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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

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In Their Own Words: Annika's Story

Posted on April 15, 2016 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (2)
April is Cesarean Awareness Month.  As such, the blog topics this month will focus around cesarean birth journeys, and options that cesarean birth warriors have for subsequent pregnancies.  

If you would like to submit your story for our In Their Own Words series, please send your submission to krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.

Here is Annika's story of her primary cesarean, and her VBAC journey with her second child:

When you are pregnant with your first child you have all these wonderful naive concepts about birth…well, at least I did. Not to say I had a traumatic birth with my first child, but I would say it definitely was a sobering lesson for my husband and I.
 
Our plan was to have Landan in a birthing center with minimal intervention and in a birthing tub. The entire idea of a water birth and a welcoming atmosphere to me was literally heaven and I would dream about it almost daily. At our 39 week check up our midwife seemed a bit puzzled when she was examining my belly and feeling around for Landan's position and promptly concluded after a ultrasound that he was in fact breech and very comfortably nesting in my right rib cage. So with a referral in hand and a last minute appointment with Dr. Medchill we made our way to his office for another ultrasound to determine if I was a good candidate for an external cephalic eversion (aka, external flipping or rotating of the baby).
 
Much to our delight, Dr Medchill concluded that there was sufficient fluid surrounding Landan and the umbilical cord was not wrapped around his neck. So off we were to the OB Triage at St Joe's to attempt flipping Landan with our bags packed "just in case." While the idea of externally having my baby flipped was not appealing, I really didn't have a whole lot of time to really understand the gravity of what I was about to experience, nor do I think I would have cared to be honest.
 
I had my mind made up that this was going to work and I was going to get my beautiful peaceful water birth I had been dreaming about for 9 months. With my husband sitting at my head, Dr Medchill on my right side pushing Landan's head and upper body, and a head resident pushing Landan's legs and butt, they attempted 4 times to flip Landan with no avail. My son was perfectly comfortable where he was at, and no one was going to convince him to move otherwise. At this point, my husband and I had been dealing with this ordeal all day and both of us were so incredibly burned out. I was shaking thanks to the muscle relaxers they gave me so they could perform the procedure and I didn't even want to dare to think about how sore my belly was going to be once the pain medication wore off. So, seeing our exhaustion, Dr Medchill offered to perform a cesarean birth within the hour.
 
Looking back on it now, I am actually very grateful for his willingness to help us in the midst of our exhaustion. Let me be clear, he was not pushy by any means and if you have ever encountered Dr. Medchill he is the most kind, but honest, human being on this planet. In his professional opinion especially since I had showed no sign of labor, my cervix was completely shut, minimal effacement, and Landan was definitely not going anywhere from his comfy spot, the chances of my body kicking into natural labor and Landan flipping and descending through the birth canal was really minimal.
 
Since I had never had a vaginal birth to begin with, I also had what the medical community deems as an "untried pelvis," which essentially means no baby has ever passed through. Which can diminish your chances of having a successful natural breech birth even farther.
 
So, my husband and I decided to go for the compromise and I was prepped for surgery before the ink was dry on the consent papers. Looking back on it now, I'm actually incredibly grateful for how quickly they moved as my husband and I weren't really given the chance to think too much about what was going on. The cesarean birth, from what I remember, was rather uneventful. I remember being extraordinarily cold, and feeling very alienated being so exposed on the table, but the staff was really pleasant and made me feel comfortable.
 
Once Landan was born he was quickly cleaned, weighed, and swaddled, and brought over to me where we snuggled our heads together for a fleeting moment. My husband was allowed to take him from there to the OB Triage area to have skin-to-skin contact while I was being put back together. Granted, I would have loved to have that contact with Landan myself, but stepping back from that, it really was a special time for Danial and Landan. They definitely formed an unbreakable bond and for that I am absolutely thankful for. That was such a special gift that Danial was able to have with Landan and I wouldn't take that away from him ever.
Fast forward 5 months and we were a busy family with a new(Ish) baby still taking over our house. Since having Landan I hadn't really thought much about his delivery or the ordeal much as I was happy to have my son earthside safely. It was when I found out I was pregnant with our second child that month that my feelings and emotions about Landan's delivery and my upcoming delivery would soon start to bring to the surface all sorts of emotions.
 
Luckily for us, we decided to stay with Dr. Medchill and continue care through him as he was most familiar with us, and our previous experience with him was really outstanding. He didn't hesitate when I asked if I had the option of attempting a normal VBAC and said that I was a really good candidate and that he actually would encourage me to at least try.
 
Let me tell you, that was music to my ears! But at the same time, the question in my head was "what exactly am I going to expect?" I couldn't have the water birth that I had fantasized about during Landan's pregnancy, and I was definitely not going to get a very birth center like atmosphere in the hospital, so what exactly COULD I expect?
 
