New Childbirth Classes in Baltimore

birth classes baltimore

We have had the honor of providing childbirth classes in Baltimore since 2014. There are many reasons we love and use the Birth Boot Camp curriculum to prepare couples for an amazing birth. The materials are unmatched and the curriculum, which is updated with current statistics and research yearly, is the most modern and comprehensive we have found.

Since the program was launched in 2011, it has had amazing growth. Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes are now taught throughout the United Stated, as well as in Canada and Guam. The latest, and potentially most exciting change, has just been announced.  In addition to the comprehensive 10-week childbirth series, Birth Boot Camp will now offer 5 new classes to meet the different needs of birthing couples.

homebirth baltimore

 

 

Training Couples for an Amazing Out-of-Hospital Birth

This class gives you all the tools and information you need to know about the nuts and bolts of labor.  We will discuss the stages and variations of labor and tools to keep labor pain and discomfort at a minimum.  Waterbirth, labor positions, and relaxation techniques are also addressed. This 4-series class is $220 and includes a beautiful color workbook.

 

 

infant care class baltimore

 

 

Homecoming: Life with a New Recruit

Get parenthood off to a great start with this 2-series class.  Topics include: postpartum health, newborn procedures, babywearing, breastfeeding, and safe sleep.  This class includes a workbook and a 3.5 hour breastfeeding video download, which discusses feeding positions, common challenges, and pumping and returning to work.  The fee is  $115

 

 

food and fitness

 

Food & Fitness

Aside from preparation, staying low risk increases the likelihood of meeting your birth goals.  Join us for this 3 hour workshop to discuss how eating well and preparing your body can be the most effective way to remain low risk.  We will discuss nutrients that are crucial to a maternal diet as well as exercises and stretches to promote flexibility and stamina, giving you the most comfort during pregnancy and birth.  This class includes a workbook.  The fee is $95.

 

 

Classes coming in January 2018 include:

Coping Strategies for an Amazing Birth

Training for an Amazing Hospital Birth

 

We proudly provide our childbirth classes in Baltimore at The Womb Room in Hampden.  To learn more about our classes or to see our class calendar, click here.

 

20 Reasons to LOVE Birth Boot Camp

childbirth classes in Baltimore

 

I make it no secret that I love Birth Boot Camp, a 10-week natural childbirth class for couples. I am proud to be a part of the organization and I know that the curriculum and materials really do help couples have AMAZING births. Take a peek and I know you’ll love Birth Boot Camp too.

1. Up to Date, Modern, Evidence Based Education for Couples: Birth Boot Camp prepares couples for an amazing birth. The curriculum is up to date, featuring modern research and evidence based practices. Don’t worry, you won’t be watching birth videos from the 1970’s, but you will see modern women birthing their babies in a variety of environments and ways.

2. Partners Learn How to Be an Amazing Birth Support: You’re going to have a joyous birth and your partner will be supporting you every step of the way. Birth Boot Camp helps partners prepare too, so they’re confident and educated on the best ways to support a laboring person. Your relationship will soar to new heights after you experience childbirth together.

3. Nutrition: Proper nutrition is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and birth.  Birth Boot Camp class #2 is dedicated to proper nutrition in pregnancy. There is also a nutritional focus every week where couples will learn which foods are best for pregnancy by decreasing certain ailments, helping boost immunity in mom and baby and MORE! Moms will fill out their chow chart each week to track protein and food intake, to give them a better picture of their overall diet.

4. Exercise: Does your back ache? Are you experiencing heartburn?  Birth Boot Camp has a PT exercise every week that not only gets moms up and moving, but it also teaches couples which exercises and stretches help with common aches and pains like sciatica and even indigestion.

5. Comfort Measures: Every week in class, we will go over a comfort measure (maybe even 2 or 3) to help you stay relaxed and as comfortable as possible in the thick of labor. Partners will know how to touch you in labor and when to use certain techniques. By the end of class, you’ll have a toolbox filled with a wide variety of comfort measures to use in labor.

6. Birth Videos: At Birth Boot Camp we want you to be prepared for everything. Sometimes things come up that aren’t planned or expected, but by watching a variety of births, moms and dads will have an idea of what birth looks like from a variety of lenses. We watch a birth video in every class, including homebirth, induction, birth center water birth, shoulder dystocia, vaginal breech, and we even watch a cesarean. The goal is not to scare couples, but to prepare them and give them information so that they can make an educated, informed decision should the unexpected arise.

