Childbirth Classes

Welcoming Mason.

Welcoming Mason. The Birth Story of my beautiful boy.

Focused and in laborland

Focused and in laborland

It was Fathers Day 2011, my due date. I woke up from my nap around 2:00pm with tiny contractions. Excitedly, I mentioned to my husband Sam that I thought today might be the day baby Mason arrived! We continued our day as usual, and that evening I was able to sleep through most of the contractions until early morning.

Feeling supported by my Doula and husband

Feeling supported by my Doula and husband

My husband woke up around 4:30am because of my heavy breathing. He encouraged me to get up and eat breakfast in order to have as much energy as possible. After breakfast, I continued laboring and Mitchell, our 2 ½ year old son, helped massage my back and brought me water just as we had been practicing for several months. At this point, we knew the baby was on his way so Sam began making calls to prepare everyone. We had Grammy pick Mitchell up in order to create a more calming environment for laboring. I rested and ate lunch as the contractions continued to get closer together. We went swimming and held each other close to focus on my breath during each contraction. Being outside and in the arms of my husband made the moment seem so peaceful. After the swim, my contractions became very intense and ranged 3-4 minutes apart.

Jacuzzi tub at The Breath of Life birthing center

Jacuzzi tub at The Breath of Life birthing center

Around 4:00pm labor became fast and strong. My husband called our doula, Robyn, and when she arrived I remember hearing concern in her voice. I knew it was time to go. Since my contractions were so strong, Robyn rode with us. As the van crept through 5 o’clock traffic (something we hadn’t planned on), she helped me through at least five strong contractions. What a sight I must have been, moaning and sitting backwards in the vehicle!

V.I.P.

V.I.P.

Once we arrived at Breath of Life Birth Center, my midwife Vikki greeted us with the warmest smile. She pointed to Room #3, which we had originally requested. I asked her to check my dilation after agreeing not to be disappointed, no matter what the outcome. Relieved that I was already 7cm and complete, I practically jumped into the Jacuzzi tub! I moved around continuously, relaxing as much as possible. Remembering my Bradley Method training, I got out of the tub and roamed around the room to try different labor positions. I felt very free and simply did whatever my body wanted. The water was the most comfortable, so I got back into the tub. I remember yelling, grunting and using sounds to help push while my husband and doula kept massaging me. Apparently, my internal dialog became vocal to everyone as I encouraged Mason to come while reminding myself that I could do it.

Sam was supporting me through the entire labor and birth.

Sam was supporting me through the entire labor and birth.

As the hours passed, I was becoming extremely tired. Vikki observed my pushing technique and coached me to use more of my back end. With that, my pushing changed dramatically and the next thing I knew I heard and felt the powerful pop of my water breaking. Beforehand, we all thought this boy was going to be posterior and that made me nervous. But my labor was only in the front, never in my back.
Smallworking

Ten minutes and a couple pushes later, at 8:49pm, Mason Samuel Irmis was born. When he was descending through my birth canal I felt him twisting and turning the entire time. Even after his head was out I still felt his feet kicking my insides, it was the craziest feeling ever! Sam placed him on my chest and we were able to feel the cord pulsating, which was fascinating. I remember feeling so relieved once my baby was in my arms and I could feel his sweet spirit. My breath was filled with joy. Once the cord stopped pulsating, Sam cut it and I stayed in the tub to deliver my placenta.

Moments after Mason was born, while I was still in the tub, our other son Mitchell arrived. I asked, “Can we keep him?” Mitchell replied, “Yes.” I was so thrilled we were all able to share such a special moment of time together as a complete family.

My hubby was my rock. I am so lucky to have two healthy boys and very thankful to have such a passionate husband to help me through life. Breath of Life helped our family achieve a harmonious birth. We are so grateful!

