Being new to the whole "giving birth" thing, I though it best we take a class to see what the dealio is. I'm really glad we did. Our classes were held over four Saturdays in September and took place at Cedars-Sinai (which is where we will be having the wee one). I figured if nothing else, just getting a tour of labor and delivery at Cedars would be worth the price of the class! That place is HUGE!
Here's what I learned (I can't speak for Kurt as I'm pretty sure he was focused on different aspects):
•Giving birth is really nothing like the movies. Yes yes, I know that movies fake most things but seriously, real life is so much easier. In the movies, your water breaks, you are suddenly in horrific pain, and you have to race to the hospital. Then, labor lasts about 40 minutes and comes with more pain and yelling and screaming. Also, nobody seems to ever get an epidural in the movies. Ever.
•Giving birth in real life seems to be mostly about being uncomfortable for a longish while. It's not like 24 hours of one giant contraction.
•During the early stages of labor you are encouraged to stay at home as long as possible. "They longer you stay at home, the less time you spend at the hospital." Of course if there is a problem or concern, we'll go to the hospital right away. But if things go fine and dandy and my water doesn't break (it's not that common for labor to start with water breaking, I learned.) then we will be here, walking around, I'll be breathing a lot and trying different positions to weather each contraction as they get stronger. When they become very regular (approx. 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each for an hour) then we will head over to Cedars.
•Watching the actual birth movies was very wonderful and moving for me. They made me feel much more comfortable about the whole process. In fact, I'm now very excited about labor and delivery because it's all temporary and at the end you get a baby! (I think I was the only one in the class who teared up watching the birth movies we saw. Some of the guys were being all manly and going "Oh ugh!!" at the actual birth part, but I just got all weepy with joy. Babies being born, how awesome is that?)
•Cedars-Sinai Labor and Delivery is a big place. The actual delivery rooms are huge and seem very comfortable. Seeing it all beforehand took away any fear or mystery (for me).
•Now we know where to park on the day!
•Unless there is a specific reason not to, your baby stays with you all the time while you recover at Cedars. And there is a small cot/bed for Kurt in the recovery room so he can stay too. Family gets to be together all the time, right from the start. Sweet.
So I'm ready. Baby needs about seven more weeks to bake, but when the time comes, we will breathe and, as our class instructor says: we will focus on the power of my body, not the pain!