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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Q&A with SPB: DIY Padsicles

Posted on January 17, 2017 at 6:27 AM Comments comments (120)
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

Here is PART II of our VLOGS with guest doula, Michelle Ludwig from Modern Mama Doula Services.
 
Last week, she showed us her TOP 5 picks for postpartum.  Today she is going to share her DIY tutorial for you to make soothing postpartum “padsicles” right at home during pregnancy so that they are ready for you when you are home holding your sweet pea!



 
What you need:
-Witch Hazel ~ we both really like the Humphrey’s brand – available in regular or organic)
-Maxi-pads ~ if you can find them, get some chemical-free and bleach-free; usually available online
-Cookie Sheet
-Freezer Storage Bags
 
How to:
1) Open up all the pads and leave them on the wrapper so that they don’t stick to each other later
 
2) Lay them all out on your cookie sheet
 
3) Spray the witch hazel on to the pads until they are wet BUT not dripping
 
4) Put the whole cookie tray into the freezer for about two hours
 
5) Once the witch hazel has frozen, take them back out of the freezer and fold them back up for storage.  Place them in a freezer storage bag and back into the freezer while you wait for your Sweet Pea to make their appearance.
 
6) Use them during the postpartum period on top of the large postpartum pads you will receive in your birth kit or from the hospital.
 
They will be a little chilly at first, but after the initial freeze they will feel great on your bottom.
 
I did ask Michelle what her experience was with other “add-ons”. Some info out on the internet suggests using lavender essential oil or aloe vera gel along with the witch hazel on the pads when you are preparing them.
 
As Michelle so wisely answered, less is more. Witch hazel is an extremely effective healing agent, and it would be a bummer to find out that you are allergic to lavender or aloe vera when you are trying to heal from birth, learning to breastfeed and figuring out your mothering.
 
The witch hazel and pads are part of Michelle’s especially prepared Bump Boxes.  Along with the items for padsicles, you will also receive some hand crafted postpartum essentials that she makes herself.  You can order Michelle’s specially made with love package from her HERE
 
Would you like to interview Michelle as a doula? Please read her meet the doula feature HERE
 
Contact Michelle:
WEB http://www.modernmamadoula.com/
CELL OR TEXT 7204098977


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

Birth Story: Baby P Born At Home

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (54)



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®.

Info Sheet: Perineal Massage

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 5:21 AM Comments comments (1)
"Prenatal" aka "Antenatal" Perineal Massage
 
*Definition
Massaging, stretching and/or relaxing of the perineum & perineal tissues, the area between the vaginal opening and the rectum.
 Source: Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health Publication

 
Image Source: http://www.nurturingheartsbirthservices.com/blog/?p=1362
 

*History
Women frequently suffer perineal trauma while giving birth and thus interventions to increase the possibility for an intact perineum are currently being explored. Reducing tearing has been the subject of many research studies.

Some have shown favorable outcomes: 

“antenatal perineal massage appears to have some benefit in reducing second or third degree tears or episiotomies and instrumental deliveries. This effect was stronger in the age group 30 years and above.”
Source: http://www.childbirth.org/articles/massageref.html

and, some have shown neutral outcomes:

“The practice of antenatal perineal massage showed neither a protective nor a detrimental significant effect on the occurrence of perineal trauma. “
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18751626
 

*PROS
  • It increases the elasticity of the perineum. This improves the perineum’s blood flow and capacity to stretch more easily and less painfully during birth
  • Helps you to focus on relaxing and opening of the perineum
  • Perineum is less likely to be painful after birth
Source: http://www.ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files%5C090924perinealmassage.pdf
 

*CONS
  • Massaging too aggressively (to the point of a painful or burning sensation) can cause micro tears in the perineal tissues which may (but not likely) lead to the body forming scar tissue or less pliable tissue in it’s place during the healing process
  • Emotional or psychological consequences of fear and/or bodily inadequacy that could affect a woman in birth
  • Uncomfortable, according to several studies approximately 70% of women claimed they did not enjoy or would not choose to do perineal massage on their own. 
  • Massage should not be performed if there is an active vaginal infection or there is any possibility that membranes (water bag) have broken for risk of spreading bacteria
 

*Pages to explore for more reading on Perineal Massage
 
Image Source: http://yoniart-dana.blogspot.com/2009/03/birth-art.html





 


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®.




