Waiting is hard.
I’m not a very patient man. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you it’s true. Case and point, I am writing this in the delivery room.
When I say that, what do you picture? Probably a scene from a movie if you’re anything like me. Picture it, in all it’s celluloid glory:
Ext. City Hospital – Day
A haggard looking, bumbling, BUFFOON, jumps out of his sports car, rolls across the hood and scrambles to open the door for the drop-dead gorgeous PREGNANT WOMAN who emerges from his car.
Never mind that she moves all to fast for someone in labor.
She sheepishly looks back into the sports car, then back at him.
I’m sorry that my water broke in your car.
I’m sure it will, uh, wash out.
He is clearly heartbroken about the car.
Int. Delivery Ward – Day
The BUFFOON, wild eyed and shouting like a gas station bum, speeds the wheelchair through the halls of the hospital. He’s yelling for someone, anyone, to help them deliver the baby.
Is there a doctor in the house?
Int. DELIVERY ROOM – somehow it’s already night time
The beautiful PREGNANT LADY screams for five minutes but looks no less beautiful doing so. Then she directs a few threats towards the helpless BUFFOON in the corner before miraculously delivering the often-to-big-to-be-a-newborn baby.
Finally the DOCTOR offers to let the BUFFOON cut the umbilical cord.
Simple enough right? We’ve seen Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant do it plenty of times. Ryan Reynolds, he’s got the Buffoon act down. Julia Roberts made herself a career on being to pretty to be believable. Do you have any idea how close that stuff is to the truth?
Put it this way.
Bex is 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant right now. All week, I’ve been encouraging her to go into labor so that I wouldn’t have to go into work. Well this morning it finally happened. But without the Hollywood glitter that accompanied Hugh and Julia.
Bex woke me up at five a.m. with the news. Her water hadn’t broken but there was bleeding and contractions. So we grab the hospital bag and race out to the car. Well. . . she waddled out, stopping along the way to take a contraction break. So I had to wait for her.
When we got to labor and delivery at the hospital, there were no beds available so we had to do some more waiting. I mean, I get it, they’re busy. These babies should have had a scheduling conference instead of being rude and showing up all at once. But do you really want a moaning lady disturbing your waiting room? Anyway, we did more waiting.
Okay, so they finally brought us into the room. It was time to get this show on the road, right? Wrong. More waiting. Even though her contractions were close together and pretty strong, Bex could not meet the minimum dilation requirement to be admitted. So they sent us home with instructions not to return until the contractions became unbearable.
What a shock. More waiting. Look at my face, complete surprise. Since you are reading this I suppose you can’t actually see my face. So, for all the literalists out there, that was sarcasm.
The car ride did the trick. By the time we got home her contractions were actually unbearable and unending. It seemed like one led into another. Really, I thought she was being a big baby. The hospital had just told us we weren’t ready, how could things possibly have changed that fast? There was no waiting involved. It just didn’t seem right. But Bex insisted, so back to the hospital we went.
We waited in the freeway traffic, again. We waited in the waiting room, again. And we waited to be admitted, again. Finally, the doctor gave a green light and ordered an epidural right away.
If you’ve never experienced the magic of an epidural, trust me, that is some strange witchcraft. Bex spent pretty much our entire day moaning in pain every single time her uterus threatened a revolt. One little shot in the spine and she was beyond Cheech and Chong comfortable. They gave the wonder drugs a few minutes to work their charm, then the nurse came in to check on us.
“I’m doing fine thanks. Maybe I could go for a turkey sandwich and Diet Pepsi? Oh, you meant my wife. Well this is awkward, unless you’re still offering that sandwich?”
Bex told her that she was feeling a lot better. The nurse checked the monitors and smiled. When we asked her what was so funny, she explained that Bex was at a full contraction while we were having that conversation.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. That stuff is good for the wife and the husband. No really, I got plenty of time to rest without listening to her cry and scream all night. Not that I would mind sweetie. In any other context, that sounds like an amazing night.
So here we are, the nurse is standing by, Bex is in position, and we are ready for things to happen. Well, not exactly. We have, you guessed it, a little more waiting to do. That’s why I have the time to sit here and write this.
It’s amazing. There was no Bufoon moment, no dramatic race to the hospital, and really no rush at all. Now, as I’m sitting here, I’m struck by how peaceful everything seems to be. The lights are low. It’s quiet in here. Bex is napping while she dilates. It’s the calm before the storm. And-
The nurse just came in and told me to go to sleep. She says I’ll need my strength later. How much strength does it take to wait?
Apparently, a lot.