15 March, 2007

Am I Glowing, or Just Embarassed?

* Disclaimer: This post may not be suitable for all ages. Read on at your own discretion. (Yes, Mom, if you're having lunch, put it down or come back later, because I'm really going to write 'those' words and say 'those' things on my blog - because it's my blog. So there.)

As I mentioned yesterday, last night was our first Childbirth Education class. As usual, we were the last people there - unless you count the two couples that never showed up. They were REALLY late!
We got to sit all Montessori-style which was fine except the half circle was too big and it didn't feel very intimate at all. We went around with introductions so fast that we didn't catch any names and for some bizarre reason, some people didn't even bother introducing themselves.

There are eight couples altogether, including two others from our town. One couple we actually saw in December down in Bangor at the maternity store. (She looked uncomfortable at all the same spots as I did and laughed at all the appropriate times, so maybe there's some friend-potential there.) The other couple from here reminds us of a professor we had in college. They seemed really friendly (not that we actually talked to anybody) and since, again, we didn't actually catch any names, we now affectionately refer to them as The Perrys. (You're laughing now, aren't you EK?) I should point out that the only time I actually talked to anybody was during the three minutes I was standing in line in the bathroom during our five minute break and all we talked about then was whether or not all the stalls were truly full.

Of the eight, we're at the end of the line as far as due dates go (only two of us are due in June, everybody else is in May and three have the same due date!). We're also one of only two couples who don't know the sex, only we don't know because Mystery Baby (
ahem...seriously Child!) isn't cooperating; the other couple doesn't want to know.

So there's the preamble. We started the class with the teacher introducing herself (I couldn't really hear her name either but it might be Patty). Her voice sounds just like our old Postmaster and next-door neighbour, Toni [Can I just put in a plug for Toni here? She's the greatest Postmaster ever and she and Ron were truly two of the best neighbours ever! They should visit here and hold 'How to Be a Good Neighbour' seminars]. After we had gone around mumbling our introductions, she started right in talking about symptoms and what we'd all been feeling. The list ended up being pretty short, as I would expect it to be when nobody knows anybody else and who's going to admit to having an unbearable problem with flatulence, constipation, and lack of ability to pee on the first date?

Then she talked about pre-term labour and associated symptoms as well as when to call the doctor or come to the hospital. After that, we went right into The Breathing. I can't even write about it without laughing, as I couldn't keep a straight face when we were supposed to be practicing last night either. We learned four different methods (though I wish we would've gotten the handouts before the end of class so I could take notes) and I don't really remember any of them today. I do remember the Cleansing Breath part though - but I was laughing to much for everything in between. (I suppose I'll have to work on this focus thing before June, no?) Then we started in on the "Hee Hee Whoooo" breathing, the Dr. Seuss breathing, if you will. Aside from not being able to see the point of this type of breathing whatsoever, I'm not even sure I could keep a straight face using the HHW method - even if I was really in labour! On the bright side, hardly anybody could keep a straight face through this breathing practice - except for this one couple who looked more tightly wound (and significantly less fun) than a jack-in-the-box. Their expressions were like STONE.

And I should've been thankful for the retardedness of the breathing exercises, because it only got worse. After we all recovered from the breathing, it was time for The Video -
Hello, Baby!


Aside from finding it very unhelpful at this point (I've learned much more from hearing the stories of friends, who are not also showing me pictures), I was also mildly offended and it brought back horrible memories of Grade 10 Biology and The Miracle of Life only multiply that by three. I realize it's all 'real' and these are the 'facts of life,' but really, I consider myself well-read enough to know - without seeing - how and where exactly the baby comes out.

Sidebar: As some of you may know, I have a terrible aversion to bodily fluids. I'm not as much of a neat freak as you would imagine, but if I can avoid touching any bodily fluids (barring unintentional contact with my own), I will. It just grosses me out! SO MUCH! And of course, this video was FILLED with them. ACK! You're all laughing at this point thinking about the idea of ME + My Aversion + Mystery Baby and how it can only = Complete Disaster. However, I have faith that God is merciful. Not merciful in the sense that Mystery Baby will never pee on me (one of my friend's kids already did that so I'm almost over that hurdle) or drench me with projectile vomit (*shudder*), but merciful in the sense that there's some hidden part of me that will allow me to deal with Mystery Baby's grossness; a part of me that may remain hidden until sometime around the end of June.

