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In this episode, I interview JaMichael Perryman, who is husband of Evidence Based Birth®️ Professional Membership Coordinator and EBB Instructor Chanté Perryman. JaMichael is father to five children, and has experienced a wide variety of births – ranging from an emergency Cesarean to three VBACs which have all been precipitous births. He has been joining Chanté during her childbirth classes to offer a dad’s perspective for partners. In 2018 he was a speaker at Kentucky’s March for Moms. 

JaMichael hosts a weekly discussion called HIMbracing Fatherhood under the name Mr. ManDoula where he gives real world and practical advice for dads and partners.

We talk about the history of fathers and partners in the birth room, and the importance of encouraging dads to have a hands on approach and to use their voice during the birth process.

Resources

Click here (https://www.babydreamsmc.com/fatherhood.html) to see JaMichael Perryman, “Mr. ManDoula” on HIMbracing Fatherhood.

You can email JaMichael Perryman via Baby Dreams Maternity Concierge at Baby.DreamsMC@gmail.com

Sign up for Chanté’s EBB Childbirth Class at https://www.babydreamsmc.com/evidencebasedbirth.html 

Follow Chanté Perryman on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/babydreamsmc/).

For information on the Evidence Based Birth®®️ Childbirth Class, click here (https://evidencebasedbirth.com/childbirth-class/)!

For more Evidence Based Birth®️® parent resources – including a directory of EBB Instructors, click here (https://evidencebasedbirth.com/resources-for-parents/).

 

Transcript

Rebecca Dekker:

Hi everyone. On today’s podcast we’re going to talk with JaMichael Perryman about fatherhood and advocacy in birth. Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. My name is Rebecca Dekker and I’m a nurse with my PhD and the founder of Evidence Based Birth®. Join me each week as we work together to get evidence based information into the hands of families and professionals around the world. As a reminder, this information is not medical advice. See ebbirth.com/disclaimer for more details.

JaMichael Perryman is the husband of Chanté Perryman, our professional membership coordinator at Evidence Based Birth®, and Chanté is also an Evidence Based Birth® instructor. JaMichael is the father of five children and has experienced a wide variety of births, ranging from an emergency cesarean sections to three VBACs, which have all been precipitous births and JaMichael even got to catch one of these babies.

JaMichael has been joining Chanté during her childbirth classes to offer a dad’s perspective for partners. And in 2018, he had the opportunity to be a main speaker at Kentucky’s March for Moms. JaMichael has been enjoying learning about birth advocacy and being an agent of change. He hosts a weekly discussion called HIMbracing Fatherhood, where he gives real world and practical advice for dads and partners. JaMichael, welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast.

JaMichael Perryman:

Thank you so much, Rebecca. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.

Rebecca Dekker:

I am excited to hear about your perspective of your birth stories with Chanté. Because I’ve interviewed her before and she’s been on the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. I’ll link to that in the show notes, but what were your thoughts and feelings going into birth the first time with Chanté, with your first child together?

JaMichael Perryman:

It was an exciting time, I will say . The thoughts go running through your mind, are you ready? Is everything good to go? And that we have everything packed and ready to go. All of those kinds of things run through your mind, but it was an experience that I look back on now and I understand that from a dad’s perspective, I did not know a lot. It was really from that experience, actually Chanté taking the lead on wanting to know some more things that happened along the way, that I kind of joined in with her and started to understand some of those things.

But it was one of those where the unexpected came about with the cesarean and so from that, it was a situation where it was kind of like, why did we have to have a cesarean? The whole plan was to go natural and the whole nine yards there, but the situation kind of took a turn. And then we just, after the fact had to sit down and kind of question a lot of things and that put me on the path to thinking about some of the dads and what do they experience, and how do they handle situations that come up that are the unexpected kind of things?

Rebecca Dekker:

So you guys were planning a vaginal birth and was it an emergency or what happened so that she needed to have a cesarean?

