Monday, March 10, 2008

Childbirth preparation class

We had our childbirth preparation class on Saturday. I'd been dreading going because I'd started to feel like it was a waste of time and would have the underlying message that "pain meds and epidurals are bad, natural is good." That's basically what the class was like last time, with an obviously biased instructor. But this time, the instructor was neutral on all the info she shared, talking about everything as just things that may be used during labor and delivery without condemnation for however it goes.

She also got us down on mats pretty early in the class time, so we got lots of practice with positions for relaxation and dealing with labor pain, as well as breathing techniques for managing pain and to help keep from pushing when you're body isn't totally ready yet but feels like it needs to. I'm guessing I'll still have an epidural this time, but I'd like to wait longer this go-round and be able to handle early labor without it so that gravity can do its job and I can have more freedom to move. I'm hoping for no back labor this time - I think that's what made it so hard last time and caused such intense pain so early. If I can work up the pain more gradually, I think I can use techniques from class for a good chunk of early labor.

I'm now feeling calmer and more ready for the birth, and I'm getting excited about actually going to the hospital when it's time. I'm also looking forward to the hospital tour, which we'll do in a few weeks. They didn't offer a 1-day class at the hospital where we're delivering, just at its sister hospital, so we haven't seen much of the place we'll be going yet.

On a side note, I was surprised to find out that out of 12 couples in the class, we were the only ones who already had a child. I guess most people just take the class the first time around, if at all, and don't feel the need to do it again. For us, it was a good reminder of things we didn't get to use last time and a chance to learn more useful information and techniques, as well as something that made us just feel more prepared for the upcoming birth. So even if we again don't use any of the techniques and go pretty much straight to the epidural, I'll be calmer for the next 2 months, plus I'm re-educated about the phases of labor, types of pain management, things to take to the hospital, etc. And she even threw in some discussion about how dads can be most helpful and ways to prepare beforehand to make your return home a little easier (like getting help with housework, making meals ahead of time and freezing them). So I definitely feel it was worth going.

If we have a 3rd baby, I think I'd rather find a 3- or 4-hour refresher class with the positions and breathing, but this was money well spent.

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