A friend of mind recently had his first child and was lamenting the sleepless nights, endless diapers, and general travails of being a new parent. Puh-leeze. I have little to no sympathy for that. Give me a call when you have had your fourth child, and are so deep in the parenting tunnel that there is no light, and the chance for it grows slimmer by the day.
But, this friend is also rather funny and is a great writer, and told the story of his drive to the hospital with his laboring wife. It reminded me of one of my trips to the hospital that I thought was worthy of a brief story.
After our first child, the LW and I thought we were pros, and that the second delivery would be a cinch. We had already been through it once, knew what to expect, and figured there would be no surprises. So, when the LW started to feel the first contractions, we kept a level head and did not panic. It was about 11 at night, because our children do not want to enter the world in the full light of day. They preferred to sneak in under the cloak of darkness so they can rob me of one more night’s rest if at all possible. A day-time delivery would have been too easy.
The LW said, “You know, I think I would like to sit in the bath tub and enjoy the solitude while I can. I know it is going to be a little crazy, but I don’t want to rush to the hospital. Let’s hang out for a little while before we head over there.”
Although I should not have been, I was a little surprised. I didn’t roll my eyes or anything, but I am the kind of person who likes to get to the airport with ample time to get to the plane. You never know how long the lines are going to be, and who knows, you might want to grab a beer or something before you jump onto the crazy flying machine. The LW prefers to get there as they are closing the doors causing as much stress as possible.
But, not being one to argue with an extremely pregnant woman, I said that would be fine. So we talked and laughed and had a grand time. Or, at least we did until the heavy labor set in.
All of a sudden the LW decided she had had enough. It was time to go. Then the panic set in.
LW- “Oh no. We’ve waited too long! We’re not going to make it! I am going to have this baby now!”
Me- “First of all, I told you so (the first thing you never say to a woman in labor). Secondly, it’s going to be fine. I can get us there in plenty of time. I’m an expert driver, remember?”
LW- “Be quiet. Do not argue with me. Grab our stuff and take me to the hospital. Now.”
I did. We took my car, for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, it is awesome. 1997 Toyota Four-runner. It had the distinction of taking every one of my babies home from the hospital, had a four wheel drive system that could take it literally anywhere (which it did, and incidentally, is very helpful in the city of Atlanta), and had a roof rack so it looked cool. The only thing it lacked was a winch, which I am working on.
We pulled up to the hospital with the brakes smoking and tires squealing. I had to pull into the emergency parking where they keep the ambulances because the LW was convinced the child was already half way out. I plopped her in a wheel chair and started running down the hall.
The security guard saw us rapidly approaching and got up to see what he could do. I threw him my keys, told him not to park it next to a car that was in worse shape than mine (“All those dents happened the last time I was here. Hehehe.”), and hoped he would find me later. He did, and was extremely nice about it. I don’t think that is the first time he has had to do that.
Then, about 20 minutes later, we had a new baby girl. Remember what I said about getting to the plane as the doors are closing? It turns out that translates into the rest of her life as well.