Sweet Pea Births

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Getting Labor Started

Posted on October 21, 2016 at 12:29 PM Comments comments (159)
Among the common text questions I get, is "What can I/my friend do to get labor started?"

The answer I want to give: Wait.





My_theory is that here is nothing you can do that is going to start labor if the baby isn't ready.  And sometimes it's not the baby...it's the mother.  The mother has more factors in play that can be influenced: physical, chemical, mental, emotional...any one or all of these can delay the onset of labor.

Since we are an action-type of culture, here are the things I offer when I get this text.  All of them **do not** include "taking something".  They are all things to help the mother and baby align physically and emotionally with the oncoming labor and birth of the baby.

Along with "doing something", we also invite our students who send us this text to do some internal checks: is there anything they are worried about? That they have left to do or say before the baby arrives? Are there any unexplored conversations or feelings to face?

An extra disclaimer: for any of the body workers, do your homework and check out their certifying organizations. In addition, trust your instinct - if you do not feel comfortable with them, politely decline an appointment and call the next person on your list.

So, having said all that...here are some ideas to try if you feel like waiting is not an option...

For Mom:
Acupuncture - an ancient Chinese modality that involves inserting very fine needles along meridians of energy in the body.

Acupressure - if you are needle-averse, this uses applied pressure on the energy meridians.

Pregnancy Massage - your local childbirth educator, doula or midwife probably has at least one or two names for you to contact.  These practitioners specialize in releasing tension and opening the body.

Chiropractic Adjustment - again, your local birth workers may have some leads for you. A chiropractor trained in the Webster Protocol can do an assessment to see if the mother's body is optimally aligned for labor and birth.  
Making love - yes, really. If your partner is a man, his semen can help ripen your cervix with natural prostaglandins. If you were to be induced in the hospital, they will insert the synthetic version to get things going.  Whatever gender your partner is, as long as they can help you climax, there is a possibility that one contraction of muscles may encourage the uterine muscles to start contracting as well.  And if nothing starts, at least you (hopefully) both had an enjoyable time trying to get labor started.

Self-Reflection  - Is there anything you still want to do - say - accomplish before your Sweet Pea arrives? Any issues or fears you would like to explore or resolve? I encourage our students to do some kind of fear release exercise or an art exploration to access their right brain and see if anything new comes up or any ideas present themselves. Sometimes just naming them makes a huge difference in being emotionally ready for the birth journey.

For Baby:
Pelvic Rocking - encourages the baby into an optimal fetal position. When you are on hands and knees, it is more likely for them to put their heaviest side (spine-down) against your belly-button.

Deep Chest-Knee Position - kneeling on the floor, instead of resting on your hands, put your chest on the floor. This position helps to get a malpositioned baby that has found a comfortable spot out of that spot that isn't allowing labor to start or progress. Once the baby is out of the pelvis, you can try other things to get baby back into the pelvis with a better alignment. 

Miles Circuit - a series of three exercises to encourage optimal fetal positioning. Two doulas brainstorming over the phone gave rise to this popular labor tool.

Spinning Babies - a website that offers several ideas to encourage babies into an optimal fetal position.

Read more about how we used Webster Protocol and Deep Chest-Knee position in THIS post.

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®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson


Q&A with SPB: When is it time to go to our birth place?

Posted on September 21, 2016 at 7:47 PM Comments comments (47)
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonWe get this question a lot, and it came up again when we taught class on Friday evening.  The most common answer uses the acronym "5-1-1".















When you have this pattern established:
5 ~ Contractions are five minutes apart
1 ~ Contractions are lasting one minute
1 ~ This pattern has been established for one hour

...then it is probable that a change in activity is not going to slow down your labor.

There are other variations of this...some providers will say 4-1-! (four minutes apart, lasting a minute and in this pattern for an hour), and I have even known some hospital-based midwives say 3-1-1 (three minutes apart, lasting a minute, and in this pattern for an hour).

