We had our second childbirth class on Sunday evening, and the instructor introduced a new element to our relaxation exercises: extreme discomfort.
She had a point, really. She said that all the breathing exercises in the world don’t teach you much if you’re relaxed and calm. You have to practice them under duress if you want to know their real effect.
So she had our coaches get plastic bags and fill them with ice. Then she’d say, “Ok, a contraction is coming,” which was the mothers’ signal to hold the bag from underneath with one hand, and put the other hand directly into the ice. We’d keep our hands there for the duration of the so-called contraction, and then set the bag down afterward.
It seemed kind of funny at first, eliciting a few giggles from the moms in attendance. I think we were all thinking, “Ice is no big deal, we can handle that.” But after the tenth “contraction,” I was ready to renounce ice forever, sticking to warm drinks for the rest of my life and, of course, moving to a warmer climate.
As my husband calmly rubbed my back and tried to help me relax, all I could think was, “Why don’t YOU sit here with your hand in this bag? Why don’t YOU take deep breaths and stare at a freaking focal point??”
And that was just ice.
I’m sure I’ll be an absolute joy to be around on the day I give birth.
A note to my husband, my doctor, my nurses and whomever else crosses my path that day: I’m very sorry for how mean I will be to you. I’m usually pretty nice, I swear.