Sweet Pea Births

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Sweet Pea Births

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Birth Story: Marathon Labor

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (877)
Christine & BJ Bollier 
Bradley Method© Birth Story

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

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

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

 
Changing the Plan

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

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

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

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


 

Birth Story: Penelope

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 9:12 AM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
It’s birth story day!!  This week I am sharing a birth story from our Fall 2012 class.  In today's video, Courtney is talking about her family's birth journey with our Winter 2012-13 class.  Jake was working, so Courtney shares his words of wisdom for coaches, too.

Here is their backstory: 

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


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


In Courtney's own words:

 

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

Which labor tools worked for you to manage the intensity?

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

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

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


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

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

 

Meet the Doula: Sara

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (98)
I had the pleasure of meeting Sara at MommyCon Phoenix last year (April 2013).  Since then, we have reconnected in on-line forums and kept in touch.  I am thrilled to be able to feature her as June's Doula of the Month.


About Sara: I'm passionate about supporting women in their birth choices and through labor and delivery.  I am a birth activist, lactivist, essential oil lover, garden growing, crafter, and stilleto-wearing granola-momma lover of all things holistic and naturaopathic. I believe in prevention rather than reaction. :)


When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?
The first time I ever heard the word "doula" was after I gave birth to my first child. I had a basic understanding of what doulas did but not enough to fully recognize the need for doulas in the birth journey.

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
I felt like my mom was my doula. I broke my shoulder about 7 weeks before giving birth to my second child. It was an experience full of fear, apprehension, and aloneness. Even though both times I was handed a healthy baby, they are not an experiences I look back on with much joy. I realized then that I never wanted another woman to experience birth in that manner. I began devouring every piece of information about birth and doulas I could possibly get my hands on. I realized that "mothering," (the greek root meaning of doula) is a huge part of my nature and life passion.
 
How long have you been a doula? 
I officially went through doula training in April of 2012 by attending a DONA Int. birth doula workshop. I am also a Certified Lactation Educator and have taken several classes through ASU's College of Human Lactation with the goal of becoming an IBCLC.

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
What do I love most? That's a really difficult question... It sort of ties into my philosophy as a birth doula: I call myself the Lioness Doula. People always ask "why Lioness?" Lionesses are never alone. They birth together, hunt together, cross breastfeed the Pride's cubs together. They are this strong, brave, powerful sisterhood of women. THAT is what I love; that is why I do this.
What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
I believe no woman should ever have to birth alone, feeling unsupported or unloved, and should never have anyone else's agenda brought into their most vulnerable space, be it hospital policy, Doc preferences, mothers in-law, etc. Birth matters. It's sacred and important.
 
How do you work with and involve the Coach?
My goal is to empower birth partners to make me useless. Let me help you help her.
What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with? How did you handle it?
The toughest situation I've ever dealt with was probably a birth I attended where the midwife was actually not very birth friendly. She did so many things outside of mom's wishes and without discussing it with her, just telling that it had been done. It took so much will power to set aside my own feelings and fully support Mom. But at the end of the day, the most important thing I can do is make Mom feel safe, keep partners involved, and prevent my own (or others) perceptions from affecting Mom's view of the birth experience.

What keeps you working as a doula?
Newborn Baby smell keeps me doula-ing. There's nothing like it in the world. It's like magic.
 
What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours? Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
My fee is $500 and includes up to 3 prenatal visits, prenatal lactation education, attendance from onset of labor until approximately 2 hrs postpartum, 1 postpartum visit and lactation counseling session, and placenta encapsulation. Because I am so passionate that every woman who desires, have access to a doula, I as that families contact me even if $500 is out of their price range. I regularly barter/trade/take payments.

Do you offer any other services to your clients?
If desired, we can add on a blow dry style for newborn pictures at an added cost. I also am available for lactation counseling and/or support.
 
Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?
When I'm not doing my doula thang, I can be found at Got Roots? Salon doing hair and body waxing, at home crafting and nagging small children, or hanging out with my cute hubby!
 
