~ Childbirth Classes & Labor Planning
We've now had two out of our three childbirth classes. If you are pregnant, it is a GREAT idea to take these. We only paid $65 through our local hospital and the information they give is vital to making informed decisions and putting anxieties to rest. I know a lot of people write these complicated "birth plans," and have planned their births to the point that they are against procedures that may very well be quite necessary when the time comes. Childbirth classes really help put things in perspective BEFORE you are in panic mode facing an emergency intervention of some kind with the baby's head halfway down the birth canal! Don't get me wrong, a birth plan is good, but think of it as a penciled in outline, because doctors are going to make the decisions that are best for you and the baby. There are options and if you know what they are, you can work WITH the doctors rather than against them, and I'm hoping that what we learn in childbirth classes will help with that.
That all being said, here's my basic "birth plan." We live a half hour away from the hospital, so I'm guessing I'll want to go super early, but I will try to hold off as long as possible. They say wait till contractions are five minutes apart for about an hour - or a half hour for us so we have time to drive.
Once at the hospital, a lot will depend on if my labor is progressing fast or slow. I have no illusions about doing it all without medication! However, I do want to try and hold off for a bit to make sure labor progresses as quickly as possible. My preferred method of medication would be an epidural. I am a bit worried about feeling claustrophobic with my legs being numb, although I found out in childbirth class that you are only really numb to your knees in most cases. Also, most epidurals today are not a "one dose" type deal, they often continue to drip and you have more control over how much medicine you are getting. If this is the case, I would probably be comfortable getting an epidural fairly early in labor, but we'll see.
Hopefully then it will just be a waiting game for forever until it's time to push! I can't even begin to imagine what that will be like, so I'll just have to find out. The only other thing I'd really like to try and do is try and breastfeed the baby as soon as possible after birth, as I've been told by many lactation people that the baby is usually the most receptive then.
ALL this being said, who knows what will actually happen? What if they induce me? What if I go into early labor? What if the baby is in the wrong position or won't cooperate? What if the heart rate drops and they do an emergency c-section? What if there's some life threatening complication for me or the baby? The possibilities are endless on how it could actually go, so I'm trying to just hope for a healthy Penelope and a healthy me, and not too much stress on my husband. Who could really ask for more?