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Friday, November 5, 2010

The Gift of Giving Life: The Definition of Crisis

The Gift of Giving Life: The Definition of Crisis: "Never a Bad Decision, originally uploaded by ilina s.This week I was reading an interview with Naomi Judd and she said something great. She..."

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Than Just the Birth of Your child

This is a post from my personal blog from last October... I figured the content was still relevant ;)
I know it's been a while since one of my infamous rants on the worth of a natural childbirth- and I'll try to refrain from sounding too preachy- but now that I'm teaching my Bradley classes I have to give a shout out to my super great students. They are such awesome couples and have actually taught me a lot about why natural childbirth is not just important for the health of the mother and baby, but can also be a huge boost to a marriage through the bonding that creates a family when a child is born. I have two first time Mommy's and Daddy's in my class and one couple who is pregnant with their third. I get such joy every week as we talk about not just how to have a natural childbirth, but seeing how much their relationships can be strengthened by working together to get through one of the most important moments of their lives- the creation of a new one! The way the fathers in our class have become so much more attentive to their wives needs, the way the moms have learned to trust and lean on their husbands- I'm blown away! I didn't realize how much influence these classes could have on people's lives, I only knew how much mine and Adam's relationship was improved and how much I appreciated him for being an active part of the birth, and not just the conception. I'm not saying that couples who have epidurals are any less loving towards one another or their children, I just think that there is a power behind creation that is numbed with the use of drugs. A power that is spiritual, emotional, and amazing. A power that bonds us together as a family when two loving individuals work as one. I haven't even mentioned how amazing it made me feel as a woman to have achieved what society has deemed to be the impossible. To connect with your body, to work with it, to feel the decent of your child and experience the power of it's entrance into the world is indescribable. When you take the drugs you are surrendering your power as a woman to the directions of a Doctor or Midwife. On the same note if you haven't had any training or education about how to have a natural childbirth then to try it would most likely be a very unpleasant experience.
I don't know if I'm really saying this the way I want too. I guess my point would be better made by saying whether it is you first or your tenth child it's never to late to experience the empowerment of a natural childbirth, the bonding power of full husband participation, and the ability to fully enjoy the process. I hope that soon I will be able to post my students birth stories so that you can see first hand how natural childbirth benefited them.


So again I find myself needing to rant about the absurdity of our great nations standard of care when it comes to giving birth... But more importantly I am concerned for all the pregnant, or soon to be, who 1. will spend less time choosing a birth attendant (ob, midwife, etc) than they did choosing what to where this morning and 2. Are having their options for creating the birth experience they want dwindle with every day that passes, every woman who is guilted into evasive medical procedures for "the sake of the baby", and every woman who adopts the idea that they are "too posh to push"! I mean come on! What is it going to take for women to educate themselves! Stop sitting around the table listening to everyone tell you how great their epidural was because they didn't feel a thing, or how grateful they were for their Cesarean because the doctor saved the day (forgetting to mention that the need for the C-section was a direct result of all of those interventions that are supposed to make labor and delivery safer)! Wait though, most the women who have had these emergency c-sections don't even know that it was the hospital or medical staff or OB's fault that this happened to them! And sadly, too many don't care! They are being robbed of the most empowering experience of their lives! If you can give birth naturally, you can do anything!!
Just the other day I was given a tour of the new hospital here in the Salt Lake Valley's maternity ward. They did a really nice job of pointing out how sterile things are, and yet the warm decor is supposed to make you feel at home. Oh, and speaking of home, if you have children under the age of 12, that's where they have to stay while you're in labor because they may "contaminate" something in the L/D room. How much more at home can we get, none of your own things, you aren't allowed to see your other children, you have to have a needle at least capped off in your arm "just in case", (I don't know about you, but I don't sit around at my house going, "Gee, if only I had a needle in my arm, then I'd really be comfortable") All of the just in case scenarios do not justify the all encompassing procedures inflicted upon you as soon as you walk through the hospital doors. If 90% of women can have a normal vaginal birth, why are we forcing pitocin into women, and then saving the day with the epidural, and then scaring the mother because she can't feel anything, but the Fetal Monitor says that the baby's heart rate is dropping with every induced contraction. Could it be because Pitocin causes the uterus to contract for longer periods in a full seizure instead of a steady wave like natural contractions that are usually less severe and do not cut of oxygen supply for long periods? Could it be because the baby is receiving adult doses of narcotics that are causing the mom to feel drowsy and nauseated?
I don't know, I just don't understand a woman's lack of interest in the method to which her baby is coming into the world. I'm not an extremist, I'm not a 'hippy' and I'm not granola, but a home birth is sounding better and better to me, especially after my tour of the hospital. I know that if I go in there I will not have any control, but at least the nurses and the Doctors will be smiling and I'll be surrounded by sterile home-like decor!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Knowledge is Power

