3 Outings of Increasing Quality

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Edited To Add (WELL after the fact!) 4/25/11:

Internet folks seem to be finding this post when they’re searching for info on the pre-natal or pregnancy classes at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center).  If that’s you, please take everything we said with several grains of salt!  We were in the midst of a very stressful high-risk pregnancy and interested in a birth as intervention free as possible when we wrote this.  We only went to the first class at UIC and only had one instructor. (We can say that we took half of a Bradley course (as much as we could get to before the birth), and it was very helpful.  Everything we learned in Bradley was applicable to birth at UIC.)  We were able to switch from high-risk OBs to midwives at UIC and we went on to have a lovely birth free from pain meds and with only a few interventions, all of which we consented to.  If we hadn’t moved, we’d surely be back to UIC for baby #2, though we might still skip the classes!  If you’re hoping for a more medicated experience, the hospital classes might be really good preparation.

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Since receiving the degree of freedom that we have been given, we have undertaken three excursions

1. The first was to our first pre-natal/childbirth class at UIC. We had planned to take the Bradley class here in Hyde Park, but our first meeting was to be the night after our first visit to the ER, so it was not meant to be. While at the ER we saw several signs advertising a free class offered there, and our doctor said it would be ok to make those visits even before she reduced the bed rest. When we arrived there was a large room with a few chairs set up, and we were there with just a few of other couples. It seemed comfortable. Then the instructor peeked her head in and told us the room had changed (this larger room was reserved for non-existent pork flu people). We followed her to a room that already had several couples and few chairs. Much time was wasted getting chairs into the room before the wall was collapsed for an expanded layout, and then we were finally ready to begin.

Perhaps the powers that be at UIC are concerned with overpopulation because for some reason they chose a nurse to teach the prenatal class who seemed to very much dislike her own children. And her husband.
My impression was that she was pretty negative throughout the entire meeting. I can’t remember how many times she compared the pain of childbirth favorably to the pain of raising children. She repeatedly made fun of men using stereotypes. Not only this, she was a little insensitive to her audience. While there were plenty of normal pregnancies in the room, she knew she had two mothers with twins, and at least two mothers who were high-risk. She explained in detail what signs to check for premature labor (been there). At one point she explained that 37 weeks was full term, and she advised all the mothers in the room to make it at least to 37 weeks as if they had a choice in the matter. This was frustrating. She also seemed to contradict herself. She said they were there to do what the mother wanted and would be ready for her to change her mind at the last moment. She also said that when the doctor gave advice and asked for permission to do something during the birth, the mother should not spend time deciding about it but go with his expert advice. It seemed that what she was really was saying was that they were ready and prepared to add interventions as the doctor or mother requested them but she didn’t seem very supportive of an intervention-free birth.

2. Our second outing was to Salonica for a Friday night date. This was pleasant, as this was the restaurant that supplied spanakopita for our wedding reception. Though they’re not on the menu, Salonica has good milkshakes. I ordered some avgolemono, a cheeseburger, and a vanilla milkshake. Elizabeth had half my soup, a feta burger, and a chocolate milkshake. She had a great time staring at strangers, and we both left completely stuffed.

3. Our third outing was on Saturday evening (three nights in a row!) to All Saints Orthodox Church for Vespers. Elizabeth hadn’t been to church in over 3 months, so it was nice for her to return and worship with others. It was also the first time for many of them to see her since they had begun praying for her and our child. Many people came up to speak with her – people neither of us had ever met before. Fr. Pat also came over before the service to do a special prayer and blessing for expecting mothers.

More exciting outings are sure to come. But we’re very excited at this new development because it at least means we can do the dishes together.

~Eric

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