Thursday, September 17, 2020

This Time

I'll start with the obvious: Pregnancy is a woman’s job, through and through. It's not for guys, it looks... hard. Anyway, I'm lucky to be married to an amazing woman. Let me explain.

So here we where, at the end of this baby making process. We had a due by date and everything was sort of on standby. My in-laws drove down to hang with our seven year old and the plan was to play the waiting game.

We didn’t wait long.

While I’m working from home, my wife was still going to school to teach online. (Read that again if you have to, it’s the subject for an entirely different blog post)

Anyway, the day after my in-laws arrived, my wife went to work and I logged on. At lunch, I took for a quick dog walk. I returned to find my mother in-law waiting outside. She said something like, “Two things…First…”

She leads with the news of the Fed Ex man, something about a damaged package. And then, “Oh, and Anne is coming home. She’s having contractions.”

I look up. “Um, what.”

Sure, I knew we were at the any-day-now stage, but that day is today?

Yep, my wife pulls into the driveway, and this time, unlike the other time, she’s struggling.

The first time she was all, no lets’ wait. Now she’s ready. Our seven year old watches on as his mother, hunched over and wincing, takes deep breaths. You know, contractions.

There’s no time to wait. We get in the car. We say a tearful goodbye. It’s all too weird, this second time around. The first time I was a mess, worried. This time I was a mess worried, but also leaving one kid to go have another. I know, people do it all the time, but we’ve been seven years as an only child family. It’s going to take some shifting.

And shift I did. We drove to the hospital, did the whole Covid check in thing, and whisked right up the elevator to the birthing center.

Bits and pieces come back to me. Of last time. While my wife is deep breathing, my mind is roaming, The little wooden stork’s the same, the floors are a bit more scuffed. No one in the waiting room. Oh look they redid the windows…

“Honey, focus.”


We ring the bell. We wait. I offer my wife a seat but she can’t sit. Honestly she's not doing so hot standing up, either. The last time—yep, everything will get compared to last time—she seemed far more comfortable as we waited in one room, then after a while moved to another. This time we're going to be lucky to make it through the doors.

We ring the bell again.

A nurse comes out. "Hi yes. Um, can you wait a minute. Yeah, we’re getting the room ready."

Seems it’s a busy day in the maternity ward.

We don't wait long. Something in my wife's pale, pallid face must have gotten the point across, because soon the nurse returns and we get in the room as they’re still mopping. My wife doesn’t notice. She locks herself in the bathroom, long enough to where I’m kind of listening for baby wails.

Then, she comes out. They help her into a gown. They ask if she wants an epidural. She nods, her head spinning exorcist style.

More nurses. A doctor. Seven, eight people, including the nice lady still mopping. My wife mentions the epidural again. They do some prodding.

“No time, girl. You’re having this baby.”

“Oh,” I perk up. If there’s ever a time for a man to feel helpless, it’s in the delivery room. Last time it was slower. Or maybe time smoothed the edges so it seemed that way. But last time I hung out, watched it happen. This time my wife is sweating, writhing around, looking for a shot of whiskey. We might as well be in a covered wagon because this baby is coming right now.

“That’s it. Push.”

And then, forty-five minutes after we walk through the doors. Baby.

A baby girl arrives in the world. She’s purple and messy and connected by a cord that supplies everything she’s needed up until right…now. It’s one of those all too surreal moments in life where you realize just how much matters and how little control you have over anything.

And people might say things are a mess right now. But it’s a good time to have a baby. We’re together, all of us. One, bigger, happy family. Stay tuned. This ought to be fun...