So I received news recently that one couple that my family is close with is expecting their first child - congrats to the Ps! Undoubtedly, this will be a dramatically life changing event, teaching much of patience, selflessness and even more about unconditional love than you've ever fathomed. I am aware of at least 5 other couples who are also expecting, some their first, others #2, etc. I suppose that is to be expected in the age demographic I tread in but damn, you all have been getting freaky! Anyhow, as a public service, I'd like to offer some parental advice. I believe that these tips can be applied to first time or repeat offenders.
My tips are best presented through the use of a true story of the better half and I.
Our first child was born 42 minutes after parental admission to the hospital. All the literature warned that the first generally takes the longest to deliver. In our case, boy were they right!
Our second was due and we knew we were getting close to D-day. The arrangement was for my mom to watch the first while we went to the hospital for delivery of the second. Our friend Danielle was our emergency backup as my mom lives about 2 1/2 hours away. Overnight, we received signs indicating that the time was near. We called mom at about 6:30 in the morning. She would get ready and head on up as soon as possible. We called the doctor and were given specific instructions: When the contractions are 5 minutes or less apart and last 60 seconds, head to the hospital. Sounds simple enough.
Tip 1: Question everything! This 5 minutes apart business above seems like sage advice. Perhaps we should not have taken it as such a black and white edict.
So, while we wait, we pop on the movie Love Actually and hang out, the pre-birth bliss settling over our idealic suburban homestead. Oh, except for every time there was a contraction, when there was a lot of grunting, screaming and writhing. The contractions are getting closer but still around 8 or 9 minutes apart. Mom is still at least an hour and a half away. Time to call in the cavalry, Danielle to the rescue.
Tip 2: Be conservative when enacting your emergency plan. If you think you should set the emergency plan in motion, you probably should have called a good half hour or so ago.
Danielle is about 20 minutes away from our house when the call is made. We should still have plenty of time. While we await her arrival, we start packing up our 2 week old vehicle bought in anticipation of the familial expansion. All of the clothes for mom and baby are safely packed away along with all the other things needed at the hospital. And, just in case, I put a towel down over the seat where expecting mom would be sitting.
Tip 3: Whether you think you need it or not, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS put the towel down over mom's seat.
Well, lookie there, in those 20 minutes, contractions went from being 8 minutes apart to about 4, wow, the wonder of nature at work. Guess we better hustle to the hospital, luckily the contractions aren't a minute long, so we should be OK, right? There was a lot of pain in those contractions so I drove as fast as humanly possible. The hospital is about 30 or 35 minutes from the house.
I was going as fast as I could and ticking people off left and right. One woman actually drove slowly on purpose to prevent me from moving ahead. We should have just pulled her over and had the baby in her car! Anyhow, as we are approaching the hospital, we're getting VERY close to baby time. This next tip is perhaps the most important.
Tip 4: When driving to the hospital with a baby seconds away from popping out, do NOT under any circumstances ask the expecting mother for directions. I can't stress this enough.
It appears that under pressure I may have lost a bit of my wits but luckily was able to remember exactly which way to go. We are now about 4 or 5 blocks from the hospital and I am told that the baby's head is free of it's 9 month home. While I am not sure if this is true or not, I'm not going to stop to find out. Hit the gas!!!
We are now in the turn lane to the hospital and the impatient little brat makes a full descent from the tummy region. Whoa!!!!!!!!!! No crying, (from baby that is, mom is pretty close to crying, if not in full tears), which is kind of scary. I whip the vehicle into the ER ambulance drop off area and jump out of the car. The following discussion ensues:
Me: "My wife just had a baby!"
EMT type dudes: "How far apart are the contractions?"
Me: "No, she just had the baby!"
EMT type dudes: (all hell breaks loose)
At this point, the heavens open and doctors, nurses, EMTs and other very medical looking people start streaming towards our vehicle from every possible region of the hospital. Our OB/GYN and her posse come from one direction, the ER folks from another and everything is in capable hands. The umbilical cord was literally cut in the front seat of our vehicle. While the better half is certainly still in pain and feeling weak, all would ultimately be OK. Not only that, but she gained a reputation around the hospital as "Car mom", as she discovered from the maintenance dude who came in to fix the TV in her hospital room a day later. I personally prefer her self-christened nickname of "the human water slide".
We considered naming the baby after the vehicle she was born in but ultimately decided against it. When providing info later for the birth certificate, the hospital admin asked us approximately where on our trip was the baby born - I think the cert actually has an intersection name on it IIRC. My attempts to get an endorsement deal out of Honda have fallen on deaf ears. My letter stating it "was roomy enough to have a baby in" apparently wasn't a good tagline.
Tip 5: Leave plenty of time to get to the hospital. In fact, you might even want to go a little early.
All's well that end's well. But it was definitely a scary experience that makes me get a little antsy just talking about.
Until next time.