Nine months passed and my wife asked many people the exact same question, “How will I know when I go into labor?” The answer was always the same, “Don’t worry, you’ll know.”
We had just gone to our latest doctor’s appointment and we had planned for the inevitable day – we even set the day to be induced if the inevitable didn’t happen on its own. It was all just a matter of time now. Before we left that appointment, my wife asked one more time, “How will I know when to come in?” Once again, our doctor told her not to worry, she will surely know.
We got home from our appointment and my wife went to lie down on the couch. I went upstairs to paint the nursery a bit more. The nursery project became a huge ordeal because we can never do anything simply – my wife and I couldn’t decide on what theme to put in the baby’s room so, naturally, we decided we would choose all of our favorite childhood characters from EVERYTHING and create a 360-degree mural with literally hundreds of characters hand drawn and painted (don’t judge, you know that sounds awesome). Here’s a small sample:
Anywho, I came downstairs after a little while and my wife said she was feeling weird.
“No. I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
We had some dinner. She kept feeling strange; still unsure whether or not she was in labor. So we decided to call our doctor. She said since she just saw us, she doubted my wife was in labor. PLUS, my wife was unsure and she would definitely know if she was in labor. But she thought this would be a good opportunity to practice – don’t worry about bringing all of my wife’s stuff with us, she’d meet us at the hospital, check my wife out, and then send us home.
On our way out of the house we passed my father on his way in to help me paint some of the nursery. I told him to start painting the gray sections and we would be back home soon. We drove to the hospital joking and laughing, because it’s not like this was the real thing, right? ***You see where this is going, don’t you?***
We get to the hospital and our doctor meets us and walks with us into Labor & Delivery. Once again, she tells us that since she just examined my wife, this is probably nothing, but she’ll go through the motions just as if it were the real deal. So my wife changed into a hospital gown, they hooked her up to the monitors, and the doctor examined her again. The doctor raised her eyebrows, gave a little laugh, and said, “You’re in labor!”
I sprinted out of the hospital, back to the car, and drove back home to get everything we left behind. I pulled into the driveway and burst through the door of my house and almost right into my father who was standing in my kitchen holding my cat like baby Simba from The Lion King. What was really strange was my father and my dangling cat were both looking at me with the same guilty expression. My mind cleared from baby-shock enough to focus on the cat hanging from my dad’s hands and I noticed that one of her paws was wet and gray. I then looked at my carpet and noticed a tiny gray footprint every couple inches. My father said, “We were going to have it cleaned by the time you got home.” I don’t know what was funnier, the fact that my father didn’t throw the cat under the bus for being the sole culprit or that he included her in the plan to clean up the mess. In either case, I informed both of them about what had happened at the hospital, grabbed everything I needed, made a few phone calls, and raced back to the hospital. I was so afraid that I was going to miss the birth of my son…yeah, I know now that was silly to worry about that, but back then I had no idea that I had another 20+ hour wait ahead of me.
As soon as I went back into my wife’s room my uncanny gift of saying stupid things returned in full force. Gentlemen, let me help you out a bit:
- Never “Thank God” that you missed them putting in the IV because needles gross you out.
- Never drum along with the contraction monitor.
- Never justify the drumming by telling your wife the baby’s heartbeat is “funky.”
- Never keep track of the intensity of the contractions to let your wife know when she had one that beats her previous record.
- If she does not beat her previous record, never tell her that the contraction “wasn’t that bad.”
- When your wife says she is “so uncomfortable,” never compare it to how hard it is for you to sleep in the hospital chair.
- Never remind her how long this “birth thing” is taking.
- When the really heavy labor begins, saying things like “You’ve got this, piece of cake” is not a smart thing to say.
Eventually, the baby’s head was visible…at least a small part of it. I told my wife the baby’s head was almost out. The doctor said, “No it isn’t.” I saw more of the head emerge. I told my wife the baby’s head was almost out. The doctor said, “No it isn’t.” I saw more of the head emerge. I told my wife the baby’s head was almost out. The doctor said, “No it isn’t.”
- Never ask how big the baby’s head is with a surprised expression in your voice.
Finally, my son was born. It was honestly the most amazing thing I had ever experienced in my life. They moved so quickly, gave him to my wife, his color instantly changed from that gross lizardy gray, to a perfect pink. I cut the cord…dear Lord was that gross…I had heard about it and I just figured it was a snip and go kind of deal. Geez, this was like trying to carve a sausage with safety scissors!
The most magical part was that my son cried until I spoke to him for the first time. He instantly stopped and looked toward the sound of my voice. Cool.
He was so small. So innocent. And the best thing? It would be a long, long time before he was old enough to understand that the things Daddy says are usually really, really dumb.
“Actually I don’t remember being born, it must have happened during one of my black outs.” ~ Jim Morrison