Labor Positions for Second Stage

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 4:07 PM Comments comments (0)
We just had our class on Second Stage last Friday.  One of the coaches made the observation that all the birth videos we are watching show women pushing on their backs...right!?!
 
Therein lies the quandary of being an instructor within the parameters of our current video library.  We keep trying to convince our students to film their births, especially those that push in non-traditional positions, and then share them with us so that we can use them for class instruction.  We have yet to have one student take us up on the request.

<< (Here is a picture from the pushing phase from our homebirth...our video will never be seen outside our home!)
 
The optimal pushing position is a squat.  It is still used as the “elimination” position in many cultures, for childbirth and otherwise.  It opens the outlet of the pelvis.  It shortens the birth canal.  If the mother feels like this is productive and the baby is doing well in this position, what’s not to love? 
 
Many care providers do not care for it because a true squat on the floor or on a bed with the assistance of a squat bar does not allow for them “to see” what is happening as the baby is being born.  With the advent of anesthesia, women couldn’t get into this position and/or hold this position for any length of time…so the supine position became “the” birthing position.
 
You can imitate a squat on a bed by getting into what is considered “the classic” position – with assistance, mama can pull her knees up towards her shoulder.  The challenge with the classic pushing position is that although it imitates a squat by opening and shortening to some degree, it does not allow for gravity to work with the baby to move them down.  In addition, depending on the angle of the mother, the weight of the baby pushing down could stretch the perineum enough to tear it.
 
Here are some other positions for you to consider in which you can still imitate a squat and allow the care provider to see the baby being born:
  • Side lying position
  • Kneeling
  • Hands & knees
 
All three of these allow for a mother to imitate a squat during the pushing through a contraction, and for a restful position between contractions.  You can see them illustrated with explanations HERE
 
If you had a vaginal birth, which position did you use?  Did you like your pushing position?  Why or why not?

 


Keys to Labor: Pushing

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM Comments comments (0)
Here is another installment in our "It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" series.  Dr. Bradley had revolutionary ideas to share with the public when we started his obstetrical practice in the 1950's.  He was not the only person advocating natural birth, however, he is one of the first to advocate for fathers to be the coaches and in the hospital delivery room at a time when partners were relegated to hospital waiting rooms.



Here are his keys to pushing:

Key #1: Wait until the urge to push is overwhelming.
Dr. Bradley was a big proponent of saving energy and tuning-in to the body to birth as instinctually as possible.  

Key #2: Use effective pushing positions.
Dr. Bradley believed that squatting was the most effective pushing position.  However, if that wasn't going to happen for whatever reason, he wrote that, "It is not necessary to have the knees far apart.  This assures us that the mother's back is rounded like a ball and the baby comes sliding out - like on a slide."

Key #3: Athletic breathing.
In his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth, Dr. Bradley uses the analogy of an athlete clearing out stale air before performing in an athletic event.  Basically, during the second stage, a mama pushing is acting like she is running a quick sprint.  As the contraction builds, she should take three deep cleansing breaths.  Before exhaling on the third breath, she should tuck her chin to her chest.  She uses that air to create a cushion behind the diaphragm to push to the point of comfort, holding her breath as long as it's comfortable.  If the contraction is still strong after she exhales, she can take another deep breath and trap that air for a second (and third push) as long as the contraction feels "push-y".

Key #4: Relax the Kegel Muscle.
Now this is always the hardest one to explain because you have to feel it to understand how it works in practice.  The idea is that only the abdomen and the uterus need to work during a contraction.  The Kegel, which up to this point (hopefully) has worked beautifully to tuck the baby's chin to their chest into an optimal fetal position, now needs to relax and open to allow baby a smooth passage earthside.

