September 13, 2008: Lamaze Class

69 Days to Baby Day! (30 Weeks and One Day Pregnant)

There was no rest for me.  Finally made it to bed at four thirty this morning and had to be up around seven thirty so that I could get ready to take Dominica to our all day Lamaze class at Hudson Valley Medical Center in Peekskill, New York in Westchester County.

I was really exhausted this morning.  We hit the road at eight thirty.  Poor Oreo is stuck home alone all day.  Nadine walked him at lunch time so that he would not feel completely abandoned but that was his only company for the entire day.

It takes sixty to ninety minutes to go from Newark to Peekskill.  A long drive when we were both so tired.  Dominica didn’t get a lot of sleep last night as she never sleeps well when she is waiting for me to get home.

This morning I checked several times and continue to check on my BlackBerry and see that the new email system, Zimbra 5.0.9, is running smoothly without any issues thus far.  (Now where is that proverbial wood…)

Nothing much to report from the class.  Lamaze was a single, seven hour long class taught at HVMC which is located right around the corner from the new house.  This is the facility that Dominica will be using, deus volente (you can thank dad for that), for having the baby. 

We were hoping to be able to get a tour of the facility today, but there was only a single nurse on staff and a Ceasarean section was about to begin.  (I learned today that Americans often mispell Ceasar in this type of reference calling it a cesarean section – also missing the obviously needed capitalization.  Every single bit of material that we had in the class had it missplelled in this manner.)

I also learned that medical professionals often confuse lunar and solar months – the generic term “month” meaning solar month in English.  Any use of the word “month” to mean something different requires the whole phrase like “lunar month”.

Our Lamaze trainer taught us that generally pregnancies are measured in lunar months which is extremely confusing because the simple way that everyone remembers the length of a pregnancy is in solar months – nine months – and when people speak to each other about their pregnancies they do so in solar months, but randomly doctors, nurses and some birthing guides will switch to lunar months without designation.  So anything stating a number of months less than nine months has no means of accuracy without specification.

However, having thought that this would clear up the issue of birth schedule confusions that we have been having, we then learned that medical professionals think that lunar months are 28 days in length.  They are not.  The standard, accepted lunar month is correctly called a synodic month and is 29.5 days.  The closest measurement to what medical professionals use is a sidereal month which is 27.3 days or the draconic month at 27.1 days.  There is no lunar period that is 28 days or that rounds to 28 days.  So the use of the lunar month term is also confusing.

Why do medical professionals insist, then, on using the term month when they do not mean it at all?  Why not use weeks or fortnights like sensible, educated people?  I continue to be baffeled by the ability of the medical profession to lack skills deemed critical to the advancement from elementary to middle school.

We also learned in the class that because of similar issues to the lack of ability between medical professionals to express time to one another that they also do not have the ability to express a repeating time period accurately.

In learning about contraction schedules we were taught about contractions happening “every five minutes” – this being the “interval” of the contractions.  The term “interval” is technical, expressive and accurate.  If something happens “every five minutes” then it has a five minute interval.

This is easily measured by going from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next.  If this time period is five minutes then the interval is five minutes.  If a contraction has an interval of five minutes then the length of the contractions themselves do not matter.  If the contraction lasts one second or four minutes but start every five minutes then the interval is five minutes.

This makes perfect sense and just to make sure we all understood how an “interval” worked this was explained by the Lamaze trainer as, apparently, it is common to misunderstand the term interval to be inclusive even though that is taught pretty solidly in high school.  This seemed to make everything very clear and easy.  That is until….

When we got to contractions happening more frequently the literature no longer made any sense.  It would state that contraction would come at an interval (yes, they used the word again in a chart format to make sure that there could be no mistake in the meaning) of thirty seconds but would last one to one and a half minutes!!

That means that the average woman has two to three contractions at once as a sign that labor is pending.  This is not the case.  Women only have one contraction at a time.  What they meant was that the interval was two minutes and that the time between contractions (the exclusionary term for the space in which no contraction exists) was thirty seconds.

Sure, that was easy to figure out.  But what we now know for sure is: the literature that we have definitely does not use the term interval correctly – at least not all of the time, our Lamaze teacher either can’t do math or doesn’t understand interval even after explaining it correctly or thinks that women have three contactions at once without any break for hours at a time.

So now, knowing that the medical professionals involved don’t know what they are talking about I have no way to know what was meant by the original data set!  Did they really mean interval like they said?  Or did they mean time between like they meant on the later chart?  Since the trainer made such a point of explaining what it meant for the first set we have such conflicting data that there is no way to know.  So what we took away was – just make up the numbers because there is no means of communicating to your doctor or nurse any element of time.

In the end we had no way to know which set of material was right, which set was wrong.  In fact, we don’t actually know if any of it was right.  We only know that some of it was, at least, wrong as it conflicted with other information.  Both can’t be right, but we could not figure out which.

Overall, we got about one hour or less worth of material spread out over seven hours which is exactly the wrong format to have people retain anything.  The whole process was an antithesis to accepted pedogogical methods.  I didn’t even learn anything about Lamaze breathing that I did not already know.

Dominica even admitted that there was no value to having a Lamaze class in person and that she would recommend to people just to get a DVD in the future.  It is so much easier to learn from a good video than to do a class like that.  Everyone was really nice and the instructor really cared about what she was teaching but she wasn’t a trained educator or presentor nor was she technical enough to have reviewed the material for accuracy.  Even a poor video would do a better job.

As it was, at least two hours of the class was watching ancient 1970s videos about having babies on VHS – actually on VHS tapes on an old CRT monitor!  We were in a room with a high definition projector, giant screen and DVD sources but we watched VHS tapes.  Which is fine, the material doesn’t change.  Although it was hard to see the screens.  Funny enough, though, the main video that we watched, “Hello, Baby”, is one that I saw long ago – probably in health class in high school.  So even that was just review and it was not really educational back then either.

During our lunch break we went down to the Beach Shopping Center very near to our new house and had lunch at the Pastel Cafe.  The food was pretty decent and we could see ourselves eating here often once we are local.

We left Peekskill at just after five in the evening. What a long day.  I was really struggling to stay awake the whole time as you can imagine.  Had there been more information to internalize it would have been better.  But nothing was going to make it easy.

We got home around six thirty.  Oreo was very excited to see us!  He slept all day, we think, and did not have an accident.  This was the longest that we have left him alone in a year or maybe two!  This had to be really hard for him.

We ordered in dinner from Nino’s and watched Frasier and then went to bed early.  We were both completely exhausted.

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  1. “I learned today that American’s often mispell Ceasar and call it a cesarean section – also missing the obviously needed capitalization. Every single bit of material that we had in the class had is missplelled.”

    I don’t know, Scott, I see at least three errors in that sentence right there – one misused apostrophe and two misspellings…Were you trying to be ironic? 🙂

  2. Yes, that was my plan. That and I wanted a chance to check out editing using WordPress’ new revision control system!

    Plus, I throw these things in to see if you are paying attention. Judging from the number that you have missed, you are not.

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