Spending eight hours of my beautiful Saturday stuck inside a classroom while taking a Labor and Delivery class was just what I wanted to do this past weekend…
No, seriously. It’s just what I wanted to do! 🙂
One of my biggest fears was that I’d go into labor before I took the class, mainly because I wanted to learn Lamaze breathing and comfort techniques. I hear that it’s quite important to breathe during labor. 😉 And it’s amazing how there can be so much dedicated to breathing in such a way as to get your mind off of pain! Since I’ve heard from many people that focusing on the specific breathing patterns really does work, I am very happy to report that – although my class was scheduled a mere 2 1/2 weeks before my due date – I did make it.
*Insert HUGE sigh of relief*
One thing I wasn’t prepared for, however, was just how humbling of an experience the class would be. By 9am, I was sitting on the floor, focusing on my husband’s water bottle as a focal point, and panting like a dog. At the guidance of the instructor, Nate was sitting by my side, rubbing my legs, telling me to relax, and breathing along with me.
Actually, Nate got the Lamaze breathing down faster than I did. He was in perfect sync with the instructor and breathing extra heavy for my benefit, so that I could follow along easier. I was slightly embarrassed that he seemed to get it all figured out so quickly, while I was raising my hand and asking the teacher to run through the breathing steps once more. Mostly, I was embarrassed that I was sitting on the floor, staring at a water bottle, and breathing like an asthmatic poodle.
But I knew that it would help on D-Day, so I kept a blank face as though I did this sort of thing on a regular basis. Everyone is doing it, I thought. It’s okay. This isn’t so bad…
“Now, Men, it is your job to be the coach and to comfort your wives,” the instructor said in her high-pitched, sing-songy voice, “Let’s pretend that your wife is in labor… I want you to stroke your wife’s face and tell her to relax.”
“This is awkward,” I thought to myself as Nate cupped both sides of my face, squeezed inward, and rubbed down as though he was sanding a piece of wood.
I moved my eyes away from the water bottle to meet Nate’s gaze, starting to feel a bit irritated… And we both giggled a little bit. This whole ‘comforting on demand’ most definitely felt very awkward. Note to self: remember to tell Nate that gently squeezing my face doesn’t really relax me all that much, so he might want to leave that out when I go into labor.
Of course, the awkwardness rose to a whole new level, when we had to practice labor positions. 😉
But we made it through… And I definitely felt more prepared for labor because of it.
The rest of the class, however, left us both feeling a little overwhelmed. The remaining 7 hours were filled with graphic labor video’s, discussions on what could go wrong during labor, and information regarding what methods the doctor will use to deliver the baby if these complications do arise. It wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know, thanks to the books I’ve read, but having to sit through an 8-hour class on such topics?
Yes, overwhelming to say the least!
The minute the class was over and we climbed into the Jeep, I burst into tears. I wasn’t suddenly terrified… nor was I terrified at all, really. I was just tired of seeing pregnant women on the television-screen moaning in pain. And tired of hearing about all the negative, scary things that sometimes do happen.
Nate immediately reached over to take my hand and gently said, “I’m overwhelmed too, but it’s going to be okay. I understand why you’re crying. You have the right to! But know that it’s going to be okay! And I’m going to be the best support that you could possibly need. I promise!”
It was so sweet! And I instantly knew, in my heart, that although the Lamaze techniques were beneficial for both of us to learn, Nate didn’t need a class in order to learn how to comfort me. He knows, because he knows me.
And while I was embarrassed in the beginning to be sitting on the floor and practicing specific, breathing techniques or labor positions that looked like yoga moves gone wrong, there is no one else that I would have rather done that with.
This is all very new to me – this need to have a supportive coach by my side to cheer and comfort me on, when the going gets tough. Usually, I’m accustomed to being tough for others and have never really needed this level of support. It’s humbling, but it’s also crazy special…
I am SO blessed to have a man like Nate by my side. 🙂