Right? And we’d made a deal, my hubby and I.
Some of you will remember from my previous post that, after months of hair pulling, and arguing and then some re-thinking, we had agreed that Alex, my birth reluctant husband, would stay by my side through the hours of early labor, but I would do the pushing alone. Then, one of the deal makers fell asleep during his portion of the deal. I’m not naming names, but it wasn’t me, it was him. Yep, fell dead asleep and had forgotten ( conveniently, hmmmmm?) to turn on the ringer on his phone.
So why was I so agreeable about delivering my baby alone? Didn’t I have a parent, or my sister or a close friend that would have been my cheerleader? I did, yes, but listen, I don’t leave the house without a pedicure, I sure as hell wasn’t going to display myself all sweaty and pooping, for anybody, family or otherwise. I’ve watched every episode of ‘A Baby Story’ on TLC, and I just can’t get over the audiences that some women haul in for the viewing- their parents, their siblings, their neighbors, the plumber. Not for me, not for me.
Secondly, I tend to err on the side of irritable, and I knew that a lot of useless platitudes were not going to go over well. The only person I was interested in hearing from regarding my progress was my doctor, thank you. Now, I’m not saying that I would have been happy to hear, “Man, you really suck at this. That baby’s never coming out”. I wasn’t looking for that much truthfulness. The bottom line, it was either me and my husband or me alone. So it was me alone.
I’d come to the hospital in the evening, two days after my due date. I wasn’t showing any signs of labor, but the baby was showing some mild distress. The plan was for me to get a good nights sleep and be induced at 6:00am. They gave me something to prepare my cervix for the induction and told us that it could cause some cramping and there was a small chance that I would go into labor, la la la, we weren’t listening. I sent Alex home to sleep. I went into labor.
And my husband had apparently died, that much was obvious. He had died, and now I had to bring this child into the world and then care for him all by myself. Where would we live? How would I make ends meet? Why had Alex died on this day of all days? And how? Was it an aneurysm? Had he fallen off the balcony? Been carjacked on the way home?
All these thoughts I had, and then I might have called the police. Okay, yes, yes I did call the police. One of my more awkward conversations to be sure- explaining to the dispatcher that I was in the hospital in labor and couldn’t find my husband and could they go to my house and find which closet he had inadvertently locked himself in, please? But would any of you have acted differently? I mean, I knew he couldn’t be sleeping through all those calls. Not unless he forgot to turn his ringer on and that wasn’t likely seeing as though I was in the hospital to have a BABY.
And I was hungry, god I was so hungry. They. Will. Not. Feed. You. when you are in labor. No amount of begging will change this. They laugh right in your face. Your hunger pangs are sweet music to their blackened souls. Okay, none of that is true, but they really don’t back down on the eating thing and it was rather upsetting, but I digress…… Alex’s call to me came in at about 5:30 am, just as the dispatcher was giving me the update that the trusty cops were in our lobby, about to commence ‘Operation Hormones.’ Thanks anyway, men in blue! Seems he was just getting a much needed nap.
He apologized. He came right away. He felt terrible and I went out of my way to make sure that he felt even more terrible, but there was no time to dwell, the pitocin had worked quickly and it was baby time. He kissed me goodbye, looking nervous and sad, but I was focused. Deep breath in, hold for ten, do it again. About forty-five minutes in, there came a knock at the door and a hesitant “hello?” ( which I remember thinking was so funny- knocking and saying hello like I was in there having a tea party). It was Alex. He crept up to the bedside, sheepish. He looked scared and unsure of where to stand or put his hands or what to say. So that’s what this was all about, I thought. He’s a fraidy cat. Deep breath in, count to ten…. When I opened my eyes he was gone again.
Then, after about two hours, everything intensified; the doctor showed up, the pressure was immense, I was pushing with so much emotion and anticipation and somewhere in the background I heard that door open again. There he was, and this time he stayed. He was right beside me as our son emerged and leaned over gasping with me at the sight of this little miracle laying on my chest. The umbilical cord was offered, he cut it. The baby was whisked under the heat lamp and he rushed over, watching in amazement. Did you catch the romantic irony of the whole thing? We had both done the opposite of what we had pledged to do and we both did just fine and it didn’t matter anyway because our son was the whole point and he was perfect.
But, how did you keep from killing your husband, you might be asking? His ringer was off? I know, I know, believe me, I know. But, it was a mistake, an honest one and one that he sorely regrets, and I’d just given birth, so not the best time to start a prison sentence. But don’t worry about me. Oh no. I’ve gained something priceless-I can hang this over his head forever! A lifetime of guilt trips just sittin’ in my back pocket, waiting to be used! You see, you have to be openminded, I always say. Look at a situation from every angle. There’s always a silver lining.