Monday, June 30, 2008

You Can't Write Characters Like These

Yesterday, when I read my post to Troy, I got him all fired up. Not about needles, like you might think, but about our birthing classes. He told me it was something I needed to post about. The longer we talked and reminisced about it the more I decided he was probably right--and the more I decided I wanted to give birth again.

We took the "crash course" which meant that, instead of going twice a week for six weeks, we'd go all the live long day for two Saturdays. We lived 45 minutes away from the hospital and the price of gas was killing us. It was late Spring in 2006. Gas had skyrocketed to $3.25 a gallon. Those were the days. There were about 20 couples in our particular class. Of those couples, there were two that did not know the gender of their children. We were one of them. Of the remaining couples, Troy and I are fairly sure that around 16 of the unborn children were females. 2006 in San Diego was a very girl year. Seriously, I knew Garrett was a boy simply because there are laws about averages.

I don't remember much about most of the couples in our class. I remember that most of the women were, in my eyes, huge with child. This may have had something to do with the fact that I had the latest due date and, on the day I went to the hospital to deliver, my waist measured only half an inch larger than my bust. Though, in fairness to pregnant women everywhere, during (and of course after) pregnancy my chest should have asked the government for its own zip code. There was one other woman who didn't look as though she had swallowed a prize winning pumpkin. She was one half of The Cute Couple. The husband was either a cop or a fireman. I think he was a cop. Troy thinks he was a fireman. And he was attractive. The wife was just adorably cute. When they walked in Troy leaned over and said, "Well they're going to have an ugly baby." Of course, his voice was dripping with sarcasm. They were the kind of people that you want to walk over to and say, "Hey, do you want to be our friends? Here is our resume. Troy here has the uncanny knack of spouting random facts about ancient history and I crack jokes all the time. Some of them are funny. Most are not. So how 'bout it?" We refrained from doing this.

Another couple I can recall with some clarity is The Irish. Though much older than myself, The Irish had also conceived after struggling with infertility. We were kindred spirits. That coupled with the fact that we hung on every word of those accents made us like them instantly. We learned that they had been driving from Temecula to Point Loma for their fertility treatments. We thought that our drive had been long given that we'd often had to do it several times a week. People who have to fight for their kids like that are good people. And these were Irish good people, which is even better.

I also remember The Eater. Okay so we all know that pregnant people need to eat. But if you are sitting in a room with 19 other pregnant people and no one else is eating than maybe you are eating a little too much. Here's how this all went down. We started around 9:00 in the morning. We were given a lunch break at 12:00. Then we had a snack break at 3:00 and finished up close to 5:00. I had breakfast before we got there, had lunch during the allotted time, and relieved my bladder at 3:00. A lot of people took advantage of the snack break and went to the convenient store around the corner for their craving for Ho-Ho's or SunChips. The Eater arrived at 9:00 with McDonald's bag in hand. She proceeded to consume two breakfast sandwiches and a hash brown. I suppose one of the sandwiches was for her and the other for her offspring. I guess they had to fight over the hash brown. About a half hour later she pulled out an apple. Forty-five minutes after that she had a banana. (At least these were healthy choices, mind you.) When we got back from our lunch break she proceeded to snack on bags of cereal, cookies, etc. Then, during our snack break, her husband fetched her some more food. It was incredible. I have never seen someone eat continuously. Everyone else in the group would kind of eye her as she reached into her bag to see what other gems she would pull out. Occasionally you could see 19 pairs of eyes close in jealousy. Why is it that you aren't hungry until someone else is eating a Twinkie in front of you? Once she delivered I have no idea how she kept that child happy, given that she was used to being fed every thirty seconds.

What's an Eater without The Drinker? Really, The Drinker was a very nice woman. We sat near her and her husband and they seemed like friendly people who would make good parents. As we went off to our lunch break she walked up to the doula teaching our class and said, rather desperately, "When can I have a drink?" The doula looked surprised. "I mean, I'm not an alcoholic or anything but I am dying to have wine with my meals again. I don't think I can go until she's weaned before I have a drink." I didn't really hear what the doula had to say on this subject but Troy and I caught each other's eye and kind of smiled. Kudos for her for not drinking while she was pregnant, of course. It was just such a foreign concept to Troy who is a teetotaler and me who is a teealmoster (yes I know that isn't a word).

