• The Birthing Class

    Date: 2011.02.17 | Category: Family, Mark, Pregnancy, Weirdness | Tags:

    As I have no prior experience with birthing babies, I decided to sign Mark and I up for a childbirth class. I recruited my sister too. Our husbands were skeptical, but supportive.

    On the day of the class we showed up to the hospital. The class was supposed to start at 9 a.m., and when, at 9:30 a.m., there was still no teacher, Mark went in search of finding out WTH was going on. Turns out they had moved the class to a hospital way on the other side of town and failed to tell us.

    Angrily, we three hungry, angry pregnant women who showed up at that hospital got in our cars and drove the 25 minutes to the other hospital. We arrived in a frazzled state to a consoling instructor and a class of about 20 other people staring at us like we were morons. (Turns out, when we registered it was at one hospital, after we registered they changed the location on the website. Early registrars were thus penalized).

    The class itself was… interesting. The instructor was a Labor and Delivery nurse who had no qualms about telling us her personal incontinence stories and insisting we do our kegel exercises regularly.

    Other jewels of wisdom passed on from our instructor:

    1. “Husbands, if you have sex with your wife and she’s having a girl it’s not incest.”
    2. Also, “You will not poke the baby in the head or eye.”
    3. “Who knows where the perineum is?” And to a room full of embarrassed and averted eyes, “Well, how did you get pregnant then?”
    4. The pronunciation of “dilation” as “dah-lation.”
    5. “Men, you may notice that your wives can’t eat a full meal any more now that her stomach is compressed.” Um, what does it mean that I can eat mine and his meal?
    6. “Trying not to poop on the table is like pushing down on the break and gas pedals at the same time. The car’s not going to go.”
    7. “No your stomach will probably never be flat again and those stretch marks don’t go away.” Good thing mine was never flat to begin with. Sheesh.
    8. Apparently if you’re not married your baby daddy has to be present to be on the birth certificate. Also if you haven’t been divorced for more than a year, your ex-spouse’s name goes on the certificate. (What if someone else was the daddy?) These comments actually elicited a lot of questions from the class.
    9. “If people want to come over to visit you after the baby is born, tell them they have to do something like pick up dinner or vacuum your living room. If they don’t agree to said chores tell them, ‘Sorry, maybe another time.’”

    While the class seemed to take most of this in with dull acceptance, my sister and I got as tickled as 7th graders in sex ed and kept stifling giggles.

    Despite that silliness, we really did gain a lot of knowledge. For instance, did you know the baby actually corkscrews itself out of the birth canal? We got to look at diagrams of “pregnant” and “pre-pregnant” bodies and lament over our squished bladders and lungs. And most importantly our husbands were instructed that yes, we really do need help sometimes and no, we’re not making it up. We held epidural needles and baby vacuums; we played with fetal heart monitors and marveled at all the ways babies can position themselves in the uterus.

    And at the end of the class we all got on the floor with our spouses or partners for breathing exercises. And while the rest of the class seemed to be taking to it like champs, neither Mark or I could get comfortable. My back ached and my pregnant self was effectively squishing him against the wall so that he couldn’t breath at all. We resettled about five times and Mark kept doing the breathing exercises in my ear, distracting me from trying to do them myself, because he’ll need to know how to work through contractions, obviously.

    Final conclusions? Yes, it was worth it because we learned a lot and laughed, but I won’t be doing it again for future pregnancies.