Bettering Birth: Natural Childbirth Classes

Bettering Birth: Natural Childbirth Classes


My Birth Story of River James Rudolph.
Enjoy!! Thanks Sarai for being such a great educator!

I went in for my 41 week appointment at 41 weeks 4 days feeling pretty "done" and beginning to wonder if there really was even a baby in there. They checked me and I was 3-4 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced and 0 station so we decided to get my membranes sweeped as a more natural form of "induction" to try and get things going. That was at 2:30 pm on August 24, 2017. The midwife pulled her hand out after she did it and showed it to me it had mucousy looking blood on it and she said, oh that's a good sign. She told me I would be crampy but that it might not lead to anything and really emphasized that I get some sleep and to take a benadryl whatever I had to do to get some rest that night. We left there and I was feeling crampy we stopped by Walmart to grab a few things. I would have to slow down walking when I had the crampy feeling. We headed home, ate dinner then went and walked a big hill in my neighborhood a few times as my doula swears by walking inclines to help labor start/strengthen. We then went back home and got ready for bed around 9:30. The crampy feeling had now become somewhat regular and definitely more uncomfortable although I still was not timing them and had in my head that I HAD to get some rest and this probably wasn't real labor yet. My doula also emphasized to me to go to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow they became way more intense and I looked at Tony and told him there's no way I can sleep through these. I text my Doula at this point and told her I'm pretty sure this is labor. So me and Tony got up and I labored in my favorite position we had practiced with The Bradley Method which was sitting on a yoga/excercise ball leaning over pillows onto my bed. I really focused on breathing deep steady breaths and focused on just getting through that one contraction, taking it one contraction at a time. Tony coached me through them. Alot of times I wanted him to count the seconds out loud from the beginning of the contraction. They were lasting about a minute and around 5 minutes apart. I began timing them at this time.
It was around 10:30 at this time. It seemed like all of a sudden they became SUPER intense and I knew we needed to head to the hospital and we needed to head there SOON. I text my doula and told her they were so intense and she agreed head to the hospital. I also text my family at this time which took great effort in between contractions it was all I could do to type I'm in labor please pray. Tony called our midwife and she told him both hospitals were full but St. Mary's said they would make room. The contractions were around a minute long and 3-5 minutes apart. I had planned to finish packing our bags when I was in early labor but that didn't happen so Tony was running around like a champ going down the list I made and packing the last few things. He would stop by and coach me through one or check on me every so often. It felt like he took forever to pack the bags I kept telling him babe we need to leave now. Bless his heart he was going as fast as he could. He was finally done and he helped me go to the restroom right before we left. As I went I felt a slight urge to push and thought oh gosh that's weird and probably not good. He loaded me in the car around 11:45 pm with pillows all around me and a trash bag ready in case I got nauseous. I was so hot and told him to crank the a/c. I found a position somewhat tolerable in the car I was leaning on a pillow propped up on the door. For some reason during a contraction to help keep from tensing up it helped me to rub a pillow between my hand. There were some contractions where I let my breathing get away from me and those contractions were so much more intense and painful which motivated me more to really breath slow deep breaths. Tony coached me in the car and encouraged me he kept telling me I was doing great. They were SO intense at this point but I tried to just focus on getting through one contraction at a time. I tried to picture myself floating up and over the contraction. At some point I threw up and also felt as if I peed myself come to find out later that was my water breaking. I remember Tony putting on his flashers and I thought wow this is really happening. I would try to tell Tony when a contraction was starting/ending but it seemed they were one on top of another and talking was a great effort so some I just didn't say anything. At one point he asked me if I was sleeping to which I replied heck no I'm just trying to survive over here! My Bradley instructor would be proud as I must have looked really relaxed. There were a few contractions in the car towards the end of the hour long ride where at about the peak of the contraction I felt this strange feeling my gut would tighten up and felt as if I was bearing down and turns out it was my body pushing I would give a little grunt too. I didn't add any push to it and wasn't sure it was even me pushing at the time.
We finally made it to the hospital around 12:45 and Pam my doula met us at the door with a wheel chair. She asked if I could walk in or if I needed it I told her there's no way I'm walking. So I got into the chair with my pillows in hand and put my head in my lap. Tony went to park the car Pam told him to be quick or he may miss the baby being born. I shut my eyes pretty much through it all at this point. Just concentrating on breathing and making it through the contraction. Pam heard me give a grunt and knew I was pushing she said oh no, no, no we aren't pushing yet! We get to the check in desk and the lady is asking me all of these questions I wrote out alot of the info but some things I forgot to put on there. I'd just have my head down and hold my finger up telling her just a minute while a contraction came. Pam kept telling her you may want to hurry I think we're going to have a baby soon. Finally we got done with that and I realized Tony wasn't with me and wanted