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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Next class: Fall 2014

My next class session will begin in fall 2014 (late October/early November) that will be appropriate for early 2015 due dates! Contact me for more information or to reserve your spot.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Summer & fall due dates, register now!

I am now taking registration for summer/fall due dates. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30-9 in Bountiful. Starts May 1 and ends July 3. Contact me with questions or click the "register" tab above!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Register Now! Class starts in January!

For those of you with due dates in 2014, now is the time to register for childbirth education classes. I'm planning on teaching on THURSDAYS -- dates have changed -- please contact me directly for the schedule.  Thanks!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Holidays! 2014 class schedule coming soon....

If it wasn't for the snow blanketing my yard, I'd have a hard time believing that 2013 is drawing to a close. It's been a wonderful year for our family, enjoying watching our two girls grow and thrive. I've been blessed to meet amazing people as they prepare for the births of their babies!

I'm now finalizing my schedule for my first 2014 class series, which will finish in time for April-June 2014 due dates. Email me at if you are interested in this class series! I'll post details here and on facebook as soon as it is scheduled.

Happy Holidays to all and a blessed new year!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Birth Center Birth Story

I am so grateful today to be able to share an incredible birth story from a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing in your words your experience!

New Year’s Eve 2012. I had an evening of errands and a little cleaning planned while Andrew worked . . . errands that included picking up one or two ‘girly’ clothing items for the baby, in the case that our little ‘he or she’ was the latter. Our baby’s room seemed fully stocked with gender neutral clothing (maybe even a little heavy on the blue), but I had some gender biased notion that bringing a baby girl home dressed like ‘girl’ would be sweet. I washed and packed away the new little outfit into our only packed-for-the-birth-center bag (no need to have anything else ready to go yet, right, as this baby was staying in until our due date . . . or so we na├»vely thought). Time to finally wash the kitchen floor (a task I had put off for at least two weeks; bending and scrubbing and a nice sized baby bump just didn’t seem to go hand in hand, so I procrastinated). But the Lucian hair was starting to collect in the corners (the dog that didn’t shed a wink for the first year of his life seems to have become your standard d-o-g, shedding and all). I don’t think I had even really started the sweeping when I started feeling a little uncomfortable . . . general tightening (like the Braxton-Hicks we’d been feeling for months, but actually somewhat ‘painful’). Maybe I wasn’t paying attention during our wonderful childbirth class, but I couldn’t remember what an early stage labor contraction was supposed to feel like. I figured this sensation was just the result of a little dehydration, opened a coconut water and went back to cleaning, pausing every once and awhile to rub my very tight, uncomfortable belly. I won’t claim to have done a solid job cleaning that floor (by the end of the short cleaning session, the waves of tightening were fairly strong, but I was clearly in denial). By 8:30pm or so, Lucian and I were snuggled on the couch, watching Enchanted (half-heartedly) and catching up on some emails, waiting for Andrew to get home from work. I played around with baby names (we still hadn’t settled and our ‘top five’ girls list was still a ‘top fifteen’ or so) and started dinner. Andrew came home at around 9:30 or so, and I distinctly remember saying “don’t worry, I don’t think it’s labor, but I’m feeling a little weird and it’s kind of regular” . . . He and I both figured that these came on too quickly, not strong enough, and too regularly (what were we thinking?! Wouldn’t regularity be a clue?) for them to be actual labor. We thought I would drink some water, get some sleep and by morning we’d be back to normal. Silly kids! We did sit down and figure out our top five girl names . . . my “just in case” instinct. I didn’t make it until “Happy New Years!”, but instead headed up to bed at about 11:30 to try to sleep. No such luck. I downloaded a little contraction timer and squirmed around in our bed, timing these now significantly uncomfortable contractions. Significantly uncomfortable might be downplaying it, but I had nothing to compare these to, and I figured ‘real’ labor would be excruciating. I googled ‘early labor’ and saw story after story of ‘false labor’ (we call it ‘practice labor’, which I much prefer). Nonetheless, the contractions continued . . . averaging about 50 to 60 seconds, every two and a half to three minutes. I know, I know . . . looking back on this, it seems silly that we didn’t recognize this as labor-labor, but I’ve been so mellow this whole pregnancy (part of the reason I thought it might be a girl), it kind of was par for the course for us to brush aside these strong, frequent contractions. Andrew went to bed a little after midnight (as we joked, “you ready for a baby?!”) and I tried to sleep. No such luck (again). I wandered around the house, pausing every two minutes or so to crouch/squat on the floor and hang my belly in between my legs (trying to relax into the contraction). It was strong, but the ‘go with it’, ‘ride the waves’, ‘this is only temporary’, and ‘I’m not alone . . . think of all the women in the world that are going through this in their own way right now’ mantras were helpful. I ran a bath, thinking that would slow things down . . . Nope! Time seemed to go by both quickly and slowly as I passed through the house, followed by Lucian’s watchful eye. I was trying to eat small things (kefir, fruit leather, a cliff bar . . . ) between contractions and drink plenty of liquids. When I’d pause on the floor, Lucian would check on me. It was comforting to have ‘someone’ to share this crazy (difficult?) movement through time with and I had no need to wake Andrew (at this point I was pretty sure the labor was for real). I figured it was best to let him rest while he could. By 4:15 in the morning, the contractions were unbelievably strong (I had one minor breakdown on the living room floor, thinking ‘woah, what did I get myself into’, but it lasted through one contraction . . . I refocused on all the positives – we get to meet our little one soon! -- and it set me in motion to get Andrew). Climbing the stairs and getting to our bedroom took another two contractions, and then I worked through another on our bedroom floor before I was able to get Andrew from bed. “I think it’s really time to call Becky . . . “ (our midwife on duty). She’s beyond well versed and I think she could tell we needed to head on into the birth center. We (Andrew) told her we’d be there in about 45 minutes and then Andrew had to race around the house to get our labor bags finalized. I had all these wonderful labor snacks and goodies and toiletries ready to go, thinking we’d be laboring at our birth center for hours . . . hmm . . . is it foreshadowing to just come out and say that all this running around to gather things was highly unnecessary?

