Congratulations, Kudos, and Woo Hoo – On Your Upcoming Birth!


Do YOU desire to have a natural birth?

Taking a childbirth class is a KEY step in preparing for the birth of your baby.  I would love to take this next step with you while you learn about the process of birth.

BBC add RachelJohnsonWebAbout Me: Hi! I’m a certified Birth Boot Camp instructor, teaching childbirth education classes in the southern Dallas/Fort Worth area. I’ve merged my love of pregnancy, birth, and babies with my love of teaching and have enjoyed working with expecting couples while preparing them for birth. Birth Boot Camp classes have the modern Mom & Dad in mind. They are comprehensive and up-to-date classes that actively involve couples in the learning process. Please click around my blog and contact me with any questions.                                                                                                                        Rachel Johnson, BBCI 

Our Mission: Birth Boot Camp is committed to training couples in natural birth and breastfeeding through accessible, contemporary education. Birth Boot Camp Education provides: unsurpassed information on childbirth, comfort techniques and relaxation exercises. It is designed for couples wanting a natural birth and wishing to avoid a cesarean or for those planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). You’ll learn to work together to bring your baby into this world as a team. Join my 10-week Childbirth classes offer a unique and personal environment to ask questions, discuss fears, and connect with your spouse or birth partner. Classes are filled with many opportunities for discussion, interaction, and lots of fun along the way.

Fortworth Child 2014 voted best classAwards/Recognitions: Birth Boot Camp has been voted as the “Best Childbirth Class” by the Fort Worth Child and North Texas Child magazines two years running and LOVED by Dr. William and Martha Sears.

Education Includes: Over 25 hours of personalized education in a unique and personal environment where you can ask questions, discuss fears, and connect with your spouse or birth partner. Classes are filled with many opportunities for discussion, interaction, and lots of fun along the way! You also receive a full color, 170+ page Student Field Guide (preview) and Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE video: This exclusive breastfeeding VIDEO by lactation consultant Mellanie Shephard, IBCLC, gives you approximately 4 hours of valuable breastfeeding information to download and refer to as needed! After each class, you will receive Weekly Research Resources by email containing the most up-to-date, current research, along with links and articles, on topics that pertain to what we covered that week. This information will help you make the most educated decisions about your birth.  Click here to read a detailed outline of classes 1-10.

I recommended you start classes around 25-28 weeks of pregnancy. If the dates of my upcoming classes do not fit your schedule, please contact me to see how I can accommodate your needs.  There are opportunities to make up missed classes or start late if you’re just a few weeks behind.

Classes fill quickly, however, so reserve your spot as early as possible!

Instructor: Rachel Johnson, BBCI

Phone: 850.791.8377


Facebook: Rachel Johnson

Getting Started with dōTERRA

Getting started with dōTERRA

Spa scene with natural cosmetics
Ok- so you are ready to get started with dōTERRA essential oils?

Or maybe you’ve come across this page because you are not sure…


But — oh MAN — you don’t want to have to order ‘monthly’ or do anything fancy or be part of an MLM.

I know. I’ve been there.

The beauty of dōTERRA is you can order DIRECTLY from the website. No memberships. No commitments. Nothing Fancy.

You just pick out your oils- pay- and receive. That is totally cool. If that sounds like you- then please proceed and order HERE


Do you like paying full price, for anything?

Me neither.

In that case-you would pay a ONE TIME low membership fee (Introductory Packet “Kit”) of $35. After that, you order when you want AND get discounted pricing! FOR REAL. This isn’t a monthly or yearly fee. It’s one time. $35. You would make up for that in 1-3 bottles of oil.

If the ABOVE sounds like you, then do this:

Click here to access the site

Then, in the upper right hand corner, you would click JOIN


Then, choose the 2nd option: ‘Join as a Preferred Member’ and click continue

(If you want to receive the BEST discounts, then read on to learn how to Join as a Wellness Advocate!)


Fill out the requested information, and please make sure at the very top where it says “Enroller ID’ it matches what is below. It should be filled in automatically for you.

Step 2
Enroller ID*:

Johnson, Rachel M

Add your items to your cart


Choose if you want to sign up for Loyalty Rewards Points (LRP).

Loyalty Rewards is a monthly program. Nothing to hide there. You won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t sign up. I want you to love doTERRA and I want it to be an easy, peasy, pleasant experience. If you think you won’t love keeping up w/ the Loyalty Rewards, then don’t sign up. It’s for people who think they DO want to place an order each month, and it automatically gets shipped based upon the day you choose. There are many pros with this program. 1) You earn points each month towards FREE products. The points go up (up to 30% of your order!) based upon how many months you continue with the Rewards program. That is essentially what it is- rewarding you for placing monthly orders.


If you choose not to sign up for Loyalty Rewards at this time- that’s OK! You can always sign up later.

