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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

Blog

What is ICAN?

Posted on April 19, 2016 at 9:48 AM Comments comments ()

Did you know there is an international organization dedicated to cesarean advocacy? The International Cesarean Awareness Network, known as "ICAN", is dedicated to the prevention of unnecessary primary cesareans, recovery support, and advocacy for birthing families.  

Thanks to information sharing at ICAN meetings, families are aware of the evidence in regards to a trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC), vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC) births, and options in the event a family chooses a cesarean birth after a cesarean (CBAC).

Here is an interview I did last year with ICAN of Phoenix founder Stephanie Stanley.  Although she is no longer active with the group, it is due to her efforts that our area has an active chapter to begin with.  Learn more about ICAN and their mission in this brief video:





















Want to learn more? Read more about ICAN in general and learn more about our local Phoenix group HERE.

I was thrilled to see ICAN mentioned in THIS blog post written by an OB/GYN that talked about the importance of true collaborative care and the demand for it from mothers who want an optimal maternity experience.  The fact that a younger hospital-based doctor has heard of ICAN and recognizes the collective power of informed consumers encourages me that there is hope for our maternal care system that is so clearly broken. I have never understood how we spend more on maternal health than any industrialized nation and rank so miserably far down below even third-world countries in our ability to keep mothers and babies alive after the birth experience.  

See the rankings for yourself HERE - they go from highest to lowest, and there are several countries...48 of them...that do a better job at keeping mothers alive after a birth, than we do.

If you have been wanting to come to a meeting and just haven't had the courage to get yourself to a meeting, please trust that you will not be sorry.  This group is one of the most supportive, empathetic places you can go to share your cesarean birth story and begin your journey to healing any emotional trauma you may have (or may not even realize you have, as mentioned in the cesarean birth story one of our readers shared last week).

If you are local to the Phoenix area, please join the group this month.  Meetings are almost always the fourth Wednesday of the month.  HERE is the information for the meeting - I hope to see you there!

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

Bradley Method® classes offered convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale and Payson, Arizona




In Their Own Words: Annika's Story

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

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

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

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

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

Photographer Name: Allie Hannah Photography

Henna: Pheobe Sinclair 

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


 

Two Cesareans and A VBAC

Posted on May 1, 2015 at 12:33 AM Comments comments ()
Here is our final post for Cesarean {Birth} Awareness Month. (I missed by a day when I was planning posts :/ Oops!)  

Today I am sharing two cesarean birth stories from SPB alumni families.  Both beautifully illustrate the gift of a cesarean when they are medically necessary.  

  • The Mangieri family welcomed their son via cesarean in March 2012, and went on to have a VBAC with their second child, a daughter, in December 2013.
  • The Schlueter family welcomed their son via cesarean in July 2013.

























    And to round off the stories, here is the Bland Family story.  They were classmates with the Schlueter family, and joined us as part of their journey as they prepared for a Trial of Labor After Cesarean (TOLAC).  They were able to have a VBAC - here is how it happened for them:

    My C-section and VBAC journey
    by Tanya Bland

    With my first pregnancy I planned an all natural birth. I went to midwives, took baby classes, the whole nine yards. 40 weeks came and went. 

    When I hit 41 weeks the ultrasound showed that my daughter was measuring very large. They said she was weighing about 9 lbs, 15 oz. I was told all the concerns with a large baby and being "overdue". 

    Unfortunately in hind sight I feel I didn't have enough knowledge or the confidence to ask more questions. I became scared by the "big baby" issues and decided to schedule an induction. 

    We decided to go with a round of prostaglandin gels. My husband and I checked in to the hospital around 2pm and had to lay down in the bed for 6hrs then I went home. Nothing happened the next day. 

    The following day I went back to the hospital for another round of gels. They admitted me and proceeded with more inductions. I went back and forth between prostaglandin gels and cervadil for 4 days. 

    When I finally got to 3cm they started pitocin. The contractions started to intensify for a few hours but then I fell asleep. I slept for about 3 hrs and when I woke up all my progress had come to a halt. 

    At that point my midwife told me about the risks if I were to continue of possible shoulder dystocia. Not knowing the stats or real risks of shoulder dystocia my husband and I became very scared. We decided to go with the option for a c-section. Even during the c-section they had to use a vacuum to get Taylor out. I feel that she truly wasn't ready to come despite how big she was. She was born at 10 lbs, 5 oz. 

    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Getting induced with Taylor
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Trying to see Taylor after my cesarean section
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    My doula and Taylor helping me with by breathing during contractions
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Scott holding Kaylee after catching her and cutting the cord
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Cesarean to VBAC Journey
    Skin-to-skin after VBAC
    Although many people commented how lucky I must feel that I didn't have to birth that big of a baby, I felt very defeated after and it took a long time to recover...not only physically, but emotionally. I suffered big time postpartum depression and had to seek counseling for a little while. I worked through grieving the loss of the birthing experience I had wanted.  Though it felt silly at first since I had a perfect, healthy, beautiful little baby...it was very healing to grieve the loss of what I had wanted. 

