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

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Do you desire to have a natural birth?

I’m a certified Birth Boot Camp instructor, teaching childbirth education classes in the southern Dallas/Fort Worth area. Please look around my blog and contact me with any questions. You can also find me on Facebook.

Our mission: Birth Boot Camp is committed to training couples in natural birth and breastfeeding through accessible, contemporary education. Birth Boot Camp is for couples, moms AND dads. You’ll learn to work together to bring your baby into this world as a team. Join my 10 week Birth Boot Camp Class for complete, up-to-date information on natural childbirth. It is positive, enjoyable and fun along the way! You will be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally for the birth of this baby. You will receive over 25 hours of personalized education!

Birth Boot Camp Field Manual: The over 150 page, full color workbook you receive in class includes proper nutrition in pregnancy; labor positions; relaxation exercises; what to expect in labor, during birth, and in the postpartum period… and so much more! This is yours to keep and also includes weekly worksheets to help mom and dad prepare for the birth of their baby together.
Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE: This exclusive two-disk breastfeeding DVD by lactation consultant Mellanie Shephard, IBCLC, gives you approximately 3 1/2 hours of breastfeeding information to take home and refer to as needed!MRE DVD front cover

Birth Boot Camp Education provides: unsurpassed information on childbirth, comfort techniques and relaxation exercises.

Weekly Research Resources: After each class, you will receive an email containing the most 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.

I recommend starting class in the last trimester and preferably not before 20 weeks. You want the information to be fresh in your mind come birth day! 

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

Instructor: Rachel Johnson

Phone: 850.791.8377

Email: rjohnson@birthbootcamp.com

Facebook: Rachel Johnson- Instructor

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.

 

SPECIAL SITUATIONS 

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.

FAQ

~ 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 this 

complimentary two-disk breastfeeding DVD, The Ultimate MRE (Amazon: $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 coverTo sign up for 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.

WHAT EMOTIONS STICK OUT IN YOUR MIND ABOUT YOUR FIRST LABOR?

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.

HOW WAS THE RECOVERY AFTER THE BIRTH ON A SCALE FROM 1-10 WITH 1 BEING THE BEST?

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.

WHAT EMOTIONS STICK OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR SECOND BIRTH?

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.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS RECOVERY?

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.

WHAT LEAD YOU TO WANT TO HAVE A NATURAL BIRTH?

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.

WHAT EMOTIONS STICK OUT IN YOUR MIND ABOUT THE 3RD BIRTH?

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.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE RECOVERY AFTER THE THIRD BIRTH?

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).

Depends

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.

Nursing-Comfort-Balm_0

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!

My Birth Tub, Baby!

The birth story of Baby Junebug

PRODROMAL LABOR . GENDER SURPRISE HOME BIRTH 

I sent a text to my best friend at approximately 6:09pm on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013. “Things are getting stronger…Andrew stayed home from church, I’m trying to decide if/what to do. Keep you posted.” She responded, “If things continue to strengthen, let me know and I’ll come right away.”

We met when I was 3 months along, before my first daughter was born. She admired my decision to birth in my home in my most familiar, safe, and comforting surroundings. She marveled at my strength to deliver our baby naturally, so she educated herself through natural childbirth classes and joined the bandwagon nine months later with her first unmedicated birth with hospital midwives.

We continued to grow closer. I birthed my second daughter that next year at my home and asked her to be there to record the birth. She gladly agreed! She had never seen a real live birth (other than her own) before. I was so grateful to have her there as support and will always cherish the professional photos she captured at that birth. In February 2012, I witnessed her beautiful birth, as their surprise gender baby was born at a birth center. She got her girl!!! And it was so incredible. I told them, “I’m expecting in September!!! The neatest thing is, I have the same due date as my Sister-in-law! Can you believe it?”

It was a year ago in April, as she was setting the table for dinner, that I decided to called her again. I was delivering my sweet 10-12 week old baby. I asked my husband what I should do. She had offered to come if I ever needed her. She rushed to my side and witnessed the heartbreaking sorrow of labor, stillborn birth and the healing hand of God. He was closer to me than ever. He sustained us during those hard moments and gave my husband and I hope in time to come. We gave that little tiny boy the name Silas.

