March 8

Active listening

I stared at the ring that held together an array of colorful plastic cards, each with a progressively wider opening in the middle. “So this is 10 centimeters,” she said, holding up the final green card. “This is the end goal!” My stomach turned. As someone who once fainted from a shaving cut, things were not looking good. What were we thinking?

Hanna, the matter-of-fact leader of our childbirth class, shifted our attention back to her PowerPoint, which now displayed a slide about the stages of labor– how would we know the first stage has started? How much pain could we expect in each one? “So at this point,” she advised, you’ll want to start changing your breath. And partners, you can help by…” I felt a nudge on my leg.

She continued. “You still don’t need to call the hospital, though, and remember, you’ll want to stay home as long as possible. When I was in labor for my first child, I found it helpful to…” Another nudge. I looked beyond Hanna to the floor-to-ceiling window that framed her, noticing a small animal in the parking lot outside. My attention snapped back to her words, willing myself to remember each tidbit and shutting out the rest– which included mundane wildlife outdoors.

Another nudge. “Cal…” Adam’s voice whispered to my left. I took out a notepad and wrote down her advice regarding when, exactly, to go to the hospital. “Wait until contractions are five minutes apart– and make sure they’ve been that way for at least an hour,” she recommended. I scrawled on the pad and tucked it back in the green folder labeled, “Callie and Adam– Beginnings Childbirth.” My eyes– and the eyes of eight other pregnant women and their partners– were locked on Hanna, determined not to miss any information that might make what was inevitable easier, faster, less painful. We soaked up her every word about our bodies and the biological process that would unfold in a matter of weeks– a process that would mark the transition to parenthood and change our lives forever.

“Cal…” It was Adam, whispering again. “Look at the–”

“Yes I see the bunny,” I cut him off. A small brown rabbit hopped in and out of view in a green shrub just outside the classroom windows, beyond Hanna’s shoulder. I could now relax, with the new knowledge that if labor and childbirth included I-spy parking lot creatures, we would be just fine.


Posted March 8, 2019 by clumbra45 in category Uncategorized

3 thoughts on “Active listening

  1. cwegrzyn

    Too funny! I love how you included Hanna’s dialogue but interrupted it. You never know what will be most helpful in childbirth. 😉

    Reply
  2. Elisabeth Ellington

    SO funny! The whole time I was reading, I was like WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE SO IMPORTANT TO INTERRUPT THIS INFORMATION??? But when I got to the end there was the bunny–and I would have wanted to be interrupted too! I especially like how you ram up the tension throughout the piece.

    Reply

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