I told myself that I would keep going to work until something happened.
It was our due date, and even though my wife, Alyssa, had already started her maternity leave, I was driving to work. Of course at that point, all I could think about was the fact that I worked 30 minutes away from home and that if something happened, I would be 30 minutes away from her.
It was about lunchtime when I decided I had had enough. I couldn’t focus on getting anything done, and besides, I had already finished up all of my big projects earlier that week. I told my boss I was leaving and I’d see her in a few weeks.
The due date slowly went by. I’m generally a patient person, but this was torture. We had an induction scheduled one week after the due date, so all I could think about was the fact that Alyssa was going to go into labor and we would have a child at some point in the next seven days. I can remember on an almost nightly basis Alyssa getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and me being freaked out because I thought things were happening.
Do you remember how excited you used to get when you were a kid waiting for Christmas to arrive? Just so excited you didn’t know whether to shit or go blind? On Christmas Eve, you’d go to bed super early, hoping that you’d fall asleep quickly and Christmas would arrive that much sooner. Waiting for a child to be born is kind of like that, except the level of anxiety and anticipation is much higher because, unlike Christmas, it could literally happen any time.
It’s like telling a six year-old that Santa Claus is going to visit at some point during a one week window. Oh, and also, there’s a chance that Santa may not be able to make it down the chimney, which means we’ll have to perform major abdominal surgery on the person you love most. But maybe not. Who knows? IT’S GONNA BE REAL FUN, KID.
The day after the due date, we went to get breakfast with my mother-in-law at a place down the street. She and Alyssa then spent some time walking around outside to try to hurry up the labor process and help with my wife’s swollen feet which had become enormous almost overnight.
After that, it was back to waiting. One day slowly turned into another and we started the weekend. What is there to do while you’re waiting for labor to start? You’re too anxious to be able to focus on a movie or TV show, which means you’re really bored. But then there’s the competing thought that if you do something to relieve your boredom, you’ll either be in the middle of something or away from home when your wife will need you.
The weekend slowly crawled by. That Sunday, we had a family gathering at Alyssa’s aunt and uncle’s to carve pumpkins. She wasn’t feeling it that day–she had a massive headache and felt awful. We finished up with the family, drove home and she quickly went to bed.
We didn’t know it yet, but this was the beginning. The headache was a sign. Within 24 hours, we’d be at the hospital and she’d be in labor.
I always assumed things would start in the middle of the night. Every time I played the scenario out in my head I would wake up to a screaming and water-broken wife, we would hurriedly pack the car, and then I would rush us to the hospital at two in the morning.
But this was not to be the case for us.