Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just a sec!

When Susanne went into labor with Benjamin eight days before her due date, I remember feeling an initial sense of control and calm. It was about 5:30 in the morning on December 17th, and I wasn’t too surprised to see her up already and walking around. The last few weeks of pregnancy make it pretty hard for any pregnant woman to sleep comfortably, so seeing her up was no big deal.

Until she mentioned that, although she wasn’t sure, she thought she might be feeling contractions. This was unusual. She never had much in the way of Braxton-Hicks contractions with any of her two pregnancies so this really made me sit up and pay attention.

And I knew exactly what to do. As the birth partner, the best help I could offer now was to time and record every contraction. I remembered perfectly that I’d need to note the time one began, the duration, and the number of minutes before the next one started. And I was ready. Sort of.

You see with Danny’s birth in 2007 I did this just fine using a watch I’d purchased in 2001 to run my one and only marathon. It was one of those high tech gizmos with all kinds of functions including a stopwatch function. In fact I own two of those watches since during my training for the marathon I’d lost one and replaced it, then eventually found the first one. So timing contractions with Danny back then was a breeze.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I realized I need to get hopping and start timing. “Hmmmm…” I wondered out loud. “Honey, do you know where either of those two watches are?”

I had no idea you see. Su, in between rather painful if short contractions (at least early on), gave me a few good ideas and I spent a good 15 minutes looking everywhere—to no avail.

This was ridiculous. Surely we had another watch with a second hand right? But we didn’t. You see, we don’t wear watches. We actually use our electronic devices to see what time it is, and they don’t have second hands. Neither does any clock in our house, and you can be sure that Su was not going to labor in the kitchen so I could use the the microwave timer.

While I continued my frantic searching we came up with two solutions. Su remembered that her ipod had a stopwatch app. Which actually sort of worked except that by the time you tapped the right things to start it again, several seconds had already elapsed and we realized that this was not the best solution.

Then I found this annoying stopwatch that I’d gotten as a freebee at a conference. I’m surprised we still had it, as my recollection, it beeped at all hours of the day and night and drove us both mad. But my super efficient wife did her magic and made the annoying stopwatch actually work properly so I could proceed in my duties. Benjamin was born later that day so these contractions were indeed the real thing.

The moral of this story is that all of you out there who are partners of expectant women should take this as a cautionary tale. Make sure you’ve got a timing device. Seriously. Oh, and those two awesome watches I mentioned I owned? Still haven’t found them. And now that I think of it, if they were new in 2001 and I know I used one of them in 2007, how sure am I really that either still has any battery life now that it's almost 2010?

Baby Benjamin, I hope you can forgive me. It won’t be the last time I’ll beg for you indulgence. Love, Mommy

P.S. Couldn't resist. Pictured below, the boys.

1 comment:

Casey said...

Hah, time to get a new watch. Get it? Time? Ok, not funny. We never had to time contractions around here since I got sent downstairs and induced both times from regular OB appts at 38 weeks. I'm chuckling at the thought of you guys on the kitchen floor using the microwave timer.

That picture is too cute. Glad the boys are getting along well!