pre-natal classes: week two

Another Thursday night rolls around, and we’re back at the hospital. The group of people around the room is starting to get slightly more familiar, and we even make a few attempts at conversation over the free food (mm.. individually wrapped tim tams).

This week, we’re talking about pain management strategies, both natural, and medical. We split into dads (eep) and mums, and talk about what our different options are. The men haven’t thought about this all that much, even having done the homework in the lead-up, but it seems that the key to getting through the labour as a good support person is to come up with ways to distract the wife from what’s going on.

Kel and I run through a few things that won’t be helpful: it looks like she’s not going to buy into the “you’re doing a great job” rhetoric, but that I might just have a chance with “look, I managed to get us to the right hospital!” or something similar.

There are a *lot* of different ways to distract someone who’s in labour, and the general impression I get is that none of them will be terribly successful for very long, but that its worth a try anyway.

We then look at the medical coping strategies: basically, in increasing order, that’s gas (a mix of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen), pethidine (which can give the baby some trouble breathing if it arrives too soon after you’re given the drug), and the epidural, which looks even more fiddly than I thought it was, and can – if messed up – give migraines and other unpleasantness.

Is there any other situation in life where you have options of what pain-killers to take? The whole thing is surreal. We stick to our original thinking, which is to hold out from using the pain killers for as long as possible.

From there, we go to the labour ward for a quick tour. The whole place looks like a hotel that has been converted to a hospital: the delivery suite has an ensuite bathroom with a spa bath, and even has fake wood lino, not just scary hospital grey lino.

And then we’re done. Another week closer to the birth. Looks like we’ll at least be comfortable for this whole experience, whenever it happens: there’s a bit of a drive to get from our place to the hospital, so I’m a bit anxious that we’ll be stuck in peak-hour traffic, but I guess we’ll have to see what happens.