Beyond the Birth Plan

Birth Plan.  Two words that most expectant parents hear at some point during their pregnancy.  In fact, all expectant parents are encouraged to create a birth plan these days, but it is a staple of an un-medicated birth.  A birth plan is exactly what it sounds like – a plan for your birthing time.  This can include information on the people you would like in the birthing room, requests about music and lighting, phrases and words that care providers should use, services you would like to accept or decline for mom and/or baby, a description of the pain management techniques being used, etc.  Some birth plans are long and others are quite brief.  There is no right or wrong way to write a birth plan and no specific template that must be followed.  Regardless of how it is written, it helps the expectant parents to really spend time thinking about what they want to occur before, during, and after birth.  It also encourages conversation with care providers before the big event.  By sharing the birth plan early and often with care providers, it becomes much easier to work as a team with your care provider during the birth.  The birth plan is an excellent tool for setting and communicating clear expectations. Many births go exactly as “planned”.  We were fortunate enough to have one of those birth experiences.  Everything went according to our plan.  In our Hypnobabies birth preparation we envisioned our birth occurring a certain way.  The only thing that didn’t go according to that visualization was the fact that our birthing time began at 3AM instead of 3PM.  That change to our birth plan and visualization wasn’t a problem, although I felt bad waking up our doula at 3AM! **Hypnobabies students please use your bubble of peace.** The tricky thing is that birth plans are still just a plan.  Plans don’t always get carried out just the way you envision.  This can be very unsettling, upsetting, and even traumatic for expectant parents.  One of my clients had a beautiful birth plan laid out.  She took the LEAN Expectations class early in pregnancy and then completed the Hypnobabies birthing series with Julie Byers.  She ate a healthy and varied diet, she practiced her birthing relaxation techniques, and prepared for the birth of her second baby.  Her first birth had been medicated and she walked away from that birth...
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Birthing Classes: Birthing from Within

Maybe you are pregnant, maybe you are hoping to become pregnant, maybe you have a friend who is pregnant and are curious about childbirth options.  If you haven’t discovered already, there are many different childbirth classes available.  Today Sue Holsonback, a certified childbirth educator, is telling us about the birthing class she offers, Birthing From Within. I began offering Birthing From Within Childbirth Classes mid 2013 in the upstate.  This is a worldwide birth preparation concept that not only prepares parents for childbirth but viewing the birth experience as a transformative rite of passage into parenthood.  In this class series, we build a foundation for birthing in awareness in our birth culture, whatever the birth location or outcome or events of the birth. It is the only childbirth class that devotes up to 1/3 of class time to proven pain-coping practices by having the parents practice during uncomfortable “ice contractions” in which they hold ice.  This leads to a pain-coping mindset that readies them for the intensity of birth. By expanding possibilities, be open to all birth outcomes, and bringing awareness to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, Birthing From Within can prevent or minimize emotionally difficult births (for parents and professionals) through compassionate and honest preparation. I am excited to add this last piece of service to Empowered Birth Choices, as I now serve the entire childbearing year from birth preparation through postpartum and breastfeeding.  Classes meet on Thursday nights at The Wild Radish.  Learn more at: http://empoweredbirthchoices.com/childbirth-classes.html My name is Sue Holsonback and I never imagined I’d work in the birth profession until I had my son in 2010. Some parts of my birth were unexpected and challenging. Different aspects of breastfeeding seemed at times impossible. Parenting a toddler: can anyone be ready for that? Yet, with support, practice, and determination, I rose to each of these...
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Meditation and Calming the Mind