7. Relaxation: Relaxation is a crucial tool for having a natural birth. Tense muscles cause more pain and inhibit progress and lose, relaxed muscles are going to allow baby to descend in the birth canal more easily.  We practice relaxation in every class and there are a variety of relaxation exercises in the student manual for you to practice with your partner at home. When D-Day arrives, you’ll be well prepared to get into a relaxed state easily.

8. Games & Demos: Every individual has a different learning style. Some folks are visual learners, some auditory, and some people need action and movement to learn something well. Sometimes it can be easier to remember something when you see and feel it in action, right? Be prepared to laugh and have fun with your classmates when we break out games and hands on demonstrations.

9. Rebozos: A rebozo is a beautiful, long woven garment that women traditionally wear in Mexico and throughout Latin America, but it can be used as a versatile birth tool. Couples will learn of variety of rebozo techniques to help keep mom comfortable in labor. As a Baltimore-based, Rebozo Certified, Birth Boot Camp instructor, I incorporate a rebozo technique into most classes to give couples more tools in their Comfort Measure Toolbox.

10. Weekly Emails: Not only do couples get a ton of useful info in class, but every week after class every student will receive an email chock full of links to extra reading materials and videos pertaining to the topic of the week.

11. A Beautiful, Color Workbook: Each couple receives a colorful, 170-page workbook with great articles, chow charts, relaxation exercises, PT routines, diagrams, and vocabulary. This book will become your #1 resource for 10-weeks and can continue to be helpful even during labor.

12. A Breastfeeding Video: Each Birth Boot Camp couple will receive a breastfeeding video download, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE, which is loaded full of helpful, essential info and trouble shooting advice for breastfeeding your baby.

13. Online Classes: Something has come up and you can’t make it to class? Have no fear, you won’t miss any of the info or material!  Each student has access to 4 make-up classes online. No time for a 10-week live class? That’s OK too. Birth Boot Camp also offers the entire curriculum as an online class to students who have a hard time committing to a certain time and place each week.

14. Knowledgeable, Trained Instructors: Every Birth Boot Camp instructor is trained and knowledgeable about birth.  Many have had natural, unmedicated births of our own, we’ve witnessed other’s births, and we’re experienced breastfeeding moms. Birth Boot Camp instructors have a lengthy reading and video list to complete, assignments in the per-certification study guide, and a weekend workshop the wraps up with an exam. Your Birth Boot Camp instructor lives and breaths birth, and will be a wonderful support and resource for you and your partner.

15.Comprehensive Education Written by Experts in the Field: The Birth Boot Camp curriculum is brought to you by several professionals in the field, including midwives, massage therapists, childbirth educators, lactation counselors,  holistic health coaches, and doulas. Birth Boot Camp is one of the most comprehensive curricula in the field of childbirth education. This program leaves no stone unturned and couples graduate with a well rounded education.

16. Massage: Moms, how can you say no to massage? At Birth Boot Camp, learn techniques to properly massage a pregnant mom. This will be beneficial during pregnancy and during labor.

17. Newborn Care: Many couples have an amazing birth and then go home, not really sure what to do next. This can cause a great deal of anxiety in new parents. In class #10, we discuss many of the newborn procedures that are typically done after birth and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not any are right for your baby.  We will also discuss baby sleep options, baby wearing, diapering options, breastfeeding, and baby soothing techniques..

18. Postpartum Health: Birth Boot Camp classes extend well beyond birth. We want moms and partners to be prepared and to have a plan for what their babymoon will look like. In this class, we will talk about postpartum nutrition, healing and recovery, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, and even SEX!

19. Instructors Located Nationally & Internationally: Birth Boot Camp has instructors throughout the United States and even in Canada and Germany.

20. Amazing Statistics: In 2014, Birth Boot Camp students had AMAZING births! Only 14% of students had cesareans, which is less than half of the national average. 86% of moms had vaginal births, 73% of which were unmedicated. Birth Boot Camp’s stats speak for themselves. This curriculum trains and prepares couples to birth confidently.

