Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Class

On Sunday we attended our first childbirth preparation class. It was interesting to say the least.  But first things first:






The food situtation must always known.

The instructor has a long history of medical experience from NICU to a school nurse- and she is also a certified lactation consultant. She has 4 teenage daughters all of which were delivered vaginally; I think she said one was unmedicated, and two were born in the hospital in which we are going to deliver. So, I see how she can be qualified to teach this course because she will be able to speak from a wide range of experiences.
We began by doing our introductions- I think the couple the furthest along was 36 weeks and the couple who had the furthest to go is due October 22. Then we did an exercise where all the dads went into one room and the moms in another and we had to make a list of 10 good things about pregnancy and 10 bad things. 2 things were on both groups positive list and that was feeling the baby moving and eating whatever we wanted. The guys came up with a positive list that included always having a designated driver, and getting household projects done (aaww what sweet hubby’s we have) and a negative list that included having too many pillows in the bed (funny!). We then learned about 3 stages of labor- pre labor, then the first, second, and third stages (go figure!) and then broke down what happens in each stage for mom , baby, and dad too. Within each stage some basic anatomy was thrown in there as well as common terms. Simple enough right? Well then we had to watch a video…
Horrified. I have no idea why. I knew this was coming and not only have I seen a childbirth video before, but I’ve also seen a live vaginal birth (and a cesarean birth) from my days while I was in medicine. I think it was different for me this time because my number is coming up soon. I don’t particularly care for the unknown especially knowing that the unknown is going to be a painful process. Before we conceived, I had heard and read about a wide range of different experiences about pregnancy- some good, some bad- but there was comfort in the fact that there are a wide range of remedies for pregnancy ailments, aches, and pains. I felt like if I have morning sickness I can deal with it through the various nauseous remedies available like eating light meals frequently, ginger, preggie pops, staying in bed (or over the toilet), whatever. With childbirth I don’t feel like there is enough options available to me to overcome this without being drastically traumatized. Sure millions of women have done it for thousands of years and I’ll get through it but there is just something about passing a human through my body that makes me incredibly nervous and downright scared. All the women in this video had unmedicated vaginal births which is kind of what I want. So what makes a women who is terribly scared of the childbirth process want an unmedicated vaginal birth?… the internet.
So there are two ways the baby is coming out: through the vagina or through the belly. Here is my thought process about this whole situation. It may not be your way of thinking but it’s mine and I am going to work it out over the next couple of weeks. And if I don’t I better go with God!

Cesarean birth
Pros                                                                                                                               
Pretty much pain free.                                                                                                
Little to no effort if it schedule if not emergent
Vagina remains in tact
Cons
It’s major surgical procedure
I’ve never had surgery
I don’t know how my body will react to the anesthesia
Longer recovery time
Scarring
I don't know how my baby will react to the anesthesia

Vaginal Birth
Pros
Faster recovery time than cesarean
Opportunity to immediately bond with my baby
It’s the way nature intended it to be

If unmedicated- the baby will not be affected by drugs

Cons
Could cause vaginal and perineal trauma (from ripping)
Painful (maybe)
Vagina may not be the “same”

With 4 pros for the vaginal birth and 6 cons for the cesarean birth- clearly for me, vaginal is the way to go (unless there is a health risk that brings about the need for an emergency-C. So how do I address the cons to help have the most positive experience possible? Perineal massage can reduce the chances of ripping. We all know baby’s head has to get out so why not start preparing for it to come out? The massage is intended to stretch the vaginal opening so that baby’s head can fit through. Some mothers have also suggested sex to help with the opening (among other things) (and I'm not above trying that!)

The epidural is the most common “pain killer” used for vaginal births- easy fix for pain right? Well, I’m not convinced. There are some side effects that do not appeal to me. The first and major issue I have with it is that it sometimes can affect the baby in a not so pleasant way. Some babies become drowsy and this interferes with their ability to nurse right away. Is it necessary for the baby to eat right away? No, (according to the instructor) but I want to because it will help with bonding. Sometimes the epidural can be spotty or not work at all. In that case I now have unless drugs in me and my baby's system. Epidurals (if it actually works) not only takes the pain away but also any feeling you have period. So that means no walking for a period of time and you can't feel yourself pushing the baby- how am I supposed to get him or her out if I  can feel 'em?!

There are alternative drugs such as Demerol and Stadol but these are narcotics and is intended to only take the edge off and won't take the pain away completely- and still affects the baby.

Then there are alternative methods like birthing balls, water births, hypnobirthing, etc. I haven't yet had the opportunity to research all of these methods and I feel as if I have no time to. Ideally I would like to do a water birth (however I don't think the hospital I am delivering at allows it) or at least labor in water (I will find out if this allowed and I don't mean a shower). I have heard very good things about it and the only con that I came across would be that it can sometimes relax the mom to a point where labor slows down (and that is not the point).

So do you now see why I am so conflicted- trying to achieve (for the most part) a healthy and safe delivery as well as a healthy and happy baby?? We have another class on Sunday that includes a tour of the hospital, more in depth talk about cesareans, and some other things I forgot. We will see what comes of this. Pray.

3 comments:

  1. I can't wait to see some pregnancy pics! Please email me a couple "real" ones where I can see your face, if you don't mind. Girl...I literally can't even imagine being married, pregnant is like a myth and GIVING BIRTH?! What's that?! So its completely understandable that you feel scared!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll definitely send you some :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Mrs, I am so happy you stopped by my blog :). And glad my post inspired you to be fit during the remaining weeks of your pregnancy :).

    I am now following you. Hope you will stop by again, I am going to link you up so that I will come read more often ;). Have a great evening.

    ReplyDelete

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