I started my birth class last week, so have had two classes so far. It's taught through my OB's office ... which is the "on-call" office for the (in-hospital) birth center I'm going too. So the practice is what I would consider progressive, and my OB is very mother-friendly and non-interventionist, so I figured it would be a good class. Also, my doula said their class is good. I had the choice of taking a class through the birth center, but didn't find out until after I'd signed up for the one through my OB. With my doula's recommendation, I figured the one I was taking should be fine.
I was wrong, although, in the scheme of things, I'm sure many "birth classes" are much worse. It's taught by a nurse from L&D, but the video she showed had all the laboring women up and about and giving birth naturally (as far as I could tell). I thought that was great. She spent some time on pain coping techniques (positions to try), and encouraged mom's to stay home for the first part of labor, and to be active, etc. In a lot of ways, I think she and I agree on a fair number of things (but definitely not all). But she seems to feel "threatened" by the ABC (alternative birth center), and we've gotten into several semi-arguments.
One woman mentioned her greatest fear was having a c-section, and the nurse said the rate was 25% (in L&D), so 1 in 4 moms were having them, and sometimes that's just what needs to be done ... baby's health / safety is number one. There was no mention at all that the rate does NOT have to be that high
: . The woman who voiced the fear had previously mentioned she was considering the ABC, so I piped up and said the ABC c-section rate was 3.5%. The nurse got all riled, and said she "took issue" with that number. Then this week, she smugly informed me that they'd had two c-sec transfers from the ABC the very next day. Well, HELLO! I pointed out that statistics are an AVERAGE, and certainly won't predict what happens on a day-to-day basis (she clearly has a tenuous grasp on math), but she still seemed to feel victorious
Someone else said she was afraid of tearing, so the nurse proceeded to tell us her personal
experiences. Her first birth (31 years ago), was forceps assisted and she tore "front to back" (duh, forceps). Her second birth she had an episiotomy, and she'll "take one of those over tearing, any day". Sigh. There was no discussion of the drawbacks of an episiotomy, or that being upright/squatting/hands&knees allows the birth canal to open up more and reduces the risk of tearing, etc. Or that most of the time tearing is much more superficial than an episiotomy, and heals better and faster, and is less painful.
It also boggles my mind how uneducated these women are. Doesn't anyone READ? Isn't anyone CURIOUS? As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I read everything I could get my hands on (from What to Expect to Henci Goer's book). It amazes me that these women know next to nothing about what's going on, what will happen, and what they can do about it. I have yet to hear anything in the class that I didn't know already (although it has been helpful for dh, as it has covered the stages of labor, etc., and he hasn't read anything
So this week she had us doing "breathing exercises". DH was instructed to count to 5, and I was told to breathe in on 1-3, and out on 4-5. This was a "good breathing technique for early labor". For active labor, we were told to breathe in-out-in-out to a one second count (one second in, one second out, etc.). Hubby was instructed to say "in, out, in, out" or wave his hand at me like he was directing a fricking orchestra (which he did to great delight while I shot daggers at him with my eyes). Then for transition, she gave us the ole "hee-hee-hee-hoo" (which left me light-headed and gasping since there was never a chance to INHALE). She insisted that we "practice" (with DH's instruction), and went around to each of us to make sure we were doing it "right".
Okay. I know I haven't been through this before, but I'm a bit puzzled why she thinks DH (or anyone else for that matter) should be INSTRUCTING me on how to cope with the pain (am I stupid? do they know something I don't?). I don't understand why women are constantly told "You can't do this ... you need someone else's help." It really pissed me off, and dh got an earful when we left, and I told him if he started counting or waving his hand at me he was guaranteed to get hit and/or screamed at.
Especially since I haven't been through this before, I will allow for the fact that I might get overwhelmed and "lost" in the pain, and need to be reminded to relax, breathe deeply, etc. (I think this hee-hee-hee-hoo stuff is a bunch of hooey, though -- pun intended -- no one would ever choose to breath like that on their own). This is exactly why I hired a doula, so she can help direct me to things that MIGHT help, and suggest things that I can TRY. But I'm fairly certain the last thing I'm going to want is someone in my face counting or waving their hand at me.
I've had problems with back pain for 17 years, and my experience with that tells me that I feel very "overstimulated" when my pain levels are high. I need to retreat inside myself and block out the things around me, because my brain is already roaring with pain, and can't tolerate taking in anything else. I sure as hell don't need someone demanding my attention and telling me what I should be doing!!!!!
So next week we get to practice pushing, and in the handout it outlines the whole "hold your breath and push while someone counts to 10". Uh-uh. I will push when and how I want to, and it won't be for a prescribed period of time. Once again, MY BODY knows more about how to do this than anyone else. My pre-natal yoga teacher and doula said I should NOT hold my breath while pushing (and -- just discovered by me -- dh's dad taught him to never, ever hold his breath while having a bm, because it causes hemorrhoids). Since hearing from pre-natal yoga teacher not to hold breath during pushing (baby or
bm), I've been practicing not holding my breath while having a bm (dh never shared his advice with me ... he thought it was common knowledge, lol!) ... it was an odd feeling at first, but now that I'm used to it, it feels totally natural and much less stressful on my body (and no hemorrhoids, thank you very much).
It just bugs the crap out of me to have to sit there and do these stupid exercises, etc., when I disagree with the approach, and feel downright insulted by it. Thankfully, I think the ABC is much more respectful of mamas and their innate wisdom, and does NOT approach birth this way. Assuming I need any coaching, I'm going to count on my doula, and everyone else better stay out of the way!
Sorry. The whole thing has me pretty annoyed. Just two more classes, but I sure am regretting not taking the class through the ABC.
End of vent.
33 weeks today, and only 3 more weeks of work!!!!!!!!