I can’t say enough about Mandi and her Bradley Method birthing classes. There were many people who thought we were crazy for spending so much time focusing on our birth, but it was important for us to go into our labor and delivery with as much knowledge as possible so that we could have the birthing experience we truly wanted.
Mandi gave us that and so much more. At each class, we discussed various terms that would be used by the medical staff, potential interventions and their effect on your labor and, most importantly, focused on various birthing positions and meditation techniques. About halfway through the classes, my husband and I attended the birthing class offered by our hospital (we went simply because I wanted to take a tour of the birthing unit) and attending that class absolutely confirmed to us that we made the right decision by attending Mandi’s classes. The hospital birthing class simply focused on the drugs available, with no discussion of natural techniques to assist with labor. It makes sense for someone who is planning to have a medicated birth, but if you’re hoping for a natural birth with no interventions, Mandi’s classes are the way to go. We created our birth plan with help from Mandi and when I shared it with our high risk doctor (I needed a high risk doctor due to an autoimmune disease), they informed us we would be better off switching to a midwife, which we did.
I was in labor for a total of 45 hours. There is absolutely no way I would have made it as long as I did without the Bradley Method techniques that Mandi taught us. My husband was amazing and we tried all the various positions that Mandi had shown us. After 36 hours of labor at home (we used the exercise ball, bathtub, TENS unit, etc.) we finally made our way to the hospital, where I was told I was 8 centimeters dilated. Unfortunately, once I got to the hospital, I seemed to get stuck at 8 centimeters. We tried using the in-room tub and at this point, I was in extreme pain so I was truly focused on my meditation, which really did help. Mandi warned us that the nurses tend to ask you questions in the middle of a contraction. I have no idea why they do this, but she was so right. So we were prepared. I ignored all the nurses and only answered them, or had my husband answer on my behalf, in between contractions. After several hours, I actually went down to 7 centimeters, and the nurses kept coming in to the room to offer me an epidural. I kept declining, and they kept offering. My husband actually had to take them out of the room to explain to them that I would let them know if/when I wanted an epidural. After all, in Mandi’s class, we discussed having a code word that indicated to our partners if we needed it. There were a few times I actually used the code word, and my husband asked if I was sure, and because I didn’t answer him, he knew I wasn’t totally ready. However, after all this time, my water still hadn’t broken and I was not progressing. We discussed having them break my water, but I knew from Mandi’s classes that if they broke my water, my contractions were going to get worse. I was in labor for so long at this point that I just knew I couldn’t handle having contractions any stronger than I was already having. It was at this point I used the code word and I meant it.
They came in to do the epidural and made my husband leave the room, which was the worst possible thing because I truly needed his help getting through every contraction, which at this point was every 60 seconds. They tell you to sit completely still, which is near impossible and I warned the nurses that I was going to lean on them for support. They were truly surprised when I completely lunged at them and held on for dear life when my contractions came around. It took them 20 minutes to do the epidural, which seemed like 2 hours.
My husband came in afterwards and thankfully it worked right away. I could finally open my eyes and breathe. Four hours later, I began pushing, which only lasted 20 minutes, and my beautiful daughter was born.
I was not planning on having an epidural, but in the end, given that my water never broke, I’m glad I did. That said, I’m glad I was only on it for four hours before I delivered. I know I did everything in my power to limit my interventions and we are so thankful to Mandi and everything she taught us. The meditation and birthing positions were the most helpful in my opinion. My husband used every technique we learned and I can honestly say there’s no way I would have lasted that long had we not used the tools Mandi provided us with.
If we have a second child, we will definitely be taking a refresher course with Mandi. We can’t say enough about her and her classes!