Updated: Sep 5
We made training for natural childbirth a priority after a gymnastic accident injured L4-L5 vertebrae.
The arrival of Princess Aurora of Dahlonega...The forest long awaited for its maiden. At 7:58pm on November 22, 2022 after 26 hrs of active labor, she came into this world weighing 7lbs 2ounces and measuring 20.5 inches tall. Momma, Daddy and all at Loxley Forest are so proud, blessed, and excited to announce the birth of Aurora Emily Gamberta.
Choosing the path of a natural birth was one of challenge, but yet great reward. Preparation and knowledge were key and we couldn’t have been so confident walking in without the incredible lessons, love and support from our birth helper Mrs Pam. She was an absolute gem and blessing us with all the tools we needed, keeping them sharp and ready for the day we needed them.
I helped my wife achieve the birth of her dreams. I had the pleasure to not just assist her through contractions without medication as her labor coach, but I also helped birth my own baby. She entered the world into MY HANDS! I never imagined how rewarding it would be to catch my own child. I am beyond overjoyed. Fatherhood is such a blessing and now we are super excited to share the birth of our Luxury Treehouse Village Adventure therapy in the North Georgia mountains -opening January 2023. Everyone loves a treehouse! And, now I can attest, everyone "MEN TOO!" can LOVE childbirth class!
Some may say, "Why would I take a childbirth class or train to give birth?" The nurse or doctor will just tell me what to do anyway? Well, first, the time to learn what to do in response to contractions is NOT when you are already in labor and technically, NO. It is NOT the doctor/ midwife or nurses job to teach you what to do during labor. Their scope of practice involves monitoring your body for signs of progress and helping create it, as well as, treating any medical issues which may present. Otherwise, in regards to labor, you are on your own. The doctor or midwife simply makes occasional rounds and catches your baby. Many do not see a doctor or midwife prior to pushing. So, to better answer, sure, they will tell you what they want you to do, but that doesn't mean the process of giving birth is made easier with countless routine interventions such as IV drugs, pain management /epidurals, inductions/ Pitocin and especially not cesarean surgery, which further increases your risk of complications and lengthens recovery to six weeks or longer.
Mic and Olivia traveled 1.5 hours into Athens, Ga to have their last class/ their labor role play in person at the farm. Don't make excuses- find a way. You have only nine months (some less time) to learn how to make labor easier and less painful. Remember, there are no re-do's. We get only one chance to get this baby into the world. One chance to prepare. Once chance to execute a happier "BIRTH" day!
Some are not even aware there are circumstances in which some mothers should NOT be given an epidural, because other medical complications could occur, such as significantly LOW blood pressure. The side effect of commonly used labor and delivery meds (especially some used in epidurals) can lower and even bottom out the blood pressure. Note: if you had extremely high blood pressure, this could be an intervention that could possibly spare you from surgery by lowering your BP to allow for push phase. However, most trained athletes or those who regularly exercise typically have lower blood pressures. Therefore, they should be aware of the side effects and weigh the benefits and risks. Also, did you know having low platelets near term can be a valid reason to deny Mom use of an epidural? Along with various other situations, such admin being delayed upon request (if LDR is busy) as emergent situations take precedence over moms and babies who are good. Be prepared to manage your labor in the event of such scenarios, regardless of your preference to medicate or not. In Olivia's case, she knew as a trained athlete anything can be made easier with knowledge and training and the safest right of passage for both she and her baby was drug-free natural birth. Informed consent means you understand the problem, understand what they want to do to fix it and what your other options are. Then as an educated consumer, you make the decision best for you and your baby. Mic and Olivia learned this in their childbirth course. They knew what was best for her was to rely on her childbirth training and Mic assisting her in completely avoiding an epidural, because it is administered between L4 and L5 vertebras which are in the area of a former back injury. To them it was a no brainer.
When couples are birthing in a hospital setting, I call this "Symbiotic Birth." I use the term "Symbiotic" because it is symbolic of two different mindsets working together to create happier "Birth" days! Meaning, the blend of both the best of the natural process, complimented with only medically necessary interventions, not routine often unnecessary interventions. Utilizing medical interventions to benefit YOU, (the laboring mom and your baby) not the simplest solution or other routine procedures medical staff prefers to do on everyone in labor. Simply put, does it apply to you or not? This is where informed consent comes into play. And, if you do not know what this is or how it works, you definitely need a quality childbirth course.
