If you think this is a story about comic timing, you're right. But it's not your average story about how to tell a joke, or add proper inflection in your voice to make things sound funny. It's about waiting for my first child to be born. And by waiting I mean standing there in total fear and amazement. Because when you are having a baby, you have to hurry up and wait.
My son, who is now seven, is the most wonderful child ever. I know, I know, everyone has the most wonderful kid, but mine truly is the most wonderful. I know, I'm biased, but I also see the kids that he goes to school with and by far, he is heads above the rest. He is kind and considerate of others. He is always willing to help and doesn't think twice about sharing. But this was not always the case. He did not want to come out, he wanted to stay in his happy place.
People with children and people who are expecting children will understand this next part. No offense to people who don't have kids, yet, but try to put yourself in out shoes for a brief moment. Think back to High School and you were waiting for your SAT scores to come in the mail. Do they still come in the mail? Anyway, that excited, nervous, anticipatory feeling you got is kind of like waiting for a child to be born. You are hurrying up to wait for the inevitable.
“I'm pregnant”, those words really do change the way you think, the way you conduct yourself for the rest of your life. Especially when you hear them for the first time in your life. So many thoughts ran through my head all within a few seconds. The first one that I remember is HOLY SHIT! Followed by You're kidding. Now remember this is what went on in my head, not out loud. How it came out was Really? Are you sure? We should go to a professional, we need a doctor. Yes, I know captain obvious strikes again.
A few days go by and my wife's co-worker recommends a practice and a specific doctor. We (and by we I really mean she) call and make an appointment. Apparently it is one of the busiest practices where we live and are lucky to get in. Now as a man I am about to embark on a new adventure, the waiting room of an OBGYN. I have never been to one but can only assume that there will be absolutely no Sports Illustrated, Baseball Weekly or anything resembling a men's magazine on the premises. And to my recollection I was right. What was in the waiting room? Pregnant women, lots of pregnant women. And none of them looked blissfully happy to be there either. I felt like I was getting the evil eye from some of them. After all it was my kind that put them in a waiting room at 10:30am on a Tuesday. Sorry ladies it take two to do the horizontal hora.
Well the doctor confirmed what we knew, that a baby is on the way. The doctor was very nice, warm and seemed genuinely concerned for my wife and our unborn child. I felt comfortable knowing that this man was going to help us through the next nine months. After that visit we did what every expectant parent does, we hit the bookstore. Yes, the bookstore, I mean you want to be educated about every aspect of this life changing process. We bought books, searched eBay at two in the morning for used copies, because you now have to be fiscally responsible, you have a child on the way. The there was the prenatal vitamins, everyday making sure she took all the vitamins she had to take, I was being the vitamin Nazi. I was calling to make sure she took the vitamins, knowing damn well that she was, but you get nuts when you're expecting. “Expect to Lose Your Mind When You Are Expecting”, that's what they should call that book, not “What to Expect When You're Expecting”. Unless you want to be more confused, do not read that book.
Fast forward to Lamaze. Yes we signed up for Lamaze classes. Now unless you don't know, women have been giving birth since the dawn of time, so a class on how to breathe and relax during this process is futile to say the least. We go with an open mind, we want to learn all there is to know. Having a “birth plan”, what the fuck is that? Yes my wife plans of giving birth, as far as the plan goes, it's to get to the hospital as fast as possible. We opted for drugs, and that does not make the Lamaze coach (drill sergeant) happy. Did I really give two shits if I was offending anyone, no. That was our birth plan, get as high as possible so you didn't feel the pain. But we still went to these classes, for what reason I have no idea. There were people taking notes for Christ's sake. I was cracking jokes, making wise-ass remarks and getting evil looks from the Lamaze Nazi and the note takers. So maybe that's why we went, so I could one day write about how funny it was and how ridiculous it all seemed back then.
Then unexpectedly we hit a major bump in the road. My wife was having complications and needed to be on bed rest. Now I'm totally freaking out. Oh and that's not all. Our caring, compassionate, concerned for my wife and unborn child doctor also informed us that he will not be here for the remainder of the pregnancy. I'm sorry, what the fuck did you just say? Yes, you heard right. This was like the movie Knocked Up, way before Knocked Up ever made it to a theater. Now I'm pissed, this guy knew my name, he knew everything about us and our unborn child. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? How do you ask “OK doc, who's like you in this practice?” and “why the hell are you leaving us?, don't you know we have abandonment issues? you fucking prick”. But we were nice and didn't want to rock the boat and took his recommendation.
