Tonight at dinner, Sam and Lynnette shared stories about the childbirth classes they are presently taking. Of course, in the 25+ years since I took Lamaze classes, some things have changed, although the eventual outcome has remained the same. So, I thought I would compare the history of my birthing experiences:
When I Was Born: Basically, mom went into the hospital on the due date and was sedated. Baby was delivered by doctor - who knows how. Dad was at home changing into his Sunday suit so he could go to hospital to retrieve wife (once she came out of drugged stupor) and infant.
When I Was Pregnant: Husband and I were required to attend Lamaze classes (don't know what would happen if we didn't - it's not like I would have a choice once baby decided to be born). Lamaze was a way to breathe through your contractions - I think just to keep you breathing as opposed to not breathing at all. In some states, epidurals were options. My sister insisted I discuss this with my doctor, who said we would discuss it when I went into labor, which translated into "if you have a Cesarean, you will get one." This was the same doctor who, when he was stitching me up after I gave birth to a Mack truck, fussed at me because the spritz of pain killer he gave my lady parts had worn off, and I jumped every time the needle made impact. Had I not be so birthing shell-shocked, I would have requested my own needle and thread in order to give him the same sensation by sewing his man parts together. Anyhow, during labor the dad was to instruct the mom in these Lamaze breathing techniques, which wasn't always effective, depending on how much attention the father paid during the classes. For me, it would have been more effective to have a stick to put between my teeth and a hammer with which to bang on my head. Anyhow, after pain and pushing and paging Steve to return to the labor room, Sam was born. It seemed like the hospital gave me time to shower until they shoved me in a wheelchair and hauled me out to the car.
When My Daughter-In-Law is pregnant: Now you get a doula to help coach you during labor. Now you get a professional birthing coach to keep you on track, who knows what to do, and who knows what the heck is going on. This professional is much preferred to the amateur you married - unless doula-ing was a characteristic you searched for in those single ads you placed. Now the dad gets to be a part of the delivery without the burden of keeping the mom sane and from saying things that shouldn't be heard by newborns. Everyone is happy and healthy and Disney tunes probably are playing in the background.
The thing is, babies will be born. Techniques and circumstances may change, but the ultimate goal remains the same - to welcome a precious life into this world. Lamaze, doulas, epidurals - use whatever it takes to make that happen.
But you may still want to keep that teeth stick handy - just in case!
Things that make today great: Mailing packages; new folks at boot camp; dinner with Steve, Sam and Lynnette; seeing Dave at JAlex