This morning we had our first ‘baby class’ at the hospital. After a 60 hour work week including about 6 different briefs and a pitch, you can imagine how thrilled I was to have to be in Sandringham at 9am on a Saturday morning.
When we arrived, my wife signed us in, while I was put in charge of name tags. It took all my will and resolve not to write OPTIMUS PRIME or SATAN on mine. I also noticed this pamphlet on the table. As a copywriter, I’m often tasked with coming up with a clever headline, but this was a prime example of someone taking the ‘straight and direct’ approach.
The first activity was to separate the Mums and Dads, so they could all write down any questions they wanted answered by the end of the day. In our group, the general theme was ‘I don’t really have any questions, I just turned up’. In order to look serious we jotted down a few, but my suggestions of “Do we get to use the nitrous?” and “How do I protect my leather car seats on the way to the hospital?” were not added to the list.
After this, there was an awkward explanation of the pelvic floor muscle and how to activate it, with the most colourful suggestion by the facilitator being to imagine an airplane flying between your asshole and your vagina/penis. That is one flight where I can’t foresee an fight over who gets the window seat.
“Air traffic control, this is Taint Airways Flight 636 requesting permission to land.”
We then went through some various baby products having to point out our perceived pros and cons. When it came to the baby bath, we were asked what our plans were. ‘We’ve got a hose out the back’ probably isn’t the best answer.
Eventually we were moved into stations with different ‘interactive’ components. First we had the TENS machine, which is one of those things that sends an electric current through pads that you stick on your skin, which is supposed to help with labour pain. I set a challenge to see who could turn it up the highest and was left with a twitching hand for about 20 minutes afterwards.
The next station was ‘labour positions’, which came with some interesting photo examples. This one in particular was my favourite. I like to call it ‘Facebook pregnancy announcement meets interpretive dance’.
There was one funny moment at a station with various items for massage and stress relief. A Chinese woman in our group began squeezing a stress ball, which ended up angering her because ‘it didn’t inflate again quickly enough’. It’s the first time I’ve seen a stress ball be a direct cause of stress.
There was plenty of other stuff I won’t bore you with, but the event’s crescendo came at the very end. As we were about to enter ‘relaxation time’, a bird dramatically crashed into the window and scared everyone in the room. There was a brief sense of shock, everywhere except next to me, as my wife began hysterically laughing. Despite all efforts to muffle her hilarity, she eventually had to leave the room, where I’m told she sat in the toilet crying with laughter while replaying the event in her head.
In the meantime, the rest of us were put through some guided relaxation, and by the time she had collected herself to re-enter, she came back into a room full of people with their eyes closed, and a woman saying “…now feel your knees relax…”, which was like triggering a laugh bomb and she was off again.
Luckily, this was the end of the session and we could escape, but the eye-watering, red-faced, merriment of ‘bird-gate’ continued for most of the car ride home. We still have another class to go, and now everybody probably thinks she’s some kind of animal sadist.
She is looking over my shoulder as I’m writing this, and started laughing again ‘thinking about that bird’.
I can’t say I’m very good at taking life seriously either, so I’m glad she’s with me for the ride.