Tuesday, July 05, 2005

How it all happened

This has taken me four days to write. If you're smart, you'll skim it and be done with it in less than five minutes.

***

It started Tuesday, the 28th. She was moaning while she napped on the couch.

“Hey. Jazz. Hey.” She opened her eyes and looked up at me, just as pretty as the day I met her. “I can’t hear the TV over your moaning. You about to drop those puppies?”

She didn’t get my humor. Pity, because I’m damn funny.

“It just hurts.”

“You wanna go back up there?”

I knew the answer before I asked. She’d been up there twice and hated the stuff they gave her to stop the labor. I told her to take a shower, but she decided to walk around outside instead.

I stood in the kids’ bedroom watching her through the window as I called my sister. “Hey, she’s doing that thing again. And she’s walking up and down the sidewalk.”

“For how long?”

“Walking or hurting?”

“Both.”

I looked at my watch. “Hurting for about an hour. Walking for 10 minutes. She won’t go in.”

“She hates that stuff.”

“That’s what she said. What do I do?”

“Stay calm.”

Give me a fucking break. What the hell kind of advice is that? “So there’s no reason for me to boil some water and get a newspaper and shit just in case?”

“I can’t believe she married you.”

“Neither can I.”

Jasmine walked back in through the garage and I heard her call my name. She said she felt better, but was exhausted so she went to bed. Hmph. False alarm, I guess. I stayed up for about another hour working on some highly important illegal downloads before I headed that way myself.

I got no more than three or four hours of sleep when she started groaning again. Ah, hell. She kept moving from side to side, stealing the covers and getting louder by the minute.

“Honey, come on now. Do we need to go?”

And that’s when I heard it. It was a swooshing sound along with her gasp. She sat up and waddled to the bathroom to sit on the toilet and that’s when I felt my heart drop from my asshole. There, in the bathroom, was a waterfall of gushing fluids falling from my wife into the toilet. After months of five second “tinkles” every hour, the woman had become Niagara Falls. This could not be good.

“Jay?”

Shh! Don’t say anything. She can’t be in labor if you don’t respond.

“My water broke!”

Fucking A. Okay, think bitch. Think. Water breaking. That’s a labor thing. That’s like when the babies aren’t floating and, um, what did that woman say? 24 hours to something or infection.

“Call your sister. Get my bag. We need to go.”

Right. We need to go. I put my pants back on, grabbed a shirt and chased her out the door. We got about two miles away when I remembered the bag. Fuck it. If I have to choose between coming back for the bag or delivering these things myself, a second trip it will be.

I put in Norah Jones and we listened to it on the way to the hospital. She talked a little, but then she’d get quiet and cover her face with her hand.

Oh, shit. Don’t cry. She won’t cry. She’s a tough girl. I wasn’t talking about her.

She had two contractions during the first song. They were 2 ½ minutes apart. That’s fucking insane. Even I knew that. “Baby, cross your legs.”

“Shut up and drive!”

I hit the gas. We got to the hospital and I ran inside to fetch some homely bitch with a wheelchair. From the car to the elevator, Jasmine had two more contractions. I moved the car while they brought her upstairs and then ran back in.

I found her in the room already wearing a gown with an IV in her left hand. The nurse was hooking some belt things around her belly and telling her she’d check her in just a minute.

From this point, it’s all a blur, but I do recall little to laugh about. We went through several hours of contractions before the anesthesiologist showed up to do the epidural. By the way, you should be impressed with me. I spelled both of those words right. I’m the man.

Labor hurts. I know this. It hurt my hands, it hurt my arms and it hurt my chest when a fistful of hair was sacrificed to the cause. It looks like a scary, sharp spike on a piece of ticker tape coming out of a bleepy machine that makes just enough noise to piss off my wife. It curdles the innards of a perfectly sane woman and causes her to belch profanities that would make any sailor proud. And it’s long. It just goes on and on and on.

Her contractions were close as hell, but she wasn’t making progress. She’d been 3cm when we walked in the door, but was only 4cm five hours later. They were coming so swiftly they didn’t want to give her the drip that accelerates it, but if she didn’t start opening up they were threatening to take them surgically. That pissed her off. That’s when she demanded drugs for the first time all morning. I was so fucking relieved. How 'bout a round over here, too, please.

About an hour later the little dude with the magic spinal lube came in, chipper and smiling. He looked at Jasmine and asked her to define her level of pain. I nearly laughed. He’s gotta be new.

“If monkeys leapt from your anus, it would not compare.”

That’s my girl. Motherfucker had that coming. He looked awkwardly at me and then back at her. “I see. So that’s a number 10 on this list?” He pointed to a chart with a frownie face with tears. What a fucking moron.

They sat her up and slumped her over in this crouching tiger, hidden dragon position. Then Mr. Frownie Face With Tears took a needle with a garden hose attached to it and started jabbing her. She flinched.

