Friday, June 5, 2009

Our make-up childbirth class

Last night we attended our make-up Class #2 in the three-part childbirth series. This class was much more informative than the first, or maybe it was just that I was less familiar with the topics reviewed, including c-sections and pain management.

The intro to anesthesia was nice and really makes me look forward to the two-hour anesthesia class we'll take at the beginning of July.

A few highlights:

The description and depictions of epidurals the instructors shared scared me. The fact that it's a metal tube (albeit a small one) stuck in the spine for hours that renders the patient completely bed-bound skeeves me out more than a little. For those who don't know, docs now prefer women to move around and stay upright as long as possible through the labor process, so gravity and movement can help labor progress. Considering I'd like to try managing pain by moving around and trying the tricks I've read and seen, an epidural would pretty much close the door on that option. But it is good to know that Hershey administers epidurals through low-dose, patient-controlled analgesia, meaning the IV feeds a minimum dose to the patient, and the patient controls increases to the epidural with a button.

The instructors' info about Stadol pretty much confirmed what I already thought: not the drug for me. While its intent is to "take the edge off," it seems what it really does is whack the patient out so that while she can still feel the pain of contractions, she's so out-of-touch she just doesn't care. Nah, I'd rather have my head in the game.

And I learned about another option I wasn't aware of: a spinal. It's rarely used for vaginal labor at Hershey (commonly used as the anesthesia for c-sections), but could be an option if I make it to transition without drugs and then start to lose it. That's what happened to our instructor. The spinal is similar to the epidural, except it's a one-time shot in the spine that doesn't last nearly as long.

Like I said, it will be nice to learn more from the experts at our anesthesia class in July.

But next up: Breastfeeding class next Tuesday.

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