Archive for April, 2010

CHILDBIRTH CLASSES: DAY 2 OF 2

Posted in It's Alive! on April 18, 2010 by butthorn

All times approximate.

11:45 AM

Arrive.  First ones here.  Happy to see that the dolls have been changed up + we get to have one w/eyes this time.  Wonder where…hold on, Annie is making me go buy her a peach iced tea.  Pregnant people are so selfish!

11:50 AM

All right, I got another chai out of that little detour so no harm no foul. Anyway, our doll has eyes and seems happier.  Onesie fuzzy + pink + is wearing an undershirt w/baby animals on it.  Score!  The lid on my chai cup is different from yesterday’s.  Sippy flap won’t snap into place.  Officially not having baby at this hospital based on this inconvenience – it’s settled.  Yesterday’s piano music has been replaced w/strings music.  Now feels like we’re in “Masterpiece Theatre” instead of “thirtysomething”.  Suppose most would see that as an improvement but most don’t love Timothy Busfield as much as I do.

11:55 AM

Rest of class all shows up at once.  Discover our new doll is extending its index finger as though politely venturing an opinion.  Making doll poke Annie’s belly as a weird joke goes over reasonably well with teenage couple to our left.  Everyone sits where they did yesterday.

11:59 AM

Briefly bond w/teen couple in that their fetus also ceases kicking whenever the dad tries to feel said kicks.

12:00 PM

Class begins.  Cervix stretchiness question immediately asked by woman.  10 cm is pretty big within the realm of genital circumferences.  Wouldn’t want a 10 cm urethra myself.

12:02 PM

Discover that today will be all about everything that can go wrong, as compared to yesterday which apparently was supposed to be about everything that can go right.  Like our old chum perineal tearing, for example.  There will also be a tour of the labor unit at some point.

12:05 PM

Begin “Comfort Techniques” film.  More mollifyingly presented labor info.

12:08 PM

Not sure eyes-owning doll any better than eyeless.  Thing keeps staring at me.

12:10 PM

Junior has been kicking the crap out of Annie since we sat down.  I get to feel a couple big kicks.  Kid is brutal.  Feels like a cat trying to get out of a kickball.

12:12 PM

Playing w/nasal aspirator again, or bulb syringe as a handout calls it.  Teen Dad also again doing this.  Maybe we could become friends on the basis of our mutual bulb syringe enjoyment.  Kind of want to drink chai out of it.  This movie is boring.

12:25 PM

Movie over.  Starting to hit birth info intake limit already but maybe chai will help.  Teacher informs us labor unit is packed so tour currently impossible.  We’ve already had a tour of that unit during the breastfeeding class we went to last week so no tour won’t kill us.

12:30 PM

Go over powders/lotions, pass some around.  Learn that diaper rash is due to ammonia in urine, acts on skin just like it does on floors.  Man, life sucks.

12:40 PM

Discuss cutting nails.  Freaks me out.  Would rather change all his diapers than attempt to cut his nails.  Don’t even like cutting my own nails.  Just learned baby nails are “extremely flexible”.  Doesn’t help.

12:42 PM

Breastfeeding plug begins.  To Teacher’s credit, she blatantly identifies it as a plug.  Choice to breastfeed compared tenuously to whether or not one likes ice cream (?).  Don’t like anyone near my nipples so again thankful not a woman.

12:45 PM

Dad trying to call me in middle of class to help him with his blog.  Will call him back during bathroom break, as no poop currently in butt.  However, important to note that have yet to pass the undoubtedly massive amount of unusable matter from yesterday’s Double Down.  Should be a real barnburner.  Barn=colon.

12:55 PM

Do some pretend burping on doll, then reswaddle.  My swaddling has noticeably improved.  Might be different story w/baby w/working arms though.  Discuss S.I.D.S.  I seriously thought S.I.D.S. was an actual disease, like baby A.I.D.S.  Turns out it’s just baby dying in crib from preventable reasons, like too many blankets or sleeping on stomach.  My lack of knowledge is a constant source of alarm.