Does Sara sound like the right doula for you?  Here is her contact info:
Tel.:  480-734-5770
Web: http://lionessdoula.blogspot.com/

Was Sara your doula? 
Tell us about your experience and help our readers decide if she is the right doula for them - thank you!
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

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

Dr. Bradley's Keys to Labor

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (103)
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 (180)
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®.

   

Meet the Doula: Abby

Posted on September 3, 2013 at 4:03 AM Comments comments (0)



I had the pleasure of meeting Abby through the ICAN of Phoenix chapter meetings.  She has a heart for serving families and helping them to have an empowered birth experience:

“Although birth isn't perfect, and things don't always go as "planned", knowing your options and choices can still leave couples with an empowering and beautiful birth.”

Meet September’s featured doula, Abby:

When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”?
My husband was working retail during my first pregnancy. He came home from work one day and said that he had worked with a woman to help her find a computer. She told him she was a doula and one thing led to another and we were meeting her the following week. We decided to use her, even though I was not totally educated on what kind of birth I wanted. 

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
After my first birth ended in a c-section due to an unnecessary induction, I began doing research on options in birth and began to realize how much information I didn't know. I immediately decided I wanted to help couples get the information they needed to make wise choices for their birth and help reduce unnecessary c-sections. Although birth isn't perfect, and things don't always go as "planned", knowing your options and choices can still leave couples with an empowering and beautiful birth.

Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?
I am a Birth Doula.

How long have you been a doula?
I have been a Birth Doula for two years. I was certified through Childbirth International in 2011. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
I enjoy helping to educate couples. There is a moment on this journey, sometimes in pregnancy, sometimes not until labor begins. This moment of empowerment: a moment of belief in their own body's abilities rather than on every word their provider says. They go from allowing birth to be done to them to taking an active role, making choices and being a part of their birth.

What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
I do not want to interrupt the space that has been created. Most often I come to the couple's home while in labor. I want this birth to be about the couple and I support them in their individual needs. This looks different for each couple and each birth, but I am there for the support of both the mama and daddy. I want to dads to be encouraged and empowered to love on and support their partner. I make sure to not take over their role of support but to assist in giving the laboring mama as much support as possible. 

How do you work with and involve the Coach?
As mentioned above, I work with the coach before labor to prepare and know what to expect. I want this birthing time to be a time that grows the couple so I am there to encourage the intimate time between them. I help the coaches with suggestions on ways to comfort and support the mamas, as well as give the coaches a break when needed. 

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
I think the toughest situations have usually resulted from unsupportive care providers. There have been many times that couples were laboring well and beautifully at home, and once the transfer to the hospital takes place, and the unsupportive care provider comes into the picture, the birthing environment and the mood changes. I try to prepare couples for this time in the labor (if it is a hospital birth) and help them to get back in “the zone" after we get settled in the hospital. It is very important to be upfront and open with your provider ahead of time about your desires and choose a provider that you feel most supported by.

What keeps you working as a doula?
The "moment". The moment when the mama is done, and doesn't feel like she can do it any longer. When she pushes through her fears and exhaustion and does it! The look on her face, and the joy that oozes from every ounce of her is totally worth the sleepless nights, the on call weeks, and the hours of preparation. 

What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
My fee is $500 and it is all-inclusive. It covers 1-2 prenatal visits, time spent during labor and immediately postpartum, and a postpartum visit at their own home within the first two weeks after birth. This also includes being on call two weeks before their due date and up until baby arrives. My fee also includes 24/7 support via phone, text, or email through their pregnancy as questions and concerns arise. I assist with writing a birth plan during the prenatal appointment and provide notes on the birth at the postpartum visit.

Do you offer any other services to your clients?
I teach a 6-week Christian Childbirth Class as well. 

Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing?
When I am not doula-ing I am chasing after my almost 3 year old and my almost 1 year old, as well as loving on my amazing husband. I also co-lead ICAN of Phoenix, which is a support group for mamas who have had a c-section or want to avoid an unnecessary one in the future. I teach Christian Childbirth Classes, in addition to leading an online support community. 

