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The end of the prenatal classes and more midwife frustrations.

2005-12-15 - 3:41 p.m.

Tonight is our last night of prenatal classes. They’ve really flown by. While they are interesting and chock full o’ valuable information, the one area in which they’ve fallen short of my expectations is in getting to know other expectant couples.

The first night we were split into two groups (moms and partners) and asked to come up with some lists of “expectations” of the labour support partner. I kind of thought that we might again be put into interactive sessions like that throughout the course of the 5 classes. No dice.

So, we all arrive and smile and nod at each other. Then the instructor gets down to business until our snack break ½-way through. We eat our snack (different couples volunteer to bring it each week) – and that’s our only real chance to chat at all – for about 15 minutes, then we get back to the learning. At the end of the night we may linger for a few minutes but then we’re all tired so we head home and then that’s it.

I’d really hoped that we’d “click” with at least one or two other couples, but the fact is that we just haven’t really had any time for that to happen because our interaction is kept to a minimum. It’s not deliberate, but that’s still the result. I understand that there’s a lot of material to get through but I think I would have opted for a longer class if it meant a longer break or more interactive segments to it. There is one couple that I could see the possibility of staying in touch with, but if we don’t make a move tonight it’ll be too late.

In further reasons-to-not-be-keen-on-one-of-our-midwives news, we had been told in no uncertain terms at our class that we’d have the option of patient-controlled epidural anaesthesia if we opted for an epidural at our hospital. Our instructor apparently heard this straight from an anaesthesiologist who’d given an education session she’d attended. When we mentioned this to our primary midwife, however, first she tried to convince us that we’d misunderstood and meant a morphine pump, then when we insisted that no, we were talking about an epidural pump, she got almost defensive and almost hostile at the suggestion. She’s been catching babies for years at the hospital we’re going to, doncha know, and she can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AVAILABLE THERE. She left no wiggle room on the issue; she did not suggest that perhaps things had evolved unbeknownst to her and she’d look into it. She just said that our childbirth educator should have known better than to make that claim.

Now, she may be right, but it was the inflexible reaction that bothered us. To be honest, to my mind, both the midwife and the childbirth educator should be in a position to know about such things. So I found it kind of confusing that they gave conflicting information. When we brought it up in class the next Thursday the instructor looked mildly confused and said that the anaesthesiologist, in fact, worked at the hospital we are going to, but she would be happy to look into it for us and find out for sure.

Now see, that seemed like a reasonable response.

All we can do is cross our fingers that the week we end up in labour is the week the midwife we like is on duty to attend births, and the other one we do not like at all is in clinic. It’s a 50/50 chance.

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