If you are looking for a childbirth class in the Baltimore area, contact us for more information on our Birth Boot Camp classes. 

30 Birth Affirmations and Quotes That Will Inspire You to Rock Your Birth

birth affirmations and quotes

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was planning a homebirth with a midwife. I trusted my body to give birth and knew I had a phenomenal birth team to support me on that journey. While I was confident in the birth process, the media and people around me weren’t sending me the same positive messages.

Sometime during my second trimester, I caught a segment on The Discovery Channel about childbirth. At one point during the segment, it equated pushing a baby out of your vagina to pushing a baseball down your throat. This imagery shook and rattled me. It really threw me for a loop. For a minute, it really made me question the path I had chosen for my birth, but then, I had a moment of clarity; a moment of POWER. What that segment failed to mention was that the vagina is made and designed to stretch to make way for a baby. Your throat was never intended to have a baseball pass through it. I had to work really hard to stay in that positive, confident frame of mind. It can be difficult to remain calm and empowered when the images we see of birth in the media are full of terror and screaming women.

From that moment on, I promised myself to only surround myself with people and images that lifted me up and strengthened my confidence. I watched birth video after birth video showing empowered women rocking their births. I read many, many birth stories on various birth blogs, and often talked to women who had similar beliefs about childbirth. I surrounded myself with beautiful birth imagery that not only helped with my confidence, but also inspired me and helped me feel excited to give birth.

Reading birth affirmations and quotes from respected professionals in the birth field was another great way I stayed inspired about my upcoming birth. I printed and cut out affirmations and quotes and put them all over my house; on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, on my nightstand. Saying them out loud and believing the words I was saying really solidified everything for me.

Below are 30 wonderful affirmations and quotes. I hope they help light a fire in your belly to give birth like the powerful, courageous, and beautiful woman that you are.

Baltimore_Birth_Class

1. I embrace the wisdom and innate knowledge of my body.

2. I surrender to the power of my body. My contractions bring my baby closer.

3. I feel the power of my body with each contraction. My body works flawlessly.

4. My muscles work in complete harmony to make birthing easier.

5. My cervix opens and allows my baby to ease down with each contraction.

6. I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.

7. I trust my body and my baby.

8. My body has been perfectly designed for giving birth naturally.

9. My body and pelvis open wide for my baby to pass through.

10. Each contraction produces a healthy, positive pain that I can handle.

11. My courage and patience will send my baby into my arms.

12. My body knows what to do. I will surrender fully and completely.

13. I have grown this baby; I will birth her fearlessly.

14. I am a strong woman and my body is powerful. I trust my instincts to know what I need for my labor.

15. Countless women have given birth before me. Their courage and strength are with me.

16. My pelvis releases and opens easily to make way for baby.

17. Good strong contractions will help me meet my baby.

18. I will welcome my baby in peace and joy.

19. My body contains all the knowledge necessary to give birth to my baby.

20. My baby knows how and when to be born.

21. Birth is a safe, wonderful, and powerful experience.

22. “The strength that is displayed in labor and birth is something that no one can EVER take from you in your life. Elixir of courage.” –Desirre Andrews

23. “We are made to do this work and its not easy…I would say that pain is part of the glory, or the tremendous mystery of life. And that if anything, it’s a kind of privilege to stand so close to such an incredible miracle.”
Simone in Klasson 2001

24. “The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” Heather McCue

25. “Just as a woman’s heart knows how to pump, her lungs know how to inhale, and her hands to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.” Virginia DiOrio

26. “Don’t think of it as pain. Think of it as an interesting sensation that requires all of your attention.” Ina Mae Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery

27. “It’s hard to describe if you’ve never been there, but to watch a woman access her full power as a woman to give birth is awe-inspiring, and I never get tired of being witness to it. It’s an honor to watch that transformation take place.” Julie Bates, CNM

28. Why do birth work? “I do it, because nothing else… nothing else, compares to watching a woman move mountains with her own self, to watching her rise to a challenge and meet the moment with all she has, and that experience is only enhanced when she is supported by those who care for her, respect her, and want her to be empowered by the journey.” The Yarn Harlot