him there so I asked where he was. Pam said he'd be right there soon. We loaded on the elevator and I gave another grunt/push again Pam said no we aren't pushing yet. She encouraged me to say low, low, repeatedly in a low voice to help keep me from pushing. For some reason that made my contractions feel worse so I shook my head no. She then said OK try to do this make a little bit of a coughing sound. Again, made things worse. Finally, she said OK, sing a song then. The only song I could think of was Jesus Paid It All and only one verse of it, "Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead". This helped me tremendously. I sang it over and over through the whole contraction for the rest of the birth. For some reason it also seemed to help me cope with the pain of the contraction. They wheeled me into the triage room and were getting ready to do all the monitoring and testing they do but checked my dilation first. They said I was 10 centimeters and water had broken. I was still singing my one verse of the song and one nurse commented, oh I love that song and another said, I hope I'm like that when I'm in labor. They skipped all of the other tests because I was fully dilated. At this point I remember saying I don't want an iv I don't want to get an iv. I really did not want an iv if I didn't need one and had in my head that they were going to try and push it on me. They told me that's fine they weren't going to give me one. The nurses then quickly wheeled me out of triage room Tony later told me they banged into the door frame and walls rushing me out. I got into the delivery room and a doctor from my practice came in and said Meredith (my midwife) would be there soon but she was at Athens Regional Hospital helping someone currently so she would be there until Meredith got there. I started in the squat position without the bar then used the squat bar on the bed. I was still singing through each contraction but at this point when it got to the peak I would take a deep breath, hold it, and push for as long as I could. I did this 2 to 3 times per contraction. Tony was right there encouraging me and Pam was coaching me through the pushing. Meredith showed up after a little while and her and the doctor were cracking jokes. I remember telling them to be quiet because it was distracting me. I also remember the room being super bright. I was so focused I did not look around to take in my surroundings but Tony later told me they had two huge spotlights out shining on me. Meredith was great at coaching and encouraging me through the pushing. She would say things like good, good, a little more, a little more that's it. After a while Meredith highly suggested I change positions to hands and knees. I did NOT feel like moving an inch! Every movement hurt so bad and made me contract. And the pressure down there was so bad. Pam my doula said Emily I second her I think you need to go to hands and knees. So finally with their persuading I agreed. They tilted the bed up so it made a 90 degree angle and I stood on my knees leaning on the bed. I felt alot of progress in this position. I asked Pam if I was making progress and she assured me I was. I labored in this position for a while and then Meredith and Pam encouraged me to change positions again and move to a sidelying position. Again I was very reluctant. Meredith told me if you move to this position we'll have us a baby! So finally I did. Again felt a ton of progress in this position. At one point Pam said let me see your hand and took it and reached down below and I felt what felt like a squishy slimy feeling and she said that's your baby's head. Finally I hit the point where I was crowning. And I felt "the ring of fire." Waiting for that next contraction was very painful. I just kept saying ow, ow, ow and finally was able to push again. Once the head was out there was so much relief. The next push the body just squiggled right out easily. River James Rudolph was born on August 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm weighing 8 lbs 11 oz. They handed him right to me and he was just-a crying. I was so overwhelmed by all that just happened I hardly even noticed him I just repeatedly kept saying, I'm so glad that's over, I'm so glad that's over. After 30 seconds or so I realized I had a baby on my chest and finally looked down and took him in then I repeatedly said oh he's so cute he's so cute. He literally was so cute even right out of the womb. He looked perfect he didn't have a cone head at all. Total time I pushed was around an hour to an hour and a half. It felt like 10 minutes though. They allowed the cord to stop pulsing then Tony cut it. I then gave a push and delivered the placenta. I was unaware at the time, but an extra gush of blood came out with the placenta. My midwife told me to imagine my uterus contracting and she began mashing extra hard on my stomach and told me my uterus was being lazy. Next thing I know a nurse comes up with a shot in hand and my midwife asks if I'm OK with getting a shot of pitocin to help my uterus contract. I glance at Pam and she nods yes I'd do it. So they give me that and it helped the bleeding to slow. I also tore so needed to be stitched up. I hate needles and shots so much but I knew they had to numb the spot to stitch me and I just tried not to think about it as she was stitching me. Finally that was done but they continued to "massage" aka strongly painfully mash on my tummy but I told them to go for it I did not want to bleed any more extra. Post partom recovery was shaky at first with me loosing extra blood but after a few good meals and some rest I started to feel better but still felt slightly faint for a few days after. So grateful to the Lord for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby and healthy mama. And grateful to my sweet husband/coach who was an absolute champ through it all and did so well with encouraging and coaching me. And also thankful for my amazing doula Pam who was a huge support and assistance through it all. And shout out to our amazing childbirth educator Sarai Riffel who helped train and educate us!

