Okay, Class, Listen Up!
Despite the fact my parents were educators, going to school has never been my thing. I’m not anti-learning. But the way I rationalize it is, if I have a question, I can ask someone. Or scour the Internet. Or read a book.
So I wasn’t overly thrilled to take birthing classes in my third trimester. I figured I had made it that far, was it really necessary? Plus, the more I knew, the more I’d have to freak out about. My already neurotic mind would be at risk for working overtime. How long do I have to get to the hospital after my water breaks? Can I be in labor even if my water doesn’t break? How much water are we talking here? My OB went to school for a long time at a very good school. She has a certificate on the wall in her office. There’s even a book in the lobby of all the babies she delivered. That was enough for me.
But somehow, I decided maybe we should take the classes. More like checking it off the list. So for one month, we waddled into our labor and delivery class once a week for three hours.
Unlike reputable places of higher learning, there was no entrance exam for the class. If you were knocked up, you were in. And to my surprise, it was informative. But I was more attracted to being around couples just like us. Bellies stretched to near maximum capacity, worried about daycare, and trying to figure out how we were gonna get the pumpkin-shaped being we’d been toting around through our vaginal canals. That interaction was so worth the three hours. That and the free snacks.
We watched films about the birthing process. That was as close to the real thing as we could get. So close you could almost feel the labor pains. And it was interesting to see the reaction of the men in comparison with the women. It was reminiscent of a high school health class. The ladies tended to show more interest and stay focused. The men shuddered and shook their heads.
There was one couple that I wondered how on earth they were going to get through their child’s birth. The husband had a difficult time watching the films. When it came time to take a tour of the birthing room, he bailed. It was an empty room. No hysterical woman screaming out in pain. No shrieking baby. He said if he went in the room, he’d pass out. Poor guy. Surely he failed biology in seventh grade. You know, when you dissect your first frog. Something told me his wife was going to be holding his hand and wiping sweat from his brows during that delivery.
Actually, birthing class is just one more way babies connect us to strangers. Plus, it’s like the easiest class ever. Movies, snacks, no homework. And you won’t have the smell of formaldehyde working its way up your nose.