So, it is 11 AM and my wife is keeled over, holding the bed with one hand and her tummy with the other, in obvious pain. It is quite obvious that the labor has kicked into another gear from even a few minutes ago and that we are getting closer. "It is time to go", she says... Flashback, flashback... Remember, remember, my mind screams. Think back to all the classes you attended... "Your wife will know when it is time to go... then, you don't question it, you just go."
And so, for the second time in less than 12 hours we get our stuff ready, I summon an Uber and we are heading out the door to the hospital. "Please don't send us back this time", I am silently praying. All the while I am also wondering and hoping if there is any chance that our baby will pop out on the car ride over. "I am not prepared to deliver a baby here", I think. Wait, what? I am not prepared to deliver a baby anywhere.
Thankfully, no baby in the car, and 20 minute later, we are at the hospital, back in the same room we were a few hours ago. This time it is a different midwife who is examining my wife. She seems a lot sterner and one that wouldn't deviate from the rulebook - the strict headmistress kind you know. Is she going to let us stay or is she going to send us back? I put on my best 'sad puppy', 'don't send us back home' face with the hope of convincing her. No one who had ever seen that look escaped it... and this time too it worked! After examining my wife, even though she hadn't met NHS' threshold for a stay (in terms of centimeters or something technical), I think my charm and sad puppy face did the trick. "I am going to put you in a smaller room for now and as things progress, we will move you to a larger room. You're lucky we have space right now."
"Yes! No worries... we will take the small room"... Score! Strike up one more for the sad puppy face!
And so it began. My wife was changed into her hospital gown and made to pick the most convenient / comfortable position for her... Stand, walk around, lay down, kneel... use the forces of gravity and let it pull the baby out of you, she was told. By that regard, shouldn't it already be out then, given how much she has been walking, I wondered. But nature has its own way... And for the next 8 or so hours we were going to watch nature work its magic and take effect on my wife, me and everything around us as our little baby worked his way into the world.
I was transfixed... I was also scared, confused, panicked, worried and emotional at the same time. There were parts of me that didn't know what to do. Parts of me didn't know if I could even do anything. For those of you that have just witnessed childbirth in Hollywood movies, I can assure you it is nothing like that... it is probably a 100x scarier... 500x louder... and maybe even a bit all too natural. "It's all getting a bit natural in here", the midwife commented at some point during the process. She wasn't kidding. My wife, who decided not to take any pain relief and do the entire process naturally, with only the help of 'gas and air' and some other minor support, was definitely feeling it and exhibiting all her natural instincts. On her hands and knees, her screams were getting louder and wilder... 'Let it go, let it go' would be an apt description here.
As the contractions got stronger and harder, her screams got louder... the feeling in my stomach got sicker and I felt more helpless. "Why didn't I push her to take medication", I admonished myself. "How could I let this happen? What kind of a sick husband likes to see his wife in pain?" I wondered. At the same time, I am looking at the only other human in the room - the midwife - (my wife had moved on into zombie territory by this time and there was no way I could have had a rational conversation with her), again with a sad puppy look, wondering if some kind of relief could be implemented here. "Are we past the point of no return? Can we provide her with an injection" I was trying to ask.
She just sat there unmoved, wiping and cleaning around her and passing snippy comments such as, "I've seen it all during my years here and this is one glamorous job". It is almost 5.30 now... my wife has been in and out of a tub of water, she has walked around, kneeled, lay down and rolled on her side... she's tried everything, but the pain has only gotten worse... But there's no baby in sight. He is surely taking his time... I guess he won't be arriving until Daddy Diaries Part 9 (strict word limit, sorry!)