Childbirth preparation – ALL DAY

On Saturday, Drew and I got up at 6:30am and headed to Stockton for a childbirth preparation class. Reasons for going all the way to Stockton?
1. We could attend the class with Liz and Bill, which was a kind of fun thing to do for two couples who never do anything together as couples, and
2. This hospital offers all their classes free of charge, whereas it would have been something like $125 to take the class at our hospital.

We found some good seats and went through the massive amount of available paper resources while we waited for the class to start.

The class consisted of a slideshow presentation, interspersed with videos and some real-life practicing. The woman leading the class was amusing but also over the top, and laughed at all of her own jokes, but I liked her. About an hour into the class we had our first break, and afterwards we got to get down on the floor and practice things like relaxing breathing and massage and using a focal point. I liked this because I got to lie in a pile of pillows, pretending to focus on a “lovely sensation” blowing over me, while Drew rubbed my back. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

But a true thing is that two people on the floor in a pile of pillows takes up a lot more space than two people sitting in two chairs, so it got a little crowded. There was a guy sitting directly in front of me, and I became a lot more acquainted with his bare back (his shirt kept riding up, like, majorly) and his extremely dirty socks than I ever wanted to be. Liz said after her relaxing floor massage, she opened her eyes to see that the couple right behind her was kind of looming over her watching them. That’s pretty awful. And not relaxing. And not the delivery experience you want to have.

We did some other exercises, like swaying and vocalizing and stuff, which was all interesting, but also kind of intimate. When we started doing the swaying stuff, Susie (our teacher) put on some music, which happened to be “The Way You Look Tonight,” and one girl who looked like this pregnancy might be sort of accidental (and who was there with her mom) blurted out “This is the song I got pregnant to!” How are you not supposed to laugh at that? (She and her mom were also cracking up.) (After lunch her husband showed up and the four of us were all happy for them.)

But it was kind of strange to sit in a room full of couples, and practice things like massage and speaking quietly and encouragingly to each other. And know that everyone did something intimate to get into that room, and now we’re all practicing doing something else that’s very intimate (in a different way) with our partner, with whom we’re going to go through yet another experience that’s incredibly personal and (to me at least) somewhat private. It’s kind of like, I had to just block out that there were other people there who might be looking at me or listening to me, and focus on what I needed to learn to get through (what I’ve been told can be) a harrowing experience.

After lunch, we talked about epidurals and analgesics, and c-sections and all the fun medical stuff. Sitting on the floor started to get kind of uncomfortable. Then we did some more practice vocalizing to get through the pain, and she told us how to push without holding your breath. (Something I’ve never really thought about before, but it totally makes sense, and I will definitely keep that in mind.) She went over postpartum depression and how it’s really important to watch for it and treat it. We ended up getting out early, which was definitely nice since we had the entire drive back home.

Overall, I liked the class and I’m glad we went. It was definitely nice to get all the info laid out for us, and to see some videos of different people’s birth experiences. Also I do feel like I learned about some techniques of getting through this things sans epidural. There wasn’t any information in the class that was brand new (thanks to the internet and the last 8 months of one-track thinking), but it was still nice to hear it all in order. I am glad we didn’t pay full price for that same class here, though.

Last night I ordered a second car seat base from Target. The weird thing is, that’s kind of the last thing we “need.” Which means that, I guess we’re ready at this point. I mean, “ready.” Whatever that means…

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Filed under "Other people", Drew, Friends, Memoir, Nonfiction, Pregnancy, Travel

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