    I attended some ICAN meetings and did more research and by the time I was pregnant again I was determined for a VBAC. With my second child I decided to attend Bradley™ classes to gain even more knowledge, along with hiring a doula. I believe that having Krystyna and Bruss, along with my doula in my corner to ask questions whenever I was unsure of things, not only made me feel more at ease but also helped with my successful VBAC. 

    I made a plan ahead of time and knew that I would be "overdue". At 41 weeks the doctors wanted me to have a repeat c-section. Thankfully, with the knowledge I had learned I knew that as long as I was healthy and my baby was healthy that I could continue to wait until baby was ready to come. 

    My midwives were very wonderful in supporting me with waiting and dealt with the doctors for me. The day before I hit 42 weeks I went in for my check up. My midwife said she supported me completely but needed to express the risks for continuing to wait. She offered to start an induction using the Foley Bulb

    This time I felt more prepared. I called Krystyna and my doula, Diane Acuna and was able to research the positives and negatives. I made the choice to continue to wait because I was healthy and so was baby. I felt at peace with whatever was going to happen, whether it be VBAC or repeat C-section because I felt like I had done all I could and research all I could. 

    Thankfully Kaylee decided to make her grand entrance at exactly 42 weeks and I got to have my completely natural VBAC. If anyone is open to advice, this is what I would tell them: take the Bradley™ classes and hire a doula! What a difference having all that knowledge and extra support in my corner did for my peace of mind and outlook.


    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®.

    The Family-Centered Cesarean

    Posted on April 30, 2015 at 9:40 AM Comments comments ()
    For today...another one from the archives, originally published in April 9, 2013.  Updated April 30, 2014 to include information about microbiome seeding; and a gentle cesarean checklist of options to review with your provider and prepare for a cesarean birth journey.

    A "Family-Centered" cesarean?  A "gentle" cesarean?  A procedure that is Woman and MotherBaby-centered?  What?  Did you just read that correctly?  

    Yes, you did.  There is a "new" trend in cesareans that is hitting the mainstream consciousness here in the United States.

    While a lot of the focus during Cesarean Awareness Month tends to center on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), I also want to acknowledge that a VBAC is not the choice that all mothers want to make.  Here is an option for mothers who know they want, or are considering, a repeat cesaran birth.  It is also an option if a healthy, low-risk labor starts to change it's course and there is time for non-emergent cesarean.

    I have linked to THIS post about a "natural" cesaran more than once in previous posts, and today I want to be a little more specific about what a "natural" cesarean is and why a family might opt for this.

    To quote the article:
    "The natural cesarean, or family centered cesarean, is a procedure developed in the UK which takes a “woman centered” approach to the surgery that now accounts for one third of all births in America, a cesarean. This approach to a c-section incorporates many important aspects of a vaginal birth, parent participation for one."

    A family-centered, or natural cesarean strives to capture these components of a vaginal birth:

    • Mother watches the birth of her child by having the surgical screen lowered at the time of delivery
    • Baby is delivered slowly so that they can get some benefit from uterine contractions to clear fluid from the lungs and nasal passages
    • Immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby
    • Delayed cord clamping
    • Breastfeeding soon after birth
    • Continuous contact between mother and baby
    • "Seeding" of the mother's microbiome - read more about that HERE and HERE.

    The idea of "seeding the microbiome" is a new concept.  Here is a quote from THIS article:
    There is a difference between the microbiome of a baby born vaginally compared to a baby born by c-section (Azad, et al. 2013Penders et al. 2006Prince et al. 2014). During a vaginal birth the baby is colonised by maternal vaginal and faecal bacteria. Initial human bacterial colonies resemble the maternal vaginal microbiota – predominately Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Sneathia. A baby born by c-section is colonised by the bacteria in the hospital environment and maternal skin – predominately Staphylocci and C difficile. They also have significantly lower levels of Bifidobacterium and lower bacterial diversity than vaginally born babies. These differences in the microbiome ‘seeding’ may be the reason for the long-term increased risk of particular diseases for babies born by c-section.
    ~Rachel Reed, Midwife Thinking

    And one from THIS article:
    • In the event of a c-section, be proactive. Mamas, we know this recommendation is not without its “icky-factor," but WOW it makes perfect sense when you think about it, and some believe it will be a standard recommendation in the future. Here goes: if your baby is born via c-section, consider taking a swab of your vaginal secretions and rubbing it on your baby’s skin and in her/his mouth. I know, ick. But when babies traverse the birth canal, they are coated in and swallowing those secretions/bacteria in a health-promoting way, so all you’re doing is mimicking that exposure. Don’t be afraid to ask your midwife or OB to help you collect the vaginal swabs—or do it yourself, if you’re comfortable. You have all the available evidence on your side.
      ~Michelle Bennet, MD, mamaseeds blog

    So while your initial reaction might be one of surprise and disgust, think about it.  Please take a minute to read both of the excerpted articles and have a discussion with your partner and your care provider before you make up your mind one way or another.