A little more about Abby Schweitzer:  I grew up in Rockford, IL and married my high school sweetheart, Tim, almost 6 years ago. We moved from Illinois to the Phoenix area in February 2013. We had our first beautiful daughter December of 2010 by cesarean section. Her birth was long, hard, disappointing, and I was left broken, emotionally and physically. I knew immediately after my daughter’s birth that it wasn’t supposed to be like that. This magical experience everyone talks about was NOT what I had. I loved my daughter so much, but bonding in the first months was very difficult. I vowed long before getting pregnant again that I would inform myself about my choices and became a doula to encourage and help inform other parents as well.  After suffering a miscarriage of our second child, my husband and I conceived again and had a healthy, normal pregnancy. We had a wonderful, spiritual and beautiful home birth with our son almost a year ago. Attending many births, including my own, has continued to deepen my passion to help women know what their options are, and believe in their bodies, as created by God. 

Would you like to contact Abby about being your doula?
Phone:
309-846-7964

Email:
[email protected]

On-Line:
www.surrenderbirth.com or www.facebook.com/surrenderbirth

Was Abby your doula?  Please help our readers by telling us about your experience!

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 

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®.


We are now enrolling for our Fall 2013 Series
The Bradley Method® for New Parents:
September 6, 2013 through November 22, 2013
Classes meet at 6:00 pm

Bradley™ “Next” – full series plus focus on sibling preparation for our alumni students
September 7, 2013 through November 23, 2013
Classes meet at 2:00 pm

For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Rally to Improve Birth 2013

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:59 PM Comments comments (0)
Did you know that there is a national organization advocating evidence-based care and humanity in childbirth? 

I first became aware of ImprovingBirth.org when they held their first rally last year.  In order to bring awareness to the maternity health care crisis in our country, the organizers chose the date of Labor Day for the national event.  This year, they are truly nation-wide – there is at least one rally planned in all 50 states, and as of today, it looks like they are up to eight international locations.

What maternity health care crisis in the United States, you ask?  Here is a look at the numbers.  In the world:
  • We are 34th in maternal mortality rates:  33 countries have lower maternal mortality than we do.
  • We are 38th in neonatal mortality rates: 37 countries have lower neonatal mortality rates than we do.
  • We are 41st in infant mortality rates: 40 countries do a better job at keeping newborns alive than we do.
  • We are 66th in birth weight: 65 countries do better than us when it comes to birthing babies at healthy birth weights.
  • We are 33rd in the breastfeeding: 32 countries had higher rates of exclusively breastfeeding at six months.

So do you know why I find this so infuriating?
“ Despite the poor international ranking, the International Federation of Health Plans recently reported that average U.S. payments for vaginal birth were far higher than all other countries reported, including Canada, France, and Australia (7).”


















Are you motivated to stand with women, children and coaches to rally for change? 
On September 2, 2013, from 10 a.m. – 12 noon local time, cities across the states are going to host a Rally to Improve Birth.  The rally is not to promote one kind of birth over other kinds of births.  It is not about bashing care providers and birthing facilities.

“It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.  It’s about respect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion.”
-Rally To Improve Birth

What is the message that Improving Birth is striving for?  Here are some of the messages they hope to get across that day (hint...ideas for rally signs):
  • Lower the C-Section Rate
  • Respectful Maternity Care 
  • Question Your Induction
  • Informed Consent is My Right 
  • Evidence-Based Birth

You can click HERE to find your local rally (readers in the Phoenix, AZ area - local info at the bottom of this post):
http://rallytoimprovebirth.com/find-a-rally-near-you/

If you can’t stand side-by-side with the families attending the rally, you can still participate.  All the rallies are 100% volunteer organized – even a donation of $10.00 can help buy water to hydrate all the mamas, babies, coaches and care providers standing under the hot sun on Labor Day to bring awareness and change to the maternal healthcare system.
Donate HERE to the national organization:

Donate HERE to the local Phoenix Rally:
http://rallytoimprovebirth.causevox.com/phoenix

