First Birth Class

So last night, we had our first Bradley Method class. Per usual, we were frantically running around trying to leave the house on time (we’re late for everything… and if our daughter is anything like her parents, she’ll be late too) but I remembered to grab our two pillows and notebook + pen we were asked to bring.


[Side note: Tempurpedic pillows are life-changing]

So what was the verdict?

We both loved it, I scored a free massage –that always makes it a good day- and Tom said he learned a lot, too. I was really worried that he was going to be bored out of his mind, but he was all about it. The instructor even thanked him for bringing some life into the room, since he was asking questions, joking around, and being the charmer that I love, while the rest of us were quiet and shy 😉

[In *this post* I go over more of what the Bradley Method is, as well as why we chose this method]

What we did:


-The instructor spoke about her history with the Bradley method. She was a midwife apprentice, works as a certified doula, and had 3 childbirths, all at home using Bradley techniques, with remarkably short labors. She said while she wishes that rubbing elbows with her would give us short labors, too, it may not be the case. The best thing you can do is be prepared for a really long labor and get happily surprised with a short one if that happens.

-We went over the concept of pain, since she wanted to discuss that first. Many women fear labor because of the pain associated with it, and the dramatization on movies and TV. She said in a study, they found out that a huge majority of women said that labor is extremely hard work. A very small percentage said that labor is pain. Of course, labor obviously isn’t supposed to feel great, but the pain has a purpose and chances are that you’ll remember it as hard work instead of only the pain you felt during it.

-Pain remedies. We talked about different things we each do to deal with pain (like crying, playing music, swearing, aromatherapy, hot or cold water, massage, etc) and that we can obviously take medication to deal with pain. However, with the enormous list of remedies we came up with, they all had zero negative side effects, except for medication, which always has the potential for side effects. This was really interesting to me.

-Pregnancy exercises. We went over great exercises for pregnant women to do –one of my favorite parts of the classes are the fact that we focus on exercise, nutrition, and actually taking care of the baby instead of just the labor/delivery process- including pelvic tilts, sitting cross-legged, including hip abductor exercises. We talked about the importance of walking and our instructor invited us on a walking challenge using an app on our phones to see who can walk the most over the next week. Of course, I have to win 😉 I love a good challenge.

-Relaxation exercise. [This was my favorite part] We laid on the floor, supported by the pillows we brought, and took turns flexing each of our muscles. It was our coaches job to realize what we were tensing, and help massage and relax the part that was tensed up. Tom was a pro at this 😉

-Our instructor has a fabulous collection of books to borrow (many of which I’ve read), but here’s a new one that I checked out from her, along with our workbook.


We even have homework each week. This week’s homework is to write down all of our meals with the protein content for each day, for her to review. She’s extremely health-conscious and accepting of vegetarian/vegan/quasitarian diets, so it will be refreshing to not have to fight with someone for not wanting to eat 4 chicken breasts a day 😉

Amazing things about two of our classmates [there are a handful of couples]: one woman is being coached by her mom and her brother. The fact that her brother was so into it and willing to do that for his sister is enough to bring me to tears of mushiness. It’s pretty incredible. Another woman in our group already had a home birth 4 years ago, but is now a doula in training and has attended many births. She said she’s seen a lot of beautiful births and wants her own to be more graceful next time. More graceful? You already had an unmedicated birth, in your house. I’m pretty sure that’s rockstar status right there. Of course, any woman who has a baby is a rockstar, no matter what it takes, but the fact that she wanted a “more graceful birth” astounded me.

Another thing that I love about this class is that we’ll be going over all of the types of birth options there are and what to expect if our birth needs to go a different route. My plan for all of this is just to be as educated as possible and go with the flow when game day arrives.

The thing that I’m really enjoying about this process is that now Tom truly understands why I would like to have a natural childbirth. When I first told him that’s what I wanted (in spring 2010) after reading Ina May’s book, he was skeptical. I’m pretty sure pictured me in a kiddie pool in our living room (which would be awesome, but he’s never allow it) and something disastrous happening. After getting all of the facts about childbirth and that it really is possible to have a natural childbirth sans complications, it’s starting to click with him and he’s all about it. Of course, I have no idea how it’s going to go down, and I’m not writing down a birth plan. I know in my heart what I want, and so does my team, and if it happens: fantastic. If things need to go another way, that’s great too, as long as nuggette and I come out of it safely <3

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  1. kaila@healthy helper blog ! on September 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Glad it went so well!!! I am so excited for you two!

  2. Sara @ RunnerWife on September 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    So glad your first birth class went well! That is so exciting!!