I hope you are enjoying these "Dr. Bradley's Keys".  Next week, we will look at his postpartum instructions.


 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 Mantras

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM Comments comments (0)
We have been teaching Bradley Method® classes long enough to have the privilege of having alumni students come back and take another series as they are expecting their next child.  We have one of those couples in our current class, and something came up in class that made me reflect on our births.

The class topic last week was stages of labor.  We talked about the markers of the different stages of labor, how to identify “transition” that typically happens between first stage (cervical dilation and positioning baby) and second stage (pushing to birth), and how to manage the different stages of labor.

Our alumni mom mentioned that she was never able to let go of the discomfort of feeling like she had to have a bowel movement.  She wasn’t able to dilate any further until they got to the hospital and she got an epidural.  The epidural relieved that feeling for her, and she dilated from 5cm to 10cm in one hour.  When she was able to let go of that sensation and the fear of losing control, her body got busy.  She is retaking our class because although she liked her epidural, she knows that the less drug exposure to baby, the better.

It made me reflect back on our birth experiences.  Although I never asked for drugs, I look back and wonder what would have happened if I had given up control of our births a lot sooner.  I imagine they would have been more in line with our 18-hour birth of our biggest baby.  All 11 pounds and 1 ounce of Night Owl, arrived in the early morning after being left alone to labor with the support of Coach Bruss and our doula.  We had eaten, slept, stayed hydrated, and his was our easiest birth.

After that, we had our two longest births, ironically, at the time when we were training to become a Bradley™ instructors, and after we were certified as instructors.  

It seems that the more I “knew”, the less able I was to let go.  I was so busy analyzing, worrying about taking pictures that we could use in class, wondering how I would be perceived by my peers and our students, that I added untold layers of emotional baggage that Bruss would have to work me through.  I had to surrender to the fact that natural birth is all about relinquishing judgment and control, and accepting that we were going to allow my body and our baby the birth that they needed.  Once I hit that point of complete release, both of those children were born within about 5 hours of that turning point.

I want to share what I now know to be my birth mantra, just in case it can help another mama have an easier birth.  As much as I would love another go at putting this into practice (and have a labor sprint instead of marathons!), it feels like our family is complete, so I hope you will benefit from it for a better birth for you and your baby. 

Side note.1:  If you have any past birth or sexual trauma, it is so important to work through those feelings during pregnancy. Come to your current birth experience with a clean of a slate as possible.  The path to surrender is more easily paved if you aren’t trying to do it all in your present labor.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson Accept:  There is no one right way to birth.  There is no one right way to feel.  The most important thing to evaluate is am I (Mom) okay?  Is our Baby okay?  If so, then accept that this is your birth and carry on.

Surrender:  Surrender to your thoughts.  Surrender to the sensations.  Surrender to the feelings.  Birth is much bigger than we are.  It is timeless.  It is the way our bodies were designed to work for childbirth.  Be okay with losing control over the process.

Give In:  Give into your thoughts.  Give into your sensations.  Give into your feelings.  Do you want to cry?  Cry.  Does moaning feel good?  Moan!  Do you want to rock, roll, walk, move, gyrate, sway, just lay still?  What are your body and your baby telling you to do?  Release all worry about judgment from outsiders, release yourself from your own judgment of what you can and can’t do.  Allow yourself to give into your birth and see where it takes you.

Let Go:  Let it all go.  Any preconceived notions of your birth.  Your timeline.  The clock.  Your plan A, plan B, and the other plans you had – let them go.  Focus on being in the moment with your partner.  Focus on being in the moment with your baby – you cannot relive or redo these sensations later.  Let everything go, and *go* for the ride. 

Let God:  Being a spiritual person, there was always an emotional component for me that involved prayer, and appealing to a higher power.  Once I gave up my control and turned it over to God, labor seemed to flow smoothly and resolutely to a birth.  The birth of another of His miracles, of which Bruss and I got to play a small part.  It is so humbling to realize that I am not in control, and I don’t have to be, in order for birth to happen.  

