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Monday, May 11, 2009

My Son Gets Two Minutes For Delay of Game

Friday was upon me before I really had a chance to realize how little work I’d done during the week. I was anxious, awake late into the night with a racing heart awake too early in the morning when my daughter would make her presence known, and, if she had a toy within reach, felt.

A new dresser purchased at Ikea lay on the bedroom floor, awaiting assemblage. It’s for the baby’s clothes, and Erin’s clothes, since for the moment (if “moment” can mean “two years”) Erin’s clothes are in our dresser. There are six drawers in our dresser, and we each have two of them. I’d like three. Emily would like three. Without a new dresser Emily and I would be down to one each. So, a new dresser purchased at Ikea lay on the bedroom floor, awaiting assemblage.

Emily has been on maternity leave for a week or so, taking advantage of the pre-baby time to see some movies, get some pedicures, have some lunches with friends, and in no way advise anyone about trademarks. She’s also preparing for the baby, nesting (in that weird “I’m going to bake at 2am” way that she has developed).

But on Friday afternoon, when her contractions started with regularity if not severity, we were still unprepared. Her suitcase wasn’t packed, the birth plan wasn’t printed, the champagne and glasses weren’t in a bag, nor was the iGroove dock. I had no playlist of relaxing ocean sounds ready, nor a “welcome to the world, son” playlist. Cameras were strewn about the apartment. Infant car seat bases remained uninstalled in our cars. Friday afternoon, for an hour before we had to leave to go to Erin’s swimming class, we packed and prepped furiously. And we did it all, and we got it all into the car, and drove to swimming and called Emily’s mom and told her to get on a plane, and after swimming we had dinner with our friends (with whom we had shared a party a couple of weeks ago, since their daughter is Erin’s best friend and one day older) and told them to be ready for a late night phone call. They had volunteered to watch Erin while we were in the hospital, which is why we love them.

After dinner the contractions grew more regular, and I picked up Emily’s mother at the airport and I made calls to my mother, father, and sister letting them know that the kid looked like he was making an appearance. I drove Erin over to our friends’ house and put her down for the night, then stopped at Target to buy a plunger.

This may take some explaining. “Shawn, you idiot, your wife is in labour and you are stopping at Target to buy a plunger? Are you, perhaps, less smart than a monkey? An armadillo? A golden retriever eating his own shit?”

Late on Friday afternoon, while Emily and I were packing furiously, Erin was busy (a) using one of her plastic blocks to drink water out of the toilet bowl, which was a fantastic parenting moment for us and (2) flushing that block down the toilet.

If you know anything about plastic blocks you probably know this: they don’t dissolve in water.

So, knowing we’d have company over the weekend, or at the very least that we’d have to use the toilet once or twice before going to the hospital, I determined to get the block out. Because my nesting takes the particular form of needing to fix things.

The plunger was ineffective. It lacked the penis part and was instead just a plunging vagina, so there was nothing to insert into the opening at the bottom of the toilet and so I couldn’t create a seal and then suck the water back out of the flushed toilet by drawing the plunger back up. All I could do was push things further in. Vaginas are good for pushing, not sucking.

So, what do I do at 11pm on a Friday night while my wife is in labour, my mother-in-law waits in the living room, and my daughter sleeps over at a friend’s house? My wife says “How about a coat hanger? Can you unbend a coat hanger and then use it to catch the block?”

Apparently what I can do is unbend a coat hanger and get it stuck in the toilet. Now what?

I took the damned toilet apart, flipped it upside down, and pushed the blocked into the bowl from the other end of the pipe. I was very manly and strong and there were tools and sweat and probably urine involved. Then I grabbed some needle-nosed pliers to twist the wire hanger out of the toilet, and emerged from the bathroom completely victorious (although covered in what I think wasn’t urine, but I can’t tell for sure so you probably shouldn’t hug me).

Despite all of my efforts, my dedicated nesting and the packing and driving around and picking people up and dropping them off and going to Target…my son refused to show up. Emily’s contractions got a bit worse, then she fell asleep. She woke up, they got a bit worse, then she fell asleep. They never reached a “damn damn damn damn damn ooh eeh ooh eeh” stage.

