Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Wonderful World of Baby Birthing Class

On Monday night Adam and I got to partake in our first baby birthing class. Truth be told, I have actually been looking forward to these classes. This is primarily because it signals that the end is near and Sadie will soon be here. My husband, on the other hand, has not been so excited. This is primarily because the classes are every Monday night in July and run from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. He thinks this time commitment is a bit over the top and he's not happy that he has to spend this whole time block talking about things that he doesn't like to talk about in front of people he does not know (i.e. a baby coming out of me!). However, after our first session, some of his fears seem to be eased as the other father's do not seem ecstatic to be there either!

We were given many tasks to "practice" for the week. The first task is to be able to explain dilation and effacement. When the cervix dilates this means that it opens up to allow for the baby to move down the birthing canal. Dilation is measured in centimeters and the most you can be dilated is 10 cm. Many of you have likely heard of dilation. What you may not have heard of is effacement. Effacement is the thinning out and pulling up of the cervix. Her analogy was to compare this process to pulling a turtle neck shirt over your head. Just as the turtle neck flattens out as you pull it over your head, the cervix flattens out as it is stretched to make way for the baby. Effacement is measured in percent, as in "You are 20% effaced, 50% effaced, etc."

Another task we were told to practice is the Mitchell Method of Relaxation. This is basically a series of steps that the laboring woman is supposed to follow to calm her down during the labor process. We are supposed to run through this process until it "becomes like second nature." Adam is supposed to give me a series of commands that I will then follow and relax. Additionally, he is supposed to do all of this without actually saying the word relax since hearing that word generally tends to be a trigger for tensing up. We are also supposed to go through this method with positive thoughts on the mind because positive thoughts lead to positive progress. :)

Ok, so who knows how well this will actually go? Our instructor does seem to really believe that thinking positively will lead to positive progress, though. I do tend to believe that thinking positively does make you feel better and therefore that may make you feel like things are moving along quickly, even if they are not. I will do my best to be positive. :)

One funny/amazing thing we learned is about breast milk. Apparently breast milk is the cure-all for just about everything. Your baby has scratched herself on the face - squirt some breast milk on her scratches and she will heal more quickly. Your baby has pink eye - gently rub some breast milk into her eyes and the infection will more quickly cure itself. Your husband has bad acne - yes you guessed it - breast milk. When I told my sister this she looked it up on the computer and found that breastmilk has even been shown to help kill some forms of cancer. All of these wonderful benefits of breast milk are supposedly due to the fact that breast milk is very full of white blood cells. So if you're feeling ill or suffering from a strange ailment, find a woman who is breast feeding and ask her to turn on the tap for you! :)

Well, we are only one class down and have four more to go, so stay tuned for more amazing updates! I'm sure we'll have some fantastic stories to share! Only one more work day this week! Woohoo! More baby-room pictures to come soon.


Suellen said...

You are a much better person than I am. I'm pretty sure that if Alicia gives me any sort of "command" during labor I just might kill her. :)

amypfan said...

In spite of having taken these classes, Ben's primary tasks during labor were 1) letting me squeeze his hand really, really hard and 2) feeding me ice chips.