JaMichael Perryman:

It turned into an emergency cesarean. She actually got an epidural and once she actually got the epidural, of course numbers went down as far as baby’s heart rate, doctors and nurses were concerned. And so from that experience, they said, “Well, we need to get you back for surgery because we need to get the baby out.” Not knowing as much about having my voice to matter as a dad and saying, “Hey, is there any other options? Can we wait a minute? Is there anything that can be done?” Really I just kind of stood there. I really just kind of took it at their word that this needed to be done and so that’s really what happened.

But it was more so just maybe his heart rate went down. Looking back on it, I can’t say that it was even like a full two minutes between when they first noticed it to, “Okay, we need to go.” So it was a very quick transition in the pathway of thinking. And so from that, it was kind of hard to grasp and to gather all the thoughts and what was actually taking place.

Rebecca Dekker:

I know Chanté said later that when you were not in the operating room with her, correct? They said something about like, “The baby’s heart rate is better. Should we stop the surgery?”

JaMichael Perryman:

I was not there for that. There’s no telling, I’m not sure if that was of course prior to them starting. I would think that it was, but I was probably still prepping or whatever in order to get in there with her.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. So looking back, you might have asked more questions. You just kind of were like deer in the headlights, like, “Okay, we do what they tell us to do.”

JaMichael Perryman:

Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I would have asked more questions about some of the things that I look at now and say, “Okay, since you have introduced this epidural, is there some complications from that? Is that a known side effect for some women that it does impact the baby? Okay, can we wait two, three minutes? See if it comes back up and then from there let’s make that decision.”

I would have had the opportunity to have that conversation with Chanté to say, “Hey, are you okay with this? What are you feeling? Where do you want to go with this?” At the time we just really did not have the knowledge to understand that, hey one, this is a service that you all are providing to us as a customer. We should have a voice. We should have a say. We should have some more understanding in this than just to take your word and go directly with what you say.

Rebecca Dekker:

So there was no consent process, where they were like, “These are the benefits. These are the risks. Here’s some alternatives. We can try this, we can try that.” It was just, “We got to do surgery, no discussion.”

JaMichael Perryman:

Yeah, it was, “Heart rate has gone down. We need to see what’s going on with baby.” And of course, trying to reposition baby on the monitor to where the heart rate could possibly be picked up a little bit better, but after doing that, and like I said, I don’t think it was even two minutes and then it was, “Okay, we need to get you back and prep surgery.” So certainly there was not any dialogue and discussion with the attending nurses, as well as the doctor to say, “Well, we can try a couple of things to see how this goes.” It was literally just from point A to point B, we got to get there.

Rebecca Dekker:

So after that birth of your first child together, what did you do differently the next time around that Chanté got pregnant?

JaMichael Perryman:

The next time we, going into that, I actually had started the discussions of a birth plan and making sure we understood, hey, these are the things that we want to happen. These are the things we do not want to happen. Also the research and her getting connected with EBB and getting more information about the facts, really. So we really got educated about the things that can happen during the laboring process.

Then some of those things that people may not think about that are some things that happen. So we said, of course we had the plans for a natural vaginal birth. Then of course things took a turn. We ended up going back for a cesarean, so her main point after that was, “I’d like to have a vaginal birth.” And of course, pretty much every person that we had talked to said, “Oh no, you’ve already had a cesarean, that’s not possible.”

And so she was like, “I can’t accept that answer. There has to be the possibility of that.” So she continued down that road to understand that and gathering information on that. And I, of course then talked to her about that and said, “Well, yeah, you really feel strongly about that, then certainly we want to do that.” So I then became more of an advocate to help her in that situation and finding out. And so as we went to the prenatal visits, that was something that was constantly brought up is what about a VBAC? What about a VBAC? What about a VBAC?

