Is it worth attending antenatal classes?

antenatal class

So this is the question I asked myself. Reason being;

  1. the time it would consume mine and my partner’s time to attend and was it really worth it?
  2. the cost involved to attend those classes and again was it worth it (I was astonished to find that most antenatal classes were charging $300 for attendance! I mean how can people with not a lot of money afford to pay this and justify spending $300 to learn how to give birth?) and
  3. I really didn’t want to watch a birthing video! I’ve gone 31 years without watching one and the thought of watching one horrified me and I know that they would show this at the antenatal classes.

 

But given that fact that me and my partner had ZERO clue about labour. Neither of us have had friends who have been through labour so we literally had no clue about the process and the stages of labour. So I decided that it was best that we both attend antenatal classes.

I decided to see if we could find a free class somewhere as I couldn’t justify spending $300 on top of all the money we have spent on things for the baby so far.

I managed to find free antenatal classes at the RPA but the only catch was it was on during the day and during the week. Me and my partner were both working but thought we could try to fit it in during our work day.

We signed up for a 6 x 2hr per week class and a separate 2 hour breastfeeding class.

We began my antenatal classes when I was 28 weeks.

Within the first 10 minutes of our first class, they put a birthing video on and I just sat there trying not to cry. I wanted to cry not because it was beautiful or amazing, I wanted to cry because of the pain that I could see the woman go through and knowing that its something that I would need to go through just scared the hell out of me and as I looked around the class, I also saw the same horrified faces of the other pregnant women.

My partner looked at me and held my hand. He could see I was shocked and scared as hell.

I walked away from the first class thinking that was so unnecessary to do. To put a birthing video within the first 10 minutes of your first antenatal class! Anyway, we had signed up and proceeded to push ahead.

I found each class to be quite repetitive. They would go over the same things at some classes and I found it to be a time waster at times. They also spent time on doing “group activities” which I think was also a time waster. One group activity was listing the things a support partner should do and say. I just think those things are quite obvious. They are there to support but we wasted 30 mins going over that.

Another class that I think was a time waster was post-baby care. They go over how to swaddle a baby (with a doll), how to bath a baby and certain ailments of a baby that are normal or not normal i.e. colour of their poop, certain skin rashes etc.

The reason why I found this a complete time waster is because you don’t remember any of that stuff when the baby arrives and when you are at the hospital, the midwives teaches you how to swaddle a baby, there are also various classes at the hospitals for mothers to attend. They teach you how to bath a baby, breastfeeding classes, how to settle a baby and physio classes (well these were the classes at my hospital. Not sure if this is the norm at other hospitals).

We also spent a good hour going over the various ailments a baby could have. Now looking back, I don’t remember a thing and if I found something strange on my baby, I would be calling one of the 24 hour helplines to ensure whether its normal or not. To think you would be able to remember what is normal or what is not is unrealistic and the reality is, when you have your own baby in your hands, you are going to want to check with the professionals as opposed to relying on what was taught to you months ago.

Apart from that, it was also very time-consuming attending these classes. 6 weeks for 2 hours each class, it was exhausting and as I got more pregnant, I just didn’t have the energy to want to go but I did attend every class.

By the end of it, I did learn things that we needed to know. Things like when to go to hospital, the different pain relief available, the tools of intervention and what to expect after the birth although I don’t think it needed to take 6 weeks and 2 hour classes to learn all the vital things.

I did find the breastfeeding class very useful. It goes over the signs a baby gives when they are hungry as well as showing you the various positions you can breastfeed. I did remember this when my baby came along and watched for the signs to know when to feed her before she starts crying as well as trying the various positions to see which she liked best. This by far was the most useful class.

And if I had paid $300 for these classes, I would be mighty upset. It’s definitely not worth that amount of money.

So we finish the class and a couple of weeks after I finish the class I’m at home on my iPad looking at pregnancy apps and come across a really interesting app that I proceed to download.

I download the BabyCenter Birth Class application. This app is amazing! I wish I came across it before I signed myself up to attend the antenatal classes because this app went through everything the antenatal class went through and for me, in better detail.

I can’t rave on about this app more. First of all you have someone who talks you through the classes so you’re not having to read (I am so over reading! I feel throughout this whole pregnancy there is just more and more stuff to read!). The app is broken up into sections so you can refer to areas that you really want to know about now or you can just go through the class in order.