I have to admit, I never thought to write about this part of our fertility journey until today.  A friend I went through my Hypnobabies class with asked me what I visualized during the pressure waves.  It wasn’t something I talked about in my birth story and she was curious.  So, while this is a post about how I dealt with some of the stress and disappointment during our fertility journey, it is also a post that belongs in the birth category because I used these same techniques during our joyous birthing time. Many people who spend any amount of time in the infertility hamster wheel eventually can benefit from talking with someone about the stress they are feeling, the disappointment they are experiencing, and even the anxiety that can accompany trying to conceive.  I have always been a strong believer that there is a HUGE mind-body connection.  If the mind isn’t ok, there is no way the body will be ok and vice versa.  We were lucky that the Fertility Center of the Carolinas believes in the mind-body connection as well.  In fact, they offer a class to their fertility patients called the Mind/Body Program.  It is led by Cynthia Whitaker and Dr. Paul Miller.  When Dr. Forstein mentioned the program I was a little wary.  I just wasn’t sure about the group setting this program provided, but I needed someone to talk to who wasn’t my husband, wasn’t a friend, wasn’t family.  Someone who could be neutral and just be in my corner.  Someone who could offer me some advice.  That is how I came to know Cindy.  She was more than happy to meet with me one-on-one instead of in the group Mind-Body Program.  Going to talk to her was the best decision I could have made. She offered me a lot of suggestions for handling the stress, sadness, and pressures surrounding our fertility journey.  Two techniques in particular I still use today – the PEACE walk and meditation.  If you haven’t guessed from any of my other posts, I am the poster child for Type A – I am a perfectionist, I am driven, I am a fast-paced, no-nonsense kind of girl.  I don’t go anywhere leisurely.  At work, my colleagues always know when I am coming because I move quickly and with determination, which can be a little noisy when wearing heels 🙂  I...
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Meredith’s Birth Story

Lindsey’s story of Meredith’s birth reminds us that our birthing time requires mental as well as physical strength.  Having the right, supportive people around you can often help you achieve the outcome you so desire! My Third Birth Story A little background first… after giving birth naturally in the hospital to my first daughter, I became a certified childbirth educator.  After the homebirth of my second daughter, I went to the next level and began serving as a doula, and eventually transitioned into serving as my own midwife’s assistant and student at homebirths. I had full intentions of training to be a midwife, but life sometimes gets in the way of our best laid plans and I eventually had to make the hard decision to discontinue my midwifery studies and focus on just being a stay at home mom and occasional doula. I found out I was expecting our third baby shortly after our 10th wedding anniversary.  We already had two daughters (ages 5 and 3), so from the get go I was convinced this new baby would be a boy.  My 5 year old had been saying for a year that she wanted a brother named Gideon, after her favorite brother on her favorite movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”  It had been something we had jokingly referred to so many times that we just immediately started calling the baby-to-be Gideon, the name had grown on us so much.  If you asked my daughter what she would name the baby if it was a girl, her answer was “Acorn Nut.”  Obviously she was convinced I had a boy baby on board too. While I was thrilled to be expecting this third baby, I was in a bit of a quandary.  My home birth midwife had moved out of state in between my second birth and this new pregnancy, and besides that, I was feeling a little gun shy about another home birth. After attending so many in the recent years I had seen a few rare complications play out (thankfully, all with happy endings) and suddenly now I was just not sure if I wanted another homebirth for myself.  I chalk it up to the normal fears any mother would have, coupled with a little too much information and real life experience about what CAN (but usually DOESN’T) happen at births.  I took my own advice and, like...
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Violet’s Birth Story

All too often we hear birth stories that end with mama in pain.  Pain for an experience that wasn’t as beautiful as she hoped and sadness over the loss of choice during her birthing time.  Thankfully, many of these mamas go on to have another baby and a birth that helps them heal.  Samantha’s story is one of those experiences. To get the happy ending…I need to start from the beginning. When I first announced my pregnancy with my son on April 1st, 2010 (yes that was on purpose), I remember one of my former friends telling me I should look into a midwife and giving me a recommendation to one. I told her I was completely uninterested and trusted a doctor more than I would ever trust a midwife. Even so, there was NO way I was capable of a natural birth. I had seen the movies and heard the horror stories. It also didn’t help that my books all talked about the “ring of fire”. How could I possibly survive something like that? I chose to continue ahead with my plans of an OBGYN office and delivery at a hospital. I ended up disgruntled about my care pretty early on and the doctors never really listened to me or cared about my opinion. By my 6th month, I felt like cattle and that the doctors were only interested in getting me out of their office ASAP. I was so naive and stuck with them…I was too scared to switch to anyone else that far out in my pregnancy. The office visits ended up being the least of my problems. On November 4, 2010, I woke up with what I thought were just cramps. I sat in the tub for a while and found them to not be anything unmanageable. I was so sure it wasn’t labor. My husband was the one who insisted on taking me to the hospital…when they hooked me up, my contractions were every minute and I was at 3 cm. Despite how little I was dialated, they decided to keep me. They asked me if I wanted the epidural right then and there and I told them to delay it (probably the smartest thing I did). When they moved me in the labor/delivery room, however, it all went downhill. I started getting intense cramping and I thought that if that was how I...
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