Due to my crazy and ever changing work schedule, Lindy and I had to miss the first few birthing classes. We will make up the few introductory classes that we missed later on. The topic of birth classes kind of frustrates me because I had so many people (moms, dads, people who aren’t even parents, future parents) tell me, “Birthing classes? Why? As if no one has ever had a baby before without birthing classes. Don’t waste your time or your money, just show up and they’ll get the baby out one way or another.” Or my all time favorite, “just walk into the hospital and immediately demand an epidural.” And the unwanted and unsolicited parenting advice from people begins before Ashtyn has even soiled her first diaper!
Why birthing classes? Just because I am a young dad, doesn’t mean I am a reckless one. Lindy and I have the time and money to make that investment and I have never been one to enter situations completely unprepared. Call me a Boy Scout, but this is one of the most emotionally and physically demanding experiences of a woman’s life and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to research it, prepare for it (as best you can), question it, and help put my wife at ease by meeting other expectant mothers and fathers and hearing about their experiences.
The Bradley Method is not some hard and fast birthing method that draws a line in the sand between doctor’s and doulas. We view it as a educational experience that equips us with information such as: what to expect, what to put in your hospital bag, exercise, relaxation techniques, diet and nutrition, partnership and bonding between the future mother and father, and so much more.
With that long disclaimer / explanation out of the way, I have to say that I completely respect other parents’ decision to choose another method or no method at all, but don’t critique my wife and I for wanting to be prepared. Making smart and informed decisions for Ashtyn begins long before she has even exited the womb.
When Lindy first told me about the Bradley Method I thought, “Granola”, “Hippies”, and “Ohmmmm”. I was always kind of partial to the “Ricky Ricardo Birth Method”: dads sit in the hospital waiting room, while smoking a cigar, until a cute nurse brings us the baby when it’s all over =P. Well, I am a bit more supportive than that, so I thought I’d give this method a shot.
The Bradley Class we are taking is held at a woman’s home (who happens to be pregnant right now with her third child) right down the street from our new house and she comes highly recommended and I can see why. The class consists of approximately 5-6 other pregnant couples, with the women seated on the floor on top of comfortable pillows, while leaning against their partners who are seated in chairs behind them. The house is extremely serene and it seems like a very happy home :). Everyone brings snacks and drinks, as the class is 2 hours long.
We started off with the “Coach’s Report” where all the dads-to-be share for 3-5 minutes what has been going on since the past week. The reports range from back pain complaints, recent doctor visits, funny stories, etc. This portion really put Lindy at ease because it gave us a chance to listen to other concerns and ideas that the other pregnant women had. We then viewed an informative powerpoint presentation, watched a birthing video, and then practiced various labor positions (holding them each for a minute) while the coaches supported them by encouraging the women or rubbing their backs.
My favorite part of the class was when our instructor asked all of us to grip an ice cube in the palm of our hand for a minute to simulate how long 1 minute can truly feel when you are experiences discomfort (Note: I said ‘discomfort’. I don’t want all my mom followers to lynch me for comparing labor pains to holding an ice cube :). I know the pain you experience during labor isn’t something I’ll ever be able to relate to).
Everyone in the class was extremely nice and our instructor kept us after class to get us up to speed on what we have missed. The class was the perfect balance of information, comfort, comedy, and community and Lindy and I were glad we attended! Now we have class every Monday and we are looking forward to our next session.
Well, I better get off Tumblr and work on my “Coach Homework” and reading.