Our birth class was this weekend. Rather than signing up for a class that meets three, six, or more times -- we wanted to get it done in one shot. Plus, our particular class was taught by the midwives that will ultimately deliver baby A. It was a lot of information, but well worth the 9AM to 4PM chunk taken out of our Saturday.
10 Things We Learned . . .
- The time to go to the hospital? 5-1-1 rule. Generally, it's time to head to the hospital once contractions (the kind that stop you in your tracks) are happening every 5 minutes, lasting one minute, for one full hour.
- Writing a rigid birth plan isn't the way to go. Instead, writing up a "wish list" can be helpful as a guide. The way I interpret it -- keeping the wish items positive "DOs" versus a long list of "DON'Ts" is more effective.
- Move, move, MOVE during the labor process. If one thing doesn't work, try something else. My midwives suggest changing it up every half hour. Related to this: Unless there's a compelling reason to do otherwise, I'll be monitored every hour for only 10 minutes.
- Along with monitoring, our hospital doesn't practice automatic IVs. Unless I'm not well hydrated/etc., I won't need to have an IV placed upon arrival.
- Keeping energy up is a huge part of the birthing process. Our midwives suggest drinking plenty of clear liquids and even eating small snacks to keep up strength. The uterus, after all, is a muscle and needs to be fueled just as if I was running a race.
- The key is r.e.l.a.x.a.t.i.o.n -- which may be easy to say now and seemingly impossible in the moment. However, a relaxed body may go with the flow better than one that is tense. Interestingly, methods of relaxation that work for me now might not be the same ones that will do the trick during labor. So, I'll need to be flexible, adaptable.
- Though all natural may be preferable, pain medication and epidurals can be useful tools depending on how the labor is progressing. Use of them shouldn't be looked upon as failure.
- Breathing can help the process. We learned that basic Lamaze method. As well, our midwives don't necessarily coach pushing. Instead, they see how each patient does and proceed from there will advice and help.
- If I need to have a c-section, the hospital offers anxiety meds. (I asked this question.) I'm the kind of girl who just can't get over the mental picture of having myself cut open while I'm awake. With only a thin sheet separating me from what's going on.
- After baby A. is born, it's critically important to spend time as a family -- just the three of us. No visitors for at least a couple hours is what we're thinking.
Information overload, really. But I feel like most of my questions were answered. If I have more, I'll ask them in my bi-weekly (yay!) appointments -- my next of which is on Wednesday. Overall, I don't think anything can really prepare a woman/couple/family for the actual day. In my opinion, it's good to know some basics beforehand to lessen worry about the great unknown.
We're ready, Stephen. Right?
Moms out there: What surprised you MOST about labor/delivery? Or what do you wish you HAD known going into the process. Others: What do you think YOU'd want to know headed into this life-changing experience? Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.
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