In a determined effort to reverse my body’s slow but sure transformation into John Goodman, I signed up for a ‘Yoga For Pregnancy’ class when I was about seven months along. I was a little anxious about the class because I’d never:
A) Attempted yoga before, or
B) Been what one might call “nimble.” Pregnancy did not help this.
More than one person has likened my athleticism to a mule pulling a plow, or Grimace eating chili cheese dogs. But what better time to decide to get into the best shape of your life than when you’re seven months pregnant?
This was as close as I’d ever come to doing anything “granola,” and I did my best to play it cool. The class was led by a 60-something ex-hippie and started simply enough … introductions. Just our name, due date and name of our Doula.
I had no Doula, but was the first to go and, desperately wanting to feel like I belonged there, blurted out the first Doula-like name that popped into my mind – Betty Crock. I had developed an obsession with baked goods in my pregnancy.
The second class we moved on to a list of DVDs available for loan from our instructor. All centered around birth the “natural” way: Labor … The Best Time Ever, Epidurals are for Losers, Your Doctor; The Devil, How To Have Your Baby Like An Animal and Orgasmic Birth.
With that I burst out laughing, appreciating that she shared my sick sense of humor. When no one joined me, I realized she was serious and quickly transformed my snorts into a fake sneezing fit.
From the moment I told my friends I was pregnant, they barraged me with tales of the horror that is now their shredded vaginas. Many words came to mind as I quietly replayed how these shredded vaginas came to be. “Horny” was never one of them.
I used my peripheral vision to see if others shared my alarm. None. It was like she had just given us the weather report. Orgasmic Birth? Not even a flinch. Just a bunch of people nodding their heads, like those two words belonged together. They don’t. They don’t even belong in the same conversation.
Then our teacher went on to describe her personal experiences with that subject. That subject being ORGASMING AS HER SON RIPPED THROUGH HER VAGINA. My stomach churned. I prayed this was nothing she had ever shared with him.
Although most of me was disgusted, I have to admit that another part of me was intrigued. And, when I went home and told my husband about it, so was he.
It took me all 6 weeks of the class to work up the courage to borrow Orgasmic Birth. I brought it home and without even taking off our coats we excitedly popped it into the DVD player.
The next few minutes were some of the strangest of my life. My husband’s eyes immediately went from twinkling like an excited schoolboy to bleeding. I imagine he had visions of some hot nurse-on-nurse action, but any expectation of interesting and unusual erotica was violently erased by engorged, hairy, swollen women with nipples that looked like orangutan faces moaning and grinding all over their husbands in some disgusting pool of what appeared to be questionable river water. Yes – they seemed to be orgasming. While giving birth. And that is something you just can’t un-see.
They were in small baby pools in their rec rooms. A few took the pool outside, either on their deck or right in their backyard, for God and Google Maps to see. I’m sure more than one neighbor opened his curtains to gauge the need for a jacket and, being smacked in the face with that mess, just as quickly yanked them closed, wondering what the fuck had just happened.
Some pools were adorned with cartoon fish with colorful bubbles coming out of their mouths, which just made the whole thing that much more bizarre. Their family members stood around and watched with strained smiles on their faces, some taking pictures. All I could think was that these women were doing this completely sober and Thanksgiving was going to be awkward as hell. I was mesmerized; like it was a horrible car accident, I couldn’t look away. My brain did not know what how to process this information.
My husband, however, was close to having convulsions and in a final fit of panic picked up the remote, shut off the DVD and threw it across the room just to make sure it stayed off. We sat in silence on the couch staring straight ahead for the next 10 minutes, then without speaking got up and went to lunch as if nothing had ever happened.
We never spoke of it again.
There was no part of me that wanted anything to do with orgasmic birth, and I could never again make eye contact with the instructor. A few months later I gave birth in the most clinical, painful and unsensual way possible. And that, my friends, was the best birthday present I have ever given my daughter.