  3. Pam on September 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Never heard of the Bradley Method, but it sounds awesome! My sister has given birth naturally 2 times, she a lot more calm than I am. I will keep this is mind when my time comes!
    That’s awesome you and your husband are going to all of the classes together, what a wonderful bonding experience!!

  4. Kelsey M on September 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Is the walking app something anyone could use?

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      yep! endomondo

  5. Postdoc on September 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Sounds like an awesome experience!! 🙂 Glad you like the Tempurpedic pillows. How’s the new Tempurpedic bed treating you guys?

    • Fitnessista on September 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      i have never slept as well as i have been. it’s amazing

      • Postdoc on September 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm

        YAY!!!!! That’s exactly how we feel. So happy you like it!!! 🙂

  6. Lauren @ Ultra Lauren on September 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    It is so wonderful that you have such an open mind and willingness to learn and be prepared. Just trust in yourself and the people around you and your birth will be wonderful. And if there is anyone or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable on D-Day don’t hesitate to say so, it’s your day.

  7. maria @ a life to Bragg about on September 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Glad you liked your Childbirth class! Are you delivering on base or through a civilian hospital? At first I was weary about hospitals on post but I’ve come to love the hospital and midwives here! And we surprisingly loved our birthing classes too…though they didn’t go over the Bradley method which I would have liked!

  8. chelsea on September 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Awh that’s great that it went so well for you guys! you’re going to make such amazing parents 🙂

  9. Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine on September 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Oh how sweet about the woman’s mom and brother. Family is the most important thing in the world. 🙂

  10. Ash on September 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    LOVE IT. get it, girl. 🙂

  11. michele on September 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I had two Bradley births. Both were in a hospital first one w/ a doula and second just me and my husband. Although the first labor was over 12 hours, had it not been for learning Bradley I never would have been able to get through it. Bradley gives you the means to just breath through it and not try to “hyperventilate” through each contraction. Bradley allowed me to understand that this contraction was there for a reason (my baby was making his way out) and therefore made me more accepting of each one. I am 41 years old and my biggest and proudest accomplishments of life is giving birth naturally through Bradley. I wish you all the luck in the world and just trust in all your decisions.

  12. Marguerite Miller on September 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    So glad! I have no idea what actual type of child birth classes I went to! Other than “Natural”! The first time, my sister-in-law went with me, as DH was in the Navy on a ship somewhere! But he did make it home for the birth! And then the second time around, he was able to take the classes with me!

    I was fortunate enough to be one of those women who have short labors! With my first I went to the hospital close to 11:00 PM and delivered at 1:11 AM! I was in labor at home for a while, but nothing major! And for my second, my water broke at around 11:00! Got to the hospital close to 12:00 midnight, and I refused to go in until after midnight! I wasn’t paying for an additional day for 5 minutes! And I delivered at 2:38 AM! They did give me something to speed up the contractions that time!

    I pray your labor is as easy and quick as mine were!

  13. jennyv on September 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    This is such an encouraging post!! I am not pregnant (nor do I have any children) but my plan is to have a homebirth/water birth with no medication.

    I believe that God made our bodies to birth naturally and am saddened by the way labor/delivery are portrayed through the media. I hope that this empowers you even further as someone who is already an amazing model of health. Praying that your baby’s birth goes as you desire 🙂

  14. Claire on September 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    So cool to read about your Bradley class. I’m 18 weeks along and my husband and I start Bradley classes next week. Thanks for the inside scoop

  15. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on September 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I love that you and Tom are getting to take these classes! I’m a long ways off from having a baby but love how many bloggers are pregnant right now! I’m learning so much! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  16. Laury @ thefitnessdish on September 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing your birth class experience! So glad you both enjoyed it. We didn’t take a Bradely Method class but learned about it a little in the class we took. I was so surprised how much Michael got out of it too. I was ready for him to use the pillow to sleep but he sucked in more info than I did! He was spouting out information left and right the weeks up to and when I was in labor. It was so cute..because in life the only ting he remembers or is interested in is sports, fantasy sports, poker, and sports 😉

  17. Holly @ The Runny Egg on September 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I’m glad the class went well — and it seems like the Pilot acts like Jason does — breathes life into rooms and seems to put everyone at ease.

    I love that you are going for a natural childbirth — my mom did it 4 times!

  18. Kate on September 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Great post! Interesting reading about the labour/pain thing. I agree wholeheartedly, I would say it’s hard work and all that work is for a great end result 🙂

  19. Nicole on September 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful experience!!

  20. Katie on September 22, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Glad your birthing class is so fun! I wish I had had your instructor! Our instructor scared everyone to death. All the other pregnant women (and their husbands) kept saying how scared they were.

