Momania Flashback: When the wife is ready to give birth, don’t stop for a shower

This is the fourth in a series of stories to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Momania. We are flashing back to some of our favorite columns and blogs. This is one of my absolute favorite columns. It was written by my husband after I gave birth to our third child. I think it is just hysterical and truly represents what happened that night. I was ready to kill him as would any woman in transition with an 7-pound baby forcing it’s way out of your vagina and he stops to shower, shave and put on cologne! This column originally ran on March 11, four days after our third child’s birth.

Do I not look like I was ready to explode with child? This is hours before I went into labor.

Do I not look like I was ready to explode with child? This is hours before I went into labor.

By MICHAEL GIARRUSSO

Editor note: Theresa Walsh Giarrusso gave birth to Lilina Catherine (7 pounds, 8.8 ounces; 20.5 inches long) on March 7 at 1:21 a.m. For the next few weeks, her husband, Michael, will be writing the Sunday column. Her friend Keith Still, mother of three, is handling the MOMania blog at ajc.com.

I’ll admit it. I wasn’t the best husband the night Theresa went into labor. I probably should not have laughed at her insane moaning during contractions — a mix of praying and cussing that anyone would have giggled at. And I definitely should not have risked having to deliver the baby on the side of the road because I wanted to take a shower before we went to the hospital.

Don’t judge me too harshly. I got her to the hospital on time (barely). And as people in trouble often tell the media, everything sounds worse when you take it out of context. So let me try to put my behavior in context.

Last Friday, my wife woke me up at 5:30 a.m. to tell me she was in labor. We had all been sick for more than a week, and I was still suffering. Still, we were able to get moving. We packed the bags, arranged for my in-laws to take the kids and sent the dog to the neighbors. Theresa said we should take my car, because “I don’t want my water to break in my new minivan.”

We spent 70 minutes in traffic. As soon as the midwife examined Theresa, it was clear the seats of the minivan would have been safe. She was not in labor, so we were sent home.

My wife’s not known for her patience. All weekend, she kept pointing out “sure” signs of impending labor. By Monday night, every burp, stomach ache and dream was a labor symptom. That night, she complained of painful contractions. We packed for her appointment Tuesday morning, figuring that we would go straight from the midwife’s office to the hospital’s labor and delivery.

Once again, the midwife sent us home, saying my wife was still days away from giving birth. Theresa decided to be induced at 6 a.m. the next day.

That evening, we dropped the kids with their grandparents so we could go straight to the hospital the next morning.

Theresa went to bed early and I watched basketball on TV. I heard her yelling in pain a couple times, but I figured it was OK if she was cussing indiscriminately. If she needed help, she’d target her cusses at me directly.

She interrupted the Horizon League championship game to ask how I could ignore her yelling. I probably should have apologized, but instead I asked — “How am I supposed to know the difference between labor moans and your usual b****ing and moaning?”

Obviously, that wasn’t the right thing to say, but you have to put it in context. I was exhausted, too, and I had been hearing about her labor for weeks now. Still, not the right thing to say, but some of you can see what I’m saying.

Then suddenly, the moaning changed. During the contractions, she would swear in ways that would make Chris Rock blush. Between the contractions, she would pray or tell me that she loved me. A contraction would come and she would tell me to “get the bleep out of my bleeping face, you stupid bleeping, bleep.”

I considered taking video of her and posting it on YouTube. I’m pretty sure “Crazy, foul-mouth, religious, pregnant lady” would be the most-viewed video of the week.

Around 11:30 p.m., we decided to go to the hospital.

I assumed it was another false alarm, so I decided I had time for a quick shower. Then I noticed stubble. It would just take a couple minutes more to shave. I think she really lost patience when she looked up from a contraction to see me applying hair gel and cologne.

Finally, we were on the road. My wife was clutching a barf bag. Every couple minutes, she would mutter, “I can’t believe you took a bleeping shower.”

We arrived at the hospital, and I started unpacking the car. “No bags!” she screamed, and then muttered something incoherent about a wheelchair and pain medication.

