So. The-Child-Who-Would-Become-Known-As-The-Mouse is on her way. The Wife handled pregnancy and impending motherhood like a champ. I handled impending fatherhood like a… runner-up. I was(am) college educated. I was(am) well read. Some might even say intelligent (not many, but some… A few… I said ‘might’). And I was conceited enough to think I could handle this, no problem. I was a teacher after all. I dealt with children on a daily basis. I have since discovered that the Universe has a wicked sense of humor. And that I am the butt of many of It’s jokes. I had no idea what to do with a baby (for that matter, I have no idea what to do with an almost four year old. Most of the time I am guessing and hoping I get some of it right). I mean I had some ideas. I knew several theories. But I’ve since discovered Yogi Bera was right: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.” And when you are talking babies, theory means nada. Theory and practice in pregnancy and child rearing are very distinct things. Theory and practice aren’t even distant kin in that arena. But The Wife and I attempted to learn all we could about the raising of a small human. Everything was smooth sailing. We discussed names. We started looking for a house that would be a place to bring up baby. We prepared. Then The Wife had a small complication.
Understand that once a woman is over the age of 32 and becomes pregnant, she is automatically classified in the medical world AMA – Advanced Maternal Age (Do NOT mention this to The Wife in jest. Apparently some women are sensitive about age related terms. Go figure). She also tested positive for gestational diabetes (her results were literally 1 point over what was acceptable the day after Halloween. The Wife likes Halloween. She was looking forward to having a candy-getter of her own. Duh moment about why her blood sugar was up). Her heart rate had also become elevated. Now, a small increase in heart rate is to be expected simply from the increase in blood volume and oxygen needs of the fetus. But when it refuses to go down (as hers did), coupled with AMA (she was) and the diagnosis of gestational diabetes (one bad test result and they go crazy) and you have a CONDITION. So we did what any expecting couple would do. We moved in with my mother.
I was in my late 30’s. I was officially a career teacher, having been in the business over a decade. I was an adult. And I moved back into my mother’s house with my expectant wife. Words fail to express my feelings on this.
It really wasn’t that bad. The Wife and my mother (Granny to The Mouse) get along incredibly well. So well, in fact, I’m usually on the defensive, just as a precaution (I’m surrounded by females: The Wife, The Mouse, Lucy, Nana, Granny. Estrogen is not in short supply in my world. I wish I could sell the excess). Needless to say the last tri-mester or so of the pregnancy was well monitored. We learned that the child in the womb was female and we finalized the name process (Choosing names is surprisingly difficult when you are a teacher. All names become associated with specific children. Sometimes multiple children. Many names become anathema. Picking a name took a while). We also had concluded the house shopping by this time and had been in negations for our current abode (it took over 3 months… I hate banking institutions). In the first week of January 2008, we took possession of our new domicile and began the prep work to move in: paint, minor household repair, new carpet, top to bottom cleaning. The Wife sat in a recliner Granny had brought over and oversaw house preparations. Things progressed well. It all took about a week. We moved in to our new house on January 13th.
Around 11:00PM on January 19th, The Wife asked if we could go to Wal-Mart to walk around. Her contractions had started (I don’t know why Wal-Mart. This was before my semi-boycott of Wal-Mart). So we went to Wal-Mart. We walked. We came back home a little before midnight and The Wife let me go to sleep (Ha!). I woke (Double Ha!) at 6:00AM. Then at 8:00AM on January 20th we went to the hospital. It was The Day. It was The Actual Due Date. And we waited. Things ‘progressed’.
I love medical euphemisms… progressed: the interminable (to the participants) period of time that lasts forever (yes, that is redundant. I meant it to be redundant. The Government Department of Redundancy Department approved it), where a strange meta-physical expansion of time occurs.I’m sure it has to do something with the Theory of Relativity. Einstein said, “When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” He should have said that is ‘progressing’. And said waiting on the birth of your first child. The Wife was amazing. I was useless. Any guy who says they had anything to do with the ‘having’ of the child or the ‘birth experience’ should be slapped silly. We males are as useless in the ‘birthing experience’ as tits on a boar hog (I tried to come up with another ‘useless’ analogy, but failed… Perhaps ‘As useless as Googling phrases about being useless,’ should be the new analogy to useless). I was especially useless when the ‘progressing’ stopped. The Med staff did what they were supposed to do, but The Wife’s body stopped dilating. So we waited some more, to see if it would start again. Oh, the contractions continued. No doubt about that. I think some of the bruising I received ‘sharing the birth experience’ still exists. But the ‘birth experience’ had come to a stand still.
It was an experience, to say the least. There were monitors hooked up for The Wife and the baby. I could see the heart rates, vitals, learned what read-out to watch to know when a contraction was imminent, fed The Wife ice chips, massaged her back, and did absolutely nothing of benefit to the ‘birth experience’. At least that is the way I felt and feel. The Wife, in her magnanimity, always tells me she couldn’t have done it without me. I’m thinking she means the act of procreation, not assistance in the ‘birth experience’. One of the reasons I am so in love with The Wife is that she keeps me guessing. Apparently The Mouse has also inherited this trait. Along with quite a few others. All positive, of course (The Wife does read these. There is a difference between bravery and foolhardiness).
We continued to wait. Finally the decision was made to go ahead with the C-section. And so, we wait some more. And wait. And then the nurses come in and do the pre-surgery prep. And we wait. They come in and take The Wife back for the epidural. So now I wait. Alone. They take me to a new waiting spot outside the operating room. I get a gown and booties and a cap for my head (I’m bald, so it is kind of amusing to give me a cap. At this point I’m looking for anything to distract me from waiting). And I wait. A nurse that I know comes by and asks me what I’m still doing outside the OR. I told her, “I’m waiting.” Apparently I wasn’t supposed to be waiting this long. So she goes and checks on things for me. There was a slight problem with the epidural. Nothing to worry about. Which of course means I worry. Something new to occupy me while I wait. And in the mean time, I wait. I’m good at waiting now.
And finally, a nurse comes out to escort me in to the OR. So I go back. It is Time. The-Child-Who-Would-Become-Known-As-The-Mouse is almost here.