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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Birth and Beyond: Confidence Amid Uncertainty

By Jennifer Hafele, M.Ed, IBCLC; Photo by Renée Barth Photography

Katie Tutor’s original birth plan included an epidural and formula feeding. Neither happened. In fact, few of her childbirth plans went the way she and her husband, Kyle, had initially planned. For them, that was a good thing.

Given an unsolicited suggestion, the Tutors registered for a childbirth education series that changed everything. First-time-parents, there was much they didn’t know. Pain management, potential complications, and the practicalities of feeding baby were among the areas they had anxiety about. Like other new parents of 2020, many exciting parts of pregnancy looked very different or were non-existent: baby showers, childbirth classes, relative visits. There was so much to navigate, without many of the usual support systems.

The November class series, offered by Confident Birth (CB) + Mama Bear Lactation Care (MBLC), put them at ease. A wide range of topics were covered, from prenatal nutrition to stages of labor to newborn care. “We learned our options and how to navigate childbirth and postpartum,” Katie said. “Even better, it was a judgement-free environment, with room for us to make our own choices.”

CB merged with MBLC mid-2020. Veteran childbirth education instructor, Amanda Gunderson, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Jennifer Hafele, co-taught the November course that the Tutors took.

Katie and Kyle ended up deciding natural birth was the ideal choice for them. “I learned my body was made to give birth and could handle everything, which gave us the confidence we needed.”

Lessons on coach support enabled Kyle to support their goal of natural birth. He says, “I learned what I could do to comfort Katie and help relieve the pain of labor. I also learned that even with Mom breastfeeding there is SO much I can do to help lighten her load.”

On New Year’s Eve, Katie gave birth to their healthy baby girl, Quinn. Their revised birth plan had a big impact. “We wouldn’t change a thing!” Katie says. After holding her baby for the first time, she drew Quinn close and started their first nursing session. “We can’t say enough about Jen. Her breastfeeding knowledge is impeccable and gave us a whole new perspective on nursing, plus we loved her personal examples as a mom herself.”

The next CB + MBLC course series, “Confident Birth and Beyond,” is scheduled for February 2021, with more to come throughout the year. Local birth and postpartum doula Rhonda Gearing will join Jennifer to teach the next series.

Katie’s accidental discovery of this education series opened her eyes, and taking the classes turned out to be life-altering for the Tutor family. Knowing their options, and feeling empowered to make informed choices that were right for them, made all the difference when their little blessing arrived!

Mama Bear Lactation Care (MBLC) offers virtual and in-home breastfeeding, pumping, and back-to-work consults; online prenatal breastfeeding classes; and a free online support group. Confident Birth & Beyond, now a service of MBLC, offers independent childbirth and postpartum education. Visit to sign up for the next series.

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