However:

  1. Consider how far you are going to travel to your birth place: if you are going to be driving 45 minutes or more, you many consider getting a hotel or bunking down with a friend who lives withing a few minutes of your birth place so that you can head there when you think you are in labor.
  2. Consider what time of day you might be driving: have a couple of alternate routes in mind.
  3. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT: If for any reason, anything feels off or like it needs more attention, never hesitate to head to your birth place for more information, not matter what kind of labor pattern you happen to be experiencing.  Just go get more information and ensure you and your baby are well and ready for labor.


So hopefully that gives you a little better idea of what to plan for when it's time for your Sweet Pea's Birth-Day!!

Here is another video from our archives that you might like...it offers some suggestions to make that transition from home to birth place as smooth as possible in order to continue the good work you have started at home.

How to make a smooth transition during labor:

Do you have any "going to the hospital" tips to share? Please leave us a comment below!

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®.
 

Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Q&A with SPB: Variations and Complications

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 3:41 PM Comments comments (0)
Q: How can I tell the difference between a variation and a complication when I'm in labor?

A: It's the difference between waiting it out with a variation; and choosing interventions for a complication. What ever the birth journey, give yourself permission to do what it takes to have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.






Let's start with some basics:

A "variation" in labor is something that is still within the range of normal, and just needs time to resolve itself.  With watchful waiting and allowing for time, a variation usually leads to the birth of the baby without any further intervention. 
 
A "complication" is something that would require an action or an intervention.  There may be a greater urgency for intervention since it may be outside the range of normal.

How will you know the difference?  {Shameless plug} Take a Bradley class, or any other good childbirth preparation course to learn the difference.  In the Bradley Method, part of our philosophy is to educate couples to be informed consumers. So in class, we talk about many of the different variations and complications not to scare you or burst your bubble of peace, but to equip you with knowledge so that if on the outside .02 percent chance that you would face some of the complications, you have a general idea of what your options are to preserve the intention of your birth journey.  

By the same token, by having a basic understanding of the different variations of labor that don't necessarily follow the flow chart your care provider is following, a couple is better able to decide whether they want to wait it out or "do something" to move labor along. 

There are two questions that will tell you the difference between a variation and a complication.
Is Mom okay?
Is Baby okay?

Once you know the answer to those questions, you will have more information to use as you navigate the course of your birth journey.

There are also some behaviors that will indicate the difference:
Variation: lights stay low, you are just having a conversation with a nurse in the hospital or maybe the student midwife in a home setting.

Concern: the nurse may bring in another nurse to look at the record from maternal/fetal monitoring. Lights may stay off or be turned on for a moment.

Complication: the room starts to fill with people. Usually the lights are switched on and you are seeing a higher level of care providers. Interventions are suggested and you will need to choose a course of action sooner rather than later.

I hope this helps you distinguish the difference between knowing you have time to "wait it out", and being in a situation where decisions need to be made along the birth journey.

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions you would like to see answered on Q&A with SPB.

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®.

Birth Story: Baby P Born At Home

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (92)



We are thrilled and honored to share a very special birth story today.  Our guest blogger, Cassandra is a newly minted mother of two - congratulations!!  Today she shares the story of Baby P's arrival. It is the complete opposite of last week's marathon labor birth story. She and Baby P definitely had a different path!



Baby P is baby #2 for our family; you can read my son’s home birth story from 2012 here on the blog.

I have been blogging about certain aspects of my second pregnancy on Sweet Pea Families over the course of the last few months; fears, affirmations, newborn essentials, and most recently musings over my labor, what it would be like and who would be there. I had grand visions of a coming together of many women in the late afternoon or evening, laboring peacefully in the birth tub with plenty of laughter and wearing the cute new bra and panty set I purchased to look nice for the photographer that would be there. My daughter would definitely be born in the water since coincidentally her brother, even though we were in the tub, was born over the water. But, as it turns out (again!) babies decide things for themselves and we, as mothers are simply a vessel for whatever their life holds for them.

My son was born at 43 weeks 3 days from my LMP. Dates were ambiguous due to irregular cycles and lack of ultrasounds, but with no vernix, long fingernails and an aging placenta at birth he was definitely a longer cooked baby. Going that far past my “due” date was definitely an emotional time: not knowing what to expect as a first time mom, worrying, comments from family/friends/strangers, etc. etc.

