Saturday 28 November 2009

Back to school

This week was ‘partner week’ at ET’s pregnancy course.

I was ready to ‘hoo-hoo-hoo’ and ‘hee-hee-hee’ with the best of them, but my self motivation was proven to be wasted when we walked through the door of the terraced house that is home to the course.

‘Tea?, or coffee?’

‘Er, no thanks.’

We hung up our coats and headed into the classroom, which was home to one of the more surreal visions I've had the pleasure to experience.

In the middle of the converted sitting room was a hospital trolley bed, on top of which was a spread of biscuits and cookies, tea and coffee.

It seems partner evening was to mostly consist of the ladies proving they that they had one, and that the gigantic swelling under their shirts wasn’t as a result of an unhinged decision to shove a rolled up cardigan up there, or from using a unisex cubicle at work.

Niceties out of the way, the instructor (who I can only assume was qualified to give the course due to being born in the not too distant past herself) began her class.

With pictures of innards, and talk of growing foetuses, she eventually worked her way up to repeated mentions of runaway turds and vaginas being snipped.

That was the moment I couldn’t decide whether I was happier that didn’t have a vagina or that I hadn’t had one of the jam biscuits on offer.

I was sorely tempted to ask how would I be able to tell which was the turd and which was the baby if they both arrived at the same time, but I held my uninspired tongue.

When she was rounding up she handed out a sheet which she claimed would be vital to us men when the time came. Despite a distinct absence of ‘hoos’ and ‘hees’ in the class, I was delighted that I might actually learn something, so I snatched my copy and began to translate.

It seems that the Dutch have a very longwinded multi-bullet-pointed way of saying ‘Don’t freak the fuck out’.

That handout won't be going on the fridge door.

Minutes later, it was goodbye turd talk, goodbye bizarrely placed and utilised hospital trolley, and goodbye an hour of my life never to be seen again.

I left with one more question than I had arrived with, what DO you Americans do for the months on end you spend at Lamaze classes?


AnnD said...

Our classes weren't very helpful. No handouts went on our fridge either.

The most helpful thing was doing my own research.

Is ET going to go med-free?

If so, you would benefit from reading "The Birth Partner" by Peggy Simkin.

Dan said...

The NCT classes we went to were helpful for kerry, but after three of them I basically refused to go again.

Mainly because of the middle class hippy ethos if I'm honest. And because all the other dads earned about five times more than me and I felt inferior.

Ms. Moon said...

Hee and hoo. And learn where to push on your woman's back when she is having back labor. And not to freak the fuck out.

Veronica Foale said...

Other advice - don't fall asleep at any point. Don't freak the fuck out. Do exactly what she tells you when she tells you.

Unless of course she is requesting that they snip YOUR bits, then I'd ignore that.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Spent a lot of time talking about before, during, and also after with sessions about recovery, post partum signs ect.

All seemed useful, but in the end I'm not sure how much of it was relevant to how things turned out for us.

But we were prepared just in case.

Putz said...

i am sitting in the movie planet 51 with 4 of my 7 grands, and four of my five kids, and two dil's envy me

Tara R. said...

During my lamaze classes, my husband and I made fun of how ridiculous the other moms were and made bets on which dads would faint during delivery.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Two long days of Lamaze taught me that it was gonna hurt like shit and it was definitely coming out eventually.

Jenni said...

I can't even remember what we did. A lot of talking about pain management, I think. And I agree with Veronica - do whatever ET asks, and the Birth Partner by Peggy Simkin is amazing. It was better then any class.

Also, your baby will be way cuter than a turd. That's how you'll tell the difference. Also, it will smell better (in the early days, at least.) I promise.

River said...

Call me cynical, but I suspect the "months of lamaze classes" are used to fill the financial purses of the institutions holding those classes. Most people I know out here in Aus, went to only a few classes in the final weeks, even more of my friends and acquaintances didn't go to any at all. Birthing procedures and breathing techniques were discussed and practised at normal midwife appointments.

Geeks in Rome said...

I thought Lamaze had been debunked long ago? Unnatural breathing patterns don't help. It's like telling someone how to breathe during taking a crap. You KNOW how to breathe and push. Lamaze was also a way to make the partners feel they were "helping" by "coaching."

