This post was written by Jennifer Paine, lead cinematographer.
I am less than 10 days away from my due date and planning to welcome my new son at Parkview Women's and Children's Hospital. Although this is my third baby, it will be the first of my children born in Fort Wayne and I have been taking full advantage of the wealth of resources Parkview offers moms-to-be.
A few weeks ago I took my mom to the Grandparents Class. We weren’t living in the same city when my other two were in their first year, so it was great for her to have a refresher course on things like safe sleep practices, car seat safety and infant CPR. She will be watching the new baby a lot, so it gives both of us peace of mind to know she is informed about the latest recommendations and things that have changed since I was an infant thirty-something years ago.
On the heels of that experience, this past Sunday I took my 4½ year old to the Siblings Class. He is the oldest and I don’t think he remembers much from when his little brother came along. Also, considering we still occasionally refer to his now-2-year-old sibling affectionately as “Baby Luke”, I think he might be in for quite a shock when we bring home a newborn.
We arrived, gathered some handouts, and got to know the six other families in the class. The teacher went around and asked the siblings to say their name, if they were getting a new brother or sister, and what the baby’s name will be if they knew it. The siblings in the class ranged from 4 to about 12 years old.
Next we went on a scavenger hunt through the birthing ward. The teacher showed the siblings where they would check in at the front desk and get their sticker saying they were a big brother or sister. This is also where they received their special assignment: They would get to push the special button that plays lullaby music throughout the ward, signaling that a new baby had entered the world.
We toured the waiting room and got to peak in the window of the nursery. The instructor pointed out the snack machines, drinking fountains and bathrooms as well. It was incredibly beneficial for him to see what an actual birthing suite looks like. It certainly eased the fears he was harboring over the thought of his mommy lying in bed hooked up to wires and holding a tiny baby. Now he feels less intimidated and much more prepared.
We went back to the classroom to have a snack (a hit with my little guy) and watch a short movie on how to be a “Super Sibling”. The siblings, who were asked to bring a baby doll or stuffed animal to class with them, practiced the correct way to hold a newborn and attempted to put a diaper on their “baby”.
While I chose to only take advantage of these 2 courses, Parkview offers a host of resources and classes for expecting mothers and their families. They are all free of charge and packed with valuable information. And, may I just say, if my 4 year old volunteers to change the baby’s diaper, this class will officially be priceless.