HERE is a story from an "eye-roller" at last year’s rally, to a supporter at this year’s rally.  I would like to think that these stories are few and far between.  Unfortunately, I know they are not.  Due to my involvement in the birth community at large, I have personally heard stories from several women who felt completely violated by their care providers and the current standard of care.  We can make a difference.  We can stand together and insist that it is time to humanize birth again, to use evidence-based care, and to involve the birthing family as partners in their birth story. For more information, please visit their main website:

Readers in the Phoenix, AZ area
Here is the info on our local event:
September 2, 2013
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Tempe Beach Park
54 West Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, Arizona 85281

To stay up-to-date on the local event, visit the Facebook Page.



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®.


Warning Labels: Induction Drugs

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (41)
This is the second post in the series that looks at the small print on the drug information sheet for consumers.  In our first post, we looked at the details of drugs used in epidurals.  Here is the fine print for the drugs used by hospital practitioners to induce labor.  This may be offered for a variety of reasons.  

Whenever a drug or procedure is offered, we encourage our students to look at the benefits and the risks.  There are circumstances where the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.  It is up to each family to individually decide what works best for them and their baby.  In the spirit of informed consent, here is the fine print and FDA Pregnancy Category for Cervadil (Brand Name for a form of Dinoprostone), Dinoprostone, Cytotec (Misoprostol) and Pitocin.


To be clear – we are not anti-care provider or anti-drug.  We are grateful for modern medicine that saves lives in circumstances when Mother Nature needs help.  It exists for a reason, and we are thankful for the opportunity to meet all the Healthy Moms and Healthy Babies when we hold a class reunion.

Please read and consider this information as you prepare for the birth of your baby.  I included the link to find the complete drug label on-line.  As with last week, everything is in direct quotes because the information is pulled from the drug information made available by the Federal Drug Administration (USA).

CERVADIL: Pregnancy Category C
http://www.drugs.com/pro/cervidil.html
Cervidil is contraindicated in:
"- Patients with known hypersensitivity to prostaglandins.
- Patients in whom there is clinical suspicion or definite evidence of fetal distress where delivery is not imminent.
- Patients with unexplained vaginal bleeding during this pregnancy.
- Patients in whom there is evidence or strong suspicion of marked cephalopelvic disproportion.
- Patients in whom oxytocic drugs are contraindicated or when prolonged contraction of the uterus may be detrimental to fetal safety or uterine integrity, such as previous cesarean section or major uterine surgery (see PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS).
- Patients already receiving intravenous oxytocic drugs.
- Multipara with 6 or more previous term pregnancies."

"Warnings
Women aged 30 years or older, those with complications during pregnancy and those with a gestational age over 40 weeks have been shown to have an increased risk of postpartum disseminated intravascular coagulation. In addition, these factors may further increase the risk associated with labor induction (See ADVERSE REACTIONS, Post-marketing surveillance). Therefore, in these women, use of dinoprostone should be undertaken with caution. Measures should be applied to detect as soon as possible an evolving fibrinolysis in the immediate post-partum period.
The Clinician should be alert that use of dinoprostone may result in inadvertent disruption and subsequent embolization of antigenic tissue causing in rare circumstances the development of Anaphylactoid Syndrome of Pregnancy (Amniotic Fluid Embolism)."

"Precautions
General: Since prostaglandins potentiate the effect of oxytocin, Cervidil must be removed before oxytocin administration is initiated and the patient's uterine activity carefully monitored for uterine hyperstimulation. If uterine hyperstimulation is encountered or if labor commences, the vaginal insert should be removed. Cervidil should also be removed prior to amniotomy.
Cervidil is contraindicated when prolonged contraction of the uterus may be detrimental to fetal safety and uterine integrity. Therefore, Cervidil should not be administered to patients with a history of previous cesarean section or uterine surgery given the potential risk for uterine rupture and associated obstetrical complications, including the need for hysterectomy and the occurrence of fetal or neonatal death.

