The Night Before
The night before my daughter was born, like most nights leading up to it, I had gotten about two solid hours of sleep. Prior to that, I couldn’t remember the last time I went to bed and woke up feeling like a well rested human being, and that night was no different. I barely slept, but my stomach was full and I was grateful because I would need the energy later.
Earlier that night Kel, my girlfriend, Ane, my baby’s mom, and I sat in the living room watching “The Kids Are Alright” for the first time. I didn’t believe the hype. I wanted to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. I remember thinking how some of the acting was so beautiful it completely outshined the relatively predictable and frustratingly unresolved plot. I was not disappointed mostly because I thoroughly enjoyed Annette Benning’s performance.
As we watched the big screen we devoured helpings of Chinese food. We read online that apart from a slew of methods from nipple massage to sex, Chinese food was said to help induce contractions. I’m still not sure why we decided to try it, but we all agreed it was probably nothing more than wishful thinking at best. I thought it was silly as hell, but we were starving so it was a win-win situation as far as I was concerned.
Earlier that day the birth mom experienced a bout of hellafied cramps. She took a cab to the hospital after complaining all morning of lower back pain. I couldn’t take it any more and suggested she head there immediately. I ordered the cab online and 30 minutes later she was sitting in triage waiting to get taken back.
I was at work, nervous, and wondering if I should leave immediately and head that way or stick around until I was more sure of what was going on. I called the hospital often to check her status. Although her pain was constant and intense she was not dilated and her water was in tact. She was discharged later that afternoon to her horror. To be honest, I kinda dreaded the rest of the evening too because her pain was so apparent and her discomfort level was so evident that I knew there would be little to nothing we could do to quell it. Once they begin, contractions are rarely if ever stopped that late within the 3rd trimester. Basically, if you want them to stop, you’d better start pushing that baby out. Oddly enough, I had no feeling the baby would come earlier than her due date which was in two weeks.
Kel got the okay from her boss to leave work early so I picked her up and we headed straight to the hospital to pick up Ane. We went home and tried some techniques to help bring her comfort level up a notch. As suspected nothing really worked. Two hot baths and a few zzz’s later Kel and I awoke to see her standing in the doorway calling my name. Her pain had worsened and the contractions were steady and stronger.
I jumped out of bed and tried to steady my heartbeat through the commotion that followed. “Why in the hell hadn’t I packed an overnight bag, I’ve had months to prepare!” I thought to myself. What I didn’t have was an answer. I ran around packing clothes and any and everything I thought we’d need. I stuffed it all into a duffel bag.
As I walked out of the bedroom I couldn’t help but drink in the sight of Kel and Ane facing each other as one contraction, and then another passed. Kel helped Ane stay steady on her feet. They stood in the entryway to the living room, the light from the moon outside streaked in through the windows, straining to get a glimpse inside. The condo was darkly lit as we readied ourselves to leave.
The next thing I know a loud splash disrupted the silence and I could see water gushing down onto the floor. I wanted to call someone, anyone, and tell them this magical thing, but I thought it presumptuous as hell that anyone would care that the water broke at that very early weekday hour. It was about one something in the morning and everyone was either fast asleep or wishing they were, but I sent a text to my buddy V anyway as I helped Ane to the door. I had to tell somebody. Kel brought the car around and we made our way to the hospital for the second time in less than 24 hours.
to be contd…