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "Granola" people (no offense intend to those who are, more power to you, but I love my store bought sliced bread and I can't live without my Oreos!!) I just have very passionate feelings about natural birth. I think it goes beyond the choice of 'medicated' or 'non-medicated', I think it is more to me about women who are expecting a child taking the time to really investigate their options. If you find out your pregnant and you go to your doctor to find out what to do next, how this is going to work, and what to expect then you are going to become dependent on them for your knowledge. Why don't more women think about that before just yeilding their pregnancy and ultimate labor to a doctor who has little to no intimate knowledge of you.
What if we all say, "OK, I want to get pregnant, (or I am pregnant), what's next for me?" and how about if we try to answer that question ourselves instead of only looking to find out from our doctor. You typically find out you are pregnant at the ripe gestational age of 2-3 weeks. Most doctors wont even schedual an apointment for you until you are 10 weeks along or 8 gestational weeks. That means that you have at least a month from the time you find out you are pregnant until your first meeting with any 'professional.' Take this time to talk to your friends, family, do some research. Dont just find out 'what's next?' find out what comes after that. And then after that... and finally, decide early on how you want it all to end. Knowledge is power! The more you have the better off you and your baby will be. Empower yourself! Don't give in to the idea that "oh, but it hurts" think about it is as something that proves your strength, your conciousness of feminine nature, and the love you have for your child.
Everyone has a different birth story, don't let your doctor write yours.

My experience with natural childbirth and the Bradley Method

An article taken from
When we found out we were expecting our first child, we carefully sought out information about natural childbirth. The reason for this was really plain and simple: I was terrified of the epidural. So, in an effort to avoid a needle being pierced through my skin at the bottom of my spine while being asked to lie still in the middle of a contraction, we opted for natural childbirth.My husband and I sought out information on natural childbirth. We mostly learned of Lamaze. But, in my searchings, we discovered The Bradley Method. This is a method developed by Dr. Bradley years ago, and is based on what he learned from watching farm animals give birth without medication. While, a pregnant human woman is a far cry from a pig or a cow, there are similarities in how mammals conduct themselves in an effort to bring forth new life with a minimal amount of discomfort. We found a Bradley instructor nearby, and signed up for the 12 week course. Yes - 12 weeks. It is a commitment to both you and your spouse. For 12 weeks, we sat in the basement of our Bradley instructor’s house & learned about relaxation techniques. We learned how to position pillows to assist in relaxing. We learned techniques of focusing on pleasant, relaxing thoughts such as an ocean wave or Bible verses or songs that bring comfort. We also learned about how God made our bodies to be able to give birth. We learned a great deal about our diet: what to eat and not eat while pregnant. Namely, I ate a lot of protein. We watched videos and read articles & learned a great deal about natural childbirth. It was much more than panting and focusing on a focal point. My OB/GYN commented thatwhen we completed the course, we knew more than he knew after years of medical school.

I don’t know about knowing more than my doctor, but after 12 weeks of classes, we felt prepared. My husband had his coaching cards complete with tips of what to say to me when I went into labor. I even had a little t-shirt & onesie ready for the baby with the Bradley logo ironed on - which I was actually still ironing on while in labor. We learned and prepared ourselves for the stages of labor - early labor - transition, etc. But, nothing can really prepare a woman for that moment of transition.