2. Drug Interactions: Cervidil may augment the activity of oxytocic agents and their concomitant use is not recommended. A dosing interval of at least 30 minutes is recommended for the sequential use of oxytocin following the removal of the dinoprostone vaginal insert. No other drug interactions have been identified."

"Post-marketing surveillance:
Immune System Disorders: Hypersensitivity
Blood and lymphatic system disorders: Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (See WarningsSection)
Reproductive system: Reports of uterine rupture have been reported in association with use of Cervidil some required a hysterectomy and some resulted in subsequent fetal or neonatal death.
Vascular Disorders: Hypotension
Pregnancy, Puerperium and Perinatal Conditions: Amniotic fluid embolism"
"Contraindications:
Hypersensitivity to dinoprostone, prostaglandins, or any components of the product; patients in whom oxytocic drugs are contraindicated or when prolonged contractions of uterus are considered inappropriate; ruptured membranes; placenta previa; unexplained vaginal bleeding during current pregnancy; when vaginal delivery is not indicated; acute pelvic inflammatory disease; active cardiac, pulmonary, renal, or hepatic disease (suppository only)."

"General advice:
Carefully examine vagina to determine degree of effacement and appropriate length of endocervical catheter to be used for application of gel (10 mm if 50% effaced, 20 mm if no effacement).
Patient should be in dorsal position for administration and remain supine for 15 to 30 min after administration of cervical gel.
Following administration of vaginal suppository, the patient should remain in the supine position for 10 min.
Following administration of the vaginal insert, the patient should remain in a recumbent position for 2 h.
Inserts do not require warming prior to administration.
Suppositories and gel must be brought to room temperature. Do not use external sources of heat (eg, hot water bath, microwave oven) to decrease warming time.
Wait at least 6 to 12 h after administration of gel before using IV oxytocin; a dosing interval of at least 30 min is recommended after removal of insert.
Do not use dinoprostone vaginal suppository for extemporaneous preparation of any other dosage forms or for cervical ripening or other indications in the patient with term pregnancy."

"May augment effect of other oxytocic agents; avoid concomitant use. For the sequential use of oxytocin following dinoprostone cervical gel administration, a dosing interval of 6 to 12 h is recommended. A dosing interval of at least 30 min is recommended for the sequential use of oxytocin following the removal of the dinoprostone vaginal insert."

"Pregnancy Category C. Contraindicated if fetus in utero has reached viability stage except when cervical ripening is indicated."

"Lactation: Undetermined."

"Special Risk Patients
Use with caution in patients with asthma, glaucoma, or raised IOP, hypotension or hypertension, CV or renal or hepatic impairment, anemia, jaundice, diabetes, epilepsy, compromised uterus, infected endocervical lesions, acute vaginitis, in patients with cases of non-vertex or non-singleton presentation, and in patients with a history of previous uterine hypertony.
-Anaphylactoid syndrome of pregnancy Intracervical placement of dinoprostone may result in inadvertent disruption and subsequent embolization of antigenic tissue, and rarely leads to development of anaphylactoid syndrome of pregnancy (amniotic fluid embolism).
- Incomplete pregnancy termination If dinoprostone pregnancy termination is incomplete, take other measures to ensure complete abortion.
- Postpartum disseminated intravascular coagulation An increased risk has been described in patients whose labor was induced by physiologic means. Women who are 30 y and older, those with complications during pregnancy, and those with gestational age more than 40 wk are at risk.
- Pyrexia Transient pyrexia (temperature elevations in excess of 2°F), possibly due to the dinoprostone effect on hypothalamic regulation, was observed in 50% of patients receiving suppositories at the recommended dosage. Temperature returned to normal on discontinuation of therapy.
- Ruptured membranes Exercise caution when administering dinoprostone cervical gel or vaginal insert to patients with ruptured membranes.
- Uterine hyperstimulation Placement of dinoprostone cervical gel into the extra-amniotic space has been associated with uterine hyperstimulation. When using the vaginal insert, if uterine hyperstimulation is encountered or if labor starts, the vaginal insert should be removed."

