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Monday Mantra - Letting Go

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 1:11 PM Comments comments (222)
There is no time like the present to let go of the situations and the people that are not serving a positive purpose in our lives, or from which (or whom) we have finished learning the lessons they were meant to teach us.

Pregnancy and postpartum are time of threshold and initiation. They are times when things are new, when things are in transition, and when quite frankly, they are sometimes completely turned around and upside down.  

In times like this, the extra stress of situations that bring negativity are the things that keep us from being present for ourselves and for our baby. If you sit quietly, I am guessing you can name at least one thing, situation or relationship that it is best parted with for the time being.

What's one small thing you could do today to move away from that thing, situation or relationship so that you can be free to make your whole self available and present for this pregnancy - labor - birth - postpartum?

Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog 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 and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
 
Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale

Reflections: In The Current

Posted on July 21, 2015 at 6:49 AM Comments comments (0)
We see and hear birth “bumper stickers” every day…

“Trust birth”

“I am strong”

“My body is built for birth”

“My body, my baby, my birth”

And the list goes on.

The problem is…that these one-liners are not always true.  This leaves countless women feeling like they were lied to, cheated, betrayed; it might make them feel like they are failures, defective, broken, weak…

When the truth is…there is nothing wrong with them.  As a birth culture meaning to do well by making women believe they are capable and strong, by trying to empower them with reassuring phrases, we are inadvertently creating these expectations that are impossible to make true all the time.


As I sat in the middle of Christopher Creek on Sunday, watching the water flow past me, I couldn’t help but make the obvious correlations between water, going with the flow, the birth journey...

All the clichés I have picked up after being immersed in birth work for the last five years wanted to be made:

Women are all the rocks in the water, 
strong in the face of the surges

The water moves around and over us,
 but it can’t take away who we are

We can be in in the midst of labor
 and be strong as we go with the flow

It could have been very easy to get carried away with this line of thought and write a grandiose reflection on how amazing we are.

Then, a little stick snagged upright in the rocks caught my eye.  And I thought, why?  Why do we resist the idea of being vulnerable? Why are we afraid of being compared to something breakable?  What is it about this place of not knowingwhen we might break out of our safety and security that makes us so uncomfortable?


So I changed the course and let my mind reflect on, “What if we were more like the sticks instead of the rocks?”

If we are like this little stick stuck in the rocks, the water can still flow around us.  All the sensations, sights, sounds of the birth journey can happen to us.  Although we are just an insignificant little stick caught in the rocks in the creek bed, we are still The Stick.  Who we are at our core is still “us”.  All the things that shaped and grew us are still true while we are in our birth journey.

And yet, we wait.  We know this place of safety cannot last forever.  What if we wait, even look for, that moment when we are torn loose from the rocks? What if we allow our safety and security to be torn away from us, and throw ourselves deep into the current of the birth journey?  No expectations, no demands, we simply allow ourselves to be and see where the current takes us.

When we are pulled into this current, we are no longer letting it flow around us – we are in it, feeling it, experiencing the ups, the downs.  Being in the crevices where we may be caught for a little while, looking around us, observing, learning that scenery; until we are loosened again and taken up into the flow of the waters one more time.

Where we land, how the birth journey plays out…we do not know where that place will be.  Yet when we land, we are still ourselves, weak in the grand scheme of the water and rocks in the creek, yet stronger for having taken the journey, and transformed into a new shape as the rocks and the water had their effect on us.

I encourage all of you who are gravitating to the great platitudes about our body, our birth and our babies to really sit with the idea of being vulnerable.  And yet strong enough to survive and be transformed by the journey of pregnancy, labor and birth.  Because survive it you will.

What you do with everything that you experience…that is up to you.  I hope you will celebrate your moments of brilliance, watch for the moment(s) of surprise, learn from your flashes of weakness.  

Most of all, I wish you joy as you travel through the process of discovering your new normal, still the person you were before, yet growing a new branch on your tree.  You are now growing into motherhood.



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




Q&A with SPB: Benefits of Meditation

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 1:51 PM Comments comments (0)
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Here is the video with the answer to today's question.  Keep scrolling for more of the information we learned in our Bonus Class with Jennifer, and for links to on-line meditation resources!



What is meditation?
The practice of concentrated focus to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.
(Adapted from the definition in the Farlex Medical Dictionary)

Different ways you can meditate:

Focus on:

  • Sound
  • Object
  • Visualization
  • Breath
  • Movement
  • Attention


Why do we want to reduce anxiety in pregnancy?

