First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your pregnancy! My heart goes out to every pregnant woman, because I know what a tremendous, precious responsibility and joy they hold in their womb.
After some friends invited my husband, Kelby, and me to Bradley classes, we soon learned how much there was to learn about childbirth and parenting! I remember crying in the car after watching labor videos because I thought that there was no way I could do that, let alone naturally!
Thanks to Bradley, a wonderful teacher, and a supportive, loving husband-coach, my labor was a very enriching and positive experience. I want to reach out to other women with the encouragement and knowledge that changed me.
A woman’s body is beautifully designed to support and birth children. It would be an honor and a blessing to help you along your journey so that, as Bradley says, you too can have a “Healthy mother, Healthy baby and Healthy family”.
Classes are small and personal, meeting once a week for 12 weeks. This time allows ample opportunity for the body to practice relaxation and labor rehearsals and the mind and heart to assimilate the knowledge necessary for a well-prepared birth. We delve into nutrition, breastfeeding, hospital routines and much more!
It is helpful to sign up around week 25 to ensure your completion of the course.
Schedules are very flexible. If you have any special needs, concerns or transportation issues, please contact me, and we can discuss options that will suit you!
If you are interested or have further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to call or email me.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Cell phone: 724-854-0673
Here is an email from a husband who can testify to the efficacy of the Bradley classes through his own wife's birth:
You may want to read this when you have some spare time... I got a little... verbose...
What a whirlwind. I would say that those are my only words, but we both know that I'm full of words. I wanted to first and foremost thank you. The lessons, advice, practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge that you armed us with headed into the birthing room were beyond any value I can ascribe to them. The best I could try to do is that your teaching is greater than the sum of its parts. I could not understand the value of what you shared until we were thrown into the fire of fast labor.
Second, I wanted to share some reflections I have on our birth:
No one can prepare you for the birth you and your wife will have. Technically, I suppose they could, but there are enough variables, permutations and random chances that it would be a stroke of incredible luck to be prepared. It's a much safer assumption to think that you will be prepared in spite of the birth you and your wife will have.
The moral of my story, the juicy center of this knowledge morsel is that the more we know about our wives/partners/athlete before labor, the better we'll interpret their actions and emotions during labor. Knowing all the little quirks and evidences of all the various stages made my wife's particular labor comprehensible in the midst of a very stressful time. We'll take it from the top:
At around 3 AM, R, my wife, let me know that her mucous plug had come out with some bloody show. We took this to be just a sign of progress. After all, it was 2 days before the due date, these entry signs were bound to happen. We notified our midwife just as a courtesy call and she asked that we just keep her informed. She asked that we call her again when contractions are 3 minutes apart and lasting 60 seconds for an hour.
The contractions didn't start right at first, but it was quick. R was taking them in stride for about 10 minutes before they escalated. She mumbled something about the bath tub. To be honest I don't remember this incredibly well as I was "practicing relaxation" in my new recliner.
Few minutes later I go back to check on R and the whole mood has changed. She's not doing any "putsy-ing" or any kind of smiling for any cameras. Her contractions are lasting about 60 seconds and they are 3-5 minutes apart. Immediately, I'm timing them more aggressively and doing all I can to alleviate the pressure in R's lower back(more on that later).
This continues for around three and a half hours until contractions were all closer together than 3 minutes and some are even double or triple peaking. Sidebar: all throughout the class, I had a hard time understanding this terminology, double peaking, and didn't know that we'd know what this meant when the time came. Hint: You'll know.
We were in a precarious situation at this moment(around 6-6:30 AM): R was showing all the emotional sign posts of late First Stage and kind of edging towards Transition, but it had only been three hours! Then and there(I'm sitting on an exercise ball putting about 8,000 pounds of pressure on R's back while she relaxes through a stack of three waves in a matter of 90 seconds) I made the call that we were going to the Birth Center.