I participate in Loyalty Rewards. It makes total sense for me and I’d be silly not to. I use my oils on an everyday basis and know my favorites. I also love to leave the option to try new products as they come out. PLUS now I get 30% off the already discounted wholesale membership, FREE products each month and my LRP- which I use to PAY for my Loyalty Rewards items every few months! (Oh…and did I mention that as a Wellness Advocate, you can earn additional $ just for sharing doTERRA with others!?

If you are choosing to participate in Loyalty Rewards, you can go into your cart each month and CHOOSE what you want to receive. As long as it’s 48 hours before your order is set to ship- change your cart in and out each month, or keep your favorites and most used oils so you never run out.

So- once you’ve made your decision, LRP or not, click continue to check out. That’s it!

You think you want to become a Wellness Advocate?FANTASTIC!

I’m not kidding when I say this was a no brainer for me. Yes I’m in the world of Childbirth Education as a Certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor and I’m pretty well versed on all things Natural- BUT there are so many people I talk to who are fed up with using toxic waste on their bodies, in their bodies and with their families.

If that’s you- then you are a perfect candidate to become a Wellness Advocate.

Sure, you can lead workshops and do house parties and all that. The people who I’ve known to make great extra $ simply chat (in a normal, non-creepy way!) with their friends, families and people in their communities about how essential oils have affected their lives. They might post on social media here and there. They might let a friend borrow an oil to try. Really, all they do is tell their story about how they use essential oils instead of all the toxic chemicals. About how easy they are to use and about how much $$ they save because they don’t have to buy all that toxic garbage anymore.

Just because you signed up to be a Wellness Advocate doesn’t mean you HAVE to sell anything. You simply can if you want. You receive additional doTERRA discounts and get to be a part of an amazing, top of the line essential oil community!

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, then you would choose ‘Join as a Wellness Advocate’


You then set up your account (you will have what is called a Back Office) to see sales, teams, orders, etc.

And to also become an Advocate, you have to purchase a kit. Personally, I always recommend the Natural Solutions Kit. Can you see why? It’s amazing!!!

This really gives you a great savings! The perfect set of oils (7 15ml oils, 9 5ml oils) complete with essential products, wooden storage box, diffuser etc… It’s perfect to use and get to know in order to share with others!

Go as big or as small as you want here. You want the Diamond Kit and want to take the doTERRA world by storm??? Go right ahead you shining star you!

The bigger kits give you more products and demos to share with others. The smaller kits like The Family Physician Kit give you a good family set of 10,  5ml oils that you’ll love! You will see the least expensive “kit” is the Introductory Packet which is the ONE time membership I mentioned earlier. $35.


I am here to help. For real.

If you are trying to sign up and have any questions at all, just email me: and I will get back with you within 2 business days.

I love oils and I love sharing my passion for things I love. I did a lot of research before I joined doTERRA, and love the decision I’ve made.

I can’t wait until you get started- so what are you waiting for? Sign up so we can chat everything oils!

Sign up here

Getting started with doTERRA was one of the best things I’ve done for my family!

Parent Magazine and Local Saver Coupon Promote Birth Boot Camp

“Birth Boot Camp truly does empower couples to get the birth that is right for mother and baby. This course equips you to both prevent common health problems during pregnancy, and if they do occur, how to complement natural home remedies with medical treatment. Birth Boot Camp prepares a laboring mom to recognize her unique internal signals of the hormonal symphony playing inside her body to grow and birth a little human being. You will also learn how to work with your birthcare provider to have a satisfying birth and a healthy mother and baby. We are pleased to recommend Birth Boot Camp.” 

~Martha and William Sears, Authors of The Healthy Pregnancy Book and developers of the health program for expectant mothers called LEAN Expectations.
 Parent Magazine and Local Saver Coupon Promote all my classes!
“This is an excellent format for couples to learn about childbirth and beyond, and to prepare to have a safe and satisfying birth.
I am excited to share it with our son, Matt, and his wife, Kristin, expecting their first child in early September. I am thrilled that Birth Boot Camp combines the best from all the approaches to childbirth preparation that I have taught and we have written about.”
~ Martha Sears, RN, Childbirth Educator, LLL Leader, and Lactation Consultant

Reboot Refresher Class Registration NOW OPEN

Do YOU need a REBOOT for your next birth?

You can have an amazing birth — AGAIN!

REBOOT is intended for people who have already had an unmedicated birth.  I charge $75 and it runs 3 1/2 hours. It is kept to a minimum of 4 couples for comfort. Dads will have a lot of fun too! I schedule this particular class on an *as-need basis.  My next one will be July 17th.  I have two spots left.  Contact me with your due date and birth experience for more details and registration!