Finally there was Mama Know It All who I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday. Mama Know It All was pregnant with baby number four. It was her first baby with husband number two and she claimed that she was there so that he could learn what to expect. This is a strange claim given the fact that he was late to the session on the first Saturday and absent altogether for the second Saturday. She talked all the time. There were a few people in our class who were having child number two and wanted a refresher course. In all honestly, I would probably consider taking birthing classes again if I ever find myself with child. I think each labor can go so many different ways that it doesn't hurt to hear it over again. But I wouldn't sit there interrupting everything with, "That happened to me with my second," or, "I have wanted to give up with each of my babies but I just kept pushing through. Don't worry, ladies, you'll make it through. Don't give up." I kind of wanted to look at her and say something about how the alternative is, what? That it stays in forever? Death? I'm fairly certain that, when faced with the option of dying or meeting your unborn child most of us will go with the latter. It was during the discussion of the Epidural, however, that she almost got a smack down from the doula. "Ladies, I've had three and I've had the epi with all of them. Each time there is this electric shock that makes me feel like I am going to be paralyzed. It hurts worse than labor. I'm going to do this one (she pats her middle) without. It has to be better than that horrible electric shock." Insert color draining from the faces of all the first time mothers here. The doula's eyes narrow. "What are you talking about?" Another mother of 1.5 pipes up with, "That didn't happen to me." Mama Know It All continues, "It's just horrid!" And for the next eight weeks I laid awake at night terrified about some paralyzing electric shock. As I mentioned before, there was no electric shock. I felt a prick and then some weird pressure in a place I'd never felt pressure and then the contractions disappeared and I felt bliss and nothing else. When all was said and done I had a bruise on my back and a baby in my arms. No shock. Nothing. But Mama Know It All sure toyed with my mind for eight weeks.

It's funny the characters we meet along our journey. I can really only recall six or seven of the nineteen other couples in our class. And if I'd had the ability, I would have only kicked out Mama Know It All. The Eater livened things up a bit. Well, her and the inappropriate haunch swinging exercise. It amazes me to think that there are these twenty children, all born within six weeks of each other, running around the world. They could meet and never know that they've shared a classroom. Sometimes I wonder about them. Is Spawn of Majorly Attractive Couple also majorly attractive? Does The Eater Baby love to eat or is she one of those teeny tiny babies who wears 12 month clothes still? Baby Know It All probably learned to walk and talk before age one and now, at two, is attempting to invent a spinal that is taken orally. I'll never know. I also wonder what Troy and I were dubbed by other members of our class. It may be a good thing that I also will never know the answer to this...


  1. wow, those were great descriptions. do you have to be pregnant and part of a couple to attend birthing classes? i feel like it's a great untapped people-watching opportunity. what if one of the other people in the class also has a blog and described the class? it's possible that you've been immortalized on the internet without even knowing it! friend, you are in my prayers a lot and i look forward to seeing how God is and will answer these prayers for another little miracle.

  2. Dena here, the eater....when I was pregnant with both boys I had to munch on something every half hour or so to keep from feeling too fav was fruit loops in a baggie during church. We sat in the back row, but still, a little loud.

    On a different note, sorry I haven't commented in a long time. Been reading and enjoying, but just felt like being silent. Your writing is so dang intimidating, please don't judge me and my bad sentence structure and wrong use of words and misspelled spellings and run-on sentences. You're the best!

    Still praying for you guys.

  3. You never know maybe Mama Know It All had received a shock... I can't imagine that her "know it allness" sprouted just for that class - it could have been the anasteiologist's way of trying to get to Mama to stop telling them how to their job. Those anasteiologists have to have fun sometime!

  4. I like what Joelle suggested...

    I loved this. I might do some talking about my own birth class experience that David and I also called "Senior Prom All Over Again." could I link to you when I do that?

  5. We had a private lesson when I had Spencer. Now I am kinda bummed. I agree with Dena though, the eater might have still been sick to her stomach. Although some of her choices were really , really bad.

  6. We had a lot of those same people in our class, and you know what? I have most of those archetypes in my various "Mommy and Me" classes, too. It cracks me up to know there are only about 10 personalities in the entire world.