MANKATO — Bear down!” the doctor says, and a room full of young women (and two or three guys) obeys.
“Bear down! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,” he says. “Quick breath, do it again, push! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Quick breath, do it again, push! Bear down, bear down, bear down! I don’t see any red faces!”
The group laughs and giggles. Is this guy serious?
“Uh-huh,” Dr. Mark Taylor says. “Now try doing that for two hours.”
Whoa. Reality. Two hours of bearing down is roughly what a woman goes through when she’s trying to push a fetus through the birth canal.
Taylor’s point, well taken by the group, was this: Childbirth (news flash) isn’t easy. It’s incredibly painful — an experience Taylor likened to having the largest bowel movement of your life. How large? Try bowling ball large.
The group assembled is the child development class from Mankato West High School, a group made up of all grade levels. This is the fourth year Taylor, of the Mankato Clinic, has taken a morning to show the high schoolers the reality of childbirth.
It was part scared straight, part anatomy lesson, part stand-up comedy. Taylor — who it was revealed had delivered about 20 percent of the students in the room — knows how to keep an audience engaged.
He began by introducing a woman named Melanie Runge, who looked to be in her early to mid-20s. Runge was pregnant with her second child and had agreed to have Taylor perform an ultrasound on her in front of the class.
By the way, Runge’s first ultrasound didn’t go so well. Taylor couldn’t see the baby, and her body was producing less than ideal levels of ACG, the chemical doctors look for to confirm pregnancy.