29. “Not only do I trust my body, I am in awe of all it can do. I don’t know if I will ever be able to accomplish anything as marvelous as birthing and nursing two babies. That is more amazing to me than running a marathon or climbing a mountain. I have created and nurtured life; nothing tops that. ” ~ Corbin Lewars (via Midwifery Today)

30. “Remember that each labor contraction is caused by a wave of oxytocin coursing through your body. So, very literally, each birthing surge is a surge of love. Allow yourself to meet each surge with the same warmth, intimacy and acceptance that you would experience during a kiss or a loving embrace.” Lauralyn Curtis

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16 Examples of Amazing Things Dads Do While Their Wives are in Labor

Childbirth education in Baltimore

Last spring an article circulated social media titled, 28 Examples of Crap Husbands Pull While Their Wives are in Labor. I hated it then, but when it recently made the rounds again this week, I had had enough.  To me, it sounds like most of the men mentioned in the article really just lacked education about birth. They weren’t aware of ways to help their wives stay comfortable in labor, and they didn’t quite understand the process or stages of birth. As a childbirth educator and Birth Boot Camp Instructor, I proudly teach dads ways to support their partners in labor, including relaxation techniques and comfort measures.

There are so many wonderful, helpful, nurturing men out there. I have seen them in class, I am married to one, and I was raised by one.  Don’t you think we really need to celebrate them instead of perpetuating the idea of the “dumb dad”?

I took to the streets (well, it was actually the Birth Boot Camp instructor group) and asked women to tell me all of the ways their husband’s were wonderful during their birth experience. There are some really beautiful stories of compassionate, nurturing, helpful men and these ladies are so lucky to have them!

Newborn baby girl right after delivery, shallow focus

Mine kept the kids occupied so that I could relax and get into my labor zone. When labor started moving at the speed of light, he made a valiant attempt to get the birth pool set up in time. He got it set up just in the nick of time, but by that point, I refused to get out of our bathtub. Poor guy.Hailie Wolfe

When we realized we were about to have an unplanned homebirth because our son was coming so fast, my doula asked if we wanted her to “call 9-1-1, or call her midwife friend.” My husband, with an excited smile said, “Call the midwife! This is awesome!” It’s one of my favorite memories. –Nancy Rebarchik

My husband filled the birth tub with a bucket when the hose wouldn’t work with our sink. He stopped at the beginning of each contraction, held my hands, said encouraging words and continued to fill the tub after each contraction. When it was time to push, he got in the birthing pool and held me through each contraction. When our daughter was born, he cried.Kristen Granberry Hosaka

My husband was nothing but supportive during the birth of all three children. He went all day without eating during the first, he agreed to take pictures of my c section and when our baby was whisked away to the NICU he stayed with him for over 24 hours straight, and during my last labor he let me squeeze every drop of blood from his hand while I pushed and encouraged me to squeeze tighter if it helped, remember to breathe, and that he was so proud of me and he loves me and I’m amazing. I’m tearing up now. I better go kiss that man!Bekah Danielle Smith

During the pushing stage of my second birth my midwife had me stand on the bed, squatting to help move baby down. My hubby held my entire, hugely pregnant body up for I don’t even know how long while I pushed our baby out. He never complained he was sore the next day.Cheryl Amelang

He vocalized with me during my entire first labor which helped me feel confident to make as much noise as I needed. He was perfect. He did everything right. For my second birth, he was there. It is hard to describe, but the fact that he supported my birth wishes, loved my midwife, and bragged that we were having a home birth, meant the world to me. He made me feel safe and loved and all I had to worry about was birthing a baby.Kristi Keen

Mine spent two hours once a week for ten weeks preparing for our birth, he practiced relaxation with me, brought me home protein packed treats. He “labored” with me before it ever began and was a hip squeezing, sacrum pushing, pool filling, food making superman during. And had it been necessary he would’ve literally “pulled crap” out of the water with that awesome little net thing that came in my kit. The daddies and mommies need Birth Boot Camp.Tara Jewett Quinn 

He held my hands through every contraction and whispered affirmations to me. When he reached down to catch my baby and hand him to me, he teared up.Shazia Lackey 

