Critter Pa and I have now had 2 out of 3 of our childbirth classes, and overall it’s been a good experience. I’ve been reading a lot about natural childbirth, pain management and midwifery lately, and many of them have painted a picture of a laboring woman as being subject to doctors and hospitals rather than having their own decision-making power. However, let no one say that I submit to instruction meekly! (I’m sure my husband and parents wouldn’t) I ask a lot of questions and have at least some foundational understanding of medicine and hospitals, and generally think of them as good, safe places due to my upbringing and summer of shadowing my cardiologist father around this hospital and office.
All that being said, I’ve been pleased that the classes we’re taking (at the hospital where I’ll give birth) have been very centered on what keeps the mother most comfortable and relaxed during her labor. One of the two instructors is a Doula, and that helps even more, particularly since we’re using the hospital’s Doula program.
Here are some of the things that I’ve learned:
1. We are the slacker parents in our group – the only ones without a car seat already. Oops!We’re also one of the few that haven’t had a tour of the hospital yet (but I did get a GOOD look at triage a few weeks ago). And we’re the slackers that don’t have a pediatrician yet. Yeah, we’ve got a few things to do…
2. Critter Pa and I tend to laugh at inappropriate moments. While practicing relaxation techniques, he decided to tickle me. And later, during the big moment of the birth video, I cracked up. The video was clearly made in the late 80’s and the couple in question was certainly from New Jersey or thereabouts. There was a lot of good information in the video about labor coping strategies and a good, supportive, loving couple to emulate, but I just could NOT get past the accents! “At laayast Eye was ayble to hold Carl junyah in my ahhms.” It was a beautiful moment, and others in our class were tearing up, but I was dying laughing.
3. Most laboring women at our hospital will be hooked up to a fetal monitor at some point. However, you can ask for intermittent monitoring – 20 minutes on, 40 minutes off – so that you can move around. But the staff will likely not mention the option to you, and it takes a doctor’s orders to get intermittent monitoring. Good to know. I didn’t know this when I had my Braxton-Hicks episode a couple of weeks ago. You bet I’m going to ask for intermittent monitoring!
4. I’m going to have a real problem with the whole no-eating-or-drinking thing in the hospital. If you know me, you know that I’m always thinking about what I get to eat next, and that I always have a ginormous 1-liter water bottle with me. The idea of being restricted from food & drink (and being hooked up to an IV) is not a happy thought. The Doula suggested whole fruit popsicles, and I think that’ll help. But I *really* don’t want to have to go for hours and hours of not eating or drinking. Ice chips ain’t gonna cut it.
More soon – including a recap of the terrific shower that my church friends threw for us this weekend!