CYTOTEC/MISOPROSTOL: Pregnancy Category X
http://www.drugs.com/search.php?searchterm=Cytotec
"Generic Name: misoprostol (MYE-soe-PROST-ol) Brand Name: Cytotec Do not take Cytotec to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if you are pregnant. Cytotec may cause abortion, premature birth, or birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Life-threatening..."
(My note: yes - this is just how it appears - with the ellipsis there)

"Misoprostol has been assigned to pregnancy category X by the FDA. Animal studies have failed to reveal evidence of fetotoxicity and teratogenicity. In studies of women undergoing elective first trimester abortion, the administration of misoprostol 400 mcg for two doses caused increased uterine contractions and bleeding in 41% of cases, and partial or complete expulsion of uterine contents in 11% of cases." 

"Breastfeeding Warnings
Misoprostol is rapidly metabolized in the mother to misoprostol acid which is biologically active and is excreted in human breast milk. There are no published reports of adverse effects of misoprostol in breast-feeding infants of mothers taking misoprostol. The manufacturer recommends that caution should be exercised when misoprostol is administered to a nursing woman."
"What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving Pitocin (oxytocin)?
You should not receive this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to oxytocin."

"To make sure oxytocin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
genital herpes;
diabetes;

    • high blood pressure;
    • a heart rhythm disorder;
    • a history of cervical cancer;
    • a history of severe infection in your uterus;
    • a history of difficult labor because you have a small pelvis;
    • if you have ever had surgery on your cervix or uterus (including a prior C-section);
    • if your pregnancy is less than 37 weeks; or
    • if you have had 5 or more pregnancies.’’

"Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;
excessive bleeding long after childbirth;
headache, confusion, slurred speech, hallucinations, severe vomiting, severe weakness, muscle cramps, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, seizure (convulsions), fainting, shallow breathing or breathing that stops; or dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure)."

"Less serious side effects may include:


    • nausea, vomiting;
    • runny nose, sinus pain or irritation;
    • memory problems; or
    • more intense or more frequent contractions (this is an expected effect of oxytocin)."

"For Health Professionals
Hepatic side effects have included neonatal jaundice."
Read more at HERE 

"Genitourinary
Genitourinary side effects have included pelvic hematoma. Excessive doses have produced pelvic fracture, uterine hypertonicity, spasm, tetanic contraction and rupture."

"Hematologic
Hematologic side effects have included postpartum hemorrhage and fatal afibrinogenemia."
Read more HERE 

"General side effects have include low Apgar scores at 5 minutes. Fetal death has been reported."
Read more HERE 


As you can see from the insert information and the pregnancy categories assigned by the FDA, these are not inherently safe just because they are commonly used.  Any parent who is being asked to use these should do so after careful consideration of the risks and the benefits.  You can use this series of questions to help you determine if the benefits outweigh the risks:
  • Is Mom okay?
  • Is Baby okay?
  • What are the benefits of using this drug?
  • What are the risks of using this drug? (You have the right to read the drug insert for yourself in the care facility)
  • What else is going to happen if we say yes? (Additional procedures, time in bed, time being monitored, position for mom, etc.)
  • What are the expected results?  What if we don’t see them? 
  • What are the alternatives if we choose not to do this?
  • What does our intuition tell us?
  • What happens if we choose to do nothing?

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

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


Meet the Doula: Laura

Posted on June 2, 2013 at 5:34 AM Comments comments (3)
Our featured doula this month is Laura Correia, CD(DONA).  Laura and I met through the Rights for Homebirth movement.  It is a pleasure to bring you her interview - this is a woman who knows her calling.  I found that her passion about birth and supporting families speaks through the page and to my heart.  Enjoy getting to know Laura!

About Laura:  I am a DONA certified birth doula in the greater north and west Phoenix metro area, including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Anthem, Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, and Goodyear. I love to use my gifts and talents being able to help women have a satisfying and successful labor and birth. It's my goal to get to know a woman in such a way that I can encourage her in the way that allows her to have the very best birth experience she can. I consider it one of the best blessings to help a baby come into the world! Please email or call me at (480) 44-BABY4, for more information.

