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Series: Journey Towards LCCE Certification – Update: Preparing for the Exam

March 11th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Many of you may be busy preparing to sit for the exam that, will, upon passing, bestow the credentials; Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) after your name.  The exam will be held during the 23-25th of April, 2014.  For some of you, this has been a long time coming and you have been working steadily working towards your goal.  For others, it has been a whirlwind of workshops and prep and observed teaching.  Regardless, now the exam date is nearing.  We have been following Cara Terreri, the community manager for Lamaze International’s parent blog, Giving Birth with Confidence, on her journey to become Lamaze certified in a regular series on this blog.  Read all of the posts to get the back story on Cara’s childbirth educator journey. Today, Cara updates us as she is counting down the days to the exam.  If you were considering taking the exam, but thought you missed the deadline, please be aware that the registration deadline has been extended until March 17th!  There is still time for you to register!  Contact the Lamaze International Certification Associate for questions and information about the process or to register for the April exam. -Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager

good luck signAs the April Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator exam date draws closer, I finding myself knee deep in studying. Of course, this is on top of finishing certification requirements for DONA, serving existing doula clients, teaching private childbirth classes, blog writing and management at Giving Birth with Confidence, and of course, my personal life. But who doesn’t have a full plate these days?

There are times when I question my choice to take on this path at a time when my children are young, my days are full, my patience is worn, and my energy wanes. And then, I wrap up teaching a class to first-time parents, and the dad turns to me and says enthusiastically, “Wow, I feel like I learned so much in a short amount of time – this was awesome!” There’s nothing like instant positive feedback to feel a renewed sense of purpose. I never thought I would enjoy the experience of teaching as much as I actually do – I love helping families build their own path to birth and discover confidence that previously didn’t exist. It is because of this desire that I feel an even stronger imperative to complete my Lamaze certification. It’s important to demonstrate to families that what I teach is evidence based and proven.  This is the foundation of today’s Lamaze.

So here I am, committed to my path, and working to fit it all in. I spend my evenings and mornings huddled over the Lamaze Study Guide, with a notebook at my side, jotting down important items – in particular, anything that is unfamiliar or not yet a solid part of my knowledge bank. The Study Guide has been most helpful in identifying several new (to me) reading materials (as well as many that are familiar, including resources from Science & Sensibility!  It’s designed in such a way that reading resources are either hyperlinked directly from the PDF so you can easily click through to the source, or they are included at the end each module. Each module also contains in-depth review questions to that serve as a quiz on the material just covered.

Perhaps most valuable to my confidence in preparing for the exam is the 20+ hours I’ve spent already teaching couples (not to mention the countless hours I’ve spent preparing and researching my curriculum and setting up my business). I feel confident that a good portion of the exam will be testing information that I know, live, and breathe on a daily basis. Of course, there is always more to learn, but I do feel more prepared than if I had not been teaching.

As this is my last update until after I sit for the exam, I would appreciate any words of encouragement – or better yet, study tips! Thanks for taking interest in my journey and supporting me along the way.

Cara- I wish you good luck on the upcoming exam.  I know you are well prepared and understand the material.  My tip for you is to know that you have done your best to prepare, you are ready, and I hope that you feel confident when you test.  Just like labor and birth – one question/contraction at a time!  To all of you who are also preparing at the same time, I wish you well and much success on this next big step.  I invite readers to share their best tip and well wishes for Cara and all the others registered for the exam,  in our comments section below.- SM

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

 

Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification , , , , , , , ,

Series: Journey Towards LCCE Certification – Update: Hands On Experience

December 27th, 2013 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Cara Terreri has been sharing her experiences as she works towards her Lamaze Childbirth Educator Certification. You can read Cara’s previous posts. Today on Science & Sensibility, Cara updates readers on what has been happening on her LCCE path and how she is preparing to sit for the spring LCCE exam. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager for Science & Sensibility.

It has been one year since my last update and boy, what a difference a year makes! In one year, I have:

  • Trained through DONA International to become a birth doula
  • Attended six births as a doula – enough births to submit for certification!
  • Taught three mini custom private childbirth classes
  • Committed to sit for the April 2014 LCCE exam
source: http://mixaysavang.typepad.com/

source: http://mixaysavang.typepad.com/

A year ago, I wasn’t sure if I could (or wanted to) make this diverging career path a priority. But with each new experience and each new expectant family I encounter, I realize that this is where I want to go, long term, with my professional life. Early hands-on experience, both in serving as a doula and teaching childbirth classes, has been a great way for me to dip my toe in the water, so to speak, and decide whether or not to jump in all the way. Becoming Lamaze certified is a big commitment – of time, money, and heart. And the payoff is big, too. For me, certification is a validation and recognition for the commitment I’ve made to serving women, and added credibility to my knowledge and experience.

