The Day the Earth Didn’t Stand Still



Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and is the principal behind the services of Statistics Courses. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.



Did I ever tell you the tale about the birth of my first son? Well — queue music — “just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic shore, aboard this tiny ship.”

Oh, wait, wrong tale.

Anyway, as with most first children, my wife was waaaaayyy past her due date — by at least 17 minutes by my wife's reckoning — and she was feeling particularly bloaty and puffy and past nine-months pregnant when I was getting ready to saunter off to work one morning.

“Wait, dear,” my wife said, “instead of sauntering yourself off to work, let me saunter you off to work because I need the car to drive to my doctor for my daily lecture on how the baby-is-not-yet-ready-to-come-out-now-even-though-I-am-the-size-of-a-pillow-factory.”

So my wife drove me to work, and I went in to work, and I worked, until I stopped working, to go to the bathroom.

When I headed back to my desk to continue working, there was a great commotion amongst my workmates, with much waving of hands and mouthing of words.

“Your wife, your wife — what’s her name — she’s on the phone and she’s highly pregnant and wants to speak with you!” is what my workmates relayed to me at a volume that could compete with the take-off of a 747.

“Hello?” I said to the telephone receiver.

Don't hang up!” is what my wife said.

“Why would I hang up on you, my most-pregnant wife?” I replied.

My wife said, “This is my third and last quarter. The first time I called you, I told one of your workmates that I am in labor and that I need to talk to you. He said to hold on, that he would go and get you, and he hung up the phone. So I called again and another one of your workmates answered the phone, and I told her that I was in labor, and she said that she would go and look for you, and then she hung up the phone. So, when I called for the third time, I told the workmate that answered that I would kill him if he hung up the phone.”

“What? You’re in labor? But you sauntered me to work this morning. I’m supposed to be calm and cool and collected and saunter you to the doctor when you’re in labor. You’re doing this all wrong!” was my reply.

Through gritted teeth, my wife directed me to, somehow, get home, get her carefully packed hospital suitcase, and get my sorry you-know-what to the hospital post-haste. Pregnant women can be so cranky at times.

So I got one of my workmates to drive me home, etc., and dispatch me directly to the hospital where my beloved, pregnant with expectation, was waiting for me.

I asked her what had happened at the doctor's office. How had it come to pass that she sauntered herself to the hospital while in labor, while I was at work laboring at whatever it was that I labored at when I worked?

She said that, while she was sauntering me to work that morning, she had felt some “twinges” in her lower back, but thought nothing of it, because she had had some false “twinges” a couple of weeks ago.

When she mentioned this to the doctor, he said, “Let’s have a look,” followed by, “You’re 50 mm dilated.”

“50 cm!” my wife exclaimed. “Am I giving birth to the Indianapolis Colts?”

“No, no,” the doctor said, “not 50 cm, 50 mm, which is only 5 cm.”

“How much is that in inches?” my wife asked.

“Well, divide 50 mm by 2.5 cm/in, then multiply by 0.1 cm/mm, and you get 2 or 3 inches, give or take a fortnight,” the doctor replied.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa — breath deeply — aaaaaaaaaaaaaa,” my wife said.

Then she called me at work to share the happy news — three times.

So there I was, at the hospital, encouraging my wife along while she beat me about the head and shoulders, and the next thing I knew, my wife was getting an epidural. This was not how we had planned things. Natural birth was the way we were going to go, and by golly, we, as in me and my wife, had committed 110% to go entirely au natural for the birth of our children, no matter how excruciating the experience. It seemed like the only contribution that I could make to the whole process.

Then my wife was on a gurney, and I was holding her head, and we were rolling into a delivery room, and a few short hours later, we were holding our first-born son, who sort of looked liked like a large squash.

The miracle of birth! I remember it well. Although I think my wife was sort of trying to forget about it. Which she did, because we have other children running around as a testament to God's gift to womanhood that they almost immediately forget the pain of birth, and the ridiculous situations that crop up surrounding the glorious event.

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