When was the first time you heard the word, “doula”? 
In 2002. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, and going through Crisis Pregnancy Counseling training with a woman who became a friend. As we approached the end of my training, she said she was becoming a doula, and needed 3 certification births, and would I mind if she attended my labor? She was amazing! I never ended up becoming a counselor, but became a doula instead! 

How did you decide that becoming a doula was part of your journey?
After a typical hospital birth with epidural, an unmedicated hospital birth with a midwife, and then 2 birth center births, I realized there was a woman with me in some capacity in every single birth. My husband was a FANTASTIC coach, and I couldn't do it without him; at the same time, I really NEEDED a woman there (a nurse the first time, my childbirth instructor the second time, a doula the third time, and a midwife the last time). 

I decided to pursue doula work when my last child was 2. My oldest was old enough to babysit in a pinch (finding 24 hour childcare is often one of the biggest obstacles for doulas) and since they were all homeschooled and used to being home with each other, it worked. I had a supportive aunt who encouraged me and helped me with the cost of training. I also realized there were different needs in the community for different doulas. As a fairly calm, more quiet, strong-in-my-Christian-faith woman, and okay with hospital or medicated birth if the mom desired it, I would appeal to a certain type of laboring woman. I realized it's okay to celebrate our strengths and areas of expertise as doulas. :)

Are you a birth and/or a postpartum doula?
Birth doula.

How long have you been a doula?  
I have been a doula since 2008. I have been certified with DONA since 2010, and have Rebozo and TENS certifications with them as well. I have additional breastfeeding training, and I am Neonatal Resuscitation certified as part of my path to midwifery.  I have experience with hospital (planned medicated and unmedicated), birth center and homebirth. I have attended waterbirths, VBACs, teen or single moms; accompanied in cesarean section births and for expected stillbirth. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a doula?
I love being a part of the strength women and their partners’ find when being stretched beyond what they thought possible. It's a difficult journey for most, but women are amazed at when they've accomplished, and men look at the mom of their new baby with such awe at their perseverance and strength (unmedicated or otherwise)!  Helping a woman feel respected, educated, and informed is also a big part of the satisfaction I get as an attending doula.  And of course, it's always a blessing to see a new baby come into the world. 

What is your philosophy when you go to a birth space?
It's not my birth- it's hers! I am there to support her in HER choices, even if I personally wouldn't chose that path. My goal is to be an encouragement; to help mom feel empowered and confident in an uncertain journey; to make things as relaxing and calm as possible- whether through environment, thoughts/fears, communication or comfort measures; to validate her feelings.  My professional motto is "Seeking to enrich labor and birth experiences" and that can come in a variety of ways.

How do you work with and involve the Coach?
I have worked with coaches that are most comfortable sitting in a corner, and those that are catching their baby... and everything in between! My goal is to help the support person feel the most confident and comfortable they can, and to experience the labor/birth to the level of involvement they want. As a doula, I want to take the pressure off of the coach to be the source for all knowledge and physical help, because that doesn't allow them to experience the birth for themselves. I often will demonstrate how to massage gently, offer positions that he can aid in, and offer food and drink for him to provide for the laboring mom. It's also a comfort to both the coach and the mom to have me available for coach to take bathroom breaks, go on food runs, and take quick catnaps. Typically my biggest help for the coach is being a calm and experienced presence; letting him know that when things get intense, that it's all part of the process, and reassuring him that those are good signs!

What is the toughest situation you have ever dealt with?  How did you handle it?
I've had to call 911 for a mom that labored quickly and felt she was going to birth at home unexpectedly; been dismissed as a doula after a homebirth transport to the hospital; watched a family grieve with the loss of their firstborn; worked in births where the birth team was rude, loud, and demeaning. In all of these situations, I stay present for the mom and dad- a compassionate presence, and I validate their feelings and choices.  And then I go home, and cry, sleep, pray, journal, and/or talk with my mentors. I believe doulas HAVE to have those she can decompress with, otherwise there's too much pent up frustration and often, anger- towards choices made, providers, and "the system," and bitterness grows.

