Having now watched two birth videos I can safely say that by the end the mommies and daddies on the screen were not the only people crying when they got to hold their babies for the first time.
The emotional whiplash from “oh gosh she looks so tired oh labor’s still happening oh she’s so exhausted this looks exhausting this is going to be so exhausting” to “what the are they showing us the baby crowning oh that’s gross that’s so oh no oh NO OH NO I DON’T WANT TO BE WATCHING THIS HAPPENING OH NO” to “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAW LOOK AT THE BABY IT’S OVER THEY’RE ALL TOGETHER EVERYONE’S OKAY I’M SO HAPPY FOR EVERYONE” is intense though. Probably these videos should come with a warning for pregnant women. Unless they’re trying to help us practice for the actual emotional whiplash on its way.
And then of course we also practiced relaxation techniques, including going to your happy place. My husband, having gone through even more resiliency training than I have, is quite familiar with this, which led to the following conversation:
Jo’s Husband: So, you know that go to your happy place thing?
Jo: Yes! I couldn’t decide where I wanted to be!
JH: So I’ve done this a lot, right?
Jo: Like, I kind of went with the mountains, but I couldn’t decide what kind of mountains they were.
JH: So I’ve gone to, you know, the beach with the waves, or taking a nap–
Jo: Like, were they mountains like back home? Bigger mountains?
JH: So I decided to mix it up this time.
Jo: And then I was thinking about how it was all cool and misty and then I went “no wait that’s the weather I’ve been suffering through lately I don’t want that that’s not nice at all.”
JH: So I pictured myself in the driver’s seat of a tank.
Jo: You what.
JH: Yeah! And they said look around, and there was all the gear, and when she said imagine the breeze on your face I turned the air vents towards me…
Jo: …of course you did.
We also both left the class kind of looking at each other with new eyes, you know, the eyes of “you are going to be having a baby” and “you are going to be my support person while I am having a baby.” We’ve been through health things with me before–notably two weeks after we got married, when I came down with the worst stomach bug I’d had in at least five years–but this is a whole new level of pain and endurance and support. And with these new eyes comes a certain level of “we are so unprepared,” because I look at my husband whom I adore and just see the giant goofy adorable dork I married and it seems quite surreal that we should be having a baby, let alone going through everything it takes to get the baby here, let alone taking care of the baby afterwards. We’ve finally gotten the hang of pregnancy, just in time for everything to change again. (Probably more of that preparation-for-things-to-come stuff.)
Next time I think we’re going to watch a c-section birth video. Pray for us.