This past week, Hannah and I had the blessing of attending a class held by some friends of ours, to learn more about God's design for pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and how to support a woman in labor.
Our friends are taking a doula course, and this class to pass on their knowledge to other young ladies was a part of the course requirements.
We each had a folder of information and charts waiting for us at our seats. Jenny and Sarah started out by reading a timeline of the development of the baby week by week from the book Christ Centered Childbirth.
After that, the morning was spent on learning about the stages of labor - the physical and emotional signs in the mother, and how the labor support person could help them through it.
They performed a humorous little skit demonstrating the excited first nesting phase of labor. They emphasized that at this point REST is the key. :)
Also as part of the class, there were a number of quizzes to help cement what we learned after each phase was talked about. The winners were able to pick a prize from an assortment of gifts - each attendee brought a little something to contribute to the prize table.
Side note: I made bean bags! Just recently I won a giveaway of a set of these, and I thought they were so cute! It seemed like they would make a fitting baby gift, so I made another set using the tutorial that was on the blog I won the original set from. This was a great project to use up some of my leftover scraps! They were all filled with lentils - they were a nice size and not too big. These bean bags are great for young children to help them learn their numbers and simple addition and subtraction while having fun.
Also, I made a simple drawstring bag to hold them all together. The tutorial had instructions for a bag, but since I didn't have any scraps big enough, I just had to make up a similar design that would work with what was available.
Hannah kindly labeled it for me, as my handwriting leaves much to be desired. ;) Anyway, this was my contribution, and hopefully I can also make a set for myself soon as well.
Enough about that - back to the class! By the time we finished going through the stages of labor, it was time to break for lunch. We enjoyed a delicious meal of taco salad and had a relaxing time of conversation with the rest of their family and the other class attendees. There was a Scripture reading and a beautiful a cappella rendition of It Is Well.
After lunch, we went right back to it! First off was an exercise designed to show different methods of getting through contractions. Each of us was given a plastic bag full of ice, then we had to plunge a hand down in the middle of the ice for 30-90 seconds. WOW. That was hard, especially after the fourth time or so. ;) Each time, Jenny or Sarah would try different things - reading Scripture, telling a story, playing gentle music, having us walk around, and complete silence. It was really very interesting to see which of those each of us responded to the best. I think the story being read made it seem the shortest, although music and Scripture were also great in that regard. The silence just made me focus so much more on the pain in my hand, the seconds dragged by endlessly.
Then they spent some time talking about the nutritional needs during pregnancy, as well as going through a list of the common interventions and medications available. Also talked about were natural ways for pain relief, such as knowing what to expect so as not to have fear and muscle tension, changing positions often and keep moving, relaxing, back massages, and getting in water.
For the last activity of the day, they handed out around 25 slips of paper to each of us. On one side was one choice for labor and birth, and on the reverse side was the opposite. E.g. midwife - OB, boy - girl, home - hospital, etc. We had to choose 20 slips of what we desire/envision our own births to look like in the future. Then...we had to take out 8 of them. Ooo, that was hard to narrow it down to 12. But that wasn't it! Finally, 4 more had to be taken out. This really forced us to think of what were the most important issues to us personally.
After a learning filled day, there was a special treat of cake, ice cream, and strawberries for everyone. Yum! Thank you so much for all the work that was put in to this class and day, Wilkes family. :)