As I’ve said in some of my other blog entries, I’m a planner. Now, that is not to say that I need to be in charge of everything or that I have a million lists. For me, I like to have an idea of what I would like to have happen or what I think might happen. However, I’m open to changes and try my best to be flexible and roll with the punches. That’s the sort of girl I am. So throughout my pregnancy I’ve been taking my own personal course on childbirth and being a mom–learning a bunch from all sorts of resources. I have a wonderful assortment of books that friends have given to me, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that over the last couple of months, I’ve been so busy with other aspects of my life that I haven’t had a chance to read as much as I did at the beginning of my pregnancy. What I have been doing consistently since before we got pregnant is listening to pregnancy podcasts. I walk to work every day, and I’ve found it a great way to get information daily in small amounts. I then am able to process and think about this information as it comes. When I get to work or when I get home each night, if there was something of particular interest I can do more research on my own. So this has been my routine since about January of last year–listening to pregnancy podcasts each day on my walk to work, doing some additional reading, and watching videos on YouTube on specific topics that I want to learn more about.
As of tomorrow I will be 26 weeks pregnant, and now that December is here I am becoming more and more aware that March 7th (my due date) is going to be here soon. Especially with the holidays coming up, December tends to get so busy. Our puppet company has multiple shows every weekend, plus my day job will have its annual holiday party, along with other get-togethers that are sure to come up. We’ll also be traveling home to see our families for a nice extended stay. Due to all of that, I’ve ruled out December as being a month that we could plan to attend some baby classes. Hmmmm, this does not bode well for the planner in me.
We live in Astoria, Queens–it’s a lovely neighborhood just outside of Manhattan. Not too long ago we learned about a great mom-owned store around the corner from us that sells new and gently used clothes, toys and gifts for babies and mom-to-be. They also offer classes in the evenings. Their prices were extremely reasonable–especially in comparison to some of the places I had been looking at in Manhattan. They offer their infant child-care class once a month, and Chad and I decided to sign up early, since clearly our December was so full. Plus, we decided that it might be a good idea to learn now if there is anything that we need to be sure to put on our registry.
I signed us up, and earlier this evening we attended the two-hour class together. It was taught by a very nice, local, post-partum doula. She went over a lot of different information, from just after the baby is born, to swaddling and diaper changes. I did learn a couple of new things, and took some notes on some things that might be helpful to have, including a temporal artery thermometer—I’d never seen or heard of one ‘til tonight, but it looked pretty great. For me, a lot of the information was an overview of what I had learned through my own personal research. However, that being said, it was nice to be in a room with my husband in which we were both hearing the same information from the same person at the same time. Throughout much of this process he and I have been doing our own learning in our own way, and it was nice to have that shared experience this evening.
Lately I’ve been feeling very self-sufficient about my pregnancy. And tonight, I left the class feeling the same way. In the midst of so many resources and birthing options and classes, I can feel myself turning away from it a bit. It’s not that I don’t want to learn more, because I do, I am honestly enjoying learning about this process so much. I guess it’s just that, I’m enjoying learning at my own pace, in my own way. I’m also very conscious of our budget, and some of these baby and birth classes can be very expensive. It’s interesting to me, because in many of the podcast birth stories that I’ve listened to, the women have gone to multiple birth classes, learned lots of techniques, but when labor was actually happening–much of what they had learned and trained for went out the window and they just found their own way and a method that worked for them. The thing that many of these new moms talk about is how they wished they had done more research on breastfeeding. I’ve heard this in so many stories. Women who assumed that breastfeeding would just come naturally, and then were faced with many of the issues that come along with it, clogged ducts, improper latching, cracked nipples, bleeding … ack! Even at the class this evening, the post-partum doula emphasized that women need to learn more about breastfeeding before the baby is born.
On our walk home, Chad and I agreed that it was nice to take the class together. I said, “I think we should take Infant CPR and a breastfeeding class, but that’s it. I’m ok with no birthing class, if you’re ok with that.” Chad said that was fine with him, if that’s what I wanted to do. It’s interesting, because I don’t hear of many women who don’t take birthing classes. But the more I think about it, the more I feel like–as long as I continue to do my own learning, and keep a close relationship with my midwife, I will have just as successful a labor experience. I suppose I will let you all know how it turns out in the end, but for now, that’s where I’m at. We’ll see if I change my tune in a few weeks, but overall as I sit here tonight I’m feeling very confident in that choice. And now we begin the process of finding a pediatrician … also, I will be on the lookout for a local La Leche League meeting to attend. I promise to report back!