As soon as a nurse checked Theresa, it was clear this was not a false alarm. Nurses were standing by to clear the baby’s lungs. Others were on the phone, while one was asking me questions about the contractions. If I had driven slower, we probably would have had that baby in the parking lot of the former Gold Club on our way to Piedmont Hospital.

The nurses pleaded with my wife not to push. No midwife or doctor was available. Finally, a doctor appeared. When she said push, my wife stopped cussing and praying. One push and the baby’s head popped out. One more and the body shot out like a cannonball, slipping and spinning in a puddle of blood and fluids. If it weren’t for the umbilical cord, our newborn would have slid across the room.

My wife, never known for being tolerant of pain, had given birth with no epidural, no medication, not even Motrin. I was stunned in admiration. I was proud of her, happy to see my healthy, beautiful daughter, and ashamed that I had doubted that her labor was real. I was also embarrassed about the shower.

But when I picked up my daughter and rubbed my cheek to hers, I was glad to be stubble-free and smelling good.

I think this is the first photo of Lilina that ran online. It was the morning after her birth.

I think this is the first photo of Lilina that ran online. It was the morning after her birth.

Rose and Walsh meeting the baby at the hospital. My mom is in the background.

Rose and Walsh meeting the baby at the hospital. My mom is in the background.

What's the greatest thing about having a new sister? Getting to ride in the funky wheelchair at the hospital.

What's the greatest thing about having a new sister? Getting to ride in the funky wheelchair at the hospital.

A recent shot of Lilina. I think from last spring.

A recent shot of Lilina. I think from last spring.

Tuesday’s Momania Flashback: A grouping of blogs highlighting moms helping other moms.

More Momania Flashbacks

19 comments Add your comment

Did he really say this...

October 25th, 2010
1:06 pm

…“How am I supposed to know the difference between labor moans and your usual b****ing and moaning?”

Michael may be my new hero – couldn’t have asked a better question myself, and at a really importune time…

JATL

October 25th, 2010
1:34 pm

Nice -the only time I have seen true fear in my husband’s eyes was when, after 13 hours of labor (of which the last 7 had been pretty intense and 4 had been severe back labor -but no, I didn’t want an epidural), I rose up half-way out of the bed I was in, clutching my hands together in a prayer-like way, looked to the heavens and screamed, “DEAR JESUS, GOD, PLEASE COME DOWN AND SAVE ME -PLEASE DEAR GOD AND JESUS COME DOWN RIGHT NOW -OH F*****G F**** DEAR GOD I’M GOING TO F*****G DIE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!” I’m not a religious person really. I don’t call on Jesus or God out loud -ever. My husband had scurried to the closed door of the labor room and when I shouted that he looked at me with the fear of death in his eyes. He then opened the door and screamed into the hall, “PLEASE -somebody come in here with an epidural, PLEASE -WE NEED HELP!!!” He kind of screamed in a little girl voice that I’ve never heard before or since. I got an epidural that didn’t take very well, but it did stop that back labor! As soon as I told my husband I was pregnant with our second, he very seriously looked at me and said, “Please promise me you’ll get an epidural as soon as we get to the hospital, PLEASE!” Oh -I did -he didn’t have to worry about that!

JOD

October 25th, 2010
1:56 pm

I think I might have pulled my husband’s freshly gelled hair out! :o) I actually labored at home alone for around 8 hours, then finally called him and told him to come home! I’m not ashamed to say that the anesthesiologist and his assistant were my favorite people at the hospital – I sure didn’t care about my doctors (oh, yes – I saw almost every one in the practice) due to some wretched nerve compression around my kidney. I don’t recall speaking in tongues, but perhaps my husband should write his own blog?

Jairs

October 25th, 2010
1:57 pm

HILARIOUS!!! That’s all I can say!

JOD

October 25th, 2010
1:58 pm

Sorry – clarifying… If he had stopped for a shower, etc…

FCM

October 25th, 2010
2:25 pm

thought it was funny then….think it is funny now…..Michael you would think by the 3rd child you would no better than to get anywhere near a lady who even thinks she is in labor! ROFL.

