Today is Mother’s Day in Mexico. Since our roles as a mother can stand another
day of recognition, I figure why not – let’s have another day of good
wishes. I will start off by wishing all
the moms a Feliz Día de
We had an incredible birth story over the weekend, and
probably one of the most intriguing ones we will have as instructors of The
Bradley Method®. With the mom’s
permission, I am going to share their birth story today. Their baby was born at 35 weeks and both mom
and baby are doing well. The dad
“caught” their daughter as mom was getting out of the hotel bathtub!
One of the topics we cover over the course of the series is
Emergency Childbirth. We do this for the
“just in case” instance when a couple has an unintentional unassisted
birth. Let me be clear that The Bradley
Method® does not endorse unassisted deliveries, meaning that a conscious
decision is made to not have a
trained professional present at the birth of a child. However, the American Academy of
Husband-Coached Childbirth® acknowledges that sometimes parents don’t recognize
the signs of labor (especially first-time parents) and babies will come when
they are ready. Our curriculum addresses
this circumstance in recognition that it is better to give some basic information
about how to handle this situation rather than leaving a mom and her coach
unprepared for the outside chance that they find themselves having to deliver
their child outside of their planned birth setting.
In one of life’s little twists, I had just been loaned the
text “Emergency Childbirth: A Manual” by Gregory J. White, M.D. on Friday. It is recommended reading for all Bradley
instructors and I started reading it over the weekend. The Bradley Method® designed their Emergency
Childbirth class section from Emergency Childbirth,
a joint publication of the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Civil Defense,
the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the American Medical
Association. Little did I expect to hear
yesterday morning that the class information was put to good use by one of our
When I first shared the story with mom’s classmates, the
other moms were incredulous. How could
she not know she was in labor? Was her
labor short? Was labor going to be so
easy that their babies are just going to appear without a big fanfare?
Well, this is the story as best as I can put it together for
now. I still haven’t gotten to hear the
story from Mom and Dad together – when we do, I will film it and add it to our
Birth Story video archive. Here is Baby
Caroline’s Mother’s Day birth story:
Mom and Dad had been planning and practicing for a homebirth
with a midwife. They decided to take
Bradley Method® classes so that Dad would know how to coach mom through labor
while the midwife attended to mom’s and baby’s needs as the labor
progressed. Their hope was that the
Mom’s mother would also be in town as an assistant coach. Either way, Dad was ready to be Mom’s go-to
Mom was woken up on Friday morning by a strong sensation in
her abdomen. In Arizona, per statute
R9-16-108 (see Reference 1), a midwife cannot attend a birth unless mom is
between 36 and 42 weeks of gestation.
Since Mom was only at 35 weeks gestation and their midwife was heading
to Florida to see her grandchildren, she decided not to pay attention to the
tightening. She also had a conversation
with her sister who is studying to be a midwife and failed to mention the
tightening to her. Looking back, Mom
reflected that she didn’t want to be told to go to the emergency room, so she
decided to move on with her day.
Saturday found the couple down in Tucson spending time with
Dad’s family and enjoying the Mother’s Day holiday weekend. Mom was baking bread with her sister-in-law
and SIL noticed that Mom was pausing every once in a while. Mom told her SIL she was having some
contractions but she was only 35 weeks, so it couldn’t possibly be labor,
right? SIL concurred that it was
probably just her uterus getting ready for labor.
After celebrating Mother’s Day with Dad’s family on Sunday,
Mom and Dad were getting ready to head up to Phoenix for Dad to attend a
conference. Mom finally had a
contraction that took her breath away, and she told Dad, “Let’s use this one to
practice our relaxation.” Dad agreed and
started with a back rub, moved to the front where mom curtly told him “Don’t
touch my uterus!” He continued with a
back rub and then worked his way forward again and Mom had to tell him not to
touch again because it was too uncomfortable.
(Students: what phase of labor is
Mom admits upon looking back now that she was just in
denial. They made the drive from Tucson
to Phoenix and got to the hotel. Mom felt
a gush of water and thought that she had wet her pants. She was hot and sweaty and she threw up once
they were in their hotel room.
(Students: what phase of labor is
she in now?) She was very uncomfortable
and decided to lie down. She told Dad
that she must have a really bad case of food poisoning and that the best thing
to do was lie on her side and be still and relax through the terrible
discomfort she was experiencing. Dad did
his best to comfort mom at this time and stayed by her as she was in bed.
All of a sudden, Mom declares that she has to have a bowel
movement. She sat on the toilet and was
pushing, but nothing was coming out of her anus. She checked and couldn’t believe that she
couldn’t pass this painful stool. Mom
and Dad agreed that a bath would help Mom relax her muscles and then maybe she
could relieve herself. So Dad drew the
bathwater and Mom got in. Dad reported
that Mom felt instantly relief in the water, so that made them feel better.
Well, the next thing they know, the bath water turns
red. Now the couple is truly concerned
and they call 911. Dad reports that the
911 dispatcher “didn’t buy” the constipation story and told Dad to have Mom get
out of the water and see if he could see the baby’s head.
Mom lifted herself out of the water, and Dad reports that in
the very next instant, Baby Caroline made her appearance. Dad caught their daughter and it was official
– not only was he a Bradley Dad, he became a Bradley Dad who caught the baby!
Mom relayed that the next few minutes were very
peaceful. Baby Caroline did not cry, yet
she was breathing on her own and very alert.
She says that they admired their daughter and held her and enjoyed their
incredible accomplishment – their new baby and her incredible birth story. When they got to the hospital, Baby Caroline
was declared to be a 10 on the Apgar scale and she weighed in at 5 pounds, 5
What did Mom and Dad do well as per the instructions we
cover in class?
- They stayed calm, and Dad reassured Mom that everything
was okay (although Dad says if we hear the 911 tape it will sound like he “lost
- They kept their hands away from the birth canal.
- They verified that their daughter was breathing well after
she was born and put her face down on Mom’s abdomen to stay warm.
- When the baby was crowning, they did not pull on her, they
just let her be born naturally.
- They did not pull on the cord and let the placenta
(afterbirth) come naturally.
They ended up going to the hospital in an ambulance and have
had many unwanted interventions due to their “unsterile” birth. I am happy to say that after two very trying
days at the hospital, the family finally seems to be getting the support they
need and hope to be released with their very healthy baby girl tomorrow.
I want to thank the family for allowing me to share their
incredible birth story with you. I hope
that you can read this and recognize that childbirth without drugs is possible,
and that if you don’t pay attention too soon, you can manage most of your labor
without too much trouble. Mom slept both
Friday and Saturday nights because she ignored her labor! She looks great, has good energy and her body
is busy making food for their baby thanks to the rest she got during their
As I mentioned earlier, The Bradley Method® does not endorse
unassisted deliveries. An experienced
childbirth couple probably would have recognized the signs of late first stage
and/or transition and gotten to their chosen birthplace with ample time to
deliver with a trained assistant. In this
couple’s case, they were too far from home to make it there and their midwife
was not available, so their birth plan would have changed to a hospital birth
at the last minute. I am so happy that
“all’s well that ends well” and that Baby Caroline will have a very unique
birth story to share for the rest of her life!
material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical
advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to
determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in
Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy
of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.