John and Sarah are the proud parents of two home-birthed "Bradley Babies" - Rex (pictured here a few hours old in 2010) and Stig (born April 2012).
When we discovered Sarah was pregnant with Rex, we went to the library and checked out all the childbirth books available. One that stood out was "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon. It introduced us to The Bradley Method.
We also watched several documentaries covering both natural and medicalized births. It seemed the women birthing naturally were hardly in pain! Sarah became much less afraid of natural birth and the pain of labor, and knew she wanted a labor similar to what she witnessed in those natural birth videos. John realized he could participate in the birth more than he previously thought, and that labor isn't the woman screaming at the man, demanding drugs.
The Bradley Method classes were important to both of us - John knew how vital he was to the experience, and Sarah knew she could depend on him no matter how the birth went. The more we learned, the more empowered we felt.
We decided on a birth at home with a midwife. Just five weeks from our baby's due date, we learned the midwife would not be available for our birth. In the face of such stressful circumstances, we were so grateful for the knowledge we had learned from class - we felt confident that regardless of where we birthed, or with whom, we could have a natural, unmedicated birth. The process of interviewing new care providers was much easier because by this point we knew what and how to ask the important questions, and what was important to us.
We found a wonderful new midwife, enjoyed birthing at home and welcomed our drug-free baby two weeks earlier than expected - surprise!
Stig's birth was also helped by the Bradley Method techniques. In particular, the support and encouragement of having a loving, knowledgeable coach in attendance was very calming to Sarah. This second labor was an intense three and a half hours. Knowing that John was a committed coach who knew what he was doing was SO helpful during labor.
We strongly believe women and their partners should be educated in the process of normal, natural childbirth because through that education fear is replaced with confidence. Women and their partners, when prepared to birth in a peaceful and relaxing way, lay the foundation for a stronger, happier family.