These two not only educated themselves in my four week childbirth course, but actually DID their homework! Some think they do not have time in their busy schedules to add proper training for "giving birth," however, smart couples understand it is in their best interest to prepare their mind and body for labor and birth. Olivia understood this basic concept, "Practice makes Perfect!" She also came to realize that even though the female body is designed for this amazing work, preparation is key, because what is instinctive is often wrong and contributes to more painful contractions. And, who wants that? She ate right and exercised while her body grew and this wasn't a first baby, this was her rainbow baby. Sadly, like many others, her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Couples who experience loss often battle various emotional challenges, as well. This is where your mental and emotional relaxation practice comes into play. For nine months, she wasn't just pregnant, but simultaneously they were building a treehouse resort and fighting the elements daily. Not only were they slammed with various new construction challenges, she was also overseeing her gym business she formerly started in Ohio. The average person has lots of excuses as to why they don't make time to train for childbirth, but instead this couple made it a priority!
I refer to them as a power couple because they both worked day and night fighting north Georgia weather and mountainous terrain, to properly prepare and execute not only a natural birth, but this amazing new tree house resort in Dahlonega. They are a perfect addition to our growing Your Birth Helper, LLC birth family! Personally, I can't wait for the grand opening of Loxley Forest! It's such a neat project and so close to being one with nature.
Olivia shared this on her social in hopes it may help others who experienced loss and wondering if they should try again...
After being pregnant twelve weeks with our first baby, I experienced a miscarriage. I was completely broken. This is the first time in my life I didn't think I could make it through something. I did not think I would ever be able to recover or feel ok again. Even though I had an incredible support system and my husband was doing everything he could to hold me up, even in his own grief, I felt so alone. It took me a long time to even say it out loud, but I wanted to write about it and let anyone know that has ever struggled with this or needs to talk about it or just not feel so alone, that I am here if you ever need to talk. It's something I wish I had and I just want to be there for anyone who needs it. I say all this while holding my rainbow baby... she is living proof that even when you feel you can not go on one more second to just continue to trust in the promises you know God has for you. Believe me this is easier said than done...I can tell you I did not always feel like praising Him, but Mic and I leaned on each other and our faith, never stopped believing and praised him through the pain, and little by little we crawled out of the pit of depression, helplessness and grief. One of the last things we did in the final week of pregnancy was cut down and decorate our Christmas tree last year. I was so attached to it that it was February before it was taken down. While he was doing that, he texted me that he found a small birds nest inside our tree. He said he felt God was telling us to get our nest ready, because it was going to expand soon. Sure enough, just a few weeks later I found out we were pregnant with our "Rory!"... I am living proof that He turns graves into gardens and mourning into dancing. We hope you were encouraged some how, some way through our story and will consider a visit next year to Loxley Forest in Dahlonega, Georgia.
(Full story on instagram @ Livy_PGA)
People should train for birth to learn how to execute what they can control to help make their own labor and birth easier to manage and how to naturally progress (whether they plan to utilize an epidural or not). Also, YBH Symbiotic Birth course teaches Dad/ the selected coach/ partner their role during contractions. The labor coach has their own specific job (doula support or not) which is to assist Mom in a variety of ways to help ease labor discomfort and help advocate her wishes to the medical staff. You both will benefit from having knowledge of what birthing options are available at your birth place (as a healthy person or specific to your medical history/ limitations) and in general, quality childbirth education helps empower couples to overcome stumbling blocks and avoid poor outcomes. The fact of the matter is the nurses, doctors and midwives can't do the contraction for you. This is YOUR job! So, a little time invested (especially second and third trimesters) into your own birth outcome, can go a long way and benefit you and baby immensely. Some say their relationship is greatly enhanced. Olivia would agree she could not have achieved a drug-free labor and birth without the training, support and encouragement of her hard working husband coach!
Special thanks to Modern OBGYN and specifically Katie Vaughn, CNM for supporting Olivia and Mic throughout their drug-free Symbiotic Birth and the LDR staff / awesome nurses who took such great care of us at Northside Forsyth in Cumming, GA.