Sunday, August 19, 2007

License to Birth

We are now certified to have this baby.

Thanks be.

A full day course in baby delivery started at 8 am. We of course, may or may not have been a BIT late. Just 5 minutes- but the good news is 2 other couples came in after us, so we weren’t the last ones in. There were 11 couples, including us, and much to "mom’s" disappointment- none ended up being new friends. I thought we’d find a new friend there. Alas- we were the most immature. As usual. Laughing the entire time. I couldn’t hold it together.

Just like our pre-cana oh so long ago… (just about a year) we were outcasts. There were 3 other younger couples. The first the meathead brigade- they came 30 min late and never returned after lunch. The second couple seemed to be high school sweethearts- and may have still been in high school, but were more mature than us. And a final couple, which was closest to look like we could trade emails and be birth buddies or something- were a bit too quiet- and truth be told we may have put them off by our consistent (yet smart) banter. Oops. Everyone though, all in all, was earth mother- my body's a vessel preggers. Loving life, loving pregnancy, loving everything.

We had to go around in a circle and say our names (each of us), when the due date was, and something that surprised us about the pregnancy.

C's surprise: "How much the baby moves."
My surprise: "The whole thing- from beginning to end- the swelling, the ankles, from begining to end- the whole thing surprises me. All of the time, every day." I do believe that was my quote.

Some b's suprise- the female counterpart of team telemundo... "How great I feel." I hated her from that moment on.

While we didn't make any friends at class- we did get to make up fun names- like the meathead brigade. The names pretty much described the couple or one part of the couple. Like Pinky-nobra who spent the majority of class with her hands down her pants- as you'd imagine Homer Simpson would, rubbing her belly and south of that- she was quite comfortable. We were not. She had a pink shirt on, no bra and no shame. Bedrest Betty and CO. who was granted 'time off' bed rest to attend this class- yet we saw her speed walking to the deli that we like around the corner from the hospital. Sweet 16- this is the high school sweethearts that might still be in high school- too cool for school though. Team Telemundo - a wonderful Latin couple who was super sweet but one of those lovey dovey couples that kind of makes you want to barf. Very passionate through everything.

Including the labor stages exercise where we all had to go around and try different coping methods to relax and get through contractions; this was later on in the afternoon. There was a lot of massaging- which I appreciated but the swaying and the slow breathing and in your face counting (that is just want it sounds like) is not so much for me. C is afraid at this point and truly does not know what to do with himself when this all goes down. The class has taught him things not to do- like for example if he gets in my face and starts counting, he'll loose a limb. We had to simulate contractions with a bag of ice. Like contractions feel like frozen hands?? Some of the woman were like "Oooh this is hard- breath breath breath." I couldn't help the eye rolling.

No wonder no one wants to be friends with us.

The instructor, a RN who works on the labor unit- fabulous woman (truly) who was just Suzy Sunshine to the 10th degree- perfectly lovely and perfectly positive in every way. A big hit with me, you know.

She started the morning, going through some of the ins and outs - mostly outs and then the fun begins, with a video. Suzy Sunshine introduces it by saying, “Now the videos are for educational purposes, they are not meant for prime time T.V. and a bit too graphic for not yet 9 a.m.” With a set up like this, who knew what was going to happen? The movie itself was interesting… it was half claymation half crazy people. The claymation was educational – it was good to see how it was all going to go down in slow motion. It really showed the hell slowly- ah the magic of movies. The claymation baby was faceless- that didn’t sit well with C. And as the claymation baby went from the uterus to the vaj-j and welcomed into the world the movie would cut to ‘real’ life couples who would impart their wisdom and tell them what it was like for them. There are apparently 3 stages of labor. Here’s a lesson- again something no one tells you- it’s not just one thing- oh no, there are three things you have to go through, there are stages with in the journey to hell and back. Of course- one thing or stage would be too easy. No, let’s really test woman and put them through three things.

