We just spent the weekend perched on uncomfortable chairs in a windowless room. Torture as preparation for parenthood? Not quite. We were at prenatal class, having opted for a 12-hour, let’s-just-get-this-done weekend instead of six weeks of classes.
And it was really good (except for the aforementioned chairs. Where do colleges find these things?). Much of it reinforced stuff we’d already learned in books, on the interwebs, and in general life. But there were some fascinating additions, like delayed cord clamping. Pre-term babies seem to gain extraordinary benefits if doctors wait 2 or 3 minutes after birth to clamp the umbilical cord. The additional blood that pumps from the placenta in that time means elevated iron levels and greater blood volume for premies.
Other fascinating elements: Getting to handle forceps (heavy), hold an epidural catheter (very, very fine), learning exactly how these little creatures position themselves to get out, learning the process of a C-section (they don’t cut the ab muscles – just ease them apart), and watching the obligatory video of a child being born. Your average weekend activity, really.
The most surprising thing came when we got to the part about C-sections. As someone expecting twins, I have the highest likelihood to be heading in that direction. And as we were shown the process of epidurals, of Caesarians, of recovery, I realised that I am more frightened of having a major operation than I am of giving birth. I’ve never so much as broken a major bone (toes surely don’t count in that tally), let alone had to be cut open. IVF is the most invasive thing I’ve done. So that’s where I’m getting mentally stuck and, it must be said, a little freaked out.
Still, as we learned to put a nappy on a doll, and as I watched my wonderful man expertly swaddle the toy without instruction, I knew I had to keep my eye on the big picture. Operation or no, these nubbins have to come out. And that’s when the real stuff starts.
All of this beautiful dormancy, this momma-as-cocoon, that I am loving so much is just a fleeting snippet of my life. That was made abundantly clear over the weekend, as we discussed everything from relaxation techniques to the baby blues. And maybe that’s the whole point of prenatal classes: By getting a bit of perspective, everything else fades away to manageable.
Except those chairs. Those things are bastards.