As my husband and I walked into our labor and delivery course this past week, you could almost feel the air buzzing with excitement. Lots of couples with their notebooks and pens were sprinkled throughout the rooms sitting and chatting; you could look at each woman sporting some sort of belly, from barely showing to “oh, she’s about ready to pop any minute.”
If you’ve been following my posts, you might remember that we debated back and forth on whether we wanted to take another class this time around, but in the end, we decided you can never be too prepared for a thing like labor and delivery.
Our instructor, a petite and perky nurse decked out in her maternity ward scrubs, came to the front of the room and dove right into the material. She did this strategically though. She covered the frilly topics like how to count time between contractions, where your freaked out husband should park at the hospital after he’s sped the whole way there and what items to bring with you.
Then, we started talking about the different stages of labor: early labor, active labor, transition and then, DUH, DUH, DUUUH … pushing and birth.
After talking about the steps, she showed several videos of actual women progressing from early labor to active labor and then transition to pushing with the outcomes of natural labor/birth, epidural and C-section. You could almost feel the thrill of pregnancy drain out of the room. We watched videos showing poor, helpless women go from walking outside at a park with their husbands, to moaning and sitting in a warm bath, to legs pushed up against their chest and a baby’s head crowning. For someone who has gone through this particular process before, it was a strange form of painful, scary déjà vu. Now you might be sitting there and thinking “Hey, hormonal pregnant lady, isn’t this what you signed up for when you decided to go to a labor and delivery class?” Well yes, yes it is. But … there is something about being forced to face the facts that this is all about to happen to you that is very, very sobering.
After each video, the nurse would bring up the lights and recap each scenario. And each time you could look around the room and see many of the preggos grabbing tissues to dab tears from their eyes, and … I was usually one of them. It was hard to tell what was causing the tears, but I think it was a weird mix of pregnancy emotions combined with the excited expectation of meeting your baby and a little fear thrown in there, too.
In the end, I’m really glad we went. While we did feel a little bit like the veterans in the room (I’m sure that feeling will fly out the delivery room window when I actually go into labor again), we learned a lot. If you are getting ready to welcome a baby into this world and you are on the fence about a class, DO IT. And, hey, ours included snacks and drinks, so your husband won’t put up too much of a fight about it!