Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Childbirth Preparation Class #2

We had our second class last night. It was really good actually. I was a bit skeptical about how they would continue to fill a 3 hour class for 5 weeks. But it's starting to make sense.

Last night's class focused on easing the pain of labor. The instructor taught our "coaches" various massage techniques for easing pain in the uterus and abdominal muscles, lower back in case of back labor, and facial tension.

But we spent most of the class talking about the various drugs that can be used in the hospital. We talked a lot about pitocin, both as it's used to induce labor and as it's used after delivery to contract the uterus, which helps deliver the placenta faster and stop the bleeding faster. We talked about narcotics and epidurals.

I definitely have a somewhat revised view on getting an epidural now. The instructor talked about the risks and also some of the cons. The risks are not particularly high - so I don't find that so concerning. But she made some very good points that once you have an epidural you have to be tied to several "wires." They then monitor fetal heartrate and contractions constantly and you have the line for the epidural and probably an IV. As where if you wait and only get the epidural later in labor when you really need it, you can stay relatively free for most of your labor, allowing you to go for walks, get in the shower, etc.

Obviously I won't really know how soon I'll want the epidural until I see how much pain I am in. But if it's not too bad, I think I would like to wait until later in my labor to get the epidural. And unless there's some reason for it, I do not want pitocin for labor induction and I do not want other narcotics during labor.

We also watched another labor video. This was the story of a woman who did decide to have narcotics and then an epidural. She had the picture perfect birth - so it was obviously meant to show that it's okay to have all the drugs. But I thought it was very helpful that the instructor then went through and talked about some of the choices made in the video and why there are reasonable cases to be made for them but that they are not for everyone - and all of us should think through it in advance rather than be stuck trying to make the decision in the heat of the moment.

And I picked up some other good tidbits - things to discuss with my doctor at the next visit. Since the pediatrician I think I will be using is not affiliated with NYU, my doctor will assign one to check the baby in the hospital. Will he make sure that doctor takes my insurance? Definitely something to ask in advance rather than try to remember after delivering a baby. And there's no point in paying out of pocket for something that would be covered by insurance. Also, what percentage of his patients have episiotomies and is there anything I can do to avoid one?

We also got a letter in the mail that the Breastfeeding Class we signed up for will be January 8. They say that partners are encouraged to attend. But to make sure Shafi won't be too embarassed, I'll check with the instructor at our next Childbirth Preparation Class to make sure that people do commonly bring their husband to that class too.

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