Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Epi-No

This is called the Epi-No. We learned all about it in our childbirth education class last night and, my lord, but the things women will do to try to control their own labor and delivery! Let me rewind.

(Cousin Neil, please stop reading this post right now. It will be graphic and uncomfortable for you and so I'm giving you the heads up. Come back tomorrow)

I actually enjoyed class last night, which was a first, because I felt like it was productive and I learned new things. That, and the list of items to take to the hospital was pretty interesting and somewhat creative. In the middle of going through the list, and as all the pregnant women are feverishly jotting down every single word, Joani asked us about almond oil.

We stared at her blankly. What's the story with almond oil? She was surprised we hadn't covered it last class, so she stopped the laundry list of hospital items and went back to the delicate area of the perenium (I spelled it wrong but it's the area between the anus and vagina - the thing that stretches to let the baby come out).

Apparently, there are things women can do in advance of the labor and delivery to actually make this area more pliable. First, at 36 weeks, we should fill a plastic washing cup with 2 cups of boiling water and 1 tsp of rosemary. Then, we should insert the cup into the toilet (don't spill out the contents) and sit on it for about 5 - 10 minutes. This should be repeated for 5 days and the steam should help loosen up the area.

My sweet, sweet, adorable husband thought that I was supposed to use this to steam my face (or to drink, like a tea). Isn't he just so cute? I smiled at him as Joani was explaining what to do and lovingly patted his cheek. He got it once she spelled it out for him, but it was just so adorable that he thought it was for a different body part.

Then, Joani told us about rubbing almond oil into the area. This she said is actually difficult to do while pregnant, and one can ask ones partner to do it, but she wasn't a big fan of that either (it turns the area into a mechanical part as opposed to sexual).

So, the option is to buy The Epi-No. It's called that because it's supposed to help a laboring woman avoid an episiotomy (when the Dr.'s snip the area between vagina and anus to help the baby's head poke through). This is very painful for the woman, and then there is lots of stitches and it's not a pleasant part of the childbirth experience (unlike contractions right?)

Here's how it works. See the light blue dildo shaped balloon thing at the end? Well, you're supposed to insert it into the vagina hole, pump it up like the Dr. does when taking your blood pressure, make sure it doesn't burn or hurt but just that the area feels "stretch", leave it in for a bit and then use your pelvic muscles to push it out.

And, if you want to purchase this fantastic piece of pre-labor equipment, it's about 480 shekel (roughly $137 when the exchange rate is 3.5%). Fortunately, Joani sells them herself so no need to go into every SuperPharm in Israel asking for it. Something that might be a bit embarressing to ask for over the counter (and you though condom shopping was bad!)

Well, I told Pidgeon that I'm just going to take my chances and just say no to the Epi-No. I think he was a bit relieved.

And then, this woman in our class, asked if it was okay to borrow her friend's Epi-No.

No, no, no, no, no!

Joani was pretty disgusted by the question and kindly, but firmly, said that she wouldn't recommend it. It was gross and, in her mind, felt like sharing a used tampon.

I think, at this point, all the men wanted to jump out the windows of the room. But, in their defense, they all held it together beautifully while the women in the class were horrified.

This pregnant woman persisted and asked if it was okay to use if she just put on a condom.

OK, seriously now? There are certain things in life we just don't cheap out on people. And, The Epi-No is definitely one of them. If you want it, and you think it will come in handy, scrape together the cash and get one. I was going to hand her 100 shekel right then and there because I was just so surprised she was willing to consider sharing.

Would ya share a friend's dildo? Honestly, unless you're in porn, those types of "toys" and "things" should be for one woman only.

Fortunately, class ended shortly after the Epi-No demonstration. Pidgeon was absolutely wiped and was happy we only have a couple more classes left. I got home and called my little sister to tell her about the class and to try to cheer her up. She works for Lehman Brothers - enough said.

So, I got her rolling on the floor with the Epi-No story and then the creative items we needed to pack and she nicely added an essential item that should come in handy. (E-mail me offline if you want to know what it was, I think the Epi-No is enough graphic for today).

And, of course, I was unable to sleep last night. I literally roamed the house from 2:00 - 4:30 a.m. I called some friends in the States, but Pidgeon heard me and woke up and I didn't want him to be awake since he has a busy day today, so I hung up, crawled into bed and stared into space while he slept. I finally passed out around 5ish and then our alarm went off at 6:45 and I was up.

I packed Pidgeon his lunch, got dressed, logged on and waited for the Mei Eden guys to deliver 2 more big bottles of water. I'm hoping it will be enough to get us through the Chagim since they don't deliver again until the middle of Succot. As soon as he left, I crawled back into bed and napped for 2 hours. Fortunately, Mom was in the office early and woke me up so I didn't completely sleep through the entire day.

Well, since I napped for longer than I should have today, I have to double time it to do my work before the day starts in the States.

Wishing you all Yom Tov from Baka!

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