I don’t have any siblings; didn’t babysit a day in my life; and never came remotely close to a diaper – clean or dirty. When we found out we were expecting, my first thought after “Oh crap, I don’t know anything about babies” was “I need to register for a pre-natal class immediately.” It was a no brainer for me to register for a pre-natal class. I felt I needed to learn and feel comfortable.
First thing I learned was you cannot register for pre-natal class immediately. I thought I would register for one ASAP so that I can be “better” prepared but you can only register for a class really close to your due date. You can also chose which hospital you want to attend for your classes and what day of the week. We chose a hospital close to work because we wanted to go to class on a Tuesday after work. (Not on a Wednesday because that is wing night.) Those were two huge mistakes. We should have chosen the hospital we had planned to have our baby so we knew where we need to go exactly in an urgent situation. Attending a class during the week after work was just the worse. We were tired and hungry and our feet were puffy. (Mostly me.) Weekend classes would be better but they get booked up fast.
Some of the other things I learned about pre-natal class:
The first half an hour of your first class is really, really important.
I blanked out. I didn’t understand why you could only register for a pre-natal class close to your due date. I didn’t understand why the heck anyone would want to take the class in their third trimester when it is so uncomfortable. Turns out, the classes are structured this way because this is when the information provided really matters. In the first half an hour of the class, the instructor tells you the signs of labor and when you should get to the hospital pronto. There is so much information that is worth noting that it can get overwhelming. Hence, I blanked out. I did not make any notes in my pretty notebook. My partner had to take over. Lesson to be learned: Get your partner to take notes. Unless he/she blanks out. Then you guys are screwed. There are no handouts provided in class.
The hands on practices are worth practicing.
I didn’t because it looked so simple. I didn’t practice putting a diaper on a baby because I assumed my baby will be a blob that doesn’t move and it will be super easy. In reality, my baby did kick and cry at the top of her lungs. It is so hard to find the tabby things to put on the diaper when the room is dark and your baby is crying for her dear life. I also didn’t learn to swaddle properly and just made it look pretty in class. This was also a #newparentfail. Learning and practicing how to swaddle your baby makes a happy and well rested baby. Who wouldn’t want that?! These are a huge learning opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.
You have to listen to everything including all the gross stuff.
I nearly passed out at one point. I didn’t take biology in school and honestly I didn’t know how I was going to squeeze a watermelon out of a straw. When they showed a video of a natural birth, I was shocked. When they showed an animation of a c-section. I almost passed out. Being the optimist I am, I assumed I would have a natural birth in the hospital with lots of drugs pumped into me and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I did not even want to think or consider a c-section. As it turns out, after 10 hours of being in labor I needed an emergency c-section. As I was laying on the OR table, I kept trying to remember what the animation showed. I couldn’t remember a thing and I was scared. Lesson to be learned is to keep your options open and try to learn everything.
I get asked a lot whether I took a pre-natal class. My answer is always: Yes, because I needed to. You might not need to. It isn’t mandatory to take a class before you give birth. The next question is always whether I learned anything from it. I usually answer embarrassingly “I would have learned more if I paid attention.”