Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Parent Craft Class 2: Labour and Birth Continued

After our first parent craft class I was feeling much calmer and better informed about the birthing process I was really excited to go to the second session. The midwife who was taking the class informed us that this one would be full of information and fairly full on, whereas next week will be more interactive. We were encouraged to ask any questions and chip in when we wanted. 

After settling in with a cup of coffee and some biscuits we got straight into it and didn't stop for two hours! Last week we were granted a 'rest break' but not this time. For two hours we sat listening to the various ways in which something the size of a melon will be making it's way through my significantly smaller than a melon (for now anyway, it bounces back right? RIGHT?) vagina. We were told all about various kinds of pain relief and their pros and cons.

My mouth practically hit the floor when she told us that an epidural was in fact a process that took half an hour to administer and up to another half an hour to become effective. It consists of a tube being inserted into your spine while you are curved over, still dealing with contractions and having to keep perfectly still. Then the tube is taped up your back and over your shoulder. The drug is then inserted into the tube and locked in a clear box, which can be topped up every half an hour by you! To be honest I thought an epidural was an enormous needle injecting the stuff into your spine and assumed it would take all of about 5 minutes. Could I have been... any more wrong? (in Chandlers voice from Friends). We were also told that you are not guaranteed an epidural even if it's requested. There were several reasons why, such as, it might be too early, you may be too far dilated and the anaesthetist may not be available. 

Perviously my attitude was 'BRING ON THE DRUGS!' and was all for having a epidural. This has only made me slightly re-consider this. I am not writing a birth plan and I am keen to go with the flow and see how I feel, but god help them if I want an epidural and I am confronted with some natural birth nazi saying waffy things like "why not try the birth pool" or "imagine how proud you will feel". I am getting angry just thinking about it. I have a naturally short fuse and I will not be fobbed off by anybody so I guess sparks could fly! I feel sorry for poor Jimmy having to sort that one out but thats what he's there for right? 

We were told about pethidine which sounds a bit nasty, it's for poor women who have been in the early stages labour for absolutely ages and not progressing or dilating properly (1/2 a cm every hour) it helps them relax. This is because it's a bloody opiate. It takes the edge of the pain and because the body is relaxed can help with the dilating process. This drug passes the placenta and can make your baby dopey when they are born sometimes requiring an injection to wake them up a bit. I really do not like the sound of this one but I guess if you have been having contractions every twenty minutes for 2 days you wouldn't give a toss. 

Gas and air sounds good but I am not convinced that it will be too effective, the midwife says it makes you feel a bit pissed. Well, I have been really pissed, many times and hurt myself a lot and being pissed didn't stop the pain. So she's not really sold gas and air to me very well. Paracetamol were talked about a lot as pain relief but this was mainly met with rolling eyes and chuckles. Bloody paracetamol? In labour? Please. I will not be able to hold my tongue if someone says paracetamol is the only pain relief available while I am in labour. That will be another one for Jimmy to sort out, he's busy already eh!?

So after talking about the labour, various birthing positions, pain relief, C-sections, delivering the placenta and being stitched up after 'trauma' which is essentially your vagina ripping open. Jimmy, on the way home had but one question. "If you need to go to theatre to stitched up, what do I do with the baby?" Great. As if I don't have enough problems to worry about. He said he needed an hour by hour 'game plan' of what he needs to do. Bless him. I just laughed at his silliness while I died a little inside at what he had just said. 

There were some moments during the class that made me feel much better about my knowledge of labour and birth and my lovely Jimmy. Some highlights included;

  • One lady almost passing out when the midwife was describing the epidural.
  • A man asking about pain thresholds and what scale they were from 1-10 at various points of the labour. 'Every woman is different' did not seem a satisfactory answer and he wanted stats. 
  • A lady asking in horror what a cannula was just after the midwife had explained it (another one not great with needles I reckon).
  • A man asking if we are now 'just conditioned' to not cope with pain because we know about drugs and their effects (I felt so sorry for his misses).
Jimmy behaved all the way through the class with just a few funny comments but he managed to accidentally humiliate me by asking "if you know you have a really low pain threshold could you ask for an epidural on arrival because you just know you won't be able to cope?" To which every person in class turned and look at me. I just smiled and said "I'm a bit of a wimp" The midwife commented that every woman, during early labour will develop a tolerance for pain and it's best to just see how you are felling on the day. I don't think I have ever had such a red face in my life. So thanks for that Jimmy, it's nice to know you have such faith in me! Brilliant.