It was not just her asking the question. It was me asking the question as well so that the provider got an understanding that we both together are going down this path and that’s what we really desire. So the second time around, it was more of a reassurance for me to have my voice and to be able to speak up and to say, “Yes, I’m a part of this and I want my voice to be heard. I want my opinions to matter as well,” but we did it in unison as one. That was really the biggest learning point that second time around, is that my voice matters just as much as hers does.

Rebecca Dekker:

And you presented a united front.

JaMichael Perryman:

Absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

So the providers knew you were both serious about this.

JaMichael Perryman:

Absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

Okay. And how did that second birth go? The attempt at a VBAC?

JaMichael Perryman:

It went well, we managed to have a VBAC and I don’t know who was happier, Chanté or me. Because during the whole process, she didn’t want to be confined to the bed, to have the monitoring and so we were talking through a lot of that. The opportunities that were there to actually see that through was just enormous because the nursing staff that came in said, “Oh, well, we see that you’ve already had a cesarean. Why aren’t you wanting to just go ahead and do that and be done with it?” And we were just, “No, we want to have this done as a vaginal birth. There’s nothing that’s really holding us back from doing it.”

So it really became one of those things that as we were there and talking through it with the nursing staff, they kind of came on board with it, and was like, “Yeah, that’s great. We want to make sure that we can help you with that.” So even when there were a few times when Chanté would get up of course, to move around. Of course the monitor gets out of place or what have you and so they come in and they’re like, “Are you okay? Is everything okay?” I’m like, “Yeah, everything’s fine. Just moving around, just getting a little leg room and some things.”

But when she actually started going into her transition to where she was pushing, that was really just the defining moment because she was like, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. I’m not going back. I’m not giving up, I’m going to do this.” And she persevered. She pressed her way through that and I couldn’t have been more proud of her than to see her actually go through that and being there to support her through it.

Rebecca Dekker:

Now, I know all three of Chanté’s VBACs were precipitous births, which means they happened quickly. So did that first VBAC go fairly quickly as well?

JaMichael Perryman:

Not as quick as the last two did but yes.

Rebecca Dekker:

So how quick was the first VBAC? How long did that take?

JaMichael Perryman:

The first one? Oh my goodness. She’s going to kill me because I don’t know this off the top of my head, but over an hour. Over an hour. I think that one was roughly around two and a half, maybe three hours.

Rebecca Dekker:

Okay, from start to finish, it was a two and a half, three hour labor.

JaMichael Perryman:

Right.

Rebecca Dekker:

Okay, that’s pretty fast. And even in that fast of a birth, you were still getting from the nurses, “Are you sure? You don’t just want another Cesarean?”

JaMichael Perryman:

Right.

Rebecca Dekker:

Wow. So by the third and fourth birth, which under the understanding those went even faster, how fast were those births then?

JaMichael Perryman:

The third one was a little bit over an hour. And the last one, not even an hour.

Rebecca Dekker:

From the first contraction to baby’s born?

JaMichael Perryman:

I’m maybe getting them confused, but I want to say the last one …

Rebecca Dekker:

Was the fastest I think.

JaMichael Perryman:

Was the fastest and I want to say that was, oh my goodness, 45, 50 minutes?

Rebecca Dekker:

Wow.

JaMichael Perryman:

I mean, she can give me the facts and I can pass those along, but yeah, it was extremely fast. So I told her we can’t have any more because we definitely wouldn’t make it to the hospital or anywhere.

Rebecca Dekker:

By those third and fourth births that went so fast, what strategies did you find work the best for you being the support partner? Because I know it can be very intense to support someone through a precipitous birth. So what was your role like what were you doing during that hour?

JaMichael Perryman:

Really just to get her to the hospital. The strategy with that one, I mean, we still with the third and the fourth, we still had our birth plan that we had in place with everything. We did actually look at having an additional support person there with us and so with them being so fast, it was more of me filling the role until her doula could actually get there.