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

When I gave into my body, our baby and our God, all things fell into place and we ended up having beautiful birth experiences, albeit long ones.  In the midst of those long labors, the idea that got me through the time with patience and without resorting to drugs to ease the sensations of labor was “We are allowing my body and our baby the birth that they need.” 

Side note.2:  Knowing what I know now about Pitocin, I wish we hadn’t asked for it with Charger’s birth.  I know the point when I didn’t need it anymore, and I wish I had insisted as the consumer that they take the line out.  I know where that emotional release happened and there was no turning back labor with or without “the Pit”.

While there in nothing wrong with having a long labor, and we usually “win” the long labor comparison conversations (there is that judgment again!), I really do not wish long waiting times to meet your baby on anyone.  Think about these mantras if you need them, and I wish you all the best for a beautiful birth experience!!

Did you have any mantras when you were in labor?  What were they?

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
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®.

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®.    

Natural Labor Coping Techniques

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM Comments comments (44)
Here are some of the ways we recommend our students manage their labor without analgesics or anesthetics.  Even when they are used in labor, we are so happy that our couples use them as tools to manage a long labor and their children are born nursing vigorously and with high APGAR scores.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Failing to Progress or Naturally Aligning

Posted on June 1, 2012 at 4:52 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson  We have had a couple of students have had textbook “NAPS” in the last two classes…and since we still have several couples waiting for their babies, I thought this might be a reminder and an inspiration to them for their labors.  NAP – no, they didn’t take epic naps in labor (although I am a big advocate for sleeping in labor)…what it means is that they were very patient in their labors.   

One of the cornerstones of The Bradley Method® is a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  All of the discussion below only applies if Mom and Baby are not showing any signs of distress through labor.  Mom is maintaining a healthy temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, and Baby is also showing that it is doing well as per the monitoring that is being done.  If Mom or Baby are starting to demonstrate that their health is compromised, then parents are encouraged to make the best choices for their particular situation.   

The words “Failure To Progress” are the sound of doom to some of us (I say "us" because I heard this three times!).  They very often mean that interventions are going to start being suggested.  How a couple acts upon those suggestions is very individual.  Marjie Hathaway coined the phrase “Natural Alignment Plateau”, or “NAP” as an answer to the dreaded “diagnosis”: “FTP”, or “Failure To Progress”.    

Failure To Progress is based on the Friedman’s Curve*.  It looks like this: 
 As human beings, it is in our nature to see this neat, explainable graph and say, “It’s a rule!” This can have dire implications whilst in labor if you really want a natural birth.  There are no averages in the midst of a labor – each labor on is unique and individual.  

Mathematically, it’s unfair for all labors to be expected to fit the average.  That brings in another concept we teach in The Bradley Method® classes: consumerism and informed consent.  If there is time: ask questions, ask for time, and then communicate and evaluate what you have heard with your partner before you decide on a course of action.   

  • It is important to remember that the graph is AN AVERAGE representation of labor.  It indicates that a mom should dilate 1 cm per hour, and push an average of 3 hours – for an average length of labor that is between 12-14 hours long.    
  • Math class reminder:  The average number is the number you get when you add all of the data in a set of information, and then divide that total number by the number of units that provided the data.  Applied to laboring mothers: That means that there will be some people that have labors much shorter than 14 hours, and other people that have labors much longer than 14 hours, more will be around that number…and then a few will be right on with the average.  


When a mom does not progress in dilation from one vaginal exam to the next, or between several vaginal exams, she may be diagnosed with “Failure To Progress”, and along come the string of possible interventions.  They can include any or all of the following, along with other interventions: an Amniotomy (intentional rupture of the bag of waters), augmentation of labor with Pitocin, an Epidural to take of the edge of Pitocin-induced contractions, a Cesarean.  

A cesarean may also be suggested if the care team suspects that the baby may not fit through mom's pelvis.  Diagnosed as "CPD", this is the subject for another post altogether.  For now, check the link I listed below* for more information.