But on Saturday morning she hadn’t felt the baby move in a little while, and had been in labour for 15 hours, so we went to the hospital just to check things out.

Our uncooperative son was there, fine, and the contractions were 5 minutes apart, but only going halfway up the little graph thingy on the printout. The nurse said “Could be today, could be next week.” Thanks, nurse.

We picked Erin up after her fun-but-unnecessary sleep over, then met grandma for lunch. Emily’s contractions persisted, but we said “Screw It” and sent grandma home with Erin while we went to see Star Trek.

Star Trek was great. It was a great Star Trek movie and a really good action film. It’s also heavy on the fatherhood angle, and I appreciated that.

What Emily didn’t want was to be in the hospital on Mother’s Day. “Oh, how great! You’re here on Mother’s Day and you have a new baby! That’s so great!” The thought of enduring person after person saying something stupid like that to her was enough, I think, to convince my son not to poke his head out for a look the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday we waited, and the contractions seemed to be gone. We spent the day coddling Erin and eating frozen yoghurt and (me) watching the Wings-Ducks game before taking Emily’s mother back to the airport in the evening.

Overnight, Emily’s contractions grew stronger, strong enough to keep her awake most of the night, and then she fell asleep. They were consistently strong most of the morning, but in the afternoon they settled down again.

So we went for massages.

And now here I sit watching hockey and making a roast as we wait another evening for this kid to show up.

49 comments:

Mommy Melee said...

I am all warm and fuzzy for you guys.

Jane said...

I think your son may have an aversion to hockey. I'm seriously thinking he's waiting till the whole damn season is over so that *someone* will pay a little attention to him.

EarnestGirl said...

I am holding out no such e-mail hope. But wanted to leave you a comment just to say: *sigh*.

An excellent and honest and really lovely in a true depiction of domestic bliss/chaos kind of way post.

(Also, when did you meet my dog?)

Will keep a good thought for you & your family this week.

Elisa said...

aaargh! this is too much suspense, I can't take it!

When my labor did that, my midwife said to take a warm bath with lavender essential oils, which would either slow down the contractions, if it was pre-labor, or increase them and make them more regular, if it was real labor. I don't know if it works for everyone, but it worked for me, and Stella was born the following morning :-)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Following this on Twitter all day yesterday. I can't believe that Star Trek didn't coax him out.

crunchycarpets said...

No kidding on the Star Trek effort...me at 31 weeks watching it felt all ready to pop..

for a different kind of girl said...

In light of the fact that this is a warm and fuzzy post about your impending new son that we, The Internet, await as anxiously as you and Emily and I'll assume Erin, I shall not say that when I read the words 'vaginas are good for pushing, not for sucking,' I thought, "Somewhere, there's a former college boyfriend wishing he'd rethought his stance on that..."

Dammit! I just said it!

Well, since I'm on the subject, sort of, I'll also add that I had no idea plungers had penises or vaginas. You've schooled me. You could also buy a new plunger and see if that works to get the kid out, but I'd probably just wait for labor to kick start again (did you like that? I think telling you that bit of obvious means I can be a nurse now!)

Jaelithe said...

Wait-- you took a laboring woman to see Star Trek? Did anyone warn you about the first ten minutes of the movie? This is like when I went to see Kill Bill while pregnant, man. There should be a NSFPW warning on some movies.

(Although Star Trek WAS awesome. Hmm.)

My son insisted on being born on Mother's Day. He's a drama queen like that.

Amanda said...

Well, for a proper entrance to be made, one must first be sure that all parties involved are paying attention. And eager.

Thinking of you and smiling as your wait brings sweet reminders of our waits.

wherewiller said...

I had the same thing happen with baby number 2. Took his damn time coming, like a week of regular contractions, thankfully no pain.

It's like the calm before the storm, except the storm keeps rumbling. Or something.

Wishing you guys a good, quick, happy end to all of this.

ps - not sure if I have ever commented, but I always read, and I really do enjoy your writing.

