Monday, June 20, 2011

learning to birth

I wanted to include pictures with this post but somehow bringing my big camera to the hospital classroom and taking pictures of silly powerpoint slides seemed inappropriate. After seeing the videos, I am confident I made the right decision especially for the sake of everyone reading this post.

Shea and I felt largely over-prepared for the class especially when the July due date couples answered "Hmm, I dunno" to a lot of the questions about labor, baby and life. Granted we're the couple who have trips planned for next May and August already, but still.

Valuable things we learned
1. We don't want an epidural. I was worried the class would scare me enough into wanting one but quite the opposite. The most uncomfortable I was during the whole class was when they showed a patient getting the epidural followed by an explanation of all the catheters, IV tubes and monitor belts strapped to her body. I realize there are game changers that might require more pain medication than originally thought, but I'd rather be walking around, deep breathing through the pain in the hallway than confined to a bed with bars. Sidenote: Of the 12 couples, we were one of two not wanting drugs.

I also found myself every 20 minutes leaning over to Shea and saying "I'm not doing that." This included: continuous fetal monitoring, automatic IV fluids, any sort of conversation involving pitocin and getting my haircut like any of the women in the videos. That being said, I will do whatever is medically necessary to have a healthy baby regardless of my ideal plan. But I'd rather start with a plan, and adjust if needed then let others make all the decisions for me.

2. They will place baby boy on my chest immediately and leave him there for an hour. Yay.

3. I'm not that big. Halfway through the class, Shea leaned over and said "OK, you are really not big at all." Not that it matters or that it's a competition but.. WINNER.

4. When going to the bathroom during the final trimester, pee. Then push baby up toward ribs, pee again. It's proven to be super helpful already.

5. For massaging the back during labor, the plastic one shaped like a turtle was best. Tennis balls and bare hands are super irritating.

Really annoying things we learned
1. Shea has to drop me off at the labor wing's circle drive, get me settled and then leave me to move his car. Considering we don't want to actually get to the hospital until I am in super active labor (avoid drug temptations) I find it hard to imagine me allowing him to leave for even 15 minutes. My new goal is to find a way to subvert this policy.

2. Providing apple juice and frequent breaks are nice but do not eliminate the pregnant woman's need for comfortable chairs if sitting from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

3. The educator provided very little information regarding risk of pain management drugs. Everyone has a different plan but making sure you are informed seemed difficult with this class. Thank goodness we're book-reading, over-achievers.

4. Teacher told us we should all have our bags packed already because her friend went into labor at 31 weeks. Puh-lease. I also learned to bring my own shampoo because it apparently costs money in the hospital. I can't pack my bag til I buy little shampoo. And I do not have time or motivation to buy little shampoo. This is apparently where the over-achieving mindset ends - in the shampoo aisle of Target.

5. "If you have to be induced, it's going to really hurt." "Your lips are going to dry out and crack with all that breathing." "If you eat, you will vomit on your husband and he will have to wear it." "Don't go through the drive thru on the way to the hospital, your wife will want to eat all of your Big Mac." "Husbands if you don't like poop or blood, stay near her head." I hear there's going to be a terrorist attack, too. Red alert! Geez..


  1. You go girl! I'm not pregnant (or a mom) yet, but I'm kind of a closet natural birth advocate. I think that so, so many people are under informed about the risks (and about their right to have an option!). Obviously there are some things outside our control when it comes to having a baby, but I just thought I'd let you know that you're awesome for doing your research! =)

    Here are a few of my fave blogs about the subject, if you don't already follow them:


  2. I love this post because selfishly being in health administration, I think it's all about Patient Experience. I don't want to have to drop you off at the front door and then LEAVE YOU to have to park the car (which is not close to the hospital by the way...)! Also, I'm continually amazed how much physicians and hospitals don't educate patients on the true and REAL dangers that can come with epidurals and other drugs. I realize that you need to be open to alternatives IF the medical situation requires it but you need to approach the pregnancy (especially the husband staying strong for his wife as planned ahead of time as a couple) with the agreement, "we do not want drugs/epidurals". If the situation warrants it medically, fine, but I just think it's mostly a mentality and I have been told that by numerous people who have been through it as well.

    Anyone who doesn't agree with that, watch the documentary the Business of Being Born and you will see where I'm coming from.

  3. There isn't a valet option? A lot of hospitals are doing that now - maybe there is valet in another part of your hospital and you could speed over to maternity in a wheelchair?

    Best of luck - it's so awesome ready and learning through these posts.

  4. I'm one week behind you and my husband and I are taking Lamaze...LOVE LOVE LOVE! I'm a huge advocate for natural birth and I think the techniques we're learning, and my husband is learning as the "guardian of courage" (cheesy, I know...) will be a tremendous help. Even after just two classes, I have learned so much about the labor and birthing process and techniques to use when times get tough. The thought of an epidural scares me... I'm sorry, but I'd like to feel my legs at all times!

    Love your blog!

  5. AnonymousJune 24, 2011

    I had the same reaction to the birth videos. The scariest thing to me was seeing the epidural.

    BOO for Shea having to drop you off and park the car. But...Seth had to do this too now that I think of it, and it was OK. Really, you have several minutes between contractions until the transition period and you might just have one or two while he is parking.