posted in Pregnancy
Every television show with a pregnant woman features a childbirth class scene or two and it usually involves a bumbling father or funny fight between the couple that ends with them making up with plenty of time to finalize their birth plan.
In real life, childbirth class is supposed to be one of those rites of passage for new parents, and one I was actually looking forward to. I pictured my husband and I snapping a selfie in the car outside the hospital, maybe making friends with the couple we sat next to, or just getting more excited over what was to come with the actual labor and delivery. I had such high hopes for this momentous occasion.
And then I fainted.
Yes, I was that person. Not my husband, not some other poor dad-to-be (it’s always the dad, right?), it was me. The person who passes out in the middle of the hospital’s childbirth class. One second we’re watching a video of an epidural and I’m thinking, “That doesn’t look so bad, I could totally handle that,” the next I was telling my husband I was feeling a little dizzy. I reached for a drink of water and the next thing I knew the class instructor was standing next to me with wet paper towels and an ice pack. Oops.
This was the day I was planning, not the one I got.
Needless to say, this was NOT the day I had imagined. That day included learning breathing techniques and getting a hospital tour. My reality was that I missed all of that and instead spent the next 24 hours on a rollercoaster of emotions. Should fainting in childbirth class happen to you (surely I’m not the only one?), here are a few feelings you might expect to experience:
1. Total embarrassment
Upon waking up from my brief blackout, the first thing that went through my head was I wanted to crawl under the table and die. I was the story these other couples were going to go home and tell their friends about. The phone call they would be making to their mom. The blog post they would write. The Facebook update they’d share about how they had a great day at childbirth class but OH MY WORD this random girl fainted and how hilarious is that? Oh, and did I mention how when I fainted I spilled my water bottle all over myself, meaning my husband had to keep letting other people know that, lest they think I wet my pants. (I was deeply appreciative.) Yes, embarrassment is to be expected.
While I intended to try to stay for the rest of the class, I was still a little woozy and didn’t trust myself to not faint again (I mean, we hadn’t even made it to the childbirth videos yet.) so we decided not to chance it and just head home. Once I got in the car I lost it. How could I handle ACTUAL labor, if I couldn’t handle the class? How weak and pathetic and totally unfit for motherhood am I? I cried and cried and spent the rest of the day curled up on the couch feeling like the world’s worst mom-to-be. No consoling words from the class instructor, my husband, or my mom helped. I just had to cry. A lot.
After my tears were exhausted, I remembered something the class instructor told me, you know, as she was holding an ice pack on my neck. “Really, there’s no need to watch all this stuff that happens, you won’t be watching it then.” True. If I get an epidural I won’t be seeing it. When it’s time to push I won’t be watching (no mirrors, thank you). I’ll be an active participant in labor, not a spectator. And while I’m glad I have some helpful information from the class on things like signs of labor and when to head to the hospital, it’s probably for the best (for me anyway) to just have fewer images to dwell on over the coming weeks! When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter if I’m ready, “prepared,” or informed. This baby is coming out of me when it’s time!
It took a few days but now I can totally laugh about my experience. Well, kind of. Mostly. Of all the special memories of childbirth class and this bonding time with my husband that we would look back on one day, this wasn’t exactly the story I wanted to tell. But really, it’s a pretty good one! Plus, I’m still holding out a little bit of hope that my husband embarrasses himself during the actual delivery. A girl can dream right? If you happen to be a childbirth class fainter, hold on for the laughter. It’s coming.
Did you faint in childbirth class? Or are you afraid you might?