Andrea and our practice “baby,” Jewla :)

We decided, based on our experience with the birthing class, to skip the Newborn Care and Baby CPR classes.  However, because Ryan and I know next to nothing about caring for an infant, we knew we needed some sort of instruction, so we scheduled a day with our friends Andrea and Matt Adkins.

I mentioned Andrea in a previous post; she had done an unofficial birthing class for a friend of ours that I crashed (Ryan was out of town) and found very beneficial.  Andrea’s a former nurse, two-time natural birth-er, ideal mother of two fabulous little girls, baby gear expert, bargain hunter extraordinaire–among other things.  Her husband Matt (also an amazing person!) has a lot of insight to a guy’s view of labor and fatherhood and has been the perfect compliment to Andrea in these impromptu “classes.”  We were lucky enough to have them for several hours today for a major crash course, and at the end of the day, Ryan shut the door behind them and said, “Well, I finally feel prepared!”

Remember, Ryan’s a.) been on the road for several months, leaving me to do the researching and “practicing” mostly alone, and b.) he’s not the most avid reader.  Let’s just say it’s been a blessing that this baby hasn’t come yet, because he’d have been a little clueless (due to circumstance, not due to irresponsibility).  When we first scheduled this day with the Adkins, Ryan and I deemed it “Baby Training Day,” and when a friend texted me cautiously curious to know exactly what that meant, I responded, “A bit of everything baby,” which was pretty accurate.

We spent the early afternoon at 52 Bistro in Alpharetta (it was actually mild enough to sit outside…uh-mazing), and started with a recap of the birthing information from Andrea’s previous “class.” Although I’m sure the table behind us was absolutely thrilled (sorry, folks) to hear all of the gory details, it was really helpful to both Ryan and I: He got a glimpse into what it’s going to be like from both his point of view and mine, gleaned some physiological and medical information, and learned (most importantly) the “checklist” of things he’s responsible for; I was able to ask a few lingering questions, plus get a refresher since it’s been several weeks.  I was so proud of Ryan–I believe he actually retained a lot of accurate information (we made him repeat it back at the end), which was a big accomplishment since he was REALLY inundated.  Ryan’s best question for Matt, in my opinion, was what a dad should wear, i.e. “Can I wear my nice jeans, or should I be in ‘work’ clothes?”  Classic Ryan Shove. :)

After lunch we covered the whole vaccination issue, which is such a hot button topic these days that I was glad to have Andrea’s medical and motherly opinion.  We looked up the recommended vaccinations and schedule, went through each one and discussed what disease each shot prevents and how “important” they are at what age.  We worked on a vaccination schedule I can be comfortable with, which will come in handy on Tuesday when I meet with our pediatrician.  (To quell any fears, yes my child will be vaccinated, so when we come over for play dates she won’t give your child polio. :) )

Then we moved on to the “basics” of baby care–how to swaddle, diaper, burp, bathe…and though the info was quick (because it’s really not that hard, it’s just that we don’t ever do those things), I feel like if she comes tomorrow, now we’re at least familiar with the basic techniques.  Oscar was super curious throughout our practicing, smelling our “baby for a day,” Bitty Baby Jewla.  (Thanks, Hallie Adkins, for letting us borrow your baby doll to learn with!)  A bit of infant CPR (let’s hope that’s info we NEVER have to put to use), and we graduated from the Adkins School of Birthing and Baby Care…maybe not at the top of our class, but we’ve got our degrees nonetheless! :)
Overall, it was super helpful, more personal and concise than a group class, and reassuring to have gone through this crash course before the baby’s arrival.  We’re super thankful that, especially as parents of two, we got a day with Andrea and Matt to pick their brains and get their opinions, which seem to match our life philosophy and are great to help guide us in our uncertain areas of decision.  Although I’m sure I’ll be calling Andrea in a panic at some point to remind me of something she’s already told me, I feel like we’re good to go.  Baby Shove, any day you’re ready, so are your mom and dad…