1:00 PM

Bathroom break #1.  Call Dad to let him know we’re in class which turns out he just found out himself via reading yesterday’s blog.  Discuss a golf lesson he took at Dick’s Sporting Goods the other day, during which he had to shit the entire time, whereupon he went home and defecated three times.  He attributes this to excitement about the golf lesson.  Wonder if he’ll go into this in his blog.

1:15 PM

Return to class.  Lots of people bought things to eat that look/smell good.  Regret not also doing that.  Take free Lorna Doone cookie + 8 oz can of Schweppe’s from today’s snack array.  In process of disposing of chai cup, notice small “Diabetes Today” mag on top of trash can.  C + W singer Steve Wariner is on the cover.  “Who’s the Boss?” theme, which he sings,  now in head as a result.  Thought answer to that question was “Tony Danza” but turns out its “diabetes”.  Don’t think I’ve ever had Lorna Doones.  Kinda bland.  Love ginger ale though, but I usually get Canada Dry.  Definitely taste a difference.  Canada Dry tastes better.

1:25 PM

Film about induction, or forcing labor along via various methods, all of which are at least moderately upsetting.  There was something important from this movie that Annie wanted me to write down but sadly I was too busy writing about my ginger ale preferences at the time.

1:35 PM

Epidural info in film.  “So do ya wanna feel the worst pain known to humankind, or do ya not wanna feel the worst pain known to humankind?”:  seems like a pretty easy question to answer to me.  Who are we trying to impress?

1:37 PM

Amniotomy evidently painless but animated example of the procedure makes it look awful.  Nothing beats bodily sacs being plucked open by a crochet needle.

1:40 PM

Ptosin, a drug whose name Annie occasionally intones w/fear and dread, discussed in film.  This is the “Come on, I wanna get home in time to watch ‘Lost’ ” drug.  Also some info about forceps and vacuuming out baby.  Forceps bruise baby face and tears Mommy’s perineum, vagina, and anus.  What’s not to like?

1:47 PM

Film over.  Discuss babies being born “inside the sac”, or coming right out of the vag w/amniotic sac intact.  Supposedly a good omen.  You know, one of those good omens that results in a baby spending its first moments on earth inhaling its own waste.

1:50 PM

Scalp electrode application sounds pretty harrowing.  Screws into infant scalp.  Welcome to the party, pal.

1:55 PM

Room smells like ketchup.  Killing me.  Want to eat something hot and crisp-skinned that I can drench in ketchup.  Internal monitoring equipment being passed around and frowned uncertainly at.  Teen Dad pretends vacuum-assisted delivery device is an antique telephone.  Try out one of the vacuum things on my arm and give myself a big round hickey.  Can’t imagine what that feels like suctioned onto one’s tiny barely-formed head.

2:03 PM

Learn from teacher that 75% of first-time moms request an epidural.  “Sold!” whisper-yells Teen Dad.

2:10 PM

Teacher introduces unfamiliar-to-me synonym for “trashed” in course of pain medication discussion: “snowed”.  I like that.

2:12 PM

Hickey slowly fading.  Discussing hardcore anesthesia now.  Wonder if I can get spinal anesthesia if we pay a little extra.  Teacher: “I could hit your feet with a hammer and you wouldn’t feel it.”  Teen Dad: “Awesome.”  (said while idly sketching a jet fighter of some sort).

2:25 PM

Learn that some women who get epidurals have a “window”, an area of their body that doesn’t get very numb.  Not sure if really concentrated pain tons better than pain all over.  Either way, pain.  I hate pain.  Glad I will experiencing very little of it throughout this process.  Sad and scared that Annie has to.  Seems like at the very least a nurse should have to kick the dad in the nuts.

2:35 PM

Bathroom break #2.  We both go to bathroom (only pee).  Both of us then go to cafeteria.  I make myself a nice unassuming roast beef sandwich.  Annie gets a thing of grapes and a baggie of cubed cheese.  We each get a molasses cookie.  A nice comforting plain jane repast.  I have another free tiny Schweppe’s and a few more Lorna Doones even though I don’t like either that much.  The L.D.s are a little more appealing this time.