That's where getting involved with the ICAN chapter in Phoenix really helped me wrap my head around my options but also internally deal with some unresolved feelings from Landan's delivery that I didn't even know I had. Also, getting involved with ICAN really gave me confidence to ask questions that I didn't even know were subjects I could ask!
 
For example, I had no idea that I could ask to have intermittent monitoring which would allow me to get in and out of the shower along with walking freely without being attached to a machine all the time. So armed with information, my husband and I navigated the months leading up to Adaline's birth with optimism and trust in our care provider that we could have a fair trial of labor.
 
I'm not going to lie, while we had an amazing support group around us from our care provider, to our doula, to our family, there was some SERIOUS fear in me of the entire process. No matter how you look at it, the incision is always going to be there. It doesn't go away and that doubt of whether or not that area will be able to withstand labor and birth is constantly lingering no matter how many statistics you look at of the success of VBACs.
 
I can say with confidence that there were MANY times where I just wanted to schedule a cesarean birth and go with what I knew and could expect. That is so much less scary then embarking on the marathon of labor and delivery where you have no idea what to expect. But, there was a really large part of me that just really wanted to experience the beauty of labor and be able to say that I could do it on my own.
 
So, I stuck to my guns and kept drawing from my support group of my husband, my doula, and my care provider. Much to my delight, on October 1, 2014 my water broke (which is definitely not a glamorous experience like Hollywood claims it is!!) and labor started with gusto about an hour later. My husband, doula and I made our quick exit to the hospital as my contractions were coming on with force and relatively quickly.
 
After a marathon of 17 1/2 hours of hard, active labor, my daughter was born on October 2, 2014 and was the most beautiful VBAC baby I could ever ask for. She absolutely made me work for my VBAC and I truly couldn't have done it without my doula and my husband, who stayed up with me the entire night going between the shower, birthing ball, holding the puke bin between contractions, making sure I drank water, and listening to me when I was so tired that I could feel my body giving in after 15 hours and asking for an epidural simply so I could take a 30 min power nap.
 
I have clients that ask me all the time how I was able to get through that VBAC and it’s really plain and simple to me. There is no part of me that hesitates when I say that I absolutely drew from the strength of my husband and my doula the entire time. Having my support group really helped me get through the toughest parts of that labor and then also being at peace with getting an epidural and taking a nap. When it boils down to it, that's what my body needed and having my support group there allowed me to listen to my body.
 
There is nothing I regret from Adaline's birth and in a way it was so healing for me and resolved so much self doubt from Landan's birth that I didn't even know existed in me until I was faced with the option of having a normal VBAC.

Now we are weeks away from meeting #3 and my husband and I feel so comfortable and armed with such confidence that we do know our options and are going into this second vaginal birth. I know, and for the first time, feel absolutely confident in my body; that it knows what to do and I also know how to listen to it as well. We have moved to a different state so having to switch providers was nerve racking until my husband and I really sat down and realized that we were completely confident with the criteria that we wanted and were setting for ourselves and also that we would find a care provider who was just as amazing as Dr Medchill was.
 
Luckily for us, we did find an amazing care provider and he is definitely on the same page as we are with this delivery. My hope and prayer for every single mother going through her VBAC whether it be after one or multiple cesarean births is that you really find your voice and find your support. I know that's what helped me navigate this incredible journey that I've been on the past 3 1/2 years and I only can hope that every single mother finds that strength as well.

Photographer Name: Allie Hannah Photography

Henna: Pheobe Sinclair 

Disclaimer: 
The 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®.
 
 Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson


 

Q&A with SPB: Breech babies & childbirth classes

Posted on September 29, 2015 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Can we prepare for a natural birth even if our baby is breech?

The answer is yes!!  The statistics are in your favor.  Only 4% of babies remain in the breech position at the time of labor and birth.























Notes from today's video:
Even if you end up with a cesarean birth after exhausting all your options, by preparing for a natural birth, you can still take advantage of the information you learned in your childbirth class:

Consumerism and informed consent: can help you negotiate to allow your labor to start naturally and then (if necessary) head to the operating room after a trial of labor. Babies have been known to turn vertex (head down) during labor - you may decide it's worth trying. At the very least, you will get some of the benefits of the hormones that you are meant to get during labor if your labor happens according to your body/baby's schedule.

Relaxation techniques: can help you be present and intentional during your cesarean birth.  HERE is a post we have done exploring the options around a gentle cesarean, also known as a family-centered cesarean.

Exercise and nutrition: Our students who have cesarean births in order to preserve their Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth plan often report that their recoveries are vastly different from their friends who did not take Bradley classes.  The physical aspect of their recoveries are easier and shorter thanks to the fact that their body that was physically prepared for the act of birthing.

