Ryan and I had our first childbirth class yesterday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Methodist Hospital. Let me just say that it was a LONG day! I'm so glad we did it all at once rather than going 5 weeks in a row for 2 1/2 hours after work. That would have been the pits! When we got there, there were all of these bagels and fresh fruit, and of course I couldn't eat any of it. I had already had my carbs for breakfast, but I grabbed a banana (2 carbs) for my morning snack. So far testing my blood sugar is going fine. It's actually pretty interesting to me, and I've only been over 2 times, I think.
Side note...I am participating in a program through our insurance company (Anthem) where they give us $300 in our HRA toward health costs, and all I have to do is talk to an RN every so often. It's really great, and I actually like the nurse a lot. Anyway, I wanted to mention her because she answered some questions about gestational diabetes, my new diet, testing my blood sugar, etc. I felt fine leaving the class, but once I started doing things on my own, I had some questions, so her timing was perfect when she called. She told me not to be too alarmed if my blood sugar was still somewhat higher at times even on this new diet plan b/c my body is having to adjust to the changes. I could eat the same thing next week and may see different results. For example, the other day I had 1 1/2 cups of Special K and 1 cup of milk. My blood sugar was 154, and it needed to be below 120. So, this morning I just had 1 1/2 cups of Special K and 1/2 cup of milk, and my blood sugar was 118. So, I think just making that minor change helped. In sum, this program was really helpful, and I think a lot of insurance companies are doing these types of things now. Of course, their goal is to keep down costs by patients going to the doctor unnecessarily, but for me, I wanted the $300. Plus, it gives me just another resource to answer any questions or concerns I have about the pregnancy.
Jumping back to the childbirth class...we began the morning session by breaking up into two groups (there were about 7 couples in the class), introducing ourselves, and writing down 10 topics that we wanted to learn about that day. Of course, we all wanted to just roll our eyes because it felt like high school all over again, but we pulled it together and finished the activity. The instructor was a lactation consultant, so all morning she created opportunities to talk about how wonderful breastfeeding is...which is totally is...don't get me wrong, but you could just tell that it was a big priority for her to talk about it a lot. She showed us how to do pelvic thrusts, and at one point, she even got on all fours and began arching her back and then relaxing it. This is a 65 year old woman thrusting her pelvis at us. Yeah, I was a little uncomfortable...not gonna lie. Ryan (the mature and practical one that day) reminded me that this lady was here to help us and our baby, and I knew he was right. So, I pulled it together and tried to keep an open mind. :)
Side note...at church today, Pastor Danny said something like, "Every single person in this world matters to God. So, everyone should matter to me." I really needed to hear that because sometimes I struggle with certain people I work with or the instructors at our class, for example, and it will be something good to remind myself of when I'm in those moments of feeling annoyed or bothered by certain people doing certain things. Those people are loved by God, too, so I need to show them love, too.
Anyway, I honestly can't tell you too much about the class because so much of it is stuff I have already read. I was surprised by questions people were asking (e.g., Are there side effects of an epidural?) because there is just so much literature out there these days that can explain everything to you. The morning instructor talked a lot about ways to cope with natural childbirth, how the hospital accommodates that, etc. She talked about working with doulas, too, which again reinforced our decision to have this baby at Methodist. Not all hospitals will talk about natural childbirth, doulas, birthing tubs, etc. I was the only one who raised my hand when asked if anyone was planning on a natural child birth. I think a lot of people were thinking more about it, though, as the class went on because the risks of medical interventions was discussed a lot, mostly in the afternoon session of the class.
