This, reader, is the official pre-natal blog. I wrote earlier about not exactly having my "A" game for the first of the two classes, but I really want to tell you about our time there.
(*And, as a side bar (so I don't sound like a deadbeat dad), I was well-rested and in normal form for the second class. Lesson learned. I make my share of mistakes -but rarely do I make them twice. Actually, that's a lie. I feel like "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me thrice, shame on me" is a better saying.)
Since we really had no idea what were doing in regard to preparing for the bambino's arrival, Jackie and I decided it best to sign up for a pre-natal class. After looking through a few options, we found one relatively close by to us.
Baby Rush, (which, for some strange reason, I can't find the address for, even on their website) is owned and operated by Hilary Taylor. She's a nurse with a HUGE passion for babies. She's delivered (or, "caught", as she referred to it as) more babies than she can count. I felt in VERY good hands with her experience and overall enthusiasm for the path to delivery - and beyond. I highly recommend her.
She also mentioned she doesn't have any children of her own. I was a little taken aback by that: how can you convey to someone how something feels or how much something hurts if you haven't gone through it yourself? (ie. labour). I kind of whispered that to Jackie while sitting in the class. She disagreed. Knowledge is knowledge - no matter how you acquire it, she said.
The two-day class was split up on two consecutive Sunday's for five hours each. There were roughly 20-25 people in the class with us. Jackie and I definitely were the youngest couple in the group (that's how it looked, anyway). The first time in my life, I actually felt like an adult. I mean, what's more "grown up" than taking part in a pre-natal class? (I guess being sent to prison would also signify the end of your youth as well, but you get what I mean).
It was a great feeling, to be honest. And I'm happy I felt that way. Because on the flip side of the growing-up equation, it really means the days of putting myself first are over. I'm happy with that. I've never been so excited and eager for something in my entire life. And I'm beyond blessed to be doing it with Jackie. She's pretty much going to be the best mom ever.
ANYWAY, the class had its moments of unintentional comedy. (And when I say unintentional comedy, I really mean things that probably only I would find funny. Ask anyone who really knows me: I find amusement in the most subtle of things.) For instance, Hilary used everyone's favorite verbal crutch "not going to lie" approximately 67 times. And at one point, I thought she'd have to run to her car to grab her thesaurus to find another synonym for "baby." Peanut was her favourite one. And, since babies are pretty random while in the womb when it comes to movement, "monkey" became another go to.
(I tried to write how she'd use a sentence with "monkey", but it's not making any sense. You had to be there. And you're probably over this story already anyway).
Without giving any of her pre-natal secrets away, (because I don't want to get sued), the only thing you can expect with labour is the unexpected. No two labours are the same. If you have a birth plan, punt it. There are too many variables in the baby business. You're best bet is to roll with the punches.
We also watched a birthing video. Again, you can read the details of that in the only-legal-in-Amsterdam and Thailand versions of this post.
The biggest takeaway from class was to make sure Jackie is as comfortable as can be. And that I need to be her "voice." What I mean by that is often (according to Hilary) nurses are in a rush because they have a trillion other things going on at once. They may speed things up after the birth so they can finish their job faster. That's not always a good thing for the bambino, especially in his/hers first few moments in this world. Having what's called "skin-to-skin" time is important for the baby and the mom immediately after the birth is important. You only get one real shot at that.
I hate telling people how to do their job. But, since I most likely will be the coherent one during post-labour time, it's my job to make sure everything's going the way we want it to. I just hope we're set up with someone who we're on the same page with. It also makes me think having a mid-wife wouldn't be such a bad idea for any future births.
Hilary also mentioned a website called Skin Deep. Everyone needs to check this out - not just expecting parents. It goes through all different types of soaps, lotions and shampoos and rates them on how natural vs. unnatural they are. You'd be surprised on what you'll find on there.
After going to the class, I feel a lot more prepared for our child - or as prepared as I can be. After being in school seemingly my entire life, most of life's lessons are yet to come.