Bettering Birth teaches you how to have the best, safest, and most rewarding birth experience possible!

Operating as usual


I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing all things pregnancy, birth, baby, and motherhood over the past few years with you. Many of you took my birthing classes (which I am continuing to teach, by the way). I hope you have been encouraged by what you've read and learned. You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by God, dear momma. May you choose to live a life that points others to Jesus. This will be my last post here. If you would like to stay in contact feel free to email [email protected] or find me on MeWe.

Timeline photos 10/10/2020

YES! This. If there is pain something is not right. Seek help. So many mommas tell me that their hospital lactation consultant or pediatrician said pain was normal or to just use formula. This, my friends, should not be the normal way to deal with nursing pain. Find an independent lactation consultant (they are usually better trained when it comes to latch and breastfeeding issues). Keep asking questions until you receive the help you and baby need.

Mobile uploads 10/09/2020

Finally a growth chart that's easy to relate.😉

Any expecting mamas craving Chick-fil-A? Track your baby’s growth with this weekly growth chart CFA style! Tag a mama!🤰🏼👶🏻

✨Added bonus: order CFA through Uber Eats and have it delivered right to your doorsteps!

(Credit to Mommy Labor Nurse)

The Myth of the Ageing Placenta | Sophie Messager 10/08/2020

The Myth of the Ageing Placenta | Sophie Messager

I found this article on ageing placentas very interesting. Have any of you faced difficult choices because of an "old" placenta?

The Myth of the Ageing Placenta | Sophie Messager   I am a doula and birth educator. I also have a PhD in physiology of reproduction, and 20 years of research experience and I have a confession to

Instagram Photos 10/07/2020

I remember doing this position to help one of my babies get into a better position. has terrific information to help moms and birth workers with positioning babies.

Forward inversion position can be helpful in many cases to readjust a malpositioned baby!


Do you have a birth team that doesn't seem quite on board with how you want your birth to go? Fire them! Did your OB laugh or belittle something that is important to you? Fire him! The hospital have requirement you don't agree with for your birth? Fire them! Find an OB who will support you! Find a birth team who will cheer you on and celebrate your birth wishes. Don't settle for less!

Find the right provider for you-ideally one who practices shared decision making and respect. ✌️🌍🌎🌏

Timeline photos 09/18/2020

This. Be the friend who asks more than the typical questions. Give other moms the space to say how they are really feeling. Be the safe ear that will listen.

As we continue in May, please join us this morning for MOTHERWISE on Zoom. Motherwise is a health support platform hosted by maternal mental health therapists that curate a safe space for mothers to gather.

Tuesdays at 10:30A. The link is in the EVENTS section!

Atlanta Birth Center


What if we made birth normal? What if we took the fear out of birth by allowing siblings to be present? I love that this girl was prepared before the birth, by her parents, to be a part of this beautiful moment.

Mobile uploads 09/16/2020


30 days until b o o k 2️⃣

Mobile uploads 09/15/2020

Baby's progress into the birth canal is fascinating! Here you can clearly see where baby's head is located.

I always look for this ☺️

The rhombus of Michaelis (sometimes called the quadrilateral of Michaelis) is a kite-shaped area that includes the three lower lumber vertebrae, the sacrum and that long ligament which reaches down from the base of the scull to the sacrum.

This wedge-shaped area of bone moves backwards during the second stage of labour and as it moves back it pushes the wings of the ilea out, increasing the diameters of the pelvis. We know it’s happening when the woman’s hands reach upwards (to find something to hold onto, her head goes back and her back arches.) It’s what Sheila Kitzinger was talking about when she recorded Jamaican midwives saying the baby will not be born ‘till the woman opens her back’. I’m sure that is what they mean by the ‘opening of the back’.

“The reason that the woman’s arms go up is to find something to hold onto as her pelvis is going to become destabilised. This happens as part of physiological second stage; it’s an integral part of an active normal birth. If you’re going to have a normal birth you need to allow the rhombus of Michaelis to move backwards to give the baby the maximum amount of space to turn his shoulders in. Although the rhombus appears high in the pelvis and the lower lumbar spine when it moves backwards, it has the effect of opening the outlet as well.

“When women are leaning forward, upright, or on their hands and knees, you will see a lump appear on their back, at and below waist level. It’s much higher up than you might think; you don’t look for it near her buttocks, you look for it near her waist."