So of course, trying to make sure that we had paperwork already filled out, turned in. I mean, of course we’ve been to the hospital so we knew where we were going, all of those things. Trying to be a support to her was more of trying to make sure that she was comfortable as much as could be. And really trying to understand just how far along she was. I mean, with her transitions, especially with the last one, literally she woke up late at night and saying, “Hey, it’s time to go.” And I was like, “Okay.”

Her transition was so fast from the time we actually got out the door into the car that she was like, “Okay, we need to get there.” And literally we got to the hospital and into the room, she was like, “I need to push.” So really I didn’t have much time to really be a support person other than getting her there, trying to make sure she’s comfortable and making sure that we can get to a room safely and then be ready.

Really, I had to be ready to actually catch the baby and that was something we had talked about with the last one, but not with any of the previous ones. So even with that, I’m trying to mentally prepare to say, “Okay, what if the nurses don’t get here in time? The doctor doesn’t get here at the time? Doula doesn’t get here in time? I’ve got to be ready to help out wherever I can.” So it really was kind of a mental shift in those situations. So go from just being that person in the room kind of helping to, okay, now I need to really be hands on helping.

Rebecca Dekker:

So you two had decided beforehand with this fourth baby, the third VBAC, that you are going to hopefully catch the baby?

JaMichael Perryman:

Yes.

Rebecca Dekker:

And did you talk with your provider about that beforehand, or how did you let the staff know?

JaMichael Perryman:

We did. We talked about that during several of the prenatal visits at the time. Leading up to, we were still discussing it between the two of us, because it was one of those things where I was hesitant just from the standpoint of not really knowing what to expect. But we talked about it more and more, and I really got comfortable with it. Actually looking through some videos and things really just kind of got comfortable with it.

So yeah, we actually decided and agreed that I would participate in that portion. It worked out that I was able to do that and I tell myself now, and I share this with any other dad that’s out there, that if that comes up in conversation, to not hesitate to do it, because I wish now that I would have done that with my previous children.

And the way that I look at that is Chanté had baby to herself for those nine months to rub on baby, talk to baby, sing to baby, do all of those things while I’m away at work and then I come home and get a chance to just touch on the belly, read, play songs, whatever. But then it was one of those things where now looking at it, I get to be the first person to help my child transition into this world. I’m the first pair of hands that child will feel outside of mom’s womb.

And so that for me, was just making that initial connection with the child, that nobody can actually replace that. So I’m glad I actually did it that last time, had the experience to do that. So I encourage all the dads, do it. The ones that I’ve had a chance to talk to, do it. Don’t hesitate. It’s like cutting the cord. Some dads are like, “Nah, I can’t do that.” And it’s like, do it, you have the opportunity, do it. That’s something you’ll never forget.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah and that’s probably a moment that will just always live with you, right? That moment of catching your baby as it was born.

JaMichael Perryman:

Yeah, absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

Was it on your written birth plan or how did you let the nurses know when everything was happening so quickly? Did you say, “Hey, just a heads up. We talked it out with my provider, I’m going to catch the baby,” or what did you say?

JaMichael Perryman:

During that we actually did have additional support, so the doula was there with us and so she came in and things were happening so fast that actually, while she was there, she said, “Oh, just a reminder, dad wants to catch the baby.” And I was like, “Oh yeah, I do.” So it was good to have her there because she kind of verbalized it with everything that was going on.

Whereas me being there was kind of already in my plan, right. To be right there, but she actually verbalized it to where everyone could hear that. And so I think even Chanté may have said something about, “Where’s JaMichael? I want to make sure that he’s there to catch the baby.” So it was verbal communication being done between the doula that was there and I think even Chanté had mentioned it. But things happened.

Rebecca Dekker:

I know sometimes when partners catch the baby, the provider’s hands are right there with you. Is that how you did it or did you do it on your own?

JaMichael Perryman:

Actually yeah. One of the nurses that was there, because actually the primary care physician wasn’t there yet, just because things happened so fast. But yeah, actually the charge nurse actually was there with me, next to me. So as I was actually catching baby, she just basically was there to make sure that my hands were kind of in the right place, but she didn’t guide my hands or anything like that. She just was there to make sure that I was supporting baby in the right way.