All Birth Boot Camp Instructors teach a Reboot Class, but they might spread it over a couple of nights. The outline is the same either way.  I have found that most of my Reboot couples are referral clients from my 10-week Birth Boot Camp series. It’s such a privilege to be a part of these growing families and their friends.  Each couple will receive the Reboot booklet and a cool Birth Boot Camp water bottle.

What is included in the Refresher Course?
The full 20-page Birth Boot Camp Reboot Refresher course booklet, a custom Birth Boot Camp water bottle, relaxation practice, lots of hands on review for labor. Couples will leave encouraged and revitalized for their birth! (The Breastfeeding DVD, The Ultimate MRE, is not included but may be requested for an additional $20. It contains 3 1/2 hours of indispensable breastfeeding education . It is included in the 10 week classes. The Ultimate MRE is also sold on Amazon for $29.95)

Editorial Reviews of The Ultimate MRE


MRE DVD front cover

REBOOT Payment is currently accepted via Paypal, Cash or Check. A nonrefundable deposit of $25 is required at least two weeks before the start of class to guarantee your spot in class. The remaining $50 balance is due at the beginning of class, and receipts will be issued.

*Found out about classes at the last minute? That’s ok! Call me 850.791.8377 and I’ll be happy to try and make arrangements for you.

When should the class be taken?
Mom should be as close to 36 weeks as possible.

How can I contact you? Email ~    Phone ~ 850.791.8377.

Goodreads and Recommended Videos

Books Every Expectant Parent Should Read Each Pregnancy!

Book Description

Every mother knows – birth is not just labor and delivery. It’s triumph, heartache and falling in love with a new baby wrapped in mere hours, or sometimes days, of work and expectation. The Birth Next Door is an anthology of 28 births in and around Tarrant County, Texas. These are stories, in their own words, of moms who experienced birth in almost every way. Birth in cars, after days of labor, full of surprises or deep contentment, in awe of their bodies and their partners and the capacity for one day to truly change their lives (for better or worse). Publication Date: September 2011

Book Description

•real-mom wisdom on breastfeeding comfortably—from avoiding sore nipples to simply enjoying the amazing bonding experience
• new insights into old approaches toward latching and attaching, ages and stages, and answers to the most-asked questions
• strategies for moms who choose to breastfeed for a short time or who plan to nurse for a year or more
• reassuring information on nursing after a C-section or delivery complications
• recent scientific data that highlight the many lifelong health benefits of breastfeeding
• helpful tips for building your support network—at home or when back at work
• nursing special-needs infants, premies, multiples, and how to thrive no matter what curveball life throws
• guidance on breast health issues, weight gain, day care, colic, postpartum depression, food allergies, and medications

Book Description

Focusing on the essential needs of babies–eating, sleeping, development, health, and comfort–it addresses the questions of greatest concern to parents. The Searses acknowledge that there is no one way to parent a baby, and they offer the basic guidance and inspiration you need to develop the parenting style that best suits you and your child. THE BABY BOOK is a rich and invaluable resource that will help you get the most out of parenting–for your child, for yourself, and for your entire family.

Book Description

Concerned about making enough milk for your baby? Wondering how to make more? Two lactation experts are here to help.

Separate fact from fiction with help from this comprehensive book about improving low milk supply. Written by two leading experts who have been there themselves and officially recommended by La Leche League International, The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk incorporates the latest research and discoveries about causes of low milk supply, the way your body makes milk, and how babies contribute to your milk production. Best of all, you’ll find valuable suggestions for both time-honored and innovative ways to make more milk.

Learn the facts about:

  • Determining if baby is really getting enough milk
  • Supplementing without decreasing your supply
  • Maximizing the amount of milk you can make
  • Identifying the causes of your low supply
  • Increasing your supply with the most effective methods, including pumping, herbs, medications, foods, and alternative therapies
  • Making more milk when you return to work, exclusively pump, have a premie or multiples, relactate, or induce lactation

Book Description

The Definitive Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby

Breastfeeding may be natural, but it may also be more challenging than you expect. Some mothers encounter doubts and difficulties, from struggling with the first few feedings to finding a gentle and loving way to comfortably wean from the breast.

This second edition of Breastfeeding Made Simple is an essential guide to breastfeeding that every new and expectant mom should own-a comprehensive resource that takes the mystery out of basic breastfeeding dynamics. Understanding the seven natural laws of breastfeeding will help you avoid and overcome challenges such as low milk production, breast refusal, weaning difficulties, and every other obstacle that can keep you from enjoying breastfeeding your baby.

