Updated: May 4, 2021
I just had a very happy discovery - scrolling through my Facebook feed I found out that one of the families I had worked with during my first year of teaching just had twins. Yes, naturally at the hospital. Woot, woot for them!
This couple took my Bradley Method class with their first child, a daughter. She was born with the UCLA Midwives. Mom and dad worked together - no doula. We train "dude-las." I remember this mama really loved using the shower - great birthing tool for her. Totally natural birth. Next baby, a boy - another natural birth with the midwives. No need to take classes all over again - they invested their time and effort the first go round. They had their Bradley Student Workbook for a refresher. (I have to add here that my classes were three hours long the first two years that I taught childbirth classes. Yes, for 12 weeks. I've got it down to two-and-a-half hours now. Streamlined.)
Back to my couple. The midwives don't do twins - a real shame, but they keep it all "low-risk" - not sure if this is due to regulations, hospital protocol, or what-have-you. This mama and papa made their intentions known with their doctors, advocated for themselves, felt confidence in their choice (mama had done it twice already.) And, by George, they did it! So very happy for them. Really a major accomplishment in this day and age. Mama noted that the postpartum staff were shocked they were moving into recovery so soon and out of of the hospital in a jiffy. Vaginal twin births are rare in hospitals, much less a natural delivery. But, it does happen. It does happen.
One of my favorite things about being a teacher is hearing from my couples later on down the road. I love receiving e-mails about a subsequent delivery with pics of the baby and the older one. Sometimes I will get a call, sometimes I see it on Facebook if they have friended me, but most often it's an e-mail. A couple whose delivery took a twist and turn from their original plan will let me know that they met their ultimate goal of a natural delivery the second time around. I hear from my couples who needed a cesarean for their first birth, and they let me know about their second cesarean birth - sending me pics of everyone. Sometimes it's a vaginal delivery after a cesarean. Sometimes, my mamas for whom epidural pain relief was the right choice, contact me about their second delivery with epidural use and how they went longer without it this time and how good the birth overall was for them.
I love this. I love the sense of trust. That the mothers feel safe sharing their experiences with me. That they find ways to own their birth and breastfeeding experiences in the manner that works for them. I always have a happy smile on my face when I see pictures of the new baby and how much the first one has grown.
I love hearing from the dads, too. Bradley dads are a very special breed. Any man who will attend a childbirth education class for 12 weeks - that's a special guy. We actually met our vet through my classes. He has three children now. All Bradley babies (which just means born with love and intention). They defied the odds working with a obstetrician who I happen know is very interventionist and they had three natural births with this physician. No doula - they did it themselves. (Nothing wrong with having a doula - some of my couples work with one and this can be a terrific choice, but not everyone wants one and, if you don't, you've got to make sure you've got the skills you need.)The Bradley Method was a great investment for them. An extended series of serious learning (well, it's fun, too! Just sayin', it's deep) and that's a strong foundation for the future. Anyways, I love hearing him talk about his birth experiences and his fathering experiences - we have really long vet visits.
Becoming a parent is such a powerful, life-altering experience. I want my couples to really feel supported in their transition and accepted in all their decisions. It's always difficult when birth goes a little differently than hoped for, or couples run into challenges with their provider. But, this is all part of life. As parents we are always learning. Growing. Doing the best for our children that we are able to at the time. And there are always "wins" in every experience - positive parts of the birthing and breastfeeding experience that need to be acknowledged.
When you are considering how best to spend the last months of your pregnancy, how to prepare for a healthy and happy birth experience, and to make sure that you are in-the-know for what to expect postpartum (because this is actually the biggest shocker among the mothers I work with after baby is born, with the common lament being, "Why did no one tell me?), really look at what your options are and what will truly best prepare you.
Prepare for the beauty of the birth experience, but more importantly, prepare for the practicality of it. Prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically. No one can do this for you. It's absolutely imperative your partner (especially if he's male, because their brains work a little differently that the female brain) knows how best to support and advocate for you and your baby. It's scary and anxiety provoking for the guys if they don't have a map or guidebook of what to do, or don't know what's going on. Find a good guide who will let you know what's coming ahead on the trail. Make a good quality investment of your time - there really are no shortcuts. Putting the time and effort into a good quality childbirth education class pays dividends well into the future.
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