Another week down...
On Saturday we attended our Childbirth and Newborn Care class, which was a whopping 7 hours long. We chose to do this 'express' version instead of four different evening slots because it was basically impossible to attend that many dates with our schedules and I'm glad we knocked it all out in a day. It was super-informative, kind of exciting, and definitely surprising in a good way.
Our instructor was easily 70+ years old. Her name was Barbara and she's been an L&D nurse for over FIFTY YEARS....is that not insane or what? So immediately I was skeptical of Barb because I figured she came from the old school, and delivered her own babies back when they strapped you down to a bed, kicked your husband out of the room, and made you go to sleep for the delivery with that creepy as heck 'twilight' concoction. And yes, that did happen to Barb. But no, she was not totally out of touch with modern-day L&D and in fact, she surprised me with how pro-natural birth she turned out to be. Maybe she's all about swinging to the other extreme due to her frightening personal experiences? Not only was I pleasantly surprised with Barb's outlook on options for childbirth, but she had the most hilarious, dry sense of humor ever and I could totally picture her being an awesomely hip grandma who drips in sarcasm while wearing her blue eyeshadow and reddish orange lipstick. She was adorable, you guys. I wish I took her picture.
Obviously, in a seven hour course about labor, delivery, the hospital itself, recovery, newborn care, and parenthood in general we learned a butt load of information and I could go on and on about it here. But I'll just hit the highlights so this post doesn't take seven hours to read.
We got to practice different breathing, relaxation, imagery and positional techniques to assist in natural pain relief. Having Nate stare into my eyes while we breathe in and out together was a surreal experience indeed and I cannot help but get a little excited about having Nate as my go-to teammate in labor. I know that Nate can keep me focused during intense physical and mental events, since he is basically the one who helped me push through my first full marathon experience all by using positive reinforcement. If I start to totally flip out and lose my mind, I know he is more than capable of reeling me back to reality. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that there is only so much poor hubby can do for me when I'm in 10/10 pain but if anyone can keep me calm it's Nathan. Oh, plus he's really good at massage and 'hip squeezing' to relieve pain since he's a stellar PT student so that's another score for me:)
We watched a ton of DVDs on labor, delivery, pain relief methods, and newborn care. Nate didn't know too much about analgesic use, epidurals, and c-sections in birth so it was great for him to hear both sides of the story as our instructor was very unbiased on this part, presenting both pros and cons to go natural versus medicated. Now that he understands why I'm hoping to avoid a snow-ball effect of interventions he can be a better advocate for me during the process. He knows that first time L&D is totally unpredictable, so I have no idea how my body will react to the pain, but at least we know we have options. And ultimately, the biggest goal aside from having a healthy baby boy at the end, is to avoid a c-section. Just learning the facts about why people end up with a section is empowering and I know that it might very well be out of my control but I'm hoping we can do everything possible to get baby Carlos out through my va-jay-jay. Yes, that exit route sounds just dreamy, doesn't it?
The one thing I REALLY wanted to learn in our class was our hospital's specific statistics and Barb pulled through on that one for us. Our hospital is a small community based organization, which is one of the reasons I love working there, but I wasn't sure how they'd match up with national averages being so much smaller than the big wigs out there. Well, in 2008 they delivered 1000 babies which was much more than I anticipated. Out of those births, 28.3% were by c-section which is pretty much at the national average for 33%. But when you break it down, only 15% of those were first time births and the remaining 13% were repeat c-sections. I think 15% is an acceptable stat for first time births, don't you? Only 50% of those births used an epidural which is significantly lower than the 75-90% in some teaching hospitals. So maybe avoiding an epidural isn't a total joke after all, huh? Only 13% needed an episiotomy, which again, is a lot less than the national average these days. So overall, I'm pretty pumped to deliver at a hospital with stats like these. Not only that, but because it's fairly small there isn't a giant newborn nursery and all babies are encouraged to stay in the room with mom from the moment they are born. Of course, if we decide we need a little snooze break they can take him to a smaller nurse-monitored room for awhile but I really like the idea of baby boy being right with us from the moment he makes his appearance. They also highly encourage immediate skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and bonding time with the new baby all of which makes me relieved to hear. It's easy to put up your defenses when it comes to big bad hospitals that are just trying to slice you open and rush you out of their rooms, but honestly--I feel confident that we'll be able to have a great experience through it all. All we have to do now is pray for a fabulous nursing staff on the day I deliver, so that we can kiss her butt big time and become her favorite patients through good old fashioned brown nosing. Yes, I am not above sucking up to my nurses. It works, trust me:)
Besides all that fun stuff, we learned how to swaddle, diaper, and feed a creepy baby doll and every dad got to try on the pregnancy suit: complete with 25 pound weights, very perky boobies, and a water filled 'bladder'. I think Nate would make an adorable pregnant lady, don't you?
