Even a dummy can do it

Jul 26, 2012

I love The Onion.

“If you can poop, you can give birth.”

As soon as my sister said it, I busted out laughing and couldn’t stop. I almost had to pull over.

I was telling her about our first – and last – childbirth class, which we’d attended the night before. It was Week 1 of a four-week series, and in two and a half hours, we managed to cover very little actual substance.  We did, however, go around the room awkwardly announcing our due date, baby gender, names, favorite part of pregnancy, and one thing we’d have to give up once we became parents that we would miss.

(We were the only couple out of 8 who didn’t know their baby’s gender. I knew this wasn’t a popular choice, but COME ON PEOPLE, a little surprise never killed anyone!  Only two couples shared their baby names [Olivia and Ivana].  All of us liked feeling the baby move the most. And I refused to answer the last question because I thought it was total crap. It pissed off another couple, who expressed their irritation that their child would be thought of as anything other than a complete blessing.)

On a Powerpoint, the instructor reviewed the signs of labor, then took a potty break. Next: relaxation. We laid on plastic mats in the darkness while a silky-voiced woman on a CD walked us through relaxing muscles from our toes to our ears, reminding us repeatedly to “just let go.” The exercise was preceded by a four-minute song that was, by far, the cheesiest excuse for music I’d ever heard. Lyrics included “Welcome to our world, little one, we extend our arms to you.” (*Insert barf here*)

After another potty break, we watched an overproduced video that demonstrated labor positions, major gems including “Sitting” and “Standing” and “Squatting.”  Despite all this guidance, the video closed by saying that when the moment comes, you should find positions that feel comfortable and move around a lot. Gee, what a novel idea!

The next day, I sent an email to the program coordinator, asking (very nicely) if it was possible to get a partial refund for the $60 class, since we wouldn’t be returning for sessions 2 through 4. I explained that we had done a fair amount of reading and research, and the content of the class was not going to cover anything we didn’t know about, plus the pace of the class was “quite slow.”  Impressively, not only did I get an immediate email back offering a full refund, but I also got a call from the director, asking how to make the class better.

I’m a childbirth class dropout – it’s true. But childbirth isn’t like other things you take a class for. If I don’t take a course in Hebrew, I will never converse with a group of orthodox Jews in their native tongue.

Childbirth is different in that whether you take a class or not, you’re still having that damn baby. Being educated about it doesn’t make it happen. It’s coming, and you’re not stopping it.

Let’s remember, ladies, that this isn’t sub-Saharan Africa. The townspeople won’t banish you to a hut on the edge of the village at the first signs of labor, wishing you good luck and taking bets on your making it out alive. This is 2012, when most of us give birth in a hospital, carefully guided through labor and delivery by nurses and doctors with lots of training. Trust me – even if you’re so stupid as to arrive at the hospital believing you’re fixin’ to shoot a baby from your urethra, the doctors and nurses will make sure even you, Complete Idiot Woman, won’t screw it up.

Some argue that taking the class helps you “feel more prepared” for the experience. But what does that really mean? “Preparing yourself” for something you’ve never experienced is basically an attempt to control the situation. Anyone who has given birth would laugh at the concept that you can control the labor and delivery process. We’d all be better off if women about to give birth accepted that they will have no control –during labor, or hell, even after that kid arrives – and any control they think they have is an illusion.

There’s not much more to learn about childbirth aside from what’s covered in Chapter 14 of What to Expect. So we read the book (I actually read several, along with many blogs and websites too), and we’re about as prepared as we feel we need to be. Breathe through the contractions. Relax. Move around a lot.

Don’t worry – I already know that I can do this childbirth thing.  Because I am a really, really good pooper.

About Me

Hiya! I'm Lydia. I live in Iowa with my husband and two children, both the result of iVF. I started this blog in 2011, so everything here's a wee bit... old. I don't do a ton of writing anymore... but I'm leaving the blog up, in case it's helpful for those who stumble across it.

