Everyone wants a memorable birth story; but no one wants to go through one. I mean, that mother who, every year, gives birth to triplets in a cab at rush hour while her obstetrician texts instructions to the cabbie? She'll never have another conversation about vinyl siding or how overrated Jim Carey is, never again.
That's what we want to talk about, anyways; what we want to go through is a textbook birth, whether we want the "home-water-birth with the coven, three doulas and a mid-wife" sort of birth or the "more narcotics than a Columbian drug lord while surrounded by enough MDs to launch a mildly successful soap opera" sort of birth.
Our story is a little bit from column A, a little from column B.
First off, we have fantastic neighbours. Neighbours that'll bend over backwards and forwards and angles found only in extra-credit geometry homework. Generally all-around very giving and nice people. Almost makes me reconsider my hermit personality. They offer to take care of Owlet, take care of Molly (the dog), and come over at any time of night to do whatever is needed.
So, contractions, panic, rustling of various things that we are sure never to need at the hospital. Through no fault of our saintly neighbours, we somehow forget to tell them about the lock we don't have the keys to. In our defense, I don't think we even knew about the lock. On the other side, how could we not even know about the lock? At least Mrs. Owl can blame pregnancy brain. I seem to have just a naturally addled mind of questionable cognitive power.
Long story short, we have to come back (medical thing, we have to go back and forth to the hospital a few times). Lo and behold, the Lock That Doesn't Have A Key is locked. So, while Mrs. Owl goes through contractions every 7 to 10 minutes, we have another neighbour attempt a little B&E on the Owl Roost. Because if there is anything you want to do while your second child is attempting to enter this world, it's jimmying unused credit cards and discussing the finer points of undetectable burglary. To his credit, this neighbour, let's call him Chatwin, has all the criminal aura of a retired beat poet who has gone onto Serengetti wild-life macrame.
It's a long process, trying to breach our own place. We try windows and doors and briefly consider climbing among the insulation and dead hobos in our attic to access our place that way. Just kidding about the attic, of course, we didn't even consider it briefly.
Our final stop is the front door, which apparently is as easy to open as a Starbucks at your previously favourite indie record shop. Chatwin has many theories as to why ours isn't opening so easily. I think one theory involves lasers. We come up with many more ideas about how best to get in. By this time our little cadre of criminal masterminds has climbed to a whopping six people. I'm glad that my moment of heart-exploding crisis is a source of some entertainment. Of the six people, there are four moms. Now, the options we come up with are:
1) kick open the door, relying on shoddy 70's era craftsmanship to give way to our penny-loafers and desk-jockey athleticism.
2) drill into the door knob using some space age material that sounds like it might be a key component in achieving geosynchronous orbit and that is illegal in all the former Communist Bloc.
3) wait for a trained, professional locksmith to open it without major structural trauma to our residence.
Pretty much every single mom there opted for the heart-pounding exciting options of either 1 or 2.
We go with 3. As we are, for some reason, not looking for more excitement.
At some point, we wanted to see Owlet, the apple of our eyes, the focus of the past 2.5 years of our lives together. Oh, carrier of our DNA, offspring of our careful tutelage and guidance! Surely she must be distraught! Heartbroken! Confused!
Our other OTHER neighbour comes rolling by in her minivan, with Owlet inside. We open the sliding door and shower our affection upon a child that has yet to enter her rebellious teen years or utterly baffling college years. She kinda looks at us as the pope might to 100,000 thronging Roman Catholics, surging against police barriers, ecstasy in their eyes; she gives us the polite yet generally uninterested wave, and continues on her way.
It's a comfort to know that homesickness will never be an issue for her, apparently.
After one of our many trips they finally let us stay. We're shuttled off to our (being as this is Socialist Canada) private room. I thank my lucky stars we're not in the States where we no doubt would be forced to give birth in the ER waiting room, you know, right in front of the hospital cash register. This particular room has no windows, it's slightly claustrophobic; but again I consider that at least we don't have to take a second mortgage on the house to have a child. Go universal health care.
The delivery progresses. Contractions become harder, I, father and 'person who should just zip his pie-hole and stay out of the way' try my best to help out, but mostly try and not piss off Mrs. Owl. For instance, I fetch her juice. Juice that's supplied by the hospital. I assume it's actual juice. After tasting it I realize it's some sort of concentrated Tang concoction with thirty times the recommended intake of sugar, syrup, and orange tasting chemical additive.
My job of staying out of trouble becomes much less an issue when the sweet, sweet drugs come. The obstetrician who is consulting with our mid-wife makes some comment about 'how everyone loves the anesthesiologist'. It strikes me that this is a rather condescending thing to say. As if the doctor needs some self-esteem boost. No one would make a similar comment if it was a neuro-surgeon. No one makes mealy mouthed lame-duck bolstering comments to the rocket scientists at NASA, or David Lee Roth, or Maverick.
And then comes the final stretch I'll spare the more squeamish readers the details. There's breathing and squeezing and pushing. But in between there's light banter between our mid-wife and the pediatrician. Light. Banter. Now I understand that any job, no matter how exciting, becomes a little bit run of the mill. I mean, even the calling of delivering a NEW LIFE INTO THE WORLD. It's just disconcerting to see people discuss (however quietly and respectfully), something so mundane and asinine I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I do remember saying quite loudly and not without indignation, 'OH YOUR PUSHING NOW HONEY?!'.
The rest of the miracle of birth and continuation of the species and the bringing of Owl Jr. into this world came off quite splendidly really. But it's the little things you remember. Gives your birth story a little extra something. Because, to be honest, I really don't think Jim Carey is over-rated.