Friday, September 27, 2013

shock and awe

Our second night of childbirth class proved entertaining, if not particularly educational (for me, anyway).

The men and women were separated into different groups in different rooms and given the following instructions -- the men were asked to complete the sentence: Since my wife became pregnant, I have felt_____. The women were asked the same thing, obviously about themselves.

I thought this was potentially an opportunity for seven men to hear some really horrific details regarding the apparent complete personality change I've undergone in the last eight months. As it goes, I will never really know what was said, because as my husband claims: "What happened in that room stays in that room."

Which is probably for the best.

The ladies' emotions boiled down to: Oh yayyyy I am pregnant holy shit I'm having a baby I'm so scared. Once we got that out of the way, the women shared stories about telling their husbands they were pregnant. Sheer terror across the board. And then we discussed how dumb other people are. One woman says someone told her yesterday: "Wow, you have really gained a lot of weight in your thighs and your face." We thought of good comebacks: "Wow, so have you, except you're not pregnant!"

Then it was time for what I've really been waiting for: The birthing video.

So, first off, I've witnessed actual birth, and it's just way different watching it live than it is on TV. It's like ... whoooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Amazing. On TV, it's like, aw hell no, vag-close-up, gag, ick, heave. And I must say, The Miracle of Life video from 1983 many of us were shown in sex-ed? Way more graphic than what they showed last night.

So for starters, the pregnant woman had a belly ring. Which, whatever. Yes, it sort of makes me hate her but whatever. Then, she had no stretch marks, which: Yes, confirmed, I hate you. THEN, she had no pubic hair, at all. So yeah. And then she had a natural birth with no interventions, which is really splendid for her, but basically? Just eat poo, lady.

I think there was some major fright among the couples. The woman next to me couldn't even watch the pushing portion, so I told her when it was over. I decided to break the ice during the dead silence afterward by asking when the appropriate time would have been to get the epidural. Still pretty much patting myself on the back for my ingenious comedic timing.

The class wrapped up with some breathing practices and I left wondering how many of these women would end up with cesareans, how many would go natural, how many I'll still be in touch with when this is all over. We learn a little more about each other each time. This time I found out a couple of the other women struggled to get pregnant for years, too, and also dealt with miscarriages. The true value in this class may just be the moral support.


13 comments:

  1. It's nice that they are bringing the support group vibe in, I think. It's kinda nice to feel supported. Especially since you're spending so many weeks together.

    On the other hand, why do they even show a natural birth video in a hospital class? Isn't that sort of telling a lie? I mean, I think it's great that they are saying normal, natural, physiologic birth is nothing to fear, but this is nothing like what birth in a hospital looks like. Why not show a video of a hospital birth? I mean what percentage of couples are actually interested in a natural birth? Maybe half? So why not show them what they can expect from birthing in a hospital? No food, monitors, expected rate of dilation, coached pushing, managed third stage, etc. That would be the most informative. I think whether your want a natural birth or not, showing couples what they can REALLY expect is the most responsible thing the hospital can do. I know, I'm preaching to the choir...

    -Katie the Doula ;)

    PS I'm surprised (happily, I think) that the video of the birth and actual birth seem different. I think good birth videos capture the awesomeness of real birth. But I think how I give birth is nothing like what good birth videos convey. LOL.

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    1. You are so right -- everyone in this class has chosen a physician-assisted birth, and I assume we're all opting for meds, otherwise there are way better natural birthing classes we could be in. The instructor did mention briefly that administering the epidural too soon could impede progress and lead to other interventions (strangely, I think she's pro-natural birth; god knows why she's teaching this class), but I don't expect there's going to be anything nearly as informative as what you're talking about.

      And how you give birth IS amazing, but also very screamy. But rightly so, man! It's birth!

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    2. LOL! Screamy. Just a bit. Probably why my kids are also so screamy.

      Strangely, I think A LOT of child birth educators in hospitals ARE pro-natural birth. They are birth junkies just like the midwives and doulas and other birth workers out there. In fact, I wonder what the name of your instructor is? I might know her. Allana Moore?

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    3. Nope, her name is Jennifer MacDonnell. She was an L&D nurse for a while and has had four kids of her own.

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  2. Um, the worst part for the men was that the dude in the video was some sort of super-man-child-birth-helpy-helperson. I'd say maybe 1 of us in that class has the potential to be as good as that guy.

    It seemed he knew what to do at every part exactly. Either it was intense studying or he had a good coach behind the camera.

    As a dude who will not be *that* composed I call that pressure.

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    1. True again. I hope the guys get some pointers on how to be supportive birth partners!

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    2. Agree! It can be overwhelming for partners, especially the first time. That's why a doula is nice. ;) To reassure the partner that he/she is doing great and exactly what mama needs. Every couple dynamic is different and every mama's needs are slightly different too. So what worked for that couple in the movie, may not be realistic (or feel right) for another couple.

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  3. Fun. We saw the videos of live births (I didn't look) and c-sections (I gripped the arm of my chair....oh wait, that was my husband's arm....for dear life) on a Tuesday night. Then, a few days later, I gave birth Saturday morning (three and a half weeks early) via emergency c-section after pushing through the night.

    Not to scare or freak you out. But I'm thinking watching that stuff could have freaked me into early delivery.

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    1. I can see how that could happen! Watching those videos is a little traumatizing!

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  4. Your birth class sounds way better than my birth class. I think we only had two sessions. So, how much can you really learn or bond during two sessions?

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    1. I hope it's a good class ... I honestly haven't learned much so far, but I'm just going to hope for that support/bonding with the other couples, if nothing else.

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  5. Have I mentioned I love the way you write? I'm so invested in your pregnancy. Also completely in love with your husband because of his comment above. I've dated one guy who would've said "super-man-child-birth-helpy-helperson", and I let him go long ago. This now seems like the biggest mistake of my life suddenly.

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    1. No, I love the way YOU write. And you're just stroking my husband's ego!

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