God had a better plan, a perfect path for my life. He it amazing! That September my Sister-in-law gave birth to my first nephew. They went ahead and named their son Silas, after our 3rd baby, kind of as a namesake. He is very dear to my heart. As I watch him grow, I get to see glimpses of what might have been. However our little boy is in God’s hands…he’s walking in the promised land. I’m really looking forward to seeing him. We were planning to visit my husband’s identical twin, sister-in-law and nephew when he was 3 weeks old, so I decided to take a pregnancy test the night before our trip out to Alabama…just in case. I was elated and scared the moment I realized I was pregnant again. What would the future hold?

So you see, the birth of our little “JuneBug” began long before I went into labor.

For a week and a half I had been experiencing podromal labor and was more than ready to have my baby in my arms. After I watched my friend Tori and a VBAC Mama give birth to their second children, as surprise gender births, we decided to do the same. We had a sealed envelope with sono pictures in it. Andrew and I put our gender guesses on the outside and locked it in our safe to be opened after baby “Junebug” would arrive.

I had been pastdue for longer than 9 days before, but I had never experienced the on again, off again “labor game”. The curiosity was killing me. I was thankful for every pregnant day, but it started to feel like I had been pregnant forever. (There were only 5 months between my miscarriage and the start of my 4th pregnancy.) This baby and birth had so much anticipation, emotion, love and healing wrapped around it!

Tori arrived at our home and set the chicken that Andrew had asked her to pick up, on the table. He knew just what I’d need. Our doula had been called the hour before and was already there. Her presence exudes a calming confidence. She planned to capture some our birth on video too, if possible.

My contractions had been 3 to 4 minutes apart almost every night that week, but by day I’d get breaks of complete stillness for seemingly hours. We scheduled another sono and then a BPP at 41 weeks just to check on baby. We both were healthy. Contractions were good, but not gaining in intensity. It seemed like a positional delay to me. We had been praying for God’s timing and will through out the pregnancy. We prayed about the baby’s position and Andrew brought me in to see our chiropractor on Wednesday morning. It was a total of 3 adjustments in 5 days, but exactly what baby and I needed.

Just 6 hours later, Tori walked into our bedroom and let me know she was there. She hugged me and I smiled and said I was glad. I told Andrew I was glad to be in active labor, glad he had spent the entire day with me, glad we had walked around JCPenny holding hands in between contractions and just plain glad we would have our baby sooner rather than later. We talked and laughed and sat quietly. My Midwife, Melody, and her assistants arrived around 8:45pm. In between contractions, Tori and I reminisced about similarities and differences we had in labor. How we couldn’t wait to find out what this baby would be. What name would be for a boy, for a girl. During contractions my doula used tremendous counter pressure and essential oils to help me through the hardest peeks. Andrew held my arms and hands and whispered encouragement into my soul…

As a Christian and Childbirth Educator, I had purposed to embrace my Savior through this birth. I did NOT want to over-think things and I would NOT operate as an individual in charge of my pregnancy or labor. I had learned that God controls everything. My birth mantra was: Trust, Delight, Commit, Rest & Cease. His grace would see me through.

Finally the time came for my baby to be born…the waiting was over. The hard work finished. The reward finally held in my hands.
Pictures by: adelephotography

Latent, prodromal labor had gone on for 29 hr. 30 min.

I’m so thankful I have a protective, prepared and praying husband!

Will we have a boy?

…or a ladies trio?

Remembering to text my family and friends to pray for me as we were in labor…

Active labor: 4 hr. 27 min.

41 weeks 2 days

Practicing relaxation was paying off.

Listening to the song my husband sang to me on our Wedding day.

Baby Heart Rate: 136

My water broke spontaneously & clear at 11:25 pm. (Broken for 2 hr. 11 min.)

Three of the  six women attending to me were pregnant!

