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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

Birth Story: Marathon Labor

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 9:45 AM Comments comments ()
Christine & BJ Bollier 
Bradley Method© Birth Story

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonOur goal is to prepare families to have a natural birth by teaching a mom and her loving coach to labor together.  The reality is that even with the best preparation, birth is unique, fluid and unpredictable.  Our experience as natural childbirth educators is that even if your birth does not go according to your plan, a comprehensive education like The Bradley Method® will pave the way for you to have your best possible birth with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
 
This story is a great example of making your wishes known, persevering through a long labor that stalled (The Bradley Method® calls “the stall”, aka “failure to progress”, a “Natural Alignment Plateau” or "NAP"), and making decisions as the labor progressed for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby birth experience.  Even with an intervention they did not initially want or anticipate, they were able to have the vaginal, unmedicated birth they had prepared for.
 
One of my favorite quotes from the video is Christine’s statement, “I was tired, but I was never scared, because I knew what to expect.”
 
 Link to video: http://youtu.be/PmlPITHsFio

Here is a quick summary of their labor:  She started with contractions around 15 minutes apart on a Thursday morning.  They went to their doctor’s appointment that afternoon and decided to go home and let their labor progress. On Friday, they were timing contractions throughout the day.  When they got to five minutes apart, they decided to go to the hospital because of the impending blizzard (they live in Payson, AZ).  By the time they were all checked into their room, it was 2:30 am on Saturday.  By Saturday evening at 6:00 pm, they hit a NAP at around 8 cm dilation.  They made the decision to accept an amniotomy (breaking the bag of waters) at 10:00 pm.  Their son was born on Sunday morning at 3:30 am.
 
When the Bollier's time their labor, they call it 36 hours from the contractions that were 6 minute apart  on Friday afternoon to the time when he was born on Sunday morning.  They both stayed awake for the whole of that time, save a few cat naps that happened between contractions when they were both exhausted.  It is good to note that they did sleep on Thursday night when contractions were still in the "putsy-putsy" stage.
 
I am so glad she talks about how she experienced contractions – that’s a big question mark for first-time moms.  Christine says she felt them as rhythmic and internalized them – she says she could have painted you a picture of the contractions.  I love that perspective!
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Birth plan

  • They did their work throughout and after Class 7 when we talk about writing the Birth Plan. 
  • They got great ideas, and then took it to their care provider and asked her, “Is everything realistic on here?”  She went through it line by line and said it was all in-line with what was possible in a hospital setting. 
  • Care provider signed off on plan, put it in file, sent it to hospital to give the staff their a heads up on their desires for their birth. 
  • When it was “go time”, they arrived at hospital with several copies of plan and 3 dozen cookies.
  • Everyone who walked into the room was offered cookies and a birth plan

 
Changing the Plan

  • “Going in, we knew there might be a possibility that things were not going to go to plan.”
  • Came to terms with making an adjustment
  • Once the bag of waters was broken, contractions completely changed and things progressed quickly
  • Christine reasoned with herself, “This isn’t going to be how I planned it, but if I give up one thing, the birth can still happen unmedicated like I want it to”

 
Christine’s Insight:
Q: What did BJ do as a Coach that helped you the most?
A: He kept me from freaking out when it had gone on for so long.  
As she explains, he kept her on track through the exhaustion. BJ kept her calm with reassurance; he also pointed out the progress they had made. 

Loosely paraphrasing: [The hard part] wasn’t the pain – it was the exhaustion.  I knew the pain was purposeful because I was getting a baby.  [Contractions] came in bursts and they were not constant - it wasn’t miserable pain or constant pain from an injury that hurts all the time. Looking back a year later, [a contraction] was such a short period of time.
 
BJ’s nuggets of wisdom
Education & knowledge quell fear – having notes at my fingertips kept me from getting scatterbrained while I was watching (coaching) my wife through labor.
 
Postpartum advice for the husbands: Don’t be proud – just say yes.  Don’t be too proud to accept help – it’s a gift.
 
On the lighter side, you’ll hear the inauguration of the term “The Splash Zone” – now that we know our student’s perception of watching all the birth videos from the first row of chairs, it’s what we call that front line when we show birth videos in class - lol.
 
QUESTIONS FROM THE CLASS:
Q: Were you both awake the whole [36 hours of progressive labor]?
A: Yes…If I had it to do over again – we would rest throughout labor.  You’ll hear it in class that you should rest.  Seriously – REST.  After the baby is born, you are playing catch-up with sleep.
 
Q: What can you tell us about breastfeeding a newborn?
A: Get your hands on reading material, borrow books, have phone numbers of support people you can call, have a good structure around you to encourage, inspire, and inform you.
 