Instead of accepting the words, “Failure To Progress”, Marjie decided to suggest a new phrase to her students: “Natural Alignment Plateau”.  NAP instead of FTP.  Natural Alignment Plateau is a different way of approaching that point in labor when dilation does not change.  What we teach in class and hope that our students will remember when they face this crossroads is, "Labor is much more than dilation."   

Labor can be slow to start, dilation can stop and/or contractions can slow down for many reasons.  Here are some to consider: 

  •  Did you change locations where Mom is laboring? 
  •  Is Baby posterior? (Click here for ideas to move baby)
  •  Is Baby trying to figure out how to line up in the birth canal? 
  •  Is there an emotional component that hasn’t been dealt with? 
  •  Is Mom tired and does she need a nap? 
  •  Is Mom making more hormones for labor? 
  •  Is Mom's pelvis still stretching (and using the extra hormones) for baby to fit?
  •  Is the Baby's head still molding for the passage through the birth canal?
  •  Is Mom making more colostrum for baby? 
  •  Has Mom surrendered to the birth? 
  •  Has Baby accepted the birth process?  


If your labor has been slow to start after a spontaneous rupture of membranes, or if you are seemingly “stuck” at a measurement of dilation, it might be time to evaluate what could be going on and change tactics: 

  •  Try a new labor position. 
  •  Go for a walk to clear your heads. 
  •  Take a nap to conserve your energy (It’s hard for a care provider to argue with a dad or doula who is protective of a sleeping mom.)  
  •  "Talk" to your baby and encourage them that you are ready to meet him/her. 


If Mom and Baby are doing well, you can ask for time.  There is not a medical reason for an intervention if Mom and Baby are doing well in labor and your care team confirms that Mom and Baby are okay.  Here are two examples for you to consider and think about if you face a point in labor when there is no measurable progress.   

We had a mom from our Winter class go from 6 cm dilated (usually considered Active First Stage – not yet in Late First Stage) to holding her baby in 21 minutes.  Yes – you read that correctly.  She went from what most care professionals would consider mid-range in labor to holding her baby in 21 minutes…that meant she pushed within that time, too, folks.  Hers was an emotional component.  She was waiting for her mom to arrive.  Once her mom arrived at the hospital and stepped into the room where she and her husband were laboring, her baby and her body got busy.  They dilated a total of 4 cm from 6 cm to “complete” at 10 cm, then pushed, and they were holding their baby in 21 minutes.   

Our other story is from our Spring Class.  Mom had a slow start to labor.  She had started seeing some clear fluid on Sunday, noticed some more on Monday, and went to the hospital on Tuesday.  They tested her fluid and it was amniotic fluid.  Although they were in triage and barely 1 cm dilated, the couple was strongly encouraged to be admitted.  Now they are into the hospital and the expectations of “Friedman’s Curve.”  

This couple did a great job of asking, “Is Mom okay? Is Baby Okay?” After getting their “Yes” answers, then they followed up with, “That’s great!  Then let’s wait a couple more hours and see where we are.”  And sure enough, the next time the staff and their care provider checked in, they were a little further along in labor.  Once things got going, this mom went from being 4 cm dilated to 8 cm dilated in one hour!  Within two hours of that point, they were holding their baby.   

The great news about hitting the NAP is that once the Mom’s body and Baby “get organized”, labor seems to progress very quickly.  Again, remember what I said at the beginning – things go well when a Healthy Mom and a Healthy Baby are given the time they need.  If Mom or Baby start to indicate that “healthy” is losing out, then a family needs to make the best choice for their situation.   

What has been your experience – have you had a NAP in your labor?  What choices did you make?   

For a full explanation of Friedman’s Curve click here or enter this URL into your browser: http://allaboutbirth.net/pdfs/Failure-to-progress.pdf    

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®. 