In other news, this week I found out that I am one of the luckiest girls alive. At first I thought my baby shower coming up this Saturday (eek!) in St. Louis thrown by my girlfriends would be my only baby shower, which would be totally fine by me. But then my mother-in-law announced she was going to throw me one, too, and then Nate's classmates decided to plan one as well. So I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the love of three whole baby showers. Then my mom called me right after we returned from our Christmas trip and announced that her good friends at work also want to throw me a shower, and so they pulled something together for me this Friday, when we are already back in Missouri. Two showers in two days? Holy moly, this is going to be a fun weekend and I can't even get into how excited I am to see all of my friends who are scattered across the US at the Saturday shower. And last but not least, my co-workers also want to throw Nate and I a baby shower next month. You guys, that is five baby showers, in case you lost count. I am so fortunate to have this amazing extended circle of friends and family that are just as excited for our baby boy as we are.
However, five baby showers means that I cannot survive on one nice pair of jeans and a few semi-decent maternity tops. No, no, that will never do. After our baby class on Saturday I had an out of body experience, as I strayed from my new-found tight-wad fundamental mindset. I informed Nate that I was going shopping (the horror!) with intentions of buying at least two nice shower outfits (dollar signs!!) and I needed to go alone to really focus on the task at hand. So he dropped me off at Destination Maternity and ran a few boy-errands of his own. I have only stepped into an actual maternity store two other times in this entire pregnancy and both times I struggled to find anything I thought was worth the money. I always left feeling fat, ugly, and extremely cheap.
Well this time I experienced one of the most successful shopping experiences in the world. I found SO many things that fit me properly and were not insanely expensive. Not only did I find 4 dresses/long tops to wear with leggings for my showers but I also found two new hoodies (I had to retire my regular one because it was literally compressing my bump), two new cotton everyday shirts, a wintery sweater, and the most comfortable nursing tank created. That is ten items you guys. Normally I would panic and sweat and freak out over the cost of a new maternity wardrobe but this time? This time I decided that I want to feel attractive during these last two months of pregnancy. And because I never made a final decision on my J.Lorene money, it immediately made sense to splurge on myself by getting a fabulous maternity wardrobe of my own. My borrowed clothes have done me just fine so far but those options are becoming more and more limited as my belly grows. In these final 63 days (eek!) I need to embrace the fact that I need to wear actual maternity clothes that fit me. And don't worry about my other fun options I posted for my J.Lorene money---I have a grand plan regarding photography stuff. More on that later.
And thus, my friends, I spent $300 at that store and didn't even have one panic attack. I feel cuter already, just with the clothes hanging in my closet. And I informed Nate that the next time I get pregnant, we will need to plan it around my gorgeous winter maternity wardrobe for sure:)
Oh, one final thing: they did an actual bra fitting during my shopping spree. Remember how I've always been a 34A on a good day? Ummmm, the lady informed me that I am now a 38C, otherwise known as porn-star boobies. Seriously. Flat chested girls everywhere, let me be the first to tell you: pregnancy really does morph the little girls into actual womanly ta-tas. Now if only I can get these puppies to stay put but get my flat belly back again...
So 31 weeks: an informative baby class, new wardrobe with gigantic boobies, and an ever-growing active baby boy. Life is pretty good right now and I'm doing my best to soak in every moment without looking too far into the future.