Baby #2 was surprisingly conceived after my first cycle at 25 months postpartum. I got a positive pregnancy test on cycle day 30 and a twelve week and then twenty week ultrasound both matched up with my LMP due date. So, this time was different, we knew! It was always in my mind that maybe I just cooked babies a little slower than most but as the pregnancy progressed I didn't really think there was any way I was going to go past my due date. I was so cramp-y this time, so much more pressure down low, so much more active, I had a completely different lifestyle chasing an almost 3 year old every day than during my first pregnancy.  But alas, my due date came and went and then a whole other week passed. At 41 weeks I was having doubts about the baby coming out any time soon and really just couldn’t believe I had gone so far again. 

At 41 weeks 1 day, a Monday, I was feeling good and talked with my midwife about just waiting it out another week and seeing what the weekend held. At 41 weeks 2 days, Tuesday, I was totally done being pregnant. My son and I had a great, exhausting day that day. We played at home, went grocery shopping, had a coffee and muffin date and met with a friend at the park to play in the sunshine for 3 whole hours. We came home and made dinner and he stayed up past his bedtime while my midwife came over for our weekly appointment. We chatted about the risks of the pregnancy progressing past 42 weeks, how we (my husband and I) each felt, what natural induction methods she likes to use and ultimately I decided I really just wanted a membrane sweep right then.

I had one with my son that resulted in losing my mucus plug and then starting labor two days later and I was ready. It was the night of a super new moon and I finally felt at ease to try and do something (at this point we weren't employing any kind of help labor start tactics). If my baby and body weren’t ready I trusted that nothing would happen anyways and we would continue waiting.

We were done with the sweep around 7PM with caution from my midwife that there could be spotting and cramps during the night, all totally normal and to try some nipple stimulation if I wanted. My son went to bed and my husband and I settled in on the couch for some Netflix while I hooked up to my breast pump for exactly ten minutes. We went to bed shortly after as we were both really tired from a long day and I fell asleep pretty quickly. I felt cramps on and off through the night in a very sleepy haze, my son slept horribly and was crying most of the night but thankfully my husband was comforting him and I spent most of the night able to drift in and out.

I woke up at 6:40AM and had what felt like bad period cramps, sharp, painful cramps super low in my pelvis that went away very quickly. I wondered if I should still be having cramps 12 hours after the sweep (?) and hoped they would go away soon. I got up to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and had lots of bowel movements. This used to happen to me every time I had period cramps so I wasn’t surprised; and afterwards laid back down to try and sleep some more until my son woke up. 

He was up a little bit after 7AM and I was still having the cramps so I text my husband around 7:15 and asked if he could come home for a little bit to be with our son until these cramps went away. I was fine in bed but T was asking for breakfast, etc. and I just felt icky and wanted to stay resting. He didn’t respond so T and I read books in bed and then looked at photos on my phone. Around 7:45 I was still having them so I called my husband (he hadn’t seen the texts) and asked him if he would just come home from work for a little bit. T and I stayed in bed cuddling, goofing off, laughing and watching videos of him on my phone. 

Around 8:30AM my husband finally walks in just as I was about to call him again, he had brought breakfast and I was so happy because I was starving! I used the opportunity to finally get up and go to the bathroom again and the cramps were still coming, fairly frequently and kind of radiating down and out into my pelvis. Definitely still cramps though, did not feel anything like a “contraction”. We decided to call the midwife as she emphasized calling her as soon as I suspected anything since my son was born fairly quickly after active labor began. 

I dialed her at 8:37AM and left a message. She instructed on her voicemail that if she didn’t call back in 15 minutes to call our other midwife. Right afterwards I text our photographer, she has a son that she needed to make arrangements for so I wanted to give her as big of a heads up as possible if there was any chance I was going to be in labor today. “Hi it’s Cassandra, I might be in labor today!” I told her about the sweep the night before and that I was just having cramps so I wasn’t sure and I had called my midwife but was just waiting to hear back and that I would keep her updated. After that I came out of the bathroom and tried to lean into our hallway wall during one of the cramps to see if that alleviated the pressure, it didn’t so I headed back to the bathroom. I was starting to think this was a membrane sweep gone horribly wrong and I had brought these insane cramps on myself and now who knew what was going to happen!  