Image of mother shared from .herbs and Text by : Dr Sara Wickham
Photo cred of mom:

Common Objections to Delayed Cord Clamping - What's The Evidence Say? 09/12/2020

Common Objections to Delayed Cord Clamping - What's The Evidence Say?

How important is it to delay clamping your baby's cord? Nearly one-third of baby's blood is still in the placenta. Clamping the cord early deprives baby of his own blood. Why not wait the few minutes it takes to ensure baby receives his full blood supply.

Common Objections to Delayed Cord Clamping - What's The Evidence Say? by Mark Sloan M.D. Today's guest post is written by Dr. Mark Sloan, pediatrician and author of Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History and the Wonder of Childbirth. Dr. Sloan shares information and current research on delayed cord clamping after birth, in a helpful Q&A style form...

Mobile uploads 09/08/2020

My heart goes out there to the mommas that deal with HG. If you know someone with this I hope this encourages you to find ways to help that friend out. Take her family dinner, offer to clean her house, watch her kids... be the friend you wish would swoop in and help you when you're sick.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is NOT morning sickness. It's debilitating and can leave you unable to eat, drink or perform any normal activity for months.

When you have hyperemesis gravidarum, you vomit a lot, sometimes almost constantly. This can lead to problems like dehydration and weight loss. Morning sickness often fades by the end of the first trimester, but hyperemesis gravidarum usually lasts longer.

It generally strikes between the 4th and 6th week of pregnancy, and may be at its worst around weeks 9 to 13. The vomiting is so severe, most women are unable to go about their typical daily activities. Symptoms usually get better by the 20th week, but not always.
Doctors don't know what causes it, but they believe it's related to a rise in hormone levels.

Women who had the condition during their first pregnancy have a higher chance of getting it again during the next one. There’s no known way to prevent it, though taking a multivitamin before getting pregnant may help a little.


Mother & Photo Cred: Kimberly Hopkins Photography

Instagram Photos 09/07/2020

I ate dates during my most recent pregnancy. The midwives barely made it there. Labor progressed quickly and the birth itself was fast. (I also ate well, drank plenty of water, exercised, etc. So, dates alone won't give you an easier labor, but I think they can be helpful.) Have any of you ate dates and noticed a difference in that labor and birth?

Dates have been used around the world for centuries as a natural approach to preparation for labor. Several studies now support their effectiveness. Though we don’t know exactly why, they do have an impact on the start and progress of labor - likely due to an impact on the hormone oxytocin which helps labor start and progress effectively.⁠

A 2011 study found that women who ate dates starting at 36 weeks were:⁠
🔸 Significantly more dilated when they got to the hospital⁠
🔸 Had a significantly higher rate of intact membranes⁠
🔸 Were significantly more likely to go into labor spontaneously (i.e. without induction)⁠
🔸 And had nearly half the length of first stage of labor⁠

A 2014 study found that women who ate dates from 37 weeks on had:⁠
🔸 Greater cervical dilatation at admission⁠
🔸 Higher success rates of labor induction when needed⁠

A 2017 study concluded that all the above was accurate and yet another study found that eating dates in pregnancy led to less bleeding immediately after birth.⁠

Any type of dates work! The ‘dose’ is about 2.5 ounces of dates ( ~6 to 8 small dates or ~4 larger dates) daily, starting at 36 or 37 weeks and until labor begins. I love eating them plain, but you can include them in my “herbal bliss bites” (recipe on my IGTV), use them to sweeten cashew or almond milk, or include them chopped in yogurt or oatmeal.

This practice has not been found to elevate blood sugar but it's important to discuss use with your midwife or doc. The medical research suggests that even with GDM it appears safe.

Did you use dates to prep for your labor? Do you know a pregnant mama who is prepping for labor? Tag her in the comments below so she can learn about the power of this ancient medicine!⁠ 06/12/2020

The cost of giving birth in each state

Did you pay the average in your state? Depending on where you live, the price of childbirth varies wildly. 04/10/2020

Certified professional midwives urging governor to relax midwifery regulation during pandemic

I believe women should have the choice to birth where they want, including at home with a midwife. I'm reading stories of women giving birth at home alone because of fear with the virus situation. Although I'm not against Freebirthing, in every story they birthed alone because they couldn't find a midwife. Shame on Georgia government red tape for being the cause of this desperate situation. A letter to Governor Brian Kemp and the Coronavirus Task Force Is a plea from dozens of certified professional midwives. 04/06/2020

Study: Water births are as safe as land births for mom, baby

Curious if waterbirth is safe? Read this study. A new study found that water births are no more risky than land births, and that women in the water group sustain fewer first and second-degree tears. 03/30/2020

The Myth of the Ageing Placenta | Sophie Messager

Are you familiar with the phrase "aged placenta"? Read to learn more.   I am a doula and birth educator. I also have a PhD in physiology of reproduction, and 20 years of research experience and I have a confession to

Home Birth Days at the Capitol — Georgia Certified Professional Midwives 02/07/2020

Home Birth Days at the Capitol — Georgia Certified Professional Midwives

Want to support the right for women to choose where they give birth? Join is at the Capitol!!!!

