Being prepared, and staying flexible: How childbirth preparation class paid off for one new mom

DSC_0119Among the important messages new mom Alex Del Biondo took from her childbirth preparation class at St.Vincent Women’s Hospital, “stay flexible” is the one that ended up holding the most value. Del Biondo got a big surprise when her water broke more than a month before her due date—and while her OB/GYN was on vacation.

“My official due date was May 21,” she said, “but on April 18, I worked a full day at work and felt great. I left my house to run errands, and my water broke in the Walgreen’s parking lot! Ack!”

Alex made it home and checked in with her doctor, who recommended she get to the hospital.

“They determined that my water did, in fact break,” she said. And then she and her husband, Tony, settled in for the child-delivery action. Which . . . didn’t exactly start.

“After some time of not feeling contractions and staying dilated only a small amount, they started me on Pitocin,” Alex said. “Whoa, did that turn up the pain factor. But using the breathing techniques, the Omni Roller, and Tony’s awesome birth-coach skills, I was able to make it several hours before getting an epidural.

“Little did I know that the labor relaxation techniques I had learned in class would also IMG_2135come in handy for the epidural. Staying still while having contractions—boy, did I need a focal point on that one!”

Alex surprised herself by fighting her urge to say “no” when asked whether she wanted to use a mirror to watch her daughter being born: “I remembered what our instructor Jen Sandefer said about trying it, and so I did, and that mirror stayed out the whole time. It helped a lot with knowing how and when to push—and to see the progress I was making. I don’t think I would have been able to push for as long as I did if I hadn’t been able to see the progress.”

That progress peaked with the birth of Giovanna Mae Del Biondo, who weighed in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. And because she was born earlier than 36 weeks, she required the specialized attention of the Continuing Care Nursery (CCN).

“I felt well-prepared for this, since the possibility had been covered in class,” Alex said. “It was a little unnerving having your little newborn whisked around, but we were kept informed every step of the way! And after several days at the CCN, she’s home. Hooray!”

Alex attributes much of her relative ease throughout the delivery to having been well-prepared.

“Not only did the class prepare us for the ‘knowns’ of delivery and labor, but it also eased our transition into the ‘unknowns’ of the process. Thanks so much for all you do.”

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