    Here are some of the benefits that are causing mothers to request this kind of cesarean option:
    • Less traumatic birth experience
    • Moms get to *see the birth* of their baby
    • Greater sense of satisfaction in regards to their birth
    • Establishment of the MotherBaby dyad immediately after the birth
    • Better breastfeeding outcomes
    • Someone who had an emergency cesarean with a previous child and does not feel comfortable with anything other than a repeat cesarean
    • A family with a known complication who wants to allow labor to start on the day of baby's choosing, but knows they will have a cesarean delivery
    • A family who planned a natural birth and had their course of labor  change before they were in an emergent situation

    If you would like to have a conversation with your care provider about planning for a gentle cesaean as your birth plan or "just in case" plan, HERE is a list of options for you to discuss with them, provided by ICAN of Phoenix chapter leader Jenni Froment.  

    I also want to mention: these are evidence-based recommendations.  If your care provider scoffs at you and laughs you out of the room, thank them very much for their time and go have a conversation with another provider in your area.  Your local ICAN chapter or ICAN international are great resources for respectful, family-centered providers.

    What do you think?
    Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.   

    Link List:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RIcaK98Yg

    ARTICLES
    ICAN
    http://blog.ican-online.org/2012/04/14/the-family-centered-cesarean/

    MIDWIFE THINKING
    http://midwifethinking.com/2014/01/15/the-human-microbiome-considerations-for-pregnancy-birth-and-early-mothering/

    MAMASEEDS
    http://mamaseeds.com/blog/antibiotics/how-seed-your-baby-healthy-microbiome-last-lifetime/

    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®.



    VBAC Preparation: Ask the Midwife

    Posted on April 29, 2015 at 7:16 PM Comments comments ()
    Our posts for Cesarean Awareness Month continue.  With their permission, I am sharing notes today that I took at an ICAN meeting presented by some Phoenix-area midwives in 2012.  

    The main presenters and most of what you see below are the paraphrased words of Diane Ortega, CNM and Belinda Hodder, CNM.  They are midwives at Valley Women for Women, whose overall cesarean rate in 2014 was 7% in the midwife practice.*

    Also in attendance and adding commentary to some of the answers was another CNM in the area.  While all three midwives believe in and support the natural process, all of these women have had a cesarean themselves.  It seems to me that it lends them an extra dose of vestment in their patient’s goals for a vaginal birth after cesarean.

    The format of this meeting was question and answer.  Below is a paraphrase of the midwives’ answers to the questions posed by the women in attendance at the ICAN meeting on October 24, 2012 in Tempe, AZ.

    There is not a lot of opinion offered here.  It was a presentation of information so that a woman considering a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) could consider the information as she prepared for her next birth journey.   

    This information is offered a starting point for the previous cesarean birth woman to do her own research so that she could make the decision that is right for her unique situation.

    VBAC Planning and Preparation
    Q: What are the best methods to prepare for a VBAC?
    A:
      There are several things you can do to prepare:
    • Use midwives so you can have the one-to-one model of care.
    • Stay at home until you are in established labor.
    • Be supported
    • Set yourself a mini-goal: what are my absolutes even if the VBAC doesn’t go as planned?
    • Take a good childbirth education course
    • Pain is associated with death, dying and injury.  You have to redirect that fear to the understanding that this pain, labor pain, is going to lead to life.  


    Q: What can I do to prepare my body for a VBAC?
    A: There are a few things you can do
    • Be physically fit – strengthen your body.
    • Eat well – eat foods that promote skin integrity and scar integrity (i.e., foods high in Vitamin C have collagen that is essential for building strong, stretchy tissues)
    • Be mobile – do everything you can to stay active to get baby in a good position for labor.

    Q: Will the type of sutures I have determine whether or not I can have a VBAC?
    A: Whether an obstetrician will do a single-layer or a double-layer of sutures depending on how they are trained, and sometimes it depends on what the uterus looks like.  As long as you have a low, transverse scar, or the status of your scar is “unknown” than you can have what is called a “trail of labor”.  If you have a vertical scar, the standard is to have a repeat cesarean.

    Uterine Rupture
    Q: Will my chance for a uterine rupture increase with the length of labor?
    A:
    There is no evidence in the research that supports that.  (At this point, ICAN leader Stephanie Stanley mentioned that a uterine rupture can happen at any time, with or without a previous cesarean –
    HERE is her research on that topic).

    Q: What are signs of uterine rupture? 
    A:  Pain that doesn’t go away after the contraction is over, and a decrease in the baby’s movement an/or heart rate.

    Q: How long does it take to heal from a uterine rupture?
    A:
      Like a cesarean; maybe there will be a little more bleeding.