While, an at-home birth looked very appealing to us, those thoughts of “what-ifs” rang in my head. So, we opted for a natural birth at the hospital. Well, as natural as they allow at a hospital. With our birth plan in hand, with our first child, we arrived at the hospital almost ready to go after several hours of at-home labor. I delivered naturally just a few short hours after arriving to the hospital. We managed to avoid the epidural.Our second child involved just slightly shorter labor. But, my husband almost got to deliver her himself, like he had been trained in the Bradley course. When we arrived at the hospital, the staff checked me in and then they checked out. They were so busy with other mothers in labor, that they called my doctor and then pretty much just left me alone. Not long later, my baby’s head was crowning with no hospital staff to be found. I watched the precious look on my husband’s face as he looked at me, then looked at the nurse’s buzzer. I could read his thoughts: “I trained for this, I could catch this baby. But, what if something goes wrong? What should I do?” as he pushed the buzzer and said, “Um, I can see the baby’s head, can somebody tend to my wife?” In no time, about 5 doctors, nurses and hospital staff were by my side. I heard the baby cry & then was shaking hands with a woman who introduced herself as the house doctor. She had just delivered my baby. Then, my doctor arrived. We still got the bill.

Then, came my third child. After 3 miscarriages in between, she is technically my 6th child, so I should have been prepared for a quick delivery, but I wasn’t. I began my labor in our jacuzzi. Transition, once again, hit. But, as with the others, no training prepares you for transition, and I just thought I was in for a long, rough labor. I never have a clue transition is happening until after the fact. All through this pregnancy, my husband and I had tried to find our Bradley book with no luck. We looked everywhere. My husband wanted to get refreshed on his coaching duties. We never found that book, but everything we needed to do all came back to us. Very early in the morning after only 3-4 hours of labor, my husband put our other two children into the car and came back into the house to get me to go to the hospital. He came into the room and announced, “all we need is you.” I looked at him and said, “oh, no. I’m not getting in the car.” I knew it was time. He then said, “15 minutes, I’ll drive fast.” I said, “Oh, you don’t understand.” At that, he asked what I wanted him to do. I told him to see if there was a head and if so, catch the baby. And, yes, I was that calm. He did! We then called the paramedics who brought our children into the house to meet their miracle sister. All that Bradley training came back in the time of need.

My only regret is that I didn’t stay in that jacuzzi. If I had, I could have had the water birth I always dreamed of but was too afraid to try.

Whatever method you chose to birth your child. Don’t be afraid of the pain. The real pain is only really for such a short amount of time, though when you’re in the middle of it, it does seem like an eternity. The joy you experience once your child is born is beyond measure. There is nothing like the sensation of having an active part of birthing your baby. It’s indescribable. And, it is usually faster since epidurals can quite often slow labor down and creating a situation where a c-section becomes the method of delivery. I’m so glad I experienced natural childbirth.

Rowan's birth story

January 16, 2009
He is here!!
Our beautiful, perfect little boy is here! What an experience it was this time!
Here is the story…

