Seriously, we have a “diploma” and everything. This is going to be a long entry that deals with things like episiotomies and placenta. I’m warning you in advance.
We took the childbirth class yesterday. Luckily, it didn’t feel like a complete waste of money. Aside from the instructor’s ridiculous nervous laugh that she’d bust out with after almost EVERYthing she said, she was informative and nice. It was good to take the class yesterday because we got to take it at the hospital where we’ll be bringing Baby into this world. It was nice to be able to ask her questions specific to what she sees on a day-to-day basis. I also felt like the class promoted pain management techniques over “quick! get the epidural” which I appreciated since I’m shooting for a med-free, natural delivery. (Call me crazy all you want to, but I do not like the idea of needles being poked that close to my spine. The spine is kind of important, you know.)
Now, here’s the play-by-play.
We introduced ourselves and the couple sitting diagonally from us were delivering at the main hospital. She must’ve been really uncomfortable because she had this sour, “I’m better than this hick hospital in this hick town” look on her face all morning (despite the fact that her husband had on CAMOUFLAGE CROCS!!!!). The rest of us were all delivering at that hospital and the majority of the women in the room are all patients at the same practice. Many of us are also due in March or early April, so there’s a chance some of us may deliver at the same time. That’s kind of neat, maybe.
Anyway, the first section of the class (what would’ve been class one if we were taking this in the normal, four-part presentation) was a slide show on pregnancy. Most of this I already knew. However, and here I am ashamed to admit that I’m a pregnant woman, I did not know that the placenta and the amniotic sac are not the same things. It totally made sense when I saw it in pictures, but for, well, most of my adult life, I’ve thought they were the same. Nope. So, I learned something new.
At the end of the first section we did some breathing exercises for helping us through the early part of labor. We sat down in the floor and practiced slow and controlled breathing and relaxation techniques. I was totally into it. Even with the voice on the video saying “Your right arm is heavy. Your right arm is heavy. Your right arm is heavy” which sounds totally ridiculous and is not something I will ever chant to myself out loud or in my head, I was able to relax. Now, will I be able to do the same when I’m attached to a blood pressure cuff that goes off and random intervals and I feel like my guts are being ripped out through my belly button (not that I have any indication that labor actually feels like that, but I’m using my imagination), who knows.
The second part of the class was on labor and delivery. This was definitely an important and informative section of the class. Yes, I could’ve found the information elsewhere (such as, what are the stages of labor, how are they measured, signs to look for that tell you you’re in labor, etc.) but it was nice having it all presented in one place.
We also watched several video clips of women dealing with labor pains. One lady had some AWESOME hair. Awesome, I tell you. She sort of reminded me of a brunette Molly Ringwald. She seemed really stressed during the whole thing. You could tell that in real life, she’s probably totally Type A. When the baby came out she said “I’m so glad I’m not pregnant anymore” which sort of seems like an odd thing to me.
At the end of this section, we did some more breathing exercises called paced breathing and patterned breathing. Paced breathing is where you start out breathing slow and then breathe faster through the middle and most intense part of the contraction and then return to breathing slowly. Patterned breathing sounds like you’re getting ready to bust out into Queen’s “We Will Rock You” at any given moment. I could not take the patterned breathing seriously. Nor will I ever be able to take it seriously. I have, however, requested that we download a Queen’s Greatest Hits album to the iPod to bring into the delivery room with us.
At this point, we broke for lunch. O’Charleys. Yum.
We resumed our afternoon sessions by watching a video of three separate birth stories. The first lady went totally natural. The second lady had a shot of morphine or demoral or something, and the third lady had an epidural and didn’t want people touching her. The first lady had REALLY bad hair. We couldn’t see her ears.
**Side note–what is it with videos like this that ALWAYS pick people who dress/have hairstyles that look like they stepped RIGHT out of the early 80s!?!? I don’t get it. I mean, I know that childbirth hasn’t changed all that much in the last, oh, hundred years or so, but seriously, you can update the videos periodically**
After the videos, we watched another slide show that discussed the dreaded e-word. Episiotomy! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! After we saw that (an animated version, not a real one) I said “Um, I’d like to NOT have one of those, please” and everyone chuckled a bit. Dan looked at me with just the picture up there and said “Uhhhh, I have a weak stomach. This is kind of grossing me out.”
Then, they showed an animated C-section. Dan and one of the other dads-to-be (and probably some others, but those were the only two I could see) were having some trouble watching that animation, too. And to be honest, so was I. At the end of that segment, I said “I’d like to not have one of those either, please?!” because that’s the only thing that scares me worse than the IV.
A C-section means I basically have to have all the things in my delivery that I don’t want. An epidural, a major surgery, not being able to hold my baby right away, maybe not even being able to SEE my baby if they make me take out my contacts and take off my glasses, not really being able to watch the delivery if I want to for fear that I will go into shock at the sight of myself cut wide open. Yeah, not something I want to experience.
So, after that, we discussed after care procedures. One of the “things you might notice” is that the perineum (I’ll let you google that one for yourself) might be sore. Really???? REALLY???? I think I might’ve actually said out loud, jokingly, of course, “I have no idea why the perineum might be sore” and that got a chuckle out of people, too.
(I’m beginning to think I was quite the class clown yesterday. I must stop thinking this or I will get a big head about how amusing I really am.)
Then, we watched a video on baby basics and discussed babies and what are some of their hunger cues and how to know if we have a proper latch when breastfeeding and then, we returned to the floor to do the breathing exercises again. And I totally busted out in a fit of laughter when we got to patterned breathing. I could not stop myself. And before I knew it, half the class was giggling with me. Even stuffy, uncomfortable girl who was sitting diagonally from us was giggling, along with her croc-wearing husband.
If distraction is a good method for making it through Labor and Delivery, Dan and I are golden with our fits of laughter over Queen and bad hair. I have no idea what sort of trauma listening to Queen in the delivery room might cause Baby, but here’s hoping he still turns out ok.