We had our birthing class this week—it was full of information and we actually had fun! I wasn't sure what to expect, but we arrived at the hospital on the day of our class, found our room, and walked into a group of about 20 others all in the same shape as us. Everyone looked a little scared, anxious, but eager to learn. The class we chose was a one-day event focusing on what would happen when labor began, how to manage and work through labor, and what to expect at the hospital.
The instructor was a wonderful woman who has been connected to the hospital for 10 years and helping to birth babies for many more. She had a great approach to giving some hard-core information and definitely didn't sugarcoat anything. We started out talking about how we got here. Now, many of you may feel you know this information already but I was happy for the review. I noticed my husband taking notes and commenting, "I didn't know that." From there we did some relaxation exercises, discussed different ways to breathe through a contraction, and learned how to have your partner help out.
Getting to Know the Hospital
After some hands-on relaxation activities, we headed out as a group for a tour of the hospital. This was so helpful and also educational! I really suggest it to everyone! If your hospital doesn't offer a class for you to take, just go ahead and make up your own tour. Figure out exactly where you'll need to go. You don't want to be driving and walking around in a panic while in labor. We were able to see a room and the equipment used during delivery and then a recovery room that is used after a birth. As the group relaxed we all began to ask questions freely. It was nice to be in a group that we could identify with—couples who were working through the same kind of questions and concerns that we had.
We all made our way to the hospital cafeteria and had some lunch. It was an opportunity to socialize with others. My husband and I even made a connection with another couple! We were really excited to swap numbers and keep in touch. After lunch came the big discussion—birth! What happens if ... ? Epidurals, C-sections, suction, and other emergency procedures were the main focus of the discussion. Our instructor had videos that we watched showing many of the different procedures, and then we all had a frank talk about what to do and expect if an emergency arises.
By the end I was tired but feeling very educated about what to expect on the big birthing day. Toward the close of class someone asked our instructor how she would explain giving birth. Her response was that it was an experience you will never forget or be able to explain, but that it will give you something that you will love for the rest of your life. I think I'm ready for that.
Waist measurement: 44 inches
Weekly weigh-in: 173 pounds
Pregnancy symptoms: Some lower back pain. I would really love to be able to touch my toes and stretch my back!
My favorite pregnancy anecdote for the week: "It's the worst pain you are ever going to experience." So says another random person telling me about the wonders of giving birth.
Pregnancy "first" of the week: Baby birthing class! It was very exciting to realize that baby birthing time is almost here! I wasn't so elated to hear specifics about how baby comes out, though.
Doctor's visit: Not this week.
About the Photo: The above picture of the author was taken during her 35th week of pregnancy by Dean Lipoff.
Read the next installment: week 36