Easily the worst part of the evening was the car ride to the birth center (all of nearly 10 minutes). I couldn’t sit through a contraction at home (why hospitals make women labor in a lying/sitting position is beyond me . . . these were by far the most painful positions) so sitting through contractions in a moving vehicle was not looking to be very promising. We zipped (. . . did I say ‘zipped’? I meant wobbled . . . waddled . . . swayed . . . ) out of our house at about 5:30am on New Year’s Day . . . the air was beyond crisp (in the low teens and snowing on and off) and the streets were beautifully quiet. I felt kind of like a drunk passenger (all the twinkling lights and kind of unaware of where in the drive we were, even though it’s a drive we know so well). Only one red light . . . and Andrew drove plenty fast enough to make me feel safe. Still, I started to feel a slight need to push as we sped down 9th South and neared the birth center. If I was in a state of mind to think clearly, I would have recognized this as ‘transition’, but I was so focused on moving with and through each contraction that the idea of ‘stages’ didn’t occur to me. I climbed out of the car and ended up having a contraction on the pavement (thinking “I’m not the first one to do this!”). The icy cool of the pavement felt nice and real (out of this weird car ride dream world) and it grounded me. Becky let us into the warm, dim birthing room (one more contraction on the floor) and had me checked for dilation . . . 8 and a half centimeters dilated! I think even she was surprised. Excuse my bragging . . . Most first time mums don’t make it to 8.5cm while laboring at home (in the U.S.). Becky had the birthing tub (gorgeous ritzy hotel grade Jacuzzi tub) drawn and ready for me and I couldn’t have jumped in quickly enough. Baths have always been my place of calm, comfort and focus. It was almost simple and second nature to climb in and the urge to push was almost immediate. I felt completely empowered, as our midwife and birth attendant stepped back and let me do what my body was made to do. Every once and awhile she would remind me to move with the waves (contractions) or slow down (I had the same urgency to get this little mystery child out as this little wonder baby had to be out)! I guess we worked together, this little one and I . . . The pushing was the most comforting part (not really painful until the final two pushes, just strenuous and overpowering). Every part of this labor has its purpose and when you’re finally able to feel and see what you have been waiting all these months (years!) for . . . that becomes an easy focal point. *For those that think I’m being silly by saying the pushing wasn’t painful -- It was the contractions prior to the urge to push that were painful, don’t be mistaken!

No more than 40 minutes in the tub, pushing through contractions and she was in my arms. Becky asked if we’d like to catch her and, of course, I had been waiting my whole life for this so I was pleased that our little baby popped right out (head and elbow/arm first) and I carried her up onto my chest. She came out in the same pose she spent much of her ‘in the belly time’ in . . . One hand up by her face. In fact, as I type, she is lying across my chest/belly, body splayed open (‘yay, I can finally stretch out!’) with one hand pressed against her face.