Anxiety during pregnancy may:

  • Lead to low birth weight
  • Increase the complications of labor
  • Increase the risk for miscarriage
  • Increase the risk of birth defects
  • Lead to premature delivery
  • Increase the use of prescription medications
  • Make pain worse during labor
  • Stress family members


What are the benefits of meditation?

There are three main benefits of meditation that you can access whether you are pregnant or even if you are not:

  • The more a person meditates, the higher their endorphin levels.  Endorphins are the pain-relieving and pleasure-enhancing hormones - we can always use a boost!
  • Increased levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone) - it is an immune-boosting hormone that defends against disease, improves mood, balances brain chemistry, benefits vision, hearing, muscles, bones, and regulates blood pressure.
  • Increases levels of melatonin - it is a hormone that improves sleep, assists with a general sense of well-being, and it crosses the placenta! Your baby benefits from that sense of well-being, receiving the assurance that all is well. Good levels of melatonin have been shown to lead to an improvement in relationships with others.


In addition, clinical evidence illustrates that meditation is highly effective in the treatment of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance dependence and abuse, ulcers, colitis, chronic pain, psoriasis, and dysthymic disorder.

Three main kinds of meditation that have been scientifically studied:

Mindfulness Meditation
This type of meditation comes out ot the traditional Buddhist meditation practices.  In formal mindfulness practice, the meditator sits with eyes closed, focusing the attention on the sensations and movement of the breath fro approximately 45-60 minutes at a time, at least once a day.  The essence of mindfulness meditation is not what one focuses on, but rather the quality of awareness the meditator brings to each moment.  "The goal of mindfulness is for you to be more aware, more in touch with life and whatever is happening in your own body and mind at the time it is happening - that is, the present moment." (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Relaxation Response
This is another kind of mental focusing.  Meditators are taught to focus upon the repetition of a word, sound, prayer, phrase or movement activity (including swimming, jogging, yoga, and even knitting) for 10-20 minutes at a time, twice a day.  They are taught no to pay attention to distracting thoughts and to return their focus to the original repetition.  

Transcendental Meditation
This has its origins in the Vedic tradition of India.  The meditator sits with eyes closed and concentrates on a single syllable or word (mantra) for 20 minutes at a time, twice a day.  When thoughts or feelings arise, the attention is brought back to the mantra.  Jennifer mentioned one of her favorite types of focus music are the kirtans by Govind Das & Radha.  

How to work it into your daily routine:
Jennifer mentioned that it takes 14 days to get into the habit of a daily meditation practice.  The really amazing difference it can make is that not only will it improve your pregnancy experience and quite probably enhance your labor and birth, you can also reap the benefits during postpartum, and beyond!  All the hormones that are created (endorphins, DHEA, melatonin) are a HUGE plus for sleepy, tired parents of newborns. 

I hope you are now inspired to find a way to work even a minute of mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine.  Our attending students received a handout that Jennifer shares with all her clients with three simple meditations that can be done in under five minutes; plus they got a nifty magnet with over a dozen affirmations that can be used as focus points.  

These are some online resources for free recordings that you can play if you want some guided meditations to get you started, or if you just need fresh ideas to work into your daily routine if you are already meditating:

www.chopra.com

www.freemindfulness.org

www.relaxationresponse.org

Local resources:
www.meditationlearningcenter.com

www.pathsofgrowth.com

www.moxiemeditation.com

Jennifer is a knowledgeable midwife and hypnotherapist.  If you would like to be in touch with her with one or both aspects of her business, here is her contact information:

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®.

Birth Story: Baby P Born At Home

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 10:02 PM Comments comments (94)



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birth story - Baby P born at home

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

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

Birth story - Baby P born at home

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

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

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

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

Monday Mantra: Your Best Birth

Posted on January 19, 2015 at 5:58 PM Comments comments (0)
If you follow us on social media, you probably know that Cassandra, our guest blogger and social media maven, is expecting her second Sweet Pea any day now.  As a matter of fact, she is 41 weeks today.
 
When we were corresponding last week, she sent a plea that most pregnant women in their last weeks of pregnancy send:
“I need something; grounding, reassurance; I’m not sure!”
 
I sent her some ideas to help pass the time until it’s “real McCoy” labor…she will be writing a post about that later in the week (maybe!).
 
