alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

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Getting Prepared for Childbirth

In our seemingly never-ending quest to prepare ourselves for our baby, my husband, The Gryphon, and I attended a one-day seminar on Saturday, learning about Prepared Childbirth. Many people often think of a Lamaze class, but that's not exactly what this class taught. The registered nurse (RN) running it provided us with a detailed look at the stages of childbirth, informed us about roles for the support person, taught us breathing and relaxation exercises, discussed pain relief options, and familiarized us with the hospital's birthing center.

Clip art of a Lamaze class
An artist's rendition of a Lamaze class

It was, of course, a long day, much of it spent in the same uncomfortable chairs where we sat for our four-week "Baby and You" class. Fortunately, we still had the small pillow in the trunk which I could use to give my back more support. Surprisingly, though, aside from mild rug burns I somehow acquired while doing breathing exercises on a floor mat, I felt pretty good by the end of the day.

This was a very different group of students than attended our "Baby and You" class, and I found myself wishing we were with those people again. The baby care class had been much more engaged, asking questions and participating. With this class, even when the RN asked for a response, hardly anyone would speak. Aside from The Gryphon and I, and one woman sitting in the back with her taciturn husband, nobody really answered or asked questions.

Later, as we sat on the mats, I noted expressions ranging from engaged and interested to concerned. One couple, who had shown up half an hour late, consisted of a wife who looked completely bored and zoned out, and a husband who seemed to be eagerly absorbing everything. Across from us were a couple in their 20s who had unusually closed-off body language, each of them sitting with arms crossed; the husband with his legs crossed, as well. I couldn't decide whether they were resistant to the information, or to the instructor, or whether they had fought with each other that morning. While other couples showed small signs of connection -- including the mother who was coaching her 20-something daughter -- this couple continued to be very closed off.

During the lunch break, we took the lunch bag I'd packed with sandwiches, baked potato chips and carrot sticks across the road to the mall, where we ate on a bench and then browsed the comic store, returning just in time for the tour of the birthing center. It looked as homey as possible for a hospital, and there was a lot of pink in there (presumably to make the mothers feel at home), along with framed prints from Impressionist artists. Even the birthing room looked very homey, except for the medical equipment, of course.

We found the class useful, and I especially enjoyed seeing the birth center, to familiarize myself with where I'll be for the birth and the recovery. The seminar, however, raised a few questions related to the common practices at this hospital and what we want to do. For example, the RN couldn't give us a clear answer about whether I'd have the opportunity to breast feed relatively quickly, even if I had to have a Cesarean section. I'll have to make sure that our desire for that to happen will be made clear, spelled out in a birth plan. Of course, I hope to avoid that eventuality, but as I discovered from talking with a friend this weekend, C-sections can happen even when the rest of the pregnancy went smoothly.

I didn't get my usual afternoon nap and actually fell asleep during one of the breathing exercises! Fortunately, The Gryphon was paying attention. We're supposed to practice the exercises at home, and if we do, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

A seven-hour seminar in uncomfortable chairs is rough on pregnant women.

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Tags: baby prep, gryphon, pregnancy

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