Friday, August 07, 2009

I’ll Have a Box of Prepared Childbirth

Last night, Andrew and I had the first in our series of six “Prepared Childbirth” classes. Not "Preparing for Childbirth" but "Prepared Childbirth." I hadn’t really noticed the name of this class when I signed up for it. But now that I look at it, the name seems to imply that childbirth is something that can be packaged up and cleanly, neatly purchased (one box of Prepared Childbirth, please)—all one needs to do is slip it from its wrapper and microwave it and BAM, new baby. If only.

Our first class involved introductions and thoughts about what we did and did not like about being pregnant. There was a preponderance of longing for sushi, a complaint about hugely swollen feet, a few laments about wine and beer, and much ardent support for the epidural. I contributed a mild complaint about no dessert. I felt pleased that my weight gain so far has been “all baby,” and that I can still easily fit into all my shoes. We also covered the stages of labor in a general way.

And then there was a video, which we will have in each class. Most of it was okay, with some computer graphics and some real-women interviews. But then it became more and more graphic, with hospital/labor scenes and, eventually, the actual birth. I closed my eyes, but Andrew watched the whole thing—even the delivery of the placenta. I can’t speak for him, but by his pallor and the way he kept reassuring himself and me as we walked to the car (“A woman’s body is supposed to do that. It’s natural. It happens all the time. It’s completely normal. It’s what a woman’s body is born to do”) I suspect he wishes he’d closed his eyes as well.

Clearly, work remains for us. At this point I’m torn between wanting lots and lots of information and wanting to remain in blissful ignorance; I know I need the information, and I’ll be getting it over the next few weeks whether I like it or not. But I really do wish I could just order up some Prepared Childbirth—to go, perhaps, so we can just instantly take the baby home—and be done with it.

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