Have you ever noticed that most comedies involving families usually involve one of the major crisis events of life? The events we can all relate to set a perfect back-drop to the most memorable moments. Traveling fiascos, weddings and especially BIRTHS…oh, the birth stories. Many a movie and episode has played up the humor involved with a woman in total distress and those around her usually contributing to that distress. There is a very good reason men are often told to boil water or go find ice in such circumstances.
Today’s story is NOT my birth story. I repeat, NOT a birth story. Instead, it is a false alarm story in which I meet one of the world’s worst birth coaches of all time; the 6:00 newscasters.
On October 30, 2012 the world was in a bit of a panic. The weight of the imminent was upon us; Halloween candy was being ripped from shelves for trick or treaters and church events, events were being finalized, early voting and election forecasts were in full swing, and in our case, my husband had just returned from overseas. There were two more little pressing issues… one was my Secondborn, whose head was pressing on my ankles. The other was Hurricane Sandy.
Now, hurricanes are a lot like childbirth. You know it’s coming. Big or small, it is still a hurricane. It’s going to impact everyone. No matter how prepared you are, it still somehow sends everyone into a scramble. “Pressure” is not an accurate description.
We knew it was coming, but Secondborn surprised us. Due on Thanksgiving, I was prepared for a holiday baby. I suspected he would arrive during Veteran’s Day weekend if he came early, because my paternal family members invariably have birthdays on or within 5 days of a federal holiday.
I did NOT suspect Halloween would be the holiday. After a full day of going from ‘uncomfortable’ to ‘Mother of PEARL this hurts!’, I realized I had to go in. I loaded up the bags and stroller, enough snacks to survive the apocalypse, drove the Firstborn and I to the hospital and instructed Hubby to meet me there. We arrived to see another expectant mother reach her car and put the reverse lights on…and sit…and check her phone…and apply lipstick…
I honked. It was a friendly “I’m in labor and you’re not. MOVE or I will ruin the leather in your car. Thanks!” honk. Once Hubby arrived and took over the bags and stroller I waddled in to check in. They had no record of me. Seriously.
While they called to search for a possibility of a doctor, I got gowned up and settled in a bed. I waited for the nurses to leave and then texted the awesome woman who had been my OB throughout. She responded and promised to get to me faster than FEMA.
As I waited and tried to get comfortable with a baby elephant on my bladder, I looked over the white and blue patterned pull-curtain encircling my hospital bed to see the familiar flashing lights of a television. As my very insides warred against themselves in a contraction, the news began coverage of Hurricane Sandy, which was blowing up the northeastern coast. Despite the warning, you can always find someone who is truly shocked by the weather. Naturally, they had to show interviews of New Yorkers who could totally handle Sandy:
It doesn’t always go to plan, does it, Zuko, Baby?
I was helpless to change the channel. There was only one other woman in the room next to me, on the other side of the curtain. We were in the same situation, and the weight of the world was suddenly on my bladder. Clutching my basketball belly and wincing above gritted teeth, the worst birth commentary ever began.
“Well, we all knew this was coming. Were warned but nothing really can fully prepare you for these things until it happens.”
I looked up at the top half of the screen in disbelief. Ron Burgundy was NOT going to coach me through a contraction.
“Clearly the people here took precautions. They have food ready, prepared their house as best as possible for the potential floods that will come through, but now there is nothing to do but just get through it.”
NO. Not happening. My house was not ready! I hadn’t even voted! There were no frozen meals ready. My camera battery wasn’t charged. We had no arrangements for Firstborn. I was one of those ‘not ready’ storm people!
“You can see the pressure moving through the area- just incredible- and we have to advise that everyone get to a safe place as quickly as possible. “
Done. Now where was someone who could catch the baby?! I could hear the faint sounds of my son in his stroller being pushed around the waiting area by my husband. Good night, Nurse. NOT happening.
By now the contraction was really peaking. My weatherman-coach was ready.
“The thing to do now is just to bear down, push through it and wait for it to pass. There will be moments of calm throughout the storm but it will certainly get worse before it gets better. Then we can assess the damage.”
I stared in disbelief. A birth coach via perfectly/terribly timed television program? No. This was my second child. I don’t need a weatherman to tell me which way the wind blows. It reminded me of the movie version of 1984 when the citizens are directed to do morning exercises by a woman on a screen. Big Brother Weatherman was not going to be watching this birth.
I silently prayed that the weather would end and then heard, “Back to you for coverage of the debates and upcoming election predictions!”
NO! Bring back the weather!
At that moment, my beautiful deliverer walked in, flanked by two sweet but rather clueless nurses who were still trying to figure out who I was assigned to and who to call. Once it was decided that I wouldn’t be having a baby yet, I very eagerly dressed and wanted to get home. I decided not to turn on the television the rest of the night. Instead I would just sit and wait.
Yes, this is all true. Be careful of a storm. They really do bring on labor and they really do make weathermen into birth coaches. Never underestimate what a touch of bad weather can do. More than one girl has gone through bad weather and found herself in Munchkin Land.
On the way home I turned up the radio to the 80s station. What should greet me? The Scorpions.
· “Here I am! Rock you like a Hurricane…”
He did arrive early, kicking off a holiday weekend. My little hurricane has been rocking my world ever since.