This weekend we did something we’ve never done before. We took a birth workshop. Seriously, in four children this is the first time I’ve taken any kind of “class”. With my first I read the Bradley Method book but that was it… I’m not even sure the hospital did a birth education class when The Oldest was born. Last birth we had a doula, which was amazing, but this time our finances just couldn’t swing it. (If you can afford to I STRONGLY urge having a doula). Because of this The Husband really wanted to take a workshop of some sort. He wanted some hands on training in ways he could comfort and support me. Enter, Birth Boot Camp.
For those who have never heard of Birth Boot Camp, the organization was started by Donna Ryan. It was through her own birth experiences and seeing a lack of truly comprehensive childbirth education for expectant parents that she created the curriculum. It really does cover EVERYTHING. Even our, one time, 3-hour “refresher” briefly hit on all the points of labor stages and comfort/support measures you would want to have on hand. (Given my very “birthy”, informed self, I was pleasantly surprised to feel like nothing was left out). The organization has a number of courses/workshops you can choose from and instructors throughout the U.S and internationally. For more info about the organization as a whole and/or to find a class near you, definitely check out their website.
How I learned about Birth Boot Camp
In 2017, I briefly met Cristi (our instructor), at the grand opening of my Chiropractor’s new office. I was pregnant with The Mister at the time and Cristi wanted to make sure I knew about the Birth Boot Camp course(s) she now had available for our area. It was the full 10 week comprehensive class. Given we were on baby 3, and our second homebirth, Cristi didn’t think the whole course was needed but wanted to offer anyway. She let me know we could do “drop ins” for weeks/topics we thought would be beneficial for a discounted rate. I chatted with The Husband about it but ultimately we decided against it. We had our doula, time was pretty tight, and we felt pretty confident with our labor prep. (The Mister’s birth did go beautifully and you can read about it here).
Our Birth Boot Camp “Reboot Refresher”
Fast forward, now expecting The Littlest, The Husband wanted to do something so he’d know how to better support me. I got connected with Cristi pretty early on to ask some questions regarding the “Comfort Measures” workshop and the difference between that and the others. She recommended the Reboot Refresher as it would include comfort measures but cover some of the other aspects of the labor process as well. She advised getting back with her as I neared my due date so we could schedule our workshop. The closer to my edd the better so things could be “fresh”. (We opted for my 36th week because 37 felt like we might be “pushing it”.)
Neither of us knew what to expect but when we arrived Saturday morning it was clear Cristi would make our time comfortable… (as I totally forget the 2 pillows we were supposed to bring and she assured us it was no biggie). We chatted about our previous births, including our first vbac which was an hbac transfer to our vbac ban hospital (future post coming… it was wild), and she asked about our hopes regarding this birth compared to our previous. Cristi had a birth video showing the process of mommas changing demeanor through the stages of labor so we were able to watch that. It was a great discussion point on how The Husband could recognize where I was by how I was acting. From there we went through some tips for dads and a relaxation exercise before getting hands on with various comfort measure techniques. (hip squeeze, anyone?).
What about Dad?
I’m sure for most us moms getting on board with a birth workshop feels a bit more like a “no brainer”. I know it’s not always the same for Dads though SO I asked The Husband what his thoughts were… even though it was him that initiated us taking the class, I wanted his “after class review”. When I asked him what he thought about it here’s what he said:
“It was good”
He felt the entire workshop was, “Very informative on the techniques for comfort measures,” he could use. Not only did Cristi discuss the various techniques, but the curriculum has material you’re able to take home. I love that we have a booklet AND some laminated cards that can be kept for easy review.
“It was helpful”
“She was hands on to show how to do something,” which was the biggest need for him. I’m sure most of our husband do better with a hands on/visual example of techniques vs just trying to verbally explain. Cristi would “perform” whatever comfort measure she was discussing then she would have The Husband do it.
“It was reassuring”
The Husband left feeling quite a boost of confidence in his ability to support me on his own. He said, “(Cristi) helped to establish a more secure position I would be playing and tools I would need for the birth”.
Knowing The Husband feels better about his role and his ability only makes my space better. I know that everyone in the birth space is important in how our birth can go so I’m really happy HE is feeling prepared. (Don’t forget about Dad ladies. AND Dad’s don’t diminish your role.)
I really can’t say enough how glad I am we did this workshop. It was so nice being able to slow down for a bit and I’m feeling more excited about this upcoming birth. (Yes, I said “excited” when referring to my impending labor). I loved the whole thing. Cristi was so encouraging and really helped make our time about “this baby”. (Which she said in the beginning is what our time there was about, especially as busy parents with other littles at home). Honestly, I could see how beneficial this workshop could be even if you’re having a doula. If you have a Birth Boot Camp in your area (you can check here) and are expecting I highly recommend taking a course.
*I was not compensated for this review. The above post is my own words and review.*