Her entire labour lasted about 3 hours. Hilarious, right? Ok, that’s not the funny part… it’s actually quite dangerous to have such a short labour. The body isn’t fully prepared for the shock of… anyway, that’s not the point of my story. Bare with me.
Because the labour happened so fast, she and her husband had just enough time to call their family to tell them they were at the hospital before rushing into the delivery room. When their parents received that phone call, they immediately packed up their stuff and rushed to the hospital.
It took my friends mom about an hour to get to the hospital, and she was the first to arrive. In usual circumstances, she would have stayed in the waiting room for quite some time before getting news of the arrival.
So, imagine her surprise when she arrived at the hospital to find her son-in-law lounging on a sofa in the lobby, cavalierly talking to someone on his cell phone, while his wife was supposedly upstairs in a birthing room in an intense amount of pain.
She chastised his for several minutes before he could get across the news that her grandchild was already born, and was upstairs resting with the new Mom.
That’s the funny part. I will pause while you laugh.
Ok, not so much funny ha-ha, but an amusing anecdote at the very least.
And one, certainly, that no one would have ever told 50 years ago.
If you are an early Baby Boomer (let’s say, pre-1960), there is a very good chance that your Dad wasn’t present when you were born. He may have been in the hospital, in some smoky waiting room puffing away on cigarettes, maybe even drinking some scotch to pass the time. But it’s unlikely that he was standing at the front of the bus, holding one of your mom’s legs while she
grunted you out of her womb ushered you into existence. That’s just not how things worked back then.
No, back then there was a good chance that most Dad’s would be considered absentee fathers by today’s standards. Being involved in the birthing process? Oh, that’s the realm of nurses, doctors and maybe female family members.
That’s why I find it so interesting how far the pendulum haw swung in the other direction. In the span of one generation, we went from expecting our Dad’s to skip the birth to expecting them to be actively involved in the process.
So, that begs the question – who had it right? Our forefathers, or us?
I’ve said this before, but there was a lot about my daughter’s birth that I wish I hadn’t experienced. When you see a head coming out of a vagina (what, too graphic?), you have a tendency to feel small and inadequate for quite some time afterwards. More to the point, I often felt helpless, ineffective and in the way. Maybe things would have been smoother if I wasn’t there at all… if I had been lounging on a sofa in the waiting room, talking to my friends on the phone, leaving the experts to do their thing.
But then, I consider how truly helpless I would have felt if some nurse had come to see me in a waiting room, to tell me my wife and the soon-to-be mother of my child had just been wheeled into an operating room, just in case the forceps delivery didn’t work and they had to perform an emergency C-section.
Or how ineffective I would have felt when told some nurse had to hold my daughter for 10 minutes while doctors helped my wife recover from anesthetic-related complications.
So yeah, sometimes our evolution goes in the wrong direction… for example, maybe we’d all be better off if Michael Bay had never made Transformers 2.
But in this case, I think we’ve done the right thing. Let’s just agree though – the back of the bus might be a more convenient place for us to sit.