Rebecca Dekker:

That’s awesome. Wow. That is so incredibly empowering. I hope that you inspire a lot of partners out there to consider taking on that role.

JaMichael Perryman:

I hope so.

Rebecca Dekker:

I think that is so cool.

JaMichael Perryman:

I hope so. I’m trying to.

Rebecca Dekker:

So you’ve been attending a lot of Chanté’s childbirth classes and talking with dads and partners. What do you think most partners are anxious about, leading up to the birth?

JaMichael Perryman:

It has been a mixture of some questions that I’ve gotten from them. One most recently has been about postpartum support for the mom, how … and a dad’s role. Do you actually support the postpartum timeframe? I really just told him it has to be about taking care of mom because her body has gone through a huge transition. And so she’s going to need that support whether it’s taking care of baby while she’s resting, making sure that she’s eating properly, making sure she’s drinking a lot of fluids.

To make sure that you’re there as a support person when she goes to her postpartum visits so that you’re hearing the exact same information that she’s hearing. And you can be there to understand, and if you don’t understand and need to ask questions, you can ask questions of the provider to say, “Hey, what do I need to do?”
With each woman, there’s something different about their bodies and about their recovery and so you need to understand what it is for your partner that is going to be the key and the focus for her to be well on this road to recovery. So that portion of it and understanding that even during postpartum, that’s a bonding time for you as the dad with the baby. That’s the time for you to really be there, to have that skin to skin time and make that contact with the baby. Because all of that feeds into mom’s wellbeing.

If she’s got to do everything as far as getting up in the middle of the night to do the feeding and then try to be up with baby during the day and all of those things, then she’s not getting the rest that her body needs to be able to recover properly and in the timeframe that is going to be the best for her. So that’s one of the things.

But the thing that I think I get the most questions about in regards to it is just understanding that they have a voice. And I tell them that they need to have that one on one conversation with the mom before you’re headed to the hospital. You have to have an understanding of how mom has envisioned this birthing process going in her mind. I tell pretty much every dad that’s on the calls that there are two days that women think of where they just have it all planned out. The first one is their wedding day and the second one is giving birth to their child. Those are the two days that a woman will have planned out in her head that it’s got to go this way. Things are going to be great and you have to be there to support their vision no matter what.

You have to have the conversation with your partner to say, “What have you thought about? What have you planned on? We’re planning on going to this hospital or that hospital? Do you have any questions about the hospital? Do you have any questions about your provider? Are you comfortable with your provider?” All of those things are questions that the dads can ask to help trigger conversations that maybe the mom hasn’t asked a provider about having a VBAC.

Maybe she hasn’t asked because she’s just been told, “Hey, once a cesarean, always a cesarean. And so I’m wanting to have the dads understand that no question is worth you withholding. Get it out there. It doesn’t matter what the question is. You have to remember that your provider, your hospital staff, they are there to provide a service to you. And so as you have questions, whatever comes up, ask those questions. That is really the biggest thing I think that they have the most anxiety, or I don’t really want to say the word fear, but being intimidated about being in the room and actually speaking up to say, “Yeah, I heard what you said, but I’ve got a question about that. Can we talk about that for a second?”

Even in the throes of the laboring process and the mom going through her waves of contractions to say, “Hey, I heard you come in. You said you wanted to do a check after she comes through this last wave. It’s in our birth plan that she doesn’t want to get checked so please remember that.” Having that understanding that you’re there as a support person, you have a voice so use it. Don’t withhold it. Don’t wait for the birthing mom to speak up for herself because she may not have that personality type.

