Friday, 20 July 2012

Antenatal Class and Tour of Birth Centre

A couple of days ago Rob and I attended our first antenatal class. The topic of the class was Labour, birth, pain relief and relaxation. It was an afternoon class that ran from 1.00 to 4.00pm. Before heading to the community centre were the class was being held, we made a stop at our local cafe' for a lovely brunch and then off we went to Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre. I really like this place, it's modern, it's vibrant, it's colourful and it's very welcoming. I mentioned it before on this blog as they also have a nice nursery. In fact, while we were there we collected all the information about the nursery, just in case. We have actually decided to have a nanny for the first few months when I'll go back to work as we think it would be better for Baby O to stay in a familiar environment, she will be only 5 months old! I already know it won't be easy to go back to work at the end of January, even if part-time, but at least I hope to feel more comfortable knowing that our little baby is at home with a trusted person. We have already found a nanny we like, let's hope the transition won't be too painful for us!

When we arrived at the centre a few couples were already there and many others arrived soon after. It was nice to see all those bumps gathered in the same room and it was very sweet to see all the husbands and dads-to-be sitting next to their partners, eager to learn something. I have to say, I didn't find the course particularly enlightening. The midwife who gave the presentation and showed us the videos was very nice and offered a lot of details but nothing I hadn't really previously read about somewhere else. I believe these courses were very useful back in the days when information was a bit less spread, but these days with the internet and all the magazines and books available on the topic, I can hardly imagine a mum-to-be who doesn't already know all the details of labour! Rob, however, found it very useful and apparently learned a lot. In fact, most of the questions came from the boys! It's endearing to see how men these days want to be more involved, participate and try to understand what their partners are going through. All in all it was a lovely afternoon with nice couples, about 12/13 couples in the room, and delicious biscuits and fresh juices.

Once the class was over, we took a stroll along the Southbank and shopped a bit. We then had a very early dinner at Nandos, always a favourite, and finally walked to St. Thomas', the hospital where Baby O will be born, for the tour of the maternity unit. This was the best part of the day, we really enjoyed the tour. The hospital is in an amazing location, right opposite the Parliament and Big Ben. All the labour rooms are single and en-suite and have a couch for the partners who want to stay overnight. They all have gigantic windows overlooking the Thames, I suppose it will be nice to enjoy the view at least, while in excruciating pain! Opposite the labour and birthing rooms are the pool rooms; I am still not sure whether I will be using one or not but I guess it's nice to at least have the option.
So, we left the hospital with a big sense of relief. Don't get me wrong, of course, it is still an hospital but it is kind of welcoming, especially the Home to Home area and the garden room, where Rob said will be spending most of the time. And the midwives all had smiles on their face, let's hope we will be lucky with the ones on duty the big day!

Below is a virtual tour of the maternity unit at St. Thomas', if you'd like to have a look.

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