Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our last class

Well, the month has flown by and child birth classes are over. Do I feel more prepared to have a baby? Yes and no. I feel a bit more educated, of course, but taking the class brought up a ton of stuff I never really thought of before...so ultimately I'm still just as intimidated as I was a month ago. There's no going back now, though...not that we would anyway.

Last night's class was basically a review. We started out the evening with our tour of the maternity ward. Four couples went last week, four couples this week. It was good to see everything, though a little freaky to think that the next time we're there it will be for the real thing. The rooms are private, which is nice, and everything looked acceptable...pretty homey for a hospital, I guess. Of course, with the rooming-in policy nowadays (where babies pretty much live in their mom's room the whole time) means that the stereotypical nursery window was empty. It was a pretty uneventful tour, though three things brought some reality to the situation: 1) We saw a new mother and her baby getting wheeled somewhere in a wheelchair; 2) We heard some faint medical chatter about someone's labor (and I think a heart monitor) from the triage room; and 3) When we came back down the elevator to start our actual class, we ran into a couple coming in with their pillows, a blanket and their suitcase. Wow.

As I mentioned, class itself was a review of the things we had learned so far, along with a bit about post-birth and the weeks following. We started out with an interactive game where we were given an activity or characteristic of a stage of labor and had to go to a part of the room that represented that stage. It was funny to see people switch midway through the game as things became clearer, but it was a good review. Oh, and it was funny to look around the room at the women this week, for two reasons. First, it's been a month and we're all considerably bigger than we were when class started. Everyone's really popped quite a bit, and it was amazing to see how big some people have gotten. I'm probably the smallest, even though my due date is about right in the middle. Second, by the end of the class, all the women were slumped down in their chairs, bellies protruding, and some had their feet elevated. You can tell we're all getting to the point where comfort is hard to come by.

Anyway, we watched the same video we had seen in child care class about delivery basics (how the baby will look, cutting the cord, nursing right away), then got into life after delivery. There were some really unfortunate topics that came up (mostly having to do with the things our bodies will go through to recover) that gave both the women and men reason to cringe. I think it's safe to say that we saw the world's largest maxi pad. It was part of a three-part cringe-fest as the instructor showed the hospital-issued underwear, maxi pad and ice pack that will be given to us after delivery. Really sexy, as you can probably imagine. Oh, and I never thought of the fact that, as the instructor said, "Charmin doesn't make toilet paper soft enough, girls..." and that we'd basically have to use a squirt bottle and a towel to, ummm, clean up after using the rest room for a week or so. There were a couple other iffy subjects, but we did manage to laugh about most of them. The whole post-baby sex thing was quite funny, actually. Oh, and one girl announced she was 1-1/2 cm dilated already (due June 8th...second baby), while another couple was conspicuously absent. No idea if they were actually tucked away upstairs or not!

We talked about pediatricians, day care, and a couple other topics, as well, before class finished up. We "graduated" and were given a silver spoon as a token of our achievement. I'll probably miss going each week because even though there was always something to freak me out, there was usually something to get me a little more excited, too. I'm glad we went...but I can't believe we'll be back there in another five weeks or so for the real thing....

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