On Saturday we went to a parent education course at Watford hospital, we really didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I’ve ever seen is the TV shows that have the funny huffing and puffing classes, but there was none of that. I’m sure there are classes available that teach you these things, but this class taught a much broader area.
The course leader was a midwife from the birthing unit – the midwife led part of the hospital – and she was great, you could tell she had been doing it for a while, and really knew how to interact with the couples. We met a couple called Gwilym and Louise who were great fun too. I have a feeling if Louise and I went into labour at the same time, we might find the men in the pub together!! Or competing as to whose baby is cuter! We spent six hours at the hospital, but got about 45 minutes for lunch.
At the start of the day, she asked what we wanted to know, and we all looked at each other clueless, we were all first time parents, and were really there to be told what we needed to know. So we went through a few things, and the course leader filled in the gaps for us. We learnt about how long labour can last, when to go to hospital, what to pack, for mum and for baby. We also learnt about how baby poo changes, and about breastfeeding. The lady also promoted being in any position you find comfortable to give birth, and to use gravity. She also showed us some of the equipment you may experience, I must admit, the forceps look a lot worse on TV than they do in real life, and when these things are explained, they seem less daunting. She discussed pain relief, I didn’t really know anything apart from gas and air and epidural. She certainly gave us a lot to think about. I had no idea you needed a catheter bag if you have an epidural, but it makes sense now I know!
The process of labour was shown as well, and how the baby moves, and what feelings you can expect on the run up to labour. She said there wasn’t much point in discussing labour itself, as the baby is going to come out, whichever option you choose, and as long as you listen to the direction you are given, you really don’t need to know too much about what to do. As well as the fact that it comes naturally, of course. This makes me feel better, as I’d always sort of imagined that it must come fairly naturally, considering we haven’t always had midwives to tell us what to do!
We also learnt that when your waters break you may not necessarily know straight away – as it doesn’t come gushing out like it does on TV and films, and that you can very much be in labour and baby be on the way before your waters even break. Something I had no idea about!
It was definitely a learning curve, and definitely an experience I would recommend.