Sarah M. and Adrienne (and Adrienne’s sweet son, Burkley) traveled to Iowa City to attend the 6th Annual Conscious Birth Summit on Saturday, February 4th while Sarah C. continued to not go into labor, though it was her due date! We had a great time! Here’s what we found:
I was so thrilled to be able to attend the Birth Summit. There were a lot of different programs I was interested in, but definitely wanted to see my friend’s presentation on bellydancing. When we first arrived, we checked out the few tables set up in the lobby that had different materials set up. ICAN was one, as well as some other local businesses. I scored a ‘MAKE MIDWIVES LEGAL’ bumper sticker, which my husband loves!
Burkley is helpful in yoga
The first class I went to was on prenatal yoga. It was taught by Abby Burns at Heartland Yoga. The studio has two walls of windows that just create the most peaceful and serene space. I assumed it was to teach on the benefits of prenatal yoga, rather, it was an actual class! I’ve done yoga at home, but never in a studio, so I was a little nervous. Turns out, it was awesome! I felt wonderful and energized! My left hip, that gives me quite a bit of trouble throughout pregnancy felt great! I have recommended various forms of exercise to my clients, yoga being one of them, but yoga has definitely topped the list now! Locally, you can find prenatal yoga classes at Indigo Wellness in Moline.
Yoga did leave me completely famished: I was ready to dig into Burkley’s snacks! We traveled downstairs to the Bread Garden Market and seriously dove into the massive salad bar. It was amazing, although a little pricey! All three of us where happy once again!
Bellydancing with Melanie
My second class was what I was really excited to go to: Bellydance for Birth. I had met the teacher, Melanie Moore, a Certified Professional Midwife and Certified FCBD Bellydance Instructor, a while back through a mutual friend and instantly adored her. She’s so sweet and caring and there is something about her voice that is lovely and reassuring. I’ve known her love and enthusiasm for belly dancing, especially while pregnant and post partum, and have been intrigued. We showed up a little late, but were greeted warmly. I stood back and watched for a while and eventually got into it. I must admit, I LOVED it!! I’ve been practicing some of the moves since, although I’m positive I am not doing it correctly and am also looking like a crazy person. But really, to be honest, it really makes me feel great! And the movements of your pelvis can only help during labor and delivery! PERFECTION! Plus, it really is just plain ol’ fun. Locally, you can join in the fun on Monday nights at the Wilton Public Library and at the Muscatine Public Library.
After I got my belly dance on, I joined in on a class called Birth Movement: How to Use the Birth Sling, Squat Bar, Birth Ball and Positions taught by author and doula Jun-Nicole Matsushita. Although I had already learned most of the information through my own doula training, it was a good refresher. I loved her approach to helping mothers achieve a healthy, low intervention birth, but also being mindful of women that might have interventions. Keeping with the theme of my post, you can find a local doula right here at Little Lambs!
All in all, my time at the Summit was well spent. I would’ve liked to stay for some of the other classes, but had little ones to get back to. And the little one accompanying me, Burkley, was ready for a car-ride-nap. I’m looking forward to next year’s adventure! <3 Sarah M.
The Birth Summit was a great experience and I’m glad that Sarah invited me. While I was nervous about Burkley being, well, a toddler, all went well! When we first got there, things were just getting started. We grabbed an itinerary and scoped everything out. Sarah went to her prenatal yoga class and Burkley and I went to watch part of “VBAC Dilemma” from the video More Business of Being Born. I learned many new things, primarily that VBACs are avoided more than I realized. Maybe because I am so much a part of the natural birth and parenting community, I didn’t realize that
Burkley, happy and curious!
nationwide VBACs are not as common as they may be here in the Midwest where we live. I found it interesting that many doctors will say that they, their staff, or their hospitals are not equipped for the emergencies that could arise during a VBAC, when in reality, any emergency could arise in any birth.
I then attended the beginning of Janelle Railey’s (MA, LMHC of Eastwind Healing Center) talk on “Childbirth as a Rite of Passage Into Conscious Adulthood.” We didn’t stay too long for this because Sarah’s yoga class was ending and because it was a more intimate setting and since I was sitting in the back while Burkley played, I couldn’t hear much. But, her overall point was being conscious in day-to-day life and intentional about staying calm, cool, collected, and centered both in birth and all throughout life. A good reminder, to say the least.
As Sarah described, we then went to lunch. It was extremely delicious and filling (and expensive, but Sarah paid, so it was even yummier). There were more options of fresh, healthy food than I’ve ever seen. It was worth the trip itself! (What can I say? I love food.)
Bellydancing for Birth!
Next, I went with Sarah to the belly-dancing class. I did not participate (remember, I’m chasing a toddler) but I did enjoy observing. I have done belly-dancing once before and remembered that it was SO MUCH FUN. I also finally got to meet Melanie Moore whom I’ve heard of and interacted with online before, but never met in person. It was at this that I also got to meet a local midwife whom many of my friends know and use as their midwife.
When that class was over and Sarah’s birth ball class was starting, Burkley and I headed off to hear Dr. Ron Robinson (DC, CACCP of Robinson Family Wellness). His segment offered complimentary care information, discussing his specific, gentle techniques for proper alignment and preparation for natural birth as well as nutrition and postpartum care of the family. I learned a lot from this segment, even though, again, I did not get to stay for the entire thing.
Did you know that 80% of newborn babies are born with spinal trauma? I found that statistic interesting. I learned more about healthy diet and exercise during pregnancy. He talked briefly about the importance of upper-body strength training while pregnant. This was something, he said, that is often forgotten about, but very important. I can totally see his point. I remember after having Burkley, commenting to my husband about needing a postpartum massage. My shoulders and upper-body were so sore from pushing and from learning to breastfeed. For the first few days and weeks after having a newborn, a mother is almost permanently bent at the neck, leaning down to look at and help the baby latch on. Strengthening those muscles ahead of time really would have helped. He spoke from a chiropractic standpoint indicating that many, many mothers come see him for help with pain in those areas.
Overall, I left the summit with
a latte and a cookie a feeling of excitement (okay, I did have a latte and a cookie, but that’s not my point). It was so encouraging to be around like-minded folks, but more than that, people who are educated and supportive of the value of midwifery and prenatal and postpartum health. I was also reminded of a person I once was, the person I became, and the person I long to be again. The Conscious Birth Summit offered me new information, new connections, and new reflections. I’m excited about interacting with folks from this community again in the future. ~Adrienne