How to Have a Baby

birthing ballRyan and I spent Saturday with eleven other couples learning how to have a baby — or rather, how to watch videos about having babies, I guess. I don’t really think that they said very much that I didn’t know, but there were some good things that took place.

For one thing, I got to try out a birthing ball (which is just a slightly deflated exercise ball) and think I’d like to get one. They’ll provide one at the hospital, but they recommend them in late pregnancy for comfort, and it really did feel good to sit on it. I think I can get an exercise ball at Target or a similar store, at which point it’s just a matter of figuring out how much to inflate it for this particular purpose.

Another REALLY nice thing was that the class — led by a L&D nurse from the hospital where we’ll deliver — made me feel much better about the upcoming experience. I’d left the tour of the L&D wing feeling a little lukewarm about the whole thing, but everything that the actual nurse and class said made me feel much better. Talk about natural childbirth, immediate skin-to-skin and breastfeeding, and varied positions for labor were the default; I had worried that there would be pressure for a more “hospital-y” birth, but it looks like, if anything, the opposite will be true (which is fine with me!) They went out of their way to show us all of the options, including all of the different ways that the bed could be arranged. I’m feeling much better about our decision to use the hospital now that I know that the nurses assume and will support the kind of birth experience that I want.

The best part of the class? Definitely the hand massage. 🙂 I’m inspired to go find some really good hand lotion now… it’s funny how good something so simple can feel — kind of like when someone plays with your hair. They say it’s a rather helpful thing for dads to do during labor.

Because it was such a large class, none of us really interacted with one another. I know that we were all due in the same range of time — I’m guessing all April/May babies.

I’m having a hard time resisting the urge to compare my body to those of other women due at about the same time I am. Twice now I’ve had slightly uncomfortable conversations with women who are due the same week as I am. The gal I spoke to on Saturday was clearly indignant that I was smaller than she was. I guess I ought to enjoy it — I’ve been overweight for some time; it’s been a long time since I’ve felt petite!

This Wednesday, and the following one, we have another class that focuses on natural/non-medical pain relief strategies.  (The hypnobirthing class was super expensive and time-consuming, but I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the basic concepts from reading the book.) I hope that the class has a lot of good information in it and that it is time well-spent. If nothing else, it’s kind of nice to feel as though we have done something to prepare, even if it isn’t the most mind-blowing information in the world. I’m also glad that it’s two short sessions, instead of one marathon class; I was happy to get it over with in one day instead of several evenings, but that was a very long day (especially considering we had to go from it almost directly to an orchestra concert).


2 thoughts on “How to Have a Baby

  1. Have you considered having a doula? I loved ours, and she really helped me organize my birth plan and was such a source of support when I had to advocate for myself with the L&D doctors to have the birth I wanted.

    I used my regular exercise ball, and it was really nice. It was especially handy the day I went into labor, but the hospital sent me home since I wasn’t far enough along to suit them. I spent 4-6 hours on the ball, rocking through the contractions. I could just let you use mine for as long as you want, if you’re going to be around Les Boise this weekend.

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