Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The Right Childbirth Class for You
I didn't really know that I was in labor when I went in for my checkup on June 22, but my doctor said I was, so we headed on over to the adjacent hospital to have a baby! The doctor came in and broke my water so labor would progress, then a little bit later the anesthesiologist arrived with the biggest needle I had ever seen to give me my epidural. Unfortunately, my husband had run home to grab a few last minute things since (as noted earlier) I wasn't really planning to have a baby that day.
The nurse said that it would feel kind of like a little bee sting when I got my epidural. Since I'm allergic to bee stings, that kind of scared me just a bit. Let me just say it didn't feel like any bee sting I've ever had. It HURT!!!!! Several hours later, the nurse said I was fully dilated and could start pushing. I couldn't feel anything, so I tried to push when they told me I was having a contraction, but I didn't do a very good job of it. After over 2 hours of that, they used a vacuum extractor to get her out and whisked her off to the nursery because she had swallowed a lot of blood from being stuck in the birth canal so long.
I decided that I would never again give birth that way. I began to educate myself, found a wonderful midwife who worked with an OB/GYN group, and nearly three years later had my second child after just a few pushes following a labor that progressed on its own under Midwife Katie's watchful eye. I was still in a hospital setting, but everything was radically different. Babies 3 and 4 were born in similarly natural, relaxed settings.
I have since become a huge advocate for a mother's right to have the birth she desires. If you know you want a medicated birth, then prepare yourself for it by attending a class at the hospital. Huntsville Hospital offers a 2 week or 4 week class for $50. Crestwood Medical Center offers a free 4 week series or a 1 day Saturday class. If you already know you will have a C-Section, it's still a good idea to take a class designed for you.
However, if you are leaning toward an unmedicated birth, you would be very wise to look for more extensive preparation. Jennifer Berry is a Bradley Childbirth Instructor who offers an in-depth 10 week series that will prepare you for any eventuality you may face during your labor. Her students range from couples giving birth in the hospital setting to those who are planning a midwife-assisted delivery. The time and money you spend preparing your mind and your body for birth will be well worth the end result! He class size is limited to just 5 couples, so it is imperative that you make your plans to attend one of her classes early.
If you haven't really given much thought to this matter, spend some time talking with your partner about what's important to you in your baby's birth. Then together you can choose the class that is best suited for your needs.
If you've already had your baby, please leave a comment about your childbirth class and what you most liked or didn't like about it!