Thursday, June 16, 2005

Antenatal class number one

What luck - our antenatal classe are held literally five minutes away. If I wasn't such a lumbering beast at the moment I would have insisted on walking there, because it's just down the hill, across the street and into a side street.

The first class was pretty full once all the latecomers turned up, and they were from all over the area (including two preggies who live just around the corner). It was kinda sociable - the midwife who led the class got the preggies to get up and mingle several times over the course of the two hours, and the hubbies/partners/support people had to do the same.

Despite all that book-learning I've been doing, I still managed to learn stuff which I didn't know already from reading about it. The biggest surprise was that, once labour starts, we aren't supposed to yell and scream for the ambulance to take us to the hospital right away - we're supposed just hang out and wait maybe several hours, until the contractions are closer together and we're dilated to a certain degree. And guess what - we're only expected to be at the hospital for a few hours, unless there are complications. Which means that the long list of items I've been told (by the books and magazines) to pack for the hospital is almost completely useless. I was packing several pairs of undies and socks, shirts etc - when really all I need is myself and what I'm wearing, plus something for the baby to wear home.

Apparently I'm going to have to learn lots of birth positions, because on the day no-one's going to tell me how to give birth. It's not at all what I was expecting.

10 comments:

Jon said...

You should just get a c section. I know it leaves a scar, but is all that pain worth it??? ;)

Violet said...

Well there are several disadvantages to having a C-section:

1. it's major abdominal surgery, so you get all the risks that accompany a major surgery

2. it takes a lot longer to recover from a c-section than from a vaginal birth - there's pain during the recovery period too.

3. both the mother and the baby will be drugged out from it, so breastfeeding and bonding don't happen as soon as with vaginal births

Mind you, I wouldn't turn it down if I got into complications.

Jon said...

Well, I wasn't breast fed and your child could be as normal as me! ^_^ wait, that's probably a good reason TO breast feed.

BTW- my friend's mom had a c section simply because she didn't want to undergo the pain. true story

EB said...

Yes, hanging out at home during labour was a surprise to us too. It seemed like birth by phone. They told us that if I can still speak on the phone then I'm not at the stage where I should go to hospital yet. At the hospital they would ask if I felt the urge to push.

Having said that, I never reached that stage and it was decided to go to hospital based on how long the labour was and the irregularity of the contractions.

... several hours. Hopefully less! It can be longer, even days.

...how to give birth The body takes over and the labourer is the best person to know how it feels and what positions seem the best. I was skeptical of any position helping at the time but now I think I ought to have given a few others a go even if it didn't make sense, just in case.

Had you heard of the Pink Kit? Unfortunately it isn't free but if I was to do it again, I'd look into this as some NZ mums have found it helpful for achieving a vaginal birth.

A surprising thing was that the midwife said I could take Panadol during labour. I didn't to avoid drugging the baby but afterwards, since a c-sec meant taking Panadol and Voltaren for months on top of the epidural and anaesthetic as well, then sometimes I wondered whether the Panadol in labour might have helped avert the surgery.

The midwife also mentioned taking Evening Primrose Oil would help the area that would get dilated as she noticed my discomfit on examining the baby when she put her hand inside and felt around.

...what I'm wearing Hopefully you have breastfeeding friendly gear. Apart from the maternity bra, soft shirts, skivvies, jerseys are good in that they can be pulled up and arranged to hide most of the feeding site. Buttoned shirts are no good.

Another surprise was the number of graduates / trainees that were involved. First the midwife had a trainee who came along to the labour and the hospital had two trainee staff.

Out of the three items you mentioned in the comments to Jon, item 3, breastfeeding stands out for me. I would have done more to avoid a c-sec had I realised the delay and the impact this would have.

On the otherhand, having the c-sec meant staying in hospital longer which meant more time to get help with the said breastfeeding.

However, it has all worked out. You seem to be doing more than me so I'm optimistic for you.

Nigel Patel said...

I'm with you, C-sections shouldn't be taken lightly.
I was on soy milk, had half a dozen protein alergies for the first three years. But it was 1972 and mostly it was just hippies breastfeeding then.

Kazzer said...

oh yikes, Violet, have you checked out to see if there is another option? Haven't they invented a matter transporter yet?

onscreen said...

Ok, first, can we loose the term vaginal births and replace it with natural births, Thnaks.

Second, I can still remember one of our Antenatal classes, about 9 years ago.... Can remember anything that we learnt, I only remember who the Midwife breifly touched on morning sickness and how we should have all left that behind many months ago, cept for extreme cases. She asked if any one was still suffering and my wife put her hand up. When asked how often my wife said 8 - 10 times a day. You should have seen the looks on the faces of all the other preggies in the room - each one thinking 'what ever' or 'yeah, right'.

But about five mins later my wife rushed to the cubicle toilet at the end of the room and spent 5min puking up. The cubicle wasn't very soundproof, so when we retunred to our seats the looks on those faces had totally changed to shock and "you poor thing, how are you managing".

Possibly i should have remembered more thatr just that from all the antenatal classes, but that moment tends to stick.... ;-)

Violet said...

jon: I wouldn't pour scorn on anyone who can't handle pain, but apparently some women choose a c-section to ensure they don't lose their ...um...tightness.

eb: I didn't know you had a caesarian - but I remember you said your tummy was two hand spans by the time you gave birth. If the kid's going to be that big, then maybe that was the way to go. I'll have a look into the pink kit - thanks.

nigel: I have so many allergies (as do my niece and nephew) that I'll do whatever I can to minimise the likelihood of my child having them too. That means breastfeeding, and I'm also taking probiotics every day.

kazzer: funny you should say that, because to be honest neither method of birth sound particularly fun to me - which is strange 'cos you'd think that Mother Nature would want us to enjoy giving birth so that we'd do it more often.

onscreen: your poor wife. Luckily for me, my nausea was mild and easily fixed by eating .

glomgold said...

I'm surprised that no one at the hospital would provide you with instructions during the birthing process. Are these classes you take mandatory? Otherwise it seems high likelihood many expectant mothers would wind up in trouble!

Violet said...

I'd expect to go through the whole thing during the classes (there are 4 more, after all), then it's up to each individual to do whatever feels best for them. I'm sure that if my mind goes utterly blank, the midwife will be able to suggest a few things!