Invest in good bras – wear a tank top with shirt underneath at this age (son is about 11 months old in this video), after the infant stage the nursing cover is not staying on!
 

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


 

Birth Story: Penelope

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 9:12 AM Comments comments ()
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
It’s birth story day!!  This week I am sharing a birth story from our Fall 2012 class.  In today's video, Courtney is talking about her family's birth journey with our Winter 2012-13 class.  Jake was working, so Courtney shares his words of wisdom for coaches, too.

Here is their backstory: 

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


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


In Courtney's own words:

 

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

Which labor tools worked for you to manage the intensity?

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

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

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


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

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

 

Wordless Wednesday: Men In Our Lives

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 7:33 AM Comments comments ()
Here are some images sent in for our Wordless Wednesday contest this month...in honor of Father's Day, we asked for submissions of Sweet Peas with the important men in their lives.  These images show all the many ways that Sweet Peas share love and spend time with the men that love them.


Do you have a favorite Sweet Pea moment with their favorite guy?
Please add to the conversation - your comment 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®.


Let Go and Give In

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 9:27 PM Comments comments ()
There is one concept that has become so clear to me – it has taken me almost four years of teaching The Bradley Method® to really “get” the beauty of the method we teach.
 
The catch-phrase of Bradley™ classes is: Relaxation is the Key to Labor.
 
Why:  Relaxation is the tool The Bradley Method® teaches to allow a mother to immerse herself in her limbic brain center – the one that deals with her emotions.  What she is feeling is crucial to the progression of labor.  She must let go, give in, and allow her baby to come out.  

A mother must feel safe enough to allow herself to be vulnerable.  
In order for labor to progress, a woman must SURRENDER to the process happening within her without trying to control it.
 
What she feels influences her endocrine system, which in turn will make the hormones she needs for labor to progress *or* the hormones to inhibit labor until mother feels that she is in a “safe” place.  The brain receptors will accept either oxytocin to promote labor or adrenaline to inhibit labor - never both at the same time.

Her feelings also influences the autonomic system, meaning all the things that happen without conscious effort: heart beat, breathing, digestion, etc.  If she feels safe, her heart rate and breathing will be calm and allow her to enter a state of deep relaxation and embrace the sensations of labor and work with her bofy.  If she feels frightened or defensive, her heart rate and breathing increase, inhibiting her ability to relax and give herself over to the process of birth, and she will fall into the fear-tension-pain cycle.
 
Dr. Sears says it another way:
“In a satisfying birth you must surrender to your body, yield to your urges, tune in to yourself, open up, and let baby come out”
~The Birth Book, page 137
 
So how do we get to the maximum state of deep relaxation? Dr.Bradley identified six factors that were common among the mammals he observed in labor. (Husband-Coached Childbirth, 5th Edition, Pages 57-61)

ONE: Darkness and solitude
ONE: Darkness and solitude
The beginning of changing states from conscious to limbic brain center.
TWO: Quiet
TWO: Quiet
Keeping outside noise and distractions to a minimum allows a mother to continue into the limbic state and altered consciousness.
THREE: Physical Comfort
THREE: Physical Comfort
Follow your instincts and allow the sensations of labor to guide you into the most comfortable position for each contraction
FOUR: Physical Relaxation
FOUR: Physical Relaxation
Relaxation of uninvolved muscles during labor – difficult for human mothers to imitate if the mental and emotional relaxation has not happened yet. Practice during pregnancy can help her when she needs this skill during labor.
FIVE: Controlled Breathing
FIVE: Controlled Breathing
The only breathing "taught" by TBM is deep abdominal breathing. As labor intensifies, the Coach can help the laboring mother go back to her breath.
SIX: Closed Eyes and Appearance of Sleep
SIX: Closed Eyes and Appearance of Sleep
This allows the mother to turn inward and focus her energy into "The Zone"


A good foundation in methods and techniques for physical, mental and emotional relaxation is part and parcel of applying the six needs for a natural childbirth.  

Do take the time to practice relaxation techniques every day as you prepare for your birth.  A course in The Bradley Method® will offer couples 11 different relaxation tools for their toolbox to address physical, mental and emotional relaxation.
 
As much as you are spending time to plan Sweet Pea’s nursery, finding the best gear for them, and taking care to find the best care pediatrician, invest time in preparing yourself for their Birth-Day.  Barring any true complications [1], your ability to relax and embrace your labor will allow them to have a healthy, low-risk start in life.