    Going Past 40 Weeks
    Q: What is the concern about going postdate?
    A:
      ACOG guidelines are that babies should be born by 42 weeks gestation.  While the literature does not show an increase of risk for uterine rupture, it does indicate that a baby does not tolerate a labor as well after 42 weeks.  There are more issues with meconium, the umbilical cord and the placenta after the 42-week mark.  You could find a care provider that is willing to let you go past 41 weeks as long as you are having ultra-sounds and non-stress tests done.

    Q:  What is the policy for induction if a mother wants a trial of labor after multiple cesareans?
    A:
      That usually depends on the personal beliefs of your doctor(s).  The use of prostaglandins or Cytotec is not indicated.  In reality, there are no guidelines, only protocols to consider and to follow.

    Q: How do I know if I am really “past” my estimated due date?
    A: 
    The ultrasound at 9-10 weeks is considered to be the most accurate predictor of your estimated due date.  If you know the history of your menstrual cycle (menses), or if you used an ovulation kit, you might have another data point for establishing your conception date, and thereby having another way to estimate your due date.

    Q: What are strategies for inducing labor for a VBAC mom?
    A:
      Things that are done in office and then allow you to go home and labor there: a foley bulb (aka foley ball)  or a stripping of the membranes.  In the hospital and you stay at the hospital: foley ball, artificial rupture of membranes, and in some cases, you could use Pitocin.

    About Labor
    Q: What is the most common reason for a repeat cesarean after a trial of labor?
    A:
      A slow progress of labor with no real signposts that labor is going to progress.  Keep in mind that if you come to the hospital early in labor, you start chipping away at your chances for a VBAC.

    Q: Why do I have to be continually monitored? 
    A:  Our hands are tied by hospital policy – any VBAC patient has to have continuous electronic fetal monitoring.  We work in a community that is frightened of litigation.  
        On the upside, if everyone looking in from the outside can “see” that mom and baby are doing fine, this can buy you more time. 
    There are options in monitoring.  There are waterproof monitors that can be used in water during labor, and there are also some hospitals that use wireless monitors.  HERE is a great visual on all the different positions you can labor in even if you are continuously monitored.
        In reality, the amount of monitoring is specific to the hospital.  You have to decide how you feel about going Against Medical Advice (AMA) if you feel strongly about not having a continuous monitor.

    Q: What are your thoughts on an epidural?
    A:  You want to try to get into labor on your own at the beginning since epidurals tend to slow your labor down.  When we say “get into labor” we mean dilation to at least a 6 with a good, established pattern of contractions.  Pain is one of the indicators that can tell you something is going wrong right away.  If a mom has an epidural, bradycardia (slow heart rate) in the baby is the only indicator we have that things are not staying low risk.  The use of Pitocin to augment a slowed labor can also increase your chance of uterine rupture.

    Q:  How long can I go with ruptured membranes (broken bag of waters)?
    A:  If you are GBS negative, you could wait up to 24 hours before coming in.  If you are GBS positive, then we evaluate that on a case-by-case basis. 
    (Krystyna’s note: the presence of GBS at the time of labor raises the concern for mom/and or baby to develop an infection during labor since the bag of waters in no longer intact and able to provide a barrier against infection.)

    Q: What are ways to prevent tearing during the pushing phase?
    A:  Eat well – a good diet packed with fruits and vegetables.  There is no evidence that shows that perineal massage will prevent tearing.  You could avoid tearing by tuning into the natural “safety mechanism” known as the “Ring of Fire”.  By tuning into your body, you will slowly ease the baby out.  This is another reason to consider going the natural route: you don’t feel the ring of fire when you have an epidural.

    In closing, here are their "Words of Wisdom": 
    CARE PROVIDER
    • Take care in choosing your provider – do you trust them?  Do they follow evidence-based care?  Do their cesarean numbers bear that out?
    • By picking your care provider carefully, you can ensure that you hire a person that truly supports your desire to VBAC and will give you the time to labor as long as mom and baby are doing well. 
    • Choose a care provider with whom you can have an open dialogue.
    • If your instincts are telling you that you are with the wrong provider, then change.
    • Not only do you need to find out how your care provider feels about VBAC, you need to find out how their back-up doctor or other care providers in the practice feel about VBAC.  You do not want to do everything possible to prepare an then show up at your birthplace and realize that you won’t be able to have the birth you have prepared for.

    WHAT IF…
    If your VBAC doesn’t work out, be easy on yourself. 
    • Ease that path by writing a cesarean birth plan – what do you want to do differently this time
    • As long as things are not critical, you can opt for a “natural cesarean”, where some of the principles of natural birth can be honored.
    (Krystyna’s note:HERE is a family-centered cesarean on film.  What is a little startling about this is that one of the references is dated 2008!  At least we are doing our part to bring awareness to this option.)

    BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
    • If you feel inside that you can do it, then give it a go!
    • Have faith in yourself

    *Rate for one baby, head down, for patients who wanted to have a vaginal birth was 7% in 2014. This marks the third year they have collected data and the rate has remained 8 % or below whilst their overall number of patients rises each year. 