What are some of your options?  Find 3 full lists of ideas plus a visualization script HERE

Here is a short list:
External Cephalic Version (medical solution)
Webster Protocol (chiropractic technique)
Acupuncture
Moxibustion
Inversions
Swimming
Music
Hot/Cold compresses
Light
Visualization
Prayer

Links For More Reading

SPB posts
5 Point Plan for Breech Babies: http://goo.gl/2WYf4n
 
Our Breech Story:  http://goo.gl/EP6F9V

Gentle Cesarean: http://goo.gl/xeixuI

Turning the baby:
External Cephalic Version: http://goo.gl/FSaFLV
 
Dr. Ross on Webster Protocol (chiropractic technique): https://youtu.be/A3762xOCMcs

Spinning Babies ("Natural" ways to encourage optimal fetal positioning): http://goo.gl/oHyHm

Breech Tilt: http://goo.gl/A6r9zV
 
Studies about Breech Babies
Statistics on the 3 different breech presentations: http://goo.gl/fJ0yxW

Acupuncture and Moxibustion: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15280133
 
Long term outcomes the same for vaginal and cesarean deliveries of breech babies: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23197237


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


5 Point Plan To Turn A Breech Baby

Posted on January 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)
We have had an interesting phenomenon in our Fall Bradley Method® class.  Three of our couples had/have breech babies – 30% of the class!  Interesting since the overall statistic ranges between 1-4% babies being breech at term – it depends which information you are reading.

In this post I will describe steps to take if you find out you have a breech baby at any point in your third trimester.  These are all ideas that do not involve the physical manipulation of the baby.  To read more about that option, click HERE.

1.)  Set your whole intention on turning your baby.
Focus your thoughts and your energy in every moment that you can to  turning your baby.  Envision that a non-breech baby is going to be your reality.  Devote time every day, whether it be 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 50 minutes, or more, to positive visualization.  We are also spiritual people, so we asked our family to pray for us.  I know that both of our parents put us on their church prayer lists and prayed for us to have the best birth possible for Charger.

2.) Webster Protocol.
The first thing we recommend to our mamas is to find a chiropractor who knows how to do the Webster Protocol.  To be clear, it is not a turning technique.  It is a series of checks that is done to make sure that the pelvis is stable to allow for the baby to feel safe in a head-down (vertex) presentation.  Babies that are going to turn will do so when the torsion is taken out and they can safely place their heads in the pelvis.

3.)  Take action and make a plan with your care provider.
There are two files that I am sharing as part of this post.  The first one is a compilation of ideas that I gathered and took to our care provider.  We went through the list together and she checked off all the things that she felt were safe to try.  This list is now three and a half years old – I encourage you to do your own research and come up with your own list to take to your care provider.  

The second is a script I wrote to play and meditate on every day.  I read it out loud so I could tape it and play it back.  This allowed me to focus on deep breathing and the intention of the words as I visualized our baby turning.  I listened to it when I was doing an inversion.
 
4.)  Do inversions.
When we found out Charger was breech, we were told by our nurse practitioner at our obstetrician’s office and a midwife who did a phone consult that inversions were the “old fashioned” way to turn breech babies.  The two most common inversions are the chest-knee position and the “ironing board” inversion (also known as the “breech tilt”).  The goal of these is to use gravity to prevent the baby from engaging into the pelvis in a breech position, and to encourage the baby to tuck their chin and encourage them to turn.  There are a lot of other techniques, and "everyone" has opinions about what is effective, so choose the positions that make sense to you.
 
  
    








Knee-Chest position
Breech Tilt Picture From

5.  Make Peace.
  If you do all of these things (or more) and your baby stays breech, know that you have done everything possible and allow yourself to open up to other options.  Do you want to try an external manipulation of the baby?  Do you want to find a care provider who knows how to manage a breech delivery?  Do you feel that you want to be allowed a trial of labor so that at least your baby chooses their birth-day before you agree to a cesarean birth? 

Believe that you and your baby will have the birth you are meant to have.  Your baby is not just a passenger in this process – they are a pilot – they know how they are meant to be born.  It is our responsibility to find the care provider who will inform us objectively and support us as we make the decisions that need to be made.

As parents, we are the only ones who can be the voice for our child(ren) before they are born.  Read, read, read.  Ask questions.  Make the decision that works the best for you and your family.

Want to know how the story ended for us? 
HERE is our breech baby story.

Do you know anyone with a breech baby story?  How did it go?

Link List:
External Cephalic Version
http://www.webmd.com/baby/external-cephalic-version-version-for-breech-position

Dr. Ross on Webster Protocol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3762xOCMcs

Breech Tilt
http://www.spinningbabies.com/techniques/242-breech-tilt

Studies about Breech Babies
Acupuncture and Moxibustion
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15280133

Long term outcomes the same for vaginal and cesarean deliveries of breech babies
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23197237





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®.


