Learnin’ stuff

by christy on December 10, 2008

Saturday we had our first childbirth class, one of the two intensive classes going all day for two Saturdays in a row. Ahead of time I was entirely dreading it. For some reason I built it up as if there would be only hard, uncomfortable chairs, a Nurse Ratched-type teaching the class (the type totally entrenched in the hospital system who was all about drugs and doing birth just one way), with a lot of hormonal pregnant women who would ask dumb question after dumb question, when the rest of us just wanted to go home.

Turns out I was only right about the chairs.

The teacher actually used to teach Art History, and anyone who knows about the stereotypical art teacher will know what this woman was like: she told us if we needed to take naps, it was OK to lie down, just make sure our partners were listening, and she encouraged us to put our feet up, so that, by the end, every spare chair was being used for a pregnant woman’s feet. And it turned out I was the one asking all the questions, at least until I had others comfortable enough to ask, but I seemed slightly more educated, having read and watched a lot of videos about childbirth. In fact I was slightly shocked at how little some of the women had educated themselves, but perhaps they were waiting for the class.

I was very happy that Jason got to finally see and learn a lot firsthand, and, more importantly, that he was attentive and seemed excited to actually be learning so much! I have no doubt that he’s going to be so amazing in childbirth. He listens well and he understands that I’m going to be emotional and crazy during labor and for the following couple of weeks. The teacher said that the two weeks following birth are the most hormonal of a woman’s life, like the worst period ever. To which one of the husbands asked if there was some kind of pill that could be given to his wife to make it better, haha! (The answer is no.)

The one thing that surprised me slightly was that out of the 9 couples, 3 were dead set on getting epidurals, 5 were going to “wait and see” if the pain was too bad to take, and then decide, and I was the only one who is dead set against NOT taking anything. The teacher said that’s statistically pretty accurate, as to how it breaks down. She also said that unless you have a delivery that isn’t too painful at all, as a few lucky women have, you will probably opt for one unless you are determined, as I am, to not have one. Because obviously it’s going to hurt like hell, and you just have to expect it. The scariest thing for me is that we watched a birth (which I think is cool), but she pointed out that the pushing and the baby actually coming out is not the most painful part, it’s the part just before when everything internal is stretching. So if it looks that bad from the outside, I can only imagine what’s going on on the inside! Ack! But still, I’m absolutely determined, and will only receive any drugs at all (pain relief or Pitocin) if completely medically necessary.

Well, I could go on and on, but that’s it for now. This Saturday, after having already learned what a normal end-of-pregnancy, labor and delivery is like, we’ll learn what complications may arise, about c-sections, newborn care, and we’ll take a tour of the maternity ward (and nursery!), which I’m most excited about.

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