With my firstborn we took several baby prep classes. There was Baby 101, Breastfeeding 101, and Prepared Childbirth classes that included Lamaze and other breathing techniques. This time around, everyone comments how since I’m already a mom, I’m a pro and should have no worries, but for the birth, I still wanted a refresher on getting through the labor marathon.
By the time we signed up, the CliffNotes version of the course was full, so we are in Great Expectations: Having A Baby. Deciding we couldn’t sit through an eight-hour course, we’re in a two-part, four hour class in the city.
The city is 30 miles from our house and 40 miles from our daycare, so making this happen was a logistical nightmare and we naturally were 15 minutes late, *but* the key is we made it even with our yummy, greasy Thai food. (You can bring your own dinner.)
The class was really good, there was a lot that I’d forgotten and I liked the breathing techniques. Also when we did introductions, it was clear we were the only second-time-around parents, which made us instant celebs. I sat back and enjoyed watching Hubby extol advice to the boys: “Guys, the pecking order in the house changes, you are no longer the big cheese. I always say I’m below the dog, and we don’t even have a dog… There’s nothing greater than sitting there watching the Bears with your boy… Being a parent is the best thing in the world.”
The moms mostly wanted to know about my labor experience, what it felt like. The teacher asked me what a contraction is like. In my head I answered, “like a big menstrual cramp.” But I heard my mouth say “It feels as if an octopus has latched onto your stomach and it’s squeezing your stomach.” There was a long pause, and Hubby looked at me. I shrugged, it’s true. I always think that when I’m in the middle of a contraction, but I’ve never voiced it. The teacher just nodded and said, “or a big menstrual cramp.”
I’m glad we signed up for the refresher course, not just for the content, but it gives me a new perspective on Hubby and me. I see the anxiousness in the new parents’ faces and while excited for their new adventure, I’m glad I’m not them. I like having grown into our roles as parents. Not that we are anywhere close to having all the answers, and not that we don’t have a lot of fears real and imagined, it’s just a little more comfortable this time around.
And that alone makes it easier to exhale.