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

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lamaze: Week 2

I was very excited about going to our second week of Lamaze class last night. The closer this whole baby arrival gets, the more I want to feel prepared. Not only prepared at home, with diapers, a crib, clothes, wipes, etc..., but mentally. During the IVF process I realized that the more questions I asked, the better I felt. If I understand the processes I feel that knowledge helps me to relax and feel more confident. Now I can very easily explain the IVF process to someone and even what the individual drugs do and the "why" behind everything. I'm approaching Lamaze and childbirth in the same way. I know it's going to be work and obviously not exactly the most comfortable event in the world, but I also believe that if I mentally prepare and learn to focus and breathe and couple that with the other things we are learning, going into this I will start out mentally stronger than maybe those that aren't as informed or practiced in Lamaze techniques. And any strength has to be a good thing at this point! That was a long introductory paragraph!

Before going to class I watched our assigned homework video for the second time, finally having a chance to sit down with Man Friend so he could watch it as well. All of our supplies (as seen in the photo) were loaded into the mom Jeep and off we were! I was able to get my spot in the corner (perhaps I am feeling a little like Sheldon Cooper --Big Bang Theory-- in that I have "my spot" that I feel comfortable in). We started off class introducing ourselves again, and we were able to welcome a new couple that was sitting next to us. I liked them, they reminded me of the two of us a little bit!

The first part of class was doing our relaxation and breathing techniques. If I do say so myself, I'm pretty darn good at this! **On my first day of Psych 101 at OSU we did a relaxation thing that I still do when I need to zone out and clear my mind and body.... years of doing this set me up for this class! We reviewed last week's breathing and massage techniques, this week avoiding the giggle attack we had on week one... thanks to Man Friend NOT talking to me like a growling Yoda! New to us this week was adding in counting and breathing in for two and out for two during the peak of our contractions. Also we ladies got to sit up with pillows propped up all over under and behind us. It was like making a custom recliner on the floor. Frankly, we moms had it made. We got to relax with our eyes shut and focus on breathing while our partners had to do all the work of massaging and talking to us. At one point Man Friend even had to ask if I was asleep. I'm telling you, I CAN get into the zone!!

After our potty and snack break we got back in our comfy pillow chairs and covered more topics not related to our breathing. If there is a chance to take notes I don't just jot down a couple of things. I left with 3 pages of notes! We learned about the 3 parts of effacement: softening, shortening and thinning of the cervix. That led us to discuss dilation of the cervix. I can only imagine there was a look of horror on my face, and I'm sure I gasped, when we passed around a mold of circles showing the size at each centimeter of dilation. Oh. My. Gosh.  Something I did write down with double ** and a thick underline was this:
**Never determine labor progress by dilation!
I was happy to have this discussed, as I notice with pregnancy everybody "knows" everything and isn't afraid to try to make everything dramatic or point out how my thinking is sooo wrong. In this category goes all of the things I've heard people say regarding dilation. Hearing how dilation and effacement work together kind of gave me an Aha moment, and let me feel fine in ignoring all the negative Nancy's and trust my common sense and the things I have set out on my own to study and get a better understanding of.

There was discussion of things that are measured at our OBGYN visits and questions we can ask to help give us a better understanding of OUR bodies and where things are for OUR pregnancy progress.

What I really enjoyed was discussing labor and the graph of how it evolves. I'll insert that section of my notes here.

For our discussion we broke it down as a 12 hour labor. Last night we learned that the way to tell if it is REAL labor versus False is that in real labor our contractions will become longer and stronger over time. Which leads to the graph above and how long early labor can last. Brace yourselves, but it will be goofy Man Friend's job (thank goodness my mom will be there too!) to keep me distracted and help me balance between resting and activity. OOoh, that reminds me ... I was laughed at when I said I have my slippers packed for when I walk around. "You're not going to walk. You're going to be miserable and laying on your back the whole time." is what I've been told. Really? I almost take that as a challenge, especially since we learned walking around helps blood and oxygen flow and ultimately will help us have a better labor experience. My slippers ARE packed and not coming out of my bag until I'm at the hospital walking around during my early labor phase! It was during our early labor talk that Man Friend and I looked at each other and both said, "Cards Against Humanity!!" What better way to distract me from what's going on???!!

For active labor we saw that the intensity starts to increase and it is shorter. I'll be tired, serious, restless, discouraged, anxious and feeling dependent on my labor team of Mom and MF. This leads us to the Transition phase, which is the most intense period, and probably what we all envision thanks to TV and movies making it seem like giving birth is ONLY sweating, yelling, begging for drugs, cursing at the father for doing this to us, pushing, wanting it to be done and pure misery. Seeing how this intense section is the shortest makes me really feel a lot better actually. I know pushing my daughter out is going to be unlike anything I've experienced, but I'm not going to base my whole entire labor experience on what could be the shortest, worst part. I'm very happy that Lamaze breathing and all the things we are learning are helping me feel ready. At this moment I don't even feel scared! Nervous, curious, excited, anxious... but not the same fears and feelings of dread I had even 2 weeks ago!

*And I'll end this saying that even the two weeks of classes we have had have come back to help me. At 3am this morning I woke up feeling strange. I then realized that it was those Braxton Hicks contractions again. I've only had them on 3 occasions now, but this time I knew exactly how to breathe through it and soon all was fine and I was back to sleep!

That's it for this week's post. Next week I think I might get lucky and not only have Man Friend at class with me, but also the Glamma! NOT giggling WILL be a challenge!!

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