The Bradley Bunch


We went on a trip down (short-term) Memory Lane this week when Andy and I were invited back to our birth instructor's house to share August's story with her new class of soon-to-be's. If you're thinking, Psht! Brownnose. To that I say, "Why yes, yes I am." I will very proudly own that title if it gives me the opportunity to impart some wisdom on future parents and "share the wealth" (if you can call my knowledge that). Mostly though, I'm so freakin' jazzed about my whole experience that I can't shut up about it. You guys, it was the most empowering, challenging, intense, emotional, and awe-inspiring thing I've ever done. And what's the point of doing something if you can't share it with others? Personal fulfillment? Maybe. But my thinking is that this stuff is so good, you've GOT to try it.

It wasn't so long ago that I was scared out of mind about the physical act of bringing a child into the world and now that my baby and I have triumphantly come out on the other side (him, literally and me, more figuratively), I am happy to provide any information that might make a couple more comfortable about the whole shabangabang.

So quick back story: In the years between marriage and conception, I was so uninterested in babyhood. Call it youngest child syndrome - which is just a euphemism for immaturity - but, I considered myself too selfish yet for the job and needed more time to ripen. It wasn't an anti-children thing; I had six nieces and nephews at the time. Loved 'em all. But I could always hand them back to mom and dad when I was done. Can't do that with your own. 

When my twin sister had her first child it hit me, Well, it's not like I don't want children and I AM almost thirty... Besides, Claudin is doing all right. One perk of being the youngest (and less confident) twin is that she's been my "Guinea pig". Seriously though, I've always admired Claudin's courage and am often inspired by her. It should be of no surprise then that when I witnessed the birth of her second that my fascination with pregnancy was also born. By the time I was expecting, I was all in. I was fanatical about researching my condition and with each bit of knowledge I became more fascinated with the whole process. I admired what my body was doing and steadily grew curious of what else it was capable of. 

Right on point, Claudin recommended taking a course in the Bradley Method of childbirth, which suited the nerd in me because it is twelve weeks long - aka an ENTIRE trimester. (Andy about lost his shit when he found that out.) I kid. But only about the former statement because, at first, Andy really did raise a stink about three months of baby classes. The real reasons I chose the Bradley way were because 1) it's based on the thought that childbirth is a normal process and with the proper preparations, most women are able to avoid medical inventions during labor and delivery and 2) it emphasizes teaching partners on how to be effective coaches. Ding, ding, ding! Preparation and Coaching. What could be more appropriate for a former student-athlete? What we learned during those birthing sessions not only contributed to my physical and mental confidence, but put me in the running for "Most Likely to Succeed" (along with "Teacher's Pet"). Coach Andy, by the way, was a shoo-in for "Class Clown."

When my teacher contacted me about the guest appearance, I was all about it. Part of the deal was: "You get to tell your tale and then we get to lambaste you with questions." Deal! I'm down with making everyone privy to our experiences as new parents. Full disclosure. After a quick introduction, I took off with my lengthy narrative, which was then followed by Q&A. The first couple of questions were about laboring techniques and pain management. I gave a list of positions I used to manage the labor pains, along with my take on what was effective and what wasn't. Basically, you want gravity working in your favor to get baby traveling in the right direction, so walking, squatting, slow-dancing are all good examples. Also, as a woman progresses through the stages of labor, some positions may feel better than others. That's why it's good to keep trying different ones and switching things up. For example, I loved being on all fours and swaying in the early part of labor, but once the contractions were strong and I was ready to push, it was the last thing I wanted (and I emphatically let the entire birth team know when they tried getting me back into it.) Communication is key.

Another question I got was on the physical recovery from birth and postpartum activity. My stance in that regard is that you should work backwards out of pregnancy for nine months, they way you worked into it. In other words, the things you were doing in the third trimester, you should continue doing in the three months following birth (the fourth trimester); what you do in the fifth trimester should mirror what you were doing in the second; and the sixth will be like the first. That includes diet, physical activity, rest, etc. It just makes so much sense to me that way and it's what I've been doing. I hardly ran the last two weeks before Auggie was born and after he came, I didn't do a thing for two weeks. Then I started walking and after a month, I worked runs in a couple of times during the week. Now that we're nearly four months removed, I'm comfortable and strong enough to get five short runs in weekly. Nutritionally, I'm still taking my prenatal vitamins and limiting the consumption of certain things like caffeine, alcohol, dairy, and nuts. And I'm doing the best I can with sleep, taking naps, and getting to bed early. Luckily, I've got a cooperative baby who lets me have six hours uninterrupted at night. By addressing the FAQs I felt like we weren't leaving those couples to re-invent the wheel. If I had developed the clunky solid wheel, then they could improve it by adding spokes.

We addressed so many of the pregnancy questions that we barely got to touch on postpartum issues though and since that's where I'm at right now, it's more fresh in my mind than the birth stuff. There's some valuable material that I really wanted to share, particularly regarding breastfeeding. Then I thought that if I couldn't do it in class, then I could, at least share it here. With that said and at the risk of losing a bunch of you dear readers in the next couple of posts, I plan to finally get some things off my chest so peep back soon! (Unbelievable, double pun!)

"Where do babies come from? Well. I think a stork, he umm, he drops it down and then, and then, a hole goes in your body and there's blood everywhere, coming out of your head and then you push your belly button and then your butt falls off and then you hold your butt and you have to dig and you find the little baby." -Knocked Up

This post is not endorsed and I'm not trying to push the Bradley product on anyone. I don't mean to idealize natural childbirth and don't claim it to be THE way for all women. I know and totally appreciate how each woman is different and every situation (even when pertaining to the same woman) is unique, but by being open and honest maybe there could be something for everyone to take away for their benefit. These are just my humble thoughts and should be taken with a grain of salt. Most of all it's been provided for your entertainment and probably a bit to my husband's embarrassment.


Laurie Jo said...

Hi!! I am so excited to find out that you Bradley Birthed! I did to. I felt that by the time I had my baby.... I was so ready!! Congrats to you and your family!!!
Love you!


© current tempo All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger