The answer to this preface stems back to 2011. We didn't take Bradley Method® classes until Winter 2013/2014, and I'll explain why.
This blog post is written strictly from a consumer and lay person point of view. I do not know any more of the details of the various childbirth education programs (besides Bradley®) than what I'm about to write.
We moved to Dallas when I was around 32 weeks pregnant with our first baby boy. I honestly didn't know that childbirth classes existed outside of the hospital setting. No clue. Didn't bother to Google, either.
So we attended the token hospital "prepared childbirth" type classes for a few weeks. Luckily for me, I met one of my dearest friends in that class, and she always had a book with her. This book was titled "Natural Childbirth; The Bradley Way". She talked about it here and there, but I never asked much about it. Shame on me!
One unnecessary cesarean section later, I knew there had to be a better way. I remembered the book my sweet friend had read. She had an unmedicated vaginal birth. I wanted that, too!
By this time, my son was around 22 months old, and we were taking Gymboree classes together. I had recently found out I was expecting again, and had to make a run to the bathroom during gym class one morning. When I came out, a fellow young mom approached me to see if I was ok. I explained my condition and she lit up! She was a Bradley Method® instructor! She wished me well and gave me her card.
Here in Dallas, we have several different types of natural childbirth classes to choose from, I learned. My husband said, "whichever you think is best, dear", as a good spouse should, haha!, and let me do the research. I already knew that the Bradley Method® worked; I saw and heard my friend's experience. She felt great, loved her birth and was exclusively breastfeeding. I knew it had been around a looooong time and worked for thousands of couples, but I wanted to be sure that it was really for me.
I wanted my husband to be a part of this. I NEEDED him to support me and help me achieve my heart's desire - a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section). I didn't think of my birth as going into battle. I craved peace, dim lighting, stillness, soothing music, my doula's calming words and my husband's gentle touch.
I now know of friends who have taken classes other than Bradley®, and they've definitely rocked their births! But I wanted the best fit for ME and MY ideal birth.
So what I did was this: I listened to a "VBAC Success" hypnosis track nearly every night before bed. I became very confident in my body's ability to birth my baby vaginally and without drugs. At the same time, my husband and I enrolled in Bradley Method® classes under the instruction of the mom I had met a few weeks prior at Gymboree. It was a fun, casual class that I looked forward to each Sunday afternoon. (I remember one week, class was cancelled due to a winter storm. I was so disappointed, I burst into tears! Snow is no big deal for this Illinois girl!) The Bradley Method classes required work! We had homework every week. We practiced exercise positions and relaxation. We talked about the importance of a healthy pregnancy diet and getting proper hydration both before and during labor. We rehearsed different laboring scenarios and positions. We learned how to have the best possible experience should a c-section become necessary again. We had to write a birth plan and research everything from inductions to sonograms! Equally important; it forced my husband and I to form a more solid team. We grew together in new ways as a couple and I'm very grateful for that!
Anyway, by now you can figure out that I had an amazing, empowering, safe and healing VBAC, the Bradley® way! I believe that every single miniscule piece fell into the precise place exactly the way it was supposed to. If I had to do it over again, I honestly wouldn't change a thing.
...except I would've hired a birth photographer. What I would give to have seen the determination and joy on our faces! :)
To find the Bradley Method® instructor nearest you, click here to visit www.bradleybirth.com
I'm Bethany. Wife. Boy Mom. Bradley Method® teacher. Child passenger safety technician. Placenta encapsulator. I like little dogs, big hair and sweet tea.