Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthing Class

Hi Little Man,

On Tuesday night of this week, your dad and I went to our first birthing class! It seems like a huge milestone to me, because it's a five-week course and I was exactly 33 weeks on the first night of class...which means on the last night of class, I'll be exactly 37 weeks - full term! I can't believe how fast the full-term mark is's insane!

Technically, if I look back, it seems like it's been a lot longer than 3 weeks since I turned 30 weeks, but still, that full-term mark is fast approaching, and I love, love, love, love, love it!

I was definitely one of the two most-pregnant women in the class. They don't let you take a class that ends when you are more than 37 weeks pregnant, so we really pretty much cut it as close as possible.

As far as I could tell, there was only one other woman in the class due in April - the rest are due in May or June. So weird!

It feels especially funny, because the last time we did anything like this was when we took a tour of the maternity wing of the hospital in Boston (long before we decided to move). At that tour, I was by far the LEAST-pregnant woman. I was about 14 weeks, I think, and everyone else was in the late-20s to 30s. It's weird to be on the opposite end of the spectrum this time around.

I'll admit, it bothers me a little bit that I'm one of the most pregnant women, because (not that it should matter what anyone else thinks), I hate the idea that the other class members (and there are a lot of them!) will think that we just don't care and procrastinated or something. Anyone who knows anything about me would know that I would never procrastinate something like this. In fact, I probably would have been one of the first in line to sign up for this class, had I known about it sooner! But alas, because of the nature of our move being so late in my pregnancy and so last-minute, it caused us to sign up later than I would have hoped for the class. I guess it ultimately doesn't matter, because I should just be grateful that they had an opening in the class and we're able to take it at all, but I feel like I should explain myself to the other mothers so they don't think I'm a slacker!

The class itself was I said, larger than I expected. So far, we haven't really learned anything that I didn't already know from the hours of research and the three books that I've been reading concerning labor and delivery. BUT, the second half of the class was all about practicing relaxation and breathing techniques, and that was AWESOME! Again, not a ton of new information there (in theatre classes, like I've taken in the past, you often use relaxation and breathing techniques similar to those used in birthing classes as a way to calm yourself and focus), but life has been so stressful recently that it was really nice to actually have an hour set aside to actually use some of those techniques. It really did help me to feel more relaxed. Seriously, if they offered a birthing class that ONLY did that sort of stuff, I'd be all about it!

Your dad definitely enjoyed it, too. I'm glad that the class will be addressing the role of support people in labor and delivery, because both your dad and I want him to be actively involved in your birth, but I'm sure, without having been involved in a birth before, it's hard to know how to be as helpful as possible. This class will help him figure out how he can be as helpful and as active as possible.

The only thing about the class that really surprised me had to do with some of the expectations that women have concerning labor. When we first got to the class, the instructor had women share some of the words, images, and thoughts that come to mind when they hear the word "labor." To be honest, the words that come to mind for me are "peace," "calm," "assurance," "trust," "joy," "excitement," etc. When I think of labor, I think of a soothing, dimly-lit environment with calming music on in the background. I think of trusting my body to know what to do and simply allowing it to work in the way that it was designed by God to work. I think of trusting the process of labor, with the assurance that it was designed by a good, loving God who only wants the best for me. And I think of the end result - namely, you, sweet boy - and the joy and excitement that will come with holding you and seeing your face for the first time. This is what I think of.

Well, maybe I'm nuts (or just really lucky, actually), because there were very few positive images and words that were tossed out there by the other women. Most of them were things like "terrified," "nervous," "pain," and "freaked out." Only a couple of positive words made it onto the board, like "adventure," and only one of the positive words ("life") came from a mom. The rest of the positive words came from the dads and other support people in the room.

The words were so different from mine that I was almost embarrassed to even participate, so I didn't. I could just picture saying my word, "calm" or "peace," and having the heads of 30 people whip around to see who the crazy person in the back of the room is and to assess whether she poses any threat of going psycho at some point during the evening. So, I just kept my words to myself, delighted to know that my picture of labor is not one of being terrified and doubled-over in pain and angry and freaked out. No, not at all.

Of course, there's no way to know how I will react when I do actually go into labor, but at least for now, the idea of labor doesn't cause me any stress or fear. Right now, it just causes me excitement and anticipation. And it doesn't get much better than that! I'm so glad that I can look forward to your birth without any negative emotions, fears, or feelings holding me back from experiencing the complete and total anticipation and joy that I want to feel, that I should feel, when thinking about meeting my son for the very first time.

What a blessing!

I thank God with every fiber of my being that he has given me this assurance. I wouldn't have it without him.

I love you, Baby Boy - keep on growing strong!



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