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Class Testimonials

Some of my past students have been kind enough to offer testimonials of their experiences:

“My birth was the most exhausting, yet the most exhilarating day of my entire life. I just want to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart for teaching me, encouraging me, etc. I couldn’t have done it without you and trust me when I say you are gonna make such an impact on so many people’s lives if you continue on the path you are on. I have never felt so strong in all my life and I have such an amazing sense of pride that I didn’t even know was possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you… A million times thank you!” -Stephanie and Heath Miller

“…The hands-on teaching style with Laura was fantastic. Her husband would also join the class to provide information from their personal experience which provided an outlook from a male perspective. I hope if I’m blessed with the opportunity to have another child, Laura is still teaching this course so I can come back for a refresher!” – Chanelle G., Pinellas Park

“The classes made me trust my body and the knowledge enabled me to ask the questions to get the results I wanted.” – K.A.E.

“We are so grateful for finding Laura and going though the Bradley course. I felt fully prepared for my daughter’s birth and my husband was able to coach us through many of the scenarios that Laura prepared us for. Due to the length of my labor I truly believe that without going though all of the coursework and homework assignments I would have given into the hospital routine and not achieved the labor and birth I had envisioned.”
Thank you so much Laura, The Smith Family.

“Bradley class was very inspiring and educational. We feel prepared and ready for our first baby’s big debut. Thank you Sam and Laura” -Morgan

“I had such a great time, observing your class, and felt more confident after leaving your class. Your passion for natural childbirth is very evident and it inspired me even more!” -Lisa (doula)

Here are some of my favorites I found on-line:

So Awesome!
My husband and I really felt prepared for our first baby after taking the classes. Our little one arrived before we could take our final class yet we were so well prepared! It was the complete package! How to eat right, what to expect and how to manage pain. We were very pleased and impressed! As a bonus we made good friends with the other two couples in our class. The knowledge makes me excited and ready when we decide to have another baby. Thank You Bradley and thanks to our fantastic teacher!
—Guest T.F.G.

Love this program!
I took my Bradley class ten years ago and felt so empowered. It was great for my husband as well and the whole experience brought us closer. I have given birth to 4 children naturally and wouldn’t change a thing. I felt most comfortable in a hospital (just in case) but will say that you should definitely investigate your hospital’s standard procedures before delivery. The nurses at our last birth had never seen a natural birth-period. They were in utter amazement that it could be done without medication.
—Guest Monica

An affirmative, empowering class
I highly recommend the Bradley method. The classes gave me confidence in my ability to birth naturally, and it gave my husband the confidence HE needed to coach me through it. I loved that my husband learned practical, hands-on techniques for helping me relax. I also appreciated learning so much about the process of childbirth. I left each class session feeling more empowered, armed with knowledge about how my body was “built to birth.” I also credit Bradley’s focus on nutrition, exercise and relaxation for helping me prepare me both physically and mentally for the big day. I always joke that I was in the best shape of my life when I gave birth!
—Guest Jennifer

Informed Choices

I loved going into my son’s birth knowing what was happening to me and what were the pros and cons of the different potential interventions. It’s not about being some kind of “superwoman” or proving anything by going without meds, it’s about feeling like you have a say in what happens to you. The moms in my class had a wide range of births, with all sorts of different things happening, but everyone came out feeling comfortable with the interventions that happened because they made an informed choice.
—Guest Natalie

Very Empowering

All mothers-to-be could benefit greatly from the Bradley method. Our culture is quite fear based, and Bradley teaches you to relax and have faith in your body. As my body knows how to grow the baby, my body knows how to birth the baby. The class also led me to a kind doula, who was fabulous. My water birth was amazing; I’m not sure it would have worked out so well had I not found the Bradley method. I hope my second birth is as easy! The knowledge you gain from these classes is hands down unsurpassed. Knowledge is power and so very empowering!
—Guest Krista Wanko

Husband learned so much!

