To see or not to see
Pregnancy is an experience of many firsts: some expected, some not. This week I saw a cervix. This was definitely in my “not expected” category of firsts. I’d happily accompanied Jas to an appointment that involved a check-up of sorts, and as attendants fussed with equipment, I sat by Jas’ side, held her hand and peered curiously at a blank TV monitor, not really expecting anything to appear on it. Just as I cracked a jolly humorous gag about the TV picking up Sky Sports, a small portion of Jas’ insides appeared on it, an area the size of a nail head filling the whole screen. I was a bit shocked: I’m not a fan of seeing internal body parts, but there on the screen was an internal body part. I’d never imagined what a cervix might look like, but if I had, I don’t think I would have come up with one of those pink spongy things you see in sea-side rock pools. I recalled a midwife describing it as the neck part of a roll-neck sweater, and it seemed pretty accurate actually, especially if the sweater was an incredibly bright pink colour and had no room for a neck (yet). I didn’t particularly want to look at it much but my eyes were unblinkingly transfixed, not quite believing what I was looking at. On the other side of it was our child.
The colour of poop
We went to a breastfeeding class. A two hour class. I wondered what would fill those two hours, thinking that breastfeeding was just a matter of popping a lactating nipple into a baby’s mouth. Surprisingly, there is a right way and many wrong ways of doing it. The class also included an exercise where we were given a doll, pretending it was a baby, and told what to do in a certain circumstances; for example, if the baby was screaming, wouldn’t sleep, and it was 2 am in the morning. For a few moments I felt panic well up, with a vision of me holding a bawling being out in front of me, thinking “Jeez, what do I do!?” This reality was not far away now.
We were also shown some of the signs of a healthy baby, one of which is the colour and consistency of its poo. Lovely. The teacher gave us some pictures of various shades of nappy fillings, none of which looked particularly healthy to me. She apologised for the printer not showing accurately the mustard colour of healthy baby output; I was quite thankful for the lack of vivid colours.
We also attended another antenatal class. TV has brainwashed us into thinking antenatal classes are where couples sit on yoga mats learning how to breathe. Not so. We’ve been breathing for quite some time now, thanks very much, so we’re pretty good at it. Our class started with some fun, with the guys and girls being separated into two groups to bond and get to know each other a bit. Each group had to write down on a large bit of paper things that the group had in common. With the chaps: “Beer?” “Yep.” “Football?” “Yep.” This was easy.