Midwifery Scope of Practice, Arizona

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 2:04 PM Comments comments (0)
I was thrilled to be part of a process in our state by which we as citizens can participate in the legislative process yesterday.  The Arizona Department of Health Services has started an Open Meeting process with the Midwifery Scope of Practice Advisory Committee.  

The stated goal of this committee is to review and update the rules and regulations that govern Lay Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives that practice in the state of Arizona.  As a consumer, am hopeful that they will be modernized to reflect current evidence-based practices. 

Historically, there has been animosity and prejudice between midwives and obstetricians.  When it comes to homebirth advocates, the stance is that birth is safer at home; the other side argues that birth is safer in a hospital.  Both sides are correct.  In healthy, low-risk pregnancies, a birth at home is perfectly safe.  There are circumstances in which a birth at a hospital is the best choice.  And then there is a chasm, a gray area, in which births can go either way.

However, the forgotten component here is: what does the consumer want?  Even if her risks are higher in one place or the other, where does the birthing mother feel the safest?  Where does she want to choose to give birth to her child(ren)?

The truth is that in the “land of the free”, women of Arizona are shackled in their birth choices.  The only option for a mother who has a breech baby, who is carrying multiples, and who has a history of previous cesarean is birth in a hospital setting.  (At least now, in many cases, access to Certified Nurse Midwives is growing, so that a woman can still have midwifery care in a hospital setting.  Even so, they are a considered a threat by some OB's).  In some places, women with previous cesareans are not even allowed a trial of labor.  They are forced to have repeat cesareans, despite evidence that best practice should be to allow women to labor for a vaginal birth.

Is every birth outcome going to be perfect? No.  That is unrealistic.  However, each woman should have the option to approach the care provider of her choice to have the conversation about the possibility of having her birth wishes honored and come to fruition.  If a woman is willing to assume the risk of any of these births at home, and if she can find a homebirth midwife who is willing to travel that path with her, then they, as two consenting adults, should have the right to enter into that contract together without fear of repercussion from the state in which they live.

What I suspect is missing from the discussion is the understanding that no mother and no care provider would knowingly and willingly endanger the life of a child.  A mother knows her mind.  A care provider knows their abilities.  If the two do not mesh, then a different choice will be made, a choice that ensures the safety of the child.

Here is my speech from yesterday during the “Call to Public” portion of the meeting.  As a mother who carried a breech baby, I felt that I could speak to that aspect of the law:


My name is Krystyna Bowman.  I am the mother of four children.  Three were born in the hospital, and our last was born at home.  I am here to address you today to ask you to consider the choices that are available to women in Arizona today.

Anything other than a uterus intact, head-down, singleton pregnancy at the time of labor is considered high-risk under the medical model.  There is rarely any assessment of the mother or the child as individuals, nor is there any belief that any other variation of labor can tolerate a natural labor and birth.

We had a breech presentation with our third child.  We had two options under Arizona state law since trained midwives are not allowed to deliver breeches at home and our obstetricians were not willing to share the names of any doctors trained in breech birth.

1.  We could have a cesarean birth after a trial of labor.

2.  We could drive to Tennessee, where there is a group of midwives who are trained and legally allowed to deliver breech babies. 

Are these reasonable choices in this day and age?  I could agree to undergo major abdominal surgery fraught with it’s own risks and complications; or I could load up my entire family of four and drive 1,600 miles, hoping not to go into labor along the way, so that I could have legal and professional care.

We are asking you to recognize that educated, informed healthy women want to have the choice to approach other trained, educated women about their care.  It is up to a woman to decide if she wants midwifery care in a home setting, and it is up to the licensed midwife to decide if she will accept a patient into her practice.

The beauty of the midwifery model is that skilled people, trained under a time-honored model of education know how to recognize the difference between a low-risk pregnancy and labor and one that needs a more medical approach.  The one-to-one care during labor allows a midwife to assess when it might be time transfer a patient for medical observation much sooner than the impersonal, ticker-tape of a fetal monitor.  Take under consideration that the fetal monitor is being watched on a screen by a nurse who is caring for two to four women, it’s feasible that a distress signal would be missed. 

We would like the opportunity to show the personalization of the midwifery model works for women outside of the paradigm of healthy, low-risk mothers with vertex presentations and intact uteruses.  Mothers with breech, multiples pregnancy, and previous cesareans should also have the choice to seek care within the home midwifery model. 

If two parties can come to an agreement, then care should be able to proceed in such a manner that our intelligence and our choices are honored by the state and the country in which we are supposed to be free citizens.  Freedom to choose, and sometimes to choose differently, should not be legislated.  When a state starts to “protect” instead of endow, we enter a slippery slope of rules and regulations that slowly strip away our freedoms.


We ask for the freedom to choose our birth as long as we can find a midwife who is willing to travel that journey with us because she can do so without fear of repercussions from the state in which we live.


