Last night was the final session of our baby class. It was the sort of class that is supposed to teach you how to deliver, feed, and love a newborn baby. I started the class only mildly pregnant at 20 weeks and quickly learned I was the early bird. All the other women in the class were about 97 weeks pregnant. Every time one of them started breathing deeply, I worried they were transitioning into active labor. One girl actually did.
In the class, we watched a lot of videos with footage I’d rather not look at, things like stranger’s boobs and the color of baby poop and the medical procedure of circumcision. I know information is power, but perhaps we aren’t mature enough for power. I suspect that movie producers trick you into watching films with creative titles like “You and Your Baby” or “The Miracle of Life.” But then, about 30 seconds into the film, you realize you’ve been bamboozled into watching a video about the ‘miracle’ of weird bodily fluids you’ve never heard of, and somehow there’s always a baby crying in the background.
Maybe the problem was really that Mike and I were lackluster baby students.
The first few classes focused on relaxation strategies for labor. At least I think they did. The instructor asked us to bring blankets and pillows and lay on the floor while she dimmed the lights and led us through some breathing exercises. But as soon as the lights dimmed and we took deep breathes, Mike and I both fell asleep on the floor. That’s right. We slept through all of the relaxation instruction. I took 8 sessions of baby classes and still don’t know a thing about labor breathing.
In the classes on newborn care, Mike would add really insightful comments like:
“Babe. What would you think if I switched careers and became a lactation consultant? Do you think anyone would take me seriously?”
“Babe. When we get home, let’s find a really big blanket so you can practice swaddling me.”
“Babe. How early is too early to start our baby on Crossfit? Can I ask the instructor?”
Speaking of the instructor, our class was taught by two sweet women in their late-60’s who often talked about the births of their children and grandchildren. They had been teaching the course together for 37 years. Both of them had short mommish haircuts and one of them wore a packed-full leather fanny pack every single week. I always wondered what was in that fanny pack, but she never divulged the contents. This instructor did, however, relay her pop-culture knowledge by comparing every single exercise position to a variation of “twerking.” I’m not kidding.
The fanny-pack wearing, twerk-enthusiast was the one who enthusiastically walked us through the hospital tour on our last session of the course. She excitedly explained to us the different wards of the hospital, but I quickly realized that the information she relayed was not at all what I expected, nor very helpful at all.
Allow me to share some quotable moments:
”We will start the hospital tour by looking at the recovery rooms for women who have c-sections. Everyone gather around. I will show you the red chair that a partner sits in while waiting for mom to be treated after surgery.”
”There used to be pictures of infants on these walls, but someone took them down. So as we walk down these halls, I want you to imagine photos of infants on the walls. They were just darling.”
”Let’s stop here. This is where the labor and delivery ward used to be. It’s not here anymore due to renovation, but now you know where it used to be. Does anyone have any questions?”
”In recovery rooms, lunch is served between approximately 10 and 12. Sometimes later. Sometimes earlier. This might be different on the weekends. But most days, lunch is served around lunchtime.”
”These rooms have televisions that play either DVD or VHS, so you are welcome to bring in your tapes from home to watch.”
”Next, I want to show you something really neat. If your baby is in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), you get to stay in a room with really neat pictures on the wall!” She then showed us a room with a safari art mural on the wall. It reminded me of Kindergarten.
”Your baby stays with you the whole time after delivery. Sometimes you can get a babysitter if, say, you want to run out and grab a bite to eat after labor. The nurses might agree to watch your hours-old newborn for 30 minutes. Maybe 40 minutes. Maybe 60 minutes tops. They may or they may not agree to watch your baby. But in case you want to run to McDonalds or Subway after labor, the nurses might agree watch your baby. I can’t make any promises.”
”I believe there is breastfeeding support available Monday through Friday, around 10:00 in the morning. I don’t know what will happen to you if you give birth on the weekend.”
Here are some important things the instructor did not cover:
- Where exactly to go when you are in labor.
- Where to get pre-registration paperwork.
- How many infants the hospital can accommodate.
- The availability and shift rotation of doctors and nurses.
She did, however, lay out the in-depth hospital security plan to prevent newborn kidnappings. In the first three minutes of her long-winded explanation, I was still interested, but by minute 19, I wondered if her dramatic kidnapping scenarios were real or imagined. This was somewhat unsettling.
As we left our final baby class, Mike and I gave each other a high five, not because we felt more prepared for labor, delivery, or parenthood; but because at least we put forth the effort.
I think if we earned a baby class grade, we probably failed. We slept through all the relaxation exercises and made fun of newborns with cone shaped heads. I still don’t know what’s in that fanny pack, which is probably the most perplexing part of the whole experience. I also don’t know what twerking, but maybe that is beside the point.
In any case, we learned a few things and Mike found an alternative career path if he ever decides to get out of the Marine Corps.
I hope he doesn’t.
Let’s all hope he doesn’t.