2:35 PM

Remember that we will be watching a C-section movie in a few minutes.  Decide probably best to finish roast beef sandwich before that particular motion picture commences.  Perfect amount of mustard on sandwich.  Go me!

2:40 PM

C-section film starts.  Animated part reminiscent of late 80’s-era Don Bluth.  Not really.  Very by-the-numbers computer animation.  Still a bit alarming.  Stretchy.  Piercey.  Yucky.

2:42 PM

Without warning there is brief footage of a real c-section patient being stitched back up.  Guy to my right groans a little and looks down at the table.  He’s not ready for this jelly.

3:05 PM

Tour of labor unit now available.  Pile into elevator.  2nd time this week I’ve had the privilege of riding an elevator jam-packed w/pregnant women.

3:10

Check out a delivery room.  Aquamarine in hue w/blue floral trim.  Nothing fancy.  Hot in room, crowded, hard to see/pay attention.  Someone out in the hall yells “Oh no!  I’m going home!”  A depressing room despite and maybe because of decorative attempts to home it up.

3:20 PM

All go to the viewing window where a young man outfitted in hip-hop-seeming attire and askance baseball cap is gazing at his new baby girl w/fond uncertainty.  Within seconds Annie is co-opting my shoulder to stifle sniffles of emotion.  Expecting my wife and child to be in constant tears for their first month together.  Will make it difficult to hear Xbox.  Suppose I’ll manage somehow.

3:25 PM

Check out postpartum room.  Not much to say about it.  Chair for support partner is much comfier-looking than the one in the delivery room.

3:30 PM

Pack back into elevator, but not before letting a profoundly crusty-looking janitor exit with a giant wheeled container of some sort in tow, looking mightily put-out to have to plow through a barricade of knocked-up broads.  Labor unit is on 7th floor.  Elevator stops at 5th and 4th floors.  Entertaining/exciting to behold reaction of the people who’d intended to board the elevator.  Both immediately decline upon glimpsing the elevator’s contents.  Somewhere in the elevator I hear a kiss happen.

3:35 PM

Get back to class.  Discuss post-partum depression, including anecdote wherein a woman requested that her spouse take the microwave out of the house because she was afraid she might cook the baby in it.  Brooke Shields also discussed.  Did anyone ever see that supposedly awful “Brenda Starr” movie she was in?  Haven’t thought of that in forever.

3:45 PM

The ladies are asked to get up and do some exercises, and the men are asked to stand up and look confused/concerned.  A long few minutes.  People can’t sit back down fast enough when it’s over.

3:53 PM

Learn about the Gate Theory, in which you lessen pain by tricking your brain to focus on something else, like rubbing your forearm vigorously after burning your hand.  Brains are dummies.

3:55 PM

Teacher hasn’t repeated any weird sentences today that I’ve noticed, nor said or pantomimed anything particularly off-putting, although now that I’ve written that she’s just said, “You will never hear me say C-section.  You are not a grapefruit.”  But that’s still pretty tame (not to mention outright sensible) compared to yesterday.  Come on, lady!  I got a blog to do here!

4:05 PM

Now just an open Q&A time.  1 out of 4 births are C-sections @ this hospital (mostly due to fact that few other hospitals around here can take high-risk patients).  Questions predominantly concerned with statistics.  How normal is this, how common is that.  The big picture is a big deal.  I ask a question about pacifiers and are they good or what.  Teacher says she used to not like them until her baby wouldn’t shut up and then she liked them a lot.

4:15 PM

Class will end early, out of things to talk about.  Relaxation CD this time is narrated by a woman who sounds like she’s recently experienced an undisclosed traumatic event.  Relaxing!  Somehow though this CD works on me.  I fall asleep for a couple minutes then wake up and feel refreshed/weird.

4:22 PM

Another impromptu narration of labor day by Teacher and we’re done.  Fill out evaluation form, say nice things about class and Teacher.  “Better snacks, less pretend vagina-wiping” considered/rejected for helpful comment.  Feel like we should go up to Teacher and thank her but of course don’t.

