Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pre-natal classes

I was kind of looking forward to pre-natal classes--there's a ton of stuff I'll bet it would be good to know about babies and what to do with them.
We had our third, roughly two-hour, session last night and Rhia and I in agreement those are six hours of our lives we wish we had back.
Before last night we had the feeling these classes were really aimed at teenagers or others who might not be as ready to become parents as I think we are. But after last night, we're thinking these may actually be classes for people who have never before seen a baby.

Last week (class #2) was on "parenting," or it was supposed to be. It largely consisted of videos, whose message was: you should talk to your partner to avoid conflict. Great (although I don't know how that made the one woman in class who seems to be on her own feel). The one potentially bit of useful information about parenting was that you should not expect more of your developing child than is appropriate for his/her age. Except they didn't attempt to explain what's normal for different stages of development.
Maybe they'll cover that next week in the class on "babies," I thought, puzzling at the order of these classes.
Not really, as it turns out. There was a powerpoint slide on roughly how much and when infants sleep as they age, but that was about all on that subject.
The lowlight of the class came early on when our nurse (I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and pinning the uselessness of all this on their lame materials), broke us into two groups and passed out flash cards that were supposed to help us identify "cues" about when a baby is "engaged" and when baby is "disengaged."
These engaged cues include when the baby looks at you for a long period of time. Or when the baby smiles. The back of these cards had helpful definitions. You'll know the baby is looking at you for a long time if...the baby looks at you for a long time!
And a smile is when "the corners of the mouth turn upwards."
At this point we started to wonder if we had somehow enrolled in an ESL class by accident.
All of us were openly mocking these stupid cards. Unfortunately, our nurse was not picking up on our disengagement cues and allowed this to go on until we had finished all the flash cards.

I had expected this baby class would at least have some basic practical information: how to put on a diaper, perhaps. Nope. How to care for the umbilical stump, what to watch out for. Nope.

There was another long video about responding to crying. It noted three situations in which a baby might cry: baby is upset, baby is hurt, baby is sick.
How do you know when baby is sick? I don't know--they didn't tell us.

Fortunately for us, and others we talked to after class, we've been reading books and talking to people who do have helpful information on these and other subjects. Relying on these classes alone, I would have no idea what to do with a baby.
Next week the scheduled topic is breastfeeding. We do plan to breastfeed--well, Rhia does! But at this point we're wondering whether it's worth the bus trip and crappy mall dinner for what's like to prove another infuriatingly useless evening.

We're definitely looking forward to working with Shannon, our doula. We're confident she'll be able to answer questions and help get us ready for birth and taking care of a newborn.


It's inauguration day. I have the day off and I think I'll probably veg out on the couch for much of it to watch this all unfold. I've never been gaga (note babytalk) over Mr. Obama. Sure, he's much better than the alternative, but I don't think he's the flawless superhero many seem to view him as.
Still, I really enjoy seeing how he's inspired people and I think the day will be full of emotion.
It is a historic day. I remember thinking, back in November, that Petey will be born into a world where the president of the United States has always been a black guy. I think that fact, maybe more than Obama himself, will go a long way toward addressing racism, prejudice and disaprity. Hopefully, people like Petey will grow up with a worldview that would see the suggestion that a person's physical or other characteristics might limit his abilities or opportunities or worth, as totally off the wall.


Petey will also grow up in a wrold in which there has always been this Animal Collective album, Merriweather Post Pavillion. And it's pretty great, so that's pretty great too.

(Image: Painting, "Octocopter," by Lesley-Anne Steeleworthy)


Eden said...

Seriously I got nothing out of ANY of the prenatal classes except for the one at the hospital, about the birth itself. Skip the rest, you have better things to do.

Rhia said...

There's just breastfeeding left, then two on Labour and Delivery at the hospital, then Birth Pre-Registration.

Tamara said...

I agree with Eden. :( I was also misinformed by their stupid video showing some poor woman getting her pubes shaved by a nurse wielding a plastic razor. I got waxed because of that video (an inch off the top! While 39 or so weeks pregnant! OUCH.), and then I found out they don't do that anymore. SO WHAT WAS THE POINT!?

I could have seen more current birthing on TLC. All they did was scare me.

I got much better information also out of the Pregnancy Yoga workshop. The dr. that came showed us all the intervention stuff and so it wasn't as scary.

Rhia said...

Yeah, we did the yoga loft workshop and it was good. I am torn about going to the ones at L&D... definitely want to do the pre-registration...


Design By: