Touch Me and You Die

I'd been reading (and laughing over) Julie's Put. That. Back. post yesterday, and I must say I was intrigued by the role-playing exercise at the childbirth class. I wasn't sure if Julie was kidding about that or not... and then last night at my class, the instructor said, "at the end, we're going to do a mock labor!" I poked Al and said, "oh! I just read about this on the 'a little pregnant' woman's site!"

So I'm all excited about this... until the "mock labor" starts. Turns out it's not the role-playing thing at all. It's the standard "relaxation" exercises, only this time longer, with extra huffing and puffing that made me feel like I couldn't breathe (which in turn made the asthmatic in me panic). I mentioned before that I don't find the relaxation exercises relaxing at all—in fact, I find them downright irritating—and as this "labor" progressed, I felt myself getting more and more ANGRY. And uncomfortable. And needing to pee.

I got up to relieve my bladder, and when I returned, instead of getting back down on the floor, I sat in the chair behind Al, up against the wall. I was doing my best not to seethe at being duped into sticking around for this huff-and-puff session when our instructor said, "OH! I forgot about the thigh squeezing! Coaches: Remember how last time I had you squeeze your partners' thighs to simulate contractions? You should do that now. Al, you can turn around and face Lori in the chair and squeeze from where you're sitting." Al had barely turned his head toward me when I said, without moving any part of my body except my lips, "DON'T. TOUCH. ME."

Luckily, Al knows me well enough that this response was not only not surprising, but fully expected. He kept his hands to himself and well away from my thighs. He confessed later that he'd wondered whether I'd left the class entirely when I stepped out to use the loo, and whether he should follow. I'm sure he would have if I'd been gone for more than 5 minutes.

On a more positive (and somewhat related) note, the midwife mentioned to us at our last office visit that the hospital has a free doula service. We had wanted to use a doula, but I was a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to find someone I trusted. (It's hard enough trying to find a pediatrician.) I'm excited to know that I might still be able to have one, especially since we're really going to need someone who can tell the hospital staff to SHUT UP AND LEAVE HER ALONE. I know Al could do it, but I don't want both of us getting uptight during the labor; one of us at least needs to stay calm and focused. I'm fully expecting that one to be Al.

Posted by Lori in pregnancy at 3:31 PM on November 17, 2004