    What did you do to prepare for your VBAC/CBAC journey?  What did you learn that you are willing to share?
    Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.


    Link List
    Visual reference of labor positions during EFM
    http://www.icanofatlanta.com/?page_id=159

    The Family-Centered Cesarean
    http://blog.ican-online.org/2012/04/14/the-family-centered-cesarean/   

    Video: The Family-Centered Cesarean
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5RIcaK98Yg


    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®.



    Q&A with SPB: Cesarean Support

    Posted on April 21, 2015 at 3:18 AM Comments comments ()
    April is Cesarean Awareness Month.  Today I am bringing you a virtual interview with local Phoenix ICAN Chapter co-leader, Jenni Froment, as well as a VLOG with Stephanie Stanley, founder and instructor at Give-Birth.org.

    I interviewed Stephanie about her childbirth classes last week.  She came back to sit down with me and talk about the mission of ICAN, and we talked a little about peer-to-peer support.  Here is what she had to say about this amazing group:


    ICAN Chapter Co-Leader -- Phoenix, AZ - cesarean birth prevention - recovery - advocacy


    And here is my virtual interview with Jenni Fromment, one of the co-leaders of our local ICAN chapter in Phoenix, AZ.


    Tell me about ICAN and the mission of the organization.
    ICAN has focused our time and attention on improving maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans and promoting  a conversation around VBAC.  We do this through education, and by providing support to women that have gone through unnecessary cesareans and/or are planning future VBACs.  The idea was born between two women back in the 80s, Esther and Liz, whom both had cesareans and committed to never having one again.  We have chapters all around the world, and at least one chapter in almost all states in the US.
     
    Can you tell me more about the ICAN community?
    ICAN of Phoenix has such an amazing community, I am really proud of the dynamic of the group and the support we offer the women of Phoenix.  Our growth over the last couple years is really a testament to the impact we are making, and our greatest achievement so far has been getting ourselves integrated into conversations with birth professionals.  One of my personal agendas has been to build the relationship between ICAN moms and care providers that support the ICAN mission.  We do this buy building relationships with childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, and OBs.  We ask them to join our group, speak at our meetings and we talk about ICAN with them during our appointments.  We don't want it to be an "Us vs. Them" environment.  We want to work together to improve birth rights in Phoenix.

    What have you seen as the benefits of peer-to-peer support?
    This is my favorite part of the ICAN group.  This is probably the #1 reason I recommend that mothers join our group.  I can offer my perspective and experience, but I am only one person.  By joining the ICAN of Phoenix Facebook group, and coming to meetings, you get access to over 600 women in the Phoenix area that have had the same experiences, and walked the same journey as you.  It's so powerful to feel that sisterhood, and you can't put a price on the emotional impact of knowing that the women around you understand your feelings, and have been there with you.
     
    Additionally, we have a lot of different channels that we can offer for women looking for support.  They can join our facebook group for a large pool of experience and sharing opportunity.  They can join our monthly meetings for a smaller, face-to-face audience for support.  And they can always email me directly if they are wanting to share privately.  I can be reached at [email protected].

    What would you like to tell someone who has been thinking about coming to a meeting, and just hasn't gotten there yet?
    You can find someone just like you.  We are such a diverse group of women.  There are working moms, stay at home moms, moms that believe in western medicine, moms that only use essential oils, moms that believe in hospital births, moms that believe in homebirths, etc.  I remember that when I went to my first ICAN meeting, I was so worried that I wouldn't fit in and when I got there I was so relieved.  It was just a bunch of women, some like me, some different, but all there with the common purpose of trying to find empowerment for our births.  There is such a fellowship, it's beautiful.  I also tell women not to worry about being forced to share their feelings, or tell their story if they are not ready.  Our meetings come planned with an ICAN-related topic, and then time for people to ask questions and share their stories if they want to.  No one has to share or speak if they don't feel comfortable doing so.

    If you have heard about an ICAN chapter in your area, and you still haven't made it to a meeting, I encourage you to take the first step and get to a meeting this month.  You may feel all alone...as Stephanie mentioned, find your courage and come out to a meeting.  You are not alone.  There is more to birth than,"at least you have a healthy baby".  This support group knows it and is available to walk your postpartum journey with you.

    ICAN Infernational: http://www.ican-online.org/


    Have you had help along your postpartum journey?  What worked for you?
    Feel free to give a shout-out to your local ICAN group or your ICAN leaders in the comments.  Comments will be moderated and posted.

    BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE:
    Here are some specials for the month of April from ICAN and Give-Birth...

    ICAN:
    Membership Sale - www.ican-online.org/join
    Give-Birth:
    In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month Stephanie will be offering her 6 Week Class Series for $100! If you're not due for a while you can still take advantage of this offer. Contact her for details. 

    Disclaimer: 
    Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included in this video and blog 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®.

