If we're being honest, most of us (at least as first-time moms) know jack about giving birth. It's a gap in the modern birthing system. Busy midwives and obstetricians just don't have the time to fill us in on the ins and outs of hospital procedures and pain management. That's why childbirth classes are an essential piece of the puzzle. There are crappy instructors and poorly-planned sessions, sure, but overall you benefit from in-person preparation. You'll feel especially awesome when you experience certain birthing class moments that prove you're a badass.
My husband and I wanted to get as much education as possible. As a military family, we had some free options on post, but since we were both working full time, we just couldn't swing it. The hospital where I was to give birth had some reasonably-priced Saturday options, though, so that's what we did. We attended half-day newborn care and infant CPR and first aid courses and a full-day childbirth class. We left with a ton of information, from the best kind of massage balls to pack in my hospital bag to the pros and cons of an epidural. Most important, I knew exactly how to proceed when my water broke and contractions began.
It was a great experience, and instead of being terrifying, the following moments showed me that I could absolutely handle not only labor and delivery, but being a parent: