Lamaze rocks my world

I actually feel ready for labor. Who would've thought a month ago that I'd be saying that? Certainly not I. I mentioned two weeks ago that after our first birthing class at the hospital, I had decided I wanted to attempt natural childbirth, so this Lamaze weekend we just participated in was a vital step in our preparation. We were there with six other couples, all of whom were expecting their first baby (and several of whom are due in the first week of July, just like we are). Throughout the weekend, we learned relaxation techniques, breathing patterns for the different stages of labor and different types of contractions, pain coping strategies, birthing positions, and the variety of medical opinions out there about many aspects of delivery. It was fabulous. Jack and I will be practicing the breathing techniques over the coming weeks, partly so that they're second nature by the time labor comes along, and partly because hee-hee-hee-hoo (breathing for the most difficult Transition contractions) isn't as easy to sustain as you'd think.

The best part is that Jack is going to be there helping me, going through as much of what I'm going through as is possible for a dad, and being a fantastic, informed, and supportive coach.

As I was lying in bed last night, I reflected on how much my attitude toward birthing has changed and how much more confident I feel now that I know a variety of ways to deal with what's coming. I went from "leaning toward an epidural" during the majority of my pregnancy, to wanting to "attempt" a natural birth a few weeks ago, to being certain now that I don't want an epidural unless I honestly can't cope at all and I make a reasoned decision to have one. The loss of control bothers me in a lot of ways. Our doctor, though she had all three of her children with epidurals, has been very supportive of whatever we want to do, so I'll be talking with her at the next visit about a birth plan and squaring away my preferences about interventions, intermittent monitoring when it's possible, being able to move around, etc. We learned at the first birthing class that a whopping 95% of moms who deliver at Woman's Hospital have an epidural — that totally blew me away — so we may encounter some inexperience with natural delivery or skepticism from hospital staff that I'll actually make it without drugs. (Apparently some of the nurses say, as a routine, "Okay, you're at 3 cm; do you want your epidural now?" "Okay, how about now?" etc.) Though I've heard a few horror stories about people's wishes not being followed, it seems like most people have had pleasant experiences at the hospital, no matter what type of delivery they've had, so I'm optimistic about it. Plus, I have an excellent advocate by my side who seems mild-mannered until you get him upset, and then he's just as capable of kicking ass as the next person. Hopefully he won't have to unleash that on anybody. =)

Feeling good about labor. Feeling excited but still a little freaked out that they're actually going to let us walk out of the hospital with a baby at the end of it.

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I'm glad you enjoyed your Lamaze classes. Yes, the medical staff at most hospitals is used to most women getting epidurals so they sometimes don't know what to do with people who try to make a go of it without one. You also have to remember that they want to make you as comfy as possible so that is why they offer it so freely. You might want to try this idea to decrease the multiple epi offers--post a sign on your door that says : Attempting unmedicated/low-intervention childbirth--please do not offer medication. (Unless of course you WANT them to offer :) At any rate--good luck!!! We did the Bradley method but if you have any questions about childbirth I'll be glad to tell you about my experience. --Heather
Lamaze worked well for us 28 years ago! Even with labor induced!
Mom A.
I don't have any expereince with Lamaze, but I found the Bradley books inspiring. Might be worth a library checkout just for continued rah-rah Knowledge Power. (?)
I totally agree with Heather about posting a sign against epi offers. (And a sign against plastic nipples for the baby.) My hospital was very pro-natural, so my ob helped talked me down from the ledge at one point, and I'm SO glad. Because the thing about the onset of transition is that you start to feel a little out of control, and 'how much more can I take this?' and that's when a lot of women get the epi, but that's exactly the WRONG time, too. I hope it will work out like you hope. Giving birth is the craziest thing ever! :-D
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