November and the first business trip.

During this time, we had been taking the childbirth classes from the midwifery, and in addition to all the stuff we learned officially, there were also a few choice stories that went with it.

At one point they showed us a video which was very useful, in reinforcing several key concepts…but then they showed a second video, which Cathy and I have since referred to as, simply, “the trendy chant”. This production featured a not-really-all-that-clever lyric–”I am opening up in sweet surrender to this beautiful baby in my womb”–actually, it didn’t so much feature the lyric as consist of it, repeated exclusively over and over as a lightly syncopated round for some twenty minutes, over still pictures of moms and babies. Presumably this was meant to inspire the expectant moms, but I suspect that we were far from alone in being just too polite to say, “okay, you have been making a wonderful case for why to go with a midwifery instead of a hospital, with impressively little side-stream baggage, up until about right now.” Hopefully, they will learn that not everyone who wants to exercise natural alternatives to standard procedure, necessarily buys into a deeper stereotype. (This is really the only criticism I think I have with our experience, and let’s face it, it’s a trivial one. It came across shallow, we ignored it as such, we moved on. Simple.)

More directly amusing was an episode earlier in the same session, wherein the subject of delivering the placenta came up. The speaker talked about the mechanics of delivering the organ naturally, and mentioned that at this point you have the choice of whether you want to keep it or not, and then at that point…

My hand went up instantly (I have no control over these things). “Beg pardon…did you just say ‘keep the placenta’?”

Perhaps I play the “guy” card again here, but I just had to have that explained. And you know, I really was educated by it. It turns out that in some societies it’s actually really common to keep the placenta and do various things with it, from burying it (historically as though it was a twin that did not make it) to grinding it up and taking it as a hormonal supplement (to stave off postpartum depression). Well, I have to say that I truly just did not know that, and odd as the subject may be to us, I thought it was kind of cool that we did have the choice on it.

Unfortunately, I had to miss the last class, which got rescheduled to the one week I was going to be out of town, on business. The schedulers at Davalen (who knew about the baby) did an absolutely great job at making sure that I was not out of town around the time that we were expecting to deliver, and instead scheduled me for a week in Portland, Oregon, onsite at Portland General Electric. The trip was a pretty good one, given that I had not had a bona fide customer-facing business trip in over a year. Highights included walking to Voodoo Doughnuts (truly a must if you’re in Portland), gawking at Mount Hood, and dusting off the rust viz how to teach Portlet Factory concepts. I can say, however, that I do not miss the insanity of air travel, not one bit.

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