26 weeks: Attention, class!
To me, it still seems pretty early, but I've started my pre-natal classes. There is no fixed order to these classes, you just join one that fits your schedule.
The first class I attended was an optional session on breastfeeding. All the other women (except 1) were hugely PG, some looked like they could go into labour at any moment. It didn't hurt to see them, but I did feel a bit out of place. I half expected someone to ask whether I was really PG or just faking it. Absurd, of course.
The session was interesting. Especially the part where the midwife warned that new mothers tend to get a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to BF - and it starts right away in the maternity ward where each midwife/nurse tends to give her own version of how it should be done. To wit, she continued by saying the general advice the hospital gives is to let the baby nurse 20 minutes on each side from day 1. Wrong, all wrong, according to her. Your milk won't come in on day one, so there's no point in nursing so long, the only result will be sore nipples. Start with very short sessions nursing (repeating often) and gradually build up to 20 minutes.
Point to remember is to latch on to only one set of guidelines, and ignore all others. Unless they fail of course. Duely noted.
The second class was all about relaxation. Soothing music and the relaxation exercise led by the midwife led us to a level of consciousness between waking and sleeping. (Well that was the aim, I was so occupied thinking "am I doing this right?" that I didn't quite get there). In this dreamlike state, the midwife taught us how to cope with contractions. Apparently, the trick is to try and relax all the muscles in your face as well as your hands, while visualizing the cervix opening. Easy peasy lying comfortably on the floor without a contraction in sight, but will it work? The idea behind it is that you can consciously relax your face, but not the muscles in your abdomen. However, relaxing one should also relax the other. We'll see.
After gently pulling us back to reality, it was time for some huffing and puffing: exercises to breath through the urge to push, handy in case you're not dilated enough to push yet. The idea behind this seems to be distraction. Breathing in and out so quickly not only occupies your midriff, making it difficult to push, it also occupies your mind. Rather tiring though.
Attending the classes felt a bit surreal to me. I feel a sense of wonderment that the information from these sessions might apply to me. A baby? Me?! Labour? Breastfeeding? Seriously?! Ain't that something!
Even though I'm preparing for the Insider's arrival in a number of ways, there is still a sense of apprehension just below the surface. I suppose that isn't uncommon, even among 'normal' women, and it's certainly in line with my worry-prone character. Infertility is certainly a factor as well.