I was impressed that everyone brought some food or drinks! I expected it from the older guests, but honestly not from our friends who are our own age, but I'm glad I was surprised; we would have run out of beer and soft drinks early if they hadn't brought anything, so I'm especially glad that they all planned ahead and demonstrated their good manners.
We got a lot of wonderful gifts and all I was hoping for was that people would show up, because it was most important to me and Carl that our friends and extended family just come to celebrate with us. It was very touching, too, because all the gifts seemed to have had a lot of thought put in to them. The most adorable gifts were definitely the hand knit baby sweater and socks from Jodi and the hand knit baby hat from Jenae (please correct me on the spelling of her name if you know it, because that's just my best guess), but there wasn't a single gift we received that I don't love and know we can use; I'll have to post pictures of the knit gifts later, because they're just too cute. Linda and Joe Nelson bought us a book that is basically an idiot's guide to Baby's first year, which we should certainly get a lot of use out of - I feel that we need all the instruction we can get!
Speaking of instruction, Carl and I also completed our birthing class this weekend. The instructor covered a lot of material, but focused mainly on the different stages of labor and coping strategies that may help during each stage. She also spent a lot of time working on getting the men/partners to understand how to connect with their women during labor. Of course not all of the information she provided will apply to us, but I think that some of the exercises we did certainly helped us to connect on a deeper level on which we usually only "meet" during sex and Carl feels better now that he has a clearer idea of what to expect during each stage of labor, both physiologically and emotionally, from me and from himself. He also didn't even flinch when we watched a video that included the delivery of the placenta, so I think he'll do well with any blood he might see during our baby's birth, which was something I had been concerned about before; he doesn't have a problem with other body fluids, but seeing blood - spilled or being drawn - just gets to him.
I enjoyed hearing about her experiences working as a doula in local hospitals, including Touro, which is where we plan to deliver under Esther's care. Apparently New Orleans' hospitals are still very set in their ways when it comes to taking the newborn to the nursery for testing, rather than performing the tests in the labor-deliver-recovery room or in the postpartum room; I would much rather not be separated from my new baby just a few hours after birth, so we may have to struggle with the nursing staff over that, but hopefully Esther and Cathy (the other midwife at her new practice) will be able to help us gain leverage on that.
I need to sit down to write some "thank you" notes now, then I need to make a quick trip to the grocery store before the rain picks up again; Faye doesn't seem to have much steam left, however, so I'm not really worried.