Birth Class Outline and Details

Class 1: Introduction and the basics
-the history of childbirth
-consumerism and healthcare
-addressing birth myths
-medical model of care vs. midwifery model of care
-choosing the best provider/birth team
-prenatal exercises
-working with Pain

Class 2: Nutrition-prenatal nutrition
-postpartum nutrition
-preventing toxemia and preeclampsia
-introduction to breastfeeding

Class 3: Intro to Coaching
-birth support
-Introduction to drugs in pregnancy and labor

Class 4: The stages of Labor (part 1)
-the anatomy of your growing belly
-how the body prepares for labor
-emotional signposts in labor
-the onset of labor, and first stage of labor-what is it?
-What is the body doing?
-what to expect?
-narcotics as labor drugs

Class 5: The Stages of Labor (part 2)
-presentation positions of baby
-the transitional stage
-what is it?
-what is the body doing?
-what to expect?
-second stage of labor
-what is it?
-what is the body doing?
-what to expect?
-third stage of labor
-what is it?
-What is the body doing?
-what to expect?

Class 6: Routine Interventions, and Dealing with the Unexpected
-setting the tone
-working with the hospital staff
-Informed Consent
-in case of emergency
-in case you deliver in the car or at home
-how baby is monitored
-common obstacles and how to manage them
-cesarean section

Class 7: Planning your birth
-sample birth plans and priorities exercise
-avoiding confrontation
-plans and flexibility
-packing your bag and preparing the car

Class 8: Perceptions on birthing
-Assumptions of:
-MD or OB
-your nurse
-cultural perceptions of birth
-coping with fears and shifting perception
-the role of the coach
-the role of the doula

Class 9: Coping in First Stage Labor
-pre-labor physiology and expectations
-back labor
-relating pain with progress
-coping in transition
-communication with parents and birth team

Class 10: Coping in Second Stage Labor
-characteristics of second stage
-pushing positions
-breath control
-characteristics of third stage
-the initial postpartum period
-postpartum comfort and settling in

Class 11: The Postpartum Period and Breastfeeding
-colostrum and milk production
-common discomforts and remedies
-Do’s and Don’ts
-nursing positioning for mom and baby
-practice positions with weighted baby dolls

Class 12: Infant and Mother Care
-newborn procedures
-the ‘fourth trimester’
-why babies cry
-postpartum at home—mom and baby
-postpartum mood disorders
-practice soothing and swaddling babies
-babywearing instructions and demonstration (when guest speaker is available)
-infant massage demonstration (when guest speaker is available)

The Power of Milk: Breastfeeding as Redemption for moms who are survivors are abuse

This was something I wrote around my son's first birthday, when I was considering becoming a La Leche League leader. I think what I have written is still relevant, though

personal, and I hope that by sharing I can bring comfort to women who were once in my shoes.

It is my goal to eventually specialize in birth for survivors, and to offer counseling, group support and resources to those who need them. This is my first step in that direction.

In the beginning, I was not a fan of nursing, but I patiently kept on, hoping that I would attain some validation or a trick to make this experience more pleasant. This was one of my better decisions in life, and it wouldn’t be long before nursing provided me so

much more than I ever dreamed—a feeling of safety, and of love.

As a teen, and again later as a married woman, I had the misfortune of meeting some very bad men, and was raped multiple times. This is something that has haunted my days and almost every facet of my life. Through years of counseling I have developed skills for coping, but never felt like my body was a good place to 'live'. I always felt that it was a target for potential harm. I never really felt safe in my own skin, and had some very serious body image issues. It was rare I allowed my husband to touch my breasts during intercourse, because the sensations I associated with that tender act, were less than loving. While I was pregnant, I worried how I would cope with this while nursing. In my last trimester I was more frightened of nursing than I was of labor and delivery!

My labor and delivery was planned to be a natural birth at home, but things didn't go as I'd hoped, and I ended up on a pitocin drip with an epidural I didn't need or want, and lots of issues about how my body had failed me. I needed a doula, but didn’t know any better! I also had a very difficult pregnancy, and suffered from hyperemesis gravidarium, and lost 42 pounds in the first weeks of my pregnancy. I had scarcely

controlled vomiting for 7 of 9 months, and at delivery time, was still 20 pounds lighter than before I became pregnant. These issues only served to compound my feelings of resentment for my body, and I felt as if it didn't work, and never would-- I hated it all the more for these reasons.

It was very difficult for me to surrender control of my body on someone else's terms, and someone else's schedule, even if it was a tiny, helpless little infant. I really struggled with my baby's seemingly constant need for my breasts in the first days. I called La Leche League for support more than once, and cried to my husband. It was so difficult for me to 'let go' of the control I had maintained over my body for so many years in order to feel safe as a result of the violence I'd been through.

But slowly, after a few more weeks of nursing, the soreness and engorgement went away, and I began to treasure the time my baby spend nuzzled and sleeping 'at the tap', as my husband would say. The resentments I had harbored against my body for years as a result of violence, mistreatment, and my pregnancy 'failings' melted away as I began to realize that my body was doing the most amazing thing... it was nourishing my son with the milk and love he needed to learn, grow, and bond to me in those critical first days. I suddenly stopped resenting the seemingly constant need for him to nurse, and fell in love with my son and my breasts. Surrendering this most feminine part of myself became a source of pride, wonder, and awe, as my son nursed early and often, and established the most intimate connection I have ever felt. This changed my life, and my relationship with my body-- something that 10 years of therapy could not do.

With time, I came to know my body in a way I never had, and as my son continued to nurse with vigor, I learned how amazing it is to be a woman, and that my breasts were the most amazing gift I had ever been given. For me, breastfeeding had redeemed all acts of violence and failure, and allowed me to love my body and realize it's power for the first time.

And now I vow to help women find this joy in their own breasts, regardless of their size, their history, or their reluctance. Breasts are powerful things, and I can’t wait to help you discover yours!

Baby Boot Camp

I just completed my first Baby Boot Camp for parents with resounding success! I am very pleased, and I know my class was too!

Some of the topics I covered were:

-Mandated hospital newborn testing and procedures
-Circumcision: the decision, the care, and the future
-Newborn Jaundice
-Packing for Baby
-Settling in at home
-Postpartum Nutrition
-Postpartum mood disorders
-Sleeping: for parents and baby
-Diapers, diaper rash, meconium, and healthy baby poop
-Breastfeeding basics
-Baby wearing and carrier types
-Newborn development and care
-Soothing a baby

As well as practical demonstrations and activities for :
-Nursing holds
-Baby wearing
-Soothing a newborn

I look forward to having another one at the Belly Factory on Saturday, August 22. It will start earlier, and therefore go through the lunch hour. As a result, I will be providing lunch, but the course fee will go up from $50 per person/couple, to $60 per person, or $70 per couple. Any dietary restrictions should be mentioned at the time of registration.

There is limited class space, so please call the Belly Factory today to register and put down you $10 deposit. As always, you will receive a $10 store credit to the Belly Factory for your attendance. For information on the Belly Factory, see the links page on my website.

I hope to see you next time!