NCT Essentials Antenatal Class – Week Three

On Monday, we went to the third session out of the five pre-baby sessions for our NCT Essentials course. You can see how I got on at the other sessions here and here, but I felt very differently during this session that I had in the previous ones. In the last two sessions, we all laughed a lot and it was quite jolly and light-hearted. I was excited at the possibility of having lots of new baby-friends to share this next adventure with and I was really hopeful. After this third session, I suddenly feel like shit got real. And it terrified me.

We started the session by looking at what our leader called ‘the spiral of intervention’ – the ways in which a labour can progress and require more and more medical intervention up until an emergency c-section. I know I have to be prepared for these eventualities and I’ve always felt because I knew about the different labouring interventions, I was. Thing is, I don’t think I’d really thought about how I’d feel should they happen to me. In just a couple of months’ time. It perhaps sounds quite naïve but it’s that classic thing of just assuming oh well, it won’t happen to me. That happens to other people.

Labour medical intervention NCT Essentials

We went through all the various types of medical intervention during labour.


One of the Dads lay on the floor and we looked at everything that happens during an emergency C-section. We each had a stage to read out, and each process was represented by a sticker placed on the Dad. Boy, did they soon add up! A sticker on his face to represent drinking the salty antacid solution, sticker on his arm for blood pressure monitor, on finger for the oxygen level monitor, on his back for the epidural, on his belt for the catheter… the list went on and on. And then we started to add people to represent who would be in the theatre: by the end, there must have been about ten people, if not more.

Emergency hospital

Suddenly, the idea of an emergency C-section absolutely terrified me.

I don’t know why but it really freaked me out. I’m not usually one to feel queasy at medical stuff, but I did feel a bit light headed and woozy. It was all just very over-whelming. Especially for someone who has spent ZERO time in hospital before. I couldn’t imagine myself in that situation without panicking. To be honest, I’m not entirely convinced that wasn’t the class leader’s intention. She hasn’t expressively shown her views, but if you read between the lines, it’s fairly obvious she favours natural birthing methods and breastfeeding. I’ve been advised of the ‘NCT agenda’ when it comes to these things so I was expecting it a little, especially given #4 in their NCT Birth Policy:

The maternity services should be developed and managed to increase the proportion of straightforward vaginal births. With appropriate support and care, the vast majority of women can have a straightforward vaginal birth. Maternity services should provide one-to-one midwifery care for all women in labour. The NCT uses the term ‘straightforward vaginal birth’ to mean a birth that starts, progresses and concludes spontaneously, without major interventions, such as a caesarean or an instrumental delivery, or a series of other medical procedures. A large majority of women in the UK give birth in hospital and action should be taken to increase their opportunities to give birth without unnecessary interventions. For many of those women with a more complex pregnancy, requiring some medical care or ready access to emergency facilities, birth does not have to be a wholly medical event. It can be immensely rewarding for them to be actively involved in coping with contractions and pushing their baby into the world.

During our usual cup of tea break, I was in a bit of a funny mood and whilst I’d usually be chatting away to the other Mums and Dads, I grabbed a drink and biscuit and sat just with LPD for a bit. He is always my rock, and I know if I’m next to him, everything will be okay.

After the break, we each discussed the same scenario in smaller groups: Dad is back at work, both Mum and Dad had a very disturbed night with baby, Dad comes back from work to find Mum still in pyjamas, breakfast stuff still on the table and baby crying. How do you think Dad would feel? How would Mum feel? What can Dad do to help this situation?

dirty dishes

LPD said I don’t do the dishes now, so why would he expect me to do them in the future? He knows me too well.

I cannot tell you how grateful I was for LPD during this discussion. In this (let’s face it, quite likely) situation, I know exactly what he’d do – he’d come in, not bat an eyelid at the breakfast stuff, give baby a cuddle, offer to run me a bath and sort dinner out. Yes, he sounds like some kind of superhuman wonder-husband, and that’s because he is. Hearing some of the other Dads’ thoughts and feelings about the situation made me realise just how lucky I am and reassured me that as a team, we’ve got this.

Hopefully next week, I’ll be a bit more myself and not so introverted. We’re officially at the half way point of our NCT Essentials course. We’re testing out some of our baby buys next week, so each couple are bringing in a different baby-related item and we’ll have some dolls to play with to ‘test’ them out. LPD and I will be taking our Innoo Baby Sling we bought a few months back. That should be fun! Surely nothing scary about that, right?