I develop an emotional connection with my clients, and so when they hurt, I hurt. I include a postpartum appointment in my services, and that is where we can talk about what, how, and perhaps why things happened the way they did. I validate mom (and often dad)'s feelings about a birth that went very different that planned. However, I also provide another perspective to things, which often helps them to perceive the experience differently. Lots of times, new moms overlook all the amazing things they did, or the strength they had, focusing only on where things DIDN'T go according to plan. I help her see the good choices she made, and encourage her in where things went "right."

What keeps you working as a doula?
Being there for women. I love helping laboring moms realize how strong they are, helping a couple (or mother/daughter) grow closer together through such an intimate time, and being a compassionate, experienced and non-judgemental guide in the process. Often my clients and I share similar spiritual beliefs, and they appreciate my sensitivity and ability to welcome God into their birth experience through prayer, music, and focus. I feel like my doula work is a gift and a calling - and a responsibility!- from the Lord, and that in itself keeps me going.

What does your fee cover – how many visits or hours?  Is there a different charge for a shorter labor or longer labor?
I charge $600, and it includes 2 prenatal appointments (usually 2 hours each), the entire labor and birth, 1-2 hours postpartum, and a separate postpartum visit one the family is home. I do not vary my fee depending on length of the birth; my quickest client was 10-15 minutes, and my longest was 29 hours. I don't want moms feeling pressured to "birth quicker!" because of financial considerations. 

I offer discounts to previous clients, active duty military, parents placing baby for adoption, and those in full-time Christian ministry. I have also been known to provide significant discounts -occasionally- for hardship situations, and accept barter as partial payment as the need arises. 

Do you offer any other services to your clients?
Placental encapsulation; a "birth journey" story for the baby book and/or to share electronically; all pictures, along with some that I edit. 

I am a Christian childbirth educator for an online format that I adapted from Jennifer VanderLaan's book, "The Christian Childbirth Handbook" and also teach a free one-day childbirth class for crisis pregnancy moms through New Beginnings Crisis Pregnancy/Post Abortion, 1-2 times a year. 

I am also a hobby-level photographer, and take pictures of labor and birth (with the parents' permission), for them to keep.

Just for fun, what do you do when you are not doula-ing? 
I danced professionally with a ballet company before I had kids, and still love to take a class at Ballet Arizona a couple times a year (usually when I'm dancing around my kitchen!). In the past 5 years I've taken up running and have done numerous 5Ks, 10K, and half marathons. I have completed 3 full marathons with my best time being a 4:06. I also like to hike, having done a rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon, and a hike up Yosemite's Half Dome. Obviously, I love to push my body, I think because I see so much correlation in it to birth. 

My family is amazing, and made up of my 4 kids (ages 7-16) and an AMAZING husband who are so supportive and encouraging to me and my love for doula -and now student midwifery- work. Spending time with them is always a favorite, whether watching them cook with my husband, or reading books together, or watching House Hunters and the Cosby Show with them! After a year of dealing with a diagnosis of clinical depression, I am learning to heal from past hurts, and to again enjoy entertaining and spending time with friends and my church family. Other than birth, I have a passion for healthy marriages, mentoring, counseling, and non-judgmental, transparent (and often messy) Christianity. My husband is a pastor at West Greenway Bible Church in Glendale, and teaches Bible at Arizona Christian University, and combined with my work in the birth community, that keeps us hopping! 

Oh, and I can also turn ANYTHING into a birth analogy. It's a gift, really. ;)

If you would like to contact Laura to schedule a complimentary interview, you can reach her via:
Phone: 480.442.2294 (480-44-BABY-4)

Was Laura your doula+?  Please let us know about your experience.
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, 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®.


Meet the Doula: Zabrina

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:56 AM Comments comments (127)
This month I would like to introduce you to one of my Bradley Method® colleagues, Zabrina Pell.  She is a wonderful instructor, and as you will read, a doula and a lactation educator. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her through her interview.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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