Tales of Birth and Love and Joy. And DDT.

Da baby. Violet Fe. Like Santa Fe, but not in New Mexi
My eyes snap open from deep sleep. Pale, mute moonlight is splashed across the pillows. It’s not yet five o’ clock, I figure based on the angle and intensity of the moonbeams. And also based on the digital clock beside my bed. I’m lying on my left side, facing north, instantly and completely lucid. Shannon is staring at me. Her eye whites are smiling from their shadowed sockets.

“It’s time to go to the hospital,” she whispers. She’s nine months pregnant in three days. I pretend I can’t hear her, because I’ve heard that if you ignore your wife’s labor contractions they go away and you can sleep longer. But I change my mind a few seconds later, because maybe I have bad juju and the contractions won’t go away and I will deliver a slimy baby in the kitchen with a soup ladle and a Crock Pot. And then of course you have to get a new Crock Pot, because, ew.

It’s 5:15. Our minivan glides down cold and silent city streets, beneath tired orange streetlamps and past squat houses sporting lonely outdoor Christmas lights that look put out because they have to beam Christmas cheer all night to bare pavement and sinewy stray cats. I want really bad to drive 110 miles per hour to the hospital while my wife screams in child-birthing agony, because that’s awesome. The driving fast part, not the child-birthing agony part. But Shannon isn’t doing her part. Instead of properly screaming to set the mood, she’s calmly telling me about a podcast she listened to about how ticks suck. It’s hard to drive 110 to that soundtrack. So I drive 25, and it’s lame.

The hospital is a colossal mess of glass and concrete and soft-glow signs and parking lots sparsely speckled with all-night nurses’ economy cars. I leave the minivan running outside the emergency entrance and ask the bleary-eyed ladies behind the desk where I should go to have a baby. They tug uncertainly on their scrubs and chew their painted nails. One says the physical therapy building is the place to go. The other one mocks her and says, no, I should go to the south entrance, which sounds more vague but also less stupid than going to the physical therapy building.

Da girls. Boys are too cool for pictures with hearts and cutesy footprints.
One wrong parking lot later, Shannon and I are hobbling hand in hand through an automatic door marked “Labor & Delivery.” But no one is inside the “Labor & Delivery” entrance. The clean, high-ceilinged lobby is empty. Good thing my wife isn’t in “labor” and in need of someone to assist with “delivery.” I leave Shannon and speed-walk a hundred yards to a desk marked “Surgery.” Someone is there, because if you need surgery and no one is there, you will die. Whereas, if you need baby delivery and no one is there, everything will be fine if you can find your Crock Pot. The lady at surgery says to take the elevator to the 5th floor for “Labor & Delivery.” Duh. Self-evident, lady. I was only asking to make you feel useful.

It’s 7:30. Shannon’s hand is sucking on an IV. An hour ago, when the nurse inserted the IV, a geyser of blood erupted from the vein she stuck and soaked the bedsheets. We all got a good laugh. Good times. Labor pains and spurting blood. Good times. Now Shannon looks bored. Her contractions have slowed. I have a law school final in an hour. I ask the nurse if she thinks Shannon will hold off until my final ends at 10:30. She says, yeah, probably. I quickly glance over my study materials a final time to kick start the sleek, high-octane analytic machine that is my brain. It’s like a Lamborghini. And when I say Lamborghini, I mean the Yugo kind. That runs on rabbit poop.

Shannon explodes into hard labor at 9:30. At the same time, two miles away, I’m scratching my head, swearing that the answer choices for the question about the In re Oracle Corp. Derivative Litigation case were all taken from the Marx v. Akers case. You know what’s cooler than a Business Associations final exam? Chugging DDT.

Da Grace. Oozing with love.
The guy I left my phone with while I took my exam, and who I told to fetch me from my exam if the hospital called, motions to me from the classroom doorway at 9:55. I bolt through the parking lot to my car, hurdling benches and pedestrians and small Mazdas. I put the minivan through its paces, weaving in and out of traffic, even though there isn’t any, because changing lanes makes you go faster. I scream into the hospital parking lot, sprint to the elevator, will it upwards, and burst into Shannon’s room at 10:04. The baby is on the scale, still mucky. Shannon is grinning, because she’s like fifteen pounds lighter. The baby arrived four minutes before I did. I apologize profusely for missing the baby’s actual birth, but Shannon shows once again why she’s the world’s best wife. “Look,” she says, “it was just as well you weren’t here. I screamed, I cried, I begged for mercy. It was all over in 20 minutes. You couldn’t have done anything constructive.” She’s right. I only have three talents: spelling, Googling, and triple lutzes. And having cute babies. It's a girl, BTW.