“You have to be still, Mom.”

“Fuck you!”

He looked at me. “You heard her. Fuck you.”

“Hold her still, please.”

Oh. Okay. I had to look away and even then I had to listen to her scream when the medicine went in. She told him it burned. He told her that was normal. That’s when it all hit me. The smells, the tears, the needles, the pain, oh…shit. She’s for real. She's gonna drop these puppies today. Oddly enough, I expected someone to ask for my permission first.

Within minutes she was floating on a drug-laced cloud. I was glad to see her finally relaxed after so many hours. There were at least five people in the room at all times because of the twins. For the most part, they kept their distance and said supportive shit that made me think, “Damn, why didn’t I say that?”

I sat down for the first time all morning as she dozed off. It was so surreal. How could it go from screaming pain to silence just like that? The lack of yelling and moaning made me more uncomfortable than all the noise.

Julie showed up about 10:30. Fashionably late. “Nice of you to finally show up.”

“You knocked her up. Not me. How many centimeters is she?”

“Five.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep.”

“They letting her deliver?”

“So far.” I pointed to the big bleepy machine on the other side of the bed tracking the kids’ heartbeats. “As long as that thing doesn’t tell on her.”

Thirty minutes later, the world had again changed. Jasmine woke up and started complaining about the burn. Something burned. One of the nurses stuck a hand up my wife’s coochie, then pulled it back out. Her fingers were bloody.

“Fully dilated and effaced. You ready to push?”

Woah! Push what? Just like that? “Wait a second!”

My pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears. I was given my wife’s left thigh and told to hold it up for her. A nurse angled the bed so Jazz was nearly upright and then people started scurrying everywhere.

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Am I doing this right? Am I squishing her? This can't be comfortable. And why didn't I know she could get her legs up that high? Will they just shoot out right now or does this step go on for hours? Is my hair okay for the new dad pics?

“Deep breath. Push with your bottom and push push push push push push push push!”

The doctor was crouched between her legs and doing shit with his fingers. I peeked once and nearly lost it. There was blood and snot and boogers and all kinds of shit oozing out. Oh my god, it was nasty!

They had gadgets and monitors and a shitload of nurses standing in two groups waiting for the turkeys to shoot from their cannon. Jazz did her thing and she was so good about it. Her face was flush and sweaty and she was panting between pushes, but she kept going and was even cognizant enough to ask them questions about her progress.

I just kept repeating my line which I learned in the child-bearing classes Jazz and I took a few Saturdays ago. “You’re doing great, honey. They’re coming out, you’re doing great.” They made us repeat that line over and over again. Without it, I would have stared at the horror that was her crotch and probably puked. But this gave me a diversion. This way I only had to look at her face and damn she’s beautiful. Even when she’s sweaty and red and exhausted.

“One last push. Push, push, push, push, push, push! You did it! It’s a girl!”

I was afraid to look.

Someone shoved a pair of scissors in my hand. “Cut the cord, Dad.”

I looked at it.

It…was a smurf. A tiny, bloody, slimey, blue smurf with cheese in its cracks. It was the grossest thing I’d ever seen. “Huh?”

“Cut the cord. Quickly. NICU needs her.”

I put the scissors to the purplish-white rope, also covered in slime and blood, and started gnawing at it with the scissors. It was dense and rubbery and for all I knew it hurt like hell.

“I need to sit down.”

I think they laughed at me, but I was too sick to my stomach to care. Fucking hospitals are full of germs and now I’ve been infected with something that’s effected my gastrointestinal system and made me sick. And at a really inopportune time considering I’d just had a daughter.

After my body fought off the foreign germs in record time, I went back to stand by Jasmine. Apparently my sister had been asked to take my place while I struggled with this deadly strain of airborne e. coli or some shit, but I sent her ass out the door right away.

We went through the same drill all over again while they did things to the first baby over in the corner. She was crying her little ass off and everyone was smiling so I took that for a good sign. Jasmine had an easier time with the second one. Made me wonder just how stretched out shit was getting down there, but I figured we’d deal with that another time.

When the second one came out he had the cord around his neck.

“Jay, look at him. Is he okay?”

Like I’d fucking know. I braced myself for the gore and looked down there. Oh, shit! Jesus Christ, will I ever have sex with my wife again? I just saw a blue face hanging from her cooter.

“He’s fine. He’s looping it off.” Bleahhehahehaheeh!

One more push later and the next slippery little creature slithered out. This time I was prepared when they put the scissors in my hand. I sawed through the cord, having creepy flashbacks of my dog eating the afterbirth from a litter when I was a kid. They whisked him away and put him through the same abrupt welcome-to-your-life prodding and probing his sister had just gone through.

I think the room was filled with gelatin. Everything moved slowly and all the sounds were muffled and when I looked at Jasmine she was just beaming. I don’t blame her one bit.

I bent down to give her a kiss and asked her, “What in the hell have you done?”