Side note- as I did a little / quick research on the 3 Stages again to see the timing on it I learned something ELSE new. Freaking Suzy Sunshine and her stupid claymation video flipping lied to us. Not only are there 3 Flipin’ Stages and the first freaking stage has 3 gD phases. Son of a bitch.

Prelabor: this here is the prelude to the fun. The contractions begin, waters breaking, reality sets in that this is it. For some, it goes “quickly” like 8 hours- for others (read here: this will be me) it could last as long as 24 hours.

• Active Labor: the endless cycle of contractions begin to get stronger and some coping strategies from Suzy Sunshine included slow dancing, rocking and picturing a happy place. Are you picturing this as something that will help me get through the estimated 2- 4 hours of intensive concentrated contractions?

• Transition: this is go time. This is when the baby really makes its way through- not the actual arrival as I believed originally. This is where I learned something new… Suzy didn’t mention the difference because this is just the 3rd phase in the first freaking stage. This part lasts 15 minutes – 1 hour.

All in all- this whole process here- just this first stage, minimally, could take 10 hours and 15 minutes- but let’s be honest.

I’m looking at 29 hours minimally. And no baby in sight at this point.

Let’s take a break here to quote the movie that we saw- in addition to the claymation they interviewed some freaks. One said….

“Early labor was really fun – we napped in-between contractions, went for a hike- it was a great day.”

Back to the breakdown of the ridiculousness that we learned about. After the 3 phases (of which Suzy did not explain clearly) we go to Stage 2 and 3.

• Now, originally I thought that the transitional stage included the big birth- but no. That’s it’s own stage. Pushing and Delivery (Thanks god for the books I have collected). Yup this was described as “This generally takes between half an hour and an hour, but can sometimes be accomplished in ten (or even fewer) short minutes or in two, three or even more very long hours.” Wow. That sounds fantastic. Who wants to bet that I will be enjoying this part for three or even more very long hours?

Hooray the baby arrives…. But wait, that’s not it.

• Final Stage… The Afterbirth Delivery. Doesn’t that just sound fantastic? This could take 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Not sure what that’s all about? Google it. It ain’t pretty.

All in all- stage 2 & 3 - could take up to 6 hours.

This is a total of up to 35 hours.

At one point in the training, two of the partners put on an empathy bellies- including steel balls to stimulate elbows in the ribs, constraining belts to simulate loss of breath- 35 pounds of extra weight in the belly and chest. Suzy made them pick up pens on the floor, lie down, try to "sleep" she really let them have it. For about 5 minutes. C lost it when one of the guys started moving around his breasts to get to things. C almost volunteered- if he had, I don’t know what I would have done. Pictures would have been a certainty of course!

I wanted to take a picture of Suzy’s favorite props – a pelvic bone structure and a doll. Suzy would break this out at any interval she could to relive the nightmare of how it is all going down. While I couldn’t take pictures of her- because I was skating on thin ice anyway, good news (finally): Google Images came through for me. We had to watch this several times as she talked about the miracle of childbirth.

The last video we watched had three “real life” situations and the moral of the story was to have an “Open Mind to Birth” because basically how you want it to go, it won’t. So the mom to be who envisioned getting her epidural in the car, didn’t end up being able to have it cause the idiot waited too long. Her response?

”I was quite disappointed when I heard I couldn’t have the epidural.”

No cursing, no screaming, not so much as a frown. "Real life" my ass.

Another woman wanted to go through it naturally but after 24+ hours of hell she opted for an epidural.

“Is she here?”

Now while that sort of response would usually make me smile, the circles of hell I had to watch her go through does not put any kind of smile on this face. This face may never smile again.

Another thing to note- no one likes clothes when going through this process. I myself am not down with that. But I guess only time will tell. I will say though, if I never see another nipple, hear the words cervix or vagina again- it will be too soon. Between the videos and Suzy Sunshine - I've had it.

Bottom line, we learned a lot- more than I thought we could. Now C knows where to bring me- now I know where I will be tortured. And in good news- the floor where I'll be the 2-4 days after the big day has wireless Internet and a great deli a 5 minute walk away. Silver linings- it’s all I have left.

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