Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Breathing, Bonding, and Bazbeaux's

I want to be tough. I want to be known as the strong, reliable guy that people lean on when they need to. I want to be tough, but I’m not. I pass out when giving blood, I faint when getting a flu shot, I turn green when Mark talks about his surfing accident, and I get asked to leave when the nurse can’t find Kate’s vein and tells me that I am doing more harm then good standing by my wife. It is time to toughen up. I have a baby coming and I need to be there for Kate, in the room, in the moment, strong and supportive. It is not a macho thing or a “Man” thing. It is not some elaborate pissing contest where I show I’m tougher then some other person. It is personal thing, a family thing, a marriage thing.

Last night we had our first Lamaze class at Methodist Hospital. The class is energetically run by Penny Lee. Penny Lee is a nurse in her 50’s that has seen it all. She is short and round with little legs. She looks like an orange with tooth picks for legs and arms and she has an infectious energy that makes the uncomfortable chairs some how nice. We watched videos on common discomforts and worries and saw actual footage of a baby being born. That part actually came out of left field. They were talking about the stages of labor and showing this computer animation of the process and then cut to woman screaming with legs open and a head coming out between her legs. I think they purposely did that to catch the guys off guard. It worked.

Through out the videos and the graphic talk of needles, pain, and tearing I was going through the mental obstacles of toughening up. I would try to visualize the process as much as I could before getting nauseous or faint. I was able to bring myself back a couple of times but the needles are still a different story. I think as long as I am not in the room when they give Kate the IV I might be ok.

After all the show and tell we got on the floor and did some stretches to ease Kate’s discomfort. Most of the other guys in the room were too cool for school and didn’t join in on this part. I had some discomfort of my own and welcomed some stretching. There was one that was particularly great: Back to Back, butt to butt, locking elbows and leaning forward. This stretched Kate’s back nicely and the back to back felt great on my back as well. Then we did some breathing exercises and I was breathing right along. I don’t get the macho façade of the other guys in the room. Would it kill you to have a little empathy for what your wife is going through right now? Do you look silly on your hands and knees arching your back with your wife? Yes, but so freaking what. Just do it, laugh about it later if you must, but do it! 5 minutes on the floor doing silly stretches and breathing will go very far and showing your wife that you are in this whole thing together and that she means infinitely more to you then looking cool in front of a bunch of guys who shouldn’t be paying attention to you anyway. That’s just my thoughts on it, I could be wrong.

After the class we went to Bazbeaux’s for pizza and basked in the night, in the pregnancy, in each other. It was a fun night and I think I made some progress with my strength.


jamie said...

You showed the ultimate strength of a man last night James. You were more of a man than any of those losers who could probably skin a deer with not problem but can't support their wives in something as beautiful and intimate as their baby. Their wives were watching you and wishing they had a man like you to support them.

The moment of birth is so amazing you will probably get beyond your phobias and just cry like the man you are at the beauty before you.

billy said...

Hey JR,

Props to you. Now as the father of 3 I recognize how wonderful a memory those early childbirth education classes were for K and I. I'm with you on jumping in to the experience! The closeness that this shared experience added to our marraige was priceless. J is almost 8 now and we have two daughters as well

I agree with you about getting over the shock factor. Over the next couple of weeks, they will familiarize you with an obcene number of gadgets and let you know what their uses are. During k's labor, the docs pulled out a number of these gadgets but it was cool to know what they were ahead of time. Really cuts down on husband freak out in general.

Kate said...

I have every faith that you will step up and support me when the time comes and I need you... even if that means you don't get up to your elbows in placenta and critique the kneedle sticking process. You have learned and are learning how to love me and stretching with me in a bizarre classroom at the hospital is just as good as anything at showing me that.