Friday, April 11, 2008

Our First Class

Well, we survived class #1. Of course, our class #1 was actually class #2 for most people. The childcare classes are in a series of three, and due to various scheduling issues, we had to do class #2 first...we'll pick up class #1 in May, around the time we start our month of childbirth classes. So anyway, last night's class was newborn care. It was...interesting. I definitely had this image of what you see on TV and in movies with classes like this, and honestly, it wasn't far off...just not as comedic, unfortunately. Not that it didn't have its moments, but it was a lot less exciting than I thought it could be. A lot of it seemed like validation of common duh, when you give the baby a sponge bath, you should make sure you get in all the creases (armpits, ears, etc.). I suppose if you've never had exposure to reality TV shows showing births, the video we watched at the beginning was probably a little eye-opening. We spent time discussing how the baby was purple at birth, how its head was misshappen, how it was covered with white goo (vernix), and things like that...all very normal things if you've ever seen a real birth on TV.

I will say that parts of the video went a little beyond what you see on TV, though, particularly when it came to breastfeeding. I really could have done without the up-close shot of a nipple dripping with colostrum (the nutritious yellowish fluid that breasts produce for the first feeding, before the real milk comes in)...for some reason that creeped me out. I also wasn't excited to find out that you do your first feeding almost immediately following delivery. I know I've heard of that before, but I didn't necessarily realize that was the norm. I sort of imagined the first feeding would be me, the baby, and a lactation consultant...rather than having the entire delivery room staff there to experience the awkwardness. I know they've seen it all and after all of that labor I might not care who sees what, but still...the thought freaked me out a bit. Just because I want to nurse doesn't mean that the idea of it doesn't get to me now and then. I know it's better for the baby, and I know it's cheaper and a little less prep work in the middle of the night, but it's just...awkward. Let's face it...when breasts' entire function in life up until this point has been of a sexual nature, it's a bit of a switch to have them be part of something so decidedly un-sexy. I'll admit I sometimes wonder if they can ever serve in their previous function the same way again...hence the reason I'm perfectly ok with Craig wanting to stay up by the top half of my body during sense leaving him with disturbing images of all of my body parts.

I think my biggest issue with the class was the fake baby. Walking into class we were issued a baby. Since we're don't know what we're having, we got a girl...and at least it was white. We felt a little bad for the late arriving white couple that ended up with the black baby, because considering I was having trouble with my imagination to begin with, that probably would have done me in completely. Fortunately these weren't those fancy, technologically engineered babies that cry or pee, but at the same time, they were SO un-lifelike that it really made them useless. It didn't help that our "washcloth" for the bathing portion was a napkin. Between a stiff baby and a stiff napkin, you just couldn't quite get a realistic image. Getting the baby dressed and undressed was probably equal in difficulty to real life, because the stiffness of the doll (seriously, we almost had to rip the arm out to get the shirt off) probably compensated for the squirminess of a real baby. Judging the tightness of the diaper was nearly impossible, and really, isn't the hardest part of diapering the actual cleaning part? Even swaddling and holding the baby was a little annoying with such a hard doll, because my belly with the real baby inside was getting in the way. Long story short, half of the stuff we learned was stuff I knew at age five when playing with my dolls. I really think we'd have been better off just watching the instructor do these things to an actual baby.

I'm still glad we went, even if just for the little tidbits of information we picked up. We took notes, but what are the odds we'll bring them out when the time comes? Next week is Baby's First Year, so we'll see how that one goes...


Corrina said...

I just wanted to let you know that in my experience everyone left the delivery room before I nursed for the first time. It was just a nurse, John and I and as soon as I was comfortable the nurse left and it was just us with our new baby having his first meal. It really was a great moment.

AmyRyb said...

Whew...hopefully our hospital does the same. Good to know it's at least a possibility :)