I felt much better on the toilet. I would push down into the sides of the toilet seat during the cramps and kept having to pee or poo so it was better anyways. 15 minutes passed so I called our second midwife at 8:51AM. We talked for 8 minutes about what was happening (cramps, mucus tinged with blood, bowel movements) and I had two of the cramps while I was on the phone with her. She said she couldn’t tell I was having them and it sounded like early labor stuff and to try and lie down and rest between them, eat something and to let her know when they seemed to undergo a change. So I got off the toilet and lay down in bed and asked my husband to bring me some pancakes. I was still so hungry and so happy to be eating, I had two bites and then another cramp came and I immediately needed him to take the food away from me. I also did not want to be lying down. There was NO way I could rest; so back to the toilet I went.

I listened to my husband and son playing a Frozen matching card game in the other room and was still trying to understand what might be happening to me. The cramps got stronger and I asked for a chair from the kitchen to put backwards in front of the toilet so I could drape my arms over the back and press into it during the cramps. At 9:17AM I had a cramp that left me shaking and immediately breaking out into sweat all over. This was intense! I text my midwife “Ok getting hot and sweaty and shaky. Can’t rest” and she responded she was on her way. There was also a lot of blood after that and I finally knew this was definitely labor. 

Midwife called at 9:21 while she was driving and I couldn’t even really talk to her. I text my photographer at 9:24 and said “Ok def in labor. Midwife coming over now, 15 mins away.” She wrote back that she would be over in about 15 or 20 minutes too! This was when I told my husband to start filling up our tub – it had been inflated and ready to go for weeks and he just needed to fit the cover on it and then add water.

I had wanted to alert my friends from my blessingway when I was in labor and now that midwives and photographer were out of the way I could finally let them know. I sent out a text to everyone in the group at 9:27AM that said “Baby’s coming, send love – need it already <3” I remember trying to make sure that I included everyone and that I was trying to count the names and count the girls in attendance and it was hard for me to concentrate, but I did get everyone! The responses were just starting to come in when my midwife walked in about 9:30AM. 

Just before then I was starting to get worried about continuing to do this on my own as my husband was tending to the tub and playing with our son so I was really happy to see her. She asked if I was pushing and I was kind of caught off guard, pushing!? No way, what? I was definitely not pushing! Then another wave came and AH! There was a head! I was pushing!? I half yelled out that I was pushing and she asked if I could feel the baby’s head. I said no but then I barely reached up and the head was right there. She told me I needed to get off the toilet, which was seriously the last thing I wanted to do. She helped me down onto the birth stool where I tried to sit and then hold myself up against her but it was really unstable and I needed to get down. This entire time I could feel baby’s head right there. When I got off the stool I felt her head kind of suck back up a little and wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing but I heard hands and knees and I just kind of fell onto the floor in that position, head facing the corner, butt facing the doorway. This all happened in a couple of minutes and soon our photographer, Kirsten, walked in. She was greeted in the bathroom doorway to my bum and then a little bit of baby’s head starting to come out.

On the next push I moaned out so loud and low, it didn’t even really sound like me, I think this was the first noise I made the entire time. I was proud of myself that it was loud and low and not high pitched screaming (like I was with T). I knew I had to keep it that way and gosh the burning, ah! I literally just gave way to the burning, told myself it was happening and just feel it, don’t fight it and then her head was out! I said I wanted the rest of her out, just get her out! but I knew that wasn’t what I really wanted. Tearing so badly again was one of my biggest fears around labor and I knew this was the moment. My midwife told me to pant and I tried but couldn’t really so I started just breathing shortly and blowing raspberries, I could do that and it calmed me down and gave me something to focus on while I just stayed in hands and knees with her head out. I heard my husband say something like oh my gosh eyes! A little nose and mouth, awww! I kept up my breathing/blowing and then all of a sudden her body was out!

Birth story - Baby P born at home

She handed her to me and I sat back on the bathroom floor and held her, it was 9:51AM. Not even an hour and a half from when my husband walked in the door with breakfast and our baby was here, so mind blowing.