Need more convincing?  Here are some excerpts from a position paper printed in the New Zealand College of Midwives Journal [2] that makes a case for the importance of an empowered birth experience in which a mother is allowed to labor according to nature’s physiological design.
 
About the hormonal process of birth:
“It has been known for some time that hormones influence the functions of organs within the human body but scientific advances have led to an understanding that neurohormones are also intricately intertwined with emotions (Pert, 1997). Hormones are chemical substances (messengers) secreted into the blood or body fluid that exert a physiological effect on other cells in the body (Blackburn, 2007). They facilitate the maintenance of an optimal internal environment, initiate corrective and adaptive responses to any deviations from normal physiology and direct human behaviour. Neurohormones are hormones which are synthesised and released from neurones; as such they are secreted within the brain to work both on the neurones in the brain and on different sites within the body via the blood stream (Douglas & Ludwig, 2008). These hormones have subsequently been found to influence behaviour because they have an effect on how the body adapts physiologically (Cacioppo & Berntson 2006).
“Integrating contemporary scientific knowledge with women’s descriptions of their feelings during labour improves our ability to theorise, and to comprehend the complexity of the physiological, emotional and physical changes that occur during labour and birth. This mind/body/behaviour concept supports health professionals and women to a better understanding of labour physiology. Midwives need to explore ways of maximising and enabling the instinctive drives that support the woman’s physiology. This may include reviewing the birthing environment to ensure the woman can go into ‘The Zone’. There are simple but key environment enablers such as keeping the lights low, staying quiet during contractions and not making eye contact. Ensuring women maximise the limbic brain connection is about supporting them to ‘disconnect’ with others during labour whilst also maintaining the usual physical and emotional midwifery care.”
 
On the rite of passage encompassed by pregnancy and birth: 
“Pregnancy and the process of labour and birth are designed to bring about behavioural changes which culminate at the birth in maternal attachment and mothering behaviour. The hormones that are necessary for social and maternal bonds are also those responsible for the initiation and continuation of labour. As such the process of pregnancy, labour and birth is not just a physical process but also a transitional process in which the woman is prepared (biologically and emotionally) to become a mother and exhibit maternal behaviours. The feelings and behaviour women exhibit during labour may be strong indicators of normal labour physiology and that labour and birth are proceeding normally.”
 


Do you have a favorite relaxation technique that helped you during pregnancy and/or birth?  
Please leave a comment - it will be moderated and posted.

[1] There are true complications of pregnancy and childbirth.  When the benefits outweigh the risks, those are the times when medical intervention is desirable and appropriate for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  A comprehensive childbirth course like the Bradley Method can help you have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy and learn the communication skills to navigate those situations. It is possible to have a healthy start in spite of complications.

[2]Dixon, L., Skinner, J., Foureur, M. (2013). The emotional and hormonal pathways of labour and birth: integrating mind, body and behaviour. New Zealand College of Midwives Journal, 48, 15-23. http://dx.doi.org/10.12784/nzcomjnl48.2013.3.15-23
 
 
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: Choices in Childbirth Education

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments ()
What! A Bradley Method® teacher writing about other kinds of childbirth education??  Yes, absolutely!

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe Bradley Method® is designed for families who are planning to have One Mama who wants to prepare for a natural birth + One Coach who is invested and wants to be the main coach for the mother, and in some cases we train assistant coaches as well. There are so many other dynamics and variations in mothers and in their pregnancy.  Today’s information sheet will look at the different childbirth preparation options and offer links to find out more about the different courses offered if The Bradley Method® is not the right fit for you.
 
Why would I do an information sheet on this topic and allow other educators to "brag on" their classes?? It is because I believe that there is no “one size fits all” childbirth education class.  If one method were perfect, there wouldn’t be so many options out there.  

Each method speaks to the people who are attracted to the principles offered in that course.  When we do presentations about natural childbirth and our classes, we offer an evaluation guide so that families can weigh any method against their own values and desires for their birth.  Just like individuals are unique, they must find the education that fits their personality, timeline and budget.

HISTORY:
Once upon a time, birth was a community event.  Children were born at home; families and neighbors experienced birth with all of it's beauty, goopiness, noise (or lack thereof) and rare complications (most complications of birth happen at a rate of 2% or less).  Birth happened to us and around us - it was part of life and living.

Then birth started to move to the hospital.  Parents went away to have babies, and came back with siblings.  Children were no longer privy to what happened during birth.  And birth changed - it became medically managed because true, uncomplicated childbirth has a very hard time showing up when you take a mother to a place where she has to birth with an audience of strangers.  We began to lose our knowledge and trust in birth - many of us have never experienced a live birth until it happened to us.

