So at 3:30 in the morning on July 12th, Rasa wakes me up to say “it really hurts” and we should probably go to the hospital. Granted, we were scheduled to be there at 7am anyway, so our 3:30 wake up call was only 90 minutes ahead of schedule. Turns out, we needed the extra time because when your wife is in labor, the movies just don’t do it justice. There’s no madcap dashing about trying to flag down cabs or traffic cops pulling you over only to turn on the sirens and lead you to the hospital once they’ve learned the full extent of your situation. Nope. It’s a lot of coaxing someone who can barely walk down three flights of stairs and calling a friend to come and make sure the dog gets taken out so you don’t come home to an “extra” surprise.
There’s also a few other things Hollywood doesn’t tell you about the whole “giving birth” experience.
- When someone tells you the baby inside will stop moving before labor starts, they are wrong. Monki was live-tweeting her birth using semaphores.
- The “movement” of the baby inside the womb is not a subtle, “isn’t it exciting and magical” thing. It’s like watching a shiatsu master trying to break his way out of your wife’s belly.
- A doctor who says “let’s do this the natural way” isn’t kidding. He let Rasa wait until Monki said now’s the time (using American Sign Language – see number 1)
- Your wife will take the doctor’s advice over yours, even if it’s the exact same advice. Afterwards she won’t remember any of it.
- She also won’t remember the triple digit number of times she said “I can’t do this.” In fact, she won’t even remember saying it once.
- When the doctor says “push” he will join in the fun, pressing on your wife’s belly like a Playdoh fun factory handle and the playdoh inside has been there for a while and gotten old and dry – And extruding is the only way to get it out.
- There are a variety of pre-birth positions, including standing, which lets gravity “help.”
- Babies come out purple. Not slightly blue, “you should get out of the pool now” color, but eggplant purple. Like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Takes about 3 minutes for normal color to start to come into focus.
- When they do finally come out (in our case, after about what I am told is a relatively short two hours – although when you’re in the midst of it, anything longer than 15 minutes of your wife screaming “I can’t do this” gets uncomfortably close to your wedding night) you can which body parts were responsible for all the movements which until then had just been mere fanciful speculation.
- A newborn’s face looks like an android going through facial emotion protocols after experiencing a hard reset. It’s a ballet of “anger-happy-thoughtful-questioning-anger” etc. Better morphing than Michael Jackson’s Black and White video.
What they do get right, of course, is the love for this new child…even if she does disrupt your sleep patterns and doesn’t let you write for a few days.