We took the Bradley class with Brandy Frederiksen, a Certified Bradley Instructor. She somehow managed to pack 12 weeks of Bradley course material into 4 weeks of essentials with us and another expecting couple.
What I soon learned in class is that the “horrible pain of childbirth” is only a tiny piece of what is actually an incredibly beautiful process. God the Creator made me to labor. He designed my body to be able to conceive, grow, and deliver my son into this world. We simply had to learn how to best allow that natural process to happen and how to help it progress as smoothly as possible. While we didn’t know exactly how our birth would turn out, there were so many things we could do to prepare and give us the best chances of getting the birth we wanted.
We learned about the physiological process of labor. We learned what to look for during the first, second, and third stages of labor. We reviewed and practiced relaxation, pain management, and breathing techniques. We talked about how we carry all these things in our “toolbox” for labor.
We also talked about the “toolbox” we would have available to us since we were delivering at a hospital. We learned about epidurals, interventions for inducing/augmenting labor, episiotomies, internal monitoring, forceps use, c-section, and more. One thing that struck me is that many of these readily available interventions are used as common practice, though they aren’t necessarily all backed by evidence indicating improved outcomes with their use in many situations. We learned the limitations and potential risks that come with electing to use these tools. This part kind of blew my mind. So many of these interventions are widely accepted and used without a second thought.
While Brandy reviewed with us the risks of electing certain interventions during labor, she recognized that some of those things may become necessary, and that they are not “bad”. In fact, they can be life-saving. Brandy reviewed with us some other things we can carry in our own toolbox that we could discuss with our practitioner as options prior to utilizing some of those more invasive interventions. One of the biggest advantages we learned of natural childbirth is mama’s ability to move freely and change positions as needed, which can be an immense help to both mama and baby during labor. Free movement can help labor progress and changing positions can reduce fetal distress during labor.
One thing Brandy pointed out during class is that if you ask a woman who has gone through natural childbirth, she’ll tell you it’s not about the pain. It’s about feeling like you are in charge of your birth experience. Your birth doesn’t have to feel like it’s being dictated by medical professionals. Your birth is about making informed decisions in collaboration with your medical team. Natural labor is incredibly empowering for women because it allows mamas to have much more control over their birth.
Jeremy and I were so grateful to have taken the class. We reviewed what we learned in our prenatal sessions with our doula, Jocelyn Barton. Jocelyn is a student doula working towards her certification. (A little plug – if you’re in the NKY/Cinci area and are considering hiring a doula for your birth, I highly recommend her! Check her out on doulamatch.net and doulas.com). We worked together on our birth plan which Jeremy and I reviewed with our OB. Things were starting to come together, and we were feeling really good about what to expect as Charles’s due date approached.
Thanks for checking out our story! Be sure to check out my next post in this series: “Our Journey Towards Getting the Birth We Wanted, Part 2: The Hardest Discussions We’ve Ever Had“.