We took Bradley before the birth of our first child. I always knew I wanted a natural childbirth, having been there for the home birth of four three of my siblings. I learned so much in the class, but it was most helpful for my husband! He went into the labor and birth experience so relaxed, because of the knowledge gained at our class. After a successful natural birth at a hospital, we both had the confidence to have a home birth. I believe that if it weren’t for our Bradley class, my husband wouldn’t have been comfortable with that decision. We applied the things we learned at our Bradley class and had a wonderful home birth! The Bradley class is definitely a time commitment, with 12 weeks of classes lasting a couple of hours each, but it was time well spent. The successful natural births of our two children made it so worth it!
—Guest Sarah

Knowledge is comfort and power
A friend of mine took Bradley and recommended it to me after I told her I wanted to have a natural birth. This class really prepared my body and mind to the process of pregnancy and birth. We went over all the pros and cons of medical interventions. I felt once I started labor I knew what was happening with my body and felt much more at ease. My husband enjoyed it and he said learned a lot of beneficial information.
—Guest Erin

Education is the best thing
Many women say they birthed their children without taking a class… but when you ask them how it went, you hear answers like, “I ended up having a c-section,” “I loved my epidural, I didn’t feel a thing.” or “My epidural only worked on half my body…” I think the Bradley Method is the best thing for expecting moms ever in today’s medical culture. It made me feel comfortable with what was going to happen to my body, it educated me on how medical staff would react due to hospital policy & how to make educated decisions, it helped me have a successful NATURAL birth. And I would do it again! The time investment is worth a successful birth!
—Guest Carrie

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Understanding the Bradley Method of Childbirth

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Dr. Bradley’s Background: Dr. Robert A. Bradley was quite an unusual obstetrician. Growing up on a farm, he saw first hand how animals gave birth to their young. After watching so many quiet, natural childbirths, he came to the conclusion that nature was not something that needed to be fought, and that women should be able to give birth using their natural instincts, rather than being medicated. While working at the Minnesota University Hospital beginning in 1947, Bradley was an outspoken proponent of having men in the delivery room. His many radical ideas earned him both praise and criticism, but his methods have been accepted far more today than they were in his time.

In 1970, he co-founded the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth, an organization that provides both education and instructor training in unmedicated childbirth method. All Bradley instructors are trained in his methodology and are experts in the field of childbirth education. He personally helped to deliver 22,000 healthy babies and his childbirth techniques have aided over a half million couples to have natural births.

So, what was Bradley’s secret? Bradley believed that women could be trained to work with their bodies, rather than against their bodies, during labor. To date, of the 200,000 women (and their husbands) trained in the Bradley Method, their statistics show that over 86% of them have had natural, vaginal deliveries. Today, couples who are interested in learning the Bradley Method sign up for a Bradley course taught by a certified instructor. Each couple receives a 125 page Student Workbook which contains the class curriculum, study guides, and information on pregnancy, birth, doulas, etc. The workbook leads the group through the course, ensuring that all courses are taught in a similar style and with the same curriculum.

Extra Essentials in the Bradley Classes
In addition to the standard curriculum, the Bradley Method ensures small classes and a lot of practice time. Classes are small so that the instructor can get to know each couple and their needs, and so that each couple can receive individualized attention. These classes are not based on theories – but on practice. Couples are asked to participate in many exercises and activities in the course and to be active participants.

The Bradley Method relies heavily on the coach or doula. While the coach is generally the husband, it certainly doesn’t need to be. The coach is required to attend all classes with the mother, and to be trained in ways to help during the delivery. The coach learns how to be a supportive and active player during the delivery, how to advocate for the mother, and how to help the mother to experience a painless childbirth. During the class time, there is a great deal of relaxation practice and labor rehearsal.

The Bradley Method is one of many on the market today. It aims to aid women in achieving a birthing experience without medication and tremendous pain- lofty goals that they seem to be achieving one delivery at a time.

Want to sign up for classes? Or have Questions? Call me anytime: 727-560-0340 or email me laurairmis(at)gmail.com or visit my Bradley site www.bradleybirth.com/laurairmis

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