Monday, May 16, 2011

My birth partner

28 weeks - one week ago
Despite having a big workload in the past few weeks, I managed to fit in several birth-related classes. Stuart and I signed up for a two-part child birth preparation class taught by Emily Heldt. The class was specifically geared toward parents planning to give birth at home or a birth center. I was so thankful to have a class with this in mind because the things we learned about were much different than what we might have learned in a typical hospital birthing class.

We were lucky in that there were only two other couples in the class, so we all got to know each other and had plenty of time to ask questions and discuss what was on our minds.

Emily was a wonderful teacher -- I highly recommend her. I think the two biggest things I gained were a clearer understanding of what will actually happen during labor and birth, and a more intimate connection with Stuart and his role in the birth process.

All the couples in the class were first-time parents, so all of us were completely mystified by how labor and birth actually work. It was nice to get to ask basic questions about what would happen to us, and now I feel much less intimidated by the experience. Yes, it will still be difficult, but at least I now have an idea of what to expect.

As for the second part, I know that Stuart felt very unsure about what he would do during labor. He knew he wanted to support me, but didn't really know how that might work. We spent a lot of time in class focusing on how the spouse can be supportive and be an active participant in the birth process, and I think that helped both Stuart and I feel more connected. Hearing him articulate his thoughts helped me realize how much he cares about me and the baby, which made me feel closer to him.

As I start my third and final trimester, I feel much more knowledgeable but also much more at peace with what's ahead of me. And I'm so thankful to have Stuart at my side.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Deciphering the diaper deluge

Tonight I had the most amazing 90-minute facial/foot massage/hand massage from my friend Jeannie at Perle Holistic Skincare. I'm feeling so nice and relaxed... that was just what my tense and increasingly achy body needed. I've got several massages scheduled for the next two months, and I'm now realizing how important they'll be. :-)

Our first cloth diaper purchase: the Bumboo.
Now on to the real topic of this post, cloth diapers. I mentioned a little while ago that I was overwhelmed to learn that there were so many different diapering systems out there. So we took action: we hosted a cloth diapering class at our house recently, run by a local doula who is extremely knowledgeable about this topic. Five other pregnant moms and two other dads joined me and Stuart at our home to learn about all these various systems and how they worked. The teacher brought a ton of examples so we could see what she was talking about.

Before we had the class, I saw an online deal for a diaper called the Bumboo (the photo above) and they had good reviews from moms online, so I bought a two-pack. We learned that these Bumboos will need a diaper cover around the outside of them, but that's common for several types of diapers.

Another nice thing about the class was that the teacher shared several ways she easily makes different parts of the diaper (like inserts and liners) by cutting up pieces of cloth -- much cheaper than buying those parts, and it doesn't even involve sewing. Nice tip.

The result of the class was that we were still quite overwhelmed by all the choices, but we felt much more confident that we are at least more familiar with the options and can try to make informed decisions about which ones we like. Overall, the message I got was clear: We won't really know what works best for us until our son is here. So in the meantime, we'll try to stock up on a few different types, and then just try them out.

We felt brave enough after the class to even start a second gift registry on Amazon that includes several types of diapers to help us get started. That's much better than where we were a month ago!