Breastfeeding Made Simple will help you to:

  • Find comfortable, relaxing breastfeeding positions
  • Establish ample milk production and a satisfying breastfeeding rhythm with your baby
  • Overcome discomfort and mastitis
  • Use a breast pump to express and store milk
  • Easily transition to solid foods

Book Description

Prepare for a safe and joyful birth-with the help of America’s foremost baby and childcare experts Since women enjoy more birthing options today than ever before, the path toward a safe and satisfying birth can be fraught with important decisions. Planning, understanding the resources available to you, and developing your own birthing philosophy can make all the difference. In this comprehensive, reassuring, and authoritative guide, Dr. Bill and Martha Sears, the pediatrics specialists whose books on pregnancy, babies, and parenting have become widely praised bestsellers, thoroughly explore the abundant choices couples face when anticipating the birth of their child. The topics covered in The Birth Book include: * Selecting the right birthing environment and team *preparing physically and emotionally for childbirth *using prenatal tests and technology wisely *defining the father’s role *selecting a childbirth class *lessening the discomfort and speeding the process of labor *choosing or avoiding anesthesia *finding the birthing position that’s best for you and your baby *decreasing your chances for a cesarean birth *turning a surgical birth into a rewarding experience As the parents of eight children and as medical professionals with nearly three decades of experience, Dr. Bill and Martha Sears are uniquely qualified to answer virtually every question you might have about the birth process. Their one-of-a-kind guide, rich in information as well as inspiration, enables you to plan and create the birth you want.


Books That Every Expectant Parent Should Read At Least Once!

Book Description

One in seven mothers suffers from a disorder on the postpartum depression spectrum; another 20–30 percent of them deal with above-average anxiety. First published in 1994, This Isn’t What I Expectedbecame the go-to resource for postpartum depression. This second edition has been updated in an effort to help women and their partners sort through all the noise and myths to focus on getting the help they need. Dr. Valerie Davis Raskin and social worker Karen R. Kleiman offer their expertise in this guide to self-help and professional treatment for one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed mental illnesses. They provide compassionate support and solid advice for mothers with post-partum depression and the partners who can help them through it.



Book Description

When Survivors Give Birth is written for a mixed audience of maternity care professionals and para-professionals, mental health therapists and counselors, and women survivors and their families. The authors expertly and compassionately address the unusual and distressing challenges that arise for abuse survivors during the childbirth experience.The first section informs the reader of the impact of early sexual abuse on children, adults, and on all aspects of childbearing. The second section teaches skills in communication, self-help skills, counseling and psychotherapy techniques. The third covers clinical challenges and solutions for doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas, and others. Case histories throughout the book clarify and apply the content. Publication Date: April 2004

Book Description

The expectant mother’s guide to vaginal birth after cesarean.

Testimonial: The Fourth Time Around

I really enjoyed having this couple in my class! They exercised, practiced relaxation outside of class, ate nutritiously and had a real thirst for knowledge. I was thrilled that they enjoyed my classes and motivated to pass along what they experianced in hopes that it will help you…

"I ended up having the beautiful birth that I always wanted and I attribute a large part of that to what we learned in our Birth Boot Camp classes."                                                                                                            -B.H.

“I ended up having the beautiful birth that I always wanted and I attribute a large part of that to what we learned in our Birth Boot Camp classes.” -B.H.

As a fourth time mom, I had to be convinced by my midwife that I needed to invest the time and money into the classes because I was sure that I was ready for birth the fourth time around. Although my fourth birth, it was only my 2nd natural birth and I still had a lot of ‘what if’s’ that needed to be answered before I could go into labor and have the beautiful birth I dreamed of.

After going through Birth Boot Camp with my husband, ALL if not more than ALL, of my ‘what ifs’ were answered. I loved Birth Boot Camp! So much was covered so thoroughly that I went into my natural out of hospital birth with such confidence that if anything happened we were prepared whether it be c-section, prolapsed cord, hemorrhaging, resuscitation of baby, etc….

We were prepared. My husband became so involved during the classes! He learned how to be there for me during the birth and because of that I could see how much confidence that gave him going into the birth. I ended up having the beautiful birth that I always wanted and I attribute a large part of that to what we learned in class.

I recommend taking this class! It’s a great refresher course no matter how many children you have had and also a special bonding time with your husband. We loved the classes and now I recommend it to all my friends!

My husband and I have very busy schedules, work long hours and live an hour from where class was held. We really appreciated the way Rachel conducted the class, due to the fact that we traveled 1 hour every Friday night for 10 weeks after getting a babysitter for our 3 other kids. She was very respectful of our time and stayed on task so well, making sure that we got the most out of the classes. It was always punctual and fun as well. We all laughed together and had a good time!

During the 10 weeks not only was she a great teacher but she also became a friend. She was more than willing to answer any questions we had throughout the week and as our due dates approached she checked on us periodically and let us know that she was praying for us. Her kindness didn’t stop there. After the babies were born she met with us and was available if we needed her. I think she must be the best Birth Boot Camp Instructor. She really knows how to make the mommas feel special and has a great gift in the area of teaching. This is why we highly recommend the Birth Boot Camp classes taught by Rachel Johnson. She is very knowledgeable and a blessing to families and babies during this special time in our lives.


