I am now 35 weeks! I shot this picture yesterday morning. I think it is funny how my abs still show on the sides- I have such a basketball belly!
Yesterday afternoon we had our first childbirth class with our doula, Teresa. There were three other couples there who were also giving birth with our midwife Judy. One woman is due about a week after me, one at the end of January, and the other in March. Here’s hoping that none of us January girls go into labor at the same time! I am due first, so that must be why Judy has high hopes that I will go early! They are also all expecting boys!
The class was a few hours long, and Teresa teaches in a storytelling fashion. She went through a lot of information, but made her points mostly by telling stories about her experiences, making the class very interesting and conversational. We were the only couple who had met with her previously and had hired her as our doula, so she started off by discussing her background and how she got into being a doula.
We then all introduced ourselves and talked about our biggest fear (tearing) and what we’re most excited about (finding out what the whole labor and birth process is like, finally meeting our baby Shim!). Teresa then spent a good bit of time discussing the father’s role as coach. Her philosophy is that he got us into this, he should help us get out of it! Her role as a doula is not to replace the father, but to support both him and the mother (and the midwives) to make sure they feel comfortable and confident during the process.
Later, we did a simulated “contraction” activity, where we squeezed ice cubes and tried a couple different ways to distract ourselves or deal with the pain. The guys, of course, had to do it too!
At the end, we watched a video that shows all the twists and turns a baby makes on its way out of the womb, kind of like this video.
At one point, I asked about when I should expect to feel Braxton Hicks contractions. Obviously I am getting pretty close, and I didn’t know if I should be nervous that my uterus wasn’t getting ready yet! As it turns out, I’ve been having them for a while now, but didn’t realize what they were… I thought that the baby was just pushing out really hard, but turns out those are actually BH! Every once in a while, my whole tummy will just get hard. It didn’t hurt though, and half the time I’d barely notice… I just assumed it was the baby! I said jokingly, “If this is what contractions are like, then labor will be no problem!” Teresa said that the real thing will be much more powerful…