Last night Jon and I went to our first Lamaze class. I had so much fun! Jon wouldn't go that far, but he did say he enjoyed it. And yes, he even made it through his first birthing video!
There were 6-7 couples there, most due in early October. (We're going a little early because of schedule conflicts with the later sessions.) We all introduced ourselves, and we got to put in a plug for my photography business, letting everyone know that I do maternity and newborn. So, in that way, it's handy that we're going early, because I'd actually be available to do all these people's shoots, if they wanted. We'll see. I had my business cards with me, but it seemed a little too cheesy at the time, so I'll pass them out next week.
Anyway...I love the instructor! She reminds me a lot of my mother-in-law. Her mannerisms are similar, and she did a great job of writing down little facts about each of us, and then remembering them and referring to them in her lecture. She's a registered nurse for labor and delivery, plus a certified doula (a birthing coach). Even though the subject matter can be a little personal (therefore uncomfortable to discuss with strangers), she did a great job of adding humor in to lighten the mood. She is also very expressive with her body language, and watching her do all kinds of motions to refer to "down there" and the way to push or the way the baby is going to wiggle his way out...I was cracking up.
So, the instructor went through the 5 or 6 points of Lamaze. It was an overview, and evidently we'll be covering each one in further classes. She talked about medical intervention vs. the natural method. Of course, the natural method is her preferred method, though, as an RN, she's very familiar with inductions, epidurals and everything else.
After her lecture, we watched the birthing video, outlining the stages of labor. Jon had been reading the labor chapter in the What to Expect book, so he was able to follow along with the terms and everything very well. I, of course, have seen probably 10 birthing videos since the second month I was pregnant (and so had most of the expectant moms, I'm sure), so it was funny to see all the women in the class look to our white-faced husbands at key points in the video: the baby's head crowning (our first look at some random person's hooha), when the baby comes out, and then when the placenta is delivered. All the guys did very well, I must say. The video reminded me of when Ian was born, and I kept leaning over to Jon to affirm that yes, that really is how babies are born, because I've been there. I know! :) I'm so thankful to Karen for letting me be a part of that, both for the memories as family, and also for the experience it's given me. I've read that childbirth used to be a female affair--every female in the family helped out, and by the time it was your turn to have a baby, you'd already been exposed to it before. It's not like that now, and I'm grateful that I've seen it firsthand. It's not some mystery behind closed doors for me.
The class ended with relaxation stretches and breathing. That was the best! Jon and I had to do all our stretches together, either pulling/pushing each other, or back to back with our hands together, so we did every stretch in sync. It was a lot of fun, and reminded me how important my Pilates exercises are (which I finally picked back up last week). The last relaxation thing we did was to imagine a "happy place" and consciously tense and relax our muscles. Some of that, as Jon explained, is to help you relax more--tensed muscles tend to bounce back further than neutral muscles. It was also a way to learn, "Okay, it's going to hurt, and I'm going to tense up naturally, so I have to make a conscious effort to relax my muscles, which will help the rest of me relax, too." We'll see if I remember my happy place in the throes of contractions. Haha!
Overall, it was a good class. I'm glad we're going, and I look forward to next week.