Thursday, March 18, 2010

Antenatal or Anti-natal?

On Wednesday, Hubby and I went to our first antenatal class at the hospital that Tricky will be born in (assuming that is that he doesn't shoot out in the back seat of the car on the way there). There were 14 couples in total and we all looked extremely nervous and the women all held their hands protectively over their bellies. We ranged from 27 to 33 weeks pregnant with one set of twins in the group! It was very interesting to see the difference in sizes of everyone – some of the people who I thought were so tiny were the furthest along.

All but one of the men seemed keen to be there, and it was their job to introduce the women and say how far along we were and who the obstetrician was. Every man who tried got it right or was only a week off, which impressed me no end. I asked Hubby how he remembered how many weeks I was and his response was “I just counted back from the due date”... so he only got half points for the weeks, but at least he remembered the all important LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT ENDS NOW date. Who could forget?

The class was run by a lovely midwife, Gay, who told us about the three P's: Pelvis (those boney bits), Passenger (Tricky) and Powers (contractions). It might just be me but I thought it strange that a gimmick be needed to remember only three things – and those things are unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry. “So I've got a kid in me and I'm having contractions... any minute now he'll pop out my belly button” No sorry, even stupid people realise the impossible bending of the laws of physics that is about to take place.

Gay had a baby doll with an umbilical cord (dressing gown rope) attached to a placenta (knitted woollen ball) that she was pushing through a toy pelvis. She was squishing the doll around and shoving him in all sorts of positions, explaining the difference between posterior and breech and so forth. It I wasn't pregnant I wouldn't have thought twice, but I found myself thinking “ooh be careful of the baby!”. At that point Gay put the doll in a plastic bag to simulate the amniotic sac and I had to restrain myself from getting up and showing her that the bag had written on “NOT A TOY. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN”. She could have at least started the demonstration with a “Do not try this at home” warning. I will, of course, blame hormones on my need to protect an inanimate object that didn't look at all like a real baby. Hormones are my fall guy.

What was slightly disappointing about the class, seeing that it was run by a midwife, was that it was very much directed towards having a caesarian. Every few moments we were reminded of all the things that can go wrong – at no point did she mention that women all over the world since the beginning of time have managed to push out their babies with a minimal of fuss, when surrounded by people who are encouraging them. Its still medically safer to have a baby “naturally” yet everywhere I turn I'm encouraged to have Tricky cut out as if he is a tumour. I at least want to try. I trust that my body instinctively knows what to do – evolution may have screwed up with the 10cm diameter in which to get him out through, but hey, the kid has a mouldable head! Phew – go you fontanelles!

Next week we will learn all about pain relief... so I'm preparing myself now for all the lame jokes about sharing the gas with Hubby.

Did you have a planned c-section or an emergency one? Or were you encouraged to trust your body?


  1. I was lucky as my best friend is a midwife and at the time of both of my births she was working at the hospital I was going to.

    With Kass I was induced and at one point thought I was going to end up with a C-section as her heart rate kept dropping. Thankfully that never happened.

    I don't know if you would class Kassie's birth as a natural birth as I always thought of natural as no drugs or augmentation and hers was definitely augmented and I used morphine.

    With Gabriel's birth I went in with a set idea of what would happen and I was not going to let anything stray me from my plan. I was set to be induced with Gabe but thankfully that didn't happen.

    I went and met my friend at the hospital car park and we went shopping until I felt I had to go to the hospital and get checked. I then sat in the spa until I felt I needed to push. Gabe's birth was by far the easiest.

    It hurt a lot but omg how empowering to trust my body and go with what it wanted me to do.

    I was the first birth that my friend could write on the report 'no analgaesic'. I didn't even bother with panadol.

    But you know what if at any time I was told you need to go for a c-section for the health of your bub I would've been there in a heartbeat.

  2. Deb what a champion you are being so informed and in control - thats my goal too! The more knowledge and a determined mindset the better. I'm the same though, if Tricky is in distress I won't hesitate to have him whipped out straight away!

  3. 4 different labours..All naturally! I need to come over for a coffee to tell you my tales! :)


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