To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Lamaze: Week 1

Would it surprise any of you if I told you we were the first people to arrive for our first Lamaze class this week? Getting there about 10 minutes early made me feel I was arriving late! Let's back up....

Once upon a time
I was in her tummy!
I've always known my mom did Lamaze classes when she was pregnant with me, and we never graduated because I decided to crash the party and come out. At the reunion I did get voted prettiest baby! So for me, Lamaze wasn't even an option. It just felt like the obviously natural choice since I've heard the story of my birth all of my life -- and she did it drug free, focusing and breathing, not even recognizing my aunt when she appeared in the room because she was in such a zone. Now it's my turn, and I am very excited about what I've already learned and what we have in store for us over the remaining 6 classes.

A few days before class we were given our first homework, some videos to watch. Being the diligent student that I am, I plopped down next to Man Friend and had him watch with me, then discuss the videos. Overachiever? Yes. I wanted to go into this prepared!  Also part of our preparation was to gather our class supplies: 4 pillows, a yoga mat, my soft Margaritaville blanket that doubles as my security blanket, a note pad and my pencil. We loaded up the mom Jeep (as opposed to my fun summer Jeep I've yet to drive) and were on our way to the hospital. Prior to this night I had only been to the Emergency Room and the hospital rooms Grandpa and MF had when they were patients. It was nice to not have to go to that section for a change and be in a happier setting.

We walked into our classroom, finding it empty, aside from our teacher's husband. He happily greeted us and told us to just set our things down along the wall. Easy enough. The center of the room was a circle of chairs with paper work on every other one. Our instructor came in, immediately making me feel at is. It was great to finally meet her after we had had such a good phone call earlier in this process. Soon we were taking a seat and filling out pre-check-in paperwork for the hospital. One more thing checked off my to-do list! 

Class began with a getting to know you session, each of us sharing our name, due dates, gender (if known), baby names (if known - and no, ours was NOT shared!), and our biggest fears and hopes for the birthing process. There was a universal trend with those. Many of the men hoping to be good partners and wanting everyone to be safe and healthy. A lot of the women wanted easy, quick births. What were ours? I went first -- with my biggest fear being my worry of keeping some dignity and modesty. I know share a lot on this blog, but I do NOT want to share all that I keep hidden under my clothes. I am NOT wavering on this. NOBODY is to go down south to take a look at the baby coming out. Doing so WILL get you removed from the room. These all caps are only for my mom and Man Friend since they are the only 2 I will allow in the room. Don't get yourself kicked out, Glamma! ;) Man Friend's fear is that he'll be working and not able to take me to the hospital or get there fast enough. This is a valid concern since he is scheduled to be working nights before and after my due date. Fortunately the guys have talked about it and will essentially be on their own Baby Watch and have someone come in to cover so he can be with me.  My hope was pretty simple. I don't care about the pain. Ideally I want to do it all naturally, but I will do whatever necessary to get this little girl into the world as healthy as possible. I just want to see her and keep her as safe as I can. Man Friend was the same, he just wants to have her and I be healthy and safe. Awww.

After a break, where the guys all enjoyed oranges and the women all went to the bathroom, we were back at our chairs to cover a lot of topics. Mostly it was overview of what we will cover later. We did watch one of the homework videos and discuss that as well. Discussion covered many areas, all of which actually calmed me and made me feel maybe not totally ready yet, but more confident that I will survive! Maybe childbirth won't be some dramatic scream fest with doctors rushing in and beeps and concern over everything like we see in movies and TV shows!

Another thing that gave me hope was when our instructor mentioned endorphins. I had thought of it before, and this actually boosted my confidence. I've run two marathons, one of those being after a 5k and a half marathon -- this is a lot of miles on one body! During each, for different reasons, I had moments of pure agony and pain. Some of it was mental, some of it physical. There was blood, sweat and tears. During each of those (and many other races) I had the common feeling of "what the hell am I doing? This is torture, I am never running again. Marathons are stupid! Save me! I want to die!" But then something happens. .... You get to that finish line, suddenly your body is really pushing on auto pilot. Sound becomes muffled and it is all a blur. So much is happening, but your only focus is on that banner over the finish line and getting to it in one piece. You cross that line and it's like all the pain stops. You did it! Tears flow and you enter this indescribable state. The pain is gone. And inevitably there comes that moment (for me it is quite quick) that you think "that wasn't so bad. Let's do it again!" 26.2 miles of agony (27.1 if you hit all the photo stops in Walt Disney World) and you end up on such a natural high that you forget. The labor process, to me, sounds like a marathon. Hard work, focus, determination, breathing, pain, agony and the ultimate reward. I CAN do this!!

I rambled. Okay, so other things we covered .... kegels! Come on ladies, how many of you are doing right now after reading that word?? We were given 3 different types of kegel exercises to do as homework. I'd like to say due to a phone call from my father in law I demonstrated awesome strength with one of them today! One of the more amusing moments was when our instructor had us ladies uncross our legs and we all did some of the exercises together. The looks on the guys' faces was priceless! But what topped that?? The reactions when the image to the right was shown! It didn't appear many of the men were wanting to help us ladies with perineum massage. Party poopers!

The last thing we did was take it to the floor for some breathing exercises and essentially full body massages for us future mamas! I had my security blanket over the top of my yoga mat and MF helped position pillows around and under me. The lights went off, calming music on, and the breathing began. The exercises were really enjoyable and I am looking forward to practicing them at home ... complete with those massage parts that MF gets to do. It might just be the thing that helps lull me to sleep now!

So that's week 1 in a nutshell. Hard to summarize almost 3 hours of info in one post, but this is it!



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