Sunday, February 05, 2012

On early childbirth and zombies

The last thing you want on a Monday afternoon is to have your baby born three months prematurely, but as I sped to the doctor’s office last week to meet my pregnant wife, Kara, that possibility loomed.

“My doctor thought that I might need a steroid shot to help the baby’s lungs develop faster, just in case labor is imminent,” Kara told me over the phone, and I was out the door.

We met at the maternal fetal specialist for an impromptu appointment.  Two-and-a-half years ago, our son, Evan, caught us by surprise and insisted on being born two months early.  Nobody knows why that happened, so Kara is in the high-risk pregnancy category this time around, which means that she spends more time in waiting rooms than the receptionists.

This appointment had a special urgency, though, since neither of us knew if Kara’s aches and pains during the preceding day had actually been the start of an even earlier labor, as her regular doctor had suggested.  I started to get that same feeling I’d had when Evan was born, the feeling that this kind of life event should really be reserved for someone better equipped to handle it.

But then the fetal specialist entered the room, looked at the ultrasound and said, “Your cervix is beautiful.”
I was pretty sure he was talking to Kara.

“So everything’s okay?” she asked.

“Yes, you’re not going into labor now, and I don’t see any great reason to be concerned,” he said, and the examination room shuddered with our collective sigh of relief.

“But you do need to take it easy,” he continued, unfortunately still not talking to me.  “I won’t call it ‘bedrest,’ but you need to keep your activity to a minimum.”

Kara began inquiring about what exactly he meant.  Could she still go to work?  Go shopping?  Go to the mailbox?

“If it doesn’t involve sitting down, you probably shouldn’t be doing it,” he said.  

“What about doing my own laundry or even putting my dishes away?” Kara asked.

“Nope, you can’t do any of that now,” the doctor replied.

“Aw, dude,” I said, in my head.

So for the past few days, we’ve started adjusting to our new reality, one in which Kara isn’t allowed to get up from the couch.  It’s not that I’ve ever been jealous of a woman in her third trimester, exactly, but I can’t help feeling that she’s squandering a golden opportunity.

“It’s a shame you don’t play video games.  All this quality couch time going to waste,” I said.

“The only thing I’m allowed to do for the next three months is go to the bathroom and gestate,” Kara said.  “I’m an incubator with feet.”

“We have Call of Duty in the Playstation right now.  I can show you how to throw grenades the right way and everything,” I offered.

“No thanks, babe.  I’ll just read,” she said.

“But you can play against zombies!” I said.  For reasons I still cannot fathom, she shook her head.

Sometimes, just when you think you’re beginning to understand women, they’ll refuse to throw a grenade at a zombie.

“Fine.  I guess the zombies win, then,” I muttered as I wandered off to cook dinner.  Okay, order dinner.

Kara might very well lose her mind sitting on the couch for the next three months, but at least it looks like the baby is staying put, for now.  It probably helps that I constantly remind Kara to “keep holding it in.”

For now, all is well.  And in just three months, if we keep going at this rate, we’ll have a beautiful baby boy and a memorial wing at our pizza place.

You can send Mike Todd a premature email at


  1. Oh my, you had me scared there for a sec! Hoping the little guy stays put! Here's hoping Kara keeps her sanity and you do too!

  2. Last time you created a baby, you also wrote a book. So when does your next book come out? Hmm?

  3. Shel -- Thanks so much! We weren't rich in the sanity dept before all this, but we'll do our best. Hope all is well with you.

    Marcia -- I didn't think anyone knew about that book besides my mom! Thanks for the encouragement :-)