We were in such a moment of disbelief and shock and elation that we forgot to even check whether she (yes, she!) was a boy or a girl! Finally I flipped her around and Andrew said “girl!” (he was right all along) and we just stared at her and stroked her. The water suddenly felt much cooler than it had (I was a little heater through the labor) and we covered her in a warm, wet towel, placed a little hat on her sweet head (little reddish blonde hair!) and spent about 15 minutes snuggled in the bath. Papa Andrew took some photos and then took our little yet-unnamed bundle from me to hold. I was still in a state of awe, but seeing him hold her for the first time (like a natural father!) was beyond incredible. He stared at her melted (and it’s been that way ever since). I climbed out of the tub and was given a shot in the leg (wee!) and was situated on the bed so that Becky could check bleeding and for tears. No perennial tearing (thankfully, as with the speed she came out, I think they were expecting a little something), but the little warrior with her elbow up through the birth did a little deep scratch internally, so they quickly gave me a couple stitches (my first!) and then brought our little girl back to me for her first non-placenta-umbilical meal J We did a little kangaroo snuggling, skin to skin, as she fed. Andrew climbed onto the big bed with us and we got to lay there and bask in her sweetness. It was wonderful to be left alone for our first time as a family (minus little Lucian who was exhausted at home after being my labor doula). We spent about an hour there, just snuggled together, and then Becky and Megan (the birth attendant) came back to do some vitals, check on our daughter (our daughter!!!!) and make sure I was able to get up and pee (no problems there . . . adrenaline is this incredible, natural drug). Baby girl Philp was weighed (7lbs. 0oz.) and measured (19in. long . . . much of it in her skinny – but strong – little legs). We watched as they gracefully checked her over (all while in our birthing room), with barely a peep as she was given her first little shot (braver than her Mama, already).

I watched as Andrew gave the sweet little thing her first bath (back into the water she went!) and she barely fussed as she entered the water . . . So calm. We kept looking at each other and saying “she is SO good . . . she is SO amazing . . . she is SO incredible . . . “ Maybe the midwives say it to all new parents, but they were pretty impressed with her easiness (and the quick, seemingly scripted labor).

We got our little girl bundled and snuggled up again . . . time drifted by and we were checked a few more times before given the okay to pack up and head out into our world for the first time as a little family of 3 (Lucian just kicked me in his sleep to remind me we were already a family of 3 and I should correct myself). J Not a whimper as she was strapped into her car seat and carried out into what became a bright, crisp New Year’s Day. By 1:00pm we were on the road and on our way home to begin this new adventure!

I have this strange notion of entering the birth center as just two people and leaving as three . . . Enter with baby in belly, leave with baby in arms. It’s like the birth center was this strange portal through which our daughter came into this world. It will always be a special place for us (and I can’t say more good things about our experience with a natural birth)!

More on our first day home, when I get the chance to write. I’m passing little Malin (she remained nameless until late-afternoon on her first day) off to Andrew so I can get dinner and then get Malin her dinner. We’re in a blissful world of newborn love, adventure and learning. So thankful for all the friends and family and new friends and new family that have guided us through this journey and will be there for us through this next chapter. 2012 was a year of blessings and 2013 started out to be the year of miracles (in the most natural sense of the word).


A very happy Mama

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Register Now: Childbirth Class October-November 2013

Now taking registration for my fall series of childbirth education classes! This will be a special 8 week series that's ideal for moms due this winter or spring. Classes will be held from Oct 8 through Nov 26 on Tuesday nights from 6:30 til 9. Tuition is $275, which includes all books, materials, snacks, etc. Please register online (see the "register" tab above) or email me with any questions!

Note: Since this class is 8 sessions instead of my usual 10, I will have to condense some of my information and let students do a bit more reading on their own. My goal is to still cover the same information, just to be more brief on topics that are less pertinent to the current group. :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Re-lactation- Breastfeeding Success: Guest Post

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding success stories. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

We've reached the last day of the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival! I'm amazed I was able to post everyday. :) If you're local, come visit the Breastfeeding Cafe at the Main library downtown; check their calendar for upcoming events!

Today's post is about breastfeeding success, and as I type and nurse my beautiful 6 month old and watch my smart, funny, healthy 2 year old, I feel grateful for my successful breastfeeding relationships. However, when I saw this topic I knew whose story would be perfect to share.

So, today's post comes from my friend Elisabeth. She took my classes before the birth of her daughter in 2011, and she's an amazing person and incredible mother. I admire her so much.  Elisabeth is currently anticipating the arrival of her second baby! The rest of this post are her words.