She may not feel like she can say something. Even with having doula support or midwife. Depending on what the situation is, you have to still understand that everybody in that situation, everybody that’s in that room really should be able to listen to you and the birthing mom as well. So you have to be on a united front, as you alluded to earlier, to understand that birth plan. Make sure that you can get everything that you desire out of this birthing process, as much as you can. Unfortunately yes, sometimes medical things do come up, but you want to understand what are our options before you just take their word for it.

Rebecca Dekker:

Those are some great words of advice. Using your voice and also talking about the postpartum period and helping prepare for that. I did want to give you a shout out or some praise. I have a friend that took yours and Chanté’s class recently, and the dad was texting me pictures of all the … he bought a skin to skin shirt to wear so that he can do skin to skin with the baby. And he’s just talking about all the skin to skin he’s doing. So thank you so much for role modeling that for partners. That’s incredible.

JaMichael Perryman:

Oh, that’s awesome. That’s good to know. That’s good to know. I’m glad to hear that.

Rebecca Dekker:

So JaMichael, what are your thoughts about the future role of fathers in birth? I feel like for many years they were excluded and not allowed in the birthing room. And then they were let back in kind of to witness the process. What would you say moving forward is the future role of fathers in birth, especially black dads. What words of inspiration can you give?

JaMichael Perryman:

Oh man. You’re right. Looking back over the history of fathers being there during the birthing process, depending on what era you were born into or raised in, you heard the stories of the dads that had to wait in the waiting room. They weren’t allowed back there. Only women could go back and the dads finally get the word, “Oh, you’ve got a son. You got a daughter,” and they’re passing around cigars and high-fiving each other and all that kind of stuff, to now being able to at least go in to the labor room and understand that you’re there.

So now I think it’s at that point where the dads have to understand that you’re not just a fly on the wall. You’re there, you need to participate. This is one of those events in life where it could be your one and only child. This could be your one and only opportunity to help out during this process. But as you look forward down the road to see what’s coming, I would really like to see the dads really take on more of a hands-on approach. And I say that just from, again, the experience of catching my own child, cutting the cord, having your hands-on when it comes to making sure that mom is comfortable.

So whatever it is that she needs, the massaging or applying pressure to the pelvic area, whatever it is. Rubbing the feet, it doesn’t matter, being hands-on. The first labor that we went through, I didn’t do much of that because I didn’t know that I was allowed to, or that I could. Really, I was there and Chanté was just really squeezing my hand. That was about as much involvement as I got other than maybe running out to grab some ice chips or something like that. But I think looking down the road as more dads are getting educated about the birthing process, that has to be the first step for any of us, is education.

Rebecca Dekker:

I was going to say, because a lot of the things you’re talking about would sound really intimidating to somebody who hasn’t had a really comprehensive childbirth education.

JaMichael Perryman:

Absolutely, and I say that because looking at it from the first child down to the last child, I’ve learned something each time. It has been those life lessons that I’ve taken into the room the next time I’ve gone in. But I tell the dads I said, “Hey, the courses that you’re taking now with your partner to understand the birthing process and what happens.” I said, “You’re a step ahead of the game because once you get into that environment, it’s not going to be brand new to you. It’s not going to be foreign to you. So that gives you an opportunity to relax and really just enjoy the process.”

And that’s what I tell a lot of them just enjoy the process because it’s going to happen, some faster than others, but at the end of it, it’s all a blur. It doesn’t matter how long it took. It’s all a blur, but you want to be able to look back on it and say, “Wow, I was there. I participated, I did as much as I could to help in this situation,” and not have any regrets of holding back any questions, not holding back any of yourself from being a participant in that.

So certainly I think there’s going to be a lot more dads to really get involved with understanding the birthing process, to be educated about it, to really go into those prenatal visits with mom to say, “Hey, I was reading about this, what’s your thoughts on it? What does your practice believe about this, or that?” To have those intelligent conversations rather than just going in and being like, “All right, this is all on mom. I have nothing to do with this other than be here for moral support.”

