Friday, March 21, 2008


Last weekend (awhile ago now, I know) Russ and I went to our birthing class. We opted for the 9-5 one shot deal, rather than the 6 or so weeks of one hour a night on a Wednesday. Everyone around me seemed to think the class would be more helpful for Russ than for me....I can't say that they were wrong exactly, but I did find it informative.

We began by talking about the stages of labor. Actually, I lied, we began by doing one of those cheesy interview the people next to you to discover what you can about them and then introduce them to the rest of the class. Amazing how quickly you are introduced as boy or girl/ due date/is the nursery decorated/do you have a name picked out. Rather than age, job, where you live etc. Then we started learning about the stages of labor. This was the part I found most interesting--learning about the contractions, how far along they have to be before you call the doctor, what the early stages and signs are, when you should panic etc. Russ, god bless him, took copious notes. While I sat there enjoying the fact that the woman teaching the course mentioned, more than once, that the mama to be will get increasingly crabby and, in extreme cases, downright nasty. I don't want to be that crabby delivery lady and I hope I'm not, but I do like that I was given permission to be. Not that you need permission when you are pushing something the size of a watermelon out a hole the size of a grapefruit. If that's not permission to do whatever you darn well want I don't know what is.

We also got to practice breathing, which felt rather silly even while I was doing it. I figured out right away (and told Russ even sooner) that I didn't like it when he tapped on my hands or shoulders while breathing even when I wasn't having contractions and I bet it would annoy me even more when I was. He made note of that too. Then our instructor got some "contraction machines" for the men, so they could experience what it would be like. I think all the women in the room got a little thrill out of that, and I'm sure they were just as disappointed as I was when they discovered that the contraction machines were nothing more than ice cubes. Yes. Ice cubes. She made the men squeeze them for the length of a contraction while in one of the many birthing positions we learned about, and while they practiced their breathing too. She had them do this twice, and the second time, we women got to rub ice cubes other places (like the back of their neck, or their lower back) because, as the instructor said, you feel the discomfort from the contractions in other places. The men all stood up afterwards, shaking their hands and exchanging macho grins with comments of "that sucked". Aside from the fact that contractions last for HOURS not mere seconds, as the men experienced, I can say that I haven't had a single contraction and I am already POSITIVE they are nothing at all like squeezing ice cubes in your hands. Puh-lease. It all felt rather ridiculous to me. But it just proved something that I have long suspected- there is no way men could possibly handle pregnancy, or childbirth.

We got to take a tour of the hospital where I hope to deliver. Where, I discovered, they only allow the husband and one other person in the birthing room during delivery. So even if I wanted to have my mom, mother in law, sister and sister in law in the room (which I don't) I couldn't. I also discovered that this hospital believes that after the birth the mom, dad and baby need to be alone for an hour and they absolutely will not let anyone in during that hour no matter what. After the hour is up, then the baby is weighed and measured, momma and daddy and baby are brought upstairs to their own room and then, and only then, can they have visitors. I, of course, immediately asked who would be the one that would tell the family about that rule because giving birth or not I wasn't so sure anyone would be able to keep my family out of the room once Baby Girl arrives. And I sure as heck wasn't going to be the one to tell them they had to wait a full hour to see their newest granddaughter! Luckily, the nurses get to convey that happy news, and I will be too busy to deal with the reactions!

The best part of the class was most definitely when they wheeled in a little baby girl who had been born a mere seven hours before. She was the tiniest little peanut and looked just like heaven on earth. And suddenly, it was all so real.

Actually, the best part of the class might have been watching Russ' face when we got to watch the two birthing videos- one of a C-section, and one of a natural birth. Having seen a natural birth before (thanks to my sister and second niece) I knew what it looked like. Russ, however, had no idea, and the look on his face was, well, priceless. Even better when he turned to me and asked "Why is the baby covered with all that gunk?" I guess he thought the baby comes out all shiny new and clean.....eleven weeks to go and then he can see it all up close and personal. Hopefully he'll remember not to tap on my shoulders....


Mom s said...

Mother-to be-
We'll happily be waiting, patiently or maybe not too patiently, in our assigned waitng area nearby, just incase you need us! (We'll remind Russ not to tap)
Much love xoxxox
Gramma S -to- be

Kelli said...

Reading this post started to make it feel real to me (and I'm not even the one giving birth!)
Have you ever seen that movie My Life - with Michael Keaton & Nicole Kidman? There's a scene where he's filming her during labor and she goes from being sweet, docile wife to crazy, screaming through clenched teeth woman when a contraction hits. I kind of, sort of, guess that's what it'll be maybe that alone will stop Russ from tapping your shoulder.

Tina said...

I can't wait to sit in the waiting room eating chinese and making a ruckus. Also, I'm sure you will remind Russ not to tap your shoulder if he forgets and tries to do so. Or maybe you will change your mind and ask him to tap on your shoulder. It's your perogative.

KTP said...

Get used to being identified as your baby's mother among other parents from now on. Your age, location, and job are secondary, and it takes hard work in certain crowds to talk about anything besides the kids!