lad, wake up. It’s time!”
That was the first thing I heard that night! It was the night of my first-born’s birth. I remember waking from the haze and thinking ‘Time for what?’
It took a couple of minutes for the cobwebs to clear, but after they did, all manner of panic and excitement ensued. I can remember rushing around getting all of the bags together that were already prepared. I can remember that even with all of the preparation, nothing was prepared. I was in a state of panic and nothing could prepare you for the reality of childbirth. Here was Elad, the most irresponsible man in the world about to enter parenthood.
I mean what qualifications did I have? Shouldn’t references be required for this line of work? How about a 10-year background check? I hadn’t held a job for longer than two years up to that point, and here I was about to be a dad. Like most of the people in my time, I had been on drugs for years before that. All manner of drugs, and I can remember wondering if my children would have multiple heads at the time. No, this is not a push for drugs. I quit them fairly quickly about that time. Call it parenthood.
The next thing I remember is getting in the car and driving like a mad man down Interstate 20 in the dark of night. For some reason, my wife, Barbie found it necessary to choose a hospital 30 miles away, when there were four other ones closer. As a matter of fact, we had to pass one to get to the one I was racing like a NASCAR Driver to get to. Women! If there is ever a man born that truly understands them, he will be called “Messiah” and worshipped by all mankind. About that time my wife asked me: “Why are you driving so fast?”
I can remember thinking ‘What a dumb question.’ Never mind that the paint was peeling from the car at such speeds, I was going to get her there on time. At that time, I thought childbirth had a rhythm to it. You drive, get out, deliver the child, and go home. Easy huh? Well, trust me, it doesn’t work that way. Childbirth is a series of well thought out blunders and all manner of obstacles thrown in for good measure. I’ll bet God planned it that way. I can hear him now: “Oh, skippin’ Church, huh. Take that! Not helpin’ your fellow man, huh. Take that! Childbirth is entertainment for The Gods. It’s probably their favorite time of the day or night and they fight over who gets to toss a wrench in the engine.
“Elad, pull over! You’re scaring me. Elad! PULL OVER!” My wife said.
Lesson one! Never argue with pregnant women. I looked over at her to see her head was doing 360s, spinning in opposite directions and the veins in her eyes were popping out. I screeched to halt and she took over the driving. Let me tell you one thing; I’m the boss around my house! We drove at a speed and I can remember thinking how weird it was to see turtles pass us. Everything moved in slow motion, that is until I heard: Oops! Oops is generally a word reserved for accidents. I looked ahead but saw nothing. Then I looked at her.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Well, my water broke!” she responded.
“Your water broke?” What’s that mean? You’re going to give birth while crawling down the Interstate?” I asked.
“Well, it means I have to hold my legs together and your going to have to carry me inside.” She replied.
A pause from the action: Now here I am with the vision of a baby squirting up under my dashboard. I was no expert, but I was fairly certain that was not supposed to happen. What to do, what to do. Of course about that time we entered the emergency room driveway and screeched to a halt. I ran inside and got the Doc, and we wheeled a wheel chair out to the car together. My wife, with her legs squeezed together, slid into the chair and we wheeled her into the — Gadget room.
The gadget room is the room, where doctors apply all of their cool little toys on an expecting mother. They attach wires, tubes, and disks and stick things everywhere. They probe you, they feel you and they condescend to one here.
“Yes, everythings going to be all right Mrs. Nostaw”, the Doctor said in a calm smooth voice as if he were talking to a three-year-old.
“What the hell are you talking about, Doc. Look at her.” I calmly replied.
OK, so maybe it wasn’t so calm. We both looked at her and she was tightening up every muscle in her body. Then we heard the proverbial contraction moan. Arrrrgh! I looked at the doc and it was quite apparent to me that he was as freaked out as I was.
“How many times have you done this, doc?” I asked in a heightened state of panic.
“Over a hundred times easily.” He replied. His stare was not much comfort for the amateur Elad however and I quickly responded “Well, do something. Don’t just stand there.”
