Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Birthing Class, Part 1

Looking back, I probably should have written this post on Sunday when it was fresh.  I'll know better next weekend!  As I mentioned before, we had the first of our two-part birthing class on Sunday.  Y'all know I am neurotic crazy a worry wart silly, so I of course was nervous about the class.  I am not really sure why - I think it was more nervous excitement than anything else.  Lately we are doing the things that mean it is close to the time when we get to meet our girl, and we are both so terrified excited that we can't stand it. 

My OB is affiliated with the Women's Health Alliance at Rex Hospital, and on my very first visit they gave me my pre-registration paperwork for the hospital and instructions on when to send it in.  Through my pre-registration paperwork, I found the information on all of the classes.  I have told you all before that for me personally, knowledge is power, and I have a compulsive need to research things to death.  I know that no birth is the same and that there is no way I will ever be fully prepared, but I somehow feel more comfortable about the birthing process just by learning as much as I can about it.  So, naturally, I wanted to sign up for all of the 28394987324 classes that they have to offer.  Luckily, Dan reigned me in and we ended up just going with the birthing class, although I may add on a yoga class soon because I hear that the breathing and relaxation techniques as well as the stretching/flexibility are useful tools for laboring.  Anyway, that's beside the point.

So the first class was on Sunday.  It went pretty much just like I thought it would: hilarious/scary 80s birthing video, breathing and relaxation techniques, Dan acting a fool, hospital tours, Dan asking silly hilarious questions, more breathing, etc.  Re: the birthing video, I have several observations:

1.  They should really invest in a more up-to-date video.  I could not focus on what the women were saying at first because I was so distracted by their hair.
2.  They should also feature patients whose primary language is English.  Before you judge me for being rude, please understand that this poor Asian woman that they featured could barely speak English, and you literally could not understand a word she was saying.  Of course this made Dan break into a fit of giggles.  I may or may not have joined him in said giggle fit.  Whatever.
3.  This one is graphic, sorry in advance, but it has to be said.  I know your belly is big and that you can't see.  Trust me, I know.  But could these women not have PLEASE maintained their lady parts (also referred to as "secrets" elsewhere in this blog) a little better during pregnancy?  Especially since they knew their birth was going to be filmed.  Honestly, is it too much to ask?  I will say no more on this matter, but just know that it was traumatizing and I was not prepared for the secrets shots.

Other than that, the video was pretty informative.  It tied in with the "lecture" portion, which was more of a discussion, about what to expect during all of the different phases of labor.  The video was actually broken into phases, and then we discussed each phase.  This was my favorite part of the class.  There wasn't much that I hadn't read or heard about from girlfriends, but I did actually learn a few things and the instructor gave some helpful tips.

After the video and discussion, we practiced some breathing and relaxation techniques.  ALLEGEDLY there was something in our class confirmation paperwork that said we should bring a yoga mat and two pillows.  Dan and I did not get that memo, and we were the only ones in the class that were unprepared for this poriton.  I'm sure all of you can imagine that this made me feel really slack, because I am normally so OCD prepared.  I'm still not sure what the pillows were for - we just sat on the floor which wasn't so bad - but you better believe I will not show up unprepared again.  This portion of the class was not as helpful for me.  I didn't feel like she taught me very many techniques that I will remember to use in the heat of the moment.  Taking a deep breath is something that anyone can do, the question is, will I remember to do that when I am having the most painful contraction in the entire world?  Likely not.  However, some of the stretches and things she showed us on the birthing ball seemed like they may be helpful.  Additionally, she did give us some tips such as, your legs are going to be in an unnatural position so doing some squats to strengthen those quad muscles might help.  Good thing I have been working on legs at least twice a week at the gym for my entire pregnancy.  Score one for me!  Also, I am happy to report that during this breathing relaxation portion, neither Dan nor I passed gas (we were warned that this happens all of the time).  Laugh all you want, but that is a serious accomplishment.  Especially for Dan.  :-)  I'm also glad that no one else did, either, because I don't think we would have been able to recover.

Dan's funniest question of the day came during the breathing/relaxation portion.  He raised his hand and asked the instructor if she could give him a reference point as to what a contraction feels like, since guys don't know what we go through.  On the surface, I was impressed at this question...until he followed up with, "Does it feel like someone is repeatedly punching you in the face?  Or cutting off your fingers?"  I am pretty sure at that point I died a little on the inside.  Fool.

I forgot to mention this: my boss from my very first job out of college and his wife are in our birthing class.  That was a little weird to get over.  Also, there is a pastry chef in there from (you'll never guess) only my favorite place in the whole world...THE CUPCAKE SHOPPE!  I have  made it my personal mission to become her bestie and get free cupcakes for life.

We spent the last part of the class touring the hospital, the birthing suites, and the post-delivery rooms.  The instructor showed us all of the things that are available for use in the suites (like the birthing ball, for example), explained all of the equipment (warmer for the baby when she comes out, etc.), talked about the room's standard features, etc.  She walked us all the way through from when we arrive at the hospital to when we deliver.  It definitely made it all very real.

So, that was about it for part one.  I am not sure what all we will be doing next week - I do know that there will be some more breathing/relaxation and that she will talk about breast feeding and drug options, but those are the only hints we got.  Overall, I am glad we signed up for the class and I'm looking forward to next week!

Hope the first part of your week has gone well.  I personally am beyond stoked that my husband is coming home tomorrow night!  I know Layla is, too...she is probably tired of talking walks with me as I move a lot slower these days.  That's all for now!

Sarah

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