Archive for the ‘childbirth education’ Category

Introducing…

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

My first CAPPA student to finish her certification as a CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator!

Meet Mariya Melby, CCCE.

I asked her to share her journey, and she graciously agreed to answer a few questions. I can’t wait to see what she is going to do, and where she is going to take her certification!

Tell me about yourself and your birth work:
“I began my career in education. I completed the Boettcher Teacher’s Program through the University of Denver, earning my MA in Curriculum and Instruction and working in underserved schools for 5 years. I knew this career path was not the right fit for me and began exploring other options. I completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training through the Samadhi Center for Yoga in Denver. I added on trainings in prenatal and postpartum yoga and began teaching while I was pregnant with my first child. I had a very unexpected birth experience that led me down the path of becoming a Certified Labor Doula through CAPPA. I began attending births and absolutely loved to support women and their partners through the process of becoming new parents. I found myself particularly drawn towards the work we would do together in our prenatal meetings, and realized that becoming a childbirth educator could meld my loves for education and birth. I attended Tiff Miller’s Childbirth Educator Training through CAPPA in Colorado Springs and recently finished the reminder of my requirements to earn the title of Certified Childbirth Educator (CCCE) through CAPPA.”

What is one piece of advice you would share with others who are certifying?
“Look through the requirements for certification and make your own timeline for finishing up each one. Even if you end up needing to readjust your plan, having one in the first place that you come back to will help to keep you motivated and on track. I suggest working right away on finding a mentor teaching for student teaching.”

What was the most challenging part of the process for you?
“For me, the most challenging part of certification was student teaching. It was a challenge to find a certified childbirth educator in my area who was regularly teaching classes and willing to have me work with her to complete my student teaching. Even though I am an experienced classroom teacher, I was nervous about stepping into someone else’s classroom. I really enjoyed my student teaching experience and once I finished that piece, felt really motivated to finish up the rest of the requirements.”

What is one thing that surprised you in your learning process?
“I am always, always learning more about birth. I receive questions that I don’t know the answers to and need to research or I will attend a birth where I see something new. And the learning has no end in sight—even the most experienced birth workers are still learning about birth as they go.”

I can’t wait to hear from more of you as you reach your certification goals with CAPPA!

Grace & Peace,

 

 

Hosts Wanted for CAPPA Trainings in 2017!

Monday, November 21st, 2016

 

earn 50% or more off of your CAPPA training fee by hostingHave you wanted to sign up for a CAPPA Childbirth Educator Training, but traveling to attend presents too great of an obstacle? Why not let me come to you instead? I don’t want anyone to miss out on the opportunity just because traveling isn’t an option! While I don’t currently offer scholarships, I do offer the chance to earn 50% or more off of your training fee. You can even earn a FREE training!

I am planning my training calendar for 2017 (possibly even 2018), and I am looking for a few good hosts to help me organize a training in your hometown! I have openings to train in March, June or July, and October or November in 2017.

Who is eligible to host?

  • Nurses & Other Support Staff
  • WIC Professionals
  • Public Health Staff
  • Physicians & Midwives
  • Current Childbirth Educators
  • La Leche League Leaders & Lactation Professionals
  • Labor, Birth, & Postpartum Doulas
  • Nutrition Professionals
  • Anyone who wants to support families during pregnancy

What locations are great for a CAPPA Childbirth Educator Training?

  • Hospital classrooms and board rooms
  • Hotel conference rooms
  • Event centers
  • Public buildings such as libraries
  • Conference centers
  • Chiropractor offices
  • Health department classrooms and board/conference rooms

If you can…

  • Help me find housing
  • Find and book a host location
  • Market the training in your area
  • Provide a minimum of 4 paid registrations
  • And a few other requirements

Then I will…

  • Take 50% off the cost of your training (or more, depending on the number of paid registrations)
  • Provide all marketing materials and tips
  • Support you in your professional journey

What are you waiting for? There is no time like the present to get started on a professional career helping make birth healthier for women and babies right in your backyard!

Make sure you visit my training page for more information and click on “Host a Training” to get started.

Grace & Peace,

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Fall Childbirth Class Schedule

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Fall Childbirth Class in Colorado Springs
Thanks so much for your patience as I took a break from blogging while I was away at the CAPPA conference in Tucson, then hit the ground running with several births nearly as soon as I landed back in the Springs! That said, we are gearing up for a busy season.

Our fall childbirth classes are on the calendar, which you can check out HERE.

