Birth Story: The Waiting Game
Once I got that text from my wife, I asked my boss if I could leave. There are certain things in life that illicit a, “Say no more” from men. Two of those things are menstruation and water breaking. We don’t know all that goes on with those things and we usually don’t want to know, so do what you gotta do but say no more. So I walk into my boss’s office and said
Me: Hey boss. My wife’s water just broke so…
Boss: [interrupting me, holding up his hand as if stiff-arming a defender] Say no more. Go.
A lot has changed in childbirth over the decades. For example, men other than doctors can now be actively involved in the labor and delivery process and technology has advanced significantly. But a few things seem to remain constant: 1) that white birth blanket with blue and red/pink stripes and 2) the mystery and awe surrounding the water breaking. As I was leaving the office, I could hear my coworkers saying, “Water broke? I remember getting that call,” and “Clean up. Aisle 6. Bring a mop.”
Since contractions hadn’t begun, I wasn’t in a huge rush and said a prayer for my wife as I drove home. As involved as us dads are now, there’s nothing we do that comes close to what the moms go through in labor. So I prayed for her health and the health of Baby #2 as his or her birth was drawing near.
I get home and my wife is leisurely surfing the Web, my daughter is reading a book, and my sister is finishing up some work. For the next few hours, it was really, really hard not to ask my wife if she was having contractions yet every few minutes – I would’ve been the equivalent of a kid asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
So we wait. And wait. And wait.
June becomes July and my wife is as pregnant as ever. We go to sleep that night, fully aware that this could be the last night we get 8 straight hours of sleep in quite some time, but slightly disappointed that our new baby is not in our arms.
We wake up and of course, the first thing I say is, “Did you have any contractions?” In retrospect a “good morning,” or “I love you,” would’ve been better. Nope. None yet.
I took my daughter out that day but made sure to stay close to home. I saw a mother at Target who was either baby sitting kids or had a very fertile womb. Six kids! Some were on leashes – in 2010, parents not only take their pets but their kids out for walks. I’m not hating. If you’ve got six kids, you gotta do what you gotta do to corral them. Personally, I’d use duct tape and a flat-bed cart, but that’s just me. But seeing her kids pining for her attention made me a bit sad for my daughter. She’s still having issues sharing, but sharing your toys is one thing; sharing your parents is completely different.
At that moment, I get a phone call from my wife and my heart starts racing.
Wife: Hi you. Could you pick up some (some item we needed) while you’re there?
Me: *whomp whomp* yeah…sure.
I get home and of course, the first thing I say is, “Hi honey.” Followed immediately with a “Feel anything yet?” 😛 Nope.
It’s now early in the evening and still nothing. During dinner, my wife still had a very good appetite so we figured the baby wouldn’t come anytime soon.
Then at 8:06pm, my wife had her first mild contraction. She’d been having smaller ones before, but this was the first sustained contraction. At 8:22pm, she had another one – 16 minutes apart, so I run to the cars and double-check to see if we have everything.
It’s now 8:50 and since I’ve restrained myself from asking my wife if she felt anything no less than 8 times, I figure I’m allowed to ask. Nope. Nothing.
So we wait.
At 9:50pm, I put our daughter down for bed and I’m thinking, “If this baby comes tonight, her world is going to be completely changed when she wakes up.”
At 9:58pm, my wife has a decent contraction where she had to stop what she was doing and focus.
10:05pm, another one. That’s 7 minutes apart! We call the midwife and ask him what we should do. Seven minutes isn’t very close but because my wife was so far along (4-5cm dilated 4 days ago), he wasn’t too sure what to do. He recommended waiting a bit more to see what would happen.
She had two more contractions at 10:12 and 10:19. At that point the midwife said to come in and we left our daughter at home with my sister at 10:25pm.
On the ride over, we figured we’d get sent back home since the contractions were getting farther apart – likely due to the change in scenery. In the car, they were about 9 minutes apart and pretty short in duration. But we figured it’d give us peace of mind to have her examined.
We got to the birth center at 11:07pm and I didn’t bring any of our bags in. The midwife examined my wife.
Tomorrow: Should we stay or should we go?