~ Frequently Asked Questions ~

“Why should I take a birth class?”
In many cultures, women are raised to view childbirth as a normal, natural process, often observing births of family members. Unfortunately our society has portrayed birth to be a fearful and mysterious experience. Knowledge is the key to overcoming those obstacles and having an accurate perspective of birth. Couples have a right to be fully informed about their options for care providers, birth place, interventions and the atmosphere for their first moments with their new baby. The more you know, the more you can be involved with each of these decisions. Birth Boot Camp can give you the education you need to be confident in your choices!

“What makes Birth Boot Camp different from other natural childbirth methods?”
The Birth Boot Camp curriculum is largely based on the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. It is designed for couples, teaching them how to work as a team in labor and is equally geared toward dads and moms. Dads will learn how to support mothers during pregnancy, labor and even breastfeeding! Birth Boot Camp focuses on upright birth, teaching mothers how to use movement to speed the birth process. We provide relaxation practice exercises for couples to do together, as well as specific questions to ask your care provider. Birth Boot Camp’s board members continually update our material to make sure it is current and accurate. I believe this class can change your life!

“How much do classes cost?”
Classes are $295 per couple. This fee includes:

“When should I start a class?”
I recommend starting class in your second trimester. If you have questions or need to make special arrangements, feel free to ask!

“What if I cannot attend one of the class nights?”
No problem! Included in your fee is the option to make up a class you miss with Birth Boot Camp online.

“I already had a natural birth and do not need a whole series, but would like a reminder course. Do you offer something like that?”
Yes, I do! I teach a 1 day, 2 1/2 hour Refresher Class. It is not a condensed Birth Boot Camp class, but is a refresher course. It comes with a 20 page Birth Boot Camp refresher course booklet and a water bottle. Check my class schedule for dates or reserve a private class today! Refresher classes are $75 per couple.

Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE

In addition to the comprehensive and modern class, students enrolled in my Birth Boot Camp Series will receive the full color, professionally printed Field Manuel, relaxation training, links to additional reading on related topics, and a free

breastfeeding video download called, The Ultimate MRE (Sold on Amazon for $29.95) 

Editorial Reviews

Breastfeeding is the ULTIMATE “ready to eat” meal. Anytime, anywhere, breastmilk is the ideal food for your baby. With professionally filmed and edited content, The Ultimate MRE is hosted by renowned expert Mellanie Sheppard, IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and designed to help you have a successful nursing relationship. Running time: Approximately 3 1/2 hours

MRE DVD front cover

MRE DVD back coverThe Birth Boot Camp Series do NOT include this 2-disk DVD as pictured above, however it DOES come with a complimentary video download of The Ultimate MRE.) To sign up for one of my live Childbirth Education Classes start HERE.

An Interview with Her Sister: Perspective After Medicated and Unmedicated Births

new mamaJulia West, BBCI

She came by natural birth honestly- her mom had five unmedicated births and three of those were out-of-hospital births with midwives! When she was younger, she would retell her mom’s birth stories as if she was crazy and honestly she thought she would never be “strong enough” to have a baby without an epidural herself. But when her sister gave birth to her first baby in 2009, her eyes were opened to the downfalls of the modern medical model of care. She was newly wed to her husband, Trevor, and they had no immediate plans to start a family, but her passion for birth was sparked and she began to research natural birth.

This is her story…

My sister has always been a tough cookie. She is eighteen months younger than me, but she’s taken on many challenges I have not. She has always been a hard worker who does what she needs to do without complaint. She married young, became a military wife and moved across the country where she knew no one. She had two babies without having any family nearby. She patiently and prayerfully waited at home while her husband served in Afghanistan. In many ways, I have looked up to this little sis!

She just gave birth to her third baby less than two weeks ago and birthed without medication for the first time. I asked her to describe all three of her birth experiences and am so thankful she was willing to share these intimate memories. I love her and all of her babies!!

First labor logistics:

She got to the hospital before contractions were very painful and was dilated to 1 cm. Her contractions started to hurt right before she got an epidural and then her labor slowed way down. She was given pitocin to speed labor and then felt a lot of pain. She was given more pitocin and more of the epidural throughout labor and her water was artificially broken. She described her legs as “tree trunks” and said they became more numb and heavy as she labored. She had back pain through most of her labor and was especially in pain during the pushing phase and when she was being checked. She was given morphine at the end of her labor but did not know that until after the baby was born. Overall, it was extremely exhausting. Labor lasted 21 hours and she pushed for the last 5 hours, then her baby was pulled out with forceps. Her baby weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and was born 8 days past the expected due date.


