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School Daze

One of the many many tasks that awaits first time parents is the attendance of natural childbirth classes. While I briefly contemplated taking the course online – I’m sure the ‘University of Phoenix’ offers a childbirth/criminology course that’s just plain awesome. But after ‘that look’ from the wife, I dutifully sent in the check and soon we found ourselves in a room full of pregos and their doting husbands.

Our instructor, after a brief introduction to the class, immediately popped in a video – mentioning that said video was a bit ‘graphic’ and not to feel bad about looking away. A fair warning, I suppose.

The video chronicled the story of ‘Jim’ and ‘Kathy’ who, in all of their 80’s regalia, were in labor. They clearly were experts in natural childbirth, and rather than the screaming, hurling of expletives and massive pain that one would expect, Jim seemed relatively calm about the whole thing. Kathy did great too. The couple, after some time enduring the labor at home, pulled on their new Air Jordans, hopped into the DeLorean and headed off to the hospital. There, in between contractions that chatted idly about Cyndi Lauper and ‘that crazy Iranian hostage crisis.’ Finally, with barely any fanfare, a baby graphically exploded out of Kathy’s crotch. Gross.

This display of childbirth came across as entirely unrealistic – after all surely network TV and big budget movies could afford to accurately portray the mircle of birth better than some low budget, ‘real’ documentary could. Who am I to believe – these random folks or Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl?

After the movie, we went through formal introductions of all the couples. Mostly first timers, mostly expecting boys. Only one other couple was going the ‘mystery gender’ route. After the couples were done, our two instructors introduced themselves. The first proudly displayed her ‘frequent labor card’, with eight holes punched. Two more, she explained, and the 11th delivery was free. This ‘Duggar-like’ reproductive rate lent her a sizable air of authority in this whole ‘labor’ business.

Then the other instructor casually mentioned that she had never gotten around to having children. Now that’s not a big deal for your history professor to mention, but it’s a bit of a bombshell when your CHILDBIRTH INSTRUCTOR has never EXPERIENCED CHILDBIRTH. In her defense she spent 15 years as an obstretic nurse, but still.

After a small break to allow the bladder-impaired folk to wobble to the bathroom, we reconvened on the floor in an adjoining room. This was the moment I was waiting for – the classic breathing exercise. Hee hee hoo. I was prepared with several jokes for this exact situation.

But alas instead we looked dirty pictures (actually anatomical diagrams of pregnant guts) and spent some time practicing some pregnancy exercises. I didn’t have much trouble, but then I didn’t a sizable water sac attached to my stomach.

Finally we went over the ‘cleansing breath.’ This sounds like a complicated maneuver, but mainly consists of taking air into your lungs and then expelling it out. After we learned it, it felt so natural – like I’ve been doing it all my life. Every day. Practically every moment.

As I’m sure you could’ve guessed, Kim and I are pretty much the class clowns – always trading the side comments, laughing at inside jokes, sneaking up on the other couples trying to ‘scare them into labor.’ No victims yet, but with some slick paper bag work, I’m optimistic.

We have 4 weeks left of the class – I think we both look forward to it. It just is putting us into the right frame of mind for the birth in 10 weeks.


Oh God.

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