Two years ago tonight my wife and I had the joy of experiencing something totally different. She was expecting our fourth child at the time. One would think that, after three kids, going into labor with her fourth would not have been new and different at all. Except all three prior children were induced labors. As my mom says, the landlord served the eviction but the tenant refused to leave. Not with this kid, she was ready to explore the world beyond the womb.
It all started innocently enough. (Labor that is, not much innocent about the conception!) My wife began to complain of a little back pain. Once again, having three prior induced labors we weren’t expecting it to start of its own accord. After about one hour, I reflected upon the evening and saw a pattern to her discomfort.
“Honey,” I said, “you’re in labor.”
She wasn’t entirely sure she believed it, it could have been cramping or something else. Labor, surely you can’t be serious. (I was serious, and she didn’t call me Shirley.) So we went down stairs to the rocking recliner and began to keep time. Sure enough, the pattern was there. Contractions were far enough apart and not overly strong so we waited to call the hospital. But, her obstetrician was the doctor on duty so we were pretty relaxed.
Then, they stopped. They stopped for almost 45 minutes, this after 20 minute intervals. We thought about going back to bed, perhaps her body was just warming up for the big event. But we began to think that would be another day or two later.
Boy, were we wrong!
All of a sudden the contractions came on. Stronger and with greater frequency. We called the hospital as soon as the second hit mere minutes with this second string of contractions. Then we called our friend Jamie to tell her we would be dropping off the kids.
After dropping them off we headed the completely opposite direction to the hospital. All the while the contractions were getting stronger and more frequent. I thought for sure I’d have to clean up the car after delivering my own baby. But we made it before that happened with a little help from God and my alter ego – Captain Moving Violation! Speed limits, what are they? Stop at red lights? Merely a suggestion. Fortunately it was about 2 in the morning and no cars were on the road. Even the usually very busy Sheetz on the way had two employee cars parked in the lot and nothing else.
We made it to the hospital with plenty of time to spare. And upon arriving in Delivery there was her doctor, ready and waiting to help bring our newest baby into the new world. They gave us a gown, took her to her room and left so I could help her get dressed. Once that was accomplished, my wife looked at me and snarled through gritted teeth, “Get him in here, NOW!”
I walked to the nurses’ station. Doc asked if she was ready. I gritted my teeth and snarled, “Get him in here, NOW!” He laughed, nodded his head and pointed. “Yeah, that’s her!” After getting through the last few hours, I felt a little levity was in order. Especially since she couldn’t see me in the process.
Interestingly, after the epidural the labor slowed down. But the wife was comfortable and we were just ready to play the waiting game. After a few hours and lots of pushing, our youngest was born to the world!
Since then I’ve had the joy to, once again, watch my beautiful daughter grow. She continues to impress me with her intelligence, curiosity, and cuddly nature. She’s chased her sisters and grown so quickly. She loves to be read to and play games. And, it didn’t take too long for that magical moment that I always cherish as a father, the first time she called me, “Daddy.”
Granted “Daddy” has had its place taken with “Mater.” Waking up on Sunday, she smiled and said, “Mater.” Upon picking her up from her crib and taking her downstairs to wake her up and get her dressed for the day she rubbed her eyes and said, “Mater.” When I got home today from work, she took the time to remove the bottle from her mouth just long enough to greet me with, “Mater.” That’s okay. It sure beats “Not the Mama.”
Here’s to two beautiful years. I’m looking forward to the rest.