Thursday, April 28, 2005

let me tell you a little story...

Last summer, one of my dearest friends asked me to be her birthing coach. You see, her husband was taking the g-d-awful BAR EXAM* in New York, NY and her due date was right around the actual BAR EXAM. Just in case, she figured that she would ask me to show up in advance and if he happened to be right in the middle of the actual exam, I would come.

But puh-leaze, that was never going to happen, so I said skip-i-dee-do-da, of course! Truth be told, I was really excited! I love "A Baby Story" on TLC, and this is practically the same thing, right? We talked about it a few times, she forwarded me her birthing plan and made clear all her wishes. I was totally prepared, but regardless, it was never going to happen, so I didn't worry.

My dear friend's due date came and went with no baby. Monday, July 26th, the day before the bar exam, she went to her OB to see what the hold-up in vacating the apartment was. They took a look and decided that it was not going to happen anytime in the near future. The baby was wayyy far away from coming, she could relax. So, since the BAR EXAM was in New York, they both headed down there from Connecticut to stay with her mother in New York.

That night, she drove her husband into the city for the BAR EXAM and wished him luck. This is the last I hear from her, so I am not worried. Two days of the BAR EXAM starting the next morning, but the baby is not coming, so no problem. Meanwhile, I am in mid-packing for my impending move to Boston. I stay up all night with my mom packing, packing, packing, and finally collapse at 5am to get a couple of hours of sleep before the movers come.

And then I got the call at 7:15am. She is in labor.

Que? Labor. She and her mother and sister are getting into the car and driving back to Connecticut, and not telling her husband a damn thing. The man needs to take the BAR EXAM and who knows how long this show could take, right?

I frantically organize my mother with my two dogs, finish packing up the last of my things, show her where everything is, tell her what to tell the movers and start on the road to Connecticut. While on the road, I am getting calls from my laboring friend with updates.

"We made it to Connecticut! I stopped at the hospital! I am 4 cm dilated! I'm going home to labor some more!" "Fantastic!"

As we drive, I alternate between excited and terribly nervous. I remember the people who told me that perhaps this was not a good idea, being that I have not yet born children, and I may be scarred for life. But there isn't time for those thoughts, so I push them out of my head.

I'm halfway through the two hour drive and getting more excited by the mile. Her baby will be here so soon! Yippee! And then it happened. A snap, and the car started slowing down on the middle of the 95 expressway. I pressed on the gas frantically and tried shifting the car back up, but I am slowing down very quickly while 18 wheelers and rush hour psychos honk at me and swerve to get out of my way.

Oh, and I am in the fast lane on the four lane highway.

The car stops in the middle of the road and nothing I do is changing anything. I start praying to whatever g-d will listen to please save me from the people slamming on their brakes behind me from 70 mph speeds, please make the car work, please don't let me die. I dial the hubs, fairly unhappily, and then call AAA. And then a construction worker comes over from further on down the highway. We chat, as cars zoom by at speeds fast enough to rattle my car. He goes back, gets his truck, and agrees to push me down the highway and onto the shoulder, since there is no middle shoulder and I am literally blocking traffic in the far left lane during rush hour.

The helpful construction worker does push me across the four lane highway by stopping traffic and pushing me with his truck. Thank you good samaritan.

I call AAA and start begging. I explain the whole ridiculous situation about my friend being in labor and could they please come help me as soon as possible. They agree, and I believed them when they said the tow truck was on its way.

45 minutes pass. No tow truck. My friend, the construction guy, comes back to ask what the hold up is, so we call back together. Funny part here, folks, there was no record of my call! Funny, huh? I place another request for a tow truck, and construction friend leaves.

And then it starts- the need to pee. The all-consuming, desperate need to pee.

Another 45 minutes pass. My laboring friend is getting a little bit hysterical at this point. To tell you the truth, so was I. I am pulled over on the side of the road and now we are a little bit out of rush hour, but the highway is still busy, it is the dead heat of July, and I have to pee. And oh, by the way, my friend is in labor and I'm her birthing coach?

I finally decide that the need to pee outweighs the risk of the tow truck driver coming right that second and leaving me. I climb out of the car and examine the situation. I see some buildings across the on ramp a little down the highway, through a gully, and over a fence. It doesn't look that high, I think I could jump it. So I lock the car, run crazily across the on ramp, climb through bushes that are far thicker than they looked from 2 blocks away, and climb the fence. Now scratched, disheleved and with leaves in my hair, I prowl the parking lot figuring out where I can pee. Voila! There is a day care center with a door propped open!

And here, I will reveal to you one of the most embarassing moments of my life. I sneak into the day care center, run into their bathroom and have one of the happiest peeing moments of my life. And then, I clogged the toilet. I don't know how, and I don't know why. All I can think is that the day care children's toilet was not prepared for a grown-up amount of toilet paper, but it clogged, and starting running water and urine all over the floor. So I did what any self-respecting person would do. Washed my hands, exited gracefully and ran the hell out of the building and back to the fence.

Fence, bushes, cars zooming across on ramp, and I see a policeman talking on the walkie talkie near my car. Hurray! I make it back, and we argue about why I left the car and whether I should have and what the predicament is. It has now been 2 hours and AAA is still not here. The policeman decides that he will make a call to AAA and tell them that this is an unsafe situation, which it was and I already told AAA 4 times that it was, and to come immediately to tow the car. It worked!

10 minutes later I arrive at the closest car dealership and BEG them to drive me to my friend's house, given the whole still-in-labor-thing. They do! A nice nice nice man with 6 children drove me to her house, and a whopping 17 hours later, my friend's beautiful son is born. Her husband made it, stayed up all night with her while she labored, saw his child come into this world, and then took a car back to the BAR EXAM with no pencils, no food, no water and no sleep. And he passed!

And the baby? He was born on July 28th- my birthday. And I would do it all again, just to see that unbelievable moment when all of a sudden there were 7 of us in the room, instead of 6.

*capitalized because all truly evil and satanic rituals should be capitalized.