What I want to highlight are the names of our Saturday workshops. Since we began offering them in the spring, I have gotten a lot of helpful, specific feedback from Saturday students, and am excited to offer our new “Tool Kit” Saturday schedule!

It’s shorter. It’s sweeter. It’s more relevant than ever.

Plus, we have way more fun than is probably good for any of us!

Here’s the nutshell version of each new Tool Kit class:

  • Early Pregnancy Tool Kit: Nutrition, fitness, specialty diets, what to expect in the 1st and 2nd trimesters, care providers, and birth locations.
  • The Natural Birth Tool Kit: Planning a natural or home birth? This is the class that will equip you to handle labor, birth, and that first “golden” hour.
  • The Epidural Tool Kit: Planning to have an epidural? This is the class just for you! What you can expect, how it all works together, and that first “golden” hour.
  • The Newborn Care Tool Kit: More than just diapering, this class covers what you really need to know about your “4th Trimester.” Getting out of the house, parenting styles, babywearing, bonding, and more.
  • The Postpartum Tool Kit: This class covers topics rarely discussed. Relationships, family planning, emotional/mental health, and even basic logistics.
  • The Breastfeeding Tool Kit: Everything you need to know from nipples to normal feeding to nursing in public. Bonus: This class is for your partner too!

We also have some fabulous specialty “Tool Kit” classes:

  • The VBAC Tool Kit: This class is especially geared for those going for a vaginal birth after cesarean(s). The nuts and bolts of stacking the deck in your favor, no matter where you are choosing to give birth.
  • The Teen Tool Kit: This class is in the works, so stay tuned for the first scheduled appearance! It will be a two- or four-week Tool Kit just for teen moms and their support partner(s). We’ll cover the basics of coping with labor, breastfeeding, and sex ed.

Also – we are so excited to be planning the first ever Preparing for Birth Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween this year! Watch for details as we let our nerd selves loose in a Comic-con style costume party! Sherlock, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Stark Trek, Star Wars, and more! Bring the kids, get your blooming belly painted, and get your geek on with us!

Thanks for hanging around!

Warmly,
Desirre & Tiffany

Registration OPEN for Summer Childbirth Classes!

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Summer Class ScheduleSummertime is in full swing, and classes at Preparing for Birth are now available to fit your summer schedule! Come cool off in our air-conditioned classroom space while gaining tools, techniques, and knowledge you can apply to your own pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding decisions.

Did you know that every student who registers receives a free gift? Every student receives a binder or folder with all the relevant class information, with room for notes, as well as additional reading and resources. Also, you will receive a free tumbler with a lid and straw, which you can fill with our clean, cool water to stay hydrated in these hot summer days!

Tuesday Evening Classes (6pm-9pm – $150 each, $285 for both)

  • 7/7/15 – 7/2815 Essentials for Childbirth Series
  • 8/4/15 – 8/25/15 Essentials for Postpartum Series

Saturday Workshops (10am – 2pm, $60 each)

  • 7/11/15 Early Pregnancy Workshop
  • 7/18/15 Essentials for Childbirth Condensed Part 1
  • 7/25/15 Essentials for Childbirth Condensed Part 2
  • 8/1/15 Life With Baby
  • 8/8/15 Essentials for Postpartum Condensed
  • 8/15/15 Breastfeedign Basics

NOTE: We are currently working on our online registration — there seems to be an issue with the payment step. So, if you would like to register for one of these classes, contact our educators at info@prepforbirth.com, or call 719-323-8414 and leave a message. We will get back to you by the following business day.

What to Expect When Your Baby Is Not Who You Expected Him to Be: 5 Strategies for Parenting a High Needs Baby

Monday, April 13th, 2015
Image credit: bbburkefineart.com (Click for original source)

Image credit: bbburkefineart.com (Click for original source)

You can never be quite sure of who this tiny human is going to be after he or she emerges from your womb.

We often expect an image like this one (Artist: Brenda Burke). Mom and baby awash in the sweetness of new motherhood. You picture the days snuggling away in quiet and coos, with only occasional crying.

The reality is usually different. The vast majority of us have to soothe an intensely crying baby at more than one point. Everything can be difficult to navigate when you are sleep deprived, and your postpartum hormones are in full swing.

However, if you have a baby who seems to have a more than usually intense personality, and a higher than normal demand for all things Mother, you may have a high needs baby.

That said, there are a lot of simple tools that can be helpful when you find yourself facing a high needs baby. Here are five good starting places:

1. Get help yesterday. My top advice would be to hire a postpartum doula, who will be able to assess the situation, and make good recommendations. She will know a lot of tips to help soothe your crying baby, and many postpartum doulas do overnight work, so you can get some much-needed sleep, and tackle the issues with a clearer head.