I hope that you will do some reading, visit the Rights for Homebirth webpage and Facebook page.  Get involved.  You have a voice.  The Arizona Department of Health is listening.

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®.

Our Lesson on Emotional Relaxation

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)
The key to The Bradley Method® is relaxation.  As such the coursework teaches about three types of relaxation.  I summarize them this way:

  • Physical - release of muscular tension
  • Mental - going to your "happy place"
  • Emotional - safety, acceptance, surrender


Our third child taught us what emotional relaxation was.  We had planned to conceive our first two children.  Although having a third child was on the horizon, we had not "started trying"...here is Bryan's birth story:

Bryan's story begins back in November of 2008.  I had just hired a personal trainer so I could get a kick in the rear and lose the baby weight.  Things are going well, I am losing weight...and then, I start having morning sickness.  I can't stand to look at food - and I am gaining weight...you, guessed it, blessed with Baby No. 3!!! 

This time we did find out what we were having.  Ysabella was so excited for her baby sister - she was thinking about names, making plans for their play time, praying for her little sister...I could not imagine the disappointment if it was a girl.  I also did not want her to be angry with God, so when the magic day came, we said, tell us...and it the answer was BOY! After a little time, Ysabella got used to the idea and we started thinking about boy names.  Ysabella wanted Ryan after one of her favorite movie characters.  Bruss wanted William after one of his favorite uncles.  Neither was budging and it was getting contentious at the dinner table.  Mommy saved the day by suggesting a compromise "B" from Bill and all of "Ryan" and we came up with Bryan. So, Bryan had his first name.  

Once we settled on the name, we started using it when we were talking about "the baby".  He is the first pregnancy we had that we got to go to the hospital calling the baby by name...or so I thought. We found out he was breech in early July, you can see our post on How we turned our breech baby for that side-story.  

I started having mucous-y secretions the week before he was born, so our summer plans in Payson changed.  We came home early because I was thinking 26 hours (1st) - 14 hours (2nd) - this was bound to be a 5-8 hour birth, right?  And I didn't want one of those hours to be Bruss and I driving down the hill with two kids and two dogs in tow. 

Well, my water broke at 9:30 pm on Tuesday, July 28th.  My brother Eduardo who was staying with us to help with the kiddos.  He had been here since early July to help, and it was the one night he went out with his friends.  We had kicked him out since he had been so attentive to us he wasn't going out with his friends.  Figures, right?  So we called Tia Gloria to come over and spend the night in case things progressed as I was hoping they would.   

An hour goes by - leaking and no contractions.  We had learned enough from our first two labors to know that my body likes to shift gears slowly, so our best bet was to go to bed.  I called our doula - a new one to us called Jenny - to let her know my water broke, we were going to bed, and we would call her in the morning, or sooner if things progressed faster than we thought. 

Off to bed - Eduardo gets home - excited to see that we are in labor!  He and Tia Gloria go to bed, too - ready to tell the kids that we are gone in the morning.  My contractions don't get any stronger because I am able to sleep through the night.  

I remember waking up in the morning and realizing that I was probably not going to have an eight hour labor since there were no strong contractions yet.  No wake up in the middle of the night - which means contractions are easy.  I am beginning to realize I am not going to have a five hour labor when I wake up to use the bathroom at two am - and I go back to bed to continue reserving energy. 

At 6:30 am, we called Jenny.  The plan was to start walking and see if we could get a regular pattern established.  It worked!!  We were five-six minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds... So, I decide to take a shower before we go to the hospital - because my legs needed shaving - dumb, Dumb, DUMB!  dumb - really?  Dumb - I was by myself.  DUMB - sitting on a rickety stool? Bruss left me alone - he will feel bad about that for a long time, and he is good about telling our students never to leave their partners alone once they start labor.  

Well, that stool broke in the shower and I fell to the floor.  Ysabella must have heard something, because she comes running in to see if I am ok, and then runs to the kitchen and announces, "Mom just broke the stool into a ba-zillion pieces!) 

So, Bruss comes running - our plans to labor at home until our contractions were four minutes apart are gone.  We call Jenny to tell her the change and off we rush to the hospital.  I think my legs were almost done being shaved at this point, so I am sure I finished the last two strokes and got out of the shower to towel off, dress and drive. 

By the time we finally get there and are in triage, it is around 9:00 am on Wednesday morning.  I am calmer - Bryan was okay when we got there - his heart tones sounded good.  In triage, they read our birth plan,  they confirmed that my water was broken and tried to start pitocin.  We denied the pitocin but made the nurse feel better by telling her I was Strep B positive and she could stick me with other stuff. 

So the day continues.  We are happy to see our OB from our first two children is on call Wednesday.  We had never drawn her when she was our primary in the practice (and we lived in Ahwatukee), so it was a treat.  We made some comments on how she would finally get to catch one of our babies.  She hadn't heard we were pregnant (we had moved to Chandler and switched to the local office), so she was happy to catch one of our babies, too. 

