Prepared Childbirth Class
When I learned this was a Lamaze class, I got a little scared. I had absolutely no intentions of going through labor without an epidural – I wanted drugs!!!
We gave it a chance anyway – and I should say it was well worth the effort of dragging our butts to all 6 hour-and-a-half Sunday night sessions. Not only did we learn exactly what happens to a woman’s body during labor and delivery (making me understand why Braxton Hicks contractions happen), but also how I can cope with true labor pains, if, for any reason, I can’t have an epidural. Lamaze became Plan B.
This class taught me a few other things in addition to what I read in books and the Internet:
- A contraction isn’t such a bad thing. Every painful contraction during labor is one contraction closer to delivery. And when the contraction becomes unbearable, it only means it’s all about to be over within 24 hours. Don’t tense up trying to fight it. Instead, try to RELAX your whole entire body -- that’s where a nice, steady, deep breathing comes into play. Try this: very slowly inhale, very slowly exhale.
- Go to the hospital when you feel the 5-1-1: contractions 5 minutes apart, for 1 minute that go for 1 hour. This didn’t apply to me though, but that’s a whole other story.
- A childbirth class doesn’t automatically make a new-mom support group. Not when your classmates aren’t very generous with their smiles or words in class. But I don’t blame them – our class was at 7PM on Sunday nights - not exactly a time for high energy levels.
- Every pregnancy, even with the same woman, is different. We saw many birthing videos and learned that each pregnancy experience, not to mention labor and delivery, is unique. Everything I learned in class and read in books or articles online are just meant to guide me in what COULD happen.
Newborn Baby Care Class
This was a lot of fun -- we got to practice carrying, burping, diapering and bathing with a newborn doll. It also showed us different pictures of newborns, preparing me for what my baby might look like – from bluish, to cone-headed, to covered in white goo (vernix), to other unimaginable possibilities. That squashed most new parents’ expectations of a new baby: a clean, perfect-looking bundle we see in TV commercials and movies.
After taking both of these classes, I learned one final thing: I’m still clueless. Not as much as I was a few months ago, especially because I went through my own labor and delivery already. But because I’ve never done “baby care” before, I sometimes still wonder if I’m doing things right. I still have so many questions about caring for my baby that I know only hands-on parenting can answer. Besides, just like every pregnancy, every baby is different, too.
So, I’m trying to be patient. I am already on the best class I can possibly attend – my life. I’m looking forward to what it can teach me about raising my little boy. Good luck to me!