Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our First "Centering Pregnancy" Class

We heard LB’s heartbeat! I couldn’t believe it. I still feel in a bit of shock. Each accomplishment takes this pregnancy to a whole new level. The beat was loud—BOOM BOOM BOOM. I’ve heard that it sounds like swooshing, but not here, it was a definite heartbeat.

However, it all happened so quickly. Centering ended up being different than I expected. I thought that I kept being told and reading that we would get 20–30 minutes with a midwife before class, but not so. There is 20–30 minutes before class, but all nine pregnant ladies rotate during this time to see the midwife for about 2–3 minutes. I wasn’t expecting such a short one-on-one time. Our midwife for this class, Mia, called us back behind a curtain in the same room as the rest of the class where a bed and machinery was. I laid down and pulled my shirt up (and maternity pants off my belly) for her to pour some goop on me and push the doppler up against my abdomen. The heartbeat started booming right away. It was so surreal, and still gives me shivers.

But it was still kind of strange. Everyone in the room could hear our “personal time” with her and also our baby’s heartbeat. I guess I wasn’t ready to share that with anyone else yet. I'm not sure I would feel all that comfortable talking about anything too embarrassing during this time either...since there are literally people on the other side of the curtain and she would speak pretty loud when she responded to questions. Needless to say, I became skeptical about the program. Is this really the right fit for us?

Arthur could tell I wasn't into it, but is always the team leader in these kind of situations. He's good at giving anything a fair chance. Obviously we weren't going to leave, so onward we went. The class started out by everyone taking their own weight and blood pressure and recording it in the journal we were each given. We then went into an ice breaker, which was nice to get conversation flowing. It was so fun hearing everybody get introduced and learning a bit about our new friends. The room was so diverse! We have a belly dancer, a second-time mom, lots of first-time moms, a 43 year old woman who became pregnant through egg and sperm donor, and lots of nervous and excited dads. Everyone had their own story.

We took a break halfway through to finish rotating everyone through their personal time, which provided even more opportunity to get to know our classmates. It was so interesting hearing how different everyone's pregnancy has been, but also how similar at the same time. After the break, Mia walked us through a pile of some of her favorite pregnancy and birthing books. Some of the ones I plan to read were in the pile (Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Birthing from Within), but also some new-to-me ones like HypnoBirthing. I would probably never give this book a chance based off of the name, but one of our other classmates and Mia were really positive about some of the techniques. There were lots of other great recommendations too!

After this we were asked to go around the circle and say the one thing about pregnancy that surprised us, including the dads! I definitely started to warm up to the class by this point and was able to start to see the benefit of being in a group setting. It was awesome to hear each pregnant lady's response, but I especially loved hearing what the guys had to say. Arthur's response was that he didn't realize that we would start to feel like a family so quickly. Hands down the best answer in the room and a total gold star for him! Love that guy. When we left, he told me he really loved this class because it was helpful to hear about what other guys were feeling.

The class ended with answering questions that people had written on the whiteboard. Even though I didn't have anything on the top of my mind to ask, it was still great to have discussion about relevant topics. I think each class will have this kind of Q&A session, but more so will be based on a specific topic that the midwife facilitates discussion around (breastfeeding, labor techniques, etc.). I  learned that Centering Pregnancy is actually a national program with a pre-determined curriculum that everyone follows. Even though our first class wasn't what I expected, I still feel excited for next month's class and think this is going to be a great experience. To be continued!

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