When I began my path toward Lamaze certification a year and-a-half ago, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach traditional classes. This past year, however, I branched out into teaching private, mini (4-5 hour) childbirth classes one-on-one to couples. Similar to doula work, privately teaching couples in the comfort of their own home was fulfilling and fun. Plus, it fills a need for couples who have unusual schedules or who would otherwise be uncomfortable in a group class setting. In working with couples as a doula, I find – without a doubt – that couples who have taken reputable childbirth classes are more prepared and informed about their upcoming birth, particularly in their ability to make informed decisions.

As the year comes to a close, I am in the planning phase for partnering with a prenatal Pilates instructor to teach a series of joint childbirth and Pilates classes in a group setting. Prenatal Pilates incorporates the physical and mental groundwork that better prepares women to achieve a healthy, low-intervention birth – it seems a perfect complement to the teachings of the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices, which lay the foundation to help women make evidence-based decisions surrounding their prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. There is still much planning to be done on the format of the classes, but I’m excited to move forward as I believe it will provide a new and exciting option for women in our area.

In between planning, I’ll be hunkering down with the Lamaze Study Guide in preparation for the April exam and compiling paperwork necessary for DONA certification. I see a few long nights in my future – not like that’s anything new as a mom of three kids! By the end of next year, I hope to have two certifications under my belt and a year’s worth of experience in managing an active doula and teaching practice. As I learn to navigate the waters of this new career and fit it into an already full life of family and freelance writing, it will be important for me to set boundaries that provide work-life balance and allow me to enjoy time with my husband and children.

How did you get into your career as an educator and/or doula? Did you begin when your children were small or did you pursue this path later in life? How do you find balance? Please share your tips for me and other childbirth educators just starting out.

About Cara Terreri

cara headshotCara began working with Lamaze in 2004, two years before becoming a mother. Three kids later, she’s a full-fledged healthy birth advocate and the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence. Most recently Cara began practicing as a doula and childbirth educator as she works toward certifications as a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and DONA certified doula.

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Seeking Real Life Stories from Women Who Have Experienced Pregnancy & Birth Complications

May 28th, 2013 by avatar

© http://flic.kr/p/3mcESR

Both expectant families and childbirth professionals alike would like nothing more than pregnancy and birth to remain uncomplicated and proceed normally. We can celebrate when that happens but we have a responsibility to also teach and share about some of the variations from normal that may come up during pregnancy and birth.

Cara Terreri, the Community Manager for Lamaze International’s parent blog, Giving Birth with Confidence, is looking for women’s input on pregnancy complications for a new series that she will be running in the coming months.

If you have had personal experience with one or more of the following (or know students, clients or patients who do) and would like to participate, please contact the blog manager, Cara Terreri at cterreri@lamaze.org

  • Preeclampsia/eclampsia & HELLP
  • Placental abruption/hemorrhage 
  • Placenta previa/accreta
  • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Incompetent/weakened cervix
  • Hyperemis Gravidarum
  • Preterm labor
I look forward to reading this upcoming series and sharing the stories with my students and clients.  Thank you for any help you might provide.

Giving Birth with Confidence, Lamaze International, News about Pregnancy, Patient Advocacy, Pre-eclampsia, Pregnancy Complications , , , , ,

Series: Journey Towards LCCE Certification Update: I Attended A Birth!

December 4th, 2012 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Today is the second post in an occasional series on Science & Sensibility, “Journey to LCCE Certification.”   We are following Cara Terreri as she progresses on the path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  Her journey started with her Childbirth Education Seminar and in this post we learn about her experience as an observer at a birth.  In the future, we will continue as she develops her own curriculum, teaches her first classes and sits for the exam.  I invite you to cheer her on and offer your support, suggestions and encouragement based on your own experiences on a similar journey. – Sharon Muza, Community Manager

http://www.flickr.com/photos/d_k/11289947/

Since my last post that talked about beginning my path toward LCCE certification and attending a Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar, I have not progressed very far. My day job and family life have taken precedence. That being said, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend a birth! A friend of a friend was due with her second baby and was open to the idea of an almost-complete stranger (me!) attending her birth. I treated the experience as if I were a doula-in-very-early-training and talked at length with the mom about her first birth, her expectations and feelings about her upcoming birth, and my proposed role during her labor and birth. I was upfront in letting her know that while I knew quite a bit about birth, I was not certified as either an educator or doula, and that I was very early in my stages of training for both.