Resisting the Urge to Push - Second Stage of Labor

Posted on April 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM Comments comments (0)
We had a simple question come up in class last night that we have never been asked before…usually we get to the material before hand and the question answers itself.  Since the mama asked it though, I figured that a good topic for today’s post is a written answer to her question.

The topic of last evening's class was "Introduction to Second Stage Labor".  This is the point in The Bradley Method® class series when we introduce the labor stage of transition, second stage, and then the basics of pushing in regards to breath and positions.
 
Question:  What do I do if I have the urge to push but my care provider tells me it’s not time to push?
 
Answer:  You won’t know if it’s time to push unless you confirm that your body is ready.  There are several things you can do to keep from pushing if the time isn’t right. 
 
Reasons why we have encountered that you shouldn’t push:
You are not completely dilated – pushing against a cervix that is between baby and the vaginal outlet can cause the cervix to swell, possibly leading you to go down a different path toward the birth.
 
You are not completely effaced – also called the “lip of cervix”. The danger in this situation is catching the cervix between the vaginal wall and the baby’s body, possibly tearing the cervix.
 
In a hospital setting: Your care provider isn’t there yet and the nurse doesn’t want to catch the baby.
 
What you can do to keep yourself from pushing:

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleKeep your chin off your chest.  Pinning your chin to your chest is a great way to trap air and put more power behind your diaphragm.  Great for pushing – not so great if you want to keep baby in.  So look up at the ceiling, sing, talk, tell a joke – do something that keeps your mind off the urge to push.
 
Hands and knees position - Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleGet on your hands and knees.  Other supported flat back and knee position that keeps some of the pressure off of the anus and tells your body that it’s time to push might work too.  You can put some pillows under your chest; or if you are in the hospital, raise the head of the bed and lean against that.  This can also be an effective pushing position when mom arches her back, so no guarantees on this one.
 

Open-knee to chest position - Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleGet lower to a shoulder to knee position.  This moves the baby’s head off the cervix using gravity, and you can do this as long as it’s comfortable for mom and baby doesn’t react negatively.  Reading up on it for today’s post, it is not recommended in late labor, so if you are going to do this, think about doing it under supervision and with monitoring.  It is noted to help relieve pressure if the cervix is already starting to swell and you can take a few contractions in this position to see if it helps with the swelling.  If it does, then you can probably go back and do the upright labor positions.

I strongly urge you to read more about this position before you go into labor - it is useful in many situations when used appropriately.  There are three links listed at the end of this post.

Asymmetrical squat - Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, ScottsdaleDo an asymmetrical squat for a few contractions.  We used this position with great success to get rid of a lip of cervix.  We did it right up on the hospital bed, supported by a squat bar. (If only I knew then that I would be writing about childbirth in the future...I would have let someone take a picture!)  If you don't feel comfortable doing this on your knees, you can do it on the side of a bed or use a chair.  It will let you keep one foot on the ground while you lean into the raised leg, imitating the position without putting extra weight on the knees.  Last note on this - if leaning into one side doesn't feel comfortable, switch the knees up/down and try the other side.
 
I will end with this cautionary statement: if you are having an undeniable urge to push, it’s advisable to find a care provider to check your dilation before you start pushing.  The last thing you want to happen is to push against a cervix that isn’t dilated and cause swelling.
 
Hire a care provider you trust so that if and when they tell you not to push, you believe them and you do what you need to do.  They may have other ideas that will work - these are just the ones we share in class.  And when it is time to push, get ready, because you are about to enjoy one of the sweetest rewards for hard work – holding your sweet baby!
 
A little anecdote:  It is not always necessary to check dilation before you push; however it’s important to know the possible consequences of doing so.  Since I am an experienced birth mama, my midwife let me push without checking my dilation.  She did ask me if I felt any pinching, and since I did not she went ahead and let me push.  I share this not because I want moms to push without being checked, but to illustrate the point of hiring a care provider you trust.  We have had one student start to push without being checked (nurse didn't believe that she was ready), and she ended up with a swollen cervix that led to other choices down the line.
 
Read more about the open knee – chest position:
 
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®.


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