Monday, April 07, 2014

The imminent nephew

“I failed bed rest.  Twice,” my sister reported from her hospital bed in San Diego last week.  Amy has always been a mover and a shaker, but she'd recently found herself under doctor's orders to keep the moving and shaking to a minimum, lest she encourage her unborn son to move and shake into the world ahead of schedule. 

After her first bed rest failure, the doctors told Amy that they'd be inducing labor that evening, which happened to be on my wife Kara's birthday.

“Tell Kara I'm sorry, but I may not get a chance to call and sing 'Happy Birthday' tonight,” Amy said on the phone that afternoon. 

She was joking, but the fact that she was even thinking about singing goes to show the importance my family places on calling to croon annual off-key birthday wishes.  Imminent childbirth is about the only excuse good enough to get you out of it. 

Not that my family made me think of this, of course, but isn't it odd that so many people can't sing?  We all have these beautiful musical instruments in our throats, but only Carrie Underwood and like three other people ever took the time to learn to play them.  It's like we were all born with clarinets strapped to our faces, but we couldn't be bothered to practice.

“Hey, let's hear you play some clarinet!” someone would say to me.

“Oh, you mean this clarinet strapped to my face?  I never had time to learn.  Too busy,” I'd reply, returning to my iPhone to deal with the marauding orcs that were attacking my castle.

Anyway, it would have been a really memorable rendition if Amy had called Kara to sing “Happy Birthday” while she was in labor.  She probably would have nailed the high notes.

“Do you feel like you're slowly clicking up the hill on a roller coaster?” I asked Amy as she mentally prepared herself for the evening's scheduled events. 

A year-and-a-half ago, Amy witnessed her wife, Jaime, giving birth to their first child, so she had a pretty good idea of what to expect, which may not have been all that reassuring.  I've witnessed Kara going through childbirth twice, and while both experiences triggered a flood of thoughts and emotions, “Get me in on this action!” is not one of the thoughts I remember having.       

“It feels exactly like a roller coaster,” Amy replied.  “I've been clicking up the hill all week.  I know I signed up for this, but we're getting to the one part of the process that I have really not been looking forward to.  I hope the part where it goes downhill will be nice and quick.”

“Well, once the roller coaster gets to the top, there's really nothing left for you to do but put your hands in the air and scream,” I offered.  Then I winced, wondering if perhaps we'd taken the roller coaster analogy one step too far.

“Yeah, that's pretty much what I'll be doing,” Amy laughed.

Soon after that conversation, the doctors changed the schedule again, recommending that Amy stay on bed rest for another week before they'd consider inducing labor.  Since the bed rest at home hadn't been working, she wouldn't be allowed to leave the hospital again without first producing a tiny little bundle of joy.  Her son will be her ticket out of there.  It's like how they let you into New Jersey for free, but you have to pay to get back out.

So that's where Amy is right now, still waiting for the doctors to give the signal, which could happen at any moment.  We're looking forward to meeting the newest rider when the roller coaster stops. 
You can make a special delivery to Mike Todd at 


  1. The best part about stories about childbirth, as a man, is being able to assure yourself over and over that you'll never have to experience it during all the times when it sounds scary.

    As far as the second, third, and fourth best parts... well... it really falls off after that first one.

    I hope you're not reading this comment, Amy! If you are, I'm sure it will be fine and not be too scary!! And you're in our thoughts.

  2. Ha! Thanks, Russ. No worries, I'm on the other side now, and glad to be! That was one hell of a ride.