When I was pregnant with our twins, the Absent-Minded Professor and I dutifully went to our birthing class. We went early -- during the second trimester -- because twins can come early and all that. Despite the fact that all the other women were three months ahead of me, I still had the biggest belly in the room. We had to go around the room and say our names and when we were due. When we explained we were having twins, all the other moms smiled at me, and all the other dads gave my husband a horrified, stricken look.
The most disturbing thing about the birthing class was the videos. I had watched tons of those Baby Story and Birth Day shows, so I thought I knew what it was going to look like.
I was wrong. So wrong.
First of all, on Discovery and TLC, even when they show the baby crowning, they actually blur out the pubic hair, so the whole experience seems a little softer. Also, they edit out a lot of grunting, apparently. Like hours of it.
By the time they gave us a break for lunch, I was glassy-eyed and much more accepting of the possibility of a Cesarean section. I had spent the last 20 weeks so focused on being pregnant and staying pregnant, that I'd kind of forgotten about the part when I'd have to get two actual human beings out of my body.
After lunch, we had a nice tour of the birthing suites, which were adorable. Of course, they were not for me. Oh no. The twin mommies deliver in the Operating Room, regardless of the type of delivery. The birthing suites looked like cushy hotel rooms. They had couches and artwork and queen-size beds. Because I was there, the entire class had to march past the Operating Room. The OR was somewhat less cozy than the birthing suites.
The nurse mentioned that maybe she could get me a quick tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but that didn't happen. Maybe because
When my ob/gyn, who was also awesome but not a former NFL linebacker, so there's no reason to drop her name, pulled the first baby out, she said, "Baby A, 10:57 p.m."
And then Baby A was whisked away.
"Baby B, 10:58 p.m."
And then Baby B was whisked away, too.
No one said, "It's a girl! It's another girl!" The many, many ultrasounds had shown two girls, but still, you don't really know until they're born. Wasn't that what the doctor was supposed to say?
The babies were taken to a small area off the Operating Room. While my doctor finished tidying up my insides with a shop vac, I listened. And eventually heard both babies crying. My husband went with them, and eventually came back to me, and I asked him if we had two girls. He said yes. I asked if they had all their fingers and toes. He said yes, but of course he hadn't really looked, he just wanted me to stop freaking out. (Good news: they totally have all their fingers and toes.)
When I was pregnant the second time, I wanted it all to be different. There was only one baby this time. I was half as pregnant. I was going to have a midwife and a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and music and incense and all that happy stuff in the cushy birthing suite.
It turned out, not so much. Because I had a c-sec with my first delivery, the hospital wanted me to deliver in the main hospital in case something went wrong. Like my uterus accidentally splitting open like a ripe tomato. Fair enough. But I was going to have the midwife, damnit, and we were going to re-do the birthing class.
Besides the birthing class, I gathered helpful tips from my friends, like:
Then I got pregnant again. In four years, we'd had two pregnancies and three babies. I'd had an emergency c-section and a VBAC. I'd had to leave the hospital with two babies still in the NICU. I'd brought home a brand-new baby 24 hours after the birth. So we felt like we pretty well had our bases covered, and it was all still
At some point I'd like to teach a birthing class. I would tell the moms to buy granny panties for after the delivery. Oh, you'll have those sexy one-size-fits-all mesh panties at the hospital. (Note: one size does not fit all.) But for going home, and for a couple weeks after, it's nice to have plenty of granny panties on hand. Cheap ones, because you will totally want to throw them out after The Carnage. But definitely granny panties, because if you end up having a C-sec, the elastic of bikinis is going to hit right where your staples are. Despite having had many nerve endings severed, it's an ungodly pain when an abdominal staple gets caught on underwear elastic. And, if you've had a C, you won't be able to drive yourself to the store, so you'll have to send your husband out to buy you the unsexiest thing on the planet. Which is the last thing your fragile hormonal state will be able to take.
So that's it. I would tell the moms to buy granny panties. Then we'd watch maybe one video, and then I'd send them home for a nap.