Hence, the "birth" of childbirth education classes: to teach mothers and their partners how birth looks, sounds, and is likely to proceed if it is allowed to happen as nature intended.  Little by little, hospitals and care providers in the hospital setting are open to the idea that interfering with birth is the problem, not the process of birth itself.

PROS
Most courses will cover provide some, if not all, of these benefits:

  • You learn about your body and how it works in labor; develop confidence in your body's ability to birth.
  • It is a bonding experience with your partner - although they may never experience pregnancy, they learn how they can play an active role in your pregnancy and birth 
  • Learn positions and techniques for labor
  • Learn comfort measures and pain relief options (natural and medical) 
  • Learn about interventions and how to evaluate them
  • Learn how to advocate for mother and baby with positive communication techniques
  • Learn about variations and complications of childbirth
  • Learn how to embrace your birth experience, even if it deviates from your plan


CONS

  • You are an educated consumer - some care providers are not as excited about that as you might imagine.


A closer look at the choices in childbirth education 
Note: this section will be updated as I receive first-hand descriptions of the courses from educators in our area who teach these classes. 
 
In our area (Phoenix, AZ), most childbirth education courses run between $250 - $350, regardless of length.  Most courses are 3-6 weeks long.  If you do the math to figure out the cost per hour, that makes our 12-week Bradley™ course the best value for the money! However, budget is only one factor when considering a childbirth education course. 
 
Here are some questions you can ask when you are considering which class is best for you:
 
Asking these questions first will pre-qualify any classes you may be considering:
- Do you have a class that fits my due date?
- Is it offered at a convenient time, place, and location?
- If not, do you offer private instruction?
 
If you are a good fit so far, consider asking these questions next
- What are your qualifications, training and experience?
How many children have they had using this method, how did they receive training in the method (reading, correspondence course, in-person training (who was their trainer?), webinar), how many courses/couples have they taught?
- Who do you work for?
Are they independent or paid by a third-party? Are they representing information or are they promoting an experience?
- How do your methods and techniques work in labor? What are your method’s natural birth rates?
Most educators have a statistics sheet from their organization, or they may have an account from their students.
 
To ensure the best quality of instruction, it might be important to know if the childbirth educator you are considering is a current affiliate with the certifying organization, or if they were just trained and never completed their certification.  For example, we must carry our most recent affiliation certificate with us when we teach.  We are required to re-certify every year.  Someone thinking about Bradley™ classes would want to know if the class is a Bradley Method® class, providing the most current workbook and updated information (our organization publishes updates to our course outline every year), or is it a class “just like Bradley™” taught by a former instructor who no longer has access to the most current information and might only be teaching their favorite parts of what the method offered them?
 
Here are descriptions of the most common childbirth education methods.  Each of the websites listed below has links to find an affiliated instructor in your area for that “brand” of childbirth instruction.  
 
The Bradley Method®
Teaches about the process of a healthy, low-risk natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can have the best birth possible while striving to have a natural birth. The Bradley Method encourages mothers to trust their bodies. Families are encouraged to have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy based on the foundation of nutrition, exercise, and the avoidance of harmful substances. As part of a comprehensive education couples are taught the stages and physiology of labor, comfort measures, and how to use natural breathing + relaxation techniques during pregnancy/labor. (See our course outline HERE)
12 classes @ 2.5 hours each
 
Lamaze
Ferdinand Lamaze was a French obstetrician who in the 1950s developed a method of childbirth preparation using behavioral training to reduce pain and anxiety in labor.  Modern-day Lamaze focuses on six Healthy Birth Practices.  From their website: “The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices help simplify your birth process with a natural approach that helps alleviate your fears and manage pain. Regardless of your baby’s size, your labor’s length and complexity, or your confidence level, these care practices will help keep labor and your baby's birth as safe and healthy as possible.” 
 
Hypnobirthing
Also called the “Mongan Method”. It is a childbirth education curriculum that emphasizes self-hypnosis.  This method believes in trusting Nature’s way of birth and the simplicity of birth.  Only a few key techniques are taught because the premise is that repetition instead of variety is what gets best results.  
5 classes @ 2.5 hours each
 
Hypnobabies
The curriculum is adapted with permission from Gerald Kein’s “Painless Childbirth Program” techniques. Instead of using simple relaxation, breathing or guided imagery, hypnosis scripts are used as the primary tool for pain management.  Hypnobabies scripts are written to train the inner mind that contractions in labor will be felt only as pressure, tightening, pushing, pulling and normal baby movement sensations.  Scripts are meant to be listened to daily during pregnancy and through the process of labor. 
6 classes @ 3 hours each
 
Birthing From Within
The premise is to understand the power and life-long impact that "birthing from within" offers all participants in birth, therefore mothers/partners prepare for birth as a Rite of Passage.  One intention is to co-create holistic prenatal care that is informative, transformative, and builds a foundation for birthing in awareness in our birth culture, whatever the birth location or outcome or events of the birth.  Another intention is to prevent or minimize emotionally difficult births (for parents and professionals) through compassionate, honest preparation.
 
