The second and final antenatal class was about labour and pain relief. There were over 20 of us there and I hadn’t realised that so many partners would attend as well but I guess for most of them it was relevant. I’ve become so used to saying ‘my baby’ and not having to worry about anyone else’s needs that I forget it’s not the same for everyone.
My main objective was to find out about labour and the pain relief. I had originally been very positive about things like epidurals but a friend had told me how she was against them so I had been rethinking it. I have also been reading Hypnobirthing: The Breakthrough to Safer, Easier, More Comfortable Childbirth and about how childbirth doesn’t have to be about pain. Some of this was also mentioned in the class.
Some of the useful information was about when to call the hospital – when the contractions are coming every five minutes or so, are painful and building in length to at least 40 seconds; the three stages of labour, (1) when the neck of the womb opens to 10 cms (2) when the baby moves down through the vagina and is born (3) when the afterbirth is delivered; what to pack in the bag for the hospital, remember toothbrush, some food, dressing gown, socks, ipod etc. needs to be ready from week 36;
We were given a pack of pamphlets that look quite useful:
- Coping with the ‘Latent’ Phase of Labour
- Positive controlled breathing in labour
- Pain relief in labour
- Epidural pain relief in labour – St Michael’s Hospital
- Third stage of labour
- Listening to your baby’s heartbeat during labour
- Relaxation for pregnancy and labour
- Guidelines for when to go into hospital
- Diagrams of useful positions for labour
- Advice for labour supporters
- An A to Z of ideas to help you cope with pain and feel in control of your labour
I am not too worried yet about labour, my biggest issues have been about who to take in with me, ex-boyfriend / best-friend / housemate? Sister? I think I’d rather be alone but we’ll see; the cost of child care when I have to go back to work a year later; whether to make an effort to keep the dad updated with photos or information once the baby is here; what kind of life insurance to take out in case something happens to me and the baby survives and other such issues.
I am not sure about the class, I felt it was structured a bit strangely and not quite as helpful as I had thought. When one girl asked about whether we could put things like ‘using forceps’ in our birth plan, the midwife looked at her like she was totally out of sync and talking out of turn. Barely anyone knew about labour though so we couldn’t feel as relaxed as her when she assured us that it would happen anyway no matter what we read.
I sit here writing this while the baby keeps shuffling around and pushing the boundaries of my belly with its knees and feet. I’m not yet at the stage where I want the baby to arrive as soon as possible. I am happy to be an incubator for a while longer since the lungs don’t fully develop until the last couple of weeks. I’ll be full term in three and a half weeks and I may kick into more worries around then but for now I’m enjoying the Hypnobirthing book and my musical playlist of baby lullabies [spotify].