear their walking shoes.  After the fact, they have a frame of reference for the words, “march” and “rally”.  I am so glad that they are seeing the literal “birth” of a movement, the gathering of the momentum, and I am hopeful that we will all see the rules and regulations updated as a result of the effort. 
 
I found myself getting teary-eyed as we walked.  I am so thankful that we live in a country where we have the right to peaceful free assembly.  There was no police presence as our group gathered at Wesley Bolin Memorial Park, marched down to the Health Department, or when we were outside the Health Department chanting and rallying for the delegation that represents the grass-roots movement to revise the rules and regulations that govern the scope of practice for midwives that attend homebirths in Arizona.
 
My favorite chant that we did not capture on video was, “Peace on earth begins with birth”.  If all children were welcomed gently, lovingly and peacefully – oh, what a wonderful world!
 
The Rights for Homebirth movement grew out of support for a midwife in the northern Arizona who was at a homebirth with a mom who had a cesarean with a previous birth.  Both women made the mutual and informed choice to proceed with a homebirth although both knew that this was illegal in Arizona.  As the birth progressed, both mom and midwife agreed that they needed to transfer to the hospital.  This clearly demonstrates that the system works…midwives know their scope of practice, and they also know when a birth is progressing in such a way that the skills of an obstetrician are indicated.  So they went to the hospital…and the midwife was reported for attending an “illegal” birth.  I cringe that births are criminalized!
 
The rules and regulations currently governing licensed midwives in the state of Arizona are out of compliance with the current standard of care in regards to pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum care. The goal is for midwives licensed in the state of Arizona to be allowed to provide adequate, complete and safe care to all women choosing to birth at home.  As of right now, they cannot assist a mom carrying twins, a baby in a breech presentation, or a mom who has had a previous cesarean birth without jeopardizing their licence.  The rules governing the use of medications also need to be updated to reflect the standard of care that has evolved in the 20 years since they were last revised.
 
The birth community in Arizona knows that a vaginal-birth-after-cesarean (VBAC) is not allowed under the current rules and regulations.  Twin births and babies in breech positions are also off the table of you are a mom seeking a homebirth with a licensed midwife in AZ.  In birth circles, these births are called “unassisted” in order to protect the midwives who will help these moms under the radar so that they can have a safe birth at home.  Unfortunately, some of them are literally unassisted because a family feels so strongly about avoiding the hospital experience the next time they are pregnant.  We find ourselves in a place in the land of freedom where we are not truly free when it comes to our choices in pregnancy and childbirth.
 
We chose to attend yesterday’s rally because it’s time to raise the awareness outside of the Birth Circles and the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) meetings.  It’s important for this movement to go beyond “preaching to the choir” and bring awareness to the mainstream that homebirth is safe, and of the choices that we don’t have in Arizona under the current rules and regulations.  Every mother should have the right to make an informed choice.  We are adults; and if two consenting parties (mother and midwife) make a choice for a homebirth despite the risks involved, then that is our right.
 
This issue is near and dear to me since we did not want a cesarean birth when Bryan was breech.  If he had not turned, we were going to have to drive to Tennessee in order to be attended by one of the best midwifery practices in the United States.  They are allowed to deliver breech babies in TN, and these midwives still have the knowledge and confidence to deliver breech babies.  This knowledge is all but lost to obstetricians since they are no longer being taught to deliver breech babies – now they are planned cesareans.  Since breech births are underground in AZ, I had no way of finding a local, breech-skilled midwife willing to work underground at 36 weeks…there wouldn’t have been time since he was born at 38 weeks.
 
I have posted three videos from the rally and the march.  If you want more information on the grassroots effort or want to get involved, please visit Rights For Homebirth online or at their facebook page.
 
Video 1:  Allyson Fernstrom addresses the gathering before the march and rally.
She mentions the things Rights for Homebirth seeks to change: Homebirths for VBAC, twin and breech babies; midwives being able to deliver a higher standard of care at home without breaking their rules and regulations
 





Video 2:  The Rally
Supporters making themselves heard while the delegation meets with Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services
 








Video 3: Allyson, Sarah Macklin and Connie Canada address the group after the delegations meeting with Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services and reports the results: 
Although they didn’t get a sign-off that can go straight to the governor for approval, they felt the meeting went well. The Director was supportive and is trying to provide guidance to the group since he understands that things need to change.  He assigned Rights for Homebirth a legislative liaison that will help guide the group through the legislative process: find a sponsor (or sponsors) for a bill, outline the type of language that needs to be in the bill, help get it to the floor for a vote.
 
 
Excerpts from Rightsforhomebirth.com
 
"WE ARE DEMANDING THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OF SERVICES OPEN AND MODERNIZE THE RULES AND REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN MIDWIVES AND BRING THE SCOPE OF PRACTICE UP TO THE NATIONAL STANDARD."
 
"The time has come for all to stand up and be heard on the issues facing all birthing women now and in the future in the state of Arizona.  The current Rules and Regulations governing out of hospital birth with licensed midwives in the State of Arizona are antiquated and severely limit the type of care that can be provided.  We need everyone to stand up for this cause as it affects the future of all our children.  You, your daughter, your daughter in law, your granddaughter, your sisters and sister in law all are and will be affected by the lack of choice currently available in the State of Arizona.
 
3 out of every 10 birthing women in the state of Arizona currently will have a cesarean section.  Currently this removes the option for these women to ever birth with the care provider of their choice.  Many women will seek the care of a midwife and desire a home birth after cesarean only to be told that they cannot birth as they choose.  It is time for this to change.  Women and families have an inherent right to choose their care provider and location of birth.
 
The current standard of care for pregnancy, labor and birth is set by many different obstetrics and gynecology organizations and updated continually; however the rules and regulations regarding the scope of practice for licensed midwives has not been updated since 6/18/2002 to update the responsibilities of a Licensed Midwife and 3/14/1994 for all other rules including but not limited to the scope of practice.  It is time for these rules to be brought up to current standards, so that adequate and appropriate care can be provided to all birthing women, regardless of where they choose to birth and with whom they choose as their care provider."

Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.  


We are still enrolling for our Winter Series
December 5, 2011 to
February 20, 2012  

For more information
or to register, please
call us at
602-684-6567 or
email us at [email protected]

 

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