Truly, I don't give my wife enough credit for what she does. This morning around 5am she said that she was feeling some contractions...minor, but enough for her to take notice. We had just moved house on Saturday, so we'd been running all over and unpacking. We didn't think too much of it because the baby's due date was the 29th (coincedentially our first son's birthday also). I figured it was just those beginning contractions that start a few weeks before you really get going. Plus, according to the doctor we'd just seen the previous Wednesday she wasn't at all ready.
The contractions continued, but with no particular pattern, so we didn't sweat them. Then they disappeared completely around lunch. Then around 6pm they started again, but she was still walking around, unpacking, playing with our two year old. She'd pause every 10-15 minutes, make a note of the length of the contraction, but still we weren't worried about it. Then around 8pm, she said, oh, that's not comfortable. I think we need to get going. Nah, you're not even close, I said. Let's hang out here and we'll probably head over tomorrow or the next day. No, she insisted. I'll drive myself if I have to, but I think we need to get out of there.
Since we'd just moved house on Saturday, we now live out in the country and we are over an hour away from the hospital. We start driving, leaving the two year old with my parents. It's dark and rainy and horrible and we pound through it. She continues with contractions, and we bet on dilation. I say 3cm, she says 7cm. I secretly wonder if we'll be sent back from the hospital, thinking that we're totally jumping the gun. I suspect she's worried about the same thing.
We show up at the hospital at 10pm, walk in and say, my wife's in labor. They look at my calm wife and say, um, ok, take our details, ask for timing, and show us to a room. It's clear that they're thinking we're in for a long night of waiting and that these folks (us) have shown up way early. We wait and wait for the nurse and Mo says, I really need some help here, this is really stating to hurt.
I politely go to the desk and say, I'm sorry, but I really think someone needs to look at my wife. They are kind, but again, I'm a nervous father, right? Sure, sir, someone will be right there.
A very nice nurse shows up, takes some readings and checks my wife out. She calmly says, ok, a lot of people are going to show up, but they are all here to help. She pushes a button and like seriously, five nurse ninjas appear from the floor and ceiling with carts and equipment. My wife is freaking out. She says it's time for drugs. Our doctor hasn't shown up yet, because we've only been here 15 minutes. An on-call doctor comes in and examines my wife. Ok, let me get my scrubs. My wife asks, what's going on? The nurse says, well, doctor is getting his scrubs, so a baby is coming and very soon.
I need drugs! she says, I can't do this! It's too late for drugs, you've got to do it naturally. The doctor returns and my wife starts pushing immediately. Fifteen minutes of hard drug-free labor later, our second son, T Daniel Hanselman arrives. He's 6 lbs, 6 oz and healthy.
My wife and I walked into the hospital this evening at 10pm and Baby T* arrived with a full head of hair and strong lungs at 10:43pm.
I will always listen to my wife from now on.
*T means Happiness in Zulu/Ndebele and is pronounced "Taa-bo"
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.