Pregnancy & Birthing Class (2 of 4)

August 23, 2007

Before I begin with the whole story here, let me first say that I didn’t have the reaction to the birthing video that everyone is probably hoping for. You know, the appalled, nauseous, light-headed, disgusted, reaction that you might expect the average man to have the first time he sees close up footage of a baby’s head being shoved violently through a strange woman’s va-hmm-hem. So if you are looking forward to hearing me bemoan how discomforted I was, you can put aside your petty schadenfreude and relax and enjoy the story…

So this weeks birthing class started off much better than last week. We didn’t have to talk about how anybody was feeling and therefore got straight to the science. Here’s what I learned:

There are several stages in the birthing process.

Stage 1 (1-3 centimeters dilation): Mild contractions begin and can continue for up to four weeks. The contractions are cause by a complicated physiological change — the baby finally notices that it’s fingers have gotten pruny from being in water for 9 months. The baby then decides it is time to move out and begins packing up her clothes and other personal belongings. This shuffling of luggage, lamps, picture frames, couches and other items irritates the uterine wall thus causing the contractions.

Stage 2 (4-7 centimeters dilation): having packed all her personal belongings, the baby begins moving down towards the birth canal. The contractions intensify in frequency and amplitude, this is because the lights have already been unplugged and the baby keeps bumping into Uterine walls while she feels her way toward the exit.

Stage 3 (8-10 centimeters dilation): In 1813, Dr. Hoobie Schvonz Von Wompus created a basic test for determining whether or not the mother has reached the critical Stage 3 portion of labor: The test is done by timing the length of the contractions, dividing by the length of time between contractions and multiplying by the number of swear words the mother is using. The nurses then consult a chart (similar to the IRS tax bracket table) which assigns point values to each swear word and combination thereof. Do you have a score of 6 or higher? Congratulations you are now fully dilated!

After learning about these three stages (just as I have presented them to you), our teacher turned on the video which began with 3D images and then moved to live video. This video was primarily of women moaning and sighing through their contractions. And then came the close up shots and the head crowning and the blood and the placenta and the goo and the wrinkly ugly lizard baby and then tears and cheesy music and then it was all over. The teacher turned on the lights and 2 out of every 5 students had passed out.

Honestly, it wasn’t that bad to watch. The part I found the most interesting was the fact that the baby doesn’t get to just slide down the chute and then get pushed out. No, this baby has to go on the freaking scenic tour on the way out. I don’t even know how any child is born without Mapquest, a flashlight, a bag of beef jerky and a cooler full of Diet coke for the cross country road trip they have to go on. Even more impressive, they do all of it upside down. It’s like Cirque Du Soleil is going on in there. I half expect to see Sariah come out in a neon jumpsuit spinning two hoops on her arms and a plate on her nose while some new age beat music plays in the background.

As for the appearance of the baby? Yikes. This particular baby looked like someone had pushed her face up against a glass window (you know the smushed face look I’m talking about). Not to mention the vat of Elmer’s glue she apparently swam through before leaving Uterusville.

The father in the video happily cut the umbilical cord. I’ve been told this is something of a common practice now. I think I’m going to opt out of that choice moment.

1. For starters, they clamp the cord in a completely different spot than they offer you for cutting. What’s the point? If I’m going to get in there with some scissors and start severing tubes, I want it to matter. I want to know that if I mess up this cut, my child will be ridiculed for the rest of her life because of her 4 inch belly button, but that if I get it right, her belly button will be the pride of Temecula (“Welcome to Temecula, CA — Home to world-famous wineries, vineyards, and Sariah’s bellybutton”).

2. Beside the fact that my chopping will be meaningless, I also take exception to the idea that I should have some desire to cut through human tissue at all. It’s a freaking umbilical cord for pete’s sake. The thing was pretty much alive and working as an internal garden hose mere seconds ago. What satisfaction could I possibly glean from snipping through it with a pair of industrial medical scissors? Maybe I could mount it on my wall and show it to my friends: “Well I’ll tell ya Bill, it was a wild cord, almost bit me — twice. But in the end I wrassled that thing to the ground, got my trusty snippers out and cut that sucker right down the middle. First thing I did the next day was get it stuffed and mounted over this here fireplace”

Anyway, I’ll tie this whole thing up by wishing Sariah good luck on her journey. You’ve got a long way to go little girl.



  1. I think he will cut the cord.

  2. Ha! I love Cristina’s comment. and ditto to the kid needing mapquest, beef jerky, and diet coke for the journey. Especially if it’s a first kid – cuz it’s usually a LONG trip. And they are lucky if their head isn’t seriously distorted in some fashion once they arrive. No wonder they cry when they finally get out.

  3. So it seems to me that little boys and little girls both seem to find their way out at the same rate. So why is it when the little boys grow up to be men, they can get lost going to the grocery store and refuse to ask for directions? Just wondering.

  4. Because we get circumcised and that greatly weakens our superpowers.

  5. I see…didn’t think about that.

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