Moving on, what sort of woman allows herself to be filmed in the most vulnerable moment of her life? It was the 80s. I'm sure they weren't in it for the money. If they could interview those moms now, I wonder if any of the three of them would regret having 'shown' their private parts to millions of women (and MEN)? Or would they only regret those horribly heinous 80s haircuts? And what about their children? Let's just say that Hello, Baby was filmed in 1985 (I tried to find out the date but without looking very hard couldn't find anything). That would make those kids about to turn 23 this year. So those kids could potentially be in the parent-to-be boat themselves. And what are they to think when they get to their Childbirth Ed class and the instructor pops in Hello, Baby. I hardly doubt a single one of them would proudly announce: "Hey, that's me! Being born! In all my bloody, bodily fluid-filled glory! And that? That's my Mom's vagina! AND her down-there hair! Aren't I lucky that my birth was immortalized for generations to come?" Is it really any wonder there isn't a NEW version of this video?

While some of the class actually did appear riveted by the video, there were a few of us who finally, and conveniently, found our ability to focus - on the window, the blinds, the spot on the wall, or those weird chairs in the next room - anything but the actual birth of those babies. Yick! On top of all that, where was the screaming, the swearing? I didn't hear any of that! It was edited to look far to easy - especially that first lady with the super-horrid feathered haircut, and her creepy husband Jim, whose narration was so monotone, he could've been doing commentary at a tiddlywinks competition.


My Afterthought: Sometimes I feel like maybe I'm not taking this whole pregnancy seriously enough; it's a possibility. It isn't that i don't see this process as a miracle - though it's taken me at least six months to get to that point - but humour is my coping mechanism, and if I'm not allowed to laugh at ridiculous breathing techniques, or be horrified by gross and cheesy 80s birthing videos, I think I shall greatly hinder my ability to get through this. So laugh with me...and be thankful YOU didn't have to participate in the production of Hello, Baby.


erin k said...

hey where did my comment go that I just wrote! grrrr.

I was saying... I can't believe they showed the birth video at the FIRST CLASS! We saw it the third class with lots of warning (read: build-up). But then we saw another "safer" video first, and it was more gory than the birth video. Nothing like seeing a placenta plop out.

Did the Perrys say things like "We ought not..."? he he he

bren j. said...

Yeah, I tried to turn away at the first sight of anything 'down there.'
*shudder* But two days later, I still can't get those horrid images out of my head.

Actually nobody said anything beyond introducing themselves - oh and the few who spoke up to reveal symptoms. Maybe next week.
Hah....'we ought not....'
Scary memories. I hear they've normalized quite nicely though.

Kristi said...

There really is no reason to see the video. Those things should be shown to doctors and nurses and that's it. Period. The rest of us should be spared.

The end.

Jaelithe said...

Hey, I'm about to educate you on childbirth:

1.) It hurts.
2.) The most important breathing technique to remember is, um, breathing, period.
3.) You'll want someone non-medical there with you the entire time you're in labor to fend off any rude or unreasonable nurses and med school students. Someone who doesn't mind being screamed at by someone who is in pain.
4.) You can do it, even if you think you can't.

Actually, I think these videos are more for the husbands/partners than the women going to give birth. You don't see much of the birth when you're the one making it happen, anyway (unless of course you feel the need to employ strategic mirrors or a live video feed or something). I suspect these videos are meant to desensitize the menfolk enough that they don't pass out in the delivery room.

When I saw my first birthing video, I'd already been present at two deliveries in person, so, I kinda had an idea, anyway.

I think I've mentioned this to you before, Bren, but there IS some sort of freaky mothering instinct that kicks in that allows you to handle your own child's pee and vomit. At least, it did for me. It may take a couple of months to fully develop this tolerance, but it does happen for most people.

Beck said...

Yeah, that goofy breathing stuff is to help you actually breathe during parts of labour. I don't remember if I've ever used it, but it has helped some friends.
A friend whipped out her birth video for me once. Yikes. I feel sooo much closer to her now... all I did during my first childbirth classes was quietly make jokes with my husband.

bren j. said...

Oh man, Beck! Birthing videos are for private viewing only! Ack! I would've suddenly had a VERY bad headache!!

Yes, quiet jokes are where it's at...

bubandpie said...

This is such a hilarious post. I think I saw the same video as you (creepy husband Jim and very bad feathered hair sounds oh so familiar). Was it the one with the lady who sings as her way of coping with pain? And the husband who holds up a picture of their cat as a focus point and says "Focus on Morris! Focus on Morris!" (The cat wasn't named Morris, but you get the idea.)

bren j. said...

B&P: Yes! The exact one! And the naked lady in the shower with her husband singing "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain." (Seriously. Is that best you can do??)
We were thinking about bringing a picture of our cats as a focus object, but thought just bringing the actual cats might be more fun!