4:30 PM

Drive home, mentally drained but a bit more confident overall.  Will rub Annie’s ballooning ankles later while watching old “Soap” reruns.  Day off tomorrow.  Should probably go buy a car seat.

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CHILDBIRTH CLASSES: DAY ONE OF TWO

Posted in It's Alive! on April 17, 2010 by butthorn

All times approximate.

11:45 AM

Arrive.  Somewhat soiled-looking baby dolls stationed around a giant “U” of folding tables.  Immediately approached by presumed instructor, a diminutive, bespectacled woman who asks us how we intend to pay.  Make out check for $90, accept handwritten receipt.  Maudlin piano music playing over PA.  One other couple here besides us.  Nobody looks too psyched.  There are 10 baby dolls, each wearing a differently-colored/patterned onesie.  Our doll has easily the drabbest onesie of the bunch, colorless but for the natural yellowing of age and neglect.  More sullen, defeated couples trickling in.  Besides the dolls there are many handouts to peruse.  Annie zeroes in on the one about epidurals.  Apparent prevalence of cons over pros unlikely to sway her desire to receive one.  I don’t blame her.

11:50 AM

There are also electronic thermometers and those blue baby baster things (Annie informs me this is an aspirator) at each station.  Fun to shoot air out of aspirator at the papers Annie is trying to read.  I already have to shit.

11:55 AM

There are snacks of an indeterminate nature on a table near us.  Pitchers of water and a thing of Ocean Spray Cranberry Apple.  Is “cranapple” a registered trademark of a competing juice company or has the term been officially retired?  I hate cran.  There is also a basket of individually-wrapped somethings that looks mildly promising.  I also have to pee now.  Why am I writing this instead of going to the bathroom?  Piano music starting to get me down.  Sounds like music from “thirtysomething”.

12:00 PM

Annie looks at “dilation chart” in one of the handouts and quietly takes name of Lord in vain.

12:02 PM

Fairly diverse crowd racially – especially for Maine – but the fatigue and difficult-to-place shame are universal.  Teacher writes name on board.  Very young, possible teenage couple to our left.  Possibly teenage guy is poking doll in the throat and chuckling.  Door closed.  Sad music turned off.  Teacher reveals she is a single parent that home-schools her three kids.  Already completely intimidated by her.  Introductions made around the room.  Women do all the talking in all but one case.  One woman announces her baby is breach and room gasps a little.

12:10 PM

Teacher immediately refutes Lamaze research.  Subject of labor pain addressed right off the bat.  Probably the #1 thing a classroom of first-time parents is concerned with so this is smart.  Now looking at the cervixes in a childbirth-related magazine.  Teacher now saying “uterus” a lot.  Now discussing “fundal” height.  Hard not to laugh at “fundal”.  Labor pains described as “a big scrunch”, said by Teacher while miming the wringing out of a wet towel, or in this case a woman’s spine.  A little air noticeably sucked out of room.

12:20 PM

Cervix chart again consulted.  Now discussing c-sections.  Concerned about this horrifying, costly, and thoroughly possible possibility.  Subsequent discussion of timing contractions makes it feel like the need to do this is imminent, like in a few minutes imminent.

12:25 PM

Teacher has interesting habit of repeating entire sentences for emphasis, e.g. “Bright red bleeding running down your legs is not normal.  Bright red bleeding running down your legs is not normal.”  Teacher actually mimes wiping vagina w/hand while stressing this point.  Five minutes later she says it yet a third time, thankfully sans graphic pantomime.

12:30 PM

Laminated poster passed to me from man on my right of a crayon sketch of a woman looking uncomfortable on a lavender sofa.  Superimposed on this scene is a list of early labor warning signs, the first of which, kicking off the list with panache, is “leaking/gushing fluids from vagina”.  Gushing?

12:35 PM

Teacher beginning to display a true talent for deadpan.  “I swear to God you’re not gonna die from the pain.  It is very short-lived.  12-14 hours.”  Now discussing the possible need for a dogsitter during labor, illustrating the point with a brief anecdote about “Oreo” and his commendable bladder control.  Teacher blandly intoning that “the doctor lubricates his fingers and he’s gonna stick ’em in your vagina” somehow more shocking than the pretend crotch-wipe from before.

