Push: one couple’s brave attempt to travel abroad for two months with a baby.
When my friends and family heard that I planned to spend my paternity leave traveling 10,000 miles with my wife and 11-month-old, some called me crazy. Some called me stupid. Others just stopped calling. But away we went—and now, you’re coming with us.
Catch up with Sarah, Hannah (aka the kid born on the floor), and me as the three of us fumble our way across…
The hospital floor looked like a crime scene. The sheets and pillows were coated in red, brown, and pretty much every other color. Sarah’s sneakers, which she never took off, were soaked all the way through in blood, and so were my socks. Somewhere, someone has a picture of me holding up my bloody socks, grinning as though I’d landed a 40-pound steelhead trout.
“How about getting in the bed now?” Kim asked Sarah.
The group helped get Sarah onto the pristine white bed, which wasn’t pristine for long. It turns out that the last push, during the ring of fire, was a doozy, and Sarah ripped from one end to the other…
So there we were, in a sterile room somewhere near the corner of 59th and Maryland on the South Side of Chicago, my wife leaning against me on the floor. Per her request, I’m supporting her from under her arms, almost like a headlock. We’re surrounded by people, most of whom we don’t know. Our doc and nurse are on their knees in front of us, and my parents, whose flight leaves in two hours, are right behind them, taking pictures of my wife’s vagina.
Then it happened so fast. She started pushing. Huge, grunty pushes that turned her whole body into a steel pillar, thick and immovable. Every time she did, she screamed, and…
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The contractions were coming faster and faster on that floor, and every now and then Sarah would mumble something incomprehensible. “Please give me a minute here,” I heard her say at one point.
“Who are you talking to?” I asked.
“I’m making a deal with my body here,” she said. “Shut up.”
I did, no matter how much she pleaded with the contractions. Her natural response was to…
While I sat in the hallway, locked away from the only person on earth I wanted to be with, my wife was apparently giving them hell in triage.
They took her blood pressure, which was fine, but when a resident came in ten minutes later and put the blood pressure cuff on, Sarah asked if it was necessary.
“Well, uh … ”
“Apparently not,” Sarah said, and ripped it off…
Sarah hijacked this entry, which is fine with me. After all, it’s her uterus; maybe it should be her words, too.
At some point after Jeff turned off Napoleon Dynamite—which I never really wanted to watch—I went back to bed and fell asleep. When I woke up around 1 a.m., Jeff was snoring in our bed, his dad was snoring in the guest room, and his mom was snoring on the basement couch because she was sick and didn’t want to keep Jeff’s dad awake. I couldn’t go anywhere. I was still having these terrible constipation pains, so I took a bunch of magazines and pillows into the bathroom and put on some music…
After waiting in our basement for two weeks, my parents leave tomorrow. They will miss the delivery, assuming it ever happens. This bums me out, and I know they’re frustrated that their whole visit was for naught, though they’re far too diplomatic to say so. It was never clear to me what exactly their role would be during the delivery, though my wife continues to maintain—even after spending 11 days with them—that she wanted them in the room when she delivered. I just don’t see it…