Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Upcoming Birth

So last night we went to our birth class. The classes were offered as a series of three seperate classes or you cold just take one or two classes individually. We opted for just the last class on labor. Now I kind of wish we could have taken the other two classes but it's a little late now!

As I've never been to a birth class before I don't really have much to compare it to in the US but overall I think it went well. Since I am wanting to do an unmedicated water birth in a birthing center (not a hospital, although the center is connected to the hospital) the approach of the class was exactly what I was hoping for. The instructor was a little more "mother earth-y" than I expected but she really was well informed, open, honest and had a great sense of humor. You just got the feeling that she wanted you to be as prepared as possible without being in a panic. She was encouaging us to go with out bodies, listen to what our bodies are telling us and if it feels right, do it. There isn't one way to birth a child and every woman, child and birth experience is different.

One of my biggest concerns about going into labor all along has been that I wouldn't be able to stay calm. This isn't necessarily a rational fear of mine because I generally do very well in internse or urgent situations. Of course these "situations" are not usually involving me personally or a child being squeezed out of me. It's really the aftermath (read: fainting) that really gets me, once you have time to sit and think about what just happened. So the class was really great in that sense. It helped me to know what to do when I did feel to intense, had trouble breathing through or with contractions and it helped Marco to know how to read the signs that things were not going well. It also taught him how to be a great coach and support for me. I have a feeling I'm going to need him more than he knows.

We learned and practiced different positions for before pushing and during pushing. We learned and practiced different massage techniques we can use for pain relief (this was my favorite part of course). Overall it was just a really great class. I feel like I can do this. I don't really have a choice at this point not to do it, but I really feel like I am prepared to get through this labor like a champ... or at least get through it alive.

We also did the tour of the birthing center last week (or was it 2 weeks ago). I was really impressed. It's seperate from the hospital and not owned by the hospital. It's basically like a well staffed hotel that knows all about helping women in labor. You go into your room and it really does look just like a hotel room. There is a huge bed, a TV, a table and bench, a fridge, cabinets... very hotel-y. In the bathroom is the birthing pool (the toilet is in a seperate room I believe). When you get there you aren't immediately hooked up to anything. No monitors, no IV, no doctor pushing you on pitocin to "speed things up", no nurse offering you drugs halfway through, no anything. You can eat if you feel like it. You can drink water, juice, tea when you're thirsty. None of this "no eating and only ice chips for the woman who has been laboring for HOURS and is soon going to need energy to push a baby out of her" like it was for my sister in her hospital births. It's an extremely natural approach to giving birth and this was something that has been extremely important to me since the beginning. It may not be this way for everybody... I know plenty of women who just wouldn't feel safe or comfortable in this non-medical environment and who want the epidural the moment they conceive but this is what I want for my birth.

After the baby is born you are allowed to take a shower, move around the room, lay on the bed... whatever it is you wish. You're also allowed to go home just as soon as you feel like it. I asked what most women do and she said the families usually stay for 3 or 4 hours and then pack up and go home so they can be together in their own beds, their own houses and start living their lives as a new family. This was the clincher for me. I get to go home. Soon. As soon as I want. With my husband and my baby. Perfect.

Of course things are much different here in Holland in that the midwife will come to my house to check me and the baby at least twice after the birth. I will have an in-home nurse (paid for with insurance) specialized in mom/baby stuff (I don't think that's the technical term) come to the house for 3 hours every day to check on me, check the baby, hel with breastfeeding and help us get settled in for the first 8 days we are home. I can kick her out anytime I want but I can also squeeze every minute out of her for those three hours as well. Some even do light housework, cooking, serving guests or other small tasks if you need her to. Since Marco will be with me for the first 2 weeks I don't think I'll need her that much but it's nice to know it's available.

So there you have it. I'm ready. Any time. Well anytime after I'm 37 weeks is fine. So I could have a baby next week or I could have a baby in 6 weeks if the little booger is late. Let's hope it's not the latter. I'm ready to meet my little girl and get started on the motherhood adventure.


Monica said...

This sounds WONDERFUL! I'm so glad you are going this route! Have you seen the Rikki Lake film about homebirths? I am hoping to do this with baby number 2. Eliot's hospital birth was proglem free, but just not as intimate or as well supported as a midwife and home or center birth can provide. I'm so excited for you!!!

~Jess said...

Sounds like a fantastic place. I second the movie "The Business of Being Born". My mom had me and my siblings with a midwife and loved her midwife and the experience.
I never had put much thought into birthing for myself, but I definitely think I would like a natural birth and a relaxed environment, like what you'll have.

becklette said...

...and i will want the epi the moment i concieve. for serious.

i'm totally in awe of you and women who do the whole no-drugs bit, cause, wow, i wish they still did twilight sleep! (only not, cause, you know, it was damaging to the babies and all.) my mom did it 4 times because of--ready?-- peer pressure! everybody was refusing the epi when she started having babies, so she did too!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. I'm glad you feel so reassured and prepared now. Well done!
I don't think I will want to live the pain.. I'm all for the drugs when necessary ;)

Cherise said...

It all sounds so great! I'm sure you'll do wonderfully. Honestly, it's not that hard to go drug free. In many ways drugs scared me. Being free of them meant I had more control over my body and what it did. Even though we ended up at the hospital, I'd do it the same all over again.

You'll do great!