Saturday 18 August 2018

How I'm trying to Boss My Birth - birth and baby course review

Any website or course that starts with the proclamation that 'you are going to boss your birth' is something that I want to find out more about.

I am 24 weeks pregnant with my second child. I've reached the viability stage (I hate that word, but it is a milestone that you can't help but think of as it approaches). I am slowly realising that yes, I am growing a human (pregnancy can be such a surreal experience,  but it's all sinking in now) and that said human is going to have to come out, one way or another.

And I can't help feel a bit anxious about that. 

My first birth wasn't exactly straightforward, and I quickly lost my feeling of control, which meant I soon felt way out of my depth and couldn't focus and was pretty scared to be honest. It was a case of being kept in hospital for observation - monitoring my blood pressure as it registered a little high (I remember thinking at the time, "yeah, of course it's high - I'm about to push a baby out of my lady bits!" - when I thought it would just be a progress check, and this leading onto six hours of sitting on a makeshift narrow bed with a curtain around us, minimal room to move, and just a machine pinging every 20 minutes taking a reading. My front waters had broken, the contractions were building and I was dilating, but at one point they were suggesting that I'd have to stay on the ward to be induced overnight whilst hubs would be sent home, and I just started to panic as I did not want to do this alone. 

Fast-forward to 5pm and my body had done its thing enough for me to go through to the labour room and at last, some form of pain relief, but my mental state and the lack of midwife engagement, plus seven attempts to get the needle feed into me, pushed me over the edge. Cue an epidural and soon after, the return of a smile to my face as I finally felt like I was 'back in the room' and could look forward to our baby's arrival. Trouble was, as blissful as the pain relief was, I couldn't feel much when it came to pushing so needed a lot of assistance, an episiotomy and forceps to bring Ethan into the world. 

Labour is such a physical thing and I don't like feeling out of control, so this time around, I do have some anxieties and I want to do all I can to keep myself in check and feel more prepared.

Which is why I have enjoyed learning the Boss Your Birth approach, and using their online tutorials as a source of information and reassurance. I very much see it as a case of mental preparation; the more I can do to address my anxieties and learn ways of coping, hopefully the less scared I will be when the time comes.

The online courses, plus live video streams and one to one coaching sessions, of Boss My Birth are offered by a midwife so you know they know their stuff. Initially developed by experienced midwife, teacher, and mum, Jessica Smart, Boss Your Birth is jam-packed full of information and demos on how to best prepare, not only for birth, but also new parenthood.And the whole approach is so refreshing.

Take a look at how they describe what it is that they do:

Boss Your Birth is a new approach to helping you birth your baby and keep it successfully alive afterwards – and you can do it all without leaving your pyjamas (because let’s be honest, pregnancy is no time for wearing anything other than elasticated cotton troos).

Our online courses, live video streams and 1-1 coaching sessions are a practical, more convenient way of getting all the tools you need to have the best possible birth, minus the crap.
We’re not going to promise you a whale-song and patchouli birth but we’re also not ruling it out.
What we will do is prepare you for all and any eventuality, from a drug-free hypno-birth to an on-your-back push-push-push birth to a drugged-to-the-eyeballs-and-loving-it caesarean.

Don't you just love the straight-talking tone? None of that overly-medical or clinical phrasing, no bold promises that birth will be the most blissful experience you have ever had. Honest, to the point and empowering guidance that tells you as it is, but makes you feel like you have control.

There's different course packages available, starting from £149, and I have been going through the Boss Your Birth and Baby one, because although I have been there before, the newborn days feel like such a long time ago and in many ways, I feel like a newbie all over again.

There's a video for each stage of the process, so you can take baby steps but at the same time, get the information you need, quickly without having to watch a lot of chat. Each video lasts around 6-9 minutes, so they are really handy bite-size chunks; as BYB says, "don't panic, you can take as much time as you need to watch them, and each individual video is pretty short. You may not even finish your cuppa. So whether you want to have marathon learning sessions, or little bite-size snippets each day or so, is totally up to you.

"But by the end of this course, you and your birth partner should feel like you have all the information you need to make birth choices which work well for you, and only you."

I like the direct yet friendly approach in the videos and there's some useful practical demonstrations too. One with a pink balloon, when explaining the cervix thickness and dilation process to get baby's head in the position it needs to be for the main event, is particularly memorable - and really helpful too!

For me, this course has offered a consistent source of information, from a trusted professional, that is easy to access when it suits me. It tells the narrative of labour and birth, through to the early days, and has left me feeling more prepared and reassured. This is so important, particularly when continuity of care can be inconsistent during your pregnancy journey. 

Of course, there is SO much information out there. But it can feel like overload, and there's so many different takes on the whole labour thing. With Boss Your Birth, there's a clear message and approach, so I felt calmer following their process, step-by-step.

There's also a Facebook community to join, where you can connect with other new and expecting parents, as well as support from birth pros too - worth checking out if you would like as much information as possible to feel as prepared as you can be: The support of other people in your shoes can sometimes make all the difference.

I'm going to move on to the Boss Your Baby Care videos to get me through those early weeks, once I am feeling a bit more ready. And they offer you bonus Baby Massage videos too - and I loved baby massage when Ethan was little.

Boss Your Birth is a programme that just talks to you like you probably wish healthcare professionals would. With a mantra such as this, it's hard not to feel more positive about the whole experience:

"Get ready for some serious empowerment! You have choice over your birth and you do not need to be afraid. You are going to boss it, trust me, I can tell!"

Join the mailing list to get the first three course videos for free. AND my Birth Bag Best Bits Checklist. 

* I was gifted this course for purposes of review, but all views are honest and my own. 

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