Sunday, January 04, 2004

Labor Day, 2003

December 22nd, was a lovely sort of winter day. It was also my sister Jeffiner's birthday. We gathered at my parent’s house around 6:00pm for cheesecake in her honor. Now, because this is Jeffiner (the habitually late and ever independent) she hadn’t actually made it to her own party. Some of you might recall her missionary farewell when she showed up sometime during the passing of the water (no hyperbole necessary, this is fact.) Jeffiner always has a good excuse, but she is always late as well.

There I was, eight months pregnant eating raspberry cheesecake sans Jeffiner, when my Abuelita (the soon to be great-grandma) took one look at my belly and said “That baby wants to come out and come out NOW.” I responded (in Spanish of course because Abuelita doesn’t speak The English) that the baby, thank you very much, wasn’t due until January 15th and therefore it would be at least the New Year before he would come. Abuelita looked at my belly, touched it slightly and said, “No, that baby wants to come out now.” I laughed this off heartily. Grandmas can be so silly sometimes.

I left my parents and drove back to our condo. I decided that I had a couple hours to kill before Other Half came home from work so I went and delivered all my Christmas chocolates (see December 4th.) I toddled down dark paths and negotiated small doorways with my little white boxes and red ribbons spreading a modicum of Christmas cheer. Back at home I thought I would make a special dinner for Other Half. So I whipped up a delicious cheese fondue with a large spread of fun nibbles. We ate decadently in front of TV without a care for the fondue pot fire hazard on our coffee table. Then I settled in for a long winter’s nap.

About 2:30 in the morning I woke up to powder my nose (it gets shiny while I sleep.) Other Half was still up frittering away those carefree post finals hours. When I crawled back in bed much to my surprise my water broke.
I, terrified with the realization that there actually is a person inside of me instead of a large cancerous baby-shaped Queen Anne-type tumor, started calling out “Other Half, Other Half! OTHER HALF!”
He of course said “what.”
“I think my water just broke.”
Other Half, “What does that mean?”
"It means we’re having a baby! You have to have a baby within 24 hours of your water breaking!”
“Oh, what should I do?”
“Well, we have to pack a bag.”
“What should I put in it?”
”I don’t know, look it up on the Internet, they have lists.”
So he did.

Other Half then asked if there was anything else to pack. I said as bitterly and as nastily as possible, “Better pack the baby name book because you’re going to need it.”
OH, “Oh yeah, I guess we’re really going to have to pick something now.”
Me, “You mean you have to pick something, I already know what I want to name the baby.”
OH says, “What’s that?”
I tell him and he says “OK.”

OK? OK? Did you just spend the past 8 months avoiding this discussion only to completely cave at the absolute last minute?

I hadn’t had a contraction so far so I thought quite logically through the situation in front of me. Obviously, there would be lots of pictures taken. One must look her best for pictures. So I pulled out the hair straightening iron. I start to divide my hair when….ouch. Oh, so that must be what a contraction feels like. Uncomfortable. I notify Other Half that I think I felt a contraction. I finish dividing my hair when I feel another one. I hand toiletries to my panicking husband. I feel another one. I realize that the contractions are about 1-2 minutes apart.

From my decade plus of TV watching I know that 1-2 minutes apart is serious business and that Doctor Huxtable would tell me to get to the hospital. I tell Other Half. Other Half tells me, in no uncertain terms, that this is absolutely no time to straighten my hair and to get myself in the car and he will follow.

Other Half laments that is the middle of the night and there are no cars on the road because for once he has an excuse to speed and whiz in and out of traffic ala The Italian Job.

We get to the hospital about 3 am. The nice security guard gets me a wheelchair while the angst-ridden husband parks the car. I inform the nurses that I would like my epidural post haste. They comply (the dears.) My mom and dad are at the hospital within 15 minutes of the phone call.
I insist that Other Half calls my boss Gary to tell him that I, in all probability, will not be in to work that day.
The nurses call my OB to tell him that our 10:45 appointment has been moved up to 7:00am. At 9:15am my doctor turns to my mom and asks her to call his office. “Tell them I’ll be there at 9:45.” I wonder, wow, does he know something I don’t, that’s awfully specific.

At 9:32 El Guille. is born.

All are overjoyed at his being.

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