2. Relax as much as possible. (I know that sounds crazy.) I’m not talking about spa visits, necessarily. I’m talking about learning basic relaxation techniques. Remember the breathing lessons from your childbirth class? Those are life skills, and you will need them as you manage the stress of parenting a high needs baby. It can be as simple as stimulating a yawn, or putting baby in a safe place while you take a shower.

3. Learn about a baby’s normal development. I have found that this one factor can make all those mountains seem like molehills again! When you know what normal looks like, it is much easier to recognize what isn’t normal, and therefore get specific help.

4. Visit a chiropractor within baby’s first few weeks of life. Find one who specializes in care for women and their children, if possible. Many high needs babies fare better after a few adjustments, especially if their birth was very fast or very slow.

5. Learn about babywearing, which can be a lifesaver (sometimes literally). Babies who are worn, or at least held often, cry less, because their needs are met more quickly, and they have less chance to get worked up.

Now, these are very basic, ground zero strategies. These are not going to solve all your problems. They are only a springboard to get you started. Pick one, and give it a try!

What would you add? Have you had a high needs baby? What worked for you and your family? Why? Where did you turn for help?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

I Think I Can!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Image credit: laughingdevil at deviantart.com (Click to visit.)

Image credit: laughingdevil at deviantart.com (Click to visit.)

2015 is going to be my “Little Engine That Could…” year, methinks.

Personally and professionally, I am encountering challenge after challenge to take Action (my OneWord for the year), and get things done. To dive off the deep end, into the depths of the unknown. At least, that’s how it feels to me. I do tend to be a bit more dramatic than I need to be sometimes, but that is neither here nor there, right?

My first challenge is represented by the time needed to grow as a student midwife. Desirre, my preceptor, has set aside four hours, one day a month, for my fellow students and me to learn necessary skills. The first day we got together covered a lot of basics we already knew, like hand-washing, gloving/de-gloving, and basic prenatal skills like vitals and urinalysis strips. The last time we met, we learned how to do a complete physical exam (minus all the pelvic stuff), and practiced on one another. It definitely requires the full four hours to understand the need for each skill, be able to explain it back, and then to demonstrate how to do it. It is finally sinking in that, at the end of all of this, I will be able to sit for the NARM exam, and hopefully earn the CPM credentials.

I think I can, I think I can…

Another challenge is one I didn’t want to announce until CAPPA made it official. I have been asked to be their YouTube manager for the CAPPA Vision channel. *Gulp* I almost didn’t accept the position. Me? Make, edit, and post videos for an international organization? The largest childbirth professional organization in the world? Couldn’t be possible. Could it? Somehow, the folks on the leadership board of CAPPA seem to think so, and they couldn’t be wrong, right? So, I’m taking a giant leap of faith in taking this position. What a privilege it will be to work with CAPPA’s leadership to make some great content for its members! With respect, some trepidation, and a lot of self-teaching, I am ready for this.

They even put me on the website already! It’s real, now, folks.

I think I can, I think I can…

Then, of course, there are my doula and childbirth educator careers. Both have slowed somewhat, and I am determined to get to the bottom of it. Being a small business owner requires some serious willingness to stay on top of marketing trends, social media, and other aspects of building a business. I can never take for granted that word-of-mouth will always be enough. I have to earn the business of clients and students, and never let go of finding fresh ways to reach out to people. For someone like me, who would rather have a set of instructions than write my own, it’s an especially big challenge!

I think I can, I think I can…

Bring it on, 2015! I will play this game with you, and I will win! Graciously, of course.

 What are your big challenges this year, and how are you planning to meet them?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

So It Begins.

Monday, December 22nd, 2014
Image credit: knowyourmidwife.com

Image credit: knowyourmidwife.com

In November, The North American Registry of Midwives accepted my application into the PEP program.

That should really have about eleventy-one exclamation points behind it. After all, it is the ripening of a long-blossoming fruit. The result of  a dream hatched over seven years ago, when my youngest was just a baby. I called the midwife who had walked with me during my last two pregnancies, Merrie, and asked to meet with her in order to discuss becoming a midwife. In her wisdom, I remember that she said to me, “You don’t want to be a midwife,” and proceeded to tell me all the reasons why it was not something to just walk into.