I think the thing that was the most hurtful was that I didn’t feel like I had the chance to bond with my baby. I did not touch her until I woke up after the birth. I don’t know how long that was. She had been cleaned up and swaddled- it was obvious that a lot of time had gone by. The last thing I remember was being stitched up and I didn’t stay awake for them to finish…I don’t even know if they gave her a bottle. They may have, or else she didn’t eat for a long time. It was just very weird…When I think back, I don’t think about the pain I went through, I think about the emotional trauma, even though I was in horrible pain the whole time. I just think about feeling helpless and out of control and traumatized.


10. I had 9 months of pelvic therapy after that. And I had a very cranky baby. We didn’t get a good start with the breastfeeding. And I really believe that a breastfed baby is a happy baby. We supplemented with formula at first and I got her back to only breastfeeding at 4 months old. I had to pump like crazy and I just had to keep trying. I didn’t want to give up on it.

Second labor logistics:

She labored at home for much of her labor and was dilated to 5 cm when she reached the hospital. She was given an epidural shortly after arriving, but it did not slow her labor. Her water broke spontaneously and during the pushing phase she said she could feel her baby, but no pain. Her labor lasted 11 hours and she pushed for the last 30 minutes. This baby weighed 9 lbs 3 oz and was born 8 days past the expected due date.


The big difference was that he was given to me immediately. I was able to nurse him right away, but I did have to kind of fight them (the staff) off a little. I got stronger about that from the first experience. I remember having a peaceful labor at home and it was kind of enjoyable even though it was kind of painful. Just being at home and laboring was way different. Once I got to the hospital, it became very difficult to labor peacefully and without medication. They wanted me to get on the bed, they wanted to see how far along I was. Being on the bed made the contractions harder to deal with. They wanted to hook up the IV and get me hydrated…The nurses just stood there. They didn’t help with the labor at all. I know they aren’t told to do anything, but there was not any help from them except to offer drugs.
I give the credit to staying home. Because I stayed home, I was progressed enough that the epidural did not slow things down. If someone is going to get it, I recommend waiting as long as you can.
I think it was probably the optimal experience with the epidural.


4 or 5. I had a second degree tear. I would probably rate it better if I had not experienced the home birth. It was so much better than my first but it was still longer than 6 weeks of recovery.


Because it went so well with my second, I knew that the reason it was better than the first time, was because I stayed home and labored half the time. Even though I ended up getting the epidural, I knew it could be an even better experience. Obviously, I thought it would be good for me and my baby to not have drugs. Why have drugs if you don’t have to? I know that in our society, we don’t even think about the epidural as a big deal, but it is still a drug.

Third labor logistics:

By this pregnancy, she and her husband were no longer in the military. They hired a doula and a midwife and planned a homebirth. Before labor started, she was dilated to 5 cm. She felt the first contractions around 4 pm and baby was born by 9pm. It was a fast, intense water birth. This baby weighed 9 lbs even and was born 9 days past the expected due date.


With hers, I was never afraid. I felt well taken care of. But I went through more pain than I expected. There were definitely points where I was not sure I could do it. I definitely had a lot more pain with my third than my second labor but it was still better. When it was over, I had a 9lb baby and I felt hardly damaged. Everything was still in tact. You can’t beat that.

I had a completely different outlook after my last birth than with the other two. You miss out on those good hormones. With the second, I was definitely happy to see him, but it wasn’t the same. I had more anxiety with him and of course, the first birth. With him, I was still nervous about what all was in store for me next after he was born. With the last, it was like, everything’s over, everything will be great.
I was able to get the best rest afterward that I’ve ever had after having a baby. Even if your baby is not crying in the hospital, sleeping in the hospital bed is horrible. And your husband gets a chair to sleep in. And they’re always coming in to check on you and the baby. Because we were military during the first two, that really changed things. We couldn’t chose our doctor, we did not have a lot of options.

This was a big, life-changing experience. I really had this inkling that it could bring me closer to God and I knew there was something I could learn from it. It’s hard to explain. In the moment, feeling all of that pain, it’s hard for someone to say it will be worth it. When I was going through it, I could not believe anyone would do it. I was thinking, “I can’t wait for this to be over.” But now looking back at it, I would do it again. I would be nervous about the pain again, but I would be excited. I think I could manage it better next time because I kind of know what to expect. I think I will be better able to gauge when it will be over. I never questioned God, but when I was in labor, I thought, “God, how do you think I can handle this? You’re mistaken. This is not what I can handle.” But of course I was wrong. I was thinking, “I can’t do this,” but I knew I had to.
When it was over, I felt really great and accomplished and I felt like I had done something great for myself and my family. I had a better emotional outlook on everything when it was over. I felt like God had shown me I could do more than I thought I could.


