Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Is a parenting/birthing class worth $100?

June 2007 – My wife and I are expecting our first child in two months. Fifty one days to be exact, not that I’m counting. We both went to college and have been working professionals for around ten years. During this time we’ve taken on a number of leadership roles, implemented important projects, and slowly increased our responsibilities. For example I’m working on a half million dollar project to implement Team Foundation Server and my wife is a team lead with ten or so reports. We’ve felt pretty prepared for our new addition. That was until we attended our parenting/birthing class this past Saturday.

From what my wife tells me, we paid $100 for an eight hour session. Notice how I say “we” as it’s now in vogue for both the mother and father to be pregnant. Anyway, we arrived Saturday morning with four dollar lattes in hand. She had a small half-cafĂ©, skim, vanilla and I had large, extra-caffeine, whole milk with vanilla. I’d needed all the caffeine and sugar I could get for the next eight hours.

The session started off with a short introduction by our two trainers and then the obligatory “get to know your neighbor” handshake with the couples around us. The couple next to me seemed nice. This was their first child together and they seemed overly excited as Tony keep a close eye on his wife’s every need. Tony had familiarity with the area as they lived just a few blocks from the hospital. I thought this would come in handy at lunch time, but as it turned out next on our agenda was lunch locations and McDonald’s was our only option.

After going through the basics of the day, the trainers moved into a few group questions to warm everyone up. At this point I lost interest and started to daze off and wonder why we spent $100 to sit in a room on a nice sunny day in June. Right before our first break, which was well needed given I had a large coffee and half of the room was pregnant, we watched a video showing an actual child birth. I remember seeing something like this in eight grade health, but this video was far more traumatic for me. It’s probably because in two months that dad in the video will be me! From that point on I paid attention like a kid does to his Game Boy.

I won’t get into all the details, but our favorite speaker was the pediatrician. He came in and gave us a forty-five minute explanation on what we need to do once the baby arrives. Apparently that is important. We covered how to look for jaundice, how many times a baby should pee/poop, what supplements we can use to help brain development, what kind of car seat to buy, if we should gather stem cells from the placenta. My note pad was almost completely full after this guy finished.

It was at this point that I felt overwhelmed. Here we are educated and grown adults with absolutely no clue on how to give birth to this kid or get them in the car seat to bring home. How in the hell are we going to do this I thought? And to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with some breathing exercises and a “birthing ball,” which is no more than one of those big rubber balls old people roll around on at the health club. As you can imagine, I couldn’t help myself but try to dribble it.

In conclusion, was the parenting/birthing class worth $100? Yes, it was worth every penny. I’d recommend it to all parents to be and make sure you try to dribble the birthing ball for me.