I love directions. LOVE directions. If you tell me that you’d like for me to go and slay a dragon in the mythical land of Hobgoblin and you give me a map and a copy of “How to Slay Dragons for Dummies” I’d actually consider trying because having directions makes me feel safe and warm on the inside.
I even love having directions for things I already know how to do. Like shampoo my hair or microwave Spaghettios.
Spaghettios are so good.
When we found out we were pregnant everyone suggested that I read all sorts of books about being pregnant. Surprisingly, I didn’t buy a single book about pregnancy despite my love for directions because I figured there wasn’t much that I could do. Marshmall-Otis was going to do his “grow into a human” thing and, barring picking up a severe addiction to heroine, there wasn’t much that I could do that would seriously hurt him.
I did become obsessed, however, with labor and delivery. As you all know, labor is what freaks me out the most.
*side note: I keep making jokes about watermelons coming out of peanut holes and I thought I was exaggerating. But I’m not. According to Babble, on Week 39 Marshmall-Otis really will be the size of a small watermelon. You’ve got to be kidding me.
For me, knowing as much as I could about what to expect while in labor and what I could do to help make that labor as painless as possible was really important. If I want to be reminded what kind of container to put my Spaghettios in (microwave safe for the uninformed) then I sure as heck want to know how to tell what stage of labor I’m in.
In my quest for clear directions on how to do this whole “bring life into the world” thing, I turned to Doula Dee’s Small Wonders Childbirth Educations Series.
And it was more fulfilling and educational than the back of any bottle shampoo. For realz.
Mark and I really weren’t interested in signing up for a class. First, they’re pretty expensive. Second, I really didn’t feel like adding one more thing to my calendar. Third, to say that Mark was at all interested in learning about the beauty of childbirth would be… a lie.
So when I found the Small Wonders DVD series I was sure I’d found a great compromise. We’d be able to get the information at our own pace from the comfort of our laptops. And Mark could fall asleep without offending anyone. It was perfect.
The thing is, it really was a perfect way to get solid information about labor that didn’t use graphic images of watermelons busting through peanut holes or mislead you into thinking that the whole thing would be a breeze as long as you ate enough granola and sang a rousing rendition of Kumbaya.
Doula Dee is a registered nurse with an obvious heart for helping women really be present for this amazing moment in life. There are 6 classes and she calmly explains everything from what to expect during the various stages of labor to tips on how to hold the baby when (and if) you breastfeed.
One thing that I learned that was really helpful for me was that during the early stages of labor I will still be able to talk and be concerned about things that are going on around me. Once labor starts to kick in, however, I will get really serious and focused and not think too much about whatever is going on around me. Can you imagine Mark and I not knowing this? Mark would freak out if I suddenly went into full on concentration state which would create all kinds of unnecessary anxiety and feelings of being out of control. Not fun. I love that now I can go into that state and my husband is going to know that things are still ok.
She also explains the various interventions, particularly the C-section. I don’t want a C-section, but I know it’s a possibility and I love that I have an understanding of why and how it will go down if necessary. Also, Doula Dee explains the importance of not trying to be superwoman after a C-section. That’s major surgery, folks, and you HAVE to take care of yourself in order to take care of your baby. I love that if I end up with a C-section I am going to have the confidence to take care of myself and know it’s what is best for my new little family.
The best part about the whole thing wasn’t in the information I got. It was the text message I got from Mark after he watched the class where Doula Dee explains what happens once the baby is born…
“Imagining you and Otis made me start crying… so expect an emotional father in the delivery room. I love you and you’re going to be a great mom!”
Naturally, I was bawling on my end of the cell phone.
One thing I’ve felt during this pregnancy is that Mark didn’t really get how big this was mostly because so much of it for him has been observed from the sidelines rather than experienced. His body hasn’t been in a constant state of change and he has no idea that Marshmall-Otis has a kickboxing class that starts at 7:30 every night. These simple dvd childbirth classes helped him better understand the process and how he can participate in bringing our child into this world with me.
As a team.
And knowing that I’ve got an amazing man and a great set of directions makes me pretty confident that I can make watermelons come out of peanut holes. Or even slay a dragon in Hobgoblin.
** The ONLY bad thing about the childbirth class with Doula Dee was that I am now so sad that we won’t have a doula. I think that additional support would be wonderful.