My ex and I had an argument the night our first was born…because he told me if I would just go lay down things would fine, that it was all in my head. Let me assure you that it was NOT in my head. (He said he finally called the doctor because he figured that might shut me up. His plan was to get to the ER drop me off and go home. He wanted to sleep and he thought it was all a false alarm but that they could just keep me overnight….well they did and she was born at 6:35AM. In fact when the nurse said she is in labor he said “We were here earlier and they said she wasn’t to go to the doctor on Tuesday. So just tell her she is fine and give her something so she can sleep.” The nurse said sir, she is having this baby.)

FCM

October 25th, 2010
2:27 pm

JATL—mine was all back labor too, and part of my spine is fused to my pelvis..so you can just imagine.

JATL

October 25th, 2010
2:59 pm

@FCM -what a nightmare! That’s just pain on top of pain!

Jess

October 25th, 2010
3:04 pm

Michael is pretty darn funny! He should guest blog more ofter!

TechMom

October 25th, 2010
4:30 pm

Best flashback blog so far!

I am whatever you say I am

October 25th, 2010
6:33 pm

…“How am I supposed to know the difference between labor moans and your usual b****ing and moaning?”

LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! LOL

When It was time for me to give birth,(I had spent the night at my son’s father’s house) i insisted that we go to my house first since that’s where all the clothes were. Being the Diva that I am, I was not going anywhere without a shower. So while I showered, my son’s father cooked a steak. Amazingly how during this time, there were no contractions.
My son’s father, drove mock 9 thru traffic and a few hours later, my son was born via emerency C-section.
To this day, I still find it humerous he cooked a steak before we left. I wonder if he had a chance to eat it.

Tn T's Mom

October 25th, 2010
7:05 pm

I can so relate to the shower. With my first, I took a shower before going to the hospital and that was even after my water broke. i didnt know how long I would be in labor and I had been outside most of the day and it was July 31’st in Texas. After 12 hours of labor even with Pitocin, no baby, they finally took him via c-section. So i was so glad I had started the ordeal freshly showered since they wouldn’t let me shower until almot 3 days later.

motherjanegoose

October 25th, 2010
7:43 pm

12 hours later and a c-section with the first….24 hours later and an unforgiving VBAC with the second. Childbirth does not come quickly for me. IF any man ever had to endure the contractions and pitocin, he may understand the need to scream.

Both times, I spent the previous night with the father of each child who was and still is my husband….

DB

October 25th, 2010
9:14 pm

@JATL — OMG, I am laughing so hard even the DOG came to see what was so funny!!!

catlady

October 26th, 2010
7:06 am

My babies all took a long time to arrive. I remember my husband worrying about the car upholstery. We had to drive 60 miles to the hospital. At one point he said, “I don’t know why you are taking on like this,” and I KNEW I had to kill him. Later I had an opportunity to grab his arm and he said, “Ow, you are HURTING me” as though he didn’t realize what I would grab and twist next.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJCMOMania, ajcparenting. ajcparenting said: AJC's Momania blog: Momania Flashback: When the wife if ready to give birth, don’t stop for a shower http://bit.ly/dAmkWn [...]

Roswell Jeff

October 26th, 2010
10:05 am

This is a good read.

JATL – HA! This is so funny! “PLEASE -WE NEED HELP!!!” He kind of screamed in a little girl voice that I’ve never heard before or since.”

Definitely reminds me of the voice I used once I saw that we had a boy. “Oh my GOD it’s a boy!” Everyone in the delivery room as well as my wife just looked at me like… WTH!

JATL

October 26th, 2010
11:53 am

@DB and Roswell Jeff -it WAS pretty funny -although at the time I was contemplating violence. He SWEARS he did not squeal in a little girl voice, but I know what I heard!

mom2alex&max

October 26th, 2010
12:23 pm

This is my favorite post of ALL TIME!!!!!