It had started at one in the morning. By midday, I was frustrated and angry and already tired. And then Husband looked into my eyes and said “this can’t be like the last time.”
Cue the rage of every birthing mammal in the history of the earth.
Yes, dear, let me make sure I keep the groaning, writhing, and screaming to a minimum. Yes, dear, this time I will clean up after myself as soon as that cord gets cut. Yes, dear, I’ll have her tucked into her own little bed in time for kickoff.
I hissed. I spat. I thundered off as only a woman in the midst of a very slow, so far uneventful labor could be.
It was Super Bowl Sunday, you see. To say that my husband is big fan is to say that natural childbirth is hard - understatements of the century. So, when I heard him tell me that he didn’t want this time to be like the last 28-hour ordeal, I was certain that he was more concerned with the big game than he was with my big belly.
How is it that the human race creates the relationships that make beautiful babies when we can't communicate in such crucial moments?
Time collapses on itself when all you want to do is meet the creature who has been sitting on your bladder for months. I’m not sure how long it took for me to accuse him “you care more about a bunch of stupid linebackers than me and our baby!”
But I still remember the pained disbelief in his eyes when he said “What are you talking about, babe? I don’t give a damn about the game. I know how tired we are and I don’t want us to have to do this at five A.M. again.”
In that moment I realized that pregnancy may be a long, lonely journey, but birth isn’t. Not when you ask the person you love to watch helplessly while you storm about in the boredom of early labor, struggle in the wilderness of transition, and turn yourself inside out in the final push. Not when you ask him to hold you up so the midwives can do their work of catching the person you created together.
Not when you expect him to hold the little one’s other hand while you hold the other and, together, you promise to teach this child to navigate the world.