Second Stage Labor: 9 min. (Full Dilation to Birth of the Baby)

We were doing this T O G E T H E R.  I loved laboring in the warm relaxing water…

Pushing started involuntarily around 1:27 pm. Baby was coming fast and felt huge!

Words can’t describe the intensity & immense pleasure I had in catching my baby.   This was my first BIRTH TUB BABY!

Me: “Oh! Your a girl! I know all about girls. Oh, baby, you’re…June Marie. I love you.”

“I watched her labor gracefully, beautifully, calmly. I witnessed love in the hands of her husband, her doulamidwives, and assistants. As many times as they prayed and asked God for grace, He gave it.” – Tori Gillit 

Third Stage Labor:  16 min. (Birth of the Baby to the Delivery of the Placenta)

We woke the big sisters right away! I could hardly wait for them to meet baby June!

They loved her immediately!

…and so our family grew and so did our LOVE & RESPECT…

Head: 13 1/2″   Chest: 13 1/2″

“She’s my beautiful, precious girl…and I’m going to protect her and raise her right.”

Weight: 7lb. 10oz. Unbelievable! All 3 of our girl’s birth weights were identical.

Length: 21 1/2″

I’m looking forward to seeing you grow little one. This is just the beginning of June!
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” -Prov 13:12

(http://adelephotographyblog.blogspot.com)

FAQs

“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:

  • 10 weeks of making “class night” your favorite night of the week!
  • the Student Field Manual, a full color workbook
  • Breastfeeding: the Ultimate MRE, a complete breastfeeding class
  • a Birth Boot Camp water bottle
  • weekly resource emails

“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 refresher course. Do you offer something like that?”
Yes, I do! I teach a 1 day, 3 hour class for $75 per couple. 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 page for dates and times.

Need to Save Money?

If you are desiring a Natural Birth and looking into the fantastic Birth Boot Camp education, but perhaps evaluating the cost. “It really sounds great, but $295! Is it worth it?”

The cost you will SAVE on the interventions that you won’t be needing if you are well prepared and achieve a natural birth are found HERE Also see how much savings you have have with breastfeeding SUCCESS

Birth Boot Camp Classes are a bargain when you consider the cost of NOT giving birth naturally (without medication) and  NOT breastfeeding. You and your baby are worth the investment! Be empowered to take charge of your birth experience, attend a Birth Boot Camp series and you will be able to make INFORMED choices about your care and your baby!

During my first pregnancy, I became interested in natural birth and have been devoted to educating couples and giving them options every since!

Class size is limited, so call or email today to book your spot in class.

I’d LOVE to have you in class, but if you are unable to make one of these classes work with your schedule OR you live too far away but would still love to have the amazing Birth Boot Camp education… here is another option!

Please contact me with any questions about classes or your upcoming birth!

Rachel Johnson, BBCI
Phone: 850.791.8377
Email: rjohnson@birthbootcamp.com
Facebook: Rachel Johnson- Instructor

The VBAC Decision

You CAN have an AWESOME Birth!

To VBAC or not to VBAC? THAT is the question.

A women from an ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group just blogged about her decision to have a VBA4C (VBAC after 4 Cesareans)! I’m here cheering her on and ready to encourage all VBAC moms/couples through Birth Boot Camp classes. Keep in mind, the Birth Boot Camp Curriculum was designed with you in mind!  If you hope to make this new VBAC journey, please contact me so I can be a help to you.

Birth Boot Camp offers online classes in addition to live classes for those seeking a VBAC. A live class is ALYAYS preferred over the online option. But, if your schedule is just too hectic to accommodate one of my live classes OR you live too far away, but would still love to have the amazing Birth Boot Camp education…here is another great option!

I recommend beginning classes when you are around 25 weeks pregnant. Read a full description of our natural birth classes here.

                  Class size is limited, so call or email today to reserve your spot!

Rachel Johnson, BBCI

Phone: 850·791·8377
Email: rjohnson@birthbootcamp.com
Facebook: Rachel Johnson- Instructor