Friday, 13 January 2012

Today I declare (a very small) victory

Last night, Ross and I went to the first of our 4 birthing classes.  It wasn't great.  It was lead by the head midwife from our area*, lasted an hour and a half and was scattered and not engaging.  We did learn the following helpful information:

(WARNING:  Gross bodily fluid talk ahead)

1.  When your waters (they use the plural here... weird, huh?) breaks, put on a pad for an hour, then call the hospital.  They hospital will want you to describe the color and odor of your waters and this is the best way to do it.  VERY HELPFUL TO KNOW!
2.  Squatting on a birthing ball during labor can open up your pelvis a LOT.  I think she said an additional 28%, but Ross and I thought this sounded made up or impossible.  GOOD TO KNOW!
3.  In the final weeks of pregnancy, don't lay back lounging on the couch.   Sit backwards on a chair instead, as this encourages the baby to get into optimal positioning.  USEFUL INFO!

I think that's about it, as far as new information goes.  Now if I'd been presenting the class** I would have presented things thusly:
1. Survey the audience:  Who here is having their first baby?  Who here is planning to have a natural birth/epidural/c-section?  Anyone having multiples?
2. Here are some helpful things you can do in the last weeks of your pregnancy to prepare for labor.  (Including #3 above).
3. What to expect when you actually do go into labor.  When should you call (including #1 above), how long should you stay at home before coming in, etc.  She covered information that I already knew about how long it takes to dialate and the stags of early labor that I'd include here.
4. What should you bring to the hospital with you?  What is provided by the hospital and what do you need to provide?  What do most women wear during labor? (Sounds silly, but this question did get asked and I think most women do wonder about it.)
5. What to expect next... later stages of labor, birth positions, etc.

That would take us up to about the same point, but see how I did it in a timeline order?  See how it was easy to follow and intuitive.  She how I am made calmer by things being presented in a way that walks me through what will probably actually happen, rather than just having things randomly thrown in amongst unrelated anecdotes?  I can't be the only one... Dear NHS, I'm available for consultation and training.  I have reasonable rates and am an excellent public speaker.  Kisses, Meg

At the end of the class, was the cherry on the cake.  We found out that the Breastfeeding and Active Birth Classes are separate from these 4 courses, and were told to sign up for them by calling 2 different area Children's Centres.  This was very important information to me.  Of course, it was disseminated by 3 different people all talking at once and saying different things.  So I had to go all "Loud, Bossy American" and request that they stop, slow down, and have one person say the relevant information clearly so everyone could make note.

Then, came the part of the evening that really riled me up.  They announced that husbands and partners were not welcome at the Active Birth Class.  Um, excuse me?!  The one thing that is, in my opinion, really important for Ross to know about and be able to help me with during labor and he's not allowed?!  What is this mickey mouse bullsquash!?  I was told that some women are "uncomfortable getting into different positions in front of other men".  I say those women need to suck it up or have their own special class for sissies.  I mean, you're going to be pushing a baby out of your vagina.  At some point, you've GOT to stop being precious about it.  I was told that I could teach my husband the things that I learned later on at home.  Great.  No one else seemed surprised or annoyed by this information, but I sure was.

This morning, I called the Toodle Hill Children's Centre (How great is that name?) to sign up for the Active Birth Class.  I spoke to a very nice lady and asked about whether husbands were allowed and explained what I'd been told last night.  I sortof, kindof, totallyonpurpose got her to agree with me that it was dumb (DUMB!) if they weren't allowed because they- ya know- need to know this stuff to help us during labor.  She said she'd check and call me back.  A while later she called back and let us know that men would, indeed, be allowed.  To which I declare "HA! Victory is mine!!"  Ok, perhaps the ladies last night were giving out bad info.  Or perhaps we'll get there on Jan. 27th and they'll tell us Ross can't come in.  But for now.  


*I'm sure she's an absolutely wonderful midwife who is great at delivering babies... just not so much with the teaching and giving presentations maybe...
**I also would have arranged the room entirely differently.  It was totally not conducive to a flowing/open conversation that they kept trying (and failing) to engender.  There were about 10 tables scattered around the room, each with 5 chairs.  Yep.  FIVE CHAIRS.  For a class entirely composed of expectant mothers and fathers.  Geniuses, I say.  Geniuses.  (FWIW, I would have gone with table arranged in a semi circle around the room so everyone could see each other and the leader.)

So that's my latest rant about how I'm crazy and could run things so much better than other people.  Do other people not get frustrated by/see the incompetence out there?  Or are they just more numb to it than I am?

Did you take birth classes?  Were they any good?


  1. I could take "waters break" or "water breaks", but "waters breaks" is a bit too much for me. I'll have to work on my inner-Brit.

    And yeah to making the world work for you.

    I boo on classes in general, but figure you can take the world by storm. It would be amusing if you took over NHS.

  2. I actually hated my NHS class but loved my NCT class. I don't know if it is too late for you to sign up but i loved it.

    I never had my water break, with either child, until I was at the hospital. Actually with both i was like 6 cm before it did. I only know a handful of people who had it break pre-hospital, actually.

    And my hospital in london provided nothing. Literally. We brought diapers, wipes, blankets, food, drinks, everything. The food they did have was nasty. I brought my own ball.

  3. @Andrea That's the first I've even heard of NCT classes. No one's even mentioned them! I just looked it up and requested info on a course at the end of the month, so thanks :)
    I got the sense that the hospitals don't provide anything... such a far cry from the US!

  4. Oh, you need to sign up for the NCT, even if you can't do the classes! It is awesome, a great way to meet people, and they do nearly new sales. It was one of the best things I did in the UK!

  5. Funnily enough... this is really hard to find out! If you go to their website ( it doesn't say, even on their "About NCT" tab! Ross and I finally determined that it's National Child Trust.

  6. I don't blame you at all. I have the "how could I make this more efficient" disease too. :)