22 weeks

10:19 AM

We had our first home birth prep class last night and surprisingly, it was actually good. It was a nice warm and inviting environment in the instructor’s home. The decor was similar to my own taste and the instructor had several visible tattoos, so I knew I would fit right in. The other soon to be parents were also around our age or older, some with tattoos and otherwise a laid back mentality. The instructor is a certified doula and a mother of a 2 year old. Her mother is also a well known midwife in the Oakland area. In fact, her midwifery services were one of the ones on our list to interview but after we met the midwives we have, we knew we could stop looking.

Cw happened to have liked the fact that Mason, our midwife, was an avid cyclist and raced bikes almost every weekend and most importantly was a mother herself. I still feel bad about our first interviewee, who is also well known in the midwifery community. She is a member of the Bay Area Home Birth Collective and serves on the board of the California Association of Midwives. She was great, don’t get me wrong, but maybe because it was our first interview I wasn’t feeling it. After our interview seemed almost at it’s end, Cw asked a final question – Do you have any children? And No, she didn’t. Which half of me after interviewing her and the midwives we do have, I felt the need to hire her, just cause I know she probably struggles with that question and the parent’s decision because of it. Okay, maybe she doesn’t struggle. I don’t know. I’m just always one for the underdog, and who is to say, just because you aren’t a parent, you don’t know how to take care of a pregnant woman? anyways…

I really liked the atmosphere of our class, the energy of the other parents and just all of us being on the same boat, all there to be more present at our home births. Of course, I was the only one there in her second trimester. All of the other women were much further along, two were at 31 to 32 weeks and the class runs for 7 weeks! Two other women were just 4 weeks ahead of me. So it’s all good. I often felt it was too early to sign up for a class now, but this was the first and only class I found that was centered around home birth and by the time the class is over, I’d be at 28/29 weeks (WOW!). Which is around the time you go to a birth class, i suppose. But again, it was hard to find a home birth prep class and Nickie, the instructor, didn't know if she would have it again so soon after this one. So whatever.

I liked the class a lot more than I thought I would. It helped me to feel like I was normal amongst the quirky not so normal crowd if that makes sense. One woman spoke about or rather asked the question that I have always held in my own head and have tried to get an answer for or find a dialogue about, was – the fact that I see myself as this tough chick and what if this is something I can’t really do. How is it really? Not that we want to hear horror stories (ok, half of me does) but anything but the sugar and spice and everything nice bit that all mothers tell you. the details please, the details. how IS the pain, really?

I guess my one fear if anything is – what if all this time, I’m not that tough at all. I’ve always thought I was this tough chick, a tomboy, desensitized towards pain. But what if this is the one thing I can not physically do?

But then that’s just really fear of the unknown. Just like going back to get a tattoo after a hiatus. I get a little nervous cause I don’t remember how the needle will feel like or if it will hurt this time around because so much time has passed. But once it starts it’s all good. and I wouldn’t necessarily call it pain. That is always the second question people ask me about my tattoos. The first is usually, is it real? Or are they finished? Then its on to – did it hurt? Was it painful. And honestly they weren’t painful. I have never explained them that way. I always said it’s more of a discomfort than pain. A burning sensation at times, but never painful. And perhaps this is what I need to use and think of when I think of the “pains” of labor.

The fact that millions of us exist, the fact that millions of women give birth all over the world each day. This fact is comfort alone. To know that my body is meant to do this, that I will be able to do this. We touched on this in the class, it was something that I needed to hear again. Our midwife had said to me before that if I could push thru the pain and was willing to sit for hours to get a tattoo, then labor will be no different. Sure the sensations may different, but how you will react to them – you will know what to do. Our bodies are designed to do this.

Anyway, the class touched on nutrition, which our midwives are always on top of. And the instructor spoke of salt intake and the misconception that you should restrict it from your diet. To which Cw erupted in laughter to which I had to explain to the room why. She and the other new parent’s to be also spoke of alcohol intake. And from it, I felt like I was a purtian or something, for being a little conservative of my feelings on the subject. Our midwives also do not condone ANY amount of alcohol. But apparently theirs did. I don’t mind the fact i "can't" drink anyway. It’s not like I crave a beer or a glass of wine or shots of whiskey and or tequila. Its the fact that I am not supposed to or can’t, is what I have trouble with. It’s hard for me to be told you can’t because I’m stubborn and like to prove people wrong and break all sorts of rules, but don’t worry, I’m not drinking, not even a sip.

The husbands and father’s to be contributed a lot. Asked questions and showed that they were really being part of their wives pregnancy – to which I uncomfortably and silently started feeling like I was getting shafted. I silently wished that my husband would do the same. That he would take it upon himself to learn and understand what i was going thru. what my body is going thru, what his son is going thru. i didn't voice this until we finished the class and went to taco bell (sorry Mason) and i brought it up and started crying. I then realized this would be the second or third time i cried in the drive thru of this particular taco bell. Cw just sat there listening, obviously feeling as if i was scolding him. i don't know, maybe its all the hormones (yes, it is the hormones), but i don't know, i honestly dont know what i want, or what would help or be comforting to me. i guess i just want him to be a part of it more so than what he is doing now. he helps me be comfortable in my role, but what about his role? but then again, i dont think i could stand to be with someone who was overly sensitive to my being pregnant. or the fact that he read up on everything so when i would complain, he would chime in and be like - oh well i know what you need, or i know what you are going thru its this thing so if you did this you may feel better. yeah, i dont think i would necessarily like that. i'd probably ask him to take me to taco bell and start to lash out and cry again.

so for me, the active participation part is not so much for the benefit of using it to comfort me or to give suggestions or solutions to what is occurring but to not just have me be the one going thru it. studying up on the fact that our lives will be forever changed. Cw has always been this even keeled guy, laid back, neutral and calm - nothing extreme about him except when he gets uber goofy. he is definitely a mellow guy and that's part of his charm. and i dont necessarily want him to be all freaked out about it, i just want him to be educated, thats all. its like the birth of our son is this big exam and well, up until then you go thru studying, not that you will ever be prepared for what is to come. anyway, i hope this class will help and open him up to all of it.

even though i have doubts of myself as a parent, I do not doubt that cw will be a great father.

so all of this is just, hormones?

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