It becomes apparent that labor is going to be slow in starting up again.  We had made some progress in the afternoon, only to have it taper off by dinnertime.  I start to get discouraged.  We hear that my mom has landed in Phoenix from Chicago, so she is going to relieve my aunt and go help Eduardo with the kiddos.  We talk to the kiddos.  Ysabella, ever sweet, says, "I guess God didn't want me to meet Bryan today - that's okay.  I can keep waiting."  Sweet, sweet, sweet! We decide to ask for a breast pump.  

Nipple stimulation had helped get Brussito's birth going - maybe it would help again - walking around the hospital all day hadn't done the trick.  The nurse says that we can't have it since there is no hospital protocol for it.  At 5:00 am, Dr. Ragaini comes in and asks, how did the breast pump work?  I have never had anyone try that before and I am curious to know how it works - I was hoping you would be our guinea pigs.  *GASP*  I try not to lose it in front of her.  

Once she leaves, I lose it.  I am angry that a nurse decided to give us some BS line because she didn't want to get in trouble.  Bruss and I think about Pitocin because I want to meet our baby today.  I figure between our breast pump and a little Pitocin, we are going to meet our baby. Bruss dutifully goes home and gets our breast pump and "falls into the shower" - I was so upset since I felt stinky after being in the hospital for 24+ hours.  He gets to visit with the kiddos who are very happy to see him.  

He comes back and agree that it's time for Jenny to go home and shower and see her daughter off to school.  SO the breast pump has little effect, and they start the Pitocin. We also make a call to our friend Andrea, our Bradley teacher for Bruss' birth.  Andrea wants to come - we say yes!!  She was the "Hail Mary pass" we needed - fresh energy, a good person for Jenny to work with - they were my red-headed power pack! 

We now see our second doctor - Dr. Ragaini's shift was over and Dr. Villa was on call.  He checks - mom and baby are doing okay - he is fine with letting us labor some more because this is our third baby and by the grace of God, he is not concerned that our water has been broken for 24+ hours.  I mention this because some caregivers-hospitals consider this a medical liability and insist that people with a broken bag of waters for 24 hours must have a c-section. 

We have a new nurse at 7:00 am, too.  She keeps coming to check on our progress - and can't believe that I can still handle the Pitocin without an epidural.  Next hour - she ups the dosage of "Pit" again.  And so on and so forth every hour with no effect.  Now she is wondering if I am human.  "This much Pitocin usually works on mother's - they would have been asking for the epidural a long time ago" she says.  Now, it had worked to a degree, the contractions were getting closer and stronger, just not at the pace the nurse expected for the dose of Pitocin I am receiving. 

Jenny and Andrea go get lunch.  At around noon, Dr. Villa comes in and sees me playing with my phone, trying to find tango music to play for Bryan to see if we can get him motivated.  He takes one look at me and says in his nice/sarcastic way," You better get serious if you are going to have that baby today - you aren't even close yet " 

The doulas come back with some suggestions - castor oil, walk some more, go home.  I just want to be alone with Bruss, so they excuse themselves.  Bruss gives me the pep talk of my life.  We cry, we pray.  We decide to follow the course we are on - active labor with Pitocin and a new confidence that God's will be done and that we are all in His divine protection. 

At around 2:00 pm, I get a whisper in my ear.  Literally.  Chills up my spine and everything.  The voice says, "Victor" in Spanish.  I am amazed when I realize that this is supposed to be Bryan's middle name.  I ask Bruss," What do you think of Bryan Victor?  He will be victorious over this birth when he comes out - I think it works!"  Bruss agrees with me, says that's okay if that's what I want.  

BAM!  I have the first real, take your breath away contraction. I use several four letter words, tell Bryan that he could have indicated that he wanted his full name several hours ago and then get ready to get down to the business of laboring.  I ask the nurse if she will take the Pitocin off now since I know I am not going to need it anymore.  She refuses because she doesn't want us to back track...little did she know. 

I can look now and see that naming him, giving him a full name, was the point that I accepted him.  I accepted that the pregnancy was not an accident.  I accepted our baby and surrendered to his birth.  The emotional block I had set up that was literally slowing my labor was gone.

Labor starts in earnest. Sometime in the afternoon, my mom stops by to pray with us.  I chant through contractions, squat between them to encourage baby to move down.  Jenny leaves to see her daughter again after school and to have dinner with her family.  Bruss and Andrea are a great team.  Brett, Andrea's husband brings them dinner.  I don't want to eat, just work at meeting our baby. 

Thank goodness I had kept working out with the trainer throughout the pregnancy and slept during labor.  I am feeling strong.  I am in tune with my body.  When dinner break is over, I direct Bruss, Andrea and Jenny with ways they can help me.  

