having a baby
Labor Day Submission: Me Versus Goliath
The story of my second labor starts with Goliath. Goliath is our couch. I hate this thing. It’s a monstrously huge sectional, in this beige-tan-weird non-color that shows All.The.Stains. All of them.
I had no choice in Goliath, because it predates me, having come along with my husband when we moved in together. Goliath is also an expensive piece of furniture, so it gets to stay, even though I would gladly drag the thing into the yard and burn it if I thought for a moment I would get away with it. It’s also worth noting that my husband loves this damn thing.
Goliath is an integral part of this story, though, because for the last week or so of my second pregnancy, Goliath’s recliner was the only place that I could sleep without heartburn fucking me up.
The night that I finally went into labor, I had tossed and turned in bed before finally giving in and returning to Goliath. My husband was a correctional officer at the local prison at the time, and had to be up at four to get ready for work. I figured no reason to make him miserable too—although the thought was slightly more than momentarily tempting.
Unlike every other night, I didn’t drift off in the recliner right away. Instead, I shifted, I fidgeted, I bamfuzzled back and forth. It was simply impossible to get comfortable.
Suddenly—quite unexpectedly, even–there was a wet sensation in a certain area. Amazingly, my slightly-more-than nine months pregnant form managed to leap to my feet and run to our bathroom, grateful that our house is tiny.
Sure enough, I was experiencing a good deal of bloody show. My husband, in the meantime, walks into the bathroom, dressed in his uniform, to brush his teeth. He takes one look at me, standing there bowlegged, pajama bottoms tossed in the hamper, staring at down at whatever the hell that is on the floor, and his eyes go wide.
Me: “Hon, I think the baby is coming.”
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t, “Really? Are you fucking kidding me? I just got dressed.” Which was not, by any means, directed at me, but rather at fate, for not starting this show BEFORE he was already dressed in full uniform.
He called his boss, only to be put on hold. He’s looking at me. The question comes.
“Did you get it on the couch?”
Now, I must say, I am not quite that devious. I have devised a number of plots to try to replace this damn thing, but I would never go so far as actually putting bodily fluids on it.
I’m not sure he entirely bought my denial, but his supervisor came on the phone and my mom arrived at the same time, so we moved on, the three of us loading up into my Malibu and heading for the hospital.
At this point, it was five o’ clock in the morning. The city was empty, and the hospital was maybe fifteen minutes away. Unfortunately, we quickly began to hit every stoplight, because my mother is cursed and cannot miss a redlight.
Perhaps I should have mentioned that this is the third time my husband has escorted a woman in labor to the hospital—he’s done this twice before, when his daughters were born. So imagine my surprise when my car is being jerked about, back and forth, running redlights. We were five minutes into the voyage before I screamed, “Goddamit, quit driving like this is your first time driving a woman to the hospital!”
To which my beloved partner replied, “NO ONE CARES ABOUT REDLIGHTS, YOU ARE HAVING A BABY!” and my mother began softly praying in the backseat.
Surprisingly, labor itself wasn’t a big deal. I’m a wuss, so I took the epidural, and asked if I could have it a little stronger, maybe enough for the next 18 years??? Sadly, the anesthesiologist said no. Spoilsport.
It wasn’t until the last hour—abut noon—that things began to get interesting again. My son’s heart rate plummeted. The nurse had me roll my side. She paged my doctor, who worked across the street. We waited anxiously.
My doctor walked in the door, less than fifteen minutes later, and looked around. She took note of my son’s heartbeat and said, “Where is everyone?”
We’re confused. We’re not the keeper of the hospital staff. She sighed, and her normally chipper and cheerful face—the same face that once said, “Your uterus is so beautifully enlarged!” with absolute worshipful awe and wonder at a prenatal appointment—settled into a look that can only be described as vengeful, righteous wrath.
She rolled up the sleeves of her scrubs and began tearing the room apart, getting it ready for delivery, prepping the incubator, pulling out stirrups—everything. All the things there’s normally staff to do, my OB was doing. She paused momentarily and rounded on my husband, “You! You get on that intercom, and you tell them that we are having a baby down here, right now, if any of them want to show up.”
My husband, quite dutifully and perhaps even joyfully, hit the intercom and faithfully delivered the message. A very stern nurse walked into the room moments later. You could see the lecture on her face fade as she stammered, “Doctor! We had no idea you were on the floor!”
To which my doctor said, “I am delivering a baby. I can do this by myself, but I would prefer help.”
Quite suddenly, my delivery room filled with a crowd of people. Apparently, one pissed off obstetrician is cause for the entire floor’s nursing staff to join us.
When it was all said and done, I had a healthy baby boy at 10 lbs, 8.9 oz, and all I wanted that night was to be back at home.
Maybe asleep in that damned recliner.
(photo: Stocksnapper/ Shutterstock)