When lufflump was born we had NO idea about babies or birth. We'd kind of read a book and I'd read a few baby and kids magazines but that was it. I hadn't held a baby since my cousin, when I was about eight years old. I'd never fed or dressed a baby or changed a nappy. The mister has younger siblings who he used to help look after so he was a bit more experienced. Because we were late booking into the hospital we missed the free birthing classes and we weren't going to pay for something that would happen naturally.
How naive were we?! Stubborn and like two teenagers in the sense that we thought we knew better. We'd never even been in a birthing room before I gave birth in one. Lufflump's birth was relatively easy with the only complications being him coming out kind of sideways, getting a bit stuck and me having an episiotomy. It wasn't a fun experience, I felt completely out of control and the mister is still traumatised by his inability to help me.
Had we had birthing classes beforehand the birth may have been a bit better. Maybe I wouldn't have spent most of the time on the toilet thinking I was going to shit myself. Maybe I wouldn't have felt so out of control. Maybe the mister wouldn't have felt so helpless.
Maybe. What if.
The outcome was damn good anyway so I don't regret not having the classes. I am glad, however, that we decided to do them this time around. Although we've experienced birth before we learned a lot and lufflump's birth made a lot more sense.
Here is what I learned from birth classes;
Stages of Labour
I thought there were three stages of labour - stage one, active labour and stage three. Stage one being the pain of labour but not quite ready to push, active the pushing and birthing stage and stage three when the placenta is born. We had no idea about the transition stage or the fact that I was pretty much in it from the time we got into the hospital until when lufflump flew out. I think when the transition stage hits this time it will be calming knowing that it's just a part of it.
Watching birth videos makes me cry
We were fortunate enough to watch the below video of a water birth which happened at the birth centre. If you can watch this without crying I take my hat off to you.
The mister and I are on the same page
We had an exercise which split the rooms into two, men in one and women in the other. Both groups had to say what they expected the support partner to do. The mister and I had the same contribution - 'don't leave the room'. When I was giving birth to lufflump the poor guy was thirsty and needed a bit of a break so left for about five minutes thinking I wouldn't notice. Oh but I did. He'll never live it down. We also were going to both write 'don't hog the gas' but didn't know how it would be received.
All bellies are different and beautiful
Ping pong balls aren't just for drinking games or strippers
The funnest exercise during the classes involved a balloon and ping pong ball. I'm sure everyone's mind went straight into a Thai brothel when the ping pong balls came out but it wasn't quite like that. Sure it still involved vaginas, kind of. We had to use the balloon and ping pong to show the baby coming through the cervix. It was fun and a tad scary at the same time.
The epidural doesn't look as scary as I thought it would
A needle in the back sounds scary, VERY scary. Especially one that they leave in while you give birth. It actually isn't this big scary looking contraption. It looks quite boring really.
Formula doesn't exist
I'm all for advocating breastfeeding and I'm so glad midwives see it as what it is; the best for you and your baby. What I'm not happy about is the pressure this puts on mothers. When the midwives were asked about sterilising bottles for expressing, their response was 'we advocate breastfeeding not expressing'. At the end of the day if your baby is being fed, you are both happy then who cares whether you're feeding your baby by breastfeeding, expressing or formula? I would have been ecstatic to hear 'Breastfeeding is the best option for your baby but if you have tried every avenue and it's not working for you, that's ok'.
The bitch midwife at the Mater lied
When I got to the hospital I was eight centimetres already, apparently too late for any pain medication or so they told us. According to the birth centre midwives that is bullshit. We had two wonderful midwives at the Mater but we also had a horrible, stressed out bitch. The mister asked a couple of times if there was any pain relief I could have, she replied by telling him that if he couldn't handle it he could leave. If I hadn't had a contraction at that moment she would have heard the following 'no bitch, if anyone is leaving here it'll be you. You may have been through this before but we haven't.' Can you tell I'm still pissed off about this?
Second time parents are different
We know that birth plans don't always go to plan and that's ok as long as the outcome is a healthy baby and mother.
We know not to ask or expect too much from our support partner as they aren't exactly having a party either.
We know that co-sleeping will most likely occur especially if you want to sleep.
We know that napping becomes a luxury that should be taken advantage of, if you don't you'll regret it when they start dropping the naps.
We know that feeling of being on top of the universe when the baby is born.
What did you learn from birth classes?