Friday, April 24, 2009

Stuff floating around in my head

Even though I haven't posted in awhile, my mind has been full of all types of information overload. Forgive me while I feel the need to unload it! Most of these thoughts surround pregnancy/birth, so feel free to skip this if you're not interested.

Bradley Method classes: Before I was pregnant, or even seriously considering trying to get pregnant, I heard much ado about the Bradley Method of childbirthing. At the risk of sounding crazy or just plain ridiculous, it advocates natural birthing without the use of medications. Why have I chosen this route? Much of my birthing philosophy changed after watching The Business of Being Born, a documentary detailing the U.S. maternal healthcare system as well as homebirths and midwifery. For the first time, I truly saw the difference between respecting birth as a natural event versus an emergent disease. Thus began my exploration into birth physiology and the ways that women can work with their bodies (which God designed to do this) and not against them. And yes, I do realize that there is always the possibility of a necessary medical intervention, however I do believe most could have been avoided in the first place.

Anyways, my husband and I have been attending the classes so far and have enjoyed the camaraderie and information shared along the way. It helps knowing that there are like-minded couples who have also chosen this unusual route. I must take the time to say that God has truly blessed us in unexpected ways with this class. When I called the instructor to get information, we found out it was taught on the only available weeknight in our schedule, and that we would be saving over $230 because a local hospital was subsidizing the cost. Praise the Lord! I love how God is involved with even the tiniest details in our lives; not just the crises!

Labor Scriptures: This week as I have been mentally preparing for the upcoming labor in a few months, I thought, "I need to have some Scripture around for that." So using BibleGateway, I looked up several encouraging verses. While the context of these verses does not revolve around labor specifically, I think they are powerful enough to go beyond that and give me strength nonetheless. A few I've jotted down on 3"x5" note cards:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

"I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race..." Philippians 3:13-14

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." Psalm 23:4

Pregnancy Exercises: Based on our Bradley Method workbook as well as other books I'm reading, I have been instructed to work on pelvic rocking, squatting, kegels, tailor sitting ("Indian style"), and relaxation techniques. I have come to really appreciate these, since I've been sleeping much better and I am being proactive for the birth. It's giving me some much needed confidence in the process.

Red Raspberry Leaf tea: It is a well-known and commonly used herbal tea that promotes uterine tone, relaxation, and healing. Consequently, it is purported that labors can be easier or faster. I just bought some yesterday but have yet to try it. The brand I ended up purchasing was Traditional Medicinals Organic Pregnancy Tea. Read more about the benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf tea here, here, and here.

Sitting Long & Reading Much: Taking a much needed cue from my blog's blinkie, I am in the process of reading The Birth Book by Dr. William Sears and Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson. The first is much like a Birth 101 class that covers all the different options and choices surrounding birth, as well as comprehensive chapters on Relaxation, Exercises, and Birth Stories. I am loving and devouring it! I highly recommend this book.

The second book, Bringing Up Boys is just that. Dr. Dobson aims to show that yes, boys and girls are not only anatomically different, but also psychologically. Can you believe that people would argue otherwise?? (In fact, they do!) After being only a few chapters into this book, I had to put it down for a few days because frankly it was just depressing. Not in the sense that "Oh great, I'm about to have a boy!" But rather, "There is so much at stake!" To clarify, Dr. Dobson spends a great deal of time giving statistics on crime, divorce, education, etc. showing that men are the majority affected. Hence, a lot is at stake with culture wars revolving around manhood. This read is fueling my love of sociology :)

So, any experience with any of these things? Birthing classes? Labor aids? Exercises? Herbal helps? Good books?


Susan @ heartpondering said...

I read the Bradley book before the birth of our first (a son) too. I found it somewhat helpful... but then wasn't able to implement any of the stuff due to complications related to the birth. I was fortunate and thankful to have midwives willing to work with me to avoid a c-section and allow a vaginal delivery (I think in 90% of circumstances/doctors, I would have had one.)
It think it really is important to realize that it's possible that - for circumstances COMPLETELY out of your control - the birth may not go the way you hope... To hold well to your birth plan but also trust and surrender it all to God beforehand.

With my daughter two years later, I was able to have the natural birth I'd hoped for with my son. Water birth (phenomenal - I would do it again if they allowed it here in my CA county, which they don't!) with the valuable assistance and coaching of a doula (also highly recommended).

I found the Hypnobirthing book I read prior to my 2nd delivery to be, in the end, more helpful to me than the Bradley book. (And no hypnoticism is involved, FYI - it's a misnomer.) Also some relaxation CD's I listened to prior to that delivery.

We are reading Bringing Up Boys now...

Blessings to you!

Kami said...

Good job! I really love the Bradley method. We've used it with both of our boys and we're looking forward to a third time, Lord willing. I know Brent will be a great coach. May the Lord bless your labor and delivery. We love you guys!