    Q&A with SPB: Childbirth Classes for VBAC or CBAC

    Posted on April 14, 2015 at 10:57 AM Comments comments ()
    Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
    A little terminology for the uninitiated:
    ICAN ~ International Cesarean Awareness Network
    VBAC ~ Vaginal Birth After Cesarean
    CBAC ~ Cesarean Birth After Cesarean

    We are honored to share an amazing childbirth educator and Cesarean Birth Advocate with you today.  We got to sit down with Stephanie Stanley, founder of Give-Birth.org, and in today's VLOG we bring you a short interview with her:








    GiveBirth Workshops: 
    Want to learn more about what VBAC is, why it matters, and why it's not standard practice for most care providers?

    The GiveBirth VBAC workshop will go in depth to answer all these questions and we don't stop there. In this 4 hour educational and interactive workshop you and your partner (and doula too, if you want to bring her!) will learn all about your options for VBAC, how to find the information and resources you need to make birth choices that are right for you, and how to release your previous expectations (or limitations) of birth and move forward open to a new experience. We also include 9 practical tips to prepare for your VBAC. 

    For more information, visit the website or contact me. 
    www.give-birth.org or give [email protected]

    Cesarean Awareness Month Special: In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month I will be offering my 6 Week Class Series for $100! If you are not due for a while you can still take advantage of this offer. Contact me for details. 

    Upcoming Classes
    Preparing for Birth After Cesarean - 6 Week Series
    Wednesday evenings, May 6th - June 10th

    GiveBirth: VBAC Workshop 
    Saturday May 23rd (time TBA)

    About GiveBirth
    GiveBirth is an idea born of a desire to help new parents discover and enjoy the experience of birth, regardless of how their birth unfolds. Birth is a transition for both the baby and the parents, as individuals and as a family. The way we welcome our children into this world, into our lives, begins at birth and our experience impacts bonding and growth through that transition. Our goal with GiveBirth is to create an organization committed to educating, supporting, inspiring and empowering parents as they prepare to Give Birth.

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

    Disclaimer: 
    Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included in this blog and video is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader and/or 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®.

    Wordless Wednesday: Cesarean Awareness Month

    Posted on April 8, 2015 at 6:10 PM Comments comments ()
    There are no mommy wars on this page.  Every birth is acknowledged, as our tag line is, "Celebrating every Sweet Pea and their birth."  However your child enters the world, it is the day of their birth, as well as the birth of a Mother and Father.  If you need help processing your birth, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com and I would be happy to send you a resource list.
     
    Cesareans:
    This Coach still got to cut the cord - you can preserve some elements of your birth plan, even if it plays out differently than you prepared for.


    Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC):

    SPB students working through VBAC labor

    ICAN of Phoenix leader and baby*

    ICAN of Phoenix leader, husband and VBAC baby*

    We celebrate ALL births at Sweet Pea Births - ALL Birth-Days are the first day of your family's life. That is not to say there is not grief or sorrow for a birth that doesn't go as expected - we hope and pray that with time, glimmers of joy can be gleaned from your birth experience. If you had a cesarean birth, we invite you to find an ICAN support group in your area, and then prepare for a VBAC if that is a choice that works for your family.

    Thank you to our students and friends who sent pictures to share today...there is so much to say about cesareans...we'll leave these pictures with you today and share words and thoughts throughout the month.  

    *not an SPB student - they took a Birthing From Within Class as part of their VBAC journey


    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®.



    Inside Look: Vbac Junkie

    Posted on April 5, 2014 at 7:09 PM Comments comments ()
    Jesse Franks is a mom who I had the honor to meet early on in her VBAC journey.  She is now a co-leader of the ICAN of Phoenix Chapter and admin at the facebook page Vbacjunkie
     
    She is not only an amazing mama and leader, she is also a talented artist.  She has graced many a belly cast with her imaginative art, and she recently opened an Etsy shop to celebrate birth.   

    What motivated you to start a making jewelry? 
    I can't remember a time when I wasn't motivated to make jewelry! But the vbacjunkie project started late 2013, when I was trying to find the perfect gift for a friend. She recently had a home birth VBAC with twins. I quickly realized finding that specialized of a gift would be next to impossible, so I got to it!  

    What inspires your designs?
    The women I meet and the birth stories I hear. I may not always remember a name, but I can remember an impressive amount of details from someone's birth story. And no matter what the story, women deserve the chance to show off that story.

    What else are you offering in your shop?
    Right now we have personalized jewelry and crease-less hair ties.  Any of them can be personalized with stamped pendants.  I hope to have some personalized baby hats up soon.


    What sets your shop apart from other stores on Etsy?
    I am the only VBAC store out there!  CBAC, HBAC, VBAC, Home birth, I know I'm not appealing to a huge market, but this is where my passion is, it's where my energy goes. 