The app is very thorough in covering all aspects of labour as well as post-birth. They also have a section where you can jot down notes.

There is also plenty of references to links for further information on certain topics.

What I also loved is that they did include various birthing videos of various mothers and their stories around labour. So labour with pain-relief, labour without pain relief, a c-section and I watched all the birthing videos. I guess it’s because I was more prepared that I was about to watch a birthing video and I was intrigued to see the various labour stories (the videos used in my antenatal classes was from the 90’s! They were so old).

The other things I loved is that you can do the app at your own pace and also at a time that suits you and your partner. The both of you can watch it at your own pace, pause the video if you need to discuss something and when you close the app and open it again, it starts where you left off.

If I had known about this app before signing up to the antenatal classes, I would not have signed up to the classes and stuck to just using the app.

And the best thing! The app is completely free to download! And because its made by BabyCenter, you know it’s a reliable source of information and seriously the app has been put together amazingly. I was really impressed.

So my suggestion, if you and your partner are time poor, don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars and want the flexibility of learning at your own pace and time, then I highly suggest downloading this app as it really has all the information you need.

The only suggestion would be to take a hospital tour (which they usually do in the antenatal classes) and if there is a breastfeeding class, I would also suggest attending that only.

 ***

What are your thoughts on antenatal classes? Worth attending? Have you done any online ones such as the BabyCentre app?

Babymoon – is it worth it?

Babymoon

 

Before I fell pregnant, I have never ever heard of a babymoon.

Once pregnant through mother forums, I started hearing about a babymoon and had to google it because I had no idea what it meant. Then I came across the below definition

a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.

At first I thought the concept was ridiculous but then as the months of pregnancy went on, I started realising things like “this is the last period in our lives for a while where it’s just me and my partner”.

And as the months went on, the baby started consuming my life! Everything I did was around the baby. Looking at what products I need to buy for baby, going to baby stores, researching online, looking into information around labour, what I can and can’t do whilst pregnant and so on and so forth.

The baby had already consumed both of our lives and the baby hasn’t even arrived yet.

The concept of the babymoon started to make sense.

It was an opportunity for me and my partner to be together. Just the two of us. Away from everything baby related.

I thought for our relationship, it was the perfect thing we could do.

Now I know not a lot of people are in the financial position to do something like this but if you can, I found it one of the most amazing things we could have done.

Now upon researching taking a babymoon, I was surprised to see that there were hotels and resorts out there that actually have babymoon packages! One of the many examples below:

Midweek  Babymoon… …Stay 2 nights,  indulge 1 evening  Dining on the Edge dinner for two,  1 full body   pregnancy massage for mum to be !! …….  $1455 per couple

Surrender to complete relaxation before your new baby arrives with a babymoon.  STAY 2 nights in a Luxury  Suite overlooking the rain forest and ocean . Private  DINING  on the Edge one evening 3 course  chefs menu dinner for two dinner for two includes welcome beverage,  surrender,  one hour full body pregnancy massage for mother to be.  Gourmet Breakfast supplies, home blend toasted muesli, premium yogurt, smoked salmon, eggs, bread,  muffins,   medium roast plunger coffee, tea, herbal tea, fruit juice, mineral water, sparkling wine, cheese,  roasted mixed nuts and a sweet treat !!! sparkling wine.  * (  Dining on the Edge may also be served as a private  lunch)    A  babymoon  less than an hours drive from Sydney CBD  is perfect for parents to enjoy a little time out ……. before baby arrives……!!!

Now for $1455 for 2 nights, we were not prepared to pay.

So I just looked at it as a weekend getaway and looked at hotels/resorts at a cheaper price.

Timing

I think something to take into account when booking your babymoon is how far along the pregnancy you should book it especially if your babymoon involves flying. There are many airlines that don’t allow women after a certain point in their pregnancy to fly. Most airlines have a policy of not allowing women to fly anywhere between 32-37 weeks. This is just due to the probability of you going into labour and airplanes not equipped to deliver a baby.

Secondly is taking into account that the further along the pregnancy you are, the more uncomfortable you tend to get and also the more tired you get, so if you are planning a babymoon with the idea of doing some activities, then you don’t want to leave going so late in your pregnancy that you’re too tired.

My suggestion would be to go when you are in your second trimester. This as mentioned in my previous post, is the most energetic and well you will feel out of all three trimesters (every woman is different but this is usually the case).