I felt fantastic. I had so many emotions rush me all at once and I felt energized and ecstatic and it will definitely be engrained in my mind as one of the best moments of my life. I got up and walked to the other room to lie down in bed and seriously just could not believe how great I felt. T was right there in the doorway watching the entire time and once I got settled in bed  he climbed right up to touch and kiss his new baby sister.

Birth story - Baby P born at home

Needless to say the tub was not filled up enough for me to get in it once I had to get off the toilet and the pictures are not going to be anything like I had imagined. I did not get to diffuse my Serenity blend or light my beeswax candles or stare at the affirmation wall I had created in the bedroom, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. So intense, but so quick and so perfect. It was a beautiful sunny day and after everything was cleaned up we all hung out in bed as a family of four watching movies, reading books and playing games and I couldn’t have even imagined the amount of bliss I felt.  
Birth story - Baby P born at homeI needed no stitches, which literally made me want to jump up and down and cry out with joy and I have felt pretty great every single day since.
 
Birth story - Baby P born at home

I learned so much from baby P’s birth, there was not a single sensation that felt the same as my last labor and birth. Again, mind blowing. It was a great reminder to throw out any and all expectations I may have surrounding this little girl and being her mama, as we truly are never in control.

Congratulations, Cassandra, Eric, and new big brother T !!
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

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

I believe

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 5:27 AM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
The female form is beautifully made to grow a baby and birth a baby.  Birthing wisdom tells us that, in general, Sweet Peas will not grow bigger than the outlet the vessel carrying them can provide.

Another idea that is brought to mind is the analogy that our bodies know how to maintain our heart beat, breathe, digest, and do all the other autonomic functions that keep us alive.  All this, without any instruction or direction from us!  Why, then, would these miraculous bodies fail us when it comes to childbirth? Believe!!

A tenet of The Bradley Method® is for parents to attend classes and then read, read, and then read some more to be be informed and confident consumers.  This confidence begets the abtility to birth without fear of the process, possible interventions, variations or complications.  

Prepared parents can believe in the ability of the mother to birth.  This allows them to approach their labor and birth with the best intentions for an unmedicated, vaginal birth, and then see that birth through in spite of any variations or decision points they may face.

The mother has the confidence in the process and her ability to birth.  The Coach has the confidence and the motivation to be at her side and meet her needs for support and encouragement.  

NOW COMES THE BIG *HOWEVER*...

I have to admit, this affirmation gave me pause as I was preparing it. We have had students in the past who have worked so hard and so beautifully to have a vaginal birth, and it just did not go that way for them.  

So I put this out today with a caveat...believe in your ability to birth for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Sometimes, the focus may need to switch to "I will give this baby the birth that (s)he needs," which gives us the space to change from our expected path to the birth that needs to happen for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.

If that is the case, please talk to someone who understands that a mother can grieve her birth experience while still appreciating the fact that she has a healthy baby.  THIS article by Milli Hill articulates so beautifully the feelings a mom may have with the knowledge that she has a healthy baby AND a variation from the birth experience she may have wanted.

Here is a picture from our last birth - still the look of surprise and the "I did it!", even though it was our fourth birth!! Never cease to be amazed by the miracle of life that you grew within you...no matter how you birth, take heart from the fact that the new human being you are holding in your arms was grown within you and by you with loving intention.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Image: ©2011 A Bunch of Smiles Photography
All rights reserved - we are not models - please do not copy image - thank you!

What is a birth mantra or affirmation that helped you or inspires you?
Please leave a comment - it will be moderated and posted.

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®.


Rested and Ready for the Birth-Day

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 7:26 PM Comments comments (0)

We just completed our winter series...now patiently waiting for the newest Sweet Peas - first EDDs are at the beginning of March :)

As you approach your Sweet Pea's Birth-Day, this mantra encourages you to remember two things: 

ONE: You have done everything right - you've read, you've eaten well, you've exercised, you have prepared.  Let the distractions go and focus on the positive outcome that you have prepared for.  Keep practicing your relaxation techniques and read over your options for labor positions so that when labor starts, you can tune into Mom's needs and labor together for your best birth given your particular set of circumstances.