January 10th rolled around (which was my due date), and so did the 11th and 12th. On the 13th I was having mild contractions, but nothing significant. I had an appointment with Dr. Steele around 4:00. At the appointment, while he was checking my dilation, I asked him to strip the membranes just to see if we could get anything going. The good news was, I was already dilated to 4 cm.
We left the office after the appointment and I went home to get dinner ready. We still weren’t sure that anything would happen that night, so Darin headed back to work.
While we were eating dinner (about 6pm) I started feeling a major difference in the contractions. I knew from the past that these were real labor contractions. I could tell this was it! I quickly called Darin and MaryLayne and Patrick (they slept over).
When Darin got home, I was feeling so many emotions. I was way excited that it was actually here, and also feeling pretty scared since I didn’t know what I was in for. Darin gave me the perfect priesthood blessing. It brought me so much peace.
We wanted to get to the hospital early so that things were not rushed. I wanted time to really relax and use the skills we had practiced so much!
When we checked into LDS Hospital, they had to run an initial fetal monitor strip on the baby’s well being. After that they checked the cervix, and it was dilated 6 cm and was 90% effaced! I was pretty excited about that-
We spent the next few hours walking the halls. They are totally remodeling the unit there, and since we had requested a room with a tub, we got put in a brand new room that had never been used. We were the only ones in that whole hall! It truly was an answer to our prayers. Everything was just so quiet and peaceful. The lights in the hall were dimmed (since no one was using it), and we could walk and walk forever without ever seeing a soul. I have such good memories of this part of labor.
The contractions were very strong, but with each one, I would usually just lean on Darin (who was leaning on the wall) so I could let my whole body relax. We would breathe through the contraction, and then go on walking again. We did our best to avoid our nurse or anyone else who wanted to interrupt our time together.  In fact, I think our nurse was frustrated that she had to keep chasing us down to ask us questions! We also made her a little unhappy when she found us sitting on a couch just eating and drinking freely! Every hour and a half we had to return back to our room to get another reading of how the baby was tolerating labor. This was pretty annoying to me because it would always pull us out of our groove.
Eventually (I’m guessing maybe around midnight), being on my feet was getting too intense. I felt like I couldn’t breathe with every contraction, and they were coming very close together.
Darin drew up a warm bath for me, which later proved to be the most relaxing thing by far. He was seriously the best coach ever. He created the most peaceful atmosphere in that hospital bathroom! He dimmed the lights and turned on our sound machine so it sounded like soft rain. It was amazing to get in that warm water, I was able to just lay back and take my mind to a wonderful peaceful place.
At this point, my contractions were taking a very different turn. They were much, much more intense. The power in each contraction was amazing to me. I have definitely never felt such a thing in my whole life! I would have stayed in that bath forever, but of course the nurse and doctor wanted to get another strip, which required me getting out of the bath. I refused for as long as I could, and then eventually dragged myself out of my peaceful state into the freezing cold, hard bed!
That is when labor turned insane!
I was trying with everything I had inside of me to relax. I knew that moving during contractions would only intensify the pain. But even though I knew that, unfortunately my mind was not in control at this point. My body was taking over. It was unbelievable.
During every contraction I felt like I couldn’t breathe, my legs would just kick and soon I was even screaming with contractions! They went on this hard for about an hour or so. My mind could not even begin to understand what to do with myself. Seriously I was out of my mind. After each contraction, my amazing husband would take my hands and open them into a relaxed position. He would touch my face so each muscle could relax again, and he would tell me how amazing I was for doing this.
Dr. Steele arrived and said that the baby could be here very soon. There was just one thing that he felt was slowing the process down, and that was the fact that my water still hadn’t broken! On my birth plan, I had requested that he not break the water. We kept just going through these minutes of insanity with each contraction, and finally Darin asked me if Dr. Steele could just break the water. At this point I was willing to try anything to speed up the process. (I literally felt like I was going to die if this didn’t end soon!) Breaking the bag of waters was the biggest relief ever! It felt so amazingly good as the warm fluid flooded over me.
I still had not felt any overwhelming urge to push, but I started slowly pushing with contractions just because it gave me something to focus on other than the uterus. My body hurt so bad that it was hard to do anything besides scream. I was on my back, which I did not want to be. I knew that I wanted to change positions, but I could not bring myself to move. I felt out of control of what my body was doing. (that’s probably because I was!)
It’s funny now as I try to recall what happened during this stage because I was so out of my mind that I can’t exactly remember. All I know is I was pushing and not knowing if it was doing anything. Out of nowhere (it seemed), Darin said he could see the baby’s head! I was TOTALLY shocked because I hadn’t felt him descend or anything! Next, I for sure felt the burn of the “ring of fire” as his head came out, and Darin said I let out a huge scream! A few more pushes and I felt an overwhelming feeling of relief as warm fluid and a very slippery baby rubbed against my legs!
Darin started crying, and my initial thoughts were just,
“that was it??”
“He’s out??”
“We’re DONE?!!”
I got to hold him directly on my chest while he was still naked. It was amazingly bonding. He curled right up to breastfeed.
We were both crying at this point and I just could not believe it was over!
I could look at our sweet boy and know that he didn’t have one ounce of medication in his tiny body. I didn’t even have an IV in my arm! It was absolutely amazing, and the rewards began right then.
I didn’t know it, but the placenta had also been delivered and through the whole thing I didn’t even tear! That meant that I was completely done! No stitches or anything!
The immediate bond between me and the baby was amazing. Much stronger than ever before. (and I thought the initial bonds were strong with the other two boys!) I believe it was because we had worked together to come to this point. We had spent so much more time bonding with him during the pregnancy as well.
We spent a good hour cuddling and loving him, then they finally convinced me to let go of him long enough to weigh him. He was 8 lb 6 oz!! Our biggest baby yet, which I was so proud of. I attribute it to the fact that we let him come on his own time.
One of my favorite parts about the natural birth- I got to get up and walk right after! It felt way better than I could have imagined. I walked to the bathroom, where I was able to relax in the bath for a while, while Darin enjoyed some one-on-one time with his new son. More stats: it was 2:13 am and he was 20” long.
I am not exaggerating when I say that after that bath I basically felt like nothing had even happened to me. I felt like my normal old self. I had never dreamed of feeling so good right after having a baby!
My whole recovery from that point on was just awesome. I could walk whenever I wanted, go to the bathroom by myself, I was not swollen at all, I didn’t have any stitches, and perhaps one of the best parts- I didn’t have an aching back for days from the epidural!

