Saturday, August 7, 2010

Birthing Class Today

"Does anyone here know what a contraction is?" The teacher started the class with that one and spent the next six hours trying to show how painful labor was going to be while telling us not to worry too much about it. She said that knowing what to expect would lessen our anxiety. sounds good in theory, but I feel even more anxious now, and I'm just a bystander. My wife isn't reassured either. If anything, the look in her eye tells me that when she looked behind the curtain, she didn't like what she saw. Not knowing might have been better.

Even the answers to other questions were frustratingly vague - How long will labor last? "Anywhere from 6-24+ hours." That narrows it down, huh? I know the teacher has no control over how long labor is - I don't blame her, but what kind of sadistic evolutionary turn caused humans to have such a schizophrenic birthing process? Do all animals vary so widely in the length of their labor? How come we have apps for every damn thing on the planet, but no one has figured out how to get a handle on labor. Wouldn't it be great? Punch in your height, weight, age, answer a few health realted questions and boom, your cell phone could tell you how long your labor will last. Did you know that doctors have no idea what actually causes a woman to go into labor?

The discussion on pain medication was equally fuzzy, but my wife is planning on the epidural. I can't blame her for wanting it, but after the teacher went over the potential hazards of the procedure, including the likelihood that labor would be extended by a half hour, I asked my wife if she would consider going without it. She said, "Sure, as long as I can hold onto your scrotum for the entire labor process. I'll hand it back to you when it's all over."

I know it sounds like the I didn't like the class, but I did. Not for the intended reasons, but it did give us the chance to see the hospital, to get a clearer mental picture of the entire labor process (however long it might be), and above all, it got us even more excited about having our baby. Watching the videos in class helped me better imagine what it will be like when labor is over and they plop that newborn onto my wife's stomach, in all of its beautiful, messy glory.

104 days until baby.

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