While I was so excited about the upcoming experience, I was also very anxious. Would I know what to do? Would I be able to step up and help mom when she needed it and how she needed it? By nature, I tend to be more of an introvert – initiating conversation with someone new or speaking up in an unfamiliar situation can sometimes take me out of my comfort zone. I did my best to ready myself for the situation by talking often with mom and taking a crash self-study course in labor support. I re-read specific sections of all of my favorite birth books and rehearsed possible scenarios in my head.

When it came time for birth, I was able to arrive within minutes of mom and dad at the hospital. I helped support mom – who had asked immediately for an epidural – while waiting for the epidural by massage, touch, verbal encouragement, and having water ready after she vomited. In our conversations prior to birth, mom talked fondly about the epidural during her first birth, which she said rescued her from the pain of laboring with Pitocin. But she also talked about leaving it “up in the air” for her second birth.

The experience and environment came very naturally to me. I felt comfortable jumping in and doing what I could, suggesting positions, using touch, etc. Of course, there were moments when I wished I knew more – how to respond more with verbal encouragement, how to encourage more movement while keeping fetal monitors in place for the requisite 20 minutes, and how best to calm a very panicked mom, who was still waiting for an epidural when she entered transition and pushing (note: the epidural never came).

Attending a birth was an amazing teaching tool for me, both in preparation for a future career as a doula as well as a childbirth educator. Having never attended any births but my own, it was so enlightening to attend a birth as an observer/support person. One unexpected part of my role was the support I provided in helping to encourage communication/conversation between staff and the parents. I also learned the importance of not projecting my own feelings about birth onto others, as it doesn’t always apply. As baby was kept in the warmer for an extended period of time for suctioning (there was meconium and baby had significant amounts of fluid), I ached for mom to be able to have skin-to-skin with her baby. But, when we had a quiet moment, mom told me, “I wasn’t ready to hold him; I was still recovering from the shock of the fast birth – it was overwhelming.” It just goes to show that everyone deals with and feels differently about their birth experience.

flickr.com/photos/54828642@N06/6086795509/

In my unfamiliar role as birth observer, I also earned new respect for the experience of a loved one in the labor room. As mom panicked at the onset of transition, she cried out in fear and pain, “Help me, help me!” I of course, recognized what was happening and knew she would be ok and that this was just the next natural phase. Dad, however, did not necessarily share the same knowledge! I could only have imagined what it was like for him to witness his wife panicked, in pain, and very scared.

Preparing dad/partner is just one way that childbirth education can have a real impact on a birth experience. Another is preparing and knowing about pain relief options. Even if a mom knows she will get an epidural, there are MANY cases where it doesn’t come in time or does not “work.” Knowing about and preparing for natural pain relief can go a long way, especially for parents who do not have a doula.

Next steps in my journey include preparing to teach for observation early next year, attending more births, attending a local childbirth class for observation, and burning the midnight oil with the Study Guide to prep for the exam in April.

I would love to hear input from other educators and doulas – what kinds of things did you discover in the first few births you attended? How does attending births help you as an educator?  When you were starting out, did attending births change how how you had considered teaching certain topics or clarify information that you absolutely want to stress in your own childbirth classes?  Please share those first birth on your own personal journey to becoming a birth professional.

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

Childbirth Education, Doula Care, Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification, Uncategorized , , , , , ,

Series: Journey to LCCE Certification: Taking A Lamaze Childbirth Education Seminar

August 23rd, 2012 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, BA, Community Manager for Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog

Today, an occasional series starts on Science & Sensibility, “Journey to LCCE Certification.”   We will follow Cara Terreri as she progresses on the path to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  Her journey starts with her Childbirth Education Seminar and will continue as she develops her own curriculum, teaches her first classes and sits for the exam.  I invite you to cheer her on and offer your support, suggestions and encouragement based on your own experiences on a similar journey.- SM

After having worked for the Lamaze International headquarters office for seven years now (marketing, writing, managing the Giving Birth with Confidence blog), it’s safe to say that I’ve drank the Kool-Aid. Slowly but surely, the words I pored over while editing became part of my own beliefs – even before I began my own birth journey. And until my last birth, I was happy to remain in my role of reaching women through writing. But my most recent, and most amazing birth (first unmedicated and truly empowering experience), ignited my desire to be more directly involved either as a doula or educator. But how? I already have a part-time job in marketing and writing (for clients in addition to Lamaze) on top of three children, a husband, and a dog – when would I find more time to devote to a budding career in birth?

