Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Childbirth Class #3

Last night was the third class in our series of four childbirth classes. Last night's topics ranged from pain relief to birth assistance methods to C-sections. The instructor and a video both went over various methods of easing pain, from drugs that take the edge off to an epidural. We also talked about using forceps or a vacuum to help the baby out, and of course, if that doesn't work, how C-sections tend to go. In and around those topics we talked about complications that might bring about use of those methods. The worst it got this week was probably discussions about episiotomies (where they proactively cut the opening where the baby is exiting, to make it a little bigger...to prevent it tearing on its own). It's a pretty scary concept. We also talked a bit about what our bodies will go through in the aftermath, from bleeding for weeks to excess fluid to care of any incisions we might end up with via an episiotomy or a C-section. It's all pretty nasty, but what can you do? Like it or not, it's coming! Oh, and we did a mock pushing session. Nothing too in depth, just learning how to take three breaths, push as long as we can, quickly exhale and inhale, push again, and on and on, until the fake contraction was over. Not really anything we can learn beyond that, though...just something we'll have to experience.

I'm definitely starting to get concerned about stamina. The pain can hopefully be handled with medication, and any other complications are just things you have to be aware of...you can't worry about them at this point. However, every time we're talking about any sort of labor, talk is of hours...like six hours after arriving at the hospital, this woman was 4 cm dilated. Twelve hours later, she was ready to push. That's an awful lot of uncomfortable waiting. I know labor generally isn't quick (and too quick is bad, if you're looking to be drugged), but when I think about how long and painful the process is, I just hope I can summon the energy from somewhere to get through it reasonably well. I think how long a work day can feel sometimes. I might be completely comfortable all day and still be a little miserable by the end of the day. I can only imagine my mood after 14 hours of labor. Yikes. Let's hope adrenaline and excitement are enough to push through it all.

Next week's class is our tour and a review of everything...should be a nice way to wrap things up...

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