I Should Totally Teach a Birthing Class

Posted by: , September 7, 2010 in 10:30 am


uterus I Should Totally Teach a Birthing ClassA friend of mine, pregnant for the first time, just took her birthing class. After spending eight hours watching a nurse pull a felt baby out of a crocheted uterus, and watching videos of, you know, untamed va-jay-jays, her head was spinning. Her husband went into shock and needed to be revived with a Victoria’s Secret catalog shot of whiskey jar of smelling salts.

When I was pregnant with our twins, the Absent-Minded Professor and I dutifully went to our birthing class. We went early — during the second trimester — because twins can come early and all that. Despite the fact that all the other women were three months ahead of me, I still had the biggest belly in the room. We had to go around the room and say our names and when we were due. When we explained we were having twins, all the other moms smiled at me, and all the other dads gave my husband a horrified, stricken look.

The most disturbing thing about the birthing class was the videos. I had watched tons of those Baby Story and Birth Day shows, so I thought I knew what it was going to look like.

I was wrong. So wrong.

First of all, on Discovery and TLC, even when they show the baby crowning, they actually blur out the pubic hair, so the whole experience seems a little softer. Also, they edit out a lot of grunting, apparently. Like hours of it.

By the time they gave us a break for lunch, I was glassy-eyed and much more accepting of the possibility of a Cesarean section. I had spent the last 20 weeks so focused on being pregnant and staying pregnant, that I’d kind of forgotten about the part when I’d have to get two actual human beings out of my body.

iheartgutsuterus I Should Totally Teach a Birthing ClassAfter lunch, we had a nice tour of the birthing suites, which were adorable. Of course, they were not for me. Oh no. The twin mommies deliver in the Operating Room, regardless of the type of delivery. The birthing suites looked like cushy hotel rooms. They had couches and artwork and queen-size beds. Because I was there, the entire class had to march past the Operating Room. The OR was somewhat less cozy than the birthing suites.

The nurse mentioned that maybe she could get me a quick tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but that didn’t happen. Maybe because I ran screaming out of the hospital she forgot. I eventually became all-too familiar with the NICU, after Cookie and the Pork Lo Maniac were delivered via emergency c-section five weeks early.

Side Note: Because my life is entirely surreal, my anesthesiologist for this c-section was Dr. Doug Swift. As in, Super-Bowl-winning-Miami-Dolphins-linebacker-now-he’s-a-top-notch-doctor Doug Swift. Which was possibly more exciting to my husband than the birth of his daughters.

When my ob/gyn, who was also awesome but not a former NFL linebacker, so there’s no reason to drop her name, pulled the first baby out, she said, “Baby A, 10:57 p.m.”

And then Baby A was whisked away.

“Baby B, 10:58 p.m.”

And then Baby B was whisked away, too.

No one said, “It’s a girl! It’s another girl!” The many, many ultrasounds had shown two girls, but still, you don’t really know until they’re born. Wasn’t that what the doctor was supposed to say?

The babies were taken to a small area off the Operating Room. While my doctor finished tidying up my insides with a shop vac, I listened. And eventually heard both babies crying. My husband went with them, and eventually came back to me, and I asked him if we had two girls. He said yes. I asked if they had all their fingers and toes. He said yes, but of course he hadn’t really looked, he just wanted me to stop freaking out. (Good news: they totally have all their fingers and toes.)

When I was pregnant the second time, I wanted it all to be different. There was only one baby this time. I was half as pregnant. I was going to have a midwife and a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and music and incense and all that happy stuff in the cushy birthing suite.

It turned out, not so much. Because I had a c-sec with my first delivery, the hospital wanted me to deliver in the main hospital in case something went wrong. Like my uterus accidentally splitting open like a ripe tomato. Fair enough. But I was going to have the midwife, damnit, and we were going to re-do the birthing class.

joanbaez I Should Totally Teach a Birthing ClassSo my husband trooped along to another birthing class. A series of birthing classes, actually, in an intimate setting and possibly with Joan Baez playing guitar and singing Kumbaya. Before you go thinking that my husband is too much of a trooper, please know that the Absent-Minded Professor forgot to come to one of the classes. I totally lied and told the other hippies that he was stuck at work. They all looked at me sadly, thinking, that poor baby is not being born into a tofu-enriched loving home. It honestly didn’t bother me too much, because when we partnered up for massage, the birthing instructor gave me a kick-ass back rub.

Besides the birthing class, I gathered helpful tips from my friends, like:

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If they offer you a mirror, for God’s sake don’t take it. No one needs to see that.
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Don’t worry about pooping during the delivery. (Which totally made me worry about pooping during the delivery.)
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You should totally curse out everyone in the room, because it’s the one time it’s socially acceptable to be a complete nutjob.

All good advice. I pushed for forevah, I had the baby, she was enormous, and in the morning the hospital told me not to let the door hit me on the ass on the way out.

Then I got pregnant again. In four years, we’d had two pregnancies and three babies. I’d had an emergency c-section and a VBAC. I’d had to leave the hospital with two babies still in the NICU. I’d brought home a brand-new baby 24 hours after the birth. So we felt like we pretty well had our bases covered, and it was all still scarred into our brains fresh in our minds. Plus, we were already on a first-name basis with half the Labor and Delivery staff at the hospital. Or at least we were telling people we were on a first-name basis with Doug Swift. When my midwife, possibly out of sheer politeness, offered me the brochure on the birthing class that time, I declined.

At some point I’d like to teach a birthing class. I would tell the moms to buy granny panties for after the delivery. Oh, you’ll have those sexy one-size-fits-all mesh panties at the hospital. (Note: one size does not fit all.) But for going home, and for a couple weeks after, it’s nice to have plenty of granny panties on hand. Cheap ones, because you will totally want to throw them out after The Carnage. But definitely granny panties, because if you end up having a C-sec, the elastic of bikinis is going to hit right where your staples are. Despite having had many nerve endings severed, it’s an ungodly pain when an abdominal staple gets caught on underwear elastic. And, if you’ve had a C, you won’t be able to drive yourself to the store, so you’ll have to send your husband out to buy you the unsexiest thing on the planet. Which is the last thing your fragile hormonal state will be able to take.

So that’s it. I would tell the moms to buy granny panties. Then we’d watch maybe one video, and then I’d send them home for a nap.


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