Things I Learnt at Antenatal Class.

One of the big pregnancy milestones is being far enough along to attend an antenatal class. (I’m lying, you can go anytime, I just feel I need to congratulate myself on 32 weeks of sobriety). We decided to join the free one that the hospital offers, because cheap.

The class took place over a full Saturday and I tell ya, the last time I was this excited for a full day Saturday anything was our wedding.

One of the highlights of the day was walking into the hospital foyer, pillow in hand, and bumping into our Gynae, Dr D. The look of panic on his face as he thought I may be coming in for an early labour was priceless, because he looked very ready to head on home – coffee and newspaper in hand.

Why a pillow you ask? I too was skeptical when the hospital asked us to bring one with. Turns out, if you can sit through 9 hours of antenatal class in the torture chamber chairs provided (even with a pillow) then you are well ready to have a baby. The nurse who took the class told us about a lady who was on bed rest, and took the entire class lying down on a bed of pillows. Having attended the class myself, I know that was all a lie, and the clever duck just had the foresight to make an ulterior plan.

Suffice to say, the chiropractors at Sandton Medi Cinic must make an absolute fortune on Saturdays at 5pm.

My favourite part of the day had to be the informative videos. For most of them, real life woman were filmed, all looking exceptionally glamorous having just popped out a baby. I also think all the men in the room are now immune to nipples and boob. The word aureole now gets tossed around as casually as you please.

For those who aren’t able to attend an antenatal class, or who want a little teaser of what’s to come, here you go:

1. Breastfeeding is best. They will literally shove images of latching babies and saucer sized nipples down your throat until you get the point. If you are considering breastfeeding, it’s very important to remember these handy, yet almost impossible to remember tips:

  • Baby’s lips must always be in a C shape, bottom lip visibly open, body aligned and latching like a starved fish.
  • Baby’s position should be like that of a football. Excellent analogy doc, as I’m sure a whopping 0.01% of the moms in the class are avid American sports fans.
  • When nipple cracks and bleeds, you are doing it wrong
  • Should baby’s mouth position not be as above, you are doing it wrong
  • If it hurts to the point where you want to stab yourself in the face with baby’s umbilical cord, then you are probably doing it wrong.

Basically, your baby needs to look like these goldfish.

2. Everything comes at a cost. From the nurse talking us all into ‘skin on skin contact’ immediately after baby is born (R700) to the ‘optional’ hearing test performed at birth (R400), not to mention the accommodation (yep, not rooms, accommodation) options – ranging from a R900 only-share-with-one-other-mom to the R2500 per night luxury suite (dinner for hubby included!) it is clear that nothing about having a baby is cheap. (Again, why we chose the free classes)

3. Possibly the most heart-breaking of all the lessons learnt was during lunch. The vegetarian option consisted of a Greek salad with feta as well as feta and tomato tartlets. HANG ON JUST ONE MINUTE, I thought feta when pregnant was the devil’s food, no more or less dangerous than swallowing a bottle of lighter fluid? My emotions were torn friends, do I eat the feta because I’m at baby school in a hospital, or do I listen to 99% of all the advice I’ve been given that’s told me otherwise?

Have the last 219.8 days of my life been a lie?

4. People are soft. And my darling husband is the most soft of them all. Apparently we were the first class to watch the illustrated video of the natural and C section births, due to complaints previously (I BET from men) about the real life videos being too graphic. I’m sorry, but do these folk think that a baby comes out in 2D picture? Nonetheless, 12 seconds into the cartoon video of a C section (think elevator music and a soft narrative) my husband goes as white as a sheet and leaves the room to go find Coke and other sugary treats. Shame – pregnancy is hard on the men.

5. As the class went on and the ‘list for hubby’s’ grew longer and longer (think tremendously intricate tasks like charging the camera, or packing socks) my poor husband began to look more and more distressed. It was at this point that I realised we would have to forego the R700 skin-on-skin option as I would need the money to pay for his stitches from when he passed out during the delivery.(Another item on list for mom’s – sit your hubby down in front of the telly and make him watch a medical documentary. If at any point he looks even close to vomiting, you may want to consider packing several Cokes for the hospital…and asking a friend to be there as a Plan B).

So, with 8 weeks to go I may feel slightly more informed, but no less panicked about what’s to come. It’s fine though, at least I know I will have my husband holding my hand throughout it all after he’s woken up from his coma.

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