As you can see, MANY things have been crossed off my list since I last posted it! Life has been moving fast, and it has been so much fun. I have also added a few new things to the list. So far most of them are in March, but I'm sure that April will fly by once I start my maternity leave. I have so many things to do around the house to prepare for the birth of my little girl!
* 31-Week doctor appointment
* Breastfeeding class
* Baby Shower #2
* Clash Of The Titans comes out in theaters
* Baby Care class
* Baby Safe class (CPR, etc.)
* Maternity leave begins!!!!!!
To do once I am on maternity leave:
* Finish organizing the nursery
* Put together all my childbirth notes to take the hospital with us
* Pack my hospital bag
* Prepare and freeze several meals for after baby comes
* Sew a shopping cart cover, loveys, and whatever other baby items I have time to make
I guess I haven't been very good about updates from our childbirth classes. We just completed class 4 of 6. Mike and I are both learning a lot. While 3 hours is a big chunk out of a Sunday afternoon, I really do feel like it is very helpful for us both. We are getting used to the other couples in our class, and while I can't really imagine hanging out with them outside of class, I think we are all getting more comfortable with each other. The class brings out a lot of emotions, and we are all sharing some pretty personal, intimate feelings. (Especially me...I cry all the time. I have a feeling I will be bawling when I see my little girl for the first time!!!)
Over the past few weeks we have learned several methods of dealing with labor pains. To simulate a contraction, we hold ice cubes in our hands and learn how to deal with the discomfort. (The ice cubes in the palm aren't really a problem for me anymore, so I've started holding them against my wrist for a more intense pain.) I know that it is nothing like a real contraction will be, but it's a good way to cause yourself pain without actually hurting yourself! First we just focused on the pain and discovered just how difficult it is to cope when you do that. After that, we started focusing on our breathing, and looking beyond the pain. Some of the practice was done in silence, other times with guided visualizations. I've discovered that I do much better in silence than I do with listening to someone speak. That way I can just let myself go and lead myself into another place. It's also helpful for me to have Mike gently massage my back and legs while I focus on my breath and go to my "special place". Having that sensation is another distraction for me to focus on. We are still working on finding positions that are likely to work for us while I am in labor. We are planning to get a birth ball (an exercise ball) for me to sit on, which allows me to be in the squat position but takes the weight off of my legs. I have also found that leaning on the counter is very helpful. Of course, I am taking note of all the positions since I have no idea what will actually feel good when I am in the middle of actual labor!
Aside from pain management techniques, we have been doing a lot of emotional discovery, finding out what we are afraid of in birth, and how we can get beyond that. The more fears I can deal with now, the easier it will be for me when the time comes. I've realized that I really don't have fears any more. I have concerns, naturally, but I have already worked through them and figured out how I will handle them if those situations arise. Even though I don't want a c-section and I really don't think I will need one, I am including it in my birth plan. That way, if for some serious medical reason I need to have one, it won't completely throw me off and I will be able to deal with it in the best way possible.
Overall, I think this class is helping Mike and I to connect and to discover what our strengths and weaknesses are. I think that the two of us are going to make a great team to bring our daughter into the world!