IMR: 1997: November: 27 -- Thursday, 3:41 p.m.
Our Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
We've finally managed to drag ourselves out of bed.

It's a lazy, lazy, lazy Thanksgiving. We're joining mom, Todd and grandma Henderson tonight in going over to the Ishii's for the big family turkey fest.

William's on Kaua`i, probably suffering through the incessant nosy questions from his family at this very minute. He called last night, a feat in itself given the phone system in the backwoods region the "East Side Matsudas" call their 'hood. We'll probably hear from him tonight, too.

I'm feeling a bit congested, unfortunately. I guess Tuesday's allnighter finally pushed my famous superhuman disease resistance to the limit. I've been taking it easy and drinking lots of liquids, though, and I haven't yet progressed to the sore throat and gurgly cough stage.

Just to be safe, I'm sitting here with a dab of Vicks vapostuff under my nose. Strong stuff.

Jen too. She's at the old Mac trying to write her life story. She wants me to help her build her own site, but I told her I'm not doing any major work 'til she's got more than a few kilobytes of stuff to put up first.

Of course, a web journal is planned. She's got a few entries done already. It'll be fascinating to see events from two perspectives, and even better, she's considerably less verbose than I am.

We survived our first lamaze class Monday night. The verdict? We like it.

It's exactly what I thought it'd be. There are the stereotypical elements everyone sees on television -- birth videos, blankets and timed breathing -- but fortunately there's lots of reading material and lectures too.

We were, hands down, the youngest couple there. Almost everyone else was in their early thirties at least... bright shiny folks with Camry's and mortgage loans in their eyes.

There was one exception. A girl, a KCC student, whose partner was her mother.

The first thing I noticed when we walked in were the pillows. Among other things, everyone had to bring pillows to class, and it was clear everyone picked their pillows carefully. Pillows, I guess, say something about the people who were to sit on them.

There were purple embroidered pillows, firm and spotless beige pillows and more than a few big fat fluffy pillows with dainty lace trimmings. Then there was Jen and I, with our secondhand, well-stained pillows in well-worn, yellowing pillowcases.

Clearly they took their lamaze education seriously. Bulging, well-packed bags filled with everything the class called for and then some. We, by contrast, just carried our pillows and Elsa -- the stuffed lion I got Jen for her birthday -- under our arms.

We also forgot to bring a pen. An unspeakable sin for a journalist.

We all got little nametags with teddy bear stickers on them and a fat folder of stuff. There were the unavoidable getting-to-know-you games as well as a little charades skit in which the men acted out pregnancy symptoms (I was "frequent urination and constipation"). The rest, though, was pretty serious stuff.

Questions to ask the doctor, what to pack in a "labor bag," signs of pre-labor, and videos explaining various medical equipment and procedures that may come into play during child birth (tongs included).

We weren't really phased by the numerous birth scenes. I'd seen them several times since that first day in 8th grade health class, and I expect our own child could be among the purplest and wrinkliest of them all.

The only thing that got us cringing was the talk of episiotomies -- a surgical cut the perenium (not a pleasant place to think of being sliced) to make the opening larger.

Finally, the breathing. We covered two of what I guess are three or four patterns, the first variations to use when labor is just getting started. Slow counts, with a variety of ways for "labor partners" (a term our instructor was very careful to use, instead of the presumptive "husband") to help mothers stay focused and breathing at the right rates.

Then we used them in some suggested labor positions -- ways to stand and sit that we can cycle through every 30 minutes or so. Standing as if slow-dancing, on her hands and knees, or kneeling and resting on my lap while I sit in a chair. That's Jen's favorite so far.

The class, clocking in at a whopping three hours, was over soon enough.

Next time we'll remember to bring things to write with. And to bring our own food... hospital cafeteria prices make airport restaurants look like bargains.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 27 November 1997 · Last Modified: 4 December 1997