CHILDBIRTH CLASSES: DAY 2 OF 2
All times approximate.
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!
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.
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.
Briefly bond w/teen couple in that their fetus also ceases kicking whenever the dad tries to feel said kicks.
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.
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.
Begin “Comfort Techniques” film. More mollifyingly presented labor info.
Not sure eyes-owning doll any better than eyeless. Thing keeps staring at me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Amniotomy evidently painless but animated example of the procedure makes it look awful. Nothing beats bodily sacs being plucked open by a crochet needle.
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?
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.
Scalp electrode application sounds pretty harrowing. Screws into infant scalp. Welcome to the party, pal.
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.
Learn from teacher that 75% of first-time moms request an epidural. “Sold!” whisper-yells Teen Dad.
Teacher introduces unfamiliar-to-me synonym for “trashed” in course of pain medication discussion: “snowed”. I like that.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.