12:40 PM

Teacher now guiding a smaller, floppier doll through a model of a pelvis.  Now straddling the doll to show correct infant exit positions.  Teacher makes doll wave in greeting up at her while straddling it.  Male teen to our left having a tough time composing himself during this demonstration.  Teacher: “I have a pelvis you could drive a Mack truck through.  I have a pelvis you could drive a Mack truck through.”

12:45 PM

Animated c-section movie announced for tomorrow with excitement.  Agree that does sound exciting.  Hoping for Ralph Bakshi production.  Perhaps Pixar.

12:55 PM

Now discussing “transition” – worst part of labor.  Pain pain pain.  Of transition Teacher states “Sometimes ladies get angry during this stage” and “Boy, it hurts wicked”.  Talking about this is giving me a migraine.  Can only imagine how Annie feels.  Not looking forward to that mucous plug making its appearance.  Our attention is directed to laminated poster celebrating squatting on wall, which features disconcerting colored pencil sketch of a vagina from which a Subway party platter could be handily extracted.

1:00 PM

Bathroom break announced!

1:07 PM

Take poop.  Probably should have waited until after discussion of breathing techniques.  Fellow expectant father enters stall right after me and immediately flushes toilet.  Whoops.

1:12 PM

Go to hospital cafeteria to procure something approximating lunch.  Get coconut creme whoopie pie, bold Chex mix, and a chai.  Asian cashier speaks very little English.  Points at each of my purchases and asks, “What this?”

1:15 PM

Go back to classroom.  Am questioned by Annie as to why I purchased such a crunchy snack (Chex mix).  Will disrupt “Christina’s Birth”, which I see is a film we are about to view.  Couple to our right probably regretting their cheeseburger purchases.  Did not consider the disruption of crunchiness and am disappointed in myself.  “Christina” is a blonde, jorts-clad woman who moans in constant agony.  She is now lying in a bathtub eating a strawberry pudding pop in between agonized moans.

1:25 PM

“Transition” scene starting.  Getting somewhat intense.  I look around room to gauge reactions to the onscreen action.  Accidentally make eye contact with guy who had to flush my shit.  Return focus to film.

1:30 PM

Christina has butterfly tattoo over buttocks.  Baby coming out.  Purple.  Emotional scene.  Can sort of see why Annie enjoys watching/having emotional breakdowns over “A Baby Story” on TLC all the time.  Hear sniffles to my left.  Look at Annie and smile.  She gives me a look and wipes her eye.

1:35 PM

Movie not as upsetting as feared.  Consumption of coconut creme pie mostly undisrupted.  Pretty good snack.  Chai also pretty good.  Wish I could eat the Chex mix without everyone bludgeoning me with their faux infants.

1:40 PM

Recording of tinkling chimes heard outside the classroom – means a baby was just born in the hospital.  Everyone looks less miserable for a couple seconds.

1:45 PM

Going to be learning relaxation techniques at some point.  Asked by Teacher to picture ultimate relaxing scenario.  Realize this for me would entail lounging on the screened porch of my grandparents’ camp in the early evening while using Flickchart, early 80’s era country music playing on a beat-up radio in the next room, eating Cape Cod chips with Heluva Good buttermilk ranch dip, and drinking ice cold Pepsi out of an old glass, happy in the knowledge that there is also a cold Symphony bar waiting for me in the fridge.

1:50 PM

Other relaxation/distraction techniques discussed.  Teacher relates tale of woman who played Bingo with her relatives until she was 9 cm dilated.  Teacher then traverses the room squirting way too much lotion into the hands of the men, whereupon we are asked to massage the hands of our preggos.  Holding the pen to write now all but impossible.  Also massage preggo backs with wooden thingamajigs.

1:55 PM

Example of a well-packed overnight bag scoffed at by Teacher and students alike for containing camera film, change for a pay phone, and an audiocassette.  A handy carry-along for couples intending to travel back in time to 1987 before giving birth.