Backpacking Dad said...

Amanda and Wherewiller: Thank you both so much.

Backpacking Dad said...

EarnestGirl: I can't e-mail you, but I wanted to tell you that I appreciate your good thoughts.

Jenni said...

pre-labor is for shit - i had it for two days before the big show with number two. but, when things kicked into high gear, it was super fast. i hope super fast is super soon for you guys. i'm so excited for you!

Jenni said...

oh, and if she's term, I suggest a castor oil coctail to get things moving.

Mum-me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mum-me said...

{My 4 year old just taught me how to delete a comment! "What does this button do mummy?")

You probably shouldn't tell your wife this, although she may well have heard it from someone else, but those contractions she's having can go on forever.

My 3rd baby wanted to come out on 2nd Feb, but contractions didn't get fair dinkum enough until 4th March. Hope you guys don't have to wait that long!

(PS Baby no3 was 'due' on 17th Feb.)

Jill said...

She is totally going to have that baby either tomorrow or Wednesday because I got a massage when I was pregnant with my oldest and my water totally broke less than 48 hours later. No lie. And if it happened once, it will 100% happen again. There it is. My prediction. I think you should name him some masculine form of Jill in my honor if I'm right. Gill, maybe? That works. You're welcome.

suzanne said...

So.exciting! Though I can see how it's annoying. Much of your story reminds me of our big night before the little man was born.

We had spent the day frantically tying up a few loose ends (getting the cradle & the glider, shopping for food so we would be well stocked after the birth, packing the hospital bags, playlists, etc.), then promptly both had a long afternoon nap (which we never do at the same time). It was a week before he was due, so we figured we still had time (it being our first and all).

Uh, yeah. Water broke no less than 3 times after watching 40-year-old Virgin and some Arrested Development episodes. Off to the hospital we went! (After thwarting our doula's efforts to have a night out on the town with the girls).

The little guy was born the next day on, wait for it, Father's Day. M is still annoyed that people always comment on this. "It's just a day" he says. "It changes every year" he says.

So,um,yeah. (Re-)watch 40-year-old Virgin. Maybe that'll do the trick. Good-vibes being sent your way.

And thanks for the warning about the plastic building toy parts. We have an outie (penis) plunger. But really, I'd rather not have to use it.

kyooty said...

good luck, just keep dilating :)

ZenMom said...

I can't believe you guys could be due already! It seems like just days ago you were teasing us on Twitter about finding out the the gender!

My sons were each over a week late and I seriously thought #2 was never going to make his appearance ... Maybe it's a boy thing?

I will be thinking happy thoughts for you all until we get the exciting news that the little guy has decided to make his grand entrance.

Best of luck!

Karen said...

I was really worried when I read you were buying a plunger.....wasn't sure if you were going to use it to get that baby out! I'm glad you used it for it's intended purpose....even if it didn't work.

ms. changes pants while driving said...

“damn damn damn damn damn ooh eeh ooh eeh” stage.

hahahahahahaaa.

Chatter said...

Hello, I'm a new visitor but wanted to comment on this post. The plunger story made me chuckle. When we thought our third son was arriving my hubby was out buying all sorts of last minute birthing gear. He decided not to show up. A second false alarm and finally I decided to use my spa day (it was a gift card that was a year old) and I labored the whole time I was there. He took his sweet ass time and after hours of mild labor he finally showed up the next morning. It was insane how much different it was from my firstborn. Hopefully this means easy labor for your wife! Best of luck these next few days :)
Chandra

Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

You get the same number of drawers as your wife?? Don't tell my husband that...

Wishing Emily a fast, but not too fast, labour.

MereCat said...

oh my goodness! it's time! I know the waaaaiting is the hardest part. But you sound like you are doing good. And I am very impressed at how you wrangled that wayward toilet.

Al_Pal said...

Quite a set of adventures!
Best wishes with everything. :D

Amo said...

I'll spare you the birthing story.

You're welcome.

I am still trying to figure out the 'penis end' of the plunger... Wouldn't they all have a penis end so you have something to hold onto?