Home Birth Days at the Capitol — Georgia Certified Professional Midwives Feb 18 1:00 PM13:00 Introduce Midwives and HomeBirth to your Legislator's Office! Tuesday, February 18, 2020 1:00 PM 3:00 PM 13:00 15:00 608-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta GA 30334 USA (map) Google Calendar ICS Schedule an appointment with your representative to introduce midwifery and...

Timeline photos 11/28/2019

Hilarious!!! 😂

Grateful for our . 🍁🍂🦃

- Show your support in Giving Tuesday - LINK IN BIO

Timeline photos 11/27/2019

I have used this program to help get my body strong and healthy before and after I gave birth. Currently going through the program again since my baby's birth in September. Highly recommend! (I am not affiliated with this or making money from recommending them. Just want mommas to know about this great deal!)


Georgia Certified Professional Midwives 10/23/2019

Georgia Certified Professional Midwives

Georgia Certified Professional Midwives Certified Professional Midwives in Georgia are trained in out of hospital births. Support birth options and midwives in Georgia and get updates on future legislation and ways to support midwifery in Georgia.


Women in Georgia should have options concerning birth. Whether you prefer hospital, birth center, or homebirth, it's important to keep those options for future mommas. Read the post below to learn more.

Timeline photos 08/24/2019

Who knew!

Each internal exam during can be uncomfortable and also increases your chances of infection. Did I mention how subjective they are? Keep in mind, unless you are having signs of labor, leaking fluid or having danger signs needing assessment, they are also medically unnecessary during pregnancy.

Timeline photos 08/24/2019

Another reason you should very selectively choose your birth team.

Did you know this?

Timeline photos 08/23/2019

Have a friend who needs to talk? Try some of these phrases to help her express her emotions and feelings without feeling judged.

.therapist this needs to be a book of quotes given to everyone on the planet! Mamas, wouldn’t you agree?

Timeline photos 08/23/2019

Don't be afraid to talk about how you feel. You'll be surprised at how many other mommas feel the same.

Transitions are hard.


3-year-old girl learns CPR by watching her dad, a former firefighter & EMT

Being prepared to help save the life of a loved one or a complete stranger is a great gift. I highly recommend taking a first responders course.

No wires, more cuddles: Sensors are first to monitor babies in the NICU without wires 08/21/2019

No wires, more cuddles: Sensors are first to monitor babies in the NICU without wires

We need more of THIS in the NICU! Great job to those who helped develop this new technology.

No wires, more cuddles: Sensors are first to monitor babies in the NICU without wires Northwestern University bioelectronics pioneer John Rogers, McCormick School of Engineering, teamed up with a Feinberg School of Medicine dermatologist to develop soft, flexible wireless body sensors that replace wire-based sensors currently used in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The team rec...


Doctor Teaches How To Calm A Crying Baby In Just A Few Seconds

Such a simple way to comfort baby.

Timeline photos 08/19/2019

Such variety.

Placentas and cords are all so unique! Super cool!

Timeline photos 08/19/2019

Check out the bag that baby has spent the last 9 months being sustained inside. You'll also note the cord was not finished pulsing before being clamped. I highly recommend looking at your placenta after the birth and admiring how it is incredibly designed by God.

Placentas and cords are all so unique! Super cool!

What Causes Asynclitism? 08/16/2019

What Causes Asynclitism?

This fantastic article from gives several practical ways to help a asynclitic baby move down into a better position for birth.

What Causes Asynclitism? “Oh my goodness! What a week! 2 asynclitic babies and a magical home birth” is the opening of an email I received this week. What is the cause of so many babies with their heads tipped to the side while they are in the pelvis? Asynclitism Causes We are seeking anatomical reasons at Spinning Babi...





Oxford, GA

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Oxford College Farm Oxford College Farm
406 Emory St.
Oxford, 30054

We are a college farm producing vegetables for campus and community. We grow using organic methods including cover crops and rotations.

Oxford College Writing Center Oxford College Writing Center

Located in Pierce 117 Fall 2019 Hours: 2pm-10pm, Sunday-Thursday (closed Friday and Saturday) Appointments encouraged. For more information, visit our website!