1:57 PM

Quick glance around the table confirms bottled water as the most popular beverage for this group, despite there being 2 refreshing-enough-looking pitchers of water nearby.  A sure sign of future bad parenting!

1:59 PM

“Hut-hut-HEE” and “Him-him-him-HOO” both suggested by Teacher as useful phrases to use during breathing exercises.  Annie: “Listening to this is making me wanna hyperventilate!”

2:00 PM

“An enema is a bag of water that we squirt into your rectum to make you wanna poop.” = not good time for me to make eye contact with teenage father to our left.  Notice he and I are both idly playing w/aspirators.

2:10 PM

Just noticed that in addition to his unflattering onesie, our doll is the only one in the room without eyes.  Eyelids are manufactured shut.  A truly bothersome and downright creepy discovery that makes it momentarily difficult to pay attention to the lecture until Teacher snaps me back to reality via the phrase: “You are going to feel like a bowling ball is coming out of your butt.”

2:15 PM

To my dismay I learn that all this time I have been mispronouncing the word “perineum”!  Would seem like more of a big deal if you knew how often I say it.  Turns out this is a lead-in to a discussion on “perineal massage”, which helps to deter the possibility of “perineal tearing”.  Reconsidering “late-term abortion”.

2:22 PM

Perineal tearing discussion lasting a mite longer than one might ideally hope.

2:24 PM

Model of placenta looks like something out of a Frank Henenlotter film.  Turns out baby essentially steeped in its own urine this whole time.  He’ll probably find our apartment to be comparatively tidy and good-smelling.

2:25 PM

“You’ll be wet and moist until you deliver.  You’ll be wet and moist until you deliver.”

2:27 PM

Tool used to potentially puncture amniotic sac passed around the room with noticeable briskness.

2:29 PM

“Every now and then we get a baby who poops in the amniotic fluid.  Not nice.  Not nice.  Not supposed to do that.  Not supposed to do that.”

2:30 PM

“If I was to put your face into a bucket of peanut butter, and you were to breathe that in, your lungs would not work good, and you would get pneumonia, and you would have to go to the hospital.”  At some point I have clearly lost track of the discussion.

2:32 PM

Audible reaction of disgust heard somewhere in the room at the mention and inevitable pantomime of “plooping out the placenta”.  Fate of plooped-out placenta?  “We chuck it.”

2:40 PM

Teacher vigorously miming the icing of the perineum and the usage of a sitz bath, or “a Jacuzzi for your heinie”.  Am astounded and even inspired by Teacher’s 100% lack of shame.

2:45 PM

Bathroom break number 2.  Procure 2 Gosselin’s donuts from cafeteria.  Cashier does not question donuts.

2:55 PM

Return to classroom, where Teacher is going around demonstrating a fancy thermometer that you put on people’s heads.  Seize opportunity to consume noisy Chex mix.  Drink the free water to demonstrate my superiority.  Also because hospital cafeteria only stocks Diet Mountain Dew – an outrage!

3:00 PM

On to baby care.  Learn that baby will eat and void with alarming frequency, and will shriek and weep in lieu of sleeping.

3:05 PM

The dolls come into play.  Get some swaddling practice in.  Always enjoyed the idea of origami so this is sort of fun.  Takes a few tries to get it right.  Learn about taking armpit and rectal temperature.  Do a few more swaddles for the sheer enjoyment of it.

3:15 PM

“Poop in the stool is a bad sign.”  Assuming she meant “blood”.

3:25 PM

Circumcision discussion.  Thing that clips the foreskin is called a “Gomco”.  Somehow seems right.  Gross penis-slicing laminated posters passed around, one at each end of the table.  Where we are seated at the center of the “U” of tables, we end up with both posters completing their tour of the table with us, so we have to hang out with the gross penis-slicing posters for most of the remainder of the class.

3:35 PM

Baby-having chimes recording plays again.  Everyone smiles and looks at the door.