    The pain-fear cycle is the best information I got prior to labor. I went all natural also and am so glad. Don’t get me wrong,it hurts. All those people who said it’s just like bad menstrual cramps are liars. But, I knew every contraction (especially in transition) would bring me closer to holding my baby for the first time ever. I prepared myself for pain and told myself that pain = progress = good.

  21. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on September 22, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Glad your birthing class went so well and that Tom is even more on board and understanding of it all now than he was which is a bonus. Birthing classes are as much for the man as they are for the woman, I believe.

    Sounds like everything went great..and yes, I agree walking is sooo beneficial.

    I could go on and on but I am just happy for you two, so much so. Kids..such a wild ride. Before they even arrive 🙂

  22. Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen on September 22, 2011 at 12:37 am

    My mom did 3 natural births. She said she was so excited to meet us and make sure we were healthy that it “didn’t hurt at all.” I’m assuming that last part is only partially true… but I can totally understand just being so excited to finally meet your baby that pain doesn’t even register. You’re going to do great <3

    • Fitnessista on September 22, 2011 at 1:15 am

      that’s a great way to think of it 🙂

  23. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on September 22, 2011 at 1:13 am

    I think it is so amazing that you are learning so much. The world would be a much better place if all mothers were like you.

    • Fitnessista on September 22, 2011 at 1:15 am


  24. Kristen on September 22, 2011 at 4:38 am

    You are going to do great! Here is what I found most helpful, fwiw (I did not do any specific training, but had a wonderful natural labor just the same.) Try to look at your labor one contraction at a time. When it starts, ask yourself “can I do one contraction?” and then just try to stay in control as much as you can for that ONE. I think the mental aspect of the whole thing is the hardest! I tried to take one, loooooong, slow breath per contraction and draw that out as long as I could. Of course, there were a few at the end that were punctuated with “ow, ow, ow, OWWW!” but if you “break form,” don’t beat yourself up over that. Just take it one at a time and soon you will be there with the little nugette 🙂

  25. Natasha Brown on September 22, 2011 at 8:19 am

    You have what my friends and I like to call “sticktoitiveness” – you have focus, and mental strength…and so much more – it shows….

    My sister who is your age gave birth to my lovely niece Ava – she was out to say hello to all of us within 20 min…my sister Tina is a rockstar and so are you…

  26. Sarah @ See Sarah Eat on September 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I agree with the other comments, no matter what happens you are going to do great! And I really do appreciate you sharing your journey with the world, I’m taking a lot of notes for the future 🙂

  27. Anna @ On Anna's Plate on September 22, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Haha…I’m pretty sure I won’t be all that concerned with how “graceful” I am during the labor process… 🙂

  28. Madeline (Food Fitness & Family) on September 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I am so glad your birthing class went well and you are enjoying it! I love your perspective on your birth plan too. The best laid plans sometimes go awry. No matter how it goes down as long as you and your sweet baby are healthy you are good to go 🙂 Everything else is just gravy.

  29. Jess on September 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I didn’t take the Bradley classes but I did read his book and my husband read husband coached birth. I think the key is having a really supportive partner. I had an amazing unmedicated childbirth 11.5 weeks ago. My husband said the hardest thing for him was watching me in pain and not being able to do anything for me, even though he did a lot like making sure I had fluids (I refused an IV) and being there for me to hold onto while I bounced on a ball through contractions.

    I was like you, no written birth plan, just a goal of a NUCB. I’m lucky that it went better than I ever could have imagined!

  30. Yolie @ Practising Wellness on September 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Love hearing about your borth class, I’m so glad it went well…and how wonderful that Tom was so excited and involved, that must feel amazing…so happy for you both! <3 xyx

  31. Yolie @ Practising Wellness on September 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Hehe..I have no idea what a borth class is 😉 that’d be BIRTH class 😛 xyx

  32. Angie All The Way on September 22, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Having had a baby a little over a year ago, it sounds to me that your head is right where it needs to be! Educated, yet open-minded. Everyone’s experience is different, that is something I definitely learned and it’s true what they say about not being able to predict how the “route” will go that day and while I have nothing against birth plans, I think your “go with the flow” attitude is what will be what will make that day what you would hope it to be 😉

    Congratulations to you and The Pilot 🙂

  33. Megan ~ NFP & Fertility on September 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Such a great post. And sounds like you guys will have an awesome experience! Looking forward to hearing more 🙂

  34. Annalisa on September 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

    This class sounds great! Mine was awful and it freaked me out. Thankfully, it motivated me at 32 weeks to find a new doc and a new hospital and I had the birth of my dreams (well, in my dreams, birth would be less painful!). One great coping technique for contractions I had was rather than distract on the pain was to focus on the pain. For example, rate the contractions from 1-10. If your last one was a 8 than you know you can handle the next one. I found the contractions SO painful (I also had 4 hours of labor total so it was quick and intense in hindsight). I also imagined a bullseye or a bell curve for pain – since the peak is what hurts the most. It helped put my pain in perspective when they were occurring. I was cursing out authors of the books I read since they were all “lotus flower, blossoming….yada yada”. It was NOT that easy but focusing on the pain and organizing in such a way made it much more manageable.