Oh, I almost forgot the reason he was leaving, he had to go on a mission, not like a mission impossible mission, but a Mormon Church mission to France. A fucking Mormon mission to France? During our first pregnancy? You couldn't tell us that in the beginning? I was duped, because he wasn't wearing a crisp white short sleeved button down shirt with a black tie and name tag that had the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints on it. No he was dressed like a normal person, I felt completely violated. So my trust level for any doctor has now sunk to a new low.
Back to his recommendation for the replacement. He was cold, never remembered our names, he was very clinical and methodical. Every visit was the same, this is how big you are, this is how along you are, this is how much your baby grew, see you next time. He was the exact polar opposite of what we had in our French Mormon mission doctor. We were not happy, but had no choice. Time to hurry up and wait for the baby to arrive.
Well the due date has come and gone. We are trying everything to get this baby out and I do mean everything. Walking, sex (I applaud my wife for allowing that one to happen), more walking and more sex. Still no baby on the way. We are now about a week overdue. We go see Dr. personality and he says if it does not come soon (like within the next few days) he will schedule an induction. Now as far as I know this should have been an easy process, you call the hospital and set it up, then the baby comes. But not for us. The hospital was booked. OK how the fuck is a hospital booked, it's a special hospital mind you, one for women and children only. But there were no openings (trust me I called the hospital directly) and we had to wait for an opening, like this was some highfalutin restaurant. Again we were hurrying up to wait.
We finally get the call, on this date please be there at 2am. 2am? Are you fucking kidding me? But we have no choice in the matter, we show up at 1:30am, we'll show them. What are they gonna do make us wait? Yes, we waited. We finally get a room, my wife is getting hooked up will all sorts of buzzers and
bells. I was just sitting there watching taking this all in, learning what every beep and electronic sound meant. I was a smoker back then, and let me tell you I smoked a cigarette every 15 minutes. I was beyond stressed. They give my wife the epidural, she starts to get numb where she needs to be numb and now I'm hoping that the dole out drugs to the expecting fathers just to keep us calm, but you and I both know the answer to that.
We are now on our way to having a baby, all signs are looking good, then, a loud beeping sound is blaring from the heart monitor (see I was paying attention). I am now slowly freaking out, a nurse runs in and checks what she needs to check and things go back to normal. I go have a cigarette, come back up and there goes that annoying beeping again. More nurses this time and the beeping is louder, which is not a good sign by any beeping standards. I am standing in a corner, helpless, not knowing what to do, asking myself, where the fuck is Dr. personalty. Seriously get this man in here now. The nurses are moving my wife, who cannot feel anything below the waist, from her back to her front, putting her on all fours, making sure the baby is fine. I'm still standing in the corner, wanting to light up a cigarette right there. Finally I here the doctor is on his way, meanwhile there is banter about an emergency c-section. They are asking me and my wife if that is OK. Really? Seriously? Yes, yes and yes, please get our baby out! But we are still waiting, this time for the doctor.
The doctor arrives, does the usual poking and prodding, the head nurse gives him the synopsis and he turns to me, as serious as can be and says “we are taking this baby naturally”. He was as calm as I have ever seen anyone in a crazy war like situation. He was in the trenches and looked like he was playing a round of golf. I actually felt calm for the first time in hours. My son was ready to finally enter this world, but he was “stuck”. The doctor looks and says “I need your help, are you OK?”. “Yes, what do you need”. The doctor “I need you to hold your wife's legs and count to ten and tell her to push, can you do that?” I answer “Yes”. The waiting is finally over.
I am now Lamaze Nazi Drill Sergeant Father To Be Steven. Legs in arm, counting to ten like I have never counted before, yelling push harder at the top of my lungs. I see my son! He's almost out! He's almost there and then all of a sudden, among all the grossness he finally enters the world! Then I look at my wife, she is sweating, her eyes have almost popped out of her head and I'm standing there with her legs in my arms, I look back down and notice that my son's head is pointy. Very pointy. This worries me, the nurse notices me looking at him and says that's normal he has been in the canal a long time, everything will be fine. I breathe a sigh of relief, turn to the doctor and say these exact words, “looks like he could give Dan Aykroyd a run for his money”. The doctor, I shit you not, started laughing, it was the first time I ever saw him crack a smile let alone laugh. I thanked him and he was out the door. This time it really was all in the delivery.