Then I stop wanting to talk - and Bruss takes over. All I want to do is squat on the floor.  The nurse takes a good look at me and realizes that she better get the doctor.  Somehow they get me on the hospital bed and Bryan is already crowning - he was delivered in what I remember to be about three pushes.  

We find out when his head emerges that his cord is wrapped around his neck - another blessing that he had a slow and steady descent. Bryan was born at 6:57 pm on Thursday, July 30th.  Thank goodness he was two weeks "early" - he was already 9 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches long. In the end, it was five hours from the time I got "the whisper" to the time Bryan was born.  God proves once again that he has a sense of humor.

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®. 

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]

Chiropractic Care for Moms and Babies

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 4:12 PM Comments comments (1)
I admit it - I was one of those complete skeptics about chiropractic care.  I used to call them "chiro-quackers" and felt 100% sure that I would never let one touch me or my back.

Then our third child, Bryan, was breech at 32 weeks.  And he stayed breech - at our 36 week ultrasound, there was definitely a bottom where there should have been a top!  Desperate to avoid a cesarean and willing to try any natural measure I could, I asked my natural momma tribe if they could recommend anyone for the Webster Protocol - the three with answers all sent me to the same person: Dr. Kevin Ross.

We invite him to speak to our students because we feel that his care is one of the keys for our whole family to continue along the path of natural living that ties into our passion for natural birth.  He is passionate about chiropractic care and the benefits for mom, baby and the nursing relationship.  As an added bonus, he is also a Bradley dad® and can speak directly to the families coach to coach.

Today's post is short on written words - I will let Dr. Ross' videos speak for themselves.  You will see a title and a synopsis; click on the videos to learn more about the topics.  Enjoy!

The topics are:
- What is chiropractic care?
- What is "interfering" with the body's natural processes?
- What is "adjusting"?
- Chiropractic and Pregnancy
- Chiropractic and Babies
- The Webster Protocol explained

For Part 2 of this post, which is Coaching Back Labor click here.

What is chiropractic care?  
Dr. Ross introduces the concept of chiropractic care to our students.




What is "interfering" with the body's natural process?
Chemical, physical and emotional stressors interfere with the body's ability to heal itself.  Good chiropractors don't "fix" things - they clear the way for the body to do the work.


What is "adjusting"?
The common understanding of chiropractic care is a lot of pops and cracking.  Dr. Ross explains the different ways of adjusting - and there are many ways to adjust without "cracking".


Chiropractic and Pregnancy
Chiropractic care can help ease some of the physical discomforts of pregnancy.


Chiropractic and Pediatric Work
Babies can also be safely adjusted - do your research and find a chiropractor trained to do pediatric work.

The Webster Protocol
Guess what - it's not a turning technique!  It is actually stabilizing the mother so that the baby can safely turn head-down.

What do you think?  Have you considered chiropractic care as an option during pregnancy?

About Dr. Kevin Ross: 
Dr. Ross has been in practice for 20 years in Tempe, Arizona. His passion and love is pediatric and pregnancy care but his office cares for people of all ages. He is certified in the Webster Protocol for malpositioned babies.  If you would like to contact Dr. Ross, you can reach him at 480.730.7950, or visit his site at www.rechargeyourlife.com


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]

How we turned our breech baby

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 6:52 AM Comments comments (4)
Bradley Method® baby - turned from breech to vertex at 36 weeks
I am sharing this because I am hoping this will allow other mommies-to-be with breech babies avoid a cesarean section in the hospital.  One of our students is working at turning their baby right now, so I thought it apropos to share this online today.

Journal: July 19, 2009
Bryan's Estimated Due Date (EDD): August 14, 2009
     As advocates of natural childbirth, and after two amazing birth experiences, I wanted the same for our third child. We found out in early June that he was breech, but didn't give it much thought at the time since we figured we still had time left for him to turn head-down.
      When our ultrasound at the beginning of July showed he was still breech and we already had a guess-timated seven pound baby, red-flags started going up. I was willing to try anything and everything that would safely encourage him to turn to a head down position.
      My thinking was very clear as we started these alternative therapies to an external cephalic version in the hospital: I would do everything in my power to help the natural process along, and knowing that we had done everything we could, accept a cesarean section if that meant we had a healthy son in our arms at the end of the pregnancy.
      Here is what we did to turn him - YEAH! And we are now praying he will stay that way until delivery day.

1. Talked to the baby: Every quiet moment, I would take the opportunity to send my thoughts to him, sometimes speaking out loud. I would tell him to move towards the exit, that I was taking long, deep breaths that were making room for him to turn, to tuck his chin and move towards the exit that was his safe entry into the world, that we, his family were eager to meet him and wanted him to be born naturally.

2. Visual imagery: I visualized him turning down and tucking into the right position. Now that he is turned, I am visualizing him staying there!!