I have learned so much about my body and about God and His plan from this experience.
God did not create women to bear children and not be able to handle childbirth! No- He made us powerful. Our bodies are amazing. Yeah, childbirth hurts, but it is something we as women get to experience. After the pain is over, our bodies are created to heal perfectly. The recovery is not meant to take weeks!
God knew what He was doing when He created the plan. I honestly believe that there is a lot more for us to learn through childbirth than we ever pick up on when we are medicated. There is power in sacrificing everything you can possibly sacrifice to bring another spirit here on earth. It is essential for us to learn these lessons that can only come from that kind of sacrifice.
I feel sad that we as a society are robbing ourselves of so much by medicating our births and intervening so much of the time. As if our bodies don’t know how to do it naturally. Growing up in our society, I of course always wondered why in the world anyone would not get an epidural. I thought it would make the birth experience miserable. I had no idea how empowering and spiritual natural childbirth was. This experience has changed me in so many ways.
~ Laurisa

Natural Childbirth Blog

So I've decided to start a blog to help advertise my classes as well as share news and information pertaining to natural childbirth and some of my students' AMAZING birth stories.
My journey to becoming a Bradley® instructor from first finding out I was pregnant with my oldest son has been incredible. I found The Bradley Method® (TBM) through my friend Danell who was also pregnant with her first child and planning on a natural childbirth. We began taking our classes in Atlanta, GA from an amazing teacher named Lisa. One of the main things that attracted me to TBM was that it is called "Husband Coached Childbirth" also. I knew that I wanted my husband Adam to be involved and not a bystander and he felt the same way. He was EXTREMELY supportive of me wanting to go naturally and agreed that the $300 price tag for a 12 week class wasn't too much to pay if it was going to help us have the birth experience we wanted.
I had no idea what we were in for when we started the class other than hoping to be able to walk away with some confidence in myself. After the first class I knew we had made the right decision. We immediately began learning things about pain management, prenatal exercises, ways to relax and bond as a couple, nutrition during pregnancy, and so much more. Each class offered amazing new insight to the process of labor and birth, not to mention all the information on breastfeeding too. We watched videos and had lots of discussion time as we got to know our teacher as well as our fellow students. Every night we walked away from class feeling as though we had really learned something.
In the end I went into labor the evening of our 11th class. Instead of going to class we went to the hospital where our beautiful Bradley baby was born at 11:30 pm weighing 7lbs 11oz, 19 inches long, with an APGAR of 10. We were so happy to have done it naturally and were SO appreciative of the education we obtained that took almost all the fear out of the process of labor and birth.
7 months later we found out we were unexpectedly expecting again. 3 months after that we got the news that it was twins. Despite all of our efforts to care for my body and the babies we ended up with a cesarean section due to the fact that both the babies were in the breech (butt first) position. The lack of control, the pain, and the recovery were worth it for the health and safety of our children, but to this day is an experience that I wish I could have done without. My husband and I decided not long after that that I was going to train to become a Bradley® Instructor.
So here we are in 2009, 4 years after the start of our journey preparing to welcome baby number 4 into our family. I have enjoyed the ride along with the 9 other students I have taught so far and am excited for my chance to do it all over again.
If you are interested in more information or in taking our class you can visit our website for more information