There are some situations in life when you really have no idea how you’ll react until it happens. Most of these are extremely imaginary. What would I do if I won the lotto? How would I survive a zombie apocalypse? What If I actually did turn this car around right now? One of them is much more real, and I recently experienced it. What if my wife’s water suddenly breaks?
When each of my first two kids were born this was not an issue, it happened while we were already in the hospital. Therefore my only concept of what it would be like was based on what I’ve seen in sitcoms, rom-coms, all the coms. Perhaps it was a little bit of life imitating art, but they weren’t all that wrong.
We were sitting on the couch having a nice evening. It was a little after 8:00 and the kids were both asleep already so were were relaxing, having a nice foot soak (me not my pregnant wife), streaming the latest episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and eating some candy. We were on pace to be in bed by 9:30. An all-around great night that was two full weeks from our due date. Then, right when Zoey is about to reveal her true feelings, Emily says “I think my water just broke.”
I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I am pretty sure it was along the lines of, “HUH?” Upon confirming the state of her water, I have to say I maintained a very level head. I didn’t panic and start running around frantically, but rather had a very practical thought about the need to immediately replace our couch. My second though was also very practical – I need to call the our babysitter and have her watch the girls.
Fun side story, my wife had called her mom that morning asking her to come out and stay with us until the baby was born because she just had a feeling that he would be early. My mother-in-law fully planning on coming that day, but was talked out of it by my father-in-law. Still two weeks from the due date, he said. The baby won’t come tonight, he said. Thanks a
pant uterus load.
With the future of my couch reconsidered and the babysitter called, I now started to veer away from calm and collected toward Hugh Grant in 9 Months. When Emily half-jokingly said “Of course he’s coming today, I forgot to take a shower this morning,” it reminded me that I forgot to brush my teeth. (My morning routine has really been thrown off by this working from home thing). Naturally, I had the immediate impulse to brush my teeth. I mean, I can’t have my son’s first impression of his father being bad breath can I? Emily quickly informed me that this was not necessary. Time to pack.
In contrast to my wife who had her back for the hospital packed since the second trimester, I hadn’t packed anything yet. In my defense, I am a light packer and it never takes me more than a few minutes to get my things together. Under normal circumstances. I quickly packed the basics: pair of pants, pair of shorts, couple extra shirts, pair of of underwear, back up pair of underwear, emergency pair of underwear. Suddenly I’ve become mother. I will realize later that despite my extra underwear packing I have packed no socks. Luckily, this will be remedied by an available pair of hospital socks. My feet had never been more resistant to slips in my life.
With bag packed and childcare secured, it was time to get going. I loaded the still mostly asleep and very confused kids to my wife’s minivan and we were on our way. They don’t really advertise the 0 to 60 speed of minivans, but we were going to find out. The baby clock was ticking and I wasn’t going to let something like speed limits or other cars on the road get in my way. The kids got dropped off and we got to the hospital safely, and in excellent time.
I dropped my wife off at the maternity entrance and parked the car. When I walked in I had to answer a few COVID-19 screening questions and one fairly obvious question about why I was there. Before they let me pass, a security guard gave me an unnecessarily stern warning that once I go in, if I leave I can’t come back. As if he was giving advice about the totality of fatherhood and not the inconveniences of adjustments in hospital policy.
We got to the triage room and sat down. It was 9:15. Thus concludes the fastest hour of my life.