  1. March 9, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    Ah please don’t worry about the birth experience, whatever the outcome you will be absolutely fine. I had a c-section, it was far from what I wanted, but in the end it was the best solution for myself and the baby. I’m so glad that they covered c-sections on your NCT course, they only touched on it very lightly with ours and I think that more should have been said about them. I wish you all the best with the birth of your little pickle, looking forward to reading about your birth experience. Claire x

    • March 12, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Thanks Claire! You have no idea how reassuring it is to hear things like this! It’s weird because me and my brothers were all born by c-section (and all emergency I think…) so you’d think I’d be more comfortable with the idea as my Mum has been able to reassure me about it…

      Ultimately, I know that as soon as baby is here, whatever way they are delivered, it’ll all be worth it!

  2. Louise
    March 10, 2016 / 7:27 am

    It’s good to be prepared for every eventuality my love, and it would only be as an absolute last resort if it’s medically necessary – and because of that you won’t feel anything like you felt at your group if it does have to happen!

    Best to have all the facts so you can try and get your head around it before the time comes. When I was pregnant with CJ I was so in denial about having a section that I didn’t even read up on it (and wasn’t sensible enough to go to classes either)…looking back, I was a bit of a fool for it!

  3. March 10, 2016 / 9:21 am

    I think the NCT are just trying to prepare you just incase and I guess you might be right, maybe slightly put you off a c section but to be fair, I have heard a lot of people who think a c section is the easy option and it really is far from it. I was very naive when I had my first, I didn’t do any classes, I didn’t know anything about pain relief or interventions, in my head I was having a straight forward birth with gas and air and that was that, I didn’t want to consider anything else. I ended up being put on a syntocin drip but avoided any other interventions which I was really happy about. Im not sure if maybe ignorance is bliss, it depends how likely you are to panic if something goes not according to plan I guess. LPD sounds just like my hubby, he’s my rock and such a hands on dad. Sounds like you two are going to make a great team when your little pickle arrives x
    Louise | Squished Blueberries recently posted…Toddler Tantrums: Sorry Miss, you can’t cry hereMy Profile

    • March 12, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      Ahh, thanks Louise! That means a lot! I guess when the time comes, you just do all you can to ensure your baby is delivered safely – whatever that takes!

  4. March 10, 2016 / 10:11 am

    I’ve never been to an NCT course and it sounds fascinating. I’m glad you have the support of your husband 🙂
    Dean of Little Steps recently posted…Of Aches and AgeingMy Profile

  5. March 10, 2016 / 12:19 pm

    NCT classes can be so nerve wracking and I remember feeling very overwhelmed before I had my first. It really does help having an understanding of what is happening to your body and what all the equipment is for too. I had 5 natural births but number 6 was an emergency section and I have never been so terrified in my life, however, the midwifes and doctors were fab and talked me through everything to keep me calm
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  6. March 10, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    I’ve never spent time in hospital long myself so I feel funny too just thinking about it. Not pregnant yet but definitely think this is fascinating. I guess it depends on your own thoughts and body – I’d like to think I’ll have a natural birth but don’t know if my body can handle it especially as both my mum and sister had complications when they were birthing…

    Alina from lifestyle blog – The Fairytale Pretty Picture

  7. March 10, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    I must admit during my first antenatal session with Blake it was all light hearted til one woman went into Labour the second session made the whole idea of Labour more real and scary for me.
    joanna recently posted…Avent Grown Up CupMy Profile

  8. March 10, 2016 / 5:26 pm

    try not to worry too much hun and just concentrate on the final reward

  9. March 10, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    Having been present at three births, that antenatal class sounds more stressful than any of them! I suppose the thing to remember is that you’re surrounded by experts who know what they’re doing. Trust them and let some of that stress dissipate.
    Grant R recently posted…SparkPeople – A ReviewMy Profile

  10. March 10, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    I never once did any antenatal classes I was never offered any by my midwife or anything like that but I managed to read hundreds of horror stories about what could happen lol and spent many nights up after the hubby had gone sleep crying and terrified lol x

  11. March 11, 2016 / 6:42 am

    Try to just focus on getting through the labour without complications, surely worrying about complications will only add stress and make it harder for you. My god, I remember my emotions were all over the place without adding any more worry to the situation x
    Jenni recently posted…Caleta De Fuste, FuerteventuraMy Profile

  12. March 11, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    I think in my mind, if I am ever pregnant I will want everything as natural as possible, whether or not that happens, who knows but I am sure I would be guided by the medical professional x

  13. March 12, 2016 / 3:44 am

    I wish they wouldn’t use scare tactics! Please don’t worry, I had an amazing birth with Toby with zero intervention and I know people who have had both planned and emergency sections and also found them to be really positive. This notion that anything other than a vaginal delivery is a bad delivery is terrible so ignore them! It’s good to know your options but make sure they don’t overwhelm you because in the heat of the moment you and your other half will know what to do xx
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  14. March 15, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    I am so glad I didn’t go to any ante-natal classes when I was pregnant with my two. It would have terrified me and I don’t know how I would have coped. I think sometimes oblivion is best! 🙂

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