    What do you like to do when you’re not making jewelry or being crafty?
    I am a stay at home mom of two, number three on the way, and my kiddos keep me pretty busy.  I also spend a lot of time doing volunteer work for ICAN.  (International Cesarean Awareness Network)  I do love running though.  I just finished my first 1/2 marathon in January.  And when I can sneak it in, I watch terrible reality TV.  Its my guilty pleasure.  


    How did you celebrate your births? 
    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®.


    Blueprint for a Vaginal Birth

    Posted on April 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM Comments comments ()
    While there are no guarantees that the kind or amount of preparation you do will lead to a vaginal birth, there are things you can do to increase your opportunity to have the vaginal birth you want for your baby.

    If I could write a blueprint for having a vaginal birth, I would follow the Five-Point Plan outlined in our Bradley Method® classes.  Here are five things you can do throughout your pregnancy to decrease your chance of a cesarean when you go into labor:

    1.  Exercise
    Have you ever heard of a person signing up for a race on the day of the event with no prior running experience?  Have you ever heard of an athlete being signed to a team without any previous training in that sport?  No.  You would not participate in an athletic event without at least three months of prior training.  Labor is like an athletic event.  You will have the best outcome possible if you are free to move, walk, and engage your body in different physical positions.  A body that is ready for that event will perform much better than a body that starts labor with no preparation at all. 
    The Bradley Method® asks students to consider THESE exercises to tone the back, belly and bottom, the most active muscle groups in labor.  We also ask all our students to find some kind of stamina-building exercise that they can do on a regular basis.  Each mama is encouraged to at the very least walk 20 minutes per day.  There are also other exercises that are safe for a pregnant mother that do not cause excessive strain on the mama by bouncing up and down on the Kegel muscle: swimming, jogging in a lap pool, water aerobics, and prenatal yoga are all forms of exercise that former students have found beneficial to build their stamina for labor.

    2.  Good Nutrition
    Coach Bruss tries to impress on the coaches that they have a vested interest in ensuring that their partners are eating a healthy, whole food diet.  The benefits for the long-term health of the growing baby will last their lifetime.  The mother will benefit in pregnancy and labor if she is well hydrated and well nourished.  You can read more about the details of what we teach in Bradley™ classes HERE.
    In the event that the MotherBaby do have a cesarean birth, the well-nourished pair has a better chance at recovery and establishing breastfeeding.  Barring additional complications from surgery, Mother can withstand the trauma of labor and her milk should come in without too much delay if she has been well nourished.  Her good nutrition made strong, healthy, stretchy tissues, so she may also have a better recovery healing from the physical rigors of a cesarean.  Baby has been afforded every opportunity to have all the right nutrients for growth while in-utero, and they are likely to be born at their best health possible. 

    Anecdotally, I can share that most of the babies born via cesarean to our students have had lusty appetites when they are reunited with their mothers!

    3.  Education
    You and your partner are going to live with your baby for the rest of your lives.  The decisions you make and the information you learn during your pregnancy will help you make the best decisions possible when it comes time to make choices for your birth.

    When time allows, take a comprehensive childbirth education course. 
    We love the Bradley Method®, which is why we took it twice and then became certified instructors.  We both wanted to work together to bring our children into the world so it made sense for Bruss to train as my coach.  We felt the topics covered in the twelve weeks would help us to be as knowledgeable as possible about the process of labor and how to handle the work of labor.  We liked the focus on communication, exercise, nutrition and relaxation every week.

    If “one size fit all”, there would not need to be any other types of childbirth preparation course.  The reality is that what works for me, may not work for you, and what works for you, may not work for your best friend, etc.  There are several other methods to prepare women and/or couples for birth.  Along with a link to The Bradley Method® main page so you can find an instructor in your area, I have listed some of my colleagues in the Phoenix area who teach other methods at the end of the post,.

    I also recognize that sometimes classes are not possible due to timing or resources.  Read THIS about the natural alignment plateau.  I also put a suggested reading list at the bottom of this post – you can read as much or as little as you want.  I did list my top three choices if your time is limited and you really want to do your best to be ready for your birth.

    I will close this section with a parting thought: you would not save up your money for the vacation of a lifetime and then hand over that savings to a travel agent and say, “Book it” without any further investment in the process.  Your child is priceless.  Take the time to read, form a community and really be confident in the choices you want to make for your birth, and the options you are willing to consider if your birth takes a different course than you prepared for.

    4.  Take Responsibility
    Piggyback on the last idea: you are the ultimate arbiter of your pregnancy and labor.  You can inform yourself and make the best decisions, or you can be completely casual and careless, or something in between.
    There are resources like the Environmental Working Group that provide lists of safe products and foods for families.  We spend a whole class talking about harmful substances, environmental hazards, and alternatives to them in our Bradley™ series class on Pregnancy.

    You can also take responsibility for your pregnancy by taking care of yourself physically and emotionally.  Avoid stress and overwork.  Instead of popping a pill, what do you think about going to see a chiropractor, getting a massage, or going to prenatal yoga classes to ease the discomforts of pregnancy?