We went away when I was 6 month pregnant and for me it was the perfect timing.

Location

Due to cost and timing reasons (my partner couldn’t take too much time off work) we decided to go somewhere where it was within driving distance. Also it was summertime so going somewhere along the coast and in front of the beach was where we wanted to go.

I jumped onto http://www.lastminute.com.au which is great for cheap hotel deals and you can also search per area you are looking at going if you don’t have a particular hotel in mind.

We came across the Crowne Plaza Terrigal http://www.crowneplazaterrigal.com.au/. The location was perfect and it was only 1.5 hr drive from Sydney

MapWe booked in a 3 night 4 day stay and it was perfect!

We had ocean views and we could hear the rolling of the ocean from our bedroom which was so peaceful and amazing.

We were just across the road from the beach.

At 6 months, I didn’t feel too big to be lying in the sun and getting some much-needed Vitamin D and soaking in the fresh air. I still managed to fit into my one piece swimming costume which was great.

The trip was so good for the both of us. I made a conscientious effort to not talk about the baby too much and really we just focused on each other.

We went out for dinner, we walked along the beach, we lied in bed watching TV, we talked about work and about our friends. We laughed and relaxed and I felt so light. So at ease and at peace and I could see that my partner also felt the same.

I think at times because you do talk about the baby so much, it can create a sense of stress on one or both of you when you start thinking about the things you need to do and buy before the baby arrives, so to have a weekend to make us press pause and just look at each other – that sought of experience is priceless.

We had so much fun and I’m so glad we did it. It really rejuvenated the two of us and reminded us to not forget about each other throughout this amazing journey.

To anyone thinking about taking a babymoon, I can’t highly recommend it more!

It was and remains such a memorable time for the two of us. Actually the three of us… 🙂

Your relationship and sex when pregnant

Pregnant couple

 

So before you continue reading this post, please keep in mind that this is my very personal experience of my own relationship during my pregnancy and by no means am I telling others what to do or not do. Only you know your relationship and your partner/hubby.

I have been with my partner for 2.5 years now and I have to admit that being pregnant has been the most amazing experience for us as a couple and has definitely brought us closer together. I have seen a side of my partner I have never seen before and I’m sure he has also seen a side of me that has come out since I have fallen pregnant.

One piece of advice that I have heard and have not forgotten until this day is the below:

“Do not forget your relationship. It is easy to be consumed by being pregnant and focusing on the baby but don’t forget that you and your partner came first and that without your relationship there would be no baby or family”

My parents got divorced when I was 3 years old and I have no real concept of what its like to be brought up with your mum and dad under the same roof. My partner’s parents on the other hand are still together, and he has no concept of what it would be like to not have his parents together.

As a result and because I would like my own child to be brought up with both his mum and dad together, I will do everything possible to work on this relationship regardless of the ups and downs that will come our way. And my partner also agrees with me which brings me to my first point

1. To always ensure me and my partner are on the same wavelength

I think its easy to lose track of each other’s expectations and hopes as life goes on, so its important to check in with each other and ensure you are both working towards the same goals and not focusing on separate paths.

Now when I found out I was pregnant, you hear so many stories about how pregnant women change because of hormonal changes and basically everything going on in your body, but you also hear how much men end up receiving the brunt of the hormonal changes and having to deal with “bitchy, moody, frustrating, crazy” pregnant partners.

I was very conscious about this and didn’t want to ruin such an amazing experience for the both of us by being moody or irritable. At the end of the day, your partner will never completely understand what you are going through and whilst they may empathise, starting fights with them or being bitchy towards them does not help either you or him. This brings me to point number two:

2. When I don’t feel great and moody, take time out on my own and tell my partner “I’m just tired”

I have to admit that throughout my pregnancy, my partner has been a fantastic support to me and not once have I ever felt alone or not supported and at the same time, I think the harmony between us has been due to the fact that I didn’t overload him with all my thoughts and emotions.

Men don’t get the privilege to know what its like to carry a life inside of them, and their ability to process what is going on will be very different to what we are going through and to expect them to understand us completely is unrealistic and unfair.

For me, the fact that he is there when I cry for no reason and lets me know everything will be ok is enough for me.

You will get days where it all gets too much and you just need to cry and as long as your partner is there to support you and be there for you, then for me, it has helped me through those times more than he can imagine.

