Prepping for Chidbirth

Written by Pat on August 10th, 2008

It was a tough two days, but Shae and I survived our “Childbirth Prep” class. Since I’m such an expert (we have a certificate and everything) I thought I’d share what I learned. Basically, it all comes down to one thing: this whole process is gross. If that’s not enough for you, I’ll recap the highlights from the class.

Before I start the recap, I have a couple of general thoughts about the weekend:

  • First, it’s become apparent to me that humans are not made to sit in any sort of class all day. I don’t know how kids do it. No matter how old you are, or what the class is, eventually everyone starts to drift off, watch the clock, and hope for the class to be over. It doesn’t matter if it’s elementary school, college, work-related training, or (apparently) childbirth prep. You might think that a two day class that you sign up for voluntarily (well…Shae volunteered for both of us) and pay for might be different, but you’d be wrong. By the end of the first day both Shae and I were completely exhausted. We came home and immediately took a two-hour nap. We found out Sunday that pretty much everyone else did the same thing, including the teacher. The women have an excuse (growing babies and all), but the guys don’t (unless you count putting up with pregnant women, which is exhausting but doesn’t get the same sympathy as actually being pregnant).
  • I don’t think anyone in the class was mature enough to have kids. Obviously everyone there has had sex at least once, but that didn’t seem to make the conversations any less awkward. The entire weekend was full of giggles, “that’s what got us into this in the first place” comments, and basically the maturity level of a sixth grade sex ed lecture. Shae and I fit right in.
  • This isn’t related to the class at all, but I don’t think NBC knows what “Live” means. Last night after our long day of class Shae and I were relaxing while watching some of the Olympics. I had seen the outcome of the events hours earlier online, yet there was “Live” up in the right corner of the screen. At one point (9pm to be exact) they decided they’d prove they were live by showing the time in Beijing and the time in the US. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure 8pm central is not equivalent to 9pm pacific. Then it got worse: as I sat there and watched I had to listen to the anchors brag about how NBC was doing us a huge favor to bring us these events live. I have a whole rant on tape-delayed events in the age of the Internet, but that’s not what this post is about so let’s just move on.

OK, on with the weekend recap.

Shae and I got to class bright and early and were the first students there. We got our little visitor sticker badges, found the conference room, signed in, and grabbed copies of all the goodies provided for us. We got a diaper, a book, and a ton of useful information that will probably sit on a table unread until after we need it. Since we were the first couple there we had our pick of the seats. Obviously we chose pretty much the worst seats in the room. We rule. My chair was the squeakiest in the room so for the rest of the weekend every time I switched positions the whole class got to hear about it.

Eventually the other couples (and one single) showed up and we got the party started. The teacher seemed to understand her audience (pregnant women and men who had been dragged to class) and she was really good. We learned a lot of good stuff, but rather than go over all of it here are a few highlights (that’s right, another list; I might rename this blog “Lists Of The Lorigans”).

  • We started with the standard introductions where all the parents-to-be share their due dates (once again our date was a month after everyone else’s and yet Shae looked the most pregnant), baby names, baby sexes, doctor, etc. In response to one of the doctors, the teacher asked her what she thought of him. “Uhhh…he’s okay. Ehh…he was kinda creepy at first, but…” Not the biggest vote of confidence. I didn’t take it as the best sign when our teacher figured she should remind us that we can change doctors right up until the babies pop out if we want. I’m glad we like our doc. I’ve just about forgiven her for finding that extra baby.
  • To help explain why women have so much discomfort during pregnancy, we were shown pictures of the female anatomy before and during pregnancy. Stomach pushed up (in Shae’s case, just under her boobs), bladder squished, and everything else shoved out of the way. The picture showed one kid, but I’m sure that there’s not much difference with two in there.
  • We learned some tricks to help when the kids (especially Ella) are kicking the same spot over and over. Apparently the flashlight trick that Shae read about a few months back annoys them and they’ll move to get away from it. Also, you can ice the area where her foot is kicking and she’ll move to get away from the cold. I’m all for new ways to annoy my kids before I even get to see them.
  • We were talking about when the babies “drop” and someone asked how she’d be able to tell when it happened. They went over a whole bunch of ways I didn’t really pay attention to. I’ll be able to tell when our babies drop because Shae’s boobs will stop resting on her stomach. Then Shae’s boobs growled at me. It must have been getting close to lunch time.
  • They used to teach kegle exercises in the class, but the guys got…umm…excited (the teacher’s word) so they don’t do that anymore. I think I’m happy that part got dropped from the curriculum.
  • One of the signs of impending labor is Shae will start nesting. Apparently she’s going to randomly start cleaning everything up in the middle of the night to get ready for the babies. I’m hoping that phase lasts a long time and the house gets vacuumed.
  • About 11% of the time a woman’s water breaks to indicate the start of labor. In my vast experience (TV and movies), it’s closer to 100%. I’m sure the teacher must have been wrong because Hollywood wouldn’t lie to me.
  • We learned a few positions that are supposed to help Shae get through labor. For a few, there were cards with pictures that were given to a couple to act out and then the rest of the class tried it. Here’s the transcript of an exchange between the teacher and one of the dads over the position they were supposed to demo (well, just his questions, the teacher answered yes to all of them):

    You want us to do this?
    With the pillow?
    Do we put one on the ground for her knees?

    I snapped a picture of the card with my phone to share with you guys. If you remember my earlier remark about the maturity level of the class you’ll be able to get a decent idea of the reaction to this position.

  • After being shown the vacuum that is sometimes used to help pull the baby out, I had a question: If you have good insurance do they use a Dyson vacuum?
  • We spent quite a bit of time the second day on breast feeding. There are way too many jokes about boobs to make about this section of the class so I’m not going to make them all here. Rest assured I made plenty during class.
  • The teacher showed us a few ways to hold our babies, one of which is the “football cradle”. One of the other dads informed her she was doing it wrong because she wasn’t covering the baby with her off hand. I bet she fumbles a lot.

That’s about it for the recap. Throughout the class I wrote down some or the more interesting events/quotes so I wouldn’t forget them later. I can only imagine what the girl next to me must have thought when I grabbed the notebook and wrote furiously at what must have seemed like random times.

“They shove pills and balloons up there? What am I, a drug mule?” –Shizzle (after watching a video on methods of inducing labor)

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