My husband was amazing with my last two births-total 180 from my first birth. We took Birth Boot Camp with our second. He just didn’t know what to do with out first, but he tried. He held the heat pack as best as he could, held my numb leg and watched every second of the birth – the nurse had placed the internal fetal monitor earlier and said our baby was totally bald. When Ethan was crowning, fuzzy hair was showing and my husband later told me he thought, “what in earth?! I didn’t know women had hair up in there?!?” Since the nurse had told him Ethan was bald. Turns out she put the monitor on his forehead. He had a lightning bolt scar for a few days like Harry potter. 2nd birth Ryan held my hands, squeezed my hips and gave counter pressure, literally took all of my weight when my doula told me to give it to him, carried me back inside our apartment, gathered all our towels, and panted with me to slow down the pushing. 3rd he labored with me for 3 days, staying up at night to help me through the tough contractions. He helped set up the birth tub, helped me over to it, hopped in with me when I needed him, and caught Emma even though he said he didn’t want to. Then he cried and said something like “this is amazing! And incredible!” It was so sweet! In his cry voice he said “you just pooped two little ones sweety. That was amazing!” I almost got mad but he was so cute I couldn’t. He was so supportive about the homebirth and was my rock!Beth Whitlock Barber Bbci

When I went into labor the second time it was the middle of the night. I poked my husband and said “it’s time!”. He sat straight up and said “it’s game time!!” and immediately started blowing up the birth tub and getting things together. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. With our first birth, he went out of the room to eat because they wouldn’t let me. And he sneaked some food in for me. In both births, when I started clinging to him toward the end, he never not once left my side til the baby was out. There’s not another soul I’d want to birth with. -Theryssa Fant Gossman

During both of my labors, my husband has been so calm and happy. When I was in active labor and I told him a contraction was intense, he would smile and say, “That’s great. That means we’re getting closer to the end. You’re doing amazing work.” When my thoughts turned negative, he changed my direction to be positive.Julia West

He held my hand and told my older daughter how amazing her mommy was and not to be scared because I was working hard so we could meet her baby sister. –Shannon Boyer Blackwell

During my third birth. He stepped up to the plate and caught our daughter because our team didn’t make it. (He previously had refused to have anything to do with a homebirth) Right after he caught her, he praised me over and over saying how good I did and that I did it. And that it was the best thing ever! With my fourth things were moving fast so my team didn’t really have time to say too much. But I think he saw I was freaking out and he said, ” she’s doing so awesome isn’t she?!” to my team. It helped me get there the next few minutes. He also did some hip squeezes and explained to the older children that I was having contractions so that way brother could come out and that I was working really hard.Andrea Felton Brannock

My husband was AMAZING for both of my births… But with our second, a home birth, he was my knight in shining armor! Everything happened SO quickly… He was running around getting the midwife and assistant sponsored onto the military base, WHILE filling the pool, and then he dropped off our older daughter at a friends house down the street. After he made sure all of that was taken care of, he put on swim trunks, got in the birth pool with me, did some of the best hip squeezing I’ve ever seen, and then caught our daughter. But one of my favorite things that he ever did… After both of our daughters were born, he wrote their birth stories for me … I will cherish those for the rest of my life. -Andrea Winn

My husband is totally in on his A game during labor and birth! But with my second, I was laboring in the shower with my midwife and doula and he was getting the birth pool set up. It had been blown up for a couple weeks and he was going to top it off with air, but the little air compressor wasn’t working. So he and my dad ran it out to the shed in the wind and rain to use the big compressor. I didn’t even realize that it was storming out! Then he finally filled it up with water. I didn’t know about that part until a few months later. Then he and my mom continuously ran hot water from the stove down to keep the pool warm for the next couple hours. And actually, had I needed another hand, my daddy would have been right there in the mix, too, but instead was upstairs watching our oldest and playing with him. Just the kind of guys they are. Melissa Kosloski

I have VERY intense labors, like a freight train rumbling right through me. For my third baby, it came on in an instant, from bearable, comfortable workable contractions to piercing, rolling, inexplicable waves. He was my ROCK. I felt out of control and unable to go on if I was disconnected from him for a contraction, and luckily that was very rare, because our arms and eyes were locked and he whispered positive affirmations of my beauty and strength as a broke between contractions and braced himself for my open, groaning mouth and face buried in his chest through each overwhelming vibration. -Tessa Aranda

While I labored in the spa on our deck in 90 degree heat my husband sat in the sun, holding an umbrella to shade me. –Jillian Hilton Blakeman

 

If you are looking for a childbirth education class in Baltimore, MD, contact us for information on our 10-week Birth Boot Camp Class. You can have an amazing birth and your husband can be an amazing birth partner!

