We love introducing you to our many AMAZING birth teachers. Today you get to meet Caryn who is amazing for a reason. (Can you say "VBAC warrior!?") And if you happen to need a childbirth class in Carrollton, TX, then she is the gal for you! Check her out.
Childbirth Classes in Carrollton, TX
First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach childbirth classes.
My name is Caryn Westdyk and I have been married to my husband Steve for 9 years and have 5 beautiful children. When we found out we were expecting our first child, I did very little to prepare or educate myself about birth. In fact, I just randomly asked for an OB recommendation and went with it. I had no idea that there was a problem with the rising cesarean rate and had no idea that there were risks involved with induction and medical interventions. I trusted my OB because I liked her, and never questioned anything. Looking back, there were red flags all over the place that I should have been questioning, but I had no education to give me any clues. My first birth ended up in a cesarean after an induction that didn’t quite go as planned. With my second child, I had learned a little about VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) but still hadn’t educated myself enough to know that I probably should find a new OB if I really wanted to prepare for a VBAC. My second birth also ended up in a cesarean, really for no reason at all. My third birth was a planned cesarean because my OB told me, “You no longer have a choice.” When I found out I was expecting #4, I was terrified to have another surgery (the third was by far the hardest.) I reached out to find out if there were any OBs that would consider a VBAC after 3 cesareans. I found the most amazing OB that was right under my nose all along! I went on to have an amazing natural VBA3C and then had another VBA3C with my 5th child this past year. Because of my experiences, I am passionate about VBAC but am also passionate about educating first time moms to prevent the first cesarean if possible.
What first got you interested in birth?
Even before I had my first VBA3C, I started getting interested in learning about birth. I didn’t know much yet, but I had several friends who had VBACs and natural births and it made me want to learn so much more.
What are your particular passions concerning birth?
VBAC is obviously my biggest passion concerning birth! There is just nothing like a great VBAC story.
There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?
I learned about Birth Boot Camp shortly after I had my first VBA3C (vaginal birth after three cesareans). I was on a VBAC high and was so passionate about helping other women achieve their birth goals. I talked with my doula about the program and she thought it would be a perfect fit for me to get started as a birth professional. The more I learned about Birth Boot Camp, I thought the curriculum was pretty incredible and loved the support they give to their instructors. I was excited about being a part of the start of a new program and teach my own birth classes in Carrollton, TX.
Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?
I trained in Grapevine, TX in November of 2012. They were some of the most fun few days I have ever had! I loved being in a room full of like-minded women, learning about one of my very favorite topics! It was great to get to know the other instructors in training. My favorite part of the training was when we were assigned a topic to teach. I was terrified (as I am always nervous speaking in public) but loved getting the opportunity to teach and learn from the others.
How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?
My first year was great! I loved getting to know each of my students and still keep in touch with most of them today. It was so fun to see the changes and growth in each of them. My favorite moments have been when couples have changed their birth plans based on what they learned in class. I love hearing their birth stories after their babies are born! This second year I have taken a bit of a break as I have had another baby, but am looking forward to teaching another childbirth class in Carrollton, TX, this January.
Tell us a little about your students. How do you believe childbirth education is having a positive impact on them?
I have had amazing students! It seriously has been such a joy to get to know each of them. Most of my couples have come to me already planning to have an out of hospital birth, but one couple stands out in my mind the most. When Casey and Sam Hawkins started the class, they thought Casey was going to have to have a cesarean because she had partial placenta previa (where the placental is partially covering the cervix.) If it didn’t move in time, she would have to schedule her c-section. She wanted to take the class anyway, because she really desired a natural birth and wanted to be prepared just in case. Each week, I could see she was growing more and more discouraged at the thought of having a c-section and was becoming dissatisfied with her OB choice, based on what she was learning about red flags in class. Toward the end of our 10 weeks, she was so excited to share with us that she confirmed by ultrasound that her placenta had moved just enough to be cleared for a vaginal birth. We all rejoiced with her! She hired the doula that had come to speak to our class, and switched to an amazing midwife at one of the birth centers nearby. She had her baby completely natural a few weeks later, not even making it to her due date! She is now very involved in birth work by documenting births through photography and was the photographer at my last birth!
To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?
This work truly matters and truly makes a difference! With the cesarean rate on the rise, it is so crucial to help women prevent the first cesarean. I am constantly amazed by how many women are unaware that this is even an issue. I think it is so important for first time moms to be educated and prepared for their first birth.
Where can we find you?
I would love to have you join me at my next childbirth class in Carrollton, TX!
Interested in how Birth Boot Camp can help you achieve your VBAC goals? Check out this video. Education really does make a difference.