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The Arrival, Take Two – Part I

Waiting. Watching the clock. It’s 3 o’clock, it’s about to start.

I sat, impatiently, in the loneliest seat in the world, staring at the clock on the wall. Waiting. Watching. Wondering.

Waiting while my wife was prepped for a surgery neither of us woke up expecting to handle today. Watching while a steady trickle of specialists wandered by me into the operating theatre, their knowing eyes peering from behind their surgical masks at me fidgeting in the only chair in this massive hallway. Wondering how life could change so dramatically in only 6 hours.

This was not in the plans today – no, today was yet another ‘routine’ ultrasound, the last of a ridiculous number of sonic intrusions on our high-risk, unborn fetal tax write-off. We had already suffered through the inevitable consequences of such intense examination of pregnancy, through scares of placenta accreta, Bieber fever, and more recently low fluid levels that had turned my extremely active wife into a modified-bedrest ridden turtle, afraid to leave the house lest she fall into the finality of permanent bedrest and/or snapper soup. But we’d muscled through it, and through relaxation and consumption of river-like quantities of water we returned to a sense of normality and turned a wary eye toward ‘regular’ labor.

I was nearly late to the ultrasound, after dropping our daughter off at my parents a bit late led to a frantic drive across town to arrive at the office moments before my wife was taken back. The plan was a final ultrasound in which we’d glimpse a last vision of our newborn before he/she slid down ‘chute o’ life’. Then on to work for me, a day to be filled with meetings and status updates, a long lunch and a quiet night at home watching John Quinones drop another bombshell on some unsuspecting diners.

Instead, our unruly technician, who seemed to have little patience for performing what I can only assume is all that she does all day, declared my wife’s fluid levels to be low. Dangerously so. My wife, after dozens of ultrasounds over the preceding months, verbally sparred with her, trying to eke out a higher value, lest we end up in the hospital.  For my part, I stared at the static on the monitor and wondered if the machine had Internet access. After the doctor’s confirmation of the levels, and a less than cryptic ‘congratulations,’ we were directed to Labor and Delivery.

We were shepherded into a triage room so that everyone’s vitals could be monitored. The baby was fine, Kim had elevated blood pressure and I was diagnosed as ‘piss drunk’. Our OB arrived from what I can only imagine is the ‘Huxtable Lounge’ and gave us the rundown. Baby – today. We considered this and then tentatively countered with baby – later? Thus ensued a delicate dance wherein the hospital staff performed ‘tests’ and ‘supplemental ultrasounds’ and ‘tarot card readings’ to convince us that yes, the fluid levels were pretty darn low. I saw the dipstick myself – it was undeniable.

But we had a few reservations – first and foremost it was Friday the 13th. While it seems ridiculous that this could be a factor in our thinking, consider this – there is ZERO evidence that Friday the 13th is a bad day to have a child. Wait – what? Secondly, Kim’s fluid levels seemed to wax and wane at Bay of Fundy proportions – who’s to say they wouldn’t be back up to normal tomorrow? Finally, we, being second time parents, were pretty much completely unprepared for a new child. To illustrate, as we sat in triage I downloaded a baby name app ‘just in case.’

Our decision really boiled down to this – today or tomorrow. The doctor was willing to admit us and monitor my wife overnight and reevaluate in the morning. They also agreed to give us the AAA discount on the room despite my card having lapsed. We considered this, and had essentially decided on it. Then, for lack of a better explanation, we decided instead to just ‘screw it – rip the thing out now’. I was surprised at the rapid change of direction, but have learned over the years that when one of my several personalities makes a decision, it’s best to go along with it.

I left immediately to pick up a few things we thought we might need, notably a camera to capture the event, a change of clothes, and my daughter’s veterinary set, in case the doctors needed additional equipment. I also ran our new puppies, who had been spayed two days earlier to our vet to board for the weekend.

Oh, the puppies? Yeah we got two new puppies when my wife was 6 months pregnant. Yes, we are insane.

I frantically drove back to the hospital, encountering heavy traffic along the way and spouting copious epithets at the construction workers who were tying up the main thoroughfare back to the hospital. Meanwhile, my wife was being prepped for surgery and being asked questions like ‘where is your husband?’ and ‘why is your husband not here’ and ‘two puppies? Are you insane?’. I pulled in to the garage five minutes before the surgery, abandoned my car across 3 handicapped spots and pushed an old lady with a walker down the stairs in a mad dash back up to Labor and Delivery. A scowling nurse threw scrubs at me, and the next thing I knew I was in that chair.

Waiting. Watching the clock. It was 3 o’clock.

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  • Anonymous

    Oh my. I think you have every right to be insane!