  35. Alicia @culinarybliss on September 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

    We’re a Bradley couple, too, and were so happy we did it. There will be weeks that you wish you didn’t have to go, but it’s really 100% worth the time and effort. I appreciated dedicating the time each week to celebrating and meditating on the pregnancy and being around other couples who were also pregnant and desired a natural birth.
    We hired a doula, too, and her help along with the training from Bradley really makes us feel prepared. When we go to the hospital and talk, they say “listen, we know you’re a Bradley couple and know your doula” They’re aware of what we want and are willing to follow our wishes, which is the best I could ask for.
    Unlike most women I meet, I’m actually really EXCITED to labor because I’ve spent so much time preparing for it and see it as such a rare opportunity for DH and I to spend this time together and cooperatively do something so important. I think our daughter will see just how much we love her and anticipated her arrival, and how important it was to us to bring her into the world in the best way we know how.

  36. Jen on September 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I loved going to our Bradley classes. It was so fun being with all the other pregnant women. They were all ahead of me by about 10 weeks so now I’m hearing their birth stories. Unfortunately, some of their stories are a little scary! Things aren’t going as planned… I’m trying to read them “with a grain of salt”. My husband keeps reminding me that I’m not like those other women. Their experiences won’t necessarily match ours. It’s helpful, though, to read all the stories (even the scary ones) because I’ll know what to expect and how to react better. I have about 8 weeks left to prepare!

  37. Heather @ Side of Sneakers on September 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

    This class sounds so cool- I wish there was one near me! I guess reading will have to suffice. 😉 I’ve heard a lot about how much fear can interfere with labor, even physically holding it up. I think being so informed will be such a benefit for you! And I love all the emphasis on nutrition & exercise!

  38. another girl in tucson on September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    we loved the bradley classes!! our son was born just over a year ago (at home) and bradley gave both my husband and me the knowledge we needed to enter into our birth without any fear. it also gave us a few hours together every week to just focus on us and our soon-to-be-born bambino. our birth was the most beautiful experience of our lives… i am not sure many people can say that. congrats to you and i look forward to reading more about your experience.

  39. Megan on September 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Love it! You may want to right down a general birth plan of what you do/don’t want though, so your nurse and other people involved in the birth know what you want. You want to only be focused on labor when the time comes, and not have a nurse asking if you want an epidural every 5 minutes, offering you pain meds, if you do/don’t want your water broken, etc. You may be OK with all of those things in certain circumstances, but you really really want that on paper because believe me you won’t remember. Or they’ll do some things without asking, because you agreed to their care. When you are between 6-10cm dilated, you seriously will not remember (or care!) how you wanted your birth to go, and you might end up regretting it later. Transition is crazy on the mind!

  40. Megan on September 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    OH and after the birth whether you want to nurse right away, if the baby is to stay with you instead of going to the nursery, if you want to start with nursing aids, etc are good to write down- Because even natural birth friendly hospitals can automatically take over and do things as unnaturally as possible, it seems. They may not automatically give you the baby to nurse, they might be use to keeping the baby under warming lights when it would be better for you to nurse right away- They may not even think about it! Your class is going to cover all of this, but don’t throw caution to the wind just yet on the birth plan. They are not rigid, they paint a picture of your first choice in all options.

  41. Lauren on September 23, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I think it’s awesome you want a natural birth! I have 8 brothers and sisters and my Mom had all of us at home. In her bedroom. With my Dad delivering us. CRAZY!!! I hope I can be as brave as you guys when I have my first child.

  42. Jess@pinkchilli on September 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Great post and glad to hear it went well 🙂

  43. Caroline on September 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I love the thinking women’s guide! Such a good book. I’m really glad your childbirth class went well! I’m sure you’ve put a lot of thought into it, but are you sure you don’t want to make a birth plan? It doesn’t need to be a schedule. or an outline of exactly how you want your labor and delivery to go, but it can be really helpful when everyone gets caught up in the excitement, or if someone you aren’t familiar with winds up assisting.

  44. Jaclyn on October 1, 2011 at 3:52 am

    ” talked about the importance of walking and our instructor invited us on a walking challenge using an app on our phones to see who can walk the most over the next week. Of course, I have to win I love a good challenge.”

    That’s pretty funny, but i’m sure you won. go gina, ha 😀

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