Welcome to Childbirth 101.
When we arrived at our first class the instructor handed us a booklet, took our money, and asked us to find a seat. I ran off to the restroom for what was probably the 3,000th time that day and Jason snagged two seats on the back row on the aisle. Nice choice. When I returned, he leaned over and said, “Did you know that blood travels through the umbilical cord at 40 miles per hour?” He smiled and stuck his nose right back into the booklet he had been thumbing through. (Note: blood actually travels through the umbilical cord at 4 miles per hour which isn’t nearly as impressive, but whatever.) Class officially started and we both tried not to snicker and nudge the other at every mention of a body part or sexual reference. Our child is going to be so lucky to have such mature parents.
It was just as awkward as I expected. All of the videos we watch are circa 1996(ish) and all of the couples kind enough to volunteer for said videos are ridiculous. Our first class covered relaxation techniques and slow breathing exercises. It wasn’t exactly what you see in the movies or on television but it wasn’t too far from it either. The instructor played some audio clips for us as we practiced the techniques. The sound of the waves crashing in the background made me want to pee for the 3,001st time that day and the recorded voice of the lady made me more uncomfortable than relaxed. She spoke in her nice, phone voice, barely above a whisper, and v e r y s l o w. She prompted us to close our eyes and to try to clear our minds. I opened my eyes to make sure Jason’s were closed. They were. Then the calm voice started repeating phrases that made me everything but relaxed. Here’s my recollection of my thoughts from those 3 not-so-relaxing minutes:
“Your right arm is warm and heavy. Your right arm is warm and heavy.”
No kidding, it’s like 100 degrees in here. If you think my arm is warm you should feel my armpits – they are sweating like crazy and I was planning to nonchalantly wear this shirt again tomorrow but I guess that’s not happening. (By the way, don’t judge me for multiple wears. When I find something that will stretch over the baby-
bumpmountain I go with it.)
“Listen to the sound of the waves.”
Why do people find the sound of waves so relaxing? The beach is beautiful but it also tastes like salt and blowing sand hurts. Oh yeah, and ½ the people in here are pregnant and now have to pee. I wonder if they give us a break. Sprite sounds good too. I hope we get a break.
“Your abdominal area is warm and calm. Your abdominal area is warm and calm.”
What? This doesn’t even make sense. My abdominal area is the same temperature as my armpits and it hasn’t been calm since about 18 weeks and that enchilada I just ate for dinner. How about instead of my abdominal area being warm and calm we talk about how it’s huge and hard. This is something I can relate to.
“Imagine yourself on the beach watching the waves. Imagine your baby in the ocean. Continue to slow your breathing.”
WHOA! EXCUSE ME?!? Screw breathing! Hee hee hoo, hee hee hoo, hee hee who the heck threw my baby in the ocean? I assume she’s really smart and her motor skills will be above average but, swimming so soon? What about the undertow or the current? How in the world am I going to get my baby out of the ocean? My imagination says this labor thing hurts like crazy. Now I have to take my burning-in-pain loins to find a waverunner or boogie board or something to help me rescue my child from the endless ocean. It’s going to be bumpy and I think I’ll have to ride side-saddle-ish on the waverunner. Jason, open your eyes! Help me get our baby out of the ocean! Why is no one else concerned? These other couples are going to be horrible parents, half asleep while their babies float helplessly in the ocean.
So, we’re learning a lot and looking forward to our next class (or something like that).
Jangie Update: During our doctor’s appointment this morning Jangie’s hearbeat flooded the room with loud, consistent beats – it never gets old and is more amazing each time. Jason thinks she sounds big (I have no idea what this means but love that he tries to characterize and give more life to the sounds she makes). The little sprout is growing like crazy and is 16.5 inches long and almost 3.5 pounds. Sometimes it feels like she is 25 inches long and 6 pounds – I’m the size of a small house in the suburbs. I’ve been writing to her and making a list of rules and advice that I want to pass along. I’ll post them here in the coming weeks.