Our entire Saturday was dedicated to learning about childbirth! From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Ryan and I were immersed in a class that covered everything from what to expect during the various stages of labor to relaxation tips and more.
After breakfast at home, we left our house and headed to the hospital to join about 10 other couples for a full-day Childbirth Prep class.
As instructed, we brought pillows and a yoga mat and arrived excited to learn more about what exactly we’ll be experiencing within the next 28-or-so days. (I seriously cannot believe we’re less than 30 days away from our due date right now. WHAT!?)
It was overwhelming, exciting and, if I’m being totally honest, pretty darn terrifying. As it turns out watching videos of women going through labor isn’t exactly my cup of tea. Thank goodness every video ended with a woman holding her baby because that is the image I’m holding onto as I start to think about my personal labor.
One thing that became very clear from watching a handful of birth stories is that everyone’s story is so, so different. When I first got pregnant, I remember talking with some women who asked me about my “birth plan.” My what? I thought the plan was just to have a baby. Well, detailed birth plans seem to be quite popular, but if watching birth stories taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
I think it’s wonderful to tell the doctor the type of birth you’re hoping for if you have strong thoughts about certain procedures or medications, but I also think it’s so important to be adaptable and understand that during labor, conditions can change in a second. I definitely have certain thoughts I’m going to share with my doctor but in the videos we watched, we saw moms with one plan have to make a quick change to help them have the safest delivery possible. It was really interesting to see the different labor experiences and while I definitely could’ve done without some of the graphic parts of the videos (yes, they showed the crowning and delivery on multiple occasions), in the end I walked away feeling like childbirth is something I can do, even if it scares me more than I care to admit sometimes.
Seeing a baby pushed out and seconds later placed on the mom’s chest was so emotional for me. I truly cannot fight the tears when I start to think about that moment in my life. It’s right around the corner and yet still somehow seems unreal to me. I know I cannot begin to imagine the way I will feel when I get that skin-to-skin moment with our baby boy, but if there’s one thing I’m going to focus on during labor, it’s that moment.
Aside from watching birth stories and discussing different options at length, the class took us through some laboring positions that might provide comfort and ways your person of support (in my case, Ryan) can help alleviate pain and provide distraction during contractions. (The “double hip squeeze” felt fantastic!)
We tried out about a dozen positions and though I obviously don’t know what will feel best to me in the moment, I was all about the birthing ball on Saturday. I loved the way it alleviated pressure in my hips and back and allowed me to roll around.
Another position I liked a lot was the simple sitting position where you sit down on a chair backwards and drape your arms over the back of the chair with a few pillows placed between you and the chair back.
The class was really helpful and I’m so glad Ryan and I were able to take it together. Neither of us realized how long many women labor at home before going to the hospital or that fact that only about 10 to 15 percent of women have their water break before they go into labor, so it was helpful to learn a bit more about what we can expect when everything starts happening.
After the class, Ryan and I decided to share some ice cream before driving home.
We split a small cup of butterscotch and a double scoop of cotton candy ice cream in a homemade waffle cone and it was fantastic. A great way to end the day!
On our way home, we started talking about dinner options and I, predictably, said I just wanted to eat my bodyweight in watermelon, so we swung by a local market to pick up a large watermelon.
We also nabbed a chicken pot pie and a key lime pie to eat that night and spent the rest of the evening on the couch with Sadie.
Saturday was jam-packed with a lot of information and even though parts of the class made me feel uneasy and a bit nervous, I am very glad I went and left feeling a little more prepared going into the final month of my pregnancy. We’re in the homestretch!
Questions of the Morning
Lots of questions for the moms today from this curious mother-to-be…
- Did you have a “birth plan” going into labor?
- Did everything go the way you thought it would?
- Were there certain positions you gravitated toward during labor?
- What helped you relax the most or provided you with the most comfort during labor?