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