Well, we survived childbirth class.
And not just survived, exactly . . . I think we thrived.
So, um, I went into the experience pretty nervous. As I’ve documented during the last 29 weeks, I entered pregnancy basically wanting to know as little as possible about how this all was going to wrap up. I’ve always been nervous about childbirth as a concept, and I can’t say it was something I was eager to experience.
Having a baby? Yep, want to do that. But having a baby? Er.
My biggest take-away from Saturday was that our birth experience will be our own. It’s okay to compare notes with the ladies in your life, but don’t expect a replica of anyone else’s labor. “It won’t be your mom’s, or your sister’s, or your girlfriend’s,” Maura, our instructor, told us. “It will be yours.”
We learned some deep breathing exercises (“Don’t hyperventilate!”) and how to tell the difference between “real” contractions and Braxton Hicks. Maura touched on infant care, our likely experience in the hospital, breastfeeding tips and tricks, and how much water we should all be drinking (answer: lots).
We did watch a few videos of real births and, yep, that was wild. I know childbirth is a miracle and our bodies were made to do this and so on and blah blah, but c’mon: it’s gross, too. But I expected that. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the time in college when I literally ran from a family studies class because I got physically ill during an informational video. So: progress?
I’m still nervous. Still a little fearful of how everything will go down. But as a type-A note-taker, I’ve been studying the hospital’s handouts and pondering all of Maura’s sane advice. After reaching the point where it was worse not to know than to simply educate myself on what we’ll be dealing with in just a few short months, I actually feel . . . empowered.
No one else can do this for me. Though Spencer will be there to cheer me on, I am responsible for bringing our child into the world. Now that I’ve accepted that, I really feel better.
It was nice to be back in a classroom, too — even if just for a few hours. I’m a geek; I can’t help it. Spence and I took seats at the front of the room, and I scribbled notes like the overachiever I am. We found comfort in the knowledge that we’re certainly not the only nervous first-timers; twelve others were in the room with us and having their first children, too. And one couple is expecting twin boys.
Basically, it’s real now. Really real. There have been so many surreal moments throughout this pregnancy — seeing him move on the first ultrasound; finding out he is a he; feeling that first kick, etc. — that took time to process. But I think we’re finally in a spot where we understand we’re having a baby, and I feel like we have a game plan for this whole process.
It’s just a plan, of course — and plans often change.
But it’s a start.
Less than 11 weeks to go . . .