In fact, let's just jump to the afternoon. We had a really hyper lady for the second half of the day, and again, I was telling myself, "She is here to help you!" She talked a lot about the different interventions that might occur during your hospital stay. I learned that every patient gets an IV port just in case of emergencies. I guess it is one less thing for them to worry about. Then she talked about inducing labor, epidurals, fetal monitoring, c-sections, etc. I'm not going to lie...when I heard about all of those interventions and how having one can often lead to another, natural childbirth again sounded more appealing to me! It only reinforced what have read in books and articles. The internal fetal monitoring tool was one of the scarier things she showed us. Basically, if they are having a hard time getting an external read on the baby's heartbeat (intermittent or constant), sometimes they will put an internal monitor on the baby. This requires sticking a long wire/tube inside of you and screwing a little hook into the baby's scalp....NO THANK YOU!!! Please don't screw something into my baby's head...are you kidding? My favorite was when the nurse was showing us the BIG METAL FORCEPS! They look like HUGE salad tongs, and the nurse could not get the two pieces to connect. She tried and tried for a long time, but finally she just passed them around in two separate pieces. Thank goodness that is the doctor's job, right? Anyway, I wouldn't even touch those bad boys. They were TERRIFYING! Please don't squeeze those in my body, grab my child's head, and pull him/her out of me. I've just heard to many horror stories about kids being permanently scarred, temporarly bruised, and worse yet...brain damaged from doctors using them. Again, NO THANKS! I pray that God gives me the strength to push this baby out because I don't want a vacuum or forceps used on my child's head.
On of my favorite parts was when we all sat down on out blankets and pillows (yes, just like the movies) and learned breathing sounds like, "choo choo", "hee, hee, hoo", etc. It was good stuff to talk about, but you just feel so silly pretending that you're having a contraction when you've never been in labor before. She also passed around several massage tools that our husbands could use on us during labor to provide relief. I like massages, so that felt great! Then she passed around some lotion for our husbands to massage our hand. OH MY GOSH! Ryan put the biggest pile of lotion on his hand and started rubbing my hand with it. My fingers had lotion strands between them...my hand was completely white with lotion, and his hands were just as greasy! I SERIOUSLY ALMOST DIED LAUGHING! I could not pull it together. We didn't have any towels or anything, so he just kept rubbing away, trying to massage my hand as the nurse was instructing everyone to do. I thought I was going to pee my pants laughing! I had tears in my eyes and was being a total distraction, but I really couldn't pull it together. I wish we had a camera because that would have been one heck of a picture to post!
At the end of the class, we took a tour of the hospital. We found out where to have our family and friends enter the hospital and how to direct them to the correct place. The waiting room is very small, I'm guessing so that not too many people come and bombard the hospital, but there is a larger waiting area downstairs on the main floor. Our plan is to labor at home for as long as possible to make sure that I'm actually in labor and in order for me to have freedom to move, take a bath/shower, eat, watch tv, try to relax, be as comfortable as possible, etc. before coming to the hospital. Then we have to go to triage where they will check me and confirm that I am in labor. After that they will put me in a labor, delivery, and recovery room where I'll do just that. After the baby is born, they keep you in that room for up to 2 hours or so. She said that as long as everything is ok at delivery time, they will leave the baby in with us for about an hour to start bonding and breastfeeding because the baby is usually really awake at this point (unless of course you've had narcotics that crossed the placenta). After that the baby will get its first bath, and we can do this ourselves in our room with the assistance of the nurse, or they will do it for us. I like the idea that the baby will never have to leave our sight (in the case of a healthy baby) unless we make the choice to have it taken away...or if it's a boy, and he needs to be circumsized. Then we we head to the postpartum unit where we'll spend the next 48 hours. It was good to see the rooms again and to be in the hospital. I know that I get really nervous at hospitals, so trying to create a calm, peaceful environment is going to be key to me not freaking out once we get there. While I feel somewhat anxious to go through labor, I know it will all be worth it once we see our little boy or girl. :) Having Ryan and our doula present during the labor and delivery will be so helpful, and I do trust our OB's skill set...even if she isn't the warmest person I've ever met. I also trust my body...that it was created to do this! Plus, I have the support of all of my family, friends, and God, so what else more could I ask for? Only 8 1/2 more weeks to go, and I can't wait!!!