 

ICPA Freedom for Family Wellness Summit

ICPA Freedom for Family Wellness

Maryland Birth Boot Camp instructors Carmen Calvo and Anna Jozefczyk with board member Kristen Hosaka, DC.

This past weekend I had the honor of being asked to represent Birth Boot Camp at the ICPA Freedom for Family Wellness Summit in Reston, VA.  Birth Boot Camp supports and promotes chiropractic in pregnancy and postpartum and addresses its use throughout the curriculum. We were excited to be able to spread the word about our childbirth education series to chiropractors throughout the country.

www.facebook.com/thenurturingroot
www.facebook.com/thenurturingroot

 

The summit had many world renowned and well respected speakers, including some of my favorites, Ina May Gaskin, CPM, Jennifer Margulis, PhD, and Kelly Brogan, MD. I was really excited to represent Birth Boot Camp and was proud to help promote our curriculum, but I was also REALLY hoping to be able to meet Ina May and Jennifer Margulis at the conference.

I met so many amazing practitioners at the summit. I networked with moms, doulas, childbirth educators, physical therapists, and chiropractors, and feel really good about how well our childbirth education program was received. Of course I know that Birth Boot Camp is extremely thorough, modern, and comprehensive, but it was awesome to hear that other professionals agree!
The highlight of the weekend? Luckily for me, I spotted Ina May, and was able to introduce myself and get a picture. She was gracious and humble, just as I imagined. Birth Boot Camp board member, Kristen Hosaka, DC met Jennifer Margulis!If you aren’t familiar with Birth Boot Camp and are looking for an amazing childbirth education class in Maryland, visit my website for more info and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Maryland childbirth educator, Carmen Calvo and Ina May Gaskin, CPM
Maryland childbirth educator, Carmen Calvo and Ina May Gaskin, CPM
Birth Boot Camp board member, Kristen Hosaka, DC and Jennifer Margulis, PhD.
Birth Boot Camp board member, Kristen Hosaka, DC and Jennifer Margulis, PhD.

Why I chose to be a Birth Boot Camp Instructor

placenta encapsulation benefits

The minute I saw that life changing line, the one where you gasp for air as butterflies fill your entire chest, I wanted to know all there was to know about pregnancy and birth. Blessed were we when we found out we were expecting only 2 months after saying our vows. The pregnancy was expected and surprising all at once and completely welcome. I discovered very early on that I wanted to have our baby at home. After watching The Business of Being Born late one cold, winter night, a fire was ignited in my belly. It is a fire that still burns today and one that only grows with time. I was so inspired. I was empowered. I was going to welcome our baby into the world in our home with the help of our midwife. It would be beautiful. It would be joyous. It would be peaceful.

During my pregnancy, I read everything I could about pregnancy and birth and felt well prepared and informed. I felt confident. My husband and I signed up for a Hypnobirthing class, which at the time seemed to be a good idea. While the relaxation exercises were helpful during labor, I even use them in my day-to-day life, I was disappointed at the brevity of the class as it related to actual pregnancy and birth. I’m not sure if it was the method or the instructor we chose, but I felt that everything was simply glossed over and the practice of self-hypnosis was really all we focused on. I wouldn’t know how profoundly the decision of what type of childbirth class we chose would affect us until much later, but I can say it was a decision I deeply regret.

At 35 weeks, my blood pressure began to climb and despite all of my efforts (bedrest, herbs, protein, acupuncture), I developed preeclampsia at 37 weeks. I mourned the loss of my homebirth and put on a brave face, but I was terrified of induction. I went to the hospital on a Monday morning for a biophysical profile and was told I needed to admitted immediately. While in triage, I was on the phone with my midwife discussing my wish to avoid any epidural anesthesia, even if I had to have Pitocin. The triage nurse told me I was being stupid. “There’s no need to be a hero.”

