I’ve decided to step a little outside the box and share some of my “mom story”. Mainly just for fun, but also because I think that individual experiences can contain powerful messages. Some of it is just funny and other parts are very sad, but it’s all part of the journey of motherhood.
But, we’ll start with the funny side of motherhood. My first pregnancy and birth . . .
Nothing Prepares You for Childbirth Like a 6 Week Class that Requires a Pillow
I was first-time pregnant with a bad case of first-pregnancy glow. Despite a couple early trimester scares, I was successfully in my third trimester, had managed to not gain the dreaded 70+ pounds, and still felt pretty great.
We signed up for our childbirth class at a local small hospital. To first-time parents, the class seemed like an amazing deal. Six two-hour classes for only $35 dollars with free handouts. After all, the average 4 hour class offered by larger hospitals seemed hardly adequate to prepare for a life-changing event like the first birth.
I remember arriving for my first class, pillow in hand. Despite being already 34 weeks pregnant, I was the only member of my class that looked like I wasn’t about to give birth at any instant. It would be a miracle if even half the class made it through six whole weeks.
If you are pregnant, I hope that you feel lucky because I’m going to share all of the childbirth lessons that I learned from that class in one little short post. And, I won’t even charge $35. No free handouts though, sorry!
Childbirth Tip #1 – Be sure to breath.
Our first classes included detailed birthing charts and long periods of practicing Lamaze breathing. When we were supposed to breath long or short, I wasn’t sure. I was getting an epidural, so I paid little attention. Plus, even though my instructor emphasized natural, un-medicated childbirth, she had only experienced two scheduled C-sections. In other words, her lessons on childbirth were based more on theory than actual experience and it was obvious.
Childbirth Tip #2 – Relax.
My favorite part of our childbirth class was the meditation exercises where we would lay on a pillow with my eyes closed listening to relaxation music. We were supposed to be mentally going through the rainbow, but I thought it was a great chance to get a little extra sleep. Plus, the meditation exercises would always make me giggle much to the dismay of my husband who really wanted to take the classes seriously.
Childbirth Tip #3 – Be nice to your husband. He has a hard job ahead of him.
Each night, we ended by giving our husbands’ back massages. Our instructor reminded us that they were going to be the greatest husband’s ever by rubbing our backs for hours while we were in labor. Forget the fact, that we were all pregnant, tired, and in no mood to be paying back massages forward.
Childbirth Tip #4: Find out what you are getting yourself into before getting pregnant.
One night we watched a video on birth. I’ve always been a little squeamish. So, I closed my eyes and thought about something else. In fact, I didn’t read or pay a bit of attention to any information on labor. I figured that was why the hospital hired nurses.
Childbirth Tip #5 – The ice water demonstration is a joke. Don’t believe it for a second.
I still laugh at the day when we stuck our hands into ice water as a way of preparing ourselves for the pain. Breathing through a couple minutes of frozen fingers isn’t anything like trying to survive the hours that it takes to have a baby.
Photo Credit: Team Dalog, Flickerr
Nothing Quite Prepares You for Childbirth like a Personal Testimonial
Then it happened, the first girl in our class mysteriously disappeared due to labor. As an educational benefit for us, she perfectly timed her birth to be the week that we went on the tour of the labor delivery floor. And, our teacher promised us that we would get to visit her.
We came to her recovery room and she came out to meet us. All of us hopelessly already pregnant women felt our hearts drop upon seeing her. She was pale, dressed in her hospital gown and she looked tired, worn out, and beaten.
“How did it go?” our teacher asked.
“Not so great. I was in labor for around 24 hours when my labor stalled, so the doctors recommended that I get an epidural. I still ended up getting a C-section after 30 hours of labor.”
“Did the breathing exercises help?” responded our teacher.
“Maybe a little bit, but not really,” she replied politely.
“See!” said our teacher. “Those breathing exercises really DO WORK!”
And, the rest of us looked at each other with despair. There was no way out other than forward.
Read Part #2: Checking in for Birth a Little Early
Hi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these popular posts: Skin Therapy Play Dough, Sticky Blocks, and 50+ No Sew Halloween Costumes. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.