Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh, the Horror!

Last night, Mike and I went to our first "prepared childbirth" class. You can get all the information you need these days in books and online, but I thought the act of going to a class would make me feel more prepared. (Besides the fact that I forget information I read faster than Dory the tang fish.)

The class started pleasant enough, with introductions and definitions and niceties. As the class moved on, I found the information sinking into my fish brain, and I was pleased I had decided to eschew my normal "ignorance is bliss" stance for a "prepared childbirth."

We talked relaxation techniques and stance techniques. We talked about how it is very doable to have a medication free labor. And I felt like, "Hey, I can do this! I am woman, hear me roar!" I had nearly begun to think, "Epidural? Who needs an epidural?" And then.

The video.

Why do they show this video? Is it a cruel joke? To get you all hyped up on "natural" childbirth and then go wa-bam in yo' face with a whole lot of horror?

I had never intended to watch bits of the video. I safely waited until I could see it was just a talking head before I'd look at the screen and quickly avert my gaze whenever it seemed something unsavory was coming. But several times, they caught me off guard, those fiends! I inadvertently saw things that ought not be seen and are the reason we have "people" (i.e. doctors, midwives) for that.

Even when I wasn't watching, I had Mike's face to watch. Mike has the most dramatically expressive face of any person alive today. Sometimes rather than watching movies, I'll simply watch his face. He emotes whatever the main characters are emoting and cringes and guffaws and squirms. He's like a melodrama in and of himself. So even when not watching, I could see the horror brimming and overflowing in his eyes. I have already expressly forbidden him to watch our own childbirth because I can't handle the truth in his face.

It didn't help that the women were all naked in the video. Why couldn't they have covered up with a nice bland hospital gown? It also didn't help that the video was circa 1993 and the women all had 90's bangs. Somehow the 90's bangs made the horror even worse.

All night, my dreams were riddled with visions of labor. (And, by the way, "labor" seems far too tidy a term.) And this morning, all I can picture, for some reason, when thinking of labor is cows and horses giving birth...because it's awful similar. I feel like my mind is going through Willy Wonka's Tunnel.

So, after my night of horrors, disguised as a pep talk on how "You can do it! Childbirth is beautiful and natural!" what do you think I did this morning? Researched epidurals, thank you very much.


sarahbri said...

Yes. We left our class that night and I told Travis that I didn't think I could do it at all. Not even with the drugs, because I'd still have the visual in my head of all that was going on down there. Then we saw the video of the c-section, and I didn't know which seemed worse!

nv said...

The thing that they do not show you is that YOU really can't see anything unless you look in the mirror and your husband usually is sitting up there with you and has the same choice. I didn't look-too busy and nearsighted (they do not let you wear your contacts). I felt like I didn't miss anything-and you are wearing a gown. How did Craig do it? NV

H.E.R. Impressions said...

Okay, now I'm glad I never attended any classes. I read books and then we asked for information and videos on how to care for our baby after she was born. The nurses were very helpful. I ended up having a scheduled c-section due to a breech baby. Never had to wonder if I could tough if out. How exciting to get closer and closer to your due date!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe you could focus on the outcome (a beautiful baby) instead of the means (childbirth.) We worry about giving birth and then we tell horror stories about it and then we do it all over again so that we can have another beautiful baby. Must be worth it! :)

barleygreen said...

My x-coworker said the very same thing. She brought her little 3 month old to visit yesterday (such a cutie). And she had another message for you "Pack your bags now".

Mrs.Strongarm said...

I had the same reaction ("Eeeeeeeew!"). Particularly when they tug on the cord and pull out the placenta. At least it helped me know what I DIDN'T want to see upon delivery.

Anonymous said...

You can do it. Don't worry. I've done it both ways with an epi and without. I have to say that I prefer the without because 1. you can move around 2. it feels kind of creepy to have the need pushing into your spine. I prefer the pain to the creepy. Plus, people will often look to you with admiration for having the strength to do it free from meds.


Anonymous said...


Let me also add that I had our last child with a midwife. She had us watch a video of a lady in Mexico delivering her baby herself in a large bath tub with her husband and son, all naked. My husband has never been so horrified and I got a very inappropriate case of the giggles while watching.