Butch and I went to our first pregnancy-related class* last weekend: Childbirth Prep. It was held at the local hospital where I plan on giving birth, and was a good opportunity to poke around a bit, since I’ve never (luckily) had reason to go there before. The teacher (one of the nurses) was interesting, candid, funny and had relatable stories to share from her own two pregnancies.
Obviously, at this point, I’ve done enough reading and researching to have a general understanding of what may happen in my labor and delivery, but it helped to have someone repeat it to me again in a situation where I couldn’t be distracted by outside forces (like browsing the internet)! The material wasn’t new, but I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude of the nurse as she explained the policies of the hospital. In short, it doesn’t sound like it will necessarily be an uphill battle for me to have the sort of birth experience I’m hoping for (or at least one as close as possible), and not just because I plan to have a doula in the room with me.
I guess I had gotten the idea somewhere along the line that one chooses to do a hospital birth, you will inevitably experience a birth that you’re unsatisfied with – whether it involves being pumped full of medications that you don’t want or just having your wishes ignored in general. Now I do know people who have had legitimately unpleasant experiences with their hospital births, but it at least sounds like the staff at my hospital are open to birth plans, alternative pain management techniques and offer a variety of equipment for you to use – in nice, private rooms (some even with jacuzzi tubs)!
In class, we went around the room and quickly introduced ourselves and shared our due dates, etc, and whether we had any specific questions or concerns. I mentioned that I had been so busy with work that I felt like I hadn’t been giving my pregnancy as much thought as I should have. The teacher responded by saying that it was probably a good thing that I hadn’t allowed myself to get too preoccupied or worried about something I don’t have complete control over anyway. She also mentioned that both her births had been medication-free and she truly believed that dealing with labor pain is mostly mind-over-matter (she later revealed she worked in the field of psychology before switching to nursing).
I can’t know exactly what’s going to happen come delivery day. All I can do is arm myself with as much information and courage as possible…and try to go with the flow.
*On a side note: It was also interesting to be in a room full of other preggers, all due around the same time as me – ranging from this week (cutting it a little close, ladies) until end of October (although strangely, none within a week of me). I do have a couple of friends due in October that I’ve been seeing on a regular basis, but it really helped me mentally to witness all these other girls, looking very similar to how I look, all dealing with their various aches and pains and concerns and daily lives. Not sure if I’ll see any of them again at our next class (or ever), but I’m sending out positive vibes to all of them for happy and healthy deliveries!
Photo from Mom Logic, which mentions some labor method classes that I WISH were available in this area (and the comments section is interesting)