TWO: Rest, rest, and rest some more.  You are about to engage in some of life's most amazing work...and once your Sweet Pea arrives, you will never sleep again...just kidding...I should say probably hardly ever sleep in the first few days.  The excitement, the newness, the adjustment for all of you results in a few sleepless days...sometimes weeks.  Sleep or rest now, and if you feel sleepy in labor - surrender.  You will not get a gold medal for staying awake for 24+ hours.  The true reward is being as rested as you need to be to have the stamina for the Birth-Day - whether you starting pushing after a two-hour labor or a two-day labor, or anything in between. Getting to 10 centimeters is when the actual work begins...until then, it's all preparation to get to the pushing phase so you can finally hold your Sweet Pea.

Find peace in the fact that you are ready, and take the time to rest - you can totally rock your birth!

What is your favorite pregnancy or labor mantra?



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®.


5 Step Plan for Labor

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 4:28 PM Comments comments (46)
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

Dr. Bradley's Keys to Labor

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)
We saw that one of our mamas from our Fall class is in labor...so exciting!  I thought today would be a great day to share these instructions Dr. Bradley left for laboring mothers in his book, Husband-Coached Childbirth.

Here is a written version:


Here is a visual version:

I hope that one of them will be a great reminder for what you can do to have the energy you need to see your labor through from beginning to end when it's your turn.  I will write more about the principles behind these bullet points tomorrow :)


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

Losing Modesty (as it relates to labor!)

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 12:24 PM Comments comments (0)
We are reviewing the stages of labor as we are entering the last classes of our series.  One of the big outward signs that labor is progressing is the mother's loss of modesty.

A dad, asked, "What does that mean, losing modesty?"  So here is a visual as well as a description of what your partner may be doing as she loses modesty.

This is what I look like on a regular, non-labor day.  I usually have my arms covered, my clothes is loose, I almost always wear pants.  Occasionally, I wear pedal pushers.  For the most part, the only part showing is my face, neck and arms in the heat, or just face and hands in the winter months.


So this is Coach Bruss and I in labor.  I chose to wear my own clothes instead of the hospital gown in order to have more of a home feel in the hospital setting.  This is modesty: Fully dressed for labor in my nightgown, covered up with my robe.  Still smiling for the camera...clearly not in the hard, late active first stage of labor.  Based on the way we look in this picture, I am calling this Active Labor: Mom may still have some appetite, only needs to focus during the contractions, still talkative between contractions.

Here we are in hard labor.  Underneath the robe, I am in my birthday suit.  The photographer was able to put my robe on me since we knew we wanted pictures to use in class.  Since I am still tolerant of clothing, I am going to call this Late First Stage: Mother is no longer talking or interacting even during rest time. 


There is a missing picture in the series, because I am not putting naked labor pictures of myself out on the internet.  Imagine here that your partner is no longer covered.  Modesty for her may not be naked - it may be just wearing a tank top, not caring who sees her in her states of undress, or anything out of ordinary for her typical mode of dress for the day.

Hopefully this gives new mamas and coaches an idea of what we mean by "losing modesty".  

One of the memorable stories we have about labor relates to losing modesty.  Our labor was progressing, and I wanted to take a walk.  We used a hospital gown to cover up since my gown had gotten wet, and I guess my backside was exposed a little.  As we went by the nurses station, I was told off by a nurse that I was making them uncomfortable (!!).  I looked at her and said whoever is complaining about my backside isn't as interested as I am in having this baby, and my a** was going to flap in the wind as long as it took to have our baby!!

So losing modesty can also be verbal as well as physical - in my non-labor mode I make every effort to be as gentle and respectful as possible!!

How does this relate to your experience of losing modesty?  Any info or tips you want to add for new parents??

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®.

   

Natural Labor Coping Techniques

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM Comments comments (71)
Here are some of the ways we recommend our students manage their labor without analgesics or anesthetics.  Even when they are used in labor, we are so happy that our couples use them as tools to manage a long labor and their children are born nursing vigorously and with high APGAR scores.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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