I also sent her some words that she turned into a beautiful image for the lock screen on her phone: 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Art Piece by Alisha Vernon
Image credit: Cassandra Okamoto

 
While I hope they offer her (and anyone else they speak to) some reassurance, energy and courage, I offer them with love and caution.
 
After taking the first part of a training offered by Birthing From Within, I am painfully aware of the power of the words we use, especially around the topic of birth.  As Pam England calls them, these “bumper stickers” of the birthing world can be incredibly damaging.
 
These bumper stickers are ideas like, “Trust Birth”, “Empowered Birth”, “Birth Works” – you catch my drift.  If they hold true, they have the potential to encourage the mother throughout labor and motherhood.  On the other hand, say the birth has unforeseen or outcomes the mother/family did not prepare for or expect…then the woman might be left feeling powerless, helpless, something like a failure.
 
So when you read the mantra and absorb the message, hear all of what I am trying to convey:
 
Your body and your baby are functioning within a cycle of birth that is timeless. There is sacredness and beauty in the process of pregnancy, labor and birth. 
 
The reality is that even with the best preparation, birth is unique, fluid and unpredictable. I feel like the words I sent Cassandra give any birthing family the “permission” to embrace even an “imperfect” birth, for *that* journey was what *that* body and *that* baby needed for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
 
I encourage you to adjust your lens: instead of focusing on the outcome, embrace the journey.  What are you meant to learn from this journey through pregnancy, labor and birthing?  By maintaining a realistic outlook that sometimes interventions are necessary and desirable for a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome, you can mentally prepare for the outliers and then celebrate the baby instead of the process.
 
So please embrace all of it – whatever happens, your body and your baby know what kind of birth they need for both of you to be well after the journey.  Sometimes Mother Nature needs no help at all, or sometimes a little encouragement.  At the other extreme, sometimes it takes all of the available medical technology to have a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.  Embrace it, accept it, own it, learn from it.  It is your unique birth journey into motherhood, waiting just for you to uncover all the lessons and treasures hidden as unexpected forks in the road.


Do you have a favorite affirmation? What encouraged 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®.

Monday Mantra: Rest Between

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 6:01 PM Comments comments (0)
When I tell people that they are going to be able to rest in labor as it intensifies, they look at me like I am crazy. How can a mama in labor possibly rest when contractions are coming two to three minutes apart??

 I think if you can wrap your mind around the idea of resting between contractions, it becomes a more realistic possibility.  If you can actually go to sleep, great! If not, a deep and complete relaxation can be hugely beneficial to help the mother conserve energy.

So how does it work in real life??  Here is an image of a screen shot I took during a student's labor where I served as a doula:


Can you see how between each contraction there was an opportunity for a good minute of rest?  During each of those rest periods her Coach was offering her encouraging words in her ear, and both of us were stroking her to move any tension out and away as she rested so that she would be completely relaxed between contractions.

Mama had the faith to completely let go between contractions because as soon as my timer crossed the minute mark, in a low voice I would let her know how much time had passed and that another one was likely to start again soon.  This constant communication allowed Mama to work with her labor when she needed to (which consisted of working at keeping everything loose, limp and relaxed when her body wanted to tense with the contraction), and completely let go when it was over and fall back into a deep relaxation.

Although you may not necessarily sleep, rest and complete relaxation will allow the mother to conserve energy so she can be at her best when the second stage of labor begins.  When second stage is at hand, she will need all that energy to work with her body and welcome her little one into the world.

What do you think - can you picture yourself completely letting go and using that as a tool in labor?  What do you think will work for you?

I believe

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

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

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

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

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

NOW COMES THE BIG *HOWEVER*...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday Mantra: Gathering Energy for Labor

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 1:16 AM Comments comments (50)

Whether you have a long labor, a short labor, or something in between, there will come a time when you have to draw within yourself to gather the energy you need to see your birth through.  This was definitely my favorite affirmation - mantra really - as we hit the point in labor when there was barely time to let go of all the tension before another contraction started again.

I envisioned the energy around me as a vortex, and as I inhaled I swirled energy into me and as I exhaled I sent all my tiredness and tension away.  It was really a neat vision as I entered the "the zone".

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



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


Monday Mantra: Gift of Birth

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 2:18 AM Comments comments (0)

A couple of birth stories have really brought to mind a mantra that was so beneficial to Bruss and I when we were laboring with Otter:

"We will give our baby the gift of the birth that she needs."

