I sat down to write this, fully planning to end at the part where I’m screaming and Tom is asking if he can just go wait outside.
But then I started writing and accidentally kept writing and now this is going to be a three-part story. But I promise I won’t drag this out until 2018 — part three will be up tomorrow.
(If you missed it, here’s part one.)
– – –
Where were we. Ah, yes. We’d just finished the longest part of my labor: getting me to admit that I was actually in labor.
Family was over for Tom’s birthday, the kids were watching a show, and all of the adults who were not having active contractions had just finished dinner. We were gathered around the dining room table and everyone was sort of perched on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to say I was ready to go to the hospital.
I had told Tom in a very, very normal voice, “I think we should go to the hospital.”
But you know how people think the NSA is always listening, and if you combine certain threatening words over the phone or on a Facebook post, then they’ll bust down your door?
Thomas is like that. His trigger words are the combination of me, speaking in the first person, and the word “go.”
There’s no explanation for how he was able to hear me, but he did. From two rooms away. He appeared in the dining room and shouted. “NO! MY MAMA NOT LEAVING!” And then he did the worst thing you can do to a laboring mom. He wrapped himself around my torso.
Ok, Thomas. Thanks for your opinion.
Somehow, someone peeled Thomas off of me. I don’t know how or who because once I decided I was ready to go to the hospital, I wasn’t worried about hurting Thomas’s feelings; all I could think about was leaving.
Everyone jumped out of their chairs and started rushing around. Steve tried to explain to the older kids what was happening, but since the TV was on, they were like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…Can we talk about this at the commercial?”
Before we left, everyone kind of lined up in spirit-tunnel formation and gave me a hug. I saw my mom last. She was crying, which made me cry, which annoyed Tom because, “COME ON! YOU CAN BE EMOTIONAL LATER!”
We headed outside, and I saw that Steve and Lindsay’s van was parked behind our car, so I casually shouted inside, “Steve! You need to move your van!” and Tom told me that everyone else had noticed this a while ago, and Steve couldn’t find his keys.
“That’s fine,” I told Tom. “We’ll just take their van. And if I give birth on the way to the hospital then maybe it’ll have the side effect of TEACHING YOU BOYS TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR KEYS.”
One second later Steve found his keys. CRISIS AVERTED!
We have about a 15 minute drive to the hospital, and the best way I can describe that trip is: Tom driving like a blind 16-year old who stole his dad’s car, and me begging him to slow down. Every time he braked or went around a curve I’d have another contraction, which was exactly what we were trying to avoid, right?
Throughout the pregnancy, every time I’d talked to Tom about labor, he acted super chill. When I brought up my anxieties and worst case scenarios, he’d say something like, “It’ll be fine! We’ll have plenty of time!” But when labor started we immediately switched roles — I calmed down, and Tom lost his mind. All this time I thought I had PTSD from Thomas’s precipitous birth, turns out Tom did too!
When we turned out of our neighborhood and onto the main road, I had this huge wave of gratitude for what had just happened — If you’ve read everything I’ve written about this pregnancy, then you might think I was exaggerating my worry about another precipitous birth. I wasn’t. If anything, I’ve downplayed it. Neighbors I barely knew were on speed dial, I had people poised to get David off the bus, I had a plan to throw the kids in the car and take them to L&D with me. I had a close-by friend promise she could be at my house in under five minutes, and she’d drop anything to make it happen. Even her kids’ nap time. That’s how you know things are serious.
But then labor started slowly, Tom was with me, and some of the adults that I trust most in the world were already in my house. Plus, my kids were with their cousins, which helped distract them and bring normalcy to a pretty intense moment.
Not one of the things I’d worried about were happening. Not one. God had provided, and as I thought through all the details He had ordained, I started to cry.
Then the light turned green, Tom smashed his foot on the gas, and I felt another contraction.
The rest of the drive was mostly uneventful except that I kept telling Tom to stop speeding or we were going to get pulled over and Tom kept telling me he hoped we’d get pulled over so we’d get a police escort to the hospital.
I explained over and over that I was not in advanced labor. These contractions were different than contractions with Thomas. I wasn’t moaning, I wasn’t doubled over. But he’d heard that before and kept speeding. Most of the drive is on two-lane road with lots of stop lights, and as we crossed a long bridge into the city, traffic slowed dramatically. I had a momentary panic attack, thinking there was an accident and we were going to be stuck on the bridge, and then I saw that there just a (very, very) slow car in front of us.
Tom hit the steering wheel, swerved a little bit, and casually tossed out the idea of passing the four cars in front of us on a double yellow line.
“IF YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT I SWEAR I’LL HAVE THIS BABY RIGHT NOW,” I said. “God is trying to show you that He provides! Like I realized a few minutes ago! This is a great lesson for you!”
Tom was super-charmed by my little impromptu devotional.
We followed the very, very slow car, over the river, through the woods, and almost the entire way to the hospital. When we finally arrived, Tom tried to make up for lost time by swerving into the hospital and having me tuck and roll into the ER. Me, being the level-headed of the two of us, convinced him to park “like a normal person.”
Nothing I said could convince him that I was fine, and for some reason re-hashing the details of Thomas’s birth didn’t calm him down.
“Look! I’m walking through contractions! I’m not in agony! SEE!” I said.
Tom didn’t respond, but the way he was literally PULLING ME BY THE ARM INTO THE HOSPITAL, said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
We went into the ER, where Tom shouted at everyone in the waiting room, “SHE HAS BABIES REALLY FAST! GET A WHEELCHAIR NOW! LAST TIME WE BARELY MADE IT!” …and I made a very funny joke about Tom being the one who needed the wheel chair.
We got into our room in L&D and Tom started breathing for the very first time. We made it. Let’s have a baby.
“Tom was super-charmed by my little impromptu devotional.”
Can’t wait for part three!
that was my favorite line, too! i’m so glad someone appreciated it 🙂
What a story! I can’t wait to hear what happens next. My birth story was the exact opposite. Everything timed as I had a scheduled c-section. I need to write about it sometime because my doctor did come into the operating room with a black eye!
oh my goodness! Yes, you need to write about it! I keep meaning to write my firstborn’s birth story, I’m worried I’ll forget it. He’s almost 8!