Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Birth Classes Taught Me


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
Self explanatory.

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. 
Image
What did you learn from birth classes?

48 comments:

  1. Oh that mean mid-wife was certainly such a bitch! How could she ask the father to leave if he couldn't handle it!! I would be so pissed too!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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  2. Great read Ames, especially like your points about a second time parent.

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  3. What a horrible midwife :( I'm sorry.

    And yes - never leave the room is vital advice.

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    1. She was unnecessary but the rest of the birth was wonderful.

      It's funny how men think it's ok to leave, that we won't notice ;)

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  4. Said so perfectly Ames.
    I personally love the - DONT LEAVE THE ROOM! My hubby like yours disappeard for a few minutes first time and I havent let him live it down yet... think it will be one I will use forever!

    Can't wait to hear how it all goes this time for you!

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    1. Hahaha it's so nice to know I'm not the only one who won't let their man get away with it!

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  5. oooo my midwives told me that the pain of breastfeeding was normal and will last up to 2 weeks.. they said this with my nipples bleeding and all cut up to the point that I have had laser surgery on them just after coming out of the hospital. I expressed for 3 months for my 1st child (as it was the thing to do - formula was a no no in everyones book)... 2nd child - breastfeeding came easy but I ended up with mastitis so bad I couldn't express. So #2 has been on formula from week 3.

    Expensive - and I know a few friends who were adiment that I was doing it wrong feeding them both formula - until they had their 1st child and breastfeeding didn't come easily and they chose formula instead too!

    When/if the 3rd child comes along. I really hope to be able to breastfeed successfully!

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    1. Yep, breastfeeding isn't for everyone.

      I expressed for twelve months. I don't know if I'll do it this time, I'll try breastfeeding, if that doesn't work then I'll try expressing but I'm not going to beat myself up if I end up feeding her formula.

      The pressure surrounding breastfeeding sucks. It's so good to hear you're doing the best for both of you :)

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  6. I can't believe you didn't have birth classes first time round!! I found it scary enough, and different from my expectations, but I can't imagine how I would have gone if I hadn't had the classes!! I think it is great you are doing them this time, even though you have been through it before. I didn't do them the second or third times, as they weren't really offered, but think it would have helped, as we lived in different cities each time. There are quite a lot of differences in procedure between hospitals, so I wish I had had more exposure.
    I'm really sorry to hear about the bad midwife, i can't believe what she said! appalling! I think there are some awesome midwifes out there, but there are also a few bad ones, and it is a pity that they don't move into a different area where compassion is less necessary.
    xx Sannah

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    1. I didn't realise just how different it is from hospital to hospital!

      I fully agree what you mean about the midwives, they shouldn't continue in their job if they are going to be like that during the birthing process.

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  7. I learnt that it is ok to tell my husband to rub my back then scream at him to stop it or I'll kill him all in the one breath. :) xx

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  8. My husband learnt the hard way that when I say "it hurts", the incorrect response is "I know..."

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  9. OMG I know that girl. Well...I don't, but another blogging friend does. I've seen that video and read her story before. AMAZING.

    I'm actually more of a solo labourer. I like to do it alone. Mr Black just stands there uselessly anyway.
    My second labour was much much easier than my first, but my first there were a lot of complications.

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    1. It's a beautiful video, photos and birthing story. She has a beautiful Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/georgiapeachpictures

      Thank goodness your second was much easier than your first :)

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  10. I was way TOO prepared for our first birth. That is my personality. As well as going to the birth classes (which we had to pay for - private hospital), I read numerous books and watched birth videos (don't know how many) on YouTube.

    But, what I did learn through all of that was (thankfully) to expect the unexpected. I've had 3 very different births now. If we were to have #4 I think I would be more confident going into the process, but no more certain about how things would go. Like you say best outcome = healthy baby, healthy mummy.

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    1. Wow I'm impressed!

      You're 100% right - each birth is different just like each pregnancy which I've learnt the hard way.

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  11. Oh dear heavens, I'm crying so hard I can barely type. I gave birth in one of those baths in one of those rooms.

    Re: the don't leave the room rule, in the birth centre they bring your support partner drinks as well- our midwife got my husband countless cups of coffee, water and cordial while I was in labor. Such a small thing made a huge difference to us.

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    1. YOU HAVE A HEART ;)

      I've heard that. I think we will be stocking up the day I go into labour so he has no excuse to leave the room!

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  12. I had a horrid midwife second time around so I can totally relate! I think I'm like Miss Pink- a bit of a solo labourer. I just want to get it over and done with and be left the hell alone! And I love that cartoon- Love it!! Good luck :)

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    1. Argh I'm so sorry you had a horrible midwife too. It's unfair!
      I totally understand the solo labouring thing.
      Thank you xxx

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  13. you were right, i cried hahaha! I loved the expression on the dad's face when he saw his baby, that was the best!

