Friday, 18 February 2011

Labor Rehearsal

How can you rehearse something that is completely different from woman to woman and even pregnancy to pregnancy?
How do you explain the excruciating pain you're about to go through but that somehow isn't bad enough to stop women from doing this more than once?

Last night 16 very pregnant women and their very anxious husbands sat down in a circle in a basement room at the RAF Lakenheath hospital hoping to find out the secrets of one of life's biggest events.

To start the night off with a bang we were shown a short movie of several women giving birth while we tried to eat some of the treats everybody brought. I'll tell you this, chili and lil' smokies just don't taste the same when watching a baby's head squeezing out of somebody's stretched-to-it's-limits lady-bits.

After the movie and the few bites of food we managed to eat we all did a show-and-tell with our "to-go" bags. Most contained expected items like cameras, robes and adorable baby clothes and some included less common things like knitting projects and shower shoes. I think we all got a few good ideas from each other and one thing I want to get is a non toxic ink pad and paper since the hospital doesn't give you your baby's first footprint if you don't bring the supplies.

Then the actual rehearsal started. This is when the fun began. We were all given a clothespin each, asked to attach it to the sensitive skin underneath the top of our arms close to our arm pits, leave them on for 60 seconds and continue a normal conversation with our husbands. Yikes. Interestingly enough, most of the squeals of pain came from the men in the room. This was repeated every five minutes. Next we were shown different ways to stand and breathe to better deal with the pain of the clothespin. There was the eight-grade school dance move (chin to chin), the ninth-grade school dance move (butt to crotch) and the squat and curl move. Some of us made up our own moves, like the ninth-grade behind the school move (pressed up against the wall face to face). Diver Dude found it very amusing that when he was in ninth grade I wasn't actually born yet.

During these "contraction experiments" we all moved through the hospital like a big pregnant herd towards L&D met by concerned and confused looks from bystanders.

When we all bruised and giggly finally got to L&D we were given a quick tour of one of the delivery rooms. I was pleasantly surprised to find a comfy, newly renovated room with all kinds of creature comforts like private bathroom, big bed, birthing ball and a flat screen TV. Our mid-wife then quickly selected two of the husbands for a show and tell. One of the boys were put in the bed, hooked up to several monitors, and complimented on his beautiful labor and full dilation. He was then instructed to try out a number of ways to push cheered on by his male partner. He pushed on his back with legs up in the air, he pushed side-ways while his partner held his leg back, he pushed leaned up against the back of the bed and he pushed using the squatting bar attached to the bed. I'm surprised none of us went into labor from laughing so hard at the poor guy holding his legs back while violently grunting and focusing on his partners count down from ten.

Labor Rehearsal was a fun experience and if the big day includes any of the humor and lightheartedness of last night I'm game. And if real contractions feel anything like a clothespin pinching your skin - bring it on!


  1. So glad you had a fun labor rehearsal!! It's really true that once the baby arrives you don't remember what the pain even felt like.

  2. hi sweetie, I never went to these it's interesting to hear about it, i was on bedrest and scheduled for a Csection soooo......but then my water broke and they let me contract and OUCH@!!!!!!!!

    I am so excited that you are so close to having this baby ..I simply cannot wait for the happiness to overflow!!!

    sending love across the Atlantic.

  3. Holy moley! a clothespin?? Ouch!!
    I was thinking about you, glad to hear all is well!!

  4. oh my! What an adventure. I hope the real thinn is as fun as this sounded.

  5. Clothespins, ahhhhh, eek, cough , ooh! And man how did nobody have a bladder accident with a boy pretending to be in labor?

  6. That sounds like fun...! And trust me... I am the biggest baby in the world and though that L&D would be horrid. I was definitely into the epidural option (I don't know what your thoughts are) but, after about 25 mins of pretty bad pain, I had the epidural and the rest of my experience was almost pleasant. So, don't fret.

    Also.... Lakenheath...I have so many connections to that base. My cousin and her husband live in Suffolk (Barnham) and he commutes there daily. He's a psychologist. My DH's cousin's wife's brother is also stationed at Lakenheath. He works radars.. and lastly, my mom lived on that base as a child (except I'm not sure if it was called that then.) Small world. :)

  7. Yes, labour is different for every woman but one thing is always the same, if you breath and move through contractions (like you learned in the rehearsal) it will be much easier. Its fun to practice those same techniques while holding ice in a ziplock bag! Don't forget, for some woman this can be a really wonderful experience, and although challenging, it can also be amazing! Keep practicing the breathing techniques :)

  8. OMG that sounds hilarious! Maybe during the real thing it might help you to keep an image of those guys in your head - as it might make you laugh!

  9. What a riot! Unfortunately, real labor won't be anything like that! ;-)

  10. What a fabulous class! Glad you had fun!

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  12. In my six week childbirth education class we did pain exercises that required holding fist fulls of ice. It was meant to show you how to manage something that became increasingly and gradually uncomfortable. It was amazing how all the men and/or husbands in the class buckled and could barely make it to a minute while the women went far beyond that.

    I can assure you that labor does not feel like ice or a pin -- it is mind altering and painfully beautiful. And that's coming from a woman who was in labor 30 hours with no drugs or other interventions.

    You'll do beautifully because it is what we, as women, are meant to do. Best of luck.

  13. Visiting from ICLW...that rehearsal sounds great! :) Fun times...

    Labor...something I will never forget, and am willing to do again and again. No matter what happens, that little bundle of joy makes it all worth it...:)

  14. I love that they put the men in the bed, LOL.

    Because of my bedrest, we ended up totally forgoing childbirth classes entirely - eep!

    I am going to see what I can find on YouTube. Yup, I'm going to YouTube childbirth. LMAO.

    OMG, you're going to have a baby soon! Ah!! I remember when you announced...I can't believe it's nearly

  15. Visiting from ICLW. You had me cracking up with your description of the men "giving birth!" That is hysterical!

  16. OMG, I would have paid good money to see the guys "giving birth". It's too bad you don't have a video of it because I bet you could win some money with it. I am so excited that you are getting so close to holding your Bubba.

    ICLW #19


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