Thursday, August 29, 2013

Birth Class: Worth It?

Tuesday was our last birth class; I let Will stay home because

A) He asked;
B) He's already learned all of this, and has even delivered a few babies;
C) He spent last class drawing this... No c-section is complete without a shark, Viking, monkey or turtle. Or dinosaur, for that matter.

The classes were broken down into four topics: Signs & Stages of Labor, Medical Intervention & Pain Management; Indications of Caesarian birth & Physical/ Emotional Changes After Delivery; All About the Newborn. I also took the extra lactation class offered.

The classes mentioned above were all free; there were more comprehensive ones offered, but since my MIL and SILs gave me a doula as a baby shower gift, Will and I did not think additional classes would be necessary.

Were those above mentioned classes necessary? Maybe not. Will certainly did not enjoy them, though he attended most because I wanted him to be there. I did not learn anything particularly new, but it did give me a better peace of mind. I enjoy being in the classroom setting; Will preferred reading the slides later, verses sitting through the slides being read at him for two hours. (But you got to munch on cheese and crackers the whole time... they offered us a cheese platter, people! Yum.

The two best classes were the lactation class and the newborn class. The information provided at the other three were pretty standard, but, again, I liked listening to the nurse talk about it in an organized fashion. It helped me wrap my mind around the fact that I am going to be giving birth in a few weeks.

Waiting for the baby feels like this:
Heidi, the family dog, being a lioness and waiting for her "prey" at the dog park
Waiting, waiting, waiting... but not particularly wanting anything to happen. People have asked me if I am excited (well, yes), if I am counting down the days (never), and if I'm prepared (sure... but my bag has yet to be packed).


Heidi and I are both on the prowl...
Then, Will asked me to stop reading all the articles because it was playing games with my emotions, and we had a nice talk instead about why contractions hurt and what's happening in my body and yes, I am strong enough to do this.

Though he's taking a very practical approach to our baby, I will say that I am glad he's got medical opinions based on medical facts, verses my "feelings" on the matter...

Now, I'm as content as this pigeon eating a beignet:

Life happens.
I still have to write up a short birth plan (I considered natural, but am now on Team Epidural), register at the hospital and pack a bag (recommended: robe, socks, chapstick, conditioner, toothbrush & paste). I've considered charging my ipod and bringing that along too... although I have no clue what kind of music I'll be interested in hearing while contracting.

Birth class is a good place to be - there are also method classes, which may help moms and dads with more specific pain management techniques. I'm satisfied with having a doula and an epidural because it won't be guaranteed that Will is going to be there during the whole of the new couple deliveries (I'm not sure how his future hospitals will work), and I'm trying to be realistic about that. Wait, did I just say future pregnancies? Girl, get yourself together! Have this baby first!

I'm especially glad I took a lactation class - that is probably the best class to take,  because breast feeding may be the most common and best for you and the baby, but it is certainly no cake walk. Cheers to all moms who do it!

When it comes to having birth, for those fellow type-As who just want to "know!!!!!!" what is going to happen, I comfort myself this way: women have been having babies for millions of years and with way less pain killers and knowledgeable staff members around them. I'll be fine, even if it's going to really, really hurt. Pain with purpose.

The biggest thing for moms to take away is that they've created a little individual who is not going to fall into all the categories nicely. Babies are born with the instinct to eat and the ability to poop/pee and sleep, but they are also brimming with potential. They're new to this world too! Sure, I did not have a small person depending on me before, but the small person did not have to depend on me either. Hungry? Eats. Bathroom time? Shazam. Warm and cuddly while training for the Olympics in the dark? Nice place here. Sleeps without interruption? Yeah, well, you and me both, buddy.

I suppose the thing I'm really waiting for is my heart to explode. I distinctly remember meeting my baby sister (14 years ago...feeling old...) for the first time, and my heart growing 3.5 times bigger to accommodate the love I felt for this person I had been waiting for, and just met. It was amazing, and I bet it is going to grow even bigger for Bambino Baldwin #1. And no class can really prepare you for that.


  1. Hurrah, babies. You can totally do this! (And let me just say-- if your heart *doesn't* explode with love immediately, no worries. Hormones be crazy. I did not feel that connection till 3 weeks after E was born. But once it kicked in, man oh man.)

  2. Remember to bring your own underwear. I know it's totally something you would pack anyway but it's the one thing I wish I had when I ended up in the hospital after Daniel's emergency c-section. (In hindsight, I should have asked my mom to go buy me some.)

  3. Ditto to what Rebekah said; I didn't feel super connected with Callan until a few weeks in, just worried about him. But there's nothing wrong with that...and if your heart does explode right away, enjoy it to the fullest!