Sunday, October 26, 2008

Childbirth Class # 1

Being first-time parents, Britton and I (ok...just me...) thought it would be a good idea to sign up for childbirth classes that are offered at my doc's office. Five Tuesdays in a row from 6-8 pm will enlighted us about the nuances of labor and delivery, something we are very unfamiliar with. As I grow more rotund by the day, I realize at some point the 3-lb baby swimming around in there will have to come out.
My OB's wife teaches our class, Mary Jane Waller, she is a labor and delivery nurse. I give her BIG props for being entertaining and very 'sassy', as Britton said. There were, I counted, 14 total couples in this class with us (good work, Mary Jane, at 60 bucks a pop, you've got some shopping money, sister.) We got front row seats right next to a couple that is in the air force, and class started right on time.
My eyes went first to the TV that had been rolled into the room with old-school VHS tapes stacked on it entitled "Stages of Labor 1" and "Stages of Labor 2". There were several others, but after I read the titles of the first two, I suddenly felt faint. After going around the room and introducing ourselves, I realized that most of the girls in the class were due before me (as in, due in early or mid-December). Hello! You MAY not make it to the hospital tour class before birthing that baby!! Did you not realize this???
She started the class by asking us if being pregnant was at all what we expected--easier, harder? I started shaking my head in the "no" direction thinking about everything that has happened, and Mrs. Air Force pipes in with "Oh! It's been MUCH easier!", her loving husband smiling at her. Note to self: Do not sit next to them for the remainder of the class.
Soon after Mary Jane gave her introduction, and lead us through the booklets and info she gave us, it was time to call up the first random husband to strap on the Empathy Belly. Poor, poor Henry. Not only did he look exactly like Herman Munster, his clothes were SO tight, I thought they might rip just walking up to get the belly. Mary Jane strapped this contraption on him, and it was all I could do not to fall off my chair (but then again, Lord only knows how long it would take me to get up once I was down there...). She first velcro-ed (sp?) a big strap around his chest to constrict his breathing, then came the actual belly complete with huge boobs that he did proceed to grab, and a weight insert right on the bladder. To say that Henry was uncomfortable is the understatement of the year. We then got to call out things that were really hard for us to do, and Henry had to do them. Pick up 4 things that were dropped on the floor (he almost ate carpet), tie his shoe (could not complete this task), sit on the floor and get back up (touch and go there for a minute...). On that last one I grabbed Britton's leg just waiting to hear his pants rip. Tears were all but streaming down my face.
There are lots of reasons why I like Mary Jane (who I may call MJ for short), but I'll give you my top 2. We got down on the floor with our hubbies and practiced relaxed breathing (you know, in through the nose, out through the mouth, yoga style) and she made the husbands give us all back massages for the entire 15 minutes. She literally walked around the room the whole time to make sure all male hands were in motion. She then instructed them all that they WILL do this for us 3 times a week, and that day did not count. Then she had the preggo's cover their ears, and strictly instructed the guys to purchase a gift of some sort to give us once we have the baby, preferably something sparkly if they knew what she meant... My kind of girl.
We left class feeling informed, and....hungry. I can honestly say that I'm NOT looking forward to the day that she presses 'play' on that VCR, but I'm glad we're signed up and taking this class. If nothing else, Britton now knows the exact size of my squooshed bladder, stomach and lungs, and why I can't stop complaining, wheezing, and peeing. Another big high-five to the Dad-to-be for such a good attitude and the potential willingness to buy me something sparkly.

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