The cost of the course is $100, but our insurance reimburses us $40/each, making the total cost of the class a mere $20. We were both skeptical and a little cranky going in this morning, well maybe more than a little cranky, as we had no idea what to expect. I was dreading sitting in one room for 7 hours being lectured at, and frankly was frightened that I'd leave more scared than when I went in. That couldn't be further from the truth. We had an amazing instructor and the time literally flew by (I didn't check my watch once) and we both ended up leaving empowered and determined.
A few highlights:
- We spent the morning going over recognizing labor vs. false labor - I didn't learn much new, but was able to confirm all that I read.
- Once you confirm you're in "real labor", a lot of this first stage can be done at home. In fact, she encouraged us to stay at home as long as you can (until contractions are 5 minutes apart and last for a minute - she even had us download an ap to my iphone that calculates all that). During this early stage you can eat a little, thank God and want to keep super hydrated.
- Gravity is your friend during labor. Our hospital is equipped with birthing balls, and a gorgeous atrium. It is really the Cadillac of hospitals. She encouraged us to keep moving as much as we can and to make our birthing rooms our own (bring in pillows/blankets/games/laptops - there's free wifi).
- Then, we got information on where to go when we get to the hospital both during regular hours and after hours - all things I had no clue about.
- We spent a while going over pain medications, the pluses and minuses to using them, and options to control pain without meds. I went in thinking I'd try without meds, but probably end up getting an epidural, but afterwards I feel so empowered that I'm leaning more towards just using the Nubain (an IV med that takes the "edge" off, but allows you to have full movement, once you get an epidural, you are stuck in the bed) if need be. At the same time, our instructor remained very neutral, not advocating for a natural birth or using meds (about 57% of women who give birth at St. V's end up using some sort of med).
- Right before lunch, we got a full tour of the L&D department, including a birthing room (very private, full size TV's, plenty of space) and the postpartum room (even spacier, has a micro fridge, and is completely private). This was also a great experience. I thought I'd walk through the L&D dept. hearing women scream and wail, but it was peaceful and quiet. Oh, and for all of you who want to come and visit, you're more than welcome, after J, I and baby settle in. :)
- After lunch, we went over medical interventions from pitocin to induce labor, to c-sections, to the use of a vacuum or forceps to help the baby out. All of these are kind of scary, but in the end, whatever works to get the baby out safe and sound I am more than willing to do.
- We ended the class going over relaxation techniques and breathing and just chatting some more.