Grace Son, Part 2

Click here to read Part 1.


After a few hours of sleep (on my part) and admirably pantomimed sleep (on Danielle’s), I awoke and asked her how much the contractions had narrowed. She said she hadn’t been measuring, but that they were moving in the right direction. She also said that her back was in a great deal of pain. I took matters into my own hands since I knew Danielle was hesitant to call in reinforcements prematurely. I texted Julie, our midwife, at 8:59pm and said:

“She’s in a lot of pain, in her back and all over. She’s hesitant to take the castor oil [to help induce labor] because she thinks it will jump up the pain level quickly. She tried to sleep but didn’t have a ton of luck. Can you call her so she can talk it out with you?”

Julie called Danielle, but I still felt Danielle wasn’t being direct enough about her increasing labor pains. She told me she was wary of Julie driving over again, only to learn that dilation hadn’t progressed much. I think she felt that the prospect of that disappointment, juxtaposed with her rippling waves of back pain, would be too much to bear. But my hubby/spidey sense was kicking in. So I started timing contractions again. And to my shock and mild panic, I discovered they were now a full minute long and there was only a minute or so between the end of one and the beginning of the next.

It was time to take matters into my own hands (or in this case, my own thumbs). Rather than consulting with Danielle, I immediately texted Julie: “Contractions are 60 seconds long, and just 60-70 seconds apart. That seems really close.” With no excess verbiage (nearly unheard of for my wordy self), I fired off the text in order to maximize every available second Julie would need to pack up her car and head over to our house from Hanover. The route from her house to ours was a 35-minute drive that now felt to me like an hours-long trek through the pressing dark, fraught with every conceivable manner of GPS-induced misdirection and automotive peril.

Mere moments after I sent the text, at 9:34pm, Julie responded: “Ok I’m going to head over.” In my alarmist brain, I pictured a wide-eyed look of horror on Julie’s face and I could imagine her saying to herself under her breath:

“Oh good heavens I had no idea she was that far along this is not good not good at all will I even make it in time I probably won’t I’d better sprint to the car do I even have time to grab all my supplies no I don’t wait yes I must I can’t cut corners good heavens I have to leave this house immediately why did they wait this long to tell me okay get a hold of yourself Julie don’t panic you can do this you’re a trained professional it will be okay but maybe it won’t but yes it will and it must okay here I go I must remain calm I must remember to breathe oh good heavens I hope this all works out.”

[NOTE: It is entirely possible that this seasoned veteran of the midwifery circuit had an internal monologue that sounded more like this: “Off I go! I love catching babies. Ha, what a funny bit of midwifery jargon! Catching babies, which is decidedly more exciting than catching fevers or fly balls. Ha! I suppose I should grab a few snacks for the road. I guess I won’t be sleeping tonight. Although I could probably do this job in my sleep. Ha! Wouldn’t that be a hoot. They probably wouldn’t pay me for my services if I was asleep while I delivered their baby. Ha! I wonder if the baby will be a girl or a boy? I like them both equally. Just another day in the life of a midwife. Ha, that rhymed!” *whistles a chipper tune*]

Besides the two of us — and our increasingly itchy little Peanut — not a creature was stirring in our now mostly darkened house. Not my increasingly impatient in-laws in their guest bedroom; not our increasingly infirm Jack Russell terrier Taz in his nest of blankets; indeed, not even a mouse.

Danielle’s breaths quickened while my eyes widened. I turned the air conditioner up a notch. The minutes slowly trickled past. I pictured the scene in “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” where Will Smith, stuck in traffic in a limo with Vanessa Williams, screams in abject terror as she undergoes the most abrupt labor in human history. I knew this vision of nearly instantaneous birth was a Hollywood fabrication, or at least I had known it a week ago. But what if it wasn’t? What if Danielle’s water suddenly broke and seconds later, our eager baby was bursting at the seams to enter the wide world before professional help had arrived? Could my protective, paternal, primal instincts possibly be prepared for such a precarious prenatal progression? Perhaps, but…

At last, Julie arrived at 10:20pm and let herself in. When I saw her face, I fully exhaled for the first time in an hour. I was not the primary care provider anymore. Julie smiled playfully at Danielle, and all was once again right with the world.

3 thoughts on “Grace Son, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Grace Son, Part 4: A Tribute to My Grace-Full Wife | life of papa

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