Friday, August 03, 2007

Pregnancy & Childbirth 101: Instruments of torture

Last night was our fourth class and it started off with, you guessed it, more videos. I excused myself from the room and went to the lobby where I found a fascinating Thanksgiving edition of Sunset magazine from November 2006. I was not the only person with video fear. Two other couples showed up late to avoid having to watch the painfully real deliveries. I've already got a picture in my head of what labor is going to be like (see pic at right) and I don't think seeing the bottom naked half of a woman writhing in pain as she forces her baby's ginormous cranium through a 3.9 inch hole (that's as big as 10 cm gets, folks) is going to help me in any fashion, although it could very well drive me to jump off the nearest bridge.

Once that was over we talked about the things we need to have or do to help us while at the hospital. For me, keeping people out of the room and away from me (this includes students and the like who may want to closely monitor the situation) will be most beneficial. That, and having The Sopranos playing on the dvd to take my mind off of what I'm doing in between contractions. For Darr, there came a realization that he probably shouldn't offer up problem solving techniques because anything he says could cause him to be severely beaten, ignored or divorced.

And then our fearless leader Annette brought out the instruments of torture. Well, for the most part they were pretty benign - a fetal monitor, an oxygen mask, an aspirator, etc. It was the catheter that really got our attention. (I'm sorry, you want to put that where?) I don't think there were many of us who believed Annette when she tried to assure us it didn't hurt. The amniohook (a long crochet type hook with a pricked end) was also troubling in appearance. (It's used to break a woman's water.) And finally the vacuum, which we learned, thanks to Darr's clarifying question, is not hooked up to a compressor when it is used to extract the baby.

The more I learn in this class, the more I am amazed we've survived as a species.


Cathy said...

Ahhh...keeping people out of there. I told the nurse that I didn't want visitors and so, when my mother-in-law came by, she let her stay for a little bit, and then very nicely told her to leave. I don't remember how she did it, but I was so thankful.
We never watched any videos in my classes. All I remember is practicing breathing/relaxing and basically falling asleep every week.

B. E. Busby said...

Remember this phrase if you have to drop the sprog at a teaching hospital (where, they like to remind you, you signed a release (like that wasn't under duress!) allowing teaching):

"All these people are stressing me, putting me and the baby at risk, dammit! Get them out NOW!"

Ain't no arguin' about risk... that's a clear entree for malpractice. They'll bug outta there faster than the French from occupied Paris.

christie said...

Yeah, the breathing and relaxing techniques our teacher has us practicing are exactly like the breathing exercises you go through at the end of a yoga class. It is VERY relaxing.

I'm planning on adding "No relatives or friends in the room and minimal staff traffic" to my birthing plan so they know to leave me alone. I figure if my husband becomes irritating I'll kick him out too. :)

christie said...

We have signed on to "drop the sprog" at the teaching hospital but I've also learned about a fantastic thing called a birthing plan, which is an opportunity for you to lay out how you want your care to go. I can stipulate that no students are to be allowed, although it's trickier to kick out the residents as they are actually providing the service a full-fledged doctor would. I will, however, keep your risk advice close by in the event I do start getting stressed out.

Noodle said...

Uh, she can say what she wants but the catheter does hurt. Labor felt better than them putting that thing up there.
Next time I'll ask for an epidural just for the catheter!

Darren said...

Next time! Next time! She said next time!