Friday, June 15, 2007

Home Delivery

A very dear friend of ours is just seconds away from going into labor, that ball-peen hammer should begin mercilessly pounding her skull at any moment if it hasn’t already begun. She’s having this baby at home. I could fill up this post with commentary on just that aspect itself and how I’m opposed to it, but it’s not my fight this time. It’s none of my business. I’m sure everything will go perfectly anyway with a boat builder, two Mid-Western horse wranglers, a needy three-year-old and a Mastiff, as midwife, on hand.

Not being a woman, I can’t speak to this sacramental feel that apparently comes over you during childbirth, this primal snap in the female psyche. What I can speak to is fatherhood and the last great and exciting thing you get to do before a newborn enters your life and sucks all that out of it. I’m talking about driving your pregnant wife to the hospital. Quickly. When each of my four kids were on their way I raced across town like a madman to get Kristy to the hospital. Even with C, who was a planned induction. Nobody was going to take that away from me! The others began the process in the middle of the night, so with barely any traffic and Kristy next to me letting me know again and again that there was plenty of time and no need for me to run red lights, I burned up the miles like I was Steve McQueen. With S, I wasn’t even sure where I was going and turned left when I should’ve turned right, necessitating a cool, full-speed U-turn in the middle of Germantown Parkway. It’s all we have in those final few hours with no screaming, pooping, needy human to take care of. As boys, we never think of childbirth until it’s upon us. We don’t dream of that day, prepare for it, but what we do know is that when the time comes we will be called upon to drive very, very fast, and we cling to that scenario.

I feel for The Admiral. I’m sure S.A.M. will go into labor in the middle of the night and the only thing that will be required of him is to roll out of bed and possibly make a pot of coffee for the midwives, or the Mastiff. No acceleration, no screeching tires, no – I get giddy at the thought – police escort. Nothing but a slow trundle out of labor & delivery, due north with no off-ramp, no construction zone to negotiate, and into the next room, the kitchen.