In addition to soaking in advice from friends and family on our upcoming addition, my wife and I have taken three classes, covering the actual birth process, infant care, and breast feeding. I’ve definitely learned a lot, but there were also a few things that made me chuckle.
The birthing class included a few documentary-style videos of actual births. God bless the women who agreed to participate, because, while most males are smart enough to not even try to act like we know what women are going through while giving birth, I wouldn’t want a camera anywhere near me if I were going through about 10% of the discomfort involved.
The instructor tried to show a balanced selection of videos, including natural childbirth, giving birth with medication, and the dreaded C-section, and she also showed both relatively easy and very difficult births. Yet one of the participants in the class felt that the videos were skewed toward persuading mothers-to-be to choose the medication. So the instructor picked one more video of a natural childbirth to show the class.
This video was sort of laughable. There was nothing physically remarkable about the subject — she wasn’t particularly young or old, and didn’t seem to be either athletic (yes, pregnant women gain weight, duh, but they still keep some of their muscle tone), or non-athletic. Yet, when she began to deliver, her baby came out in exactly three pushes.
Seriously? Three pushes? She should have headed straight for the nearest casino, because luck like that is beyond crazy. I turned to my wife and told her she got a maximum of five pushes, and then I was heading to the bar. She did not appreciate that. I don’t know why.
When we took the infant care class, we got some advice that I’ve also heard from my friends who recently became parents: Use the last few weeks before the due date to get all of the sleep you can get. I don’t agree with this.
Everyone’s body is different, but I have found that my body does not have the ability to bank sleep. On the rare occasion when I have a Saturday or Sunday with nothing going on and the cats leave me the hell alone and let me sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I definitely feel more refreshed, but it only makes a difference for about a half-day. It’s not like a good, 15-hour slumber powers me up for the week. The effects are very short-term.
So, my philosophy runs completely counter to all of the advice. I am taking these last few weeks to get in as much fun as I can, because I know that when 0.9 becomes a reality, opportunities to go out drinking, play softball, go to Yankees games, and things of that sort will be nonexistent for quite some time, and limited thereafter. In the words of the great Warren Zevon, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” And after my wife reads this blog, I may be getting some sleep pretty soon!
Our last class covered breast feeding, and one of the mothers-to-be cracked me up. She asked more questions than everyone else combined, which was fine, because they were actually good, relevant questions, and not, “Can I give my baby jet fuel if I want to make sure he doesn’t sleep too long?”
What made me laugh was that every single one of her questions was aimed at helping her achieve one goal: having her husband feed the baby. It was comical. This woman seemed like she could not wait to hand her husband their baby and a bottle, and head out on the town.
Again, as a male who likes to avoid getting shoes thrown at him, I will not try to pretend I know anything about how much work breast-feeding is, or how draining it is for mothers, but I have a feeling her husband is in for an interesting ride. I hope he was paying attention.
We are one day closer to the arrival of 0.9. Wow.