BirthWorks
From their website: “believe that the knowledge about how to give birth is born within every woman. Therefore, birth is instinctive and what is instinctive doesn’t need to be taught. We help women to have more trust and faith in their own body knowledge that already knows how to give birth. This is a unique approach that is empowering and transforming in nature.”
 
Independent Classes
Many doulas and former childbirth educators will do a one- or two-day intensive program, or they are available for private childbirth classes.  I have a running list of these options for the instance when we get a call from a family that doesn’t have twelve-weeks for a full Bradley Method® course.  Your area Bradley™ teacher may also keep this kind of list, or call a doula in your area to see if they or any of their colleagues teach private, non-branded childbirth classes.
 
Hospital Classes
Most hospitals that have labor and delivery units will offer childbirth classes.  In general, they are taught from the “this is how we do labor and delivery” and “how to be a patient” perspective.  You may hear about the most used options (epidurals) and common interventions in the hospital setting.  It is very rare to have these classes include preparation for true natural childbirth.  It may be beneficial to take this class to understand the birthing culture in the hospital if you are having a hospital birth.  It may give you a truer picture of what your hospital birth could be like than you will get from your care provider.  You are a patient in the hospital for the entirety of your hospital stay – they only show up for the last few minutes of your labor.  If you hear/see too many red flags, then you can consider other options: does your care provider have privileges at other hospitals? Maybe you want to take a closer look at birth centers in your area, or consider changing to a home setting?
 
The bottom line is that there are several options in childbirth education and preparation.  Choose the method that speaks to your heart – and get the information from the people that are passionate  about and currently affiliated with the method that they teach.

We wish you all the best as you do the research to find the best method of education for your Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Birth-Day.


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®.

A Visit with Rhondda Hartman

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM Comments comments ()
I first "met" Rhondda Evans Hartman after the publication of her second book, "Natural Childbirth Exercises for the Best Birth Ever".  As with many meetings these days, our first interactions were via email, Twitter and Facebook.  Through the course of correspondence, it was arranged for her to come visit Phoenix, Arizona.  That visit finally happened last weekend.  It was such a treat to meet her in person!  

As it turns out, my suspicion that her personality is the "real deal" was more than true.  In person, Rhondda is every bit as lovely as I expected.  In addition, she is a wealth of information about breastfeeding, the birth of the natural childbirth movement here in the US, and life in general.  As a mother to five and grandmother to nine, she is a Wise Woman with more than one book left in her if you ask me!  I really hope she and her "book shepherd" will turn her memories and experiences in the natural birth community into her next publication.  And she probably has a parenting/relationship book tucked away somewhere, too!

Here are some of the pictures from our weekend and time together.  We packed A LOT into our brief visit.  I definitely made a new friend and learned so much.  Our Bradley Method® students going forward will definitely benefit from the training sessions we had with her on the Bradley™ exercises and her lesson on mental relaxation.

Saturday, March 22, 2014
Teacher training


Meet+Greet+Book Signing

Bruss's cousin Ernie, who was a Husband-Coach back in 1964

Pictured here with Rachel Davis of Birth & Earth

Rachel, Anne (one of Rachel's students), and Rhondda with Baby L.

Anne, her mom, and Rhondda with Baby L.
Ann is a big fan - she birthed her posterior baby naturally 
thanks in part to the inspiration from Rhondda's newest book.
Read her birth story HERE.

Rhondda autographs her award-winning book at Saturday's event

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Meeting a fan of her first book at church




 












Chihuly Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens 
Reuniting with Bruss' cousin Barbara (Ernie's wife) who took Rhondda's classes as one of Dr. Bradley's patients in 1964

Fall 2013 SPB Class Reunion

Teaching the postpartum exercises to some of our alumni students

Monday, March 24, 2014
Lunch Date 

Rhondda's friend Schotze, Bradley™ mom of 4, was personally trained 
by Dr. Bradley to help other couples achieve a natural birth

Teacher Training
Two more area instructors take advantage of Rhondda's visit to receive information from the creator of The Bradley Method® exercise program

Leading the "Relaxation" portion of our class on Monday evening:

The Bradley Method® instructors personally trained by Rhondda:




It was such an amazing weekend.  Thank you, Rhondda!  We are so pleased to announce that Rhondda has agreed to come back in November to be our Keynote Speaker for Bradley Day 2014!

