Yesterday, I learned about the limits of both art and science.
As y'all undoubtedly know, the spousal unit and I are expecting an urchin. Said urchin was actually due Wednesday. Mighty isn't here yet, though. We're hoping that urchin's lack of punctuality doesn't carry over into the high school years.
Yesterday afternoon, I was introducing the spousal unit to the under-appreciated pleasures of The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr. when she started to feel...it was less a cramp and more a contraction. Eureka! Mighty might actually be beginning preparations for the debut appearance!
So, having read all the books, website feeds, and such, we knew, in order to figure out when we needed the services of our birthing professionals, we had to start the counting, the collection and collating of data. Everything, including the advice of doctors, told us to head to the hospital when contractions hit five minutes apart. I grabbed a pad of paper and pen, and I started writing down times. Contraction one: 1:45 pm. Contraction two: 2:06. Interval: 21 minutes. We stayed at around the 20 minute mark for a few cycles. The 15 minute gap lasted about two hours. Then 10 minutes...then 7 minutes. When we had a couple of consistent 5 minute marks, we made some notification calls & texts, got dressed, and went to the car to start the voyage.
After getting the car parked, getting up to the third floor, and finding the maternity ward (we've been there before, but it's a hospital...it's not tremendously diverse in decor, so the hallways have the distinctiveness of Jeffrey's Tubes), we found out that the female population of Toledo (or at least a significant portion thereof) must've decided last night was the perfect time to spit out a child...the maternity nurses were slammed busy. There was no room at the Inn, so to speak (well, no bed in the triage), so we were pointed to the waiting room. The spousal unit read, I watched NCIS...that is, when we weren't pacing around the waiting room, spousal unit panting, me trying to be kind and sympathetic (as well as anyone who will never personally experience a contraction can be).
After seven hours of contractions and an hour and a half in the waiting room, we were finally shown to triage...which was nowhere near as cool as even MASH made it appear (either the show or the superior movie). They had a radio playing. The song was "How Long Has This Been Going On?" I found this hilarious, but I was very unsure if I should or should not point out the humor to the contracting spousal unit. Score one, though, against the power of art to uplift.
After monitoring, checking, waiting, testing, more monitoring and checking, our doctor (who happened to be on hospital duty) came in to see the spousal unit and immediately declared the spousal unit looked too good, calm, and restful to actually be in labor. We were given a choice: we could either wander around the halls, hoping that a few hours of walking would spur true rather than false labor...or we could go home and wait for the actual labor to start. I innocently asked how we would know when we (well, the spousal unit) had real contractions, real labor if the counting obviously didn't work (as we did the 5-minute-between-contraction thing, which did not lead us to delivery as advertised). Our doc said the spousal unit would just know. I wasn't sure if this was an appeal to the sacred mystery of female intuition (of which men will never understand) or a Yoda reference. Score one, though, against science and procedure.
Yeah, I know it's still early in the process...but this pregnancy/delivery thingie is, to this point, confounding. Oh, well...I'm sure it will just get easier.