I loooved my midwife's prenatal classes. She made us watch films, home-movies, documentaries of women birthing in a million different ways. If you want to learn to make bread, you have to see it being done and all the diff. ways you can do it.

She taught us baby-related stuff like what to do for colic, adjust the child's wacky sleeping habits, nurse, wrap and change a baby.

But basically her main point was birth has been happening for millions of years. The body and reptilian bit of the mind know what their doing, don't let the Einstein-part of your brain take over and make you panic. The partner's role is to protect the mom's interests and protect her from bad medical decisions (like snipping!!!).

Start looking now for a FABULOUS (not just good) lactation consultant, even if you have to pay for it. People spend good money and time preparing for the birth and once the baby is born many are left with no real or helpful support just when the mother really needs it.

The money you spend getting breastfeeding going well will pay back enormous beneifits in the health and wellbeing of ET and baby for the whole first year.

ok, the commercial is over!

Karen MEG said...

OMG you made me laugh with this one... good thing I haven't had my breakfast yet :).

"Don't freak the fuck out" is actually not such bad advice! Once you get there, things just go the way they go, KWIM?

We did a one day pre-birthing class. And it was awkward too. My husband couldn't wait to get out, so he was answering all the anatomical questions when no one else would- the teacher thought he was a doctor. Who knew he knew so much about my innards? We even got to watch a video of a woman giving birth in wonderful technicolor, which I'm not sure is the best thing, really. Talk about being freaked out.

But turd talk, that might have made it more interesting.

So glad to read that things are going well with the pregnancy, Martin!

Kori said...

**shrugs** I never took one; read some books, popped four out reasonably fine. You'll do great; just do whatever ET tells you to do, and all will be well.

Mwa said...

We had them in Belgium, too - ten lessons, all with partner. I think the partners were not too pleased to be there, but they were probably to scared to defy the women who no doubt all had to use the phrase "Look, you put it in there, now you can bloody well come and hold my hand in there. It's not like it's any fun for me." Literally.

jojo said...

OMG! I have been gone forever I KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN! YEAH FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Russ said...

Dunno. We didn't take Lamaze. One of the classes we took was utterly useless, unless their desire was to attempt to embarrass the fathers-to-be by making them wear sympathy suits and stand in the corner. Followed by videos of your aforementioned pooping and birthing.

The baby CPR class was well worth the time though.

Ed said...

We went to two classes. And I have to admit--the only reason I went was so that I could actually mispronounce my last name--Lamaze.

Turns out we had an emergency c-section and anything we might have learned was useless anyway.

Silindile Ntuli said...

Don't freak the fuck out, ha ha that's a good one.. I don't know anything about pregnancy and birth and everything in between, but I'm fascinated by the whole thing... A hospital bed used to serve food, now that's disturbing

Gina said...

Yep that's about right, don't freak out! Seriously we went to the express course cause I didn't want to go for 6 weeks. it was basically us making fun of the instructor and then they made him practice massage I never did get my fing massage either!!!!

WeaselMomma said...

Ah, us Americans get months worth of trauma being told of everything and anything that can go wrong.

They served you on a hospital trolley now, because after the birth, you will never be able to eat off of one again.

WhatAboutNovember said...

The bullet points used to be, "get the hot water" and "get the hell out". :)

Susanica said...

We did a program called "Birth Works" and like Jenni said it looked at pain management, but I think even more so at helping both the woman giving birth and her partner get clear on their birth plan and expectations for the birth. We all had very different birth stories ourselves, and so discussing them shed some light on how each person thought a birth "should" or "would" happen. It was pretty enlightening, but then again I sort of like touchy feely crap like that.

I remember thinking though that we had six meetings about the birth itself and no meetings about when we'd actually have a baby in the house. The book the Birth Partner is excellent as you've heard from others, but I really highly recommend the Happiest Baby on the Block. Even if you don't like all the advice, it makes a lot of sense and I think helped us tremendously. Just my two cents. -M

Momma said...

Basically we learned what to expect during labor and all that fun stuff. We also got to watch a few videos of women giving birth...cause that's always helpful! (Insert sarcasm here)I did actually like that they taught us the stages of labor and what everything meant so when the doctor/nurse would say things we would know what the hell they were talking about. Lots of pain management talk too...too much to remember!