2. I ended up getting sick in the days after the birth, but it was still so much better. I had no tearing to recover from. She’s way more content, happy, healthy. She’s barely cried. I am really getting to enjoy her.

If I had to relive a birth, it would be hers, definitely.

Postpartum Recovery

Suzanne Brown, BBCI

She is a wife and full-time mother of two. She received her B.S. in Development and Family Studies in 2004. Her first pregnancy took place overseas and she experienced just how difficult it can be to locate a supportive care provider and birth place. Thorough research and education enabled her to achieve an unmedicated birth. That experience and a second natural delivery have shown her that when a woman and her support team are educated in how her body is designed to work with her baby to give birth, the labor and delivery process is transformative.

Here is her story…

When I had The Boy, I was totally caught off guard by postpartum recovery. My main birth prep was to read the Bradley birth books, as we were overseas and had no access to a live class. In his book, Dr. Bradley says some things that weren’t exactly true for me, things like “Natural birth moms love the pushing stage!” and “Natural birth moms almost never tear! And if they do, it’s just a minor tear and they can’t feel it anyway because the baby’s head numbs the perineum!” and “Natural birth moms feel great afterward! They walk to their room instead of ride in a wheelchair and they are back to normal in no time!”

Suffice it to say that after my first birth I was cursing Dr. Bradley.

I hated pushing, I did tear – quite badly, actually – and felt every bit of it, and I tried to walk to my room (after eyeing the wheelchair I determined I would never be able to sit again) but nearly passed out when I stood up (THANK GOD Husband was holding the baby) so the wheelchair it was. And it was much longer to feel “back to normal” than I expected. Now, recovery was MUCH quicker and more comfortable after my second, so every birth is different. But I learned it is better to be prepared than sorry. It is a good idea to have some supplies gathered beforehand because you need to stay in bed for a while after giving birth – no running errands! – and if you think it is awkward for you to buy some of this stuff, try sending your husband out to get adult diapers.

1. Bleeding – You bleed pretty heavily after having a baby. It is called lochia and this happens even if you have a c-section because you are bleeding from the site where the placenta detached. My midwife told me to get some Depends and said they were really comfy and I would love them. I scoffed…but she was right. They are GREAT for the first few days. I like these – you can get coupons for them, and if you go here you can get a free pair. You will want more than the free pair, though – go ahead and treat yourself to a whole pack. After a couple of days you can switch to pads – NO TAMPONS. The bleeding usually lasts a few weeks and gradually tapers off. Your bleeding is your body’s way of telling you how you’re healing – if it picks up after slowing down, you are doing too much and need to rest more. You may feel ridiculous for resting as much as you need to but your body truly needs it. You will bleed for a much shorter time if you spend the first days/weeks in bed (or at least laying down).


2. Soreness – even if you don’t tear, your muscles just did A LOT of work. Your joints stretched. Your entire pelvis will be somewhat sore and your lady bits will be swollen. One of my friends recommended keeping Tucks pads in the fridge and layering them on top of your pad like pepperonis. This feels great! I like these because they also have aloe in them for extra healing and soothing, but regular Tucks will work fine. You can also use a bag of frozen peas as an ice pack. If you deliver with a midwife, she will sometimes give you some herbal teabag-type things to use as an ice pack too.

witch hazel pads

postpartum bath herbs

3. Bathroom – Your first pee and poop after you deliver may terrify you. For pee, your care provider *should* give you a little squirt bottle called a peri bottle (unless you are in France where they give you NOTHING). You fill it with warm water, then as you start to pee you squirt it where the pee is coming out. This dilutes it so it doesn’t burn. (You’ll thank me later.) For poop – many ladies swear by mild stool softeners. Personally I just eat Activia yogurt every day. Basically you do not want to have to push to get poop out so if you have any favorite tricks, this is the time to pull them out. (No pun intended.) Your pelvic muscles are really stretched after having a baby so you may very well discover that you have “stress incontinence,” which means you leak pee when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. Or you just leak pee. Take heart, this is correctable and (usually) a very easy fix. Go ahead and start doing Kegel-type exercises again after you deliver. These are the only exercises you are allowed to do for at least 6 weeks! Do 10 squeezes every time you nurse the baby, or give yourself some other kind of reminder.

peri bottle

4. Abdomen – During pregnancy all your internal organs get squished around to make room for baby. Once baby vacates the premises, these organs start drifting around in search of their previous home. This is a very unsettling feeling, like your whole torso is filled with Jell-O. At minimum I recommend wearing a belly band – the kind you use during pregnancy when your normal jeans don’t fit but maternity jeans are too big – to help everything feel contained. However, the more I learn about diastasis recti (abdominal separation) the more it seems to be very, very common after pregnancy. If you think you may have this I highly recommend splinting your abs, either with this splint or this one. And I know I said you were only allowed to do Kegels but I will also allow you to do a few diastasis-safe ab exercises (no crunches!!!) to take advantage of your postpartum healing hormones. (Short version: try to pull your belly button to your spine and pulse a few times. That’s it. I am not talking about a strenuous workout here, you are just trying to get the left and right halves of your abs to be friends again.)