It was at that meeting when I first heard the word, “doula.” A what-a? Her assistant at the time was one, and Merrie encouraged me to meet with her. She assured me that if I could hack it as a doula, then midwifery might become an option later. That is how I was born into the life of a birth professional. I took my training in the fall of 2007, when my youngest was only two months old. A lovely babysitter came with me, and I nursed him through sessions, and she played with him in between. I worked slowly through my training, taking the maximum amount of time CAPPA gave me to finish my certification, but it was worth it.

Through it, I gained experience outside my comfort zones. I learned that I can live on call, and work around my family.

Soon, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to teach. So, I trained through CAPPA (of course), under Desirre Andrews (who was a doula, lactation educator, and a dually-certified childbirth educator at the time), to become a childbirth educator. Teaching has always been at the heart of who I am. I often find myself teaching, even when it isn’t wanted or needed–a character trait I hope is being shaped into a far better tool than it has been in the past. At this point, it became obvious that I needed a place to teach, but not having a regular income, nor a family budget to pay for a place, I sought help from Desirre again. She had a lovely office and classroom space, and was wanting an educator to help her as she began to assist a midwife (the same one mentioned above, in fact). I approached her, and asked that she become my professional mentor, and allow me to work with her to grow, teach, learn, and have space and time to build Birth In Joy into whatever it needed to become.

I haven’t looked back since. It has been a wonderful working relationship, and I have been blessed with a treasured friend whom I feel is my “big sister.” Working with her has challenged my perceptions, my biases, my experience, my emotions, my mind, my heart, and my very character.

Soon, even that was no longer enough for me. I have always taken a light client load, because my family needed me to. So, I knew I wasn’t beginning to burn out. Far from it! My passion and love for this work has only grown, over the years. Thanks mostly to my fabulous, beautiful clients and students, who have shown me quite a cross-section of birthing women and the strength they each have in common. What a world we live in, and what a privilege to have walked with so many through such a sacred, intimate time in their lives!

Desirre declared to me, when she started assisting Merrie, that she only wanted to gain insight and skills she could use as a doula. She wasn’t going to become a midwife.

Ahem.

She is now a Certified Professional Midwife, registered in the state of Colorado. Ahhhh, life. We never really know, do we?

Except that I do know. Midwifery has always been my goal. My dream. What I want to be when I grow up.

So, as soon as Desirre became a preceptor with NARM this past September, I started my paperwork. Phase 1 has been accepted by NARM, and I am working on both Phase 2 and the 43 pages of skills I must master and prove. (No, shaking chicken bones and chanting are not on the skills exam. Just so you know.)

So it begins.

My journey to becoming a midwife. “With woman.”

I didn’t know I was ready until one day, I was.

What is your passion? What dreams are you pursuing?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

A Weighty Responsibility

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Image credit: longdrivejourney.com


Finishing up a class is always bittersweet, triggering a time of self-evaluation, reflection, and a desire to do better next time.

Childbirth education is not a job where I can just show up, punch a card, and go home. It is filled with challenges as unique as each student who walks through the door. Each student requires some customization of the curriculum, and will invariably ask a question I don’t know the answer to. There will be rabbit trails every so often, and bringing class back on track in order to cover the essentials adequately is critical. It is also just as critical to know when it is time to abandon a few of my slides in order to acknowledge and travel down a rabbit trail with purpose.

It requires constant research, reading, and learning on my part. I cannot recycle the same information over and over, and expect to meet the needs of an ever-changing population. Every class series I teach, while built upon the same foundation, will be a little bit different.

As I work toward finishing my re-certification process as a CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator, I am overwhelmed at the amount of new information permeating the atmosphere surrounding the perinatal year! I am required to choose and read ten complete studies relating to my field that were published in the last five years. I thought it would be a challenge to find new research. I was wrong. The information is out there. It is accessible, if you know where to look, and I am astonished and excited at how much I still have to learn!

I am so glad I chose to certify with an organization that has such rigorous standards for its members. If it weren’t for the constant challenge of re-certification, I think it would be too easy to fall into a rut and stay there, becoming more and more irrelevant in the community. More and more useless in effectively navigating the changing state of childbirth in this country.

When I am up front teaching, I am viewed as an expert, and even an authority on childbirth. Shame on me if I fail to strive to live up to such labels by maintaining a steadfast continuing education. While I know I can never impart everything I know to every student who walks into my classroom, it does not excuse a lack of evidence-based, current knowledge driving and directing my passion. All the passion in the world means nothing if it isn’t paired with a working knowledge of current evidence, applied realistically, and presented in a way that is easy for students to integrate into their own real-world experience.