Check out Jared's pictures though, I think he has the one where he had to wear the 30 pound heated belly to "feel" what it was like to be pregnant. He was only pregnant for about 5 minutes though! The instructor did make him lay on the floor and try to stand up alone, which was quite funny to see! That might have been the best part of lamaze class!

Oh yeah..speaking of handouts, we got one that I had to give to my mother. It simply said "Grandmothers Cannot Breastfeed New Baby"...I guess you really do have to tell people that and explain why! GROSS

Martin said...

@AnnD - med free...hahahahaha yes, if you can guarantee pain free;-)

@Dan - we didn't discuss income, have I missed out?

@Ms. Moon - you could have given the course.

@Veronica - Not gonna happen!

@James (SeattleDad) - Like the boy scouts!

@Putz - you are a very enviable chap!

@Tara R. - niiiiice

@Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] - 'it'...

@Jenni - heh, a turd with a woolly hat.

@River - Exactly!

@Geeks in Rome - Not a clue, it was just a curiosity.

@Karen MEG - so far, so good!

@Kori - popped, like a juicy fruit

@Mwa - 10 with partner? boring.

@jojo - heh, thanks.

@Russ - have you had the need to use it!

@Ed - There's no class with my last name, boo.

@Silindile Ntuli - I'm surprised you were the only to notice it!

@Gina - massage? it's not a whore house!

@WeaselMomma - I wasn't particularly planning on such a dining experience

@WhatAboutNovember - the good old days!

@Susanica - yes, im more concerned about what we shoudl do with the bloody thing

@Momma - hahahahahahahaha....

Anonymous said...

"Don't freak the fuck out." Best. Advice. Ever.

Also, back labour hurts like a hell and if you love her you'll strength train like mad so you can apply proper pressure on her back. Otherwise just do exactly what she says, when she says it.

Oh, and be a dear, once the baby is born, never bring up the issue of turds during delivery. ;)

tiff(threeringcircus) said...

Oh Goodness. I just laughed so hard, I think I need new undies.

I have this visual of the childbirth instructor's face
right after you asked the turd question. I wish you had have.

Sadia said...

I went to the Lamaze class I wanted, and am actually still friends with two of the other couples. We talked about labour and the pushing and how the husbands could be nice to us and sorts of stuff that was completely useless when I went into labour 7 weeks early, had a C-section, and had two three-pounders in the NICU. Now, if I'd learned about accepting that I had nothing at all to say about how my kids came into the world, THAT would have been a useful class.

A Free Man said...

Wait, what? You only had to go to one antenatal class? Lucky bastard. I think I went to half a dozen for the first and two painful 'refresher' classes. Because I had forgotten where they come out?

Adie said...

This baby is coming out, regardless of whether or not you take a class to figure out how to do it "right". It's one day out of the rest of your life. The one thing you can be sure of is somehow they will get out of there.

The classes should focus on WTF you do when you get home with this squalling tiny thing, and how to cope emotionally and mentally with the nights, the days, the hormones, the "will-I-fit-in-a-shower-before-the-next-feed" bits of bringing home said squalling infant. Even simple things like bathing is barely given a mention in classes, compared with how much time is given over to telling you what will (supposedly) happen during labour.

And you won't need your breathing exercises when you're trying to lift a wriggling, slippery infant out of a bath, while simultaneously holding the towel, and then figure out how you're going to continue to hold baby while also wrapping the towel around him/her. That's what the classes should be about!

Martin said...

@expatswede - not even at the xmas dinner table?

@tiff(threeringcircus) - I dont think it would have knocked a feather out of her!

@Sadia - yeah Im a bit more curious about the AFTER picture myself.

@A Free Man - heh, it does get complicated down there

@Adie - I'd agree 100%!

Chelsea Lietz said...

We took a class that met for 3 hours, four times. We toured the hospital, talked about the birth process, learned the drug options, etc. It was helpful, and a bit entertaining... "hoo hoo hoos" and "hee hee hees" included. Mainly they stressed that we shouldn't go to the hospital too early... and that no one should freak the fuck out.