5. Afterpains – these are contractions after you give birth. They help the uterus go back to its normal size. Supposedly you don’t feel them too much with the first baby and after that they get worse with each kid. Well, I definitely felt them after The Boy, and they didn’t feel good…but they were much worse after The Girl. When you breastfeed, your body releases oxytocin which triggers these contractions so it can be really hard to focus on your baby when you’re in pain. My midwife recommends this stuff called After Ease. There are a few different ways you can take it; I squirted a dropperful into my water bottle every time I filled it up. I started using it right after I had The Girl and I was skeptical about how well it actually worked…until I ran out. Then I promptly bought some more.

After Ease

6. Hunger (and thirst) – I thought I was hungry when I was pregnant. Oh, no. That was just a foretaste (ha!) of Hunger. The first few weeks of The Boy’s life I was RAVENOUS. Beyond ravenous. I was so hungry it felt like I would never be able to eat enough. I was so thirsty it felt like I would never be able to drink enough. If you have someone helping you after baby is born make sure they know to keep the fridge and pantry fully stocked, and ask them to make you snacks. You will spend so much time nursing and changing diapers (and sleeping whenever you can) that it will be easy to skip meals (even though you’re SO FREAKING HUNGRY). Make sure you are getting plenty of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Your helper can wash the fruit ahead of time or cut it up if necessary so it’s grab-and-go easy for you. If you don’t have a helper, try to get your fridge stocked ahead of time or ask a friend to bring you some. Also, whether you have a helper or not, it is a good idea to put some meals in the freezer before baby comes. Don’t wait until the last minute to do this…I may have had a bad experience with procrastination on this one.

7. Sweating/leaking fluids – You have a lot of extra fluids when you’re pregnant, and I don’t just mean your amniotic fluid. Your blood volume drastically increases too. After baby is born, your body needs to get rid of all that extra fluid, so you will still find yourself peeing all the time and for a while you may also wake up at night to find yourself drenched in sweat. Additionally, you may also leak milk for a while – days or weeks for some, months for others. After a few nights of waking up soaking wet all over in milk and sweat, I started sleeping on towels. One for the upper body for the sweat and milk (I was sticking a prefold diaper in my shirt, leaking straight through that and still had a puddle of milk around me), and one under my hips/bottom in case of a pad leak. (Postpartum is a very undignified time in your life.) It is way easier to toss a wet towel on the floor and grab a clean one (or two) than to change the sheets, especially if you have to wake up daddy. This time is very short, usually a few days to a week, although the milk leaking may last longer. Breastmilk does stain so use towels you don’t mind having spots on. If your baby is sleeping with you, make sure the towel is big enough for them too because babies spit up and their diapers leak. There are just a lot of fluids going on.

8. Hair loss – After a few months – around 4, in my experience – all your hair will fall out. Even if you know this is coming, even if your friends warn you that it is A LOT of hair that will fall out, you will find yourself in the shower thinking “DEAR GOD, I HAVE CANCER, HOW WILL MY BABY EAT WHEN I DIE?!?!?!” It is a terrible amount of hair. The hair that is left will be noticeably thinner; you will find yourself wrapping that ponytail holder around an extra time or two. Then, around month 7 or 8, just when you think you are more bald than not, your hair will start to grow back so you will have a super-attractive halo of teeny little hairs that stick up all over the place.

9. Nipple pain – Everyone says it’s not normal, but it IS common, and while you get the kinks worked out of how to teach a baby to latch on you want to keep your nipples intact. My very favorite nipple cream/balm is Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm. You can get it at Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby. They gave me a little sample packet of it at the hospital in France – the only thing they gave me – and I loved it. I acted like that stuff was gold cream the way I treasured it and used it so sparingly. For some reason it did not occur to me to give it to The Husband and tell him to go buy me a whole tube of it. Anyway, I like that it doesn’t have lanolin in it and the texture is like lotion, so it just soaks in and doesn’t stain your clothes or feel sticky. It’s great stuff.


The most important thing you can know about postpartum recovery is REST. Rest rest rest rest rest. Don’t go to the mall, don’t go for long walks, don’t do any housework that isn’t absolutely necessary for survival. Just stay in bed with your baby and rest. Besides being great for breastfeeding and bonding, you will heal so much faster and better if you take the first few weeks to simply rest. Gather a “kit” of your recovery supplies before your birth so you don’t feel the need to go to the store. Instead, you can focus your attention and whatever energy you have on getting to know your sweet baby!