When it's time to give birth to a baby, there's a standard 11-step process the male (or "person-in-the-delivery-room-nobody-cares-about") half typically follows, particularly if woken up from a deep slumber to the announcement that "my water just broke."
1. Ask if we need a bucket
2. Realize what's happening
3. Freak out
4. Question everything
5. Fall hard after scrambling to put both legs through same underwear hole
9. Leave for hospital
10. Return to get wife
11. Freak out more
The lady may, as mine did, decide she needs to "get ready" for the event, which apparently consists of more than making a mad dash for the car with perhaps half a baby poking out (mad "shuffle" may be more appropriate as she likely hasn't "dashed" much lately). Note: asking her to "walk faster" will likely result in being scorched by eye lasers (this ability develops during the last month of pregnancy).
It's a strange expression: "My water broke." It implies that it can be fixed, perhaps with some sort of tape and epoxy. It also implies there may be some interior plumbing system at work in there (don't tell me! I don't want to know!). Of course, mention that to your wife and she'll get all huffy.
Though, I suppose it IS better than the original Old English phrase, "I splooshed."
Anyway, the way I see it, once the woman's water breaks she becomes a time bomb with a random countdown counter that nobody can predict or decipher. If she's not delivered to those properly trained to handle the situation, the result could be disastrous. I mean, I'm not even particularly fond of cleaning cooked spaghetti from the floor.
"I'll be right there," she'll say.
"Right there," in this case, is subjective. The way that you perceive time at this point, it feels as though she's getting ready for prom with President Obama and Channing Tatum. You will find you have two choices:
1. Argue with the pregnant, contracting mother-to-be and lose an appendage, or
2. Bite your tongue, pace back-and-forth muttering "Well, what the [expletive]?"
"What are you doing in there?" I asked, patiently, ripping a piece of paper apart with my teeth.
"I'm just applying 40 layers of makeup, shaving my legs, painting my nails, shaving my head and trying on various wigs, installing an exhaust fan and replacing my human arm with a robotic version I just designed because having a person come out of me is a completely normal occurrence and, really, what's the rush?"
She may not have said that, but it's what I heard over the tornado alarm going off in my head.
It's like being tossed a live grenade and being instructed by your drill instructor to "Just chill out for a few minutes!"
"Sure," I replied. "No problem. Hey, if you hear a teakettle whistle that's just my blood pressure! I'll just be over here slamming my head against the front door. I'm glad our next step is the hospital, unless you want to stop off for a movie or something."
I was convinced she was in that bathroom for so long I missed my fetus' high school graduation.
As I was waiting, it occurred to me that maybe gym shorts and my stained Transformers T-shirt may not be the ideal apparel for the event. I stood in front of my closet and froze. You have outfits your wife picked out for you for weddings, clubs, business, casual, business-casual, but you never stop to consider what to wear to a birth (preferably for your own child, weirdo).
Like he would take one look at me and go, "No. I'll be checking in for another week or so until the manager of this apartment complex finds a more suitable replacement."
I selected a nice polo, thinking if this kid can't handle that he can just bite me.
Once we got in the car (I had grown a full beard by that point), the real fun began. Stay tuned to next week for part dux, which is a fancy word for something whole UNfancy that happens.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via monkey in a diaper sending text messages. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll become your father.