So we spent ALL DAY yesterday in Lamaze class. We arrived at about 8:45 am and left at about 5:30 pm. Looooong day. But very well worth it. The class was held in a Lamaze.org trainer's home. Her whole basement was dedicated to the teaching of the class. In one room we set up our mats and pillows for breathing practice and in the other there were chairs and couches for the classroom portion where we watched a power point presentation and she lectured, with a birthing film at the very end.
I'm SO GLAD we went. When she first started, it became very clear that she was going to cover the entire child birth process beginning to end. I started wondering if the birthing class at the hospital is going to be redundant, but now I figure another perspective won't be bad and also that they will speak specifically to our experience at our hospital.
In a nutshell, Lamaze is NOT breathing like a crazy person. I thought it was. I thought we'd feel ridiculous and I wondered if I'd be too embarrassed to actually do the techniques during labor. In reality, it's much closer to the breathing and relaxation that I do in yoga and meditation. It was so ME. Very, very simple breathing techniques geared toward relaxing the mind and body so that we are not focusing on the pain. The instructor created a most peaceful environment and the day was full of practicing how we're going to manage when the time comes. Russ practiced rubbing my back (um, yeah, it was FULL of massage for me all day - bonus!) and we talked about what I liked and what I didn't. It was very bonding. We practiced getting know my signals so that he knows when to do what. We tried different laboring positions - some of which look like he's trying to keep me up when I'm drunk!
Surprisingly, most of the people there planned to have an epidural but wanted some tools to use during early labor. While the instructor definitely led us to believe that an unmedicated birth is very, very doable, she never ever made anyone feel judged about their choices. She went into great detail about how an unmedicated birth could potentially be. She then explained the narcotic option (I had no idea that one was used so often!) and epidurals. I left feeling that whatever option we choose, our baby will alright. I definitely left feeling like I can totally do it all without anything, but I am worried about it going on for 20+ hours and how well I'll hang in there. I can't say enough about how she made us feel that the experience can be a calm and beautiful one and nothing like the crazy scenes we see in movies and on TV.
One thing she advised which I hadn't thought about is having 2 different bags. One for labor and delivery and one for postpartum. I obviously knew about the one bag with my robe and baby clothes in it, but it hadn't occurred to me to have one for all the things we'll need during labor. One thing I'm going to bring is a little, cheap hand-held fan. I hate being hot and sweaty and I think it'll help me feel good. Also , I need to find out if I can have dim lights and candles (maybe battery operated ones if real ones aren't allowed?). Pillows from home are a big one too. My mind is full of possibility and I'm glad she got me thinking.
All day, I kept thinking that I couldn't believe we were actually sitting there learning about all this stuff. I don't know when reality is going to set in, but to think that we could safely go into labor in a few weeks is more than I can wrap my mind around. And then she'll be here!!! Keeping my eye on the prize is the thing that I know will get me through any amount of pain and unease. Bring it on.