The Connection Runners + [running]

The Birthing Class: A Cautionary Tale

#1: Thanks for all of your great at-home fitness recommendations! My Christmas list will be jam packed with requests for DVDs, Bosu balls, and resistance bands. I also want to thank you all for continuing to read and comment and giving me love while I'm trade running talk for pregnancy talk. Glad you've enjoyed the ride along with me these 34 weeks!

#2: All I've ever needed to know about pregnancy and labor I've learned by watching movies. Duh.

For instance, countless movies have proven that the woman will always go into labor abruptly, her water breaking everywhere; a harrowing drive to the hospital amid big city traffic ensues (see Father of the Bride Part 2).

Immediately upon arriving at said hospital, the situation gets worse as the soon-to-be mom endures horrific contractions, sweats a lot (or, conversely, looks somehow absolutely stunning and glowing), and swears profusely at her husband/boyfriend/baby daddy (see Look Who's Talking).

Then, in all of about FIVE minutes, a "newborn" (read: 3-month-old) baby is birthed, and unicorns flood the room farting out glitter and rainbows as a magical piano song (is that George Winston?) filters into the scene. Mom, Dad, and new baby enjoy the first of several magical embraces, and the audience gets all goosebumpy while taking in these glowing moments (see Nine Months).

So, with all of that profound knowledge, why in the hell did I plunk down $50 to reserve a spot for me and Kevin to partake in a 7-hour long birthing class today?

Because, as it turns out, the movies LIE!

But I always thought the movies revealed all of the truths in life?

Nope. Not even close.

The class took place at our OB's office with a trip to the actual hospital scheduled for later in the day.

(Our hospital, in a photo that I found here)

Gail, an RN at the hospital, was our teacher. After the initial meet-and-greet (5 other couples joined us for the class), Gail broke down the agenda for the day:
-30 minute video about the birth process
-lecture on the 3 stages of labor
-getting "on the floor" to learn massage and relaxation techniques
-visit with a pediatrician
-more "on the floor" breathing techniques
-pain management (yay, drugs!)
-C-sections: reasons for, process, recovery from

Nothing like learning about all of the insanity that your body is soon to endure in a mere few hours on a Saturday. Here's the gist of what we covered today.

The labor and delivery process can be long, long, and long. Early labor alone can last up to 14 hours (or even days!), with active labor and pushing consuming several more hours. I'm going to have to learn patience real quick and remember that babies don't come cartwheeling out into the world.

Watching a live birth on DVD is terrifying. Seriously, Gail could've warned us that we were about to watch a horror movie today. I know some people tend to classify birth as "beautiful" and "amazing", but I'm not quite so sure. All I saw today was a blue baby, a lot of blood, and body parts that didn't look like real body parts.

Use the nurses, and be aware of your options. Forget about the figureheads. When I was a new teacher, I quickly realized that the support staff - secretaries, librarians, custodians - are the best people to know in the building. The same is true in the maternity ward; it seems that nurses know the ins and outs of the unit and can help you make good decisions in the midst of raging contractions.

The dad has a tough job, too. While I'm all hopped up on ice chips and Stadol, Kevin gets to entertain me with breathing exercises, massages, and funny stand-up comedy. If he doesn't deliver on all of that, I get to punch him in the gullet. Just kidding. I won't do that. But really, dads are responsible for a whole heck of a lot of peacekeeping in the room.

Be ready to throw your plans out of the window. For once, I'm planning on not making a plan. Though I'm getting the shakes from going into a huge life-changing event without a minute-by-minute agenda, a birth plan is really not in my plans. I know this much: I want an epidural, and I'd like to avoid a C-section. The rest? I'll play it by ear... er, uterus.

However frightening, a birth class is a must-do for all parents-to-be, IMO. Seeing what we'll be going through in January (or December?) was a small soother to my "ZOMG, whatisgoingtohappentomybody" thoughts lately.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos. I could've taken several, but it may or may not have grossed you out.

Ever had a baby? Tell me what you were most scared of heading into the home stretch.

No babies for you? Tell me how you deal with the fear of the unknown.