He took out his cold stethoscope, pronounced her living and doing fine, and then disappeared into another room. My wife moaned again, I ran into the other room to get the Doc, and here was another woman giving birth. Oops! It’s an assembly line. Now this caught me off guard. It turned out there were four other women giving birth that night and there was only one doctor so far. The rest were out at 1 am for a late night round of golf, no doubt.
Where’s our Doctor at? We need a doctor in here.” I screamed.
“Calm down Mr. Nostaw. Your doctor’s on the way. He should be here shortly.” The nurse said.
Now I was upset at my wife. Only she could start childbirth without a Doctor.
“Can’t you hold it?” I asked. “No!” she responded in one of those many voices women have during childbirth. The voice would have made Satan proud. It freaked me out.
About that time, all of the stragglers began arriving. These are the people that show up for childbirth. Relatives, friends and people wanting your insurance information. My wife’s best friend, Sha arrived. This was great for me as she had already had two children and I could use some help. Her vast network of experience immediately came into play. She calmly walked into the gadget room, looked at my wife’s expression, and ran screaming from the room and it was one of those blood-curdling screams. I should have known then what was at stake. After a few minutes, she returned. She walked up to Barb and held her hand.
On the table next to us, was a machine spitting out graph paper. I don’t know why, but they have to graph paper everything. It gives you heart rate, blood pressure and they also have one that tells you how hard the woman is contracting. I later found out that that little gadget was for dad’s. You see, if you’re holding her hand, or in my case, she was squeezing my wrist, you let go when the needle pegs off the paper. Why? Because the first time that happened, she squeezed my wrist so hard, her nails punctured the main artery there and a nice little blood stream squirted out all over the wall.
“Oh my God, Elad. You’re bleeding.” Screamed Sha. I looked down counting the beats of my heart as pulse after pulse squirted into the air. Sometimes it made three feet from my wrist. A nurse saw that and I had to be bandaged while Sha held a trash can under the flow. When I returned, she was sitting there calming my Ex. We watched the paper graphs together and the next time a contraction left the lines on the graph paper Sha replied: “Wow! That was a good one.”
Then we both looked at Barb. Her head was spinning in 360s again. I think perhaps Satan invades a woman’s body during birth and fights for the soul of the child. She grabbed my wrist and said in a Satan-like voice: “See what you did, you son of a bitch!”
I cowered back just a bit but she apologized and I resumed holding her hand. Women think being the man at this time is easy. Maybe we don’t have to deliver the baby but I assure you nothing is easy. God has compensated for a woman’s pain by making us endure all manner of insult and injury.
About that time, they wheeled her into another room. Now I didn’t go to this room because you have to have special breathing lessons to go there so I sat outside and worried a lot. Mostly what I thought about, was what those drug abuse films always tell you.
“If you do drugs, it alters you’re DNA and your children will be mutants.” This was heavy on my mind, so I worried a lot thinking to myself: Please be normal and I promise to quit all of the drugs, God. Now there are a few things the doctors don’t bother to tell you. One is that they often have to grab the baby and pull on them. I think this is important for reasons I will soon make known.
About an hour later, they wheeled my daughter out in one of those portable incubators. Everyone heard “Nostaw” and we ran to the incubator. I looked down expecting to see a beautiful baby girl. I was not prepared to see a baby with a long, pointed head.
“Arrgh! I’ve ruined my baby. I’m a killer. It’s a mutant.” I screamed.
“What are you talking about, Mr. Nostaw? Your baby is perfect”, responded the nurse
“Look at its massive head and how pointed it is. It’s the LSD, I tell you.” I replied in a panic.
Everyone burst out laughing, being I was the only ignorant one there. “Mr. Nostaw! That’s from the tongs they use to help the baby along. The cone shape will disappear in a few days to a few weeks”, she informed me.
I was glad to hear that, even though she could have let me know that before I made a fool out of myself. I guess that’s Dad’s position: To play the fool. When the dust had settled, I was the proud father of an 8 pound 12 ounce baby girl.
She was perfect and having both of my children will always be considered one of my crowning achievements.
The author can be contacted at: MechanizedGodz@aol.com
Copyrights reserved by the author.