A discerning childbirth educator changes with the times. Changes with each new group of students who choose their class. Incorporates new information into curriculum as quickly and accurately as possible, enabling students to apply the new knowledge to their own circumstances and worldviews. A wise childbirth educator strives to get a little better each day, understanding that people are making decisions based (at least in part) on what they have said in class.

It is a weighty responsibility.

And I love it.

How do you continue to learn, grown, and change in your own work? What drives you to keep reaching for the next step?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

7 Symptoms Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Pregnancy is weird. There is no denying that. It often comes with all kinds of odd symptoms as the hormones of pregnancy do not limit their effect to the uterus and growing baby. Everything from morning sickness to hemorrhoids to indigestion can be a normal part of pregnancy. These things are not often a cause for concern, but sometimes, these symptoms wander outside the range of normal, and it’s important to understand what that looks like.

There is a reason your care provider has you pee in a cup, takes your blood pressure, and asks about headaches, vision changes, and other symptoms. It’s best not to stay in the dark about why.

I don’t share this information to scare you, or to make you paranoid, but to bring a sense of awareness. When in doubt, it never hurts to call your provider. Peace of mind and good health are more important than feeling a little foolish. Take a minute to watch this video, and just tuck it away in an easily accessible corner of your mind.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Childbirth Education Myths 1

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Over the next several weeks, Team Preparing for Birth will be debunking some common myths surrounding childbirth education classes. Check back every Monday to see the newest post.

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MYTH #1: “I’m having a homebirth, and my midwife will do all my education.”

Home birth families often see childbirth classes as an extra, rather than a valuable and necessary tool to help them have the birth they are hoping for. The most common objection they have is that they will be able to get all the education they need from their midwife. While midwives do educate their clients to some extent, this perception that they can (or should) cover everything is a myth, for several reasons.

1) Education is not a midwife’s job.

Just as obstetricians are not childbirth educators, neither are midwives. Just because midwives are more likely to do more education than an obstetrician, does not mean they give comprehensive education, and they should not be expected to. That is not their job.

Rather, a midwife’s primary job is to maintain the clinical safety and health of the mother-baby dyad. This will involve some education, yes, but only as a by-product of good midwifery care.

A good midwife will encourage her clients to be active participants in their care by reading, taking classes, and educating themselves proactively, instead of passively relying on the lack of intervention common to home birth. Midwives want clients who are thinking women, who take responsibility for their own care, and who can integrate what they learn in practical ways.

 

2) The reality of transport.

Another downside to relying solely on your midwife for childbirth education is the preparation for hospital transport. Realistically, around 10% of women and babies need something that cannot be offered at a homebirth, for whatever reason. It is not a midwife’s job to prepare you for the hospital.  Her job is to prepare you for birthing safely at home. Therefore, an expert on the hospital system is needed to prepare a birthing woman, in case of a transport. Most midwives spend very little time in the hospital, due to the low transport rate, so their expertise on local practices may be limited.

On the other hand, childbirth educators work very hard to stay up-to-date on all policy changes, protocols, and the general attitude of the staff in local hospitals. They often work (or have worked) as doulas, and have regular opportunities to interact with staff in the local hospitals that midwives simply don’t have. (This is not a criticism, merely a reality.)

While a midwife can go over what a typical transport looks like in her practice, a good childbirth education class will be able to prepare the client for what a hospital birth will look like. She can help the client to understand how to navigate the environment, and teach her how to communicate with the staff effectively.

 

3) The birth tool belt.

Midwives know that most women need a wide array of pain management techniques available to them, since an epidural is not an option at home. While a midwife will teach her clients the importance of stress management, emotional health, and relaxation, there is no substitute for a good independent childbirth course where you can actually practice tried and true techniques from all kinds of sources. This creates a solid foundation of knowledge, provides varying perspectives, and allows the birthing pair time and space to learn or review valuable tools for labor.

 

4) Prenatal appointments can only cover so much.

Even though midwifery appointments are much longer than typical obstetric appointments, it is still a very limited amount of time for a woman to learn all she needs to know about birth. Not to mention the birth partner, who may not be able to attend very many of the appointments. Childbirth education can fill in the gaps, empower a birthing pair, and provide opportunity to practice valid techniques in a real-world environment.

It is never wise to assume that your care provider will simply take care of everything, no matter who they are. Leaving the decision-making and responsibility solely in your midwife’s hands is not fair to her, to you, or to your baby. You owe it to yourself to take a proactive approach to childbirth education.