We called the Birthing Center initially at 5 AM, when we hit the 60 second contractions 3 minutes apart. After receiving no response, we called again at 6:30 AM. Midwife calls back(around 7:30AM) and we're already in the car. R is curled up in the front seat(we have a 2 door economy car) and I'm checking my mirrors. I answer and she wants to confirm with R that R wants to come in. This first hurdle of the Midwife second guessing me was expected. After all, they know we're first time parents. They know that husbands tend to get freaked out way sooner than necessary. She also knows that it had been only four and a half hours since the mucous plug.
Arriving at the Birth Center, the Midwife obviously wanted to do a vaginal exam to get an idea for how far along R is into labor. This is a moment that we've heard will break many laboring mothers; this is where the mother has to face what she has done up to this point and put a "progress meter" on it. If 10 cm is 100%, it is only natural for 5 cm to be 50%. R was 2 cm.
At around 8:50, the midwife pulls me into the hall and breaks down for me what she learned from the exam. She only told R about the dilation, but ignored a huge factor. The Baby had descended to the Cervix and was the main source of pressure that R was feeling during contractions.(remember that back pain?) What a huge relief! The entire conversation, the midwife was preparing me for the possibility of sending R home, but I was already mentally preparing for Transition and Pushing! The baby was at a far more advanced station than we could have prepared for and the Cervix just needed to catch up.
I hadn't had a real conversation with R in hours. Her contractions left her unable to communicate most of the time and when we did talk it was one-word sentences. However, she was committed to the process, despite the 2 cm Dilation, and I found out later that she didn't even know about the station of the baby being as progressed as it was. We had her in the tub, we trusted the emotional signposts, we trusted the progress of the contractions and we went to work. This was 9 AM and at 8:10 AM we had been told 2 cm.
By 10 AM R was feeling the urge to push. Being safe, I coached her to breath/scream/hum through it so that she didn't strain herself. After three or four contractions of this, I called for the midwife asking for her to check progress. Obviously, she knew the dilation from earlier and was pretty skeptical. Regardless, we found out at around 10:15 that she was 10 cm and ready to push.
Pushing was longer than the average. But R did a great job of taking it slow and knowing her limits. She held her breath to comfort and only pushed as much as her breath would allow on any given contraction. It took some reteaching in the moment, but R got into a rhythm and by 11:48 AM we were holding the baby. By the grace of God, everyone was healthy and Rachel was well enough to walk out to the car and go home a few hours later.
Not every birth will be like this. In fact, not every birth will be like any other birth before it. There are enough variables and inconsistencies that it's impossible to try and predict. We never could have prepared for a 0-10 cm, no early First Stage, 8 hour labor. Thankfully, our Bradley teacher emphasized these signs, symptoms and benchmarks in our last few classes and they were fresh on our minds.
We knew those close contractions and emotional signs pointed to a further progressed labor. We knew that the feelings of self doubt and the double/triple peaking contractions meant we were moving closer to transition. When the midwife shared that R was only 2 cm, we were completely unconcerned. We knew enough about R before labor and enough of what to expect from the various stages of labor to stay focused and successfully birth L.
Sorry that this ran on a little long. I really wanted to get the heart of the story. For me it was all about the preparation in the signposts and symptoms that you taught. They meant everything. They made the labor possible. I don't know that you'll use the testimony; I don't really expect you too. I will, however, echo one of the things R mentioned when you asked for feedback. It was really encouraging/informative to hear the husband's take whether it was from the guest couple or Kelby's occasional interactions. There is a side to Bradley that is vastly unknown to the mother and it's by design. I know that the interaction that I had with this class probably isn't the norm. I was invested and skeptical at the same time. I was serious and joking all the time. However, I need you to know that I gained everything from this class.
I think you did an excellent job teaching the material and providing practical advice. The games(Jeopardy, Vocabulary, Matching Stages and Such[This is the name I have given it]) are wonderful and provide good group learning experiences while reinforcing the information. Having a little coaching input from the coaches perspective is huge though. I hope you know that we don't consider any part of the class a negative. We wouldn't have traded it for anything. Thank you so much for the time and awkward schedule that you accommodated for us. We wouldn't/couldn't have done it without you.
Thank you so much.
FUQUAY VARINA, NC