You are welcome to contact me if you would like an autographed copy of Rhondda's newest book.  We have a limited amount available at the weekend's special price!

Do you have a favorite "natural birth how-to" book? If so, what is it?
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®.



5 Step Plan for Labor

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 4:28 PM Comments comments ()
Here are Dr. Bradley’s "Keys to Labor", as per his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth.  I love these simple steps – they could almost be considered a “recipe” for labor.  

If you follow these steps, you can figure out if you are in “real” labor.  If you are not, somewhere along these steps, your contractions will fizzle out.  And if they do, mama has eaten well, slept, and hopefully had a good nap so that you are rested for the next round of contractions when they begin again.  If you are in labor, you will go through these five steps and discover that despite the change in activity and positions, your contractions are progressing.  Now you can get excited because you will be meeting your baby sooner than later.  And then, settle down to "work", because labor is definitely an athletic event, albeit one of the most rewarding ones ever!
 
Eat
  • Mom should eat the kind of food she is hungry for: a meal, a snack, or a nibble, depending on where she has progressed in labor. 

A laboring mother should eat to her appetite.  Early in labor, she may be ready for a full meal.  We have students who go out to breakfast after they know they are in labor just to pass the time away.  If she is hungry, feed her accordingly.  As labor progresses and the body starts to divert bodily functions exclusively to labor and birth, you will see her appetite wane.  Later in labor, maybe she will want a bite of something – and definitely not the full meal she was requesting before.  If labor has been on the longer side and she is refusing food, or if she is being denied food and she is still hungry, you may consider clear broths for the dual purpose of an energy boost and hydration.

Drink
  • Mom needs to be drinking every hour.  Whether she wants a full glass, a few sips, or ice chips – keep her hydrated.
 
Dr. Bradley wrote in his book that a mother should “drink to thirst”.  We now know that thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  It is best to keep mom hydrated by offering her a glass of water every hour in the early stages of labor.  Again, as labor progresses, she may not want that full glass of water.  You can offer her a sip of water after every contraction, or maybe ice chips will be better.  Some mothers may even prefer sucking on a damp cloth.

Walk
  • At a good pace to rock baby down and encourage labor to progress.
 
Walking is a great way to speed up labor.  It is always a great way to work yourself into exhaustion.  You need to gauge how it’s working for your particular labor.  When you walk, are the contractions getting harder, longer and stronger?  If walking is not having that effect on your labor, then maybe you should just go for a 20-30 minute walk to labor baby down into the pelvis and exert some pressure on the cervix to encourage it to dialate, and then move on to the next step.  If walking is clearly making your labor progress, go for it.  You could walk until mom needs more help with relaxation besides reassuring words and counter-pressure.

Shower
  • Water has been called the “midwife’s epidural”. A warm shower or bath can do wonders to ease the intensity of labor.
 
Water has an incredibly relaxing effect.  It can literally wash the tension away.  Some mothers may like the full submersion and weightlessness in a birth tub.  Other mothers may prefer the soothing sound and the sensation of water flowing down her body.  If your birth place has the equipment, try both and see what works for her.  You may want to consider limiting your use of water to an hour at a time if mom is in the tub.  See THIS article from Penny Simkin for more information about how to use water in labor.

Nap
  • Now that Mom has fueled, hydrated, moved baby, and eased tension, do a relaxation exercise to ease her into a rest period.  An unmedicated mother *will not* sleep through the birth of her baby.
 
Mom has done everything she can to ensure a healthy, low-risk labor. She has nourished and hydrated her body as it prepares for the athletic event of birth.  She has walked to move baby and help dilate the cervix.  She has used water to dissipate any tension she may have been holding onto.  Now it’s time to encourage her into a side relaxation position, or which ever other position is comfortable enough for her to enter a state of deep relaxation.  Optimally, you want the mother to get a good sleep.  If it’s nighttime, then maybe she can sleep through the night, or until her contractions wake her up again.  If it’s during the day, hopefully she can get a decent nap.

You can definitely follow this labor pattern over and over, until the mother is unable to sleep anymore because she is going through transition, and/or having the urge to push.  It is definitely a way to manage labor without additional pain relief.  The love and support of an invested coach, replenishing energy, and rest can go a long way for a family to have a natural birth.

If you liked the way you labored, what was your recipe for success?

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®.


