Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Have pillow, will get through class

Monday, June 12:

JP and I walk across the parking lot to a building next to the hospital for our first childbirth preparation class. We were told to bring a pillow. I called to confirm this pillow is going to be on the floor. So I don’t want to bring my regular pillow. No, I have brought the most hideous pillow in the whole house. It’s a giant square floor pillow with a Holstein print that’s ripped a little so some stuffing is coming out, and the pillow has stains on it. I forgot I even had this thing. But I digress.

We follow the line of pillow carriers into the building and find our classroom.

There are several of my kind.

It’s pretty basic stuff, at first. Stuff you’d think would be better suited to newly pregnant people and not people who already have baby bellies. The nurse teacher is nice and knowledgeable but not entertaining. She tells us to come to the emergency room when our contractions are five minutes apart, or when our water breaks, unless our Ob/Gyns tell us differently. Then throughout the class, she keeps asking us when we’re coming to the hospital (“When our contractions are five minutes apart!”) and where we’re going to go (“To the emergency room!”). What’s that spell? (“B-A-B-Y!”)

She asks us all if we know the baby’s sex. JP and I are one of two couples out of about 20 who aren’t finding out the sex of the baby. The rest of the class is 50/50. I feel like such a minority.

The nurse teacher tells the coaches (mostly men) to count out loud as we practice breathing for contractions. This seems confusing to me. Deep breath, short breaths, different breaths for different contractions. JP makes it worse for me because he’s counting in Spanish and doesn’t know how. So I’m distracted. What a goofball.

And before our next class on Wednesday, we’re supposed to read 60 pages in the book that goes with the class. Which probably won’t happen.

The nurse teacher leads us into the next room for some relaxation techniques. I am self-conscious of my pillow. I’m pretty sure one of the mothers-to-be, who looks like an attorney or possibly a newscaster or a CEO type, appears frightened at the sight of my sorry pillow. But JP and I end up not using the pillow at all. The nurse teacher turns out all the lights, and I lean back against him, while he’s leaning against the wall. He even gives me an impromptu massage. It’s the best part of the class.

Back in the classroom, we watch a video of an actual birth, and despite the messiness of the whole affair and the protests of the father-to-be in front of JP and me, I cry. Dern these pregnancy hormones!

Who, me? I’m not crying. Put on a stern face. Walk out of the building.

Remember not to bring lousy cow pillow next time.

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