3. Inversion: Method 1 - Prop an ironing board or similar object against a couch or ledge 12-18 inches above the ground. MAKE SURE IT IS SECURE!!! Lay back on it with your hips higher than your shoulders. Do this twice a day for 10-15 minutes.
     Inversion: Method 2 - Knee-Chest position - You begin by getting into a hands and knees position. Slowly lower your shoulders to the floor or bed, resting your head in a comfortable position.  You can try to move your knees further apart, causing your bottom to lower slightly while widening your pelvis.  You should look like you are in a frog position. Keeping your bottom higher than the shoulders while widening the pelvis may give the baby more room to turn.
     While I was in either of these positions, I also did some deep breathing, talked to him and visualized him turning.

4. Play music near the "exit": it is believed that babies will move towards music and light. I put my phone between my legs when I am in the car and play music that he responds to. I also read that light would work, but didn't try that one. The idea there was to shine a light at the top of the abdomen and then move it down, or just shine it at the exit point.  Since then I have read that some babies move away from light - so glad I did not try it.

5. Acupuncture: There is a specific therapy for turning a breech baby. In the doctor's office, they placed five needles in my head and one at a point in each inner ankle. Then they would apply heat (moxibustion) at the outer edge of my pinkie toes. This created a "turning" energy - more than any other therapy, I felt baby responding to this. He was active every time heat was applied to the toes!! We would do the moxi at home before going to bed on the days we didn't have acupuncture. Now that the baby is turned, we are not doing this anymore.  (We did have a couple more sessions with acupuncture only to help ease the labor.)

6. Webster protocol: Done by a chiropractor who is knowledgeable in this protocol. It is about aligning the pelvis, making sure it is open and "sublaxation-free" to receive the baby. This felt the best - after my first adjustment, the excruciating back pain I had felt on my right side was gone. We will keep checking the "Webster protocol" three times a week until delivery to make sure the pelvis is a safe place for baby to hang out.

7. Since he is a summer baby, we are lucky enough to use the pool.  Swimming is thought to help because it relaxes the abdominal muscles and the horizontal position in the water removes the gravitational pressure.  If nothing else, it felt great to have the pressure off my pelvis for a while.

     There are many more ideas on-line if you google "turn breech baby". The respected website is: www.spinningbabies.com.  No matter where you get your information, make sure you review any turning techniques with your care provider before trying them.

     Add again - lots of prayer.  We asked grandparents to put us on their prayer lists at church that Bryan would turn if that was God's will, and we also asked our friends to be in prayer for us. 

Journal:  August 15, 2009
     How the story ended and Bryan’s life "outside" began:  After 46 hours of labor, Bryan Victor Bowman was born on July 30, 2009 – 11 days after he turned. We had a vaginal birth and he was 9 pounds and 3 ounces. His cord was wrapped around his neck – maybe from turning?  I do not begrudge him the time he took since we are so grateful he is alive and well.

If you are in the Phoenix area, here are the doctors we used:
Dr. Deng – Accupuncture/Moxibustion
480-970-0000
164 East Broadway Road
Tempe, AZ 85282
You can save money by having him do the consultation and then having his students execute the treatment plan.
 
Dr. Kevin Ross – Webster Protocol
480-730-7950
2405 E Southern Ave, Ste.4
Tempe, AZ

     Looking back, Bruss and I agreed that if the natural techniques did not work, we would not do an external cephalic version (ECV) because we were not comfortable with the risks, which include
  • Premature labor
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • A small blood loss for either the baby or the mother
  • Fetal distress leading to an emergency cesarean delivery
  • The possibility the baby might turn back to the breech position after the external cephalic version is done
  • Placental abruption - the placenta separating from the implantation site before delivery
 
     The more I learn about birth through reading, observation and listening to our students birth stories, the more I find myself agreeing with Jay Hathaway, one of the founders of the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.  He did a presentation during our teacher training about breech presentation.  His philosophy is that babies are not merely "passengers" in the labor process, instead they are "pilots".  He believes that a baby knows how they need to get out, and they have an ability to control their position in the uterus.  If they choose a breech presentation, then it is for a reason that they know about, and it sometimes becomes apparent after they are born why they were in the breech position.

     I am so glad we were not faced with saying no to an ECV and waiting for labor to begin naturally so we could be wheeled into an operating room.  However, in a conversation with a doctor today as I researched doctors in the Phoenix area who do vaginal breech deliveries, she had an interesting analogy.  If you consider turning techniques on a ladder, the natural techniques are ranked at the lower rungs - and you work your way up the ladder to techniques like ECV.  If you want to avoid a cesarean, her advice was to work on the natural techniques and try an ECV at 38 weeks.

    I will close with my Bradley teacher mantra:  it is up to the parents to take responsibilty, do your research, and arrive at a decision that you agree is best for mom and baby.


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®.