Baby class

17 Oct

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, going to baby class at Birth Day Presence. Ok, I know a little, at least from the name. I was pretty much expecting something like this. Ok, I just put that last clip in there because it freaks out my own baby mama every time.

But the hard truth is that I didn’t know shit about birthing, and my wife doesn’t either. So here we are, halfway done with a crash course on stages of labor, what happens to your cervix, how to manage pain, how make your hospital experiences non-nightmareish, how to advocate for your own health. The woman running the class is a doula as well, and so the whole experience (in my opinion, which differed somewhat from baby mama’s) seemed somewhat oppositional and confrontational to the medical model. Ask if the baby’s ok, ask if the mother’s ok, then ask for more time (or for them to basically back the fuck off). So not so much hostile to medicine per se, but certainly oppositional to the modal medical experience.

And it should! The modal medical experience has become a pretty shitty one, despite the fact that the OB/Gyn’s kind of awesome. The very fact that she suggested bringing some music, better pillows to get comfortable, etc., means that all that stuff is for shit at the hospital. Understandable, given the functional requirements of the place. But still less than an ideal environment for mother, if you gave it any thought at all. Whatever, this is not to rail against the medical establishment, at all. It’s to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the class.

Of course, my wife likes it because it effectively became a class about all the things that partners could do to support the mothers. It occurred to me that this may actually be the whole point of the class, and it’s dressed up differently because otherwise it would be more difficult to induce mostly men to show up.

My two favorite parts were:
1) When she asked what sorts of things people might do if the pain floated above a level where you thought you would be OK handling it? People threw out things like, yell, try to move around, try to focus on something. It was clear that she wanted someone to say ‘ask for drugs’, but no one said it. Finally, my sweet, sweet baby mama was like “ask for drugs?” and yay, the teacher said yes! But asking for drugs does not mean that you really want drugs! Loved that part

(and the teacher was actually great, because in the end, she didn’t really give a shit if you take pain drugs or not, she is all about agency. And I honestly and truly LOVE THAT about her, )

2) When she asked what sorts of things people do to distract themselves, and everyone was all ‘read a book’, and ‘listen to music’, and ‘call friends’, but no one wanted to admit that they would watch TV. Finally when one of the men did say ‘watch a movie or TV’, she kind of chuckled and said something about how, yes, this Park Slope. Meanwhile, I looked at him with horror and said, “Oh my god, you have a TV?!” Hehehe, I’m kind of an asshole.

We have another day of this thing today. It’s a crash course. At the end, we’re hoping that it lessens rather than heightens some of the anxiety, gets us to meet some other people in our neighborhood, and maybe even gets us a recommendation for a pediatrician. So far so good.


6 Responses to “Baby class”

  1. Peter October 17, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    Oh, except for that perineal massage. Still freaking out of both of us. Admittedly freaking her out more than me…

  2. Anonymous October 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Actual things that may be able to distract you from labor pain…1. Sticking a spear in your ear, 2. Shoving an elephant up your nostril, 3. Cutting off your head. Books, music, TV??? Really?

  3. Peter October 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    Well, maybe she meant early stage pregnancy, not later on? Just in case, I’m totally bringing an elephant to the party.

    Of course, 3/4 of the way through day 2, she mentioned that 80-90% of women end up getting epidurals, in which case, everything we learned over the past two days is pretty much irrelevant…

  4. Krista October 25, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    Epidural. Epidural. Epidural. We have the medical capability now, so why the heck not?! There does not have to be extreme pain involved. Only thing — be sure to roll back and forth as it’s effected by gravity. I kept pushing the button while on my right side – went to roll over and couldn’t even feel my right leg. Bizarre. Other distractions — seriously good, bad-TV. Or friends/rels to relieve dad-to-be when he needs to grab another cup of coffee or sit for a few minutes.

  5. Peter October 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    Word to you, mothers. But then last night E walks out of our room with almost-tears in her eyes and a totally stricken look on her face. My stomach totally dropped, I thought for sure she was going to say something is really, badly wrong. Instead, it turns out she was reading about potential side-effects of Epidural, written by an anthropologist/bossy doula, which was freaking her totally out. Next time I’m having her call you, Krista.

  6. Anonymous November 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    Epidural. All recall of side effects will quickly vanish.

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