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Honestly, I think expectant parents need to know that things don't always go the way they hoped-dreamed-planned. I think they need to be prepared. Maybe I'm cruel that way, but when I hear pregnant couples talk about what they want, how they plan to do things, I think how naive they are. I'm angry with them, maybe even jealous. I want to burst their bubble (oh yes, did I mention I'm angry?).

I just think they need to be prepared, a little bit, for when things go wrong.

I wish the medical field would stop having new parents prepare a birth plan...they are a joke. Yes, be aware of the options and choices out there so if consulted you may have some input but when push comes to shove (no pun intended) your choices have little significance. Your doctor is going to make the decisions with your safety in mind.

Call me silly but, hellooo, instructor-lady?? Did you not HEAR Christy say her baby came FOUR MONTHS EARLY. Clearly, the person teaching the class has not got a crystal clear grasp on the implications of that to know when to shut the heck up! Oy. I cringed for you AND for her when I read her questions.

"the freak show in the birthing class" made me laugh. I can't tell you how many times David and I have left somewhere and said "Yup, we were the local freak show today." My favorite freak incident was last summer when my youngest was in casts - both legs up to his hips - and some yahoo just stood there staring at him as we wheeled by. Ethan yelled "hey!" and growled at the guy. Seriously, bared teeth, clawed hands and all! We got some looks.

The instructor really should have thought a moment before opening her mouth. Those moments are awkward and I'm glad you and Nick are so strong together :)

I completely get the talking yourself into a hole thing...
My daughter passed away in 1996 and many people in my life now didn't know me then, so I often find myself mentioning her, seeing the strange look on the face of the listener, and realizing I've done it again. Although, I don't hide her from anyone, I am in a good place about her life and her death...so I HATE explaining...the sympathetic look...I actually feel sorry for the person to whom I am explaining. And the "How many children do you have?" question gets me every time! So I understand wondering how to explain things without feeling like you can't really explain it...not the way you wish you could.

no matter how crummy my day/weekend has been, I always feel better after being able to lose myself for a few minutes in your posts. I too always dig a hole for myself when asked about my siblings like Shelley above, I can't not aknowledge my brother that died 4 years but at the same time hate explaining it and I too feel sorry for the person who asks the innocent question not expecting the answer that they get, when you see their smile falter, i always have the moment of stop talking now tara, but I just can't ever manage to do it.

I know that sympathetic look when talking about my ds Randy, who has many challenges. I talk about having 3 kids and end it there. But he goes to a different school and school district than his older sister, so the questions come up.

that instructor is a dingbat.

For different reasons, obviously, but I'm often (always?) that freak parent in the room too. Everything Shelley said above, I've had to deal with too, like somehow a young, dead husband is contagious. I'm always glad to find the other "freaks" in the world--especially when they write about it ;o)--so I feel a whole lot more normal.

And I agree with one of the earlier commenters too, that it's so hard to sit and hear the endless naive, utopian views that new parents or couples have. Perhaps it's one of the eventual benefits of people like us writing about the realities of our lives: maybe eventually people will start to realize some of the things that seem so "freakish" can happen and still be normal, too.

Thanks for sharing, as always. And that instructor was absolutely clueless. Yikes.

Your strength and courage continue to inspire me -- and I am so excited for you that the possibility of vaginal birth is there! I continue to pray and hope that things go well for you all, and that when Olive comes (several weeks from now, of course) she will have a great birth day with you!

I was a new expected parent when I began to read your blog. You didn't frighten me but inspired me with your strength. All those what ifs that I was afraid to think of becasue I wasn't sure that it wouldn't be the end of the world, you and Elias showed me that they wouldn't be. You helped me to stop worrying and that what ever happen there would be an amazing child to love, who would enjoy life, and who would enrich our lives. Thank you.

So much to chew on in your comments. At the end of the class yesterday, I was ready to go home so didn't write any comments on the evaluation but luckily Nick took the time to write that he thinks she should include a little bit about the NICU so parents aren't blind-sided if they end up there.

The instructor calculated 4 months early as 28 weeks so when she learned he was born between 24-25 weeks she realized a bit more his extreme-prematurity but still, as a childbirth instructor it would be beneficial to have more knowledge of all outcomes not just the ones that won't scare new parents.

When I worked at the NICU as a Parent Navigator, when Elias was two, my first priority outside of the unit was to include pictures of preemies and special needs kids in the hallway that was saturated with giant images of chubby babies and healthy children. I was first told that marketing didn't want to alarm new parents on tours of the hospital. Oh did that answer make me angry. Luckily we finally prevailed and a few months after I left the position they finally framed some pictures from the NICU.

I'm so glad to have other "freak shows" in my life even if I only know you through your words and stories. It helps to hear that other women talk themselves into holes too.

I have a good friend who lost one preemie a year before the birth of her preemie daughter and I know the question of "how many kids do you have?" seemingly innocent, can be a reminder of whats lost.

How do we answer truthfully when are lives are laced with complexities that we both do and do not want to share....?

I'm rambling but you all gave me so much to think about this morning...thank you!

And Heather, love the image of Ethan growling like a bear.

Virginia, you and I were writing at the same time:) Thanks for sharing this, you touched on one of my hopes for writing, that people without children yet or those with all "typical" kids will understand that from where I stand there is so much love and joy amidst the challenges.

I have been wondering if you'd be able to have a vaginal birth or not. That's great! The birthing class lady sounds pretty....uninformed. There are many types of people in the world, but it's suprising sometimes the ones they let "teach" others.

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