We had our 7 hours childbirth class yesterday. It didn’t actually last that long by the time you factor in the lunch break and getting out early, but it definitely felt that long. It was good to get it out of the way all at once, though. We could have learned all the information at home watching a video, but I don’t know if we would have been as motivated to sit down and do it.
The class was definitely geared towards natural childbirth methods. I believe in them in theory- there are so many ways that God has designed our bodies with endorphins and hormones and the natural urge to push that it’ll be great if all that’s working together and we can go that way. I’ve heard too many stories, though, of everything that can go wrong, to attempt a home birth without medical attention. When they say: “the more you exercise now, the easier labor will be”, I hear “I’m not going to have the stamina for labor”. I try to walk every now and then, but I’ve never been known to work out and stamina is just not my thing. Tell you what, if I make it through labor the natural way, anyone could do it. My real fear is of having to be induced, especially from what I’ve heard about Pitocin. I’m ready mentally to go way past my due date (the Bradley book says 8 days after is average for first time moms), but it seems like if the doctor is recommending induction it would be a tough thing to turn down. And have I mentioned that big babies run in the family? Like 9 pounders? So I’m not sure how that will all come together for a natural delivery, but lets hope. I’m curious about what it’ll be like mentally and emotionally, too, because I can picture myself crying through the whole time, which just sounds exhausting!
I wish the class had focused a little more on the medical information side of things than just the coping and relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques always seem a little hokey to me – here’s my reaction to those scripts.
teacher – picture a relaxing place
me – got it
teacher – picture yourself on a beach
me – wait, i was in a market in southeast asia. now i have to be on a beach? is that beach in asia? no wait, that’s kind of smelly. the bahamas? north carolina?
teacher – you hear the waves
me – I don’t even know where this beach is yet! what waves? I’m still deciding how many rocks there are here!
teacher – the water comes in and out
me – waves, waves, why can’t i think of what waves sound like right now. we were just on a beach last week. i should have gone for a relaxing walk. would that have been relaxing?
and on and on. My brain doesn’t turn off. I may be bringing a stack of fabric to the hospital so I can go to my happy place of designing quilts so I don’t have to worry about imagining a beach!
They don’t tell you to breath the way all the movies show anymore, so now the breathing practice is just “breath in, breath out” and occasionally, “you felt a contraction come, you’re breathing a little faster” and “make sure you don’t clench up or hyperventilate”. Got it. Deep breaths and no high pitched moaning.
One girl in the class was sure all day that she wouldn’t need to pay attention to all the natural stuff because she was just going to get an epidural. If they had presented the medical information up front she might have felt differently (she thought an epidural was a pill you took, not a needle going into your spine) and they kind of glossed over how much time you’ll be laboring before you can even get an epidural. Of course, she also said she’d breastfeed and then asked how to switch her baby over to all formula. Hopefully she’ll be attending some sort of breastfeeding class, too, that covers all of that a little better. Our teacher (a labor and delivery nurse) didn’t even want to show us the c-section video, but with 38% of births (or something like that) being c-sections now, it seems like that’s important information to be prepared with. Not just the happy, perfect, scenarios where you have a manageable labor and are able to deliver naturally. It also seemed like every breastfeeding example was someone who was able to achieve a perfect latch within the first day, while I know a lot of people struggle with it a lot more than that.
So are we prepared and ready? As much as we can be, considering that we really have no clue of what it’ll be like. The newborn care part seems a whole lot scarier – at the worst labor is over in a couple days, but then we have to figure out how to take care of this little guy 24-7 for a whole lot longer!