No, you have something to do with it. And you’ve got a voice, so you need to use it. But part of that is making sure that you have the knowledge and understanding so that you can have the intelligent conversations about it. And I think as men do that, that is going to then allow mom to actually have a much better, however long it is, a much better pregnancy. And so whether she goes the full 40 weeks or whether she goes to 38, whether she goes to 36, whether she has a premature birth process. I mean, all of those things is what I want to talk about with dads because I’ve been through pretty much all of it.

So I think that as the dads get involved and they’re asking questions from day one, that first prenatal visit, everything else is really going to help the mom to relax. And as the moms, from my perspective, as they are having the opportunity to relax and really just focus on their wellbeing and the wellbeing of baby, you’re going to have a much better pregnancy. And from that, you’ll have a better, healthier child.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah. I love that. It’s all about, like you said, preparation, educating yourself so that you can use your voice and the person who’s having the baby can, like you said, relax a little bit because they know they’re not on their own. You’ve got their back. Thank you so much JaMichael for sharing your wisdom with us. This is totally optional, but is there a question you have for me? Is there anything you want to ask me or …

JaMichael Perryman:

Well, I mean, of course we see a lot of things on social media, as far as dads that are just really trying to take a step and show the positive image. Especially dads of color are coming and they’re showing up and saying, “Hey, I’m an active dad. I’m a part of my child’s life.” Overall though, from a dad perspective, what would you see for the dads? What would you like to see in regards to dads being involved through the birthing process, through the pregnancy? What little nugget would you like to see as far as their involvement from beginning to end?

Rebecca Dekker:

I think I would like to see more providers and nurses recognize that the partners need support too. And a lot of that can be alleviated with the doula who can also support the partner. Because even when you have prepared and educated yourself, it’s still for most partners, their first time in the birthing room with that process.

And I think support is another key piece because I think you might feel a little bit more confident in your skills that you’ve been practicing and using your voice if you have another person in the room, who’s also got your back. Does that make sense?

JaMichael Perryman:

Right.

Rebecca Dekker:

So I think being open to having that extra support person, if possible. I know during the time of COVID you can’t always have that doula in the room physically with you, but perhaps virtually or having picked a provider who is extremely supportive of the partner as well as the birthing person. That would be my little thought.

JaMichael Perryman:

Okay. That’s a good point. I know one of the things that I was sharing is that going through each one of those, I’ve learned something new along the way. And that’s one of the things that I’ve learned and that I’ve started sharing with some of the dads that I’ve talked to, is making sure that they take care of themselves. Especially now with living in this COVID-19 society, is protecting yourself and making sure that you’re healthy so that you can be there. That’s one of the things that I’ve been talking to them about as well, and sharing that little bit of it. That’s good to know. Glad you feel that way.

Rebecca Dekker:

That is a good point about perhaps lowering your risk of catching COVID so that you can be in the room with your partner. Trying to be as low risk as possible. I know not everybody has the ability to do that, but good point. Trying to take care of yourself. And also taking care of yourself during the labor process, right? Like making sure you have food to eat, drinks, comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes, [inaudible 00:30:57] take bathroom breaks, that sort of thing.

JaMichael Perryman:

Right, absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

Not everybody’s going to have the lightning fast experience like you did.

JaMichael Perryman:

Right, which is a good thing, I guess. But yeah, you have to take care of yourself, making sure, like you said one of the things that I tell the dads, “Pack a bag for you, if you can. Or have a large enough bag where you’ve got things in there for you as well as a mom and a lot of snacks, something light.” I’d say, “Make sure that you can keep your electrolytes up, Powerade, Gatorade, whatever your sports drink, energy drink is of choice, but making sure you’re taking care of yourself while you’re there.”

That is a big one because a lot of the dads I talk to, I ask them that question and say, “Well, what do you plan on taking?” And they’re like, “I hadn’t thought about it.” It’s like, “You need to think about it. Let me tell you from personal experience, you need to think about it.” You know, just as simple as saying, right? It’s like, I’m a cold natured person and so for me to go into a hospital room, I’m freezing. But I was not dressed for that environment with our first child. And so I’m in the room, freezing, trying to pay attention to Chanté and they’re like, “Okay, you need a blanket or something.”