It was so important to us that we have undisturbed time, free of the pressure of "the clock" for things to happen, free of vaginal exams that have always been difficult for me due to past trauma, and most of all - we wanted to be free of any interventions.

Believe it or not, even though we were birthing at home, there were things our midwives were prepared to offer us to help "speed things up". We asked the two most important evaluation questions, "Is Mom okay? Is Baby okay?"

Once we were assured that we were both laboring beautifully with no signs of distress, we politely declined and kept on the course to birth - no interventions, no exams, no time pressure.

We knew that the best Birth-Day present we could give her was an undisturbed birth.  Although it took a heck of a lot longer than we had anticipated since we were laboring out of the hospital (my labor always slowed when we transferred from our home environment to the planned hospital births), we were happy to give her just that: time, patience and the birth that she needed.

How this mantra applies to your story is going to be unique and individual.  I would love to hear what you did to give your baby the birth that (s)he needed.

What did you do to give your baby the birth that (s)he needed?
Please leave a comment below - it will be moderated and posted.

Want to read Otter's birth story? It's in two parts - startHERE


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®.

A Letter To You, The New Mother

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 9:19 AM Comments comments (4)
Carnival of Natural Mothering
April 2014: What You Wish You Knew

Remember when you got your first positive pregnancy test? What do you wish that woman knew? Write a letter of love and encouragement to that awesome mama just starting her journey.
 
Dear New Mama:
 
Yes, you.  I skipped over the “mother-to-be”.  You are already growing life, and you are already aware of that life and protective of that life…as I see it, there is no “to-be” in mothering.  It is a state of being since you got your BFP.  Your mother’s instinct is no joke: trust it always, even in the face of a “lack of evidence” or just “having a feeling”.  No mother has ever regretted doing the best for her child from a place of love and concern…the only regret is not listening to that voice.  Your mothering instinct will not fail you in pregnancy or parenting.
 
At times, pregnancy may feel equally miraculous and uncomfortable.  First trimester: the unquenchable excitement of being pregnant (it happened!!)…and nausea.  Second trimester: interesting sounds and smells, and maternity clothing as your waistline grows.  Third trimester: the disappearance of your feet beneath your belly, maybe nausea (again!), and the OMGosh moment: this baby has to come out of me – through *there*! 
 
Through it all, the miracle and awe of growing another human being is constant.  There are two hearts beating, two minds working, two souls living in one body.  The first time you feel your Sweet Pea stir inside of you…their hiccups, the reaction to voices and touch…and those sensations continue.  I believe they exist as a reminder that the sacred and divine is happening right now.
 
You want to do the best for your baby.  You want to have a perfect pregnancy that leads into your perfect birth story.  While those are worthy ideals, you can only control finite amounts of conception through the Birth-Day, and at some point you must surrender the rest of it to the universe.
 
I encourage you to learn as much as you can about birth, breastfeeding and parenting!  
Birth: Find a comprehensive childbirth class that prepares you and your coach for a positive birth experience.  Connect with the ICAN group in your area and learn how to avoid a primary cesarean, because an unnecessary one can be heartbreaking.  Read up on placenta encapsulation and the postpartum period.

Breastfeeding and Parenting: Find a group of women and/or families to build your village.  The best lesson I ever got was to ask questions and take advice from the parents that are already doing/have done what you want to do.  If you want to breastfeed, don’t get advice from someone who made a different choice.  Connect with breastfeeding mothers at La Leche League or a breastfeeding support group.  If you want to babywear, don’t seek out a person who is always pushing a stroller.  Connect with a babywearing group in your area, or find a group online.  If you want to practice gentle parenting, read up on attachment parenting, and in this day and age, you can connect with the experts online.  Two of my favorites are Dr. Laura Markham and L.R. Knost
 
Maternity Leave: Are you going to work outside the home after a maternity leave?  Connect with the women who have made that choice and have the breastfeeding/parenting relationship you want with your child.  As far as I know, there are no support groups for that.  I have a cadre of students who have breastfed/are breastfeeding and practice attachment parenting while working out of the home full-time.  Please feel free to contact me to connect with them – several are willing to share their stories and mentor new mothers.
 
