A humorous tale of how not to handle the birth of your child or a gentle reminder for fathers-to-be of what not to do.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. It is a time to rejoice and reminisce about the growing importance of moms giving birth. Generally, long labor times become longer with time as the child grows into adulthood. My mother-in-law after fifty-three years walked the twenty miles through a small parking lot because my father-in-law parked so far away. My wife had a very short labor and to hear her tell the story today, she gave birth moments after reaching the hospital. I want to set the record straight and give some insight to fathers-to-be.
I worked late one Friday evening because of a phone call coming just before closing. I called my very pregnant wife to explain my lateness. My cell rings almost home and the panicked voice, “WHERE ARE YOU?”
“Two turns away, I’ll be home in a couple.”
I entered the house and she stood at the top of the stairs. Before I said hello, her eyes bulge out of her head as her face turned red. “Is that a contraction?”
“Yeeeeeesssss,” a slow guttural groan came through her nose. As the pressure subsided, she managed several snarky comments about her condition.
Being the coach, I bought a stopwatch and whistle. However, if I touched the whistle I’d be blowing from a part of my body I didn’t think possible. I loaded her, the go-bag, and other necessities into the car and drove to the hospital while timing the contractions. It was my fault the road chosen for the trip was torn up for repaving. I still hear about nineteen years later when we travel down the road and it gets bumpier every year.
Not seeing any wheelchairs near the maternity ward, we walked in and took the elevator to the second floor. The triage nurse took us to the assessment room with a lackadaisical attitude as first-time parents tend to be overcautious. As we entered the room, my wife doubles over in pain, eyes practically hanging from the sockets, and groans out in extreme pain.
Concern reached the nurse’s voice as I stopped the watch, “How long since the last contraction?”
“Two minutes and two seconds.”
Panic settled into her bones and she efficiently ushers us to a birthing room. She called our OB-GYN and told him to hurry. Apparently, he wanted to shower first because she was sternly heard, “Just put deodorant on and get here.”
Here is where I got in trouble. The doctor arrived around six-thirty, examined my wife, and then talked with me. It didn’t take long and we were exchanging dad jokes back and forth. Until the screech in the middle of an unyielding pang, “STOP MAKING JOKES.”
The doctor checked in at seven and I whispered, “Are you going to finish by seven-thirty.” The doctor looked strangely at me and my lovely wife, not in contraction, “You are going to miss Jeopardy, get over it.”
I managed to keep my mouth shut until eight-thirty and she became a mom of a beautiful daughter. It was less than three hours from water breaking to birth which is quite remarkable for the firstborn from the tales of other mothers. However, after nineteen years, those were the shortest three hours in human history.
My warning for fathers-to-be is don’t make jokes during labor. I don’t care how funny they are, she is not in the mood for them.
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