So I tell the dads now, “If you’re a cold natured person, pack a jacket. Pack a fleece. Something to make sure that you can keep yourself comfortable in your body.” And like you said, the snacks, different things to pack in the bag, all of those things. But yeah, it all comes together because that mental state that you have is very key and important when you’re trying to support someone else. If you’re shivering in the room and you’re thinking about how cold you are, you’re not really paying a hundred percent of attention to mom and what’s going on in the environment around you. So you want to be as comfortable as possible so you can focus all of that attention, all of that energy on mom and baby and what’s taking place.

Rebecca Dekker:

Great words of advice. So JaMichael, you’ve been doing a lot of work with Chanté recently. How can people hear from you online?

JaMichael Perryman:

Really just through Chanté. I’m trying to not get in her way. We are currently, I guess I could say experimenting with the Himbracing Fatherhood segments, as I call them and that is on Instagram. She’s also doing it through Facebook live. And so all of her information, however, is really the way that things are getting set up. So if you see her information, then certainly just tag her on Facebook or something.

I’ve been telling everybody, “Send those questions through her,” but I have been opening myself up more to being available. So if anybody really has questions, things like that, they can actually get in touch with me through my email and I’ll be happy to answer emails or set up calls with them or anything like that. That’s really what I’m doing, is just kind of in the background-

Rebecca Dekker:

Supporting Chanté.

JaMichael Perryman:

Supporting her with everything. And so just, yeah…

Rebecca Dekker:

You can follow Chanté at babydreamsmc on Instagram. That’s babydreamsmc and also you show up in her Evidence Based Birth® childbirth classes and you can …

JaMichael Perryman:

Yeah. I show up at her last class.

Rebecca Dekker:

In her last class.

JaMichael Perryman:

Just to have some time for the dads to ask questions, and moms actually. Anything from a dad’s perspective that they have not heard someone talk about or they’ve got questions on. So I show up at that last class and I’m available pretty much as long as they’ve got questions.

Rebecca Dekker:

All right, JaMichael, thank you so much for joining us.

JaMichael Perryman:

You’re welcome.

Rebecca Dekker:

All right, everyone. That was a fantastic interview with JaMichael Perryman. I feel really lucky to live in the same town as JaMichael and to see the impact that he and Chanté are having in so many families in our community. You can find Chanté’s classes that include guest appearances by JaMichael at babydreamsmc.com.

Rebecca Dekker:

I was especially thankful that JaMichael shared his story about catching his own baby. I think that is just such a cool thing to be able to prepare for and then actually do. And it just is very inspiring to hear his story. So thanks again for listening and I’ll see you all next week. Bye.

Rebecca Dekker:

Today’s podcast episode was brought to you by the online workshops for birth professionals taught by Evidence Based Birth® instructors. We have an amazing group of EBB instructors from around the world who can provide you with live interactive continuing education workshops that are fully online. We designed savvy birth pro workshops to help birth professionals who are feeling stressed by the limitations of the healthcare system.

Our instructors also teach the popular comfort measures for birth professionals and labor and delivery nurses workshop. If you are a nurse or birth professional who wants instruction in massage, upright birthing positions, acupressure for pain relief and more, you will love the comfort measures workshop, visit ebbirth.com/events to find a list of upcoming online workshops.

Listening to this podcast is an Australian College of Midwives CPD Recognised Activity.

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EBB 146 – Giving Birth in Atlanta with Tara Thompson

EBB 146 – Giving Birth in Atlanta with Tara Thompson

Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to our podcast:  iTunes  |  Stitcher In this episode, I interview Evidence Based Birth® Instructor Tara Thompson. Tara is a certified birth doula with CAPPA, a Lamaze certified childbirth educator, and a licensed massage therapist...

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