Skip to the iVF

If you're going through infertility and want to see our journey, start in June 2011 (first two cycles) or January 2014 (third cycle). Hopefully reading about our rollercoaster with assisted reproduction brings you a little hope, and more than a few giggles. (Keep in mind that this information is over a decade old in most cases; please don't take anything you read here as medical advice. Consult your doctor for facts.)

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  1. long-time lurker popping up to say…WHAT is up with everyone knowing their baby’s sex well in advance? i joined one of those online due date club things. out of 52 members for the january 2013 group, only four of us are waiting until birth to find out the sex. we’re just about at the point now where the cohort is getting their anatomy scans & learning the “big news,” so everyone is posting these cliffhanger updates like, “it’s a…” (open post) “BOY!” & then everyone else is all, “congratulations!” congratulations for what? that your baby has junk?

    i guess i knew that choosing to learn the sex in advance is the more prevalent choice these days. i just wasn’t prepared for it to be such a widespread phenomenon.

    • I KNOW, RIGHT?!?! It drives me nuts. Seriously, a little self-control never hurt anyone. But I have been hearing that leaving it a mystery is coming back “en vogue” now. Of course, I’ve yet to see this in action. My sister (the aforementioned one) is the only person I know who keeps her genders under wraps (even to herself!). But everyone else I know finds out. *sigh*

      • I can completely respect the not choosing to know until it’s born option, but I had a friend that totally pissed me off when she said “oh, we know what we are having but we aren’t telling you”. It felt like one of those “I know something you don’t know” things. Had she simply said “oh we aren’t sharing that information” I think I wouldn’t have been as offended lol

  2. True story: Our daughter is going to be 20 years old in a couple months! I know, I know, I look great for my age right!?? but I remember that day like it was just yesterday…..I am going to try and keep this shorter than your original post but not sure it’s possible. My due date was Friday, November 13, 1992. I have had 3 pets (2 dogs and 1 guinea pig die on Friday the 13th’s so I am a tad superstitious) Ok ok I am a lot superstitious!

    I went to the Dr. Nov.10, 1992 they did a sonogram and said, “oh the baby only weighs 4 lbs 2 oz, you have about 4 more weeks yet. go home.” I went home disgruntled and quite frankly pissed! This was supposed to be over this week damn it! For what it’s worth, I read the book you speak of and we took no classes….

    Nov 11, I went to work, but felt like crap. I really thought it was just me being down because I had to carry this load around 4 more weeks. Went home early and napped. I love naps.

    Nov 12, stayed home from work. Still felt like crap. But managed to clean house, rearrange furniture, put up the Christmas tree, baked 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies, took the dog for a walk, ate 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies and took a nap.
    I love naps. Called husband at 2 and said, I don’t feel good. I want you to come home. He said, “ok in about an hour.” (he worked an hour away) I called him back in an hour and said if you haven’t left DO IT NOW. I am having contactions. He said, Nah, you have 4 more weeks. I yelled obscenities and he arrived about 45 minutes later. To satisfy my bitching he took me and my little suitcase to the hospital…. he drove me there in a 1970 Ford Pinto beater because he was afraid my water might break in his precious pick up truck! We arrive and the Dr comes in and takes a peeksie. He says, “you are only 2 cm. go home. call the office tomorrow.” Tim was annoyed at me. I was like, “wtf” even though no one knew what that was back then! I got myself together and headed for the front door of the hospital. As the sliding doors slid open and I was walking through listening to my wonderful husband complain about what a waste of time this was I grabbed ahold of the doors as they began to close, doubled over and said….”I gotta poop!” A nurse who was entering at the exact same time said, “no you don’t, come with me!” Less than 25 minutes later, my little bundle of joy had arrived!!!! No time to give me anything for pain! NOTHING! FOR! PAIN! But November 12th, 1992 she arrived, oh and she weighed, 7 lbs. 8 ounces! Not 4, like was estimated two days prior!

    My point is, you sister is right! If you can poop, you can do this!

    • Lorna, your story is awesome. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Heading to the full day (9am-5pm…..oh God help me) birthing class tomorrow and thought about this post I read 30-some weeks ago when I binged your whole blog. Let’s hope that the director has made some positive changes in the past 5 years or Eric and I may be dropouts as well 🙂


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