    Some of the most important choices for you to make intentionally revolve around your birth plan.  Do you have a provider that supports your birth choices?  What is their primary cesarean rate?  Are you at a birthing facility that supports your choices?  What is the facility’s primary cesarean rate?  This information is public record – you can find it.  If not, you can contact an advocacy group like Childbirth Connection or Improving Birth to help you uncover that information and find the most vaginal-birth friendly providers and birthing places in your region.

    Especially if you choose a hospital birth, you can also explore your feelings about hiring a doula.  Learn what a doula’s role is in birth, how to hire one that best suits what you anticipate your needs as a couple will be, and then plan it into your budget.  Some doulas work on sliding scales, and they are willing to trade and barter – all birth workers want to help you in any way they can.  Realistically, couples in all birth places can benefit from a doula – read up and see which choice is right for you.

    5.  Relaxation
    Relaxation is the key to The Bradley Method®.  Dr. Bradley believed that a well-trained mother who was accompanied by her loving coach could do anything that nature intended.  With the knowledge of the progress of labor, she doesn’t have to be afraid of “what comes next”.  A well-trained mother welcomes the sensations of labor with the knowledge that this is a journey she must take to grow as a mother. 

    Bradley™ classes teach strategies for physical, mental and emotional relaxation to have as many tools as possible to break the Pain-Fear-Tension cycle.  We teach our couples various positions for labor so that a mother can follow her instincts and get into the best position possible to achieve maximum relaxation. Both she and Coach know the roadmap.  They also know that their course may be a sprint or a marathon, or maybe something in between – their role is to accept the labor and follow mama’s instincts about what she needs and when.  Once she is completely relaxed and able to surrender, labor can progress beautifully and unencumbered to an unmedicated, vaginal birth.  

    In closing:
    As I mentioned earlier in the post, sometimes you do all the right things and yet, you are still being presented with a situation that looks like it may lead to a cesarean.  HERE is a good post that covers how to handle different labor scenarios that may present as a reason for a cesarean. If mom is okay and baby is okay, you can think about asking for more time.

    What if you do everything right and you still end up at the operating room?  
    Read HERE to learn about your options if you want to maximize your cesarean experience to capture the essence of a vaginal birth.  Again, you must educate yourself and prepare.  Consider writing a cesarean Birth Plan B so that your provider is well aware of what you want to happen before you are in labor and so that when you ask for these things, they are not forgotten.  A natural approach to a cesarean takes more time than a standard cesarean.  By discussing these things in pregnancy, you are not going to ask them to change their “game” without fair warning.  

    All of our students come to class with the intention of having a natural, vaginal birth.  There are times when they have made the choice to have a cesarean for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome after laboring and using the tools they learned in class. They had the skill set to help them identify that despite doing all the things they could, the cesarean was the birth that their baby needed.  The overwhelming majority of them have been grateful for all the preparation and the communication skills they learned.  Unlike families who felt railroaded into their cesareans, couples who prepare for their births choose to have cesareans that ensure a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome and they have a degree of peace with their birth to help them on the road to healing.

    I know gratitude for the process doesn’t take away the feelings of not having the birth they planned and prepared for.  Barring the rare complications, having an empowered pregnancy does give them the best possible chance of a VBAC next time.

    If you did everything right and still had a cesarean, I encourage you to accept your birth.  Your baby had a reason for needing a cesarean, and assuming you hired a capable, experienced care provider that you trusted, they knew that knew that was the birth you needed.  Seek support from other women who had cesareans through the ICAN organization in person or on-line.

    Lastly, there is a group of women who will always need a cesarean.  They may be high-risk, or they may have high-risk pregnancies.  To those women, I say, “You are strong.  You are lionesses.”  Cesarean births are no joke, and to be willing to undergo them again and again for the love of family, you are the ultimate examples of a mother’s love.  Thank you.

    What do you think – would you add or subtract anything from this list?
    Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  *I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.

    Reading list:
    Top Three-Four, especially if you are not going to take a class
    Natural Childbirth The Bradley™ Way – Susan McCutcheon, AAHCC
    Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin
    Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth – Henci Goer
    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – La Leche League, International

    Other very informative books:
    Husband-Coached Childbirth – Dr. Robert Bradley
    Exercises for True Natural Childbirth – Rhondda Hartman, RN, AAHCC
    The Birth Book – Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, RN
    Active Birth - Janet Balaskas
    A Child is Born – Lennart Nilsson
    What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know – Gail Sforza with Dr. Tom Brewer
    Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy – Dr. Tom Brewer
    Children at Birth – Marjie and Jay Hathway, AAHCC
    The Baby Book – Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, RN 

    Main Page for The Bradley Method®

    Other Childbirth Preparation Classes:
    Hypnobirthing: Marinah Farrell (4-6 week course)  480-528-1689Hypnobabies: Noelia Waldo (6 week course)  (480) 295-0895
    Birthing From Within: Alejandrina Vostrejos  (6 weeks) 480-206-1985
     
    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®.

       

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