Our first week of what I like to call pregnancy classes, officially “Preparation for Birth and Parenting”, came and went last week at our chosen hospital, St John of God Subiaco. Officially I should refer to them as Parenting and Birth Skills Classes and they cover everything you might need to know from the later stages of preganancy, labour, what you should bring to the hospital, giving birth, a tour of the birthing and post birth wards, pain relief, what happens if it goes wrong, inductions, emergency caesars, etc.
The class the first week consisted of 15 couples and I think nearly all of us were stunned mullets. There was a lot of information to digest and not many questions being asked.
The first week of our class went by in a blur. There was so much information being given out and I certainly felt like I didn’t know anything. I obviously wasn’t alone as most of the questions being asked by our instructor were being met by stunned silence and blank stares. I think Kym did very well to manage the class without much help.
The topics for week one covered everything up to the birth of our baby. There was a lot of discussion about when you should come into the hospital (when the contractions are less than five minutes apart), how the labour process works to open the cervix, the stages of labour. and the different methods of controlling the pain.
Week 2 started with a guided tour. We caught up to Tash and Jim who we had sat next to the week before and had a bit of a laugh before we kicked it all off. The first part of the tour seemed to consist of instructions on how to get to the birthing wards out of hours. I’m sure we all paid attention but I’m betting that at least some of us will end up running around frantically outside the hospital late at night or early in the morning with a wife or partner in labour and not being able to get into the building. I’m sure we won’t be laughing then.
The next stop was the birthing rooms. The first room we saw was a standard room and had a normal hospital bed, a baby monitor, the most important gas station, and a TV – apparently so dad’s don’t have to miss any of the football during the birth. There are also bean bags, fit balls, and any number of other props available close by if you want them to help you get into a comfortable position. The next room was a birth suite. This differed from the first in that it had a double bed, the gas outlet was movable, and it had a big spa bath so that you can get the pain benefits of a nice warm bath during labour. I think Mish would like to try this one as she is hoping to get through labour with minimal pain relief and certainly without an epidural.
By week three we were all a lot more comfortable and familiar with each other. There were a lot of laughs and giggles as we discussed things. The topics included a lot of discussion about breast feeding and why it was good for both mother and baby, but also some discussion about the issues that people can have with breast feeding. Sometimes it just doesn’t work!!!
During one part of the class the boys were all separated out and given an exercise to write up a list of things that we were going to both gain and lose once we had a baby. I think this was quite interesting as the first items mentioned by most people were quite negative and focused on losing freedom and time for couples however as we moved on there were more and more positive thoughts coming out with people wanting to share their excitement about being able to experience new things with a family.