Sean and I had our birthing classes this past weekend. We elected to take them in one weekend (Sat and Sun 10-2) instead of going one night a week for 2 hours, for 5 consecutive weeks. I will be honest in telling you I wasn't looking forward to it. I didn't know really what to expect but I knew there would be birth videos involved and I would get an up close and personal look at what was actually going to happen when the baby decides to be born. Simply walking into the room with all the diagrams and pictures I turned to Sean and said "I've changed my mind I don't want to give birth". Obviously I was kidding but it was definitely intimidating. However, in the end, the classes were really very helpful and I feel a whole lot better about what is going to happen and how we are going to deal with it.
I've decided I really don't want an epidural if I can do without it. I think this is probably what everyone says,I know, but I hate having my mouth numbed during dental work I can't imagine how I'll take to not feeling my legs. The potential side effects are a bit much for me to feel comfortable with. The classes really made me feel empowered to think that I'll be able to manage the pain without drugs. Obviously this is very easy to say sitting here perfectly pain free, and it will depend a lot on how quickly labor progresses. I've been reflecting on how I deal with pain and while I haven't really experienced extremely painful events, but I do choose to undergo some dental procedures without Novocain, and I wax my legs, both of which take a little bit of mind over pain to tackle. So (naively, I realize) I feel like I have at least a shot at this. Although, my normal trick to dealing with pain is doing long division in my head (stuff like 14/387) I'm not sure if that will work when the pain is really intense. Anybody want to start a betting pool on how long I'll go before begging for an epidural? A little competition might increase my chances. (Of course if I end up having to have an emergency c-section I won't have a choice but to get an epidural)
Aside from learning about how to give birth, we found out that our hospital is applying for their 'baby-friendly hospital' certificate. Which basically means that they are committed to doing everything possible to encourage breastfeeding and baby and mom bonding. For example, after a natural delivery (non-c section) the baby is placed directly on moms stomach and is encouraged to nurse within the first hour after birth. This is all before the baby is removed for cleaning. They also won't give pacifiers to breastfeeding infants to encourage successful breastfeeding. That doesn't mean breastfed babies should never use pacifiers but not using them in the first few days of life prevents nipple confusion. There are currently only 63 hospitals and birth centers in the US that have this certification and none in NYC so I was encouraged that this was something they were working towards. One thing I didn't like is that hospital policy does not 'allow' husbands/partners to stay overnight with mom in the semi-private rooms. If you want a private room its $350 a night. There is a chance, if they aren't busy, that you'll get one of the shared rooms without actually having a someone else in the room so you can do what you want. Also if your room-mate also wants their husband to stay then the staff doesn't tend to kick anyone out, but I found this disappointing. I'm not sure how I'll be feeling after delivering but I'm pretty sure I won't be emotionally stable enough to handle Sean leaving. We are obviously going take a 'wait and see' approach but we might end up springing for the private room, at least the first night, if the hospital is very busy.