Just knowing I’m not going through this alone makes me relaxed and have such a peaceful pregnancy.

Now sex is another topic that every pregnant couple will go through and every experience will be different.

For me personally, the first trimester sex was a bit off and on as due to my morning sickness and tiredness, there were times where I couldn’t get the energy to want to and my partner during my pregnancy only let me instigate as he would never want to come across pushy in regards to sex while I’m pregnant.

When the second trimester came around, I was feeling great and our sex life went back on track. Then I started showing more and more and my partner started to feel uncomfortable about having sex with me.

At first I cried about it thinking he wasn’t attracted to me and my own insecurities started popping up but when I had a good talk with my partner about it, I came to understand where he was coming from.

I put myself in his position and having sex with a pregnant women is not exactly a hot fantasy that every man has. I know there are men out there who are attracted to pregnant women and that’s great but I also know there are men out there who see a pregnant women as going through an extraordinary time in their life and doesn’t necessarily see it as a sexual thing and therefore I can respect what my partner was feeling.

He sees me as going through something very miraculous and special in his eyes and its like he didn’t want to disturb the process or been seen to “sexualise” me during this time.

And again, every couple is different because many times it’s the women who do not want to have sex due to feeling unattractive or tired but for me, I was more than happy to continue with our sex life but after our chat and reassurance that my partner thinks I’m gorgeous and attractive, then I respected the way he felt and tried to put myself in his head space.

Regardless of the sex, I do feel like this pregnancy has brought me and my partner closer together more than any other experience we have been through together so far.

During the pregnancy, there will be decisions that need to be made and disagreements may come up, but remember that you are both working towards bringing a life into this world and that everything will sort itself out one way or another.

My own experience has been fantastic and I can only hope that you also have a harmonious experience with your other half during this time in your life. Always remember that these are moments and experiences you will never be able to re-create so look at the bigger picture and leave the petty arguments aside.

 

Second trimester bliss

Second trimester

So hopefully by the 13th or 14th week your morning sickness has past.

For myself I was 13.5 weeks in when then nausea stopped and the tiredness also went away. I was so relieved and happy once that part was over.

I found it tough to work and feel sick and tired everyday. It also drained my weekends.

The other wonderful thing that happens is that you can start telling people the fantastic news! A lot of people still wait until the 12 week mark or after they get their results from the Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida test to tell people.

I was one who did want to wait until I knew everything was great with baby before I let my friends and extended family know. The only people we told straight away was our parents.

I have a friend of a friend who is 5 weeks behind me and decided to tell people before the tests results came back. Her test results came back in the high range of Down Syndrome and she then had to go through further procedures and tests. Whilst she was going through this torment, people around her kept on congratulating her on the baby. It was a horrible experience to go through and she had wished she had waited until after the results before she announced the news.

Thank goodness that after further testing the baby is ok.

So these three months are really the best. Most days I woke up and forgot I was pregnant!

The most exciting aspect of the second trimester is that you finally get to feel the baby kick. It was one of the most extraordinary experiences I can’t even describe. The moment when you actually feel a little life inside of you. No words can describe.

Most women feel their babies start kicking in the 18th-20th week.

I have an anterior placenta (which is not the norm but its nothing dangerous). This means that the placenta is sitting in the front of my stomach as opposed to the back. This meant that it created like a cushioning between the baby and my own belly so it took me a bit longer before I felt my baby kicks. It was the 21st week before I felt the ever so little flutters in my tummy. I wasn’t sure if it was my stomach rumbling or if it was the baby and then finally I knew it was the baby when I felt the repetitive light taps and when my partner was able to feel it, it was such a gorgeous moment for the both of us.

You also have your 20 week scan in the third trimester which is a big scan that in that you can see your baby much clearer, they take measurements of all your baby’s body parts and organs, ensure baby is ok and some ultrasound places give you the option to take a DVD home of this (once again, think about whether this is worth the extra cost).

This is the time to do all the running around you need to do for the baby because come the third trimester, you’re not going to really want to.

Don’t think it’s too early to start shopping for the baby. I started at 4 months and I’m so glad I did because I think I would be really stressed trying to buy things now.

There is so much out there that its overwhelming. We visited every baby store in Sydney so a lot of weekends consumed as well as researching.

Enjoy your second trimester! It’s a beautiful time to see your belly grow, enjoy life, see things differently, the world looks like a different place now that you know you will be bringing a life into this world.