This week I've had 3 antenatal classes to attend! It's handy that it's just a 10 minute walk up to Princess Anne Hospital.
Monday evening was our first parentcraft class, where we met 13 other couples who are all due around the same time as us. In the 2 hours we were there, we learnt all about the normal process of labour. At the start, the midwife asked if anyone was planning a homebirth, and I was the only one who put my hand up. The midwife was abit disappointed and said she hoped to convert a few more by the end. She did advise that we make up a hospital bag beforehand just in case (well - 3 actually, one for the actual labour, one for the recovery, and one for the baby), and said some people find its helpful having these bags at a homebirth anyway because everything is then all in one place. The midwives apparently love going to homebirths, where they can take their shoes off and drink lots of cups of tea. Throughout the class, the midwife played with a doll, prodding and poking it, doubt we'll be doing that with baby Strickland when it arrives.
Wednesday was the breast feeding class, which took place in the daytime and so I was abit apprehensive at having to go along on my own. But there were 5 women there and only one had come along with her other half. It was actually really informative and good to meet the breast feeding counsellor, who offered to do a homevisit if I have any problems as I'm hopefully having a homebirth and so wont have the postnatal support in hospital with breastfeeding. We practised the techniques of breastfeeding techniques with fake babies, that were surprisingly heavy (probably made to be the weight of a newborn), and fake wool boobs, that somebody must've kindly knitted up especially!
Finally, Thursday evening was the waterbirth workshop that Luke and I went to. Again, we learnt alot there. We watched a video, which was a little squeemish but not too bad, and had a visit to the birth pools on the labour ward. They were much smaller than what I was expecting, just big bath tubs really. Just being on the labour ward put me off even more of having a hospital birth. It confirmed our ideas of having a home waterbirth, and I dont think the logistics of it should be too difficult. It helps that we have laminate flooring downstairs that we can cover with lots of cheap showercurtains, and also that our loo and bathroom our downstairs too (one of the only perks of them being downstairs! - its a real hassle needing the loo so often in the night at the moment) We'll need these for filling and emptying the pool. When I'm in labour I shouldnt need to go upstairs at all.
So, this week I've pretty much finished packing my hospital bags, just in case, as advised by the midwife. Hoping Baby Strickland stays happy and healthy, and stays put for another 3.5 weeks, at which point I'll be 'full-term' and allowed to have a homebirth. When the time comes, we can set the pool up, dim the lights, light some candles and the wood burner in the living room, play some relaxing music, and watch endless Friends episodes. The kitchen will be right to hand and we'll have everything we'll need around us. In my opinion, a much pleasanter idea than a hospital birth, although as the saying goes: 'Hope for the best, prepare for the worst...'