You are never alone on this journey.  Birth and parenting have happened for eons.  There is so much wisdom available to you, and so many people to walk and learn with as a new parent.  Read, connect, be willing to say hello to the person sitting next to you in your childbirth or breastfeeding group.  Once your Sweet Pea is earthside, get out and about.  Say hello at the breastfeeding or postpartum support group, story time or playgroup.  A simple hello can lead to a beautiful friendship for you and your Sweet Pea.
 
Since this is a birth blog, here are some more details about preparing for the Birth-Day…
The decisions you can make and be in control of:
Eating a whole food, balanced diet: as much as possible, skip the processed foods.  Here’s an illustration: if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, do not eat it. Or, try this one: if it has more than ten ingredients, or more than one you cannot pronounce without concentrated effort, then put it back on the shelf. Check out our posts on nutrition HERE.

Exercise every day: even 10-20 minutes of cardio is better than none.  You are going to be part of an athletic event...train for it intentionally. Engage in both stamina-building and pregnancy-specific exercises to equip you for a stronger pregnancy and birth.

Avoid harmful substances: back to all those things you cannot pronounce.  Pregnancy is a great time to go green…one change at a time.  Start by looking at your personal care products…then your kitchen…then your cleaners (both at home and in your school and/or workplace).  Commit to yourself and to your baby that once a month, you will make a change that will make just one more thing in your life non-toxic.  By the time you are holding your Sweet Pea, there are at least 7-8 changes that are now healthy habits.

Choose the right care provider and birth space: if you know you want a natural birth, do your homework now. Find a care provider that supports your choice. The other thing to evaluate is whether your birth space and your birth vision are aligned.  If either of these is a NO, you can change providers and/or birth spaces – no permission slip necessary.

Pain is not normal: your body can do pregnancy pain-free. Are you uncomfortable? Look into chiropractic care, acupuncture, pregnancy massage, aromatherapy...decide what you will do to eliminate any physical pain or anxiety so you can prepare for a positive birth experience.

Pamper yourself: Say YES when it comes to being kind to yourself.  Get the pedicure, go out to dinner, eat your favorite foods that are safe in pregnancy.  You won't know when you are ready, willing or able to afford those things after your Sweet Pea arrives.  Do it now while you still only have your schedule to manage.
 
About the things you cannot possibly know or control...
How long you will be pregnant: you were given an estimated due date…it’s a guess at best.  It is definitely NOT an expiration date.  Each day inside you is a day your Sweet Pea is growing and preparing to live earthside.  As long as you are okay, and they are okay, inside is a great place to be.  Find ways to enjoy being pregnant, even if your due date comes and goes.

How long your labor will be: if only there was a magic wand for this!  I love Dr. Bradley’s “formula” for labor…whether you have a “sprint”, a “marathon” or something in between, your energy and your rest determine how you manage the duration of your labor.  It is intense work, it is athletic work…so eat if you are hungry and definitely sleep, even in the excitement of “I think I’m in labor!” Eat something, drink something, go for a walk, take a bath or shower to relax you…and then go to bed!  I promise you that you cannot sleep through an unmedicated labor.  Your body will wake you up when it’s time to start that cycle again…until you can’t sleep anymore because you are working.  If you slept as suggested, you will have all the energy you need to have the birth you prepared for.  If you do not sleep, then you will have to dig down even deeper to see your birth through the way you want to – totally possible as well.  If you can, just trust me and sleep – it makes for a better birth!

When you surrender control: let go, give in, and let your baby come out.  At some point, we must let go of the present and give into the primal timelessness of birth.  I know! It sounds completely hippie-hoodoo right now.  Take it from me – I am Miss Priss and Miss Always-in-control…it makes for a LONG birth.  Your body can only get down to the real work of birth when we are willing to be vulnerable, to feel, to surrender all of the control to the bigness that is birth.  Let go – even though you are not in the driver’s seat, it does happen…without you.  It is the one time in your life when you can connect to all the birthers that have gone before you.  When I would finally surrender, I would feel all the energy in the Universe around me.  That energy sustained me, it pushed through the fear of no control, to the absolute bliss of working with our baby and my body to just Be.  A little secret: you can control your breath.  Focus on making it as deep as possible…then just feel.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  You are already an amazing parent – you have chosen to carry this life, and by doing that, you have undertaken the essence of mothering: living outside of yourself and considering the needs of another.  Best wishes to you as you continue to grow in love.
 
Blessings,
Krystyna
 

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®.