There’s nothing funnier than giving birth. Except for maybe oral surgery without anesthesia. The day your wife gives birth, you pretty much feel like it would be quite considerate if you got your teeth pulled with rusty pliers just for the heck of it because otherwise you’re just sitting there watching her scream at you and you can’t do anything but maybe eat some potato chips. Now, if you got your teeth pulled with rusty pliers by a defrocked oral surgeon, then at least you could scream together and enjoy the moment of pre parental bliss on the same page.
I was stuck simply trying to be “encouraging” without even knowing what it was I was supposed to encourage. Was I supposed to encourage the baby? The contracting uterus? My wife? She was not too happy about my attempts at encouragement, encouraging me in turn to shut the hell up and go away. I was not discouraged by this, mostly because I was doing way too much encouraging to be in the discouraging mindset. This is what I was aiming my thoughts at:
To baby: I know you have no idea what the hell is going on or let alone any sense of self, and chances are you don’t know English yet, but I kindly encourage you to get out of the cave you’re in so your mother will stop screaming at me.
To uterus: Maybe on the next contraction I can encourage you to try to be a little less…well, contractual? The power of Demerol compels you!
To wife: You can do it, you can do it, let’s just put some (SHUT UP!!!!) power to it!
Before any of this happened, of course, my wife’s water broke. When that happened we immediately got a bath towel she wore as a giant Depends diaper, but it didn’t seem to help much. That was five days prior to any of this. For five days we were just sitting and waiting for something to happen, and nothing did. On day 2, when she stopped leaking, the doctors informed us that the baby’s head had plugged up the leak. I thought this was a good sign, because it meant that she’ll have a good career as a plumber. On day 4 I actually left the hospital and went back to work, having given up in despair that my wife will ever have a contraction.
It’s unbelievable where your mind goes during these sorts of medical traffic jams. My train of thought went something like this:
1. Maybe she can’t have contractions?
2. Maybe her pituitary gland doesn’t produce enough contraction hormone?
3. Oh my God, maybe that’s because there’s something wrong with her pituitary gland?
4. Maybe she doesn’t even HAVE A PITUITARY GLAN! QUICK! SOMEBODY DO AN MRI! THIS WOMAN DOESN’T HAVE A PITUITARY GLAND!
When I came into work that morning on day 4, all my co-workers saw my bloodshot eyes and exhausted posture and naturally wished a big Mazel Tov to the new dad. When I told them that nothing happened since her water broke 4 days ago and the baby’s head blocked the leak and for all I know my wife doesn’t even have a pituitary gland, they all slowly backed away in small steps, no sudden movements, as if I was armed with a shotgun.
That night I had half a bottle of cheap Ukranian honey pepper flavored vodka, passed out, my sleep disturbed by senseless nightmares involving man-eating pituitary glands.
The next day I went to work…again, having totally lost faith in my wife’s ability to give birth to anything, contemplating the possibility of pituitary transplants. But then I got The Phone Call. The Phone Call came from my mother in law who informed me that my wife was in “active labor”. My first thought was, “Does this mean she definitely has a pituitary gland?” I was so relieved.
Then came my biggest mistake. When I got to the hospital for the 17th time in 5 days and indeed confirmed that my wife was actually in “active labor”, I updated my Facebook status with the words, “In hospital. Labor.” There was nothing stupider that could have possibly been done by anyone involved in the affair, except maybe one of the nurses giving me a Chinese baby and insisting it was mine. That’s the only thing I can think of.
Immediately after my infamous status update, my phone became flooded with people calling me, asking me if they can “get me anything” or if I “need anything.” It’s all very sweet, I know, but then you’re left in the awkward position of thinking, “What exactly am I supposed to ask for?” The only thing I could think of was, of course, beer.
The actual birth was very stereotypical. Everyone was telling me that real birth is NOT what you see in the movies AT ALL. But I have to say, this birth was EXACTLY like the movies in EVERY WAY, right down to everyone screaming at my wife to PUSH and she politely telling everyone to SHUT UP and she CAN’T DO IT and she’s GIVING UP.
The good thing is, just as she insisted that she was going to give up and forget about giving birth, the baby popped right out. It was yawning and making a repetitive noise that sounded like *YOWP*. It looked at me and smelled pretty weird. But the best part of all—it has a nice healthy pituitary gland.