My lengthy induction included being bullied into a foley bulb, threatened with a cesarean, and lied to by a resident about my midwife ordering interventions. As the second phase began and I began to feel the urge to bear down, my son’s heart rate began to drop. I pushed and pushed and made little progress. I remember the nurses unhooking the lines to my IV to wheel me into surgery. My midwife looked deeply into my eyes and with a stern, but loving voice said, “Carmen, you have got to push this baby out.” In a magnesium sulphate haze, I sensed her urgency and pulled all the strength I had left to fight for at least a glimpse of the birth I had hoped for. 48 hours after the first intervention to start my labor, my baby was born vaginally and without pain medication.

I felt so utterly triumphant to have gone through a Pitocin induction without pain medication. It showed me how strong and tenacious I am. It was my first experience as a ferocious mama bear. As magical as it all was, there was still a hallow feeling, a very deep disappointment about not being able to have the birth I had so hoped for. This feeling morphed into anxiety, which was accompanied by horrible visions of tragic and gruesome things happening to my baby. I suffered in silence and feared I was crazy, but I feared even more what my family would think.

Luckily, with my second birth, I was able to manage my blood pressure throughout the pregnancy with the help of the Brewer Diet. I was able to welcome our son peacefully into the world at home and it was the most empowering, profound experience of my life. I wish every woman on the earth could experience the joys and triumphs of a natural birth. The cocktail of hormones that accompany that gooey, wet baby on your chest are better than anything I have ever encountered.

I am extremely thankful for both of my birth experiences as there were valuable lessons to be taken from both. I feel that by having the intervention-heavy hospital birth, I can speak from experience in my Birth Boot Camp classes about interventions and their outcomes, the loss of a birth experience, hospital politics, and the effect on a postpartum mother.

The one common thread between both of my births; the one thing that casts an ever so light shadow over my joyous memory of the experiences was my husband’s ability to cope. My husband, to no fault of his own, was a less than helpful birth partner. Watching me cope with overlapping Pitocin-induced contractions and watching as I powered through each surge with a push was too much for him to handle. His anxiety was tangible, especially during my second birth when I was much more aware of what was happening. While I put my all into focusing on my mission, his energy was difficult to ignore. I found myself worrying about and comforting him as I labored through transition and the second phase, which quite honestly is the LAST THING I SHOULD’VE HAD TO DO. In hindsight it makes me a little angry, not at him, but at our poor choice in a birth class. If only Birth Boot Camp had been around back then.

What I love so much about the Birth Boot Camp curriculum is that it genuinely includes partners. A father’s experience of the birth of their child is important, yet it is often forgotten in the birth world. His experience matters too. Empowering fathers so that they feel confident in the way they support their birthing partners should be a priority of every birth class. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until I had a partner that really had no idea how to support me. My husband felt helpless and seeing me in pain only added to his helplessness and anxiety.

My birth and postpartum experiences have already led me on a path to help other mothers have a postpartum experience free from the blues, anxiety and depression. My placenta encapsulation business has been such a blessing and it fills me with gratitude daily. I give mothers a gift, but what they don’t realize is I am truly the one receiving. I am honored to be a part of these women’s stories, even if it is ever so small.

I am ready to grow and make better use of this fire in my belly. I want to spread the word to couples about the benefits and joys of a natural birth and I want to give them the tools they need to be successful. I want my couples to be proud of their experience and I wish for each of them births that are not accompanied by unnecessary emotional baggage and pain. I hope that fathers can be inspired by their partner’s courage and strength and feel calm and at peace knowing that they are capable of providing their birthing partners with whatever they need to feel more comfortable, even if that means to leave them alone.

By educating and informing couples prenatally, they will be confident consumers who can avoid unnecessary and painful interventions during their birth. By attending my Birth Boot Camp class, I want my couples to rise above all the negativity that surrounds birth in our culture and in the media. I want them to take charge of their experience and hopefully, their teamwork during their birth will only strengthen their bond. Because of Birth Boot Camp, I wish the moment they become a family is met with triumph and the sweetness of finally and peacefully looking into those little eyes as the love hormones surge.

I already have the honor of serving postpartum couples and now I am on a journey to help prenatal couples as well. How totally lucky I am.

Carmen Calvo

Birth Boot Camp Instructor

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