So, that title was just a bit over-stated. But still, it’s time to tell you my most dramatic birth story, and I might as well milk the drama for all it’s worth.
Nine years ago, Hubs and I were living in downtown Chicago with our then 17-month-old Adam. I was hugely pregnant with our second son, Stephen.
(By the way, let me just stop to tell you that until you have navigated a Chicago city bus with a toddler in one arm, a folded stroller in another, and a giant belly poking out front, then you have not yet lived, my friends. Those were some good, ableit wobbly-footed, times.)
It was Thanksgiving weekend, and all of our friends–ALL of them–were out of town. We, of course, had no family living nearby, because our family has the good sense to stay Down South, where God clearly intended people to live. Even though I was 36 weeks pregnant, we didn’t worry too much about the lack of back-up, because I still had four weeks to go, right?
Unfortunately, I did not know Gestational Rule Number 487: the number of friends you have nearby is inversely proportionate to the likelihood that you’re going to start having contractions five minutes apart.
And so it was, on that cold November night in 1998 that I awakened at 3 am with the familiar tightening in my belly that came and went, came and went all too regularly. I got up, dressed between contractions, and gently nudged Hubs awake. Just like it happens in the movies, I whispered, "It’s time."
If I was about to give birth to a preemie, I did not have the mental energy to deal with a 17-month-old toddler in a hospital room at 3 a.m (remember, everyone we knew was out of town. There was no one to call to come and watch Adam.) I informed Hubs I’d be going to the hospital alone.
He looked at me like I was crazy.
But I explained my reasoning and I reminded him that the hospital was only six blocks away. If it had been daytime, I would have walked. I could take a cab directly from our high-rise to the ER entrance. My mind was made up, and Hubs remembered quickly that you do not argue with a woman in labor, though he was still as horrified and scared as I’d ever seen him.
We locked Adam in the apartment, dashed downstairs and Hubs flagged a cab. He helped me in and kissed me, and cab door slammed shut.
"St. Josph’s emergency room," I told the driver. He turned to look at me in dismay.
"Are you about to have a baby in this cab?" he asked, glancing at my huge belly.
"I hope not," I muttered, and as he sped away, I leaned my head back against the dark vinyl seat. I closed my eyes and thought about the baby dancing in my tummy, trying to come out just a little too soon. I thought about my husband, who was surely out of his mind with worry. And I thought about the fact that I was alone, in labor, in a taxi, at 3 am, in downtown Chicago.
This boy better not give me any trouble when he’s a teenager, I thought to myself.
I hate to disappoint, but the drama basically ends here. The two-minute drive to the ER was uneventful (though the cabbie still expected me to pay; you would think he’d consider that one a freebie, wouldn’t you?). I checked in, labor was confirmed, and Hubs miraculously remembered one last friend we could call to help out. He joined me at the hospital around 7 am; Stephen was born healthy and pink just after lunch.
To this day, Stephen doesn’t enter a room–he explodes into it. Clearly, he knows how to make an entrance.
Happy birthday, my boy. I’m so proud of you I could pop.