I'll be at Home Depot if needed.

Ali said...

that sounds pretty much exactly what went on for the TEN days I was overdue with Isabella. i hope, for your sake and Emily's, that this little man shows up soon!

tutugirl1345 said...

I was the same as Ali's Isabella- a full two weeks late with contractions and driving my mom completely insane. Crossing my fingers that doesn't happen to you!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Those contractions are so much fun, aren't they? I remember being able to hear them laughing at me, taunting me...

Good luck! Thinking of you guys.

Nibblet's Mom said...

Poor Emily! Poor You! Hope you guys survive the 'Here he comes! Nope nevermind.' game.

Swirl Girl said...

waiting patiently has never been my strong suit.

here's hoping the double back pack comes sooner than later.

Rachel said...

Jeez, good luck. Hope he doesn't wait ten days past his due date like my daughter did.

Adelas said...

You people with your "ha ha contractions"... I'm 23 weeks with my second and been having Braxton Hicks ones all this week. She had better not be setting a precedent now, for use in September!

Anyhow I 'gratz'-ed you on Saturday and I figure that should work until it's time for the real thing. :) Happy Waiting.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

Best wishes and good luck to both of you!!

Mandy said...

I hope it all goes well when it does go!

'Nette said...

Hope that boy comes out soon. That is some terribly long labor. In my thoughts and prayers.

Miss Grace said...

(Im)Patiently waiting.

BabyShrink said...

Hi Shawn,

I know, the waiting is the hardest part, but at least you'll have that champagne ready to go when you need it most! I got into really good beer before I got knocked up this time, and I'm already scheming about which beer I can sneak into the hospital without looking like a total boozer. Somehow champagne seems so much more dignified, but those Belgian beers were just so darn good! (Sorry, that might be sacrelige, to some!)

Can't wait for your updates. Much aloha to you all!!

Lollie said...

It's Tuesday night at 9:17. I think your son showed up ten minutes ago.

Am I right? Is the wait over?

Lunasea said...

Good job with the blocked toilet! And good luck with the son - hope he makes an appearance soon with minimal difficulty on everyone's part.

RebTurtle said...

Here's to kids, unpredictability, and the unavoidable opportunity to become an unwilling emergency plumber. Good luck!

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Holy Moly. Been reading (but not commenting) and now HAVE to comment because I'm in the same boat. Contractions that send my husband into fits of repacking, emailing, tidying (though, thankfully, no major plumbing excursions!). I was due last week and am just waiting, waiting, waiting.

Wonder who will make it into the world first?!?!

Wishing easy labors for us all...

Loralee Choate said...

Your wife totally needs to give birth. Because when she does it will prove to me that this state DOES END and my kid will not be attending college from my uterus.

Seriously, though...I hope it's soon and goes smoothly!

Momo Fali said...

One of the greatest things about parenting is knowing there are other people out there who share some of the same nightmares. My daughter has also drank out of the toilet bowl and we have also had to take the toilet apart to clear a blockage created from a piece of potty seat that fell off.

Thinking of you guys! Hope everything is going well!

Karen said...

Good luck! When I was preg. with 7yr old we had an induction scheduled for a monday since I was a week due. Then Awesome Hubby rented us 6 dvds for our last weekend alone the Friday before. 3am that same night my water broke. :)
Good luck!

caramama said...

I'm hoping that by now the baby is born! I'm sure you'll update soon either way. Until then, I will leave you with these thoughts:

-This is very different than any "I'm going into labor" story that a woman would tell. Taking apart a toilet? Fantastic!

-I totally agree that Star Trek was great! Just a well-done movie, and excellent addition to the Star Trek line.

-My water broke IN the movie theater. I do not recommend that any woman close to her due date, past her due date, or IN LABOR go to the movies. Luckily, I made it to the toilet, but it was close, and that would have been really gross. I'm just saying.

Amanda said...

Here for my requisite, obsessive check.

badassdad05 said...

And ... still no baby? Maybe he's waiting till after the Stanley Cup so you'll actually pay some attention to him?