“Oh forget about it! They’re over!” I was fed up with stupid contractions. Jeff was trying to count them and time them and figure out when this baby was going to relieve us both of the agony that is the 9th month of pregnancy. I had been having contractions for a whole week—Monday to Monday and my nerves were wearing very thin. Every day I thought, “today is the day” “today is going to be your birthday, little Spanky” “these contractions are 8 minutes apart, you are coming now.” And everyday I had been wrong. Everyday I also got crankier, but you’ll have to ask Jeff about that!
“That was a good one, huh?” Jeff wasn’t giving up.
“Yeah, it was pretty hard. But they are slowing down again. I’m going to sleep.” I took out my contacts out and put them by the bed. I didn’t even bring my phone upstairs to bed because I knew that, like every other night for the past week, I wouldn’t need it.
So Jeff read his fly fishing book and I closed my eyes…
Have you ever heard a story about a brave man who jumped on top of a grenade to save his buddies in the war? Well, I can tell you exactly what that man must have felt in his final moments because that is exactly what happened inside my belly once the contacts were out and I rolled over in bed around 1131. A grenade exploded in my uterus! I heard a “pop” and involuntarily curled my 157 pounds up in a ball and let out a loud, guttural moan which Jeff immediately recognized as the sound of hard labor.
They say you forget the pain of labor, but that particular sensation was so surreal and so unexpected that I can assure you I will be bribing you, poor boy with the memory of it until I die. “WHAT, you want to ride a WHAT kind of motorcycle? You are going to get hurt, and let me tell you, Mister, I KNOW about hurt…”
Jeff jumped right into action. All of that boloney about comforting your partner in labor—well, he was too busy trying to find his keys. He was on the phone before that first contraction passed enough for me to uncurl on the bed calleing his sister, Auntie Jen, to come stay with Darla while we went to the hospital. I could hear him throwing open doors and grabbing things downstairs. Then I heard Darla crying in her crib. This baby was due in two days, why he hadn’t bothered to pack yet is still a mystery. He says to Jen, “We need you here NOW.” Click.
Next call: Dr Bohn. Meanwhile I’m upstairs yelling, “Jeff can you bring me a bucket? I’m going to hurl!” To which he lovingly replied, “Can’t you make it to the toilet?”
My handy husband had installed a toilet upstairs (where I was in our new bedroom) just 3 days earlier. I crawled pitifully toward it, hunched over thinking, I will just throw up and then I can get myself downstairs and into the car when BLAAAAMMMO here comes contraction number two. All of a sudden I feel two familiar feelings–not cozy familiar, but hang-nail familiar. The first feeling was that, yes, I was about to die. There was no way I could continue to labor and deliver the baby because I was going to keel over and die from the pain at any moment. The second feeling was the urge to push.
Jeff was upstairs again still on the phone with our Doctor. “Tell her I feel like pushing.” I snapped.
He said into the phone, “Well, we’ll try. But I don’t know if we are going to make it.”
He hung up and I moaned, “I have to push RIGHT now!”
“Do you want me to call 9-1-1?”
I hadn’t even THOUGHT of that! Here we had a beautiful solution: I didn’t have to crawl downstairs at all, and we could just have the baby right here.
“uh huh” I managed to whimper.
I crawled again, to get away from the toilet. Even if it was newly remodeled, I didn’t want my baby born in a bathroom. What a way to start your life!
I got myself off of the brand new bathroom tile and onto the hardwood floor. Feeling some primal urge to make a nest, right there beside the ShopVac and the buckets of tools still lingering from the remodel, I knelt and gathered scraps of cloth as Jeff called the paramedics.
They instructed him to “undress her from the waist down” which turned out not to be as easy as it used to be.
And about a nano-second after this underwear ordeal I had my third contraction during which Jeff told the operator he could see the baby’s head. “I knew it!” I thought, “now I can push”.
I had that last contraction while Jeff held the phone in the crook of his neck holding the (not freshly laundered) sheet that had been on our bed to catch the baby. Next thing I knew Jeff was saying on the phone, “yeah, yeah… Well, the baby is here. …Yes, the baby is here.”
You were born!
We have since received a tape of the 9-1-1 call Jeff made. It’s about ten minutes long and reveals a couple of things: First, Jeff had to convince the operator that we needed paramedics (hello!) which stressed him out a bit. Once he was reassured they were on their way he calmed down considerably and remained calm for the rest of the night. Second, I was in shock and acting like a lunatic, which… it seems to me is forgivable.
Once you were out I grabbed the phone from Jeff and said, “OK, it’s me! Tell me what to do! Tell me what to do!” and proceeded to repeat, in a very frantic tone, every word the paramedic on the phone said.
“Now keep the baby warm.”
“Now keep the baby warm!”
“Now tie the cord approximately 8 inches from the baby.”
“Now tie the cord approximately 8 inches from the baby!”
and on and on.
Once the cord was tied off with Jeff’s shoelace the operator told us to “Put Baby on Mommy’s chest”. “PUT BABY ON MOM’S CHEST.”
Well, I got my hands on you and I don’t remember much else. Evidently there was a siren outside and Jeff went to show the firemen where we were. On the tape you hear me cooing, “Well hello, little guy.” And the phone went back to Jeff. But I remember none of that. I was all about my new son crying your little cry and looking around at the lights.
The paramedic on the phone kept congratulating Jeff, “You delivered your own baby. That is pretty exciting, Sir.”
Auntie Jen got to our house the same time as the paramedics and hung out with Darla for the next 20 hours or so at our house. She cleaned everything and was generally the Super Auntie every kid should have.
On to the important details of the story! There were six firemen. And sure, they were late, but that must have been because the station was waiting to dispatch the cute ones for me! Holy hunks, Batman. These guys could be in movies. They were so nice and even happy to be there. They guessed you weighed 6-7 pounds, gave you a 10 on the Apgar scale and took everyone’s blood pressure, vital signs, things like that.
“How long before we got here was he born?”
“about three minutes”
“ok, we’ll say 1143 is when he was born, Ok?”
My strapping, muscular firemen helped Jeff put you in the car seat wrapped in our bathroom towel. Never one to neglect handsome men, I put on my cutest maternity outfit and hugged the nice boys goodbye.
We stayed at the hospital for a grand total of about 16 hours during which time all the nurses and doctors treated Jeff like visiting royalty. He was like one of them now–delivering babies all willy nilly.
We won’t tell him it was you and me who did all the work.