3:40 PM

Begin viewing a film called “The Period of Purple Crying”.  About how to try to figure out why baby won’t shut hole.  Turns out “purple” is acronym: Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists soothing, Pain-like face, Long-lasting, Evening.  One snippet of babies bawling after another.  Shaking baby syndrome mentioned.  Dangerous to shake babies because head big in relation to body.  So if you shook me I could also die.  Shaking babies can also cause blindness.  Can’t imagine anything worse than unintentionally killing your own baby due to your own fatigue and frustration.  Just hearing the babies crying in this movie is making me want to launch them out window. Will need larger living space ASAP.

3:45 PM

Movie over, discussed.  “It’s OK to put your crying baby in the crib and go out in the next room and cry and say, “God, this sucks.”

3:47 PM

Donut not sitting too good.  Gross penis-slicing posters probably not helping.  Hard to stop looking at them.

3:50 PM

Yet another film: “Understanding Newborns”.  Pretty unstressful, soothingly informative.

3:57 PM

Baby will be cone-headed, hairy, purple, and encrusted with Cream of Wheat upon birth.  Later he will shit green crap and will develop an upsetting facial rash.  Can’t wait to hang out with that guy.  Subsequent footage of babies happily reacting to their parents mostly nullifies adverse effects of information regarding temporary deformities and dung consistency.

4:08 PM

Unexpectedly really touched by scene of new father earnestly exclaiming: “We’re gonna have exciting adventures outside, and I’m gonna teach him things!”  Sounds like he has a pretty good handle on the situation.

4:15 PM

Discuss film and what happens when you leave hospital, discharge procedure.  Hospital actually has more than one “certified car seat assistant”.

4:18 PM

Extremely disquieting baby abduction discussion.  Actual instances discussed in detail.  Very few moderate topics broached in a class like this.  Either wonderful or unthinkable.  Not much middle ground.  Want to go home to my laptop and ginger ale.

4:25 PM

Baby-bathing discussed, lengthy demonstration.  We all pretend to bathe our dolls.  Teenage couple’s doll has detailed male genitalia.  Ours has featureless flesh-hued fabric beneath his dingy onesie.  I hate our fake baby, whom I’ve named Herman.

4:40 PM

Lights are dimmed and we listen to a relaxation CD of some sort.  Guy on CD sounds like cross between Ben Stein and Kevin Spacey.  Ben Spacey tells us to “scan” our bodies for tension and release it, fails to explain how we might go about accomplishing this.  Feel more stunned than relaxed thereafter.

4:50 PM

To close out the first day of childbirth classes, Teacher narrates a rather remarkable impromptu dramatization of the impending day of labor and birth.  Plays the lulling piano music from earlier in the background.  When she gets to the contractions parts, the men are asked to hold their partners’ hands and squeeze each finger in quick succession – 1 2 3 4 5, saying some kind of nonsense syllable with each small squeeze, like “hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-HEH”.  The lights are still dimmed while she carries everyone through the process.  It’s surprisingly intense, and Teacher really sets the scene with a lot of details.  No faltering or even pausing to think of what to say next.  Around the room women’s eyes are closed, all are deep breathing.  Men watch their wives/girlfriends breathe and hold their hands.  Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-HEH.  Teacher talks about pain over the piano.  The baby comes out.  The room feels different.

5:05 PM

Lights on.  Time to go.  File out the door.  Valet parking brings car around.

5:30 PM

Figure trying the new KFC “Double Down” sandwich to be the perfect way to celebrate making it to the halfway mark in our childbirth education.  Annie disagrees, gets Quarter Pounder instead.

5:42 PM

Watch one of my favorite shows, “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman”, while tearing into the Double Down.  Greasy and unwieldy.  Necessary to fashion a big paper towel glove to eat this thing.  Mostly taste pepper.  Top chicken patty crisp, bottom chicken patty sopping.  Bacon seen but not tasted.  Cheese clearly an adhesive as opposed to flavor enhancer.

5:50 PM

Face feels like a small drooping garbage bag 1/5 full of warm oil when I’m done.  Feels like hearing now somehow impaired.  Odd floating sensation in extremities.  The term “perineal tearing” suddenly reappears in brain, to aggravate already considerable discomfort.  Inhale deeply and count slowly to ten.  Hut-hut-hut-hut-HOO.  Hut-hut-hut-hut-HOO.