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Sunday marked our final Bradley Method class, and I have to say that Brandon and I were pretty sad it was over. We were fortunate to have a great group of people in our class who all clicked really well. Our teacher had a dynamic personality and she really laid herself out there wide-open. Brandon and I responded well to her method of teaching and we left each class with the confidence and determination to make this experience what we want.

I know from my doctor’s initial reaction, and that of some other folks I’ve run across, that the Bradley method can turn people off quickly. They find the instruction to be too black-and-white and anti-medical establishment. I have to say that our class veered away from that method quite a bit. Our teacher is a former nurse and a mother of four children who had very different birth experiences with each of her children. We were not focused on the negatives of the medical establishment. We were encouraged to partner with our doctors and to understand our hospital’s rules and regulations, and to then draft what we want/expect out of our birth experience.

One of the things that Brandon and I both enjoyed from our class was the thorough education we received on the birth process: all of the possible interventions, the reasons for and against intervention, our rights as birthing parents, and natural coping mechanisms for pain management. Many of the couples in our class came with a lack of support from their families and that was one thing for which I felt really truly grateful. My mother has encouraged me from day one that I can do this, and I think that can make a big difference in the overall attitude you carry with you.

An important aspect of hearing the various birth stories the last few weeks and learning how to approach birth naturally has been the understanding that this is out of our control. Things can go wrong, babies can turn at the last minute (we heard a story just last week about that happening) and sometimes interventions have to be employed for the safety of the mother and the baby. But the main thing we focused on was that if we can offer any amount of time to laboring naturally, we will give our baby some very useful hormones. No matter the outcome of birth, the baby will have at least received what we were capable of offering. It’s a no-guilt approach to natural birth.

The biggest thing from these last few months of classes has been the affect on my relationship with Brandon. We have really dived deep into learning all about birth and labor, and Brandon has been there every step of the way. He has learned the tools and methods needed to be an effective coach and support to me. We spent many exercises in the class laughing together and finding humor in the stress that birth can be. I am forever grateful to be married to someone who supports my wishes for this birth, and who has given his time and energy to learning how to offer me that gift. William and I are very lucky.

P.S. At my appointment this morning I was measured and now baby is measuring just at 34 weeks…which means potentially NO big baby!!

P.P.S. I gave our doctor a copy of our birth preferences and waited for any fallout. There was none. She was completely on board and said it was all very reasonable and she would add it in my chart so no matter who ended up delivering our sweet boy – we would get what we want from this experience. What a relief!