When I found out I was pregnant, I already had a plan.  I was going to have a home birth, and I was going to nurse by baby until she was at least aged 2.  And I didn’t have my head in the clouds about it; I did my research on home birth, and I attended every La Leche League meeting until the birth of my baby.
But my plan began to fall apart when, after 22 hours of labor, we were surprised with a bottom, rather than a head, in the birth canal.  I ended up transferring to the hospital and had a c-section about 4 hours later.  But immediately following my daughter’s Cesarean birth I was still a lucky Momma.   Maybe it was the 24 hours of natural labor that came before, or just plain good luck, but my milk came in fast and there was plenty of it.  But the next 8 weeks were difficult, as I had imagined within days of giving birth that I would be walking up and down the street with my new baby in my arms.  I felt a little sorry for myself, but I knew we had done everything we could to have a natural birth.   I was mostly angry for the thousands of mothers given C-sections for the convenience of their doctors.  It was a terribly difficult way to start motherhood, and made breastfeeding more challenging than it otherwise would have been.

While my wounds healed fast, my overall health was deteriorating.  I had terrible back pain and spasms that came and went.  I was finally diagnosed with a bulged disc, and was told time and rest would improve things.  I temporarily gave up nursing when my baby was 2 ½ months because I could barely hold her anymore, and for some reason lying on my side to nurse hurt more than anything.  I cried the first time she took a bottle, even though at first it was still breast milk.  The months went by and the medications increased to keep up with the increasing pain.  I lost weight.  

The doctors didn’t know why I wasn’t getting better, and they gave me more painkillers and valium to help me sleep.  Eventually we had to hire someone to take care of our baby because I could hardly take care of myself, let alone her.  Those were dark days, and added to the list of medications were two anti-depressants.  Post-partum depression was thrown around and I wanted to scream.  I wasn’t depressed because I just had a baby, I was depressed because I was sick, I was sure I was dying; I just had a baby I loved more than life itself and couldn’t even take care of her.  The fact this was happening “post-partum” had nothing to do with it; something was physically wrong with me, and nobody could tell me what it was.  I was 15 pounds under my already thin pre-pregnancy weight, and I finally had to stop pumping milk.  I lost so much weight I wouldn’t let anyone take pictures of me and would only let a couple of close friends see me.  I couldn’t sleep because of the pain.  I would cry into my baby’s outgrown reindeer snowsuit from loneliness as she and my husband slept together in the next room. 

Eventually my new and brilliant doctor identified one definite problem: I was addicted to the pain medications.  I put myself on a three-week schedule to wean off the Lortab and Vallium, and experienced a month of pain and anxiety while detoxing that was unimaginable.  But it was worth every second of knowing we had a plan and were closer to figuring out what was actually wrong with me.  When my baby was about 5 months old, the anxiety attacks stopped and I was off every medication…Trazadone, Lortab, Valium, and Celexa.  I was still in pain, still barely able to sleep, and still dependent on Jane’s nanny for her care, but the pain was different, and I went to see my doctor again, proudly bringing in my purse the leftover pills for disposal.

It was then that she asked me about ulcers, and I said yes, I had them before, a long time ago.  So she put me on Prilosec.  That night I took it before bed, and finally fell asleep.  In the past, I would sleep for a maximum of 2 hours before pain would wake me.  But this time, I woke up 4 hours later in no pain.  Alone in bed, I waited for the pain to start, but it never did.  I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.   I could hardly believe my luck.   Was it possible I just had a mad case of ulcers? 
I did some research and discovered that yes, peptic ulcers can cause back pain (and all those medications only makes them worse).  I was so thrilled to be alive and well and cured I just focused on my baby.  It didn’t occur to me for a few weeks to be angry at the stupidity of it all.   Within a day it she remembered who I was, that I had been “gone” before, and she wouldn’t let me go.  We all started to sleep together again, and I just wanted to move on from my terrible experience. 

But within a couple of weeks I was crying all the time again.  I was angry at what had been stolen from me, months of my baby’s life I would never get back, and losing the nursing relationship I had worked so hard for.  I had attended every La Leche League meeting I could during my pregnancy.  I was proud of how long I had held on to nursing, but it was a far cry from what I had hoped for.
So as soon as I discovered that re-lactation was an option, I knew I had to try it.  I couldn’t get back those months with my baby, but if I could nurse again, I believed I could put my pain behind me.  I was not worried about my supply.  I knew I would produce enough milk and in the off chance I didn’t, I knew every little bit I did was important for my baby.  The problem was helping my baby remember how to nurse.

I pumped for a couple of months while trying the many wonderful suggestions from my friends at La Leche League.  I took Fenugreek and ate oatmeal.  I stayed well hydrated.  I slept skin to skin with my baby, not only to help her remember to nurse, but also because just being close to your baby helps your body produce the hormones needed to make milk.  I pumped in the middle of the night, when those hormones are highest.  Progress in my supply was noticeable, but although Jane showed some promising early signs such as relaxing against me when we were skin to skin and even turning her head to my chest, she hardly noticed or cared about my breasts.  My heart broke at her excitement to be given a bottle.