    And the whole formula thing is nuts. Yes, we all know breastfeeding is best but come on. A friend of a friend of mine was so intent on breastfeeding but it just wasn't going to happen and she was starving her baby because the midwives had instilled so much fear of any other way of feeding!

    Great post- and I don't even have kids!

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    1. I know, it's so beautiful!

      Argh how frustrating! That poor lady and her baby.
      Thanks xxx

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  14. I hated the mater, I had a number of awful midwives in a 1 week stay. I will never have another child there.
    The mater childrens is amazing though so i do not connect the two.

    That video was so beautiful...goodluck on your birth Ames xx

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    1. Oh really? That's horrible. We had a couple too but thankfully the amazing ones we did have are the ones I remember most (apart from that bitch).
      I don't connect the two either, we love Mater Children!

      Thank you xxx

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  15. That is really awful to hear about the Mater midwife :(
    You should write and complain- seriously.
    As a Mater nurse (at the Children's- thanks Ozzie, we do rock!) for 6 years It sucks that these other shit nurses keep slipping through the cracks- report it and get her punished!!!
    Garghhhh!!

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    1. Do you think I should? It's almost three years ago, I'm worried that's too much time. Plus I don't know her name :(

      As I said above, Mater Children rocks!!!

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  16. I hope your birth experience is so much better now that you are going in with your eyes wide open. I had a shocker of a first birth experience too. Coupled with not knowing what was going on and a bitch on an OB and Midwife (my ob was on holidays!) it was hell from start to the emergency C-section finish. My 2nd birth (and VBAC) was so much better, and well I sent you the story of my third today :)

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    1. I hope so too! Positive thoughts :)

      Argh I'm so glad your other births were much better than your first. I love your birth story :)

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  17. I remember boatman was about to make a coffee when I decided with Bridie it was time to push.
    He never did get his coffee.

    I think the one thing I would say to people now is don't take crap from midwives. I know they have a job to do, but you are pushing a person out of your body and a little bit of co,passion is very necessary.

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    1. Oh wow that's bad timing.

      Yep, I totally agree!

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  18. The bitch midwife said what??!!

    Unbelievable lack of compassion from someone who should definitely be showing it. I hope you have better luck this time!

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    1. I know, right?!

      The midwives we have this time are absolutely amazing so I don't think we'll have any problems :)

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  19. I learnt that asking for the drugs is nothing to be ashamed of, and i learnt that my mum ( who was my support person - Mick was brave enough to say he couldnt do it, and i was 100% ok with that ) had children seemingly a billion years ago for all the things she DIDNT know!
    I also had an old cow of a midwife who told me to be quiet and calm down, to stop yelling so much when i was in labour. Nothing was happening only 5 hrs into things and it wouldnt for a long time yet, that i was over-reacting. Five mins later she sent a younger midwife in to speak to me but this one actually bothered to check down there and said " nup, i can see the head - you're ready to push! ".... so take that you old cow! Dont tell me to be quiet!

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    1. Hahaha times have definitely changed a lot from when our parents had babies! Amazingly and wonderfully so :)

      What a bitch! She needs to quit her job!!

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  20. I recall pretty much learning the same basic educational things you did, all the practical stuff. All the emotional, mental adjustment stuff, now I would've loved to have had some warning about that! In the end I had two c-sections so all that labour information was never used. Actually my second c-section was "on" for almost 39 weeks, then off in the 40th week, before eventually being required, I can tell you during that one week when I thought I was going natural, I was pretty much panicking and trying to remember all I learnt two years earlier!

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    1. Wow that would have been a tough week!

      The emotional and mental information would be so helpful! I think individual midwives help that way but in a lot of hospitals they don't see the same person twice so that'd be hard.

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  21. I have had four babies and have read many beautiful birth stories.... but never before have I heard anything about ping pong balls and balloons. How is this possible? So I've learned something! And also, your post made me teary and all clucky again...

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    1. The ping pong balls and balloons was definitely interesting, a real eye opener especially for the men.

      Going for five? ;)

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  22. My first birth was not great either Ames, my second one was a breeze. I am sure yours will be too. It's amazing how anything negative really sticks with us when we are in labour. Even in my easy birth, a mid wife kept saying to me "good girl, good girl" and I wanted to knock her out. I still want to find her and tell her how ridiculous it sounded to me. Sounds like you are in the birth psych up zone! This time will be better. xx

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    1. Thank you.

      Oh that would have annoyed me too. I don't want to be told to calm down either - that makes me so angry!

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  23. What a great post... wishing you all the best for baby #2!
    We're due with #2 in June 2012!! My mister left the birth of baby #1 about 40 minutes before she was born to get Subway!! :) haha! My birth story is on my blog if you wanna read it! xx No videos but plenty of photos to make ya cry! x

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    1. I love that you made a cake while in labour!!
      It sounds like a lovely birth, hopefully your upcoming birth will be just as lovely :)

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