While I still haven’t answered that last question, in the meantime, I attended the Passion for Birth Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar as the first step on the path to being a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.  There was going to a workshop in my hometown, and the timing worked with my other obligations.  This workshop was going to be taught by Passion for Birth founder, Teri Shilling and  co-taught by Ann Tumblin.

At the end of day one, I was blown away. Walking into class, the first thing I noticed was how the tables and each seat were meticulously set up with loads of colorful, playful – and questionable (like, balloons and a ping pong ball?) – class materials. It was like walking into an art class! When class began, I was immediately engaged by the teaching techniques. Nearly every activity and exercise was meant to double as something that could be replicated in your own Lamaze class, including some techniques that should not be used. For example, class kicked off with the dreaded PowerPoint slide. Ann reviewed the slide, turned off the projector and asked everyone to write down the six bullet points reviewed. No one could. Why? Because PowerPoint is a horribly ineffective teaching tool! This was just one of countless “aha” moments for me over the next three days.

In spite of a nine-hour day, the instructors excelled at keeping me engaged and involved, and allowing me to learn – and successfully retain – the material. Beyond the teaching, I really enjoyed the community aspect of class. Participants (27 of them!) came from all walks of the maternal-child health arena, which allowed for interesting dialogue with differing but respectful perspectives.

The Lamaze Childbirth Educator Seminar was, in a word, inspiring. I truly believe that if I could mirror my classes using the Passion for Birth techniques I observed and learned, I would be one fantastic educator! Because Teri still actively teaches childbirth classes in her community, I also felt confident knowing that the information in her workshop is not only effective, but relevant to today’s families.

I believe that my biggest hurdles in completing certification and developing a birth business are making the time, given my other professional commitments; and overcoming my dislike of networking. In class, we discussed the need for aspiring educators to develop face-to-face relationships with individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses in the community. While I don’t think of myself as a wallflower, I’m also not a social butterfly and I’ve never liked being in a “sales-y” role. I’d love to hear from other educators who feel the same way – what did you do to overcome your aversion to marketing and promoting yourself and be able to successfully network with peers and potential students?

So what next? As a new/inexperienced educator on the pathway to certification, the next official step is to be observed in teaching. But before I can do that, I need to create my curriculum and develop a plan for connecting with my local prenatal community. After a group curriculum-building exercise on day one, I gained new respect for the work that educators put into writing, preparing, and refining a class curriculum. That being said, my strongest skills are in writing, researching, and organizing. And with the multitude of tools I acquired through the workshop, I now have the resources create a comprehensive curriculum. Stay tuned for my next update, when I share how that is going.

If you are interested in becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and taking a seminar, please refer to Lamaze International for more information on seminars and the pathways to certification.

________________

I would like to ask experienced LCCEs and Doulas;

  • How did you get started on this path?  
  • What led you to become a childbirth educator?  
  • What things did you find useful?  
  • How do you enjoy what you do?  
  • What are some of the challenges?  
  • Why did you choose Lamaze as the organization to certify with?
  • Can you share your tips from the trenches with Cara and other people who are interested in working as a childbirth educator or other birth professional?

In the next installment of the Journey to LCCE Certification Series, Cara will share how things are going as she works to develop her own curriculum.  Look for that post in the next few months. In the meantime, share your own experiences so that Cara and others on the same path can benefit – SM

Addendum

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to share that I am a trainer for the PfB organization that presented the workshop Cara attended.  I want to take a moment to share that Lamaze International has many vibrant, creative and well established programs that offer workshops all around the country, and internationally as well,  for men and women interested in becoming childbirth educators.  I encourage each individual to reach out and explore the different programs, talk to the program representatives and select the program that meets their professional needs.  Links to all the programs can be found on the Lamaze International Childbirth Education Training page -SM

About Cara Terreri

Cara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

 

 

 

 

Childbirth Education, Giving Birth with Confidence, Guest Posts, Lamaze Method, Series: Journey to LCCE Certification, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , ,