Birth Class

January 25, 2010 at 2:06 am 5 comments

Ed and I went to an all-day birth class held at the Yale women’s wellness center.  We both loved the class! It was fun, well organized, and educational.  The instructor was great, and actually lives a few minutes from our house.  There were about 12 other couples there, and although we’re not young for first-time parents (28 and 30), we were one of the youngest couples there.

We both felt like we learned a lot: Ed learned that we don’t have to rush to the hospital immediately when labor starts, and I didn’t even know he thought that was the case.  I learned that if my doctor prescribes a breast pump, then my insurance has to cover it.  That made me really happy that nobody bought the one I registered for!

The class began by going through the signs and stages of labor.  There were little challenges and group discussions, which made it fun.  We talked about and practiced paced and counted breathing, and then we practiced dozens of different positions for labor.  I particularly liked sitting on the birthing ball and also when Ed gave me a labor massage.  Who knows what will work when I’m actually in labor, but we feel like we now have a great variety of things to do.  We also went over the pros and cons of medical interventions, and I felt that a balanced viewpoint was presented.  Afterwards, Ed said he was really uncomfortable with the possible side effects of the medications and epidurals, and he then understood better why I want to avoid them.

We ate lunch and chatted with the other couples, as well as with each other about what we had learned so far.  We then went for a tour of the hospital, which was my favorite part of the class because it made me so much more comfortable. 

First, there’s a free valet service, so we’ll be able to drive right up to the entrance of the maternity ward.  When we went in, they had us fill out all the admission paperwork that, while not long, would have been annoying to do while in labor.  We then went up to visit the labor and deliver rooms, where I couldn’t have been happier.  First, three support people are allowed into the room, which Ed and I already decided would be him and our two moms.  While our moms probably won’t be there for the actual birth, we want them to be able to come into the room and visit while I’m in labor.  A nurse will also be in the room with us for the entire time.  When we first arrive, both my contractions and the baby’s heart rate will be monitored for 20 minutes.  IV’s are not standard, so unless I’ve tested positive for Beta-Strep I won’t have one.  After that point, the monitors will be removed and I’ll be free to move around the room or in the hallways.  Different positions for labor are encouraged, including walking, squatting, rocking, kneeling, sitting on a birthing ball, or taking a hot shower in the private bathroom.  They encourage laboring moms not to lie down in the bed, so gravity can help the labor progress.  The instructor reminded us to bring popsicles or Italian ice for snacks between contractions, and to pack snacks for dad, too.  The nurses will try to get the laboring mom to try a bunch of different positions and techniques before administering any medication or calling for an epidural.

When it comes time to deliver, moms are encouraged to deliver in different positions, including the traditional C-position, lying on her side, squatting or on hands and knees.  Episiotomies are not standard procedures, and they have an episiotomy rate of only 5%.  After delivery, the baby is put right on the mom’s chest, and skin-to-skin contact is encouraged, as is nursing.  The family stays in the delivery room for about an hour after birth to allow time for bonding.  If a medical emergency arises, I’m happy that Yale has wonderful doctors and the best technology, though I’m hoping that won’t be the case!

After the baby’s born, the family moves to the postpartum room, where they’ll stay for the next two days.  While the mom is settled in, dad accompanies the baby to the nursery where they’ll weigh the baby and clean him.  Then dad and baby join the mom again in their room.  Yale encourages families to keep the baby in their room, and when we walked by the nursery there was only one baby there.  Nurses will take babies to the nursery, but only if the parents request it. 

The next two days will be full of visitors and time to learn how to take care of the baby and bond as a family.  Dad is encouraged to stay in the hospital, and there’s room service.  There are breastfeeding classes and lactation consultants, as well as nurses that are happy to help mom learn to take care of her newborn.  The pediatrician and ob/gyn will come in to check on both mom and baby.

Overall, Ed and I felt so much more comfortable after our class and visit to the hospital.  I’m so pleased that Yale’s policies and staff are supportive of and encourage natural birth, the way that we’re planning to have our baby.  We’re so happy we have chosen Yale as our hospital, and we’re looking forward to the big day that our baby boy makes his appearance!

Entry filed under: Pregnancy. Tags: , , .

32 Weeks 34 Weeks

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. laura  |  January 25, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Wow… I’m speechless! This sounds so wonderful and I’m so excited to read all about the adventure when the time comes. I’m so happy that you have access to such an amazing hospital… one I might consider moving for! 😀

  • 2. Ruth  |  January 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Abbie and Ed~ I’m so very glad that this visit was so worthwhile for BOTH of you! I couldn’t wait to hear the details and was so glad when you were BOTH spilling over with excitement!

    It is the most exciting time of your life and I’m SO glad that you’ve found a place that shares your values and beliefs on birthing. Yale is a wonderful place to be born and it’s where both you and Ed were born, too! It was wonderful 28 years ago and it’s changed to keep pace with the times, which is great.

    Dad and I are so happy for you both and we, too, anxiously await the big day. So glad to hear you’re feeling comfortable and well-prepared. I’ll stock up on lemon Italian ice, just in case Ed forgets!

  • 3. Jena  |  January 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I’m so glad the class went well for you. Your hospital sounds super impressive, there is nothing like that around here. It sounds like such a nice setup! 🙂

  • 4. Farmer's Daughter  |  February 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Laura and Jena- We feel very fortunate to live in such a progressive area, where the hospital uses research-based care and listens to what patients want. The Yale School of Medicine also has a very respected midwife program, so that’s a plus, too!

  • 5. TheSpectrum  |  February 15, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Count me in as impressed! This sounds like the exact sort of atmosphere I would want to deliver in.

    Um. I am not pregnant though.

    But! Yale! Wow! How awesome!!


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