The SNS was a disaster for us.  She would play with the tubes and not try latching, even with a nipple shield.  She was too old not to find them entertaining.  I must have tried it several times before I decided that if every session would result in a sobbing baby and me chucking the SNS across the room that it just wasn’t going to work for us.  I had to figure something else out, not just to help her, but for my own sanity.  I had to figure out something realistic that I could handle.

After doing some reading and talking to La Leche League some more, I found an article online which would end up being one of the most useful tips I came across.  It was about re-lactation for adopted babies.  As far as teaching baby to nurse, it reminded mothers that nursing is an intimate act that is part of the trusting relationship between Mom and Baby.  It really resonated with me.  I felt that my baby, in being abruptly weaned at a young age, then hardly being held close by her mother for two months, that I had to rebuild that basic relationship with her.  I stopped worrying so much about every attempt to nurse but focused on just bonding with her through bottle feeding, diaper changing, and just everyday activities together.  I promised her over and over that I would still love her as much as ever if she chose not to nurse again, but if she did that I would always be there for her, that she could trust me, that I was sorry about weaning her before and not being able to take care of her before.  I would talk to her like this very calmly and softly at night before going to sleep, but often I would have tears running down my face in the dark.

Finally, we went on a long vacation and I needed to figure out exactly what I could handle while we were away. Just in time, I had an email from an old high school friend who is an IBCLC in Australia who reminded me that lots of skin to skin was most important.  So I made a decision: I would do what I could on vacation, things that were working for us already, but focus on consistently continuing to a) keep my supply up by maintaining a pumping schedule, b) provide as much skin to skin as I could considering we would almost constantly be around relatives and c) “nurse” her during bottle feedings by putting her face against my bare skin (even if it wasn’t actually my breast) and looking at her and smiling at her like we were nursing.  Even though by now she could certainly hold her own bottle, these were things that I knew I could do without going crazy on what was supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable vacation.  I also packed my nipple shield, just in case, but had no intention of using it.  I just knew if an opportunity presented itself I would be sorry if I didn’t have it.

A week or so of our trip went by and Jane started exhibiting some strange behaviors.  She started rooting on everything, my 8 year old cousin, my husband, even the bed.  I saw her doing it from out a window when she and my husband were lounging outside on a blanket on the grass.  I knew what she was looking for, even if she still didn’t.  Suddenly I knew she would get it, and she would get it soon.

I had a bottle of breast milk ready for her nap, but when I brought her into the guest room, I took out the nipple shield and closed the door.  By now I had enough of a supply that I was able to hand express some milk into the shield and offered her my breast while we lay side by side on the bed.  On the third try, she latched on.  I did not cry tears of joy, which surprised me.  I  just breathed a sigh of relief.  I knew I only had about half the milk she needed for each day, but I knew the hardest part was over.  She began nursing again, at 7 ½ months old, 5 months after the last time she nursed and about 2 months since I started the process of re-lactation.  When she fell asleep I went straight to my husband with the bottle of breast milk, still full.  It took him a second to figure out what it meant.  Then I messaged my friend and LLL Leader Meghan, who had been my primary source of information, incouragement, and let's face it, emotional sounding board through my entire experience.  As luck would have it, she was on her way to a leaders meeting, where everyone cheered at the news.  I felt blessed with my wonderful family and friends and their support.

At first she would nurse at night and for naps (no more getting up to pump!).  I started nursing her in the Ergo, too, and she took to that well.  Within a few days it was obvious she didn’t need the nipple shield.  We were walking all around New York City, her in the Ergo, my husband peeking in to watch her nurse, even more in awe of the sight than he had been when she was a newborn.  It was even more miraculous the second time around.  I stopped pumping almost immediately because I was so tired of it, but with good breastfeeding management I was up to a full supply anyway when she was about 9 months old.  It was a struggle, but not a day goes by that I am not grateful to have my nursing relationship back with my baby.

I am not sure how to close this up except to share my advice for mothers who wish to re-lactate.  Be realistic, have hope, learn everything you can, try it all, and then use what works for you and your baby.  It also helps to have a supportive friend and knowledgeable person on your side, as well as a supportive partner.  Thank you to La Leche League who taught me everything I needed to know, my friends and leaders Meghan and Megan, and all the other leaders in Salt Lake who were behind us every step of the way. I also wouldn’t have done it without my husband, whose complete faith and support helped me make it through the toughest days.  And to my baby girl, for making me a Mother, the hardest but best job in the world.

--Elisabeth Epperson

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.