J and I attended our first Childbirth Essentials class on Saturday. It’s from 9-12 for four Saturdays. This meant I actually had to set an alarm rather than sleeping to my heart’s content (usually somewhere between 8 and 9:30). There had been a 1-4 pm option a couple weeks later, but I figured it would be best to get up, go to class, and then have the rest of the day for whatever, even if that may be a nap. I also didn’t want to run a higher risk of going into labor before we finished the classes.
Our first class went through some basics, like the structure of the class and some ice breakers. We also discussed our hopes and worries about the class and labor. It was funny because the instructor split us into 2 groups for that activity: the mothers and the support people. All the support people there were men, more specifically husbands. The instructor had the men start with the worries and the women started with hopes and then we switched. The women all laughed a bit when we read the men’s worries. I don’t mean to undermine their worries, but I had to laugh because I could see J thinking pretty much all of them. There were worries that the class would be a waste of money/boring (J was the one out of us who seemed the most keen on taking a class though), dropping the baby (apparently all of the men’s worst fear), being the least prepared in the class, cleaning up the amniotic fluid if the water breaks at home, and that the wives already know everything.
We also went through the stages of labor, how long each lasts on average, what kind of noises we might make during a stage (e.g., moaning, chanting), what we might be thinking during each stage (e.g., I can do this, I can’t do this, I am doing this), where we’ll physically be during the stage (e.g., home or labor and delivery), what we might do during a stage (e.g., walk, sway, sleep, slap out a rhythm), and how dilated to expect our cervix to be during a particular stage (the instructor had a 10 cm circle she showed us and omg!!!). We talked about when to go to the hospital (e.g., 5-1-1 rule of thumb). She said that being dilated 4 cm would get us admitted into at labor and delivery (4 will get you in the door), but then she made a comment about how our husbands do not have to go spelunking to figure out how dilated we are. I think the men were all relieved at that one.
We finished the class by discussing relaxation techniques, and practicing a hand massage and deep breathing. I was quite satisfied with the class. It helped me feel more relaxed and gave me renewed belief that I can at least try to cope with the pain before begging for an epidural. I might still request one, but I want to try some other techniques first. J said he expected the class to be more about getting on the floor and doing Lamaze breathing (after all we were told to bring a yoga mat and pillow) and less about group activities. I think we likely will do more practice stuff, but the info and just talking about things is very valuable in my opinion too. Three more classes to go, so I’ll keep you updated.