Saturday, June 10, 2006
Childbirth Education 101
Teaching the childbirth ed to my son and his wife worked out really well. They got to ask all their questions, and start to formulate ideas. I found that they were like most couples. They make assumptions that whatever their caregiver decides to do will be fine with them, or that whatever they don't know, their caregiver will tell them what to do. This is, of course, exactly the kind of thinking I'm out to eradicate. They did read the books I gave them and we watched Barbara Harper's video, Gentle Birth Choices, together. The main issue I had to address was pain. Like most women, esp. those having their first baby, my daughter-in-law said, when asked what were her plans for pain management, that she would "try not to have an epidural." I quickly reminded her that trying not to do something does not constitute a plan. I encouraged her to formulate a real plan for managing pain based on her past experience with pain, and knowing and understanding her own response to pain. I told her she should NOT dismiss an epidural as an option if it actually fit with her pain management style. She selected the William Sears book and wanted to read more about what her options for pain management were. I encouraged her to communicate her plan to her doula, once she figured out what it was. They both had a good response to the video and asked many questions as we viewed it. They said that they had toured both hospitals and selected the one most open to their ideas about birthing. It sounded as though they did ask the right questions on the hospital tour. I think they selected a good one (or as good as it gets around here). They asked about circs and I gave them a video to watch. We talked a little bit about the mechanics of labor and what is taking place in the body. I encouraged them, once they get their birth plan formulated, to gather everyone who would be present at the birth and inform them of their plans and desires. Give everyone a role, so that they would know what is expected of them. Try to give folks something to do. For example instead of saying, your role is to support me, say, your role is to give me sips of juice, and wipe my foreheadwith a cool cloth, and hold my hand during ctx, or your role is to pray for me throughout the labor. Hopefully these suggestions help them and give them a place to start to make tangible well-thought out plans. I'd really like to see them have a good birth experience in the hospital setting.