You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Birth Class No. 1, or Babies for Dummies

I went to my first birth and parenting class last night at the hospital. Unfortunately, I went alone.

Since Matt had recently signed up for the overtime shift at work, he got stuck with an extra four hours of work. It's funny how that happens the one night he is supposed to BE WITH ME FOR SOMETHING IMPORTANT, isn't it? That didn't happen when he wanted to go to the Twins game last week with friends. Oh no, that night he didn't have to work late...

No, I'm not bitter.

So I waddle into Fairview hospital last night all by myself, hoping that there will be at least one young un-wed teen accompanied by her mom so that I don't feel like a complete loser. I start inventing new (better) versions of my life so people don't assume my no-good, cheatin' husband emptied my bank account and ran off with some 22 year-old cocktail waitress, leaving me to go to childbirth class all by myself.

Of course, when I get there, there is no un-wed teen mom. Just nine, nice and normal looking couples, all married, and ALL husbands are present.

I grab a cookie and write down my name and due date on my name tag and try to look really happy as I lurch myself into my chair. I silently curse Matt and his dumbass supervisor who assigned him four hours of overtime when they knew he had to go to baby class. Now I understand why people go "postal".

The child birth educator introduces herself. She looks really nice and sounds normal. I was half expecting some weirdo, hippie earth mama in flowing robes wearing some big crystal necklace and instructing us how to find our inner woman power and explaining that our uteruses are the center of the magic of the universe while we sit in a circle and chant by candlelight.

She is wearing an outfit from the Gap; I'm totally relieved.

The class wasn't bad at all and didn't really drag by like I thought it would. We went over some basic anatomy, introduced ourselves to the group and talked a little how we were feeling so far. Apparently, I was the only one who wasn't really enjoying pregnancy. One woman went so far as to say this was the best she ever felt and really loved every minute of it, while I slunk down in my chair and tried not to bite through my bottom lip.

We watched a birth video, which was not as bad as the birth video I saw in Mr. Pollock's seventh grade health class. I remember that horrifying event with vivid clarity. It left a big impression. Not a good one. It didn't help matters that the people in the video were extremely unattractive. I mean, I don't expect porn star quality, but the woman on the tape looked like the prize winning Holstein at the state fair. The man wasn't much better. Health class was always right before lunch and of course that day they were serving sloppy joe's in the cafeteria.

So this video wasn't nearly as grotesque but still kind of gnarly watching the baby come out. Then they talked about something else I hadn't thought about.

The Placenta.

The placenta is a disposable organ your body makes. Your body makes an ENTIRE ORGAN. Not only does it make an entire person, but a whole other organ just to feed that person. That was wild. I had never thought of it like that. It made me think about my body in a whole new way. Don't worry, I didn't start chanting...

Matt finally shows up at the end when we are practicing some relaxation techniques. On the drive home I tell him about the placenta.

"Did you know the hospital will let you take it home if you want to."
Matt is aghast. "Why would you do that? Why?"
"I don't know."
"What do you do with it?"
"Well, I heard some people eat it."
"EAT IT???"
"In some cultures."
"That's sick."
"It looks like liver. I wonder what it tastes like."
"You could slap it on the grill with garlic and butter."

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