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

Wishes For Your Birth Journey

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments ()
Tonight is the first night of our Winter 2013-14 series.  It is always exciting for us to welcome a new set of students.  We love sharing our passion for healthy pregnancy and natural birth with families who want the best starts for their babies.

Even though there are many options for birthing families, we are still committed to sharing The Bradley Method® because we like being able to offer a birthing class that honors the loving partner as the mother's best coach.

Our Birth-Journey Wishes for all our new students:
  • That they form a community of like-minded families to share and grow with in the parenting journey.
  • That they accept responsibility and do their best with the two aspects of pregnancy that they can control: toning exercises for the back, belly and bottom, and good nutrition.
  • That they do their due diligence and find the right care provider that will support their birth choices, and help them have their best birth possible.
  • That they practice their relaxation techniques at home: these minutes a day turn into a lifetime of benefits for their baby when they can avoid or minimize the use of interventions during their baby's Birth Day.
  • That they enjoy the time and take advantage of the communication exercises to continue laying a firm foundation for the rest of their relationship.

We wish all birthing families preparing for their Spring babies the very best class experience!

What wishes do you have for parents embarking on their Birth Journey?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 

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




Dr. Bradley's Nutrition Tips

Posted on October 14, 2013 at 1:45 PM Comments comments ()
Today we take a look at Dr. Bradley's advice to mamas about pregnancy nutrition.  One of my favorite things about doing these at-a-glance tips is going back into his book (I need to do it anyway for re-certification at the end of the year) and reading his gems about pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.

In reading about nutrition in Chapter 8 (How To Live With A Pregnant Wife) of his book, "Husband-Coached Childbirth", I am reminded again why we teach these childbirth classes.  He has a no-nonsense, practical explanation to help mamas avoid heartburn in pregnancy by eating slowly and eating more frequent, smaller meals.

"One, there isn't as much room.  The rising uterus limits the space.  Two, there is a delayed emptying time of the stomach in pregnancy from the muscle-relaxing effects of hormones.  Food tends to stay there and form gas, especially foods that are slow to digest, such as cauliflower, onions, green peppers, beans, etc.  This results in "heartburn" of pregnancy.  Nothing to do with the heart, but it produces gas and pressure under the ribs."
~Husband-Coached Childbirth, 5th Edition, p.165

Besides asking your care-provider for antacid suggestions, the book goes on to suggest the natural remedy of eating papaya as a natural antacid (that also counts as an orange-yellow fruit/vegetable for their Bradley class nutrition tracking!).

What did you do to help you avoid heartburn in pregnancy?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.

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®.


Meet the Doula: Zabrina

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:56 AM Comments comments ()
This month I would like to introduce you to one of my Bradley Method® colleagues, Zabrina Pell.  She is a wonderful instructor, and as you will read, a doula and a lactation educator. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her through her interview.

About Zabrina:  My husband and I are blessed to have had five beautiful children.  My first child was born in 2001 having had no childbirth classes or training at all.  Although it was an uncomplicated natural birth for the most part, it felt very chaotic.  

We were sure there was another way.  When we became pregnant with our second child I was referred to The Bradley Method® by a dear friend.  We were amazed at how much information there is to learn about labor and birth.  We were amazed at how prepared we felt for our second birth and how it was much more peaceful.  

Through hearing birth stories, it became apparent that while husbands are very capable and the perfect person to coach their wives through childbirth, many of them could benefit from an assistant. Further, I had gained such a love and respect for the process of birth that I felt a strong desire to be more involved.  Thus began my practice of being a doula.  I am so passionate about childbirth and feel so strongly about creating the perfect and peaceful atmosphere for each mother that I will continue reading, researching, and learning how to become better at what I do.

When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?
The first time I heard the word "doula" was in my Bradley Method® Childbirth Training.  I didn't pay any attention to it and wasn't convinced of the the importance.  After all... Bradley Method® teaches DADS to be the coach.  Why do we need another? I have since learned that I was wrong!  Don't get me wrong, dads are WONDERFUL coaches.  But there are times when the coach needs an assistant!

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
One of the great joys of teaching childbirth is classes is hearing the birth stories afterward.  I LOVE birth stories.  I started noticing frequently the need for help.  With today's hospital environment especially, there is a need for someone there who not only looks out for the emotional, physical and informational well being of the mom but someone there who's "got dad's back."  Having someone there who can continually support both partners is SO beneficial.  I had always been available via phone for my couples.  But that wasn't quite enough for some. 

Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?
At this time I am solely a BIRTH doula.

