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Labor Training If you've never seen 10 large and very pregnant woman down on all fours on the floor in a conference room then you've probably never had to work as hard as I did to refrain from saying, at exactly the perfect comically-timed moment, "moo." In a similar vein, our class started 30 minutes late because the earlier class wasn't done getting their tour, apparantly the herd was straying for quite some time. There was another, younger couple waiting in the hall with us for the cows to come home, and so we made polite conversation. Polite conversation between two pregnant women is unlike any other polite conversation you've ever had. I imagine its similar to living in a retirement home, when everyone involved is of the age that experts call "talking about all your internal, physical problems loudly." I can't even tell you anything else about it because, quite frankly, I was trying to stuff my socks into my ears. I know more about the inner workings of a woman I've never met before and who's name I did not learn then I know about some of my closest family members. All I remember is that she said her nose was one of the first things to get fat. The class itself was informative. Much information was given about the right ways to breathe (in, and then out, if I recall), positions for sitting, creating a positive environment to relieve the stress of the labor process. The teacher suggested bringing a portable stereo to the hospital, with soothing type music. I suggested "Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine" by the White Stripes, but Bridget declined. The lights were dimmed, blankets were laid on the floor, and music was played. It was like being on hold with technical support, only instead of only hearing that relaxing music that they play to calm irate cusomters who are largely irate about being on hold, the same music that actually increases my blood pressure with its merciless, candy-coated insistence of relaxation, the experience was like having all five senses involved in the same on-hold pattern. Familiar classical piano and flute pieces droned on accompanied by the nature-inspired sounds of crickets, waves, wind, and dirt. I tried not to think about there not being many crickets in the ocean. I also tried not to envision wolves coming out of the woods and eating the chamber orchestra who was rehearsing on the beach. I tried not to tell my wife that I was thinkin about this, but was unsuccessful. Laughing is not the same as the deep and shallow breathing patterns we were learning, but if you squint your eyes at the right time you can make it look fairly similar. We practiced different sitting techniques, breathing, massaging, etc. We were instructed, as the men of the group, to be supportive, understanding, and above all, to not take personally any of the vicious character assassinating comments that are likely to accompany a later phase of delivery. Our main role in the class was to say the right things at the right time. Like during the slow-dancing (seriously) phase, one might say "careful, this is how you got that way to begin with," or during another lesson, "moo." Our second class is this Sunday, I believe its called "Don't Drop the Baby," and features techniques for defending oneself from a wolf attack while attending a beachfront concert.

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