As the date approaches and the birth of our first child nears, the excitement builds in the family.
Last Saturday my husband and I attended childbirth classes at the hospital along with several other couples expecting a child. There's something about childbirth class that makes everything more real.
Not that the growing stomach, swelling fingers, kicking and alien-like movements in my mid-section haven't been real. I guess the class is more like a light at the end of a nine-month tunnel.
We've been reading books and magazines and looking up pregnancy related questions on the Internet trying to prepare ourselves as best we can. We've talked to friends who have had babies in recent months to gain information from their birth experiences.
However, there was a different level of reality associated with actually attending a class.
Different from the days when you got on the ground with pillows, childbirth classes of today are more about optional information on the process of giving birth, managing pain (with and without medicine) and learning how things are done at any particular hospital.
I have been in the Sunnyside hospital numerous times. When the new wing was being constructed I had to don a hard-hat for a tour. I spoke with the interior decorator as they prepared the rooms for patients and just this past January was there to meet the first baby of the new year, but I had never had the opportunity to see what was hidden in each of the cupboards in the rooms where mothers stay and also give birth to their children.
It's amazing the technology that goes into having a baby. Also amazing to me is how much giving birth has changed over the years. For thousands of years women endured the pain of childbirth and then one day they decided to just knock you out while you gave birth. (My grandma had her children this way.)
Then the trend was for natural childbirth, which is just code for endure the pain.
Today, it can go either way, although the option to be put under isn't what it used to be. Natural childbirth is a common hope of many parents, but often the mother in the throws of a contraction will choose to have an epidural. (All my friends have recommended them.) At least with an epidural a mother can remember the experience.
There's so much to remember when it comes to giving birth, such as breathing techniques, I hope I can recall everything when the day comes.