Friday, June 8, 2012

Childbirth Class: Week One

Williamsburg, 2012

We had our first childbirth class at Caribou Baby yesterday and it was fabulous.

The instructor broke the men and women off into separate groups for introductions to break the ice, which I thought was kind of useful. Though it's a Lamaze-based class, there isn't too much sitting around in a circle with heavy breathing, but rather, lots and lots of science and anthropology-based information. The doula who teaches it was calm, frank, and very cool. There was plenty I didn't know...

Like that going through the birth canal "squeegies" the babies lungs, getting all the fluid out so they are ready to breathe. Or the fact that more babies are born in an anterior position today (face forward, more difficult for labor) because of the way humans sit in offices, on couches, and so on (versus being up and about all day.)

The one that resonated most with me was that if you feel like too many people are watching you during labor or you just feel emotionally ill at ease, your brain's fight or flight response can kick in and actually stop contractions. The doula gave the example of a mammal needing to run up a tree in case of predators during birth, an image I loved.

Over Calexico tacos afterwards, I told Will that I am so glad we are taking the classes. In your normal, every day, social life you generally put a positive spin on your experience of pregnancy or your anticipation of labor. But being in a group of couples going through the same thing at the same time feels very handy and it's a relief to see other relatively together types voicing all of their anxieties. It makes you feel a tad less crazy. I am also someone who thrives on research and information and this is so much better than reading "the book."

When I got to Caribou, there was a also a very cool, mellow looking couple getting a lesson in how to use a baby wrap with their 2 week old. They were freaking out that she couldn't breathe. I guess paranoia is a universal human experience?

Overall, I was also pleasantly surprised that the majority of our fellow classmates were having hospital births. It's sort of a nexus of crunchy Brooklyn parenting, so I was nervous that every last one of them would be die hard home birthers and we would feel like aliens. That was not the case.

Now I am going to go scuttle up a tree, thank you very much.

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