How long have you been a doula?
I have been working officially as a doula for four years now. I have been a certified Bradley doula for 7 years.  I did go through all the DONA training, but never submitted the paperwork.  So I am not certified as a DONA doula, but do have the training. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
I love empowering couples.  I love helping them birth their baby in the way that THEY want.  Helping mom's to discover her inner strength and ability is the best!

What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
My philosophy... hmm.  I have never put it into words.  When I arrive at a birth space I quietly observe and evaluate what is going on and how I can best help.  I do not blast through the door like a bull charging, but rather quietly and respectfully enter hoping to have the least impact on the moment.

How do you work with and involve the Coach?
Before the birth we clearly define their expectations of me, and I work to live up to this.  I make sure to see to the needs of the mother's birth partner, making sure he stays hydrated and fed through out the birth as well as mom.  In most cases its important for him to be the main source of physical comfort for mom.  When suggesting positions, counter pressure, and comfort measures I will talk to him and explain the benefits to him first and then we (or he) will suggest it for mom.   I will assist him in finding new comfort measures/positions as needed.  There is LOTS of communication between the birth partner and myself, both verbal and nonverbal.  I clue him in when there are things going on with birthing staff that he needs to be aware of with simple gestures and glances.

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
Its important that the birthing room be a peaceful environment, and sometimes that means NOT saying anything when the room is filled with high pressure doctors and nurses.  It’s very hard to say nothing. This is when it’s especially important to have developed the nonverbal communication cues with dad.    I have becoming very skilled at maintaining a peaceful relationship with staff even if I completely disagree with everything they have set out to have mama do. This may be consistently the hardest thing for me.

Most recently I was with a mother who labored beautifully.  She had a fantastic completely intervention free birth peaceful birth.  After the birth she was bleeding very heavily.  The bleeding continued for quite some time.  Mom was not open to accepting intervention.  The staff was getting very nervous as bleeding was extreme.  I am by nature a very anti-intervention person as well, and I understood how she was feeling.  Things were getting tense as mom stood her ground and staff was getting afraid and frustrated.  As I observed the scene the nurses had mom in the bathroom and baby was with dad.  Blood was pouring and doctor and left the room feeling helpless and angry that mom wasn't bending. This was a time when I believe that the intervention was needed to prevent further complications and long-term problems. But protecting the mom and her beliefs, needs, and desires is an important part of my job.   

How did I handle this? I quietly knelt down beside her in the bathroom and simply asked her how she was feeling and what she was thinking.  Had anyone done that yet? Nope. She was feeling bullied and unclear of what was going on.  We were able to have a conversation about what the situation was and the risk and benefits to doing nothing and all the possible interventions and their risks and benefits. THANKFULLY the nurse gave us this time to have the quiet calm conversation.  She did accept a shot of Pitocin and felt the decision was HERS.  For this mom accepting an intervention would have been very traumatic if she felt pushed or bullied, even if it truly was needed. 

I know you may be thinking "breastfeeding could have solved this."  In most cases this is true!  She did have baby at the breast for a long time.  There was a lot more blood than normal.  This truly was an unusual case. 

What keeps you working as a doula?
That is an excellent question. Sometimes at the end of long, emotionally draining birth when I haven't seen my kids (often for days), I ask myself that very same question as I drag my tired behind home feeling battered and bruised with arms so sore from doing counter pressure or from hours of continual massage that I can hardly lift them. Then I check in with the family with their new bundle of joy.  I hear how empowered they feel, how safe they felt, how happy they are and how my presence positively impacted them during this irreplaceable time in their life.  That is what keeps me going.

What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
I charge a flat rate fee that covers your birth whether it lasts 3 hours or 30 hours. I do offer a $100 discount to Bradley trained couples.  With this fee you get two prenatal appointments (more if you feel its needed), continual support through email, phone calls and texts.  I go on call two week prior to the birth and stay on-call 24 hours a day until you have your baby.  I come to you when you are ready, whether at home or at your birth location.  That choice is yours.  I stay with you until you have successfully breastfed your baby for the first time.  After the birth I check in with you a few days after the birth and come and help anytime you need it during that first week.

Do you offer any other services to your clients?
I am a certified lactation educator and can assist with breastfeeding issues.

Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?
I am a busy work-at-home mom of 5 kids. Well, kind of work at home.  I teach Bradley childbirth classes, and am a student midwife as well.  I also vacuum a gymnastic studio several hours a week to help pay for my children's tuition.  My children are homeschooled and range from preschool to 7th grade.   They are active in many clubs and activities and keep me hopping!

How to contact Zabrina:
(602) 743-9890 
[email protected] 
http://familybirthdoula.vpweb.com


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®.

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