This past weekend my husband and I attended the "Prepared Childbirth" class at the Isis Maternity Center at the Prudential Center, Boston. We had heard from a few friends about the class - mostly about the "gross" birthing videos you watch with the other soon to be parents - so we had some idea what we were in store for, but we went into the 8 hour class with open minds.
Due to the nasty weather, there were only 4 other couples in the class (2 of which I ended up knowing from school and the dog park) so it was a nice intimate setting. To start off the day, we were greeted by our teacher, Sandy, a licensed Doula who is training to become a registered midwife. She was right out of Doula central casting - from southern California, glasses, curly hair, a little crunchy - and right from the get go, you could tell she loved her job. And she was a hoot - jumping around on the ground, on a chair, showing us birthing positions, acting out what contractions are like - she definitely kept us awake with her antics!
The class covered everything from third trimester body changes (where do your organs actually go?) to possible complications in the hospital (reasons why you would have an unplanned c-section) to breastfeeding basics. We also learned about ways to power through contractions and about the different types of drugs you can receive once admitted to the hospital: I must admit that I thought an epidural was just a shot in the spine, but it actually is a tube placed in your spine and taped down over your shoulder with a syringe at the end where the drugs can be administered when needed - D'oh!
To keep the day moving along, we participated in lots of activities with the other couples, as well as the fabulous massage stations - who knew how good a tennis ball could feel on your back?
Interspersed between the demonstrations and activities were the dreaded Miracle of Birth videos, staring the fattest, hairiest women the producers could find. And could their husbands look more like 80s porn stars? There were five too many mullets and thin mustaches in those films for my taste. And birth isn't exactly the most beautiful thing in the world, but when you are watching a 300 pound woman give birth, you can't help but feel a little nauseous. (I will have to admit that I did get a little choked up when they put the baby on the woman's chest right after birth - hormones!) They were also filled with tons of "that what she said moments" so my husband and I were the bad kids giggling to ourselves in the dark. Real mature, I know...
Overall it was a great experience, and well worth the money ($170 for the two of us to attend). We came out of it feeling prepared for our child's birth (that is why they call it Prepared Childbirth) and with a lot more knowledge than we have gotten out of any pregnancy/birthing books we have read, and there have been a lot.
If you do get a chance to take this class through Isis, I highly recommend trying to take one being taught by Sandy from central casting! She brought a crocheted uterus with detachable vagina for God sakes! How do you not love her.