Teaching trio works to make births easier

May 14, 2003 11:00 pm
 (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).
(Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).

By ABBY SOUZA

Jill Reed, Noni Convery and Theresa Nelson each have two children.

They each are still married to their first husbands.

The three registered nurses also all work for Sonora Community Hospital.

And the three have taught Lamaze childbirth classes to thousands of expectant couples for almost three decades.

"We have so much in common," Reed said.

The American Heritage Dictionary says Lamaze is a method of childbirth in which the mother is prepared physically and psychologically to give birth without the use of drugs.

But these three women have a much broader definition.

Experienced teachers

"It's such an empowering technique," Reed, 57, said, who moved to Tuolumne County in the mid-1970s to raise her children away from the Bay Area.

Reed was a biotechnical researcher for a big Silicon Valley company, but pursued nursing after having her first child.

Since then, Reed has taught Lamaze to exactly 1,550 mothers and their labor partners in Tuolumne County. She knows the number because she has kept track of every mother-to-be who has walked into a class.

"She's the historian," said Convery, who has taught for more than 20 years.

So long is their Lamaze history here, they've already taught some of the daughters delivered by the last generation of students.

"We call them ‘Grandma babies'," Reed said.

However, none of the teachers are grandmas themselves yet.

"We're not old, but we've been teaching a long time," Convery said.

For 10 years, Reed team-taught Lamaze with her husband, Walter, who is a marriage, family and child counselor.

Then, Reed and Convery met when their children were in preschool together. The two women realized they had both attended the same college — California State University, Hayward.