Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dress Rehearsal

Four years ago today, I lay on the couch watching the Food Network. I was almost 39 weeks pregnant with Bob. I had gained a delicate 65 pounds during my pregnancy and it was quite apparent that 20 of each of those pounds was residing in my ankles. I had bronchitis and my wee son had kicked me so hard I had a broken rib in my left side. Coughing was an event. It was my first official day off from work and I was looking forward to some time on the couch with my feet up.

As I watched Emeril work his “essence” there were suddenly two Emerils, then three. Glancing away from the TV I saw that the room had also tripled. My vision was extremely blurry for a few moments and then it returned to normal. Then it wasn’t normal again and then it was.

Since I had become pregnant, any physical change I experienced, I looked up in the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting, or as I had renamed this frightening tome, What to Expect When You Are Expecting the Worst. I consulted my book of fears and found that blurry vision was a sign of preeclampsia, the high blood pressure that can accompany pregnancy.

I called my doctor. She instructed me to go to the hospital. She would meet us there. If it turned out that I had preeclampsia, we would be having a baby today.

Jeff raced home from work. I was ready at the door with my large I’m-going-to-the-hospital-to-have-a-baby suitcase I had packed six weeks previous. My bag was filled with everything every girlfriend and every book and every preggo website had suggested I might need for the trip. I had giant granny underpants and Hello Kitty socks and a robe long enough to cover my behind in the drafty hospital hallways. I was prepared as I could be for an event that was mostly out of my control.

At the hospital, we learned that my blood pressure was fine. I did not have preeclampsia. There was no explanation for my intermittent blurred vision other than “sh*t happens.” I was instructed to stay a few hours hooked up to the fetal heart monitor for observation, just in case.

I asked Jeff to retrieve a bottle of water for me from my suitcase. “And a protein bar, do you see those in there? They should be near the magazines.”


“Thanks. Honey? Where’s your dad bag?”

“I didn’t pack my official dad bag yet. So I threw this together when we left the house.” He held up a small plastic Ralph’s shopping bag. I looked inside.

“So you have three pairs of tube socks and 2 packs of Extra spearmint gum.”


“And that’s it.”


“Seems complete.”

“I’ll do better next time.”

When I went into labor three days later, he added a toothbrush to the bag. He was ready to be a dad.


  1. The shopping bag is making me laugh out loud over here (I do not LOL). I think my husband packed.....nothing. Thank goodness I anticipated that or he would have been stinkier than normal.

  2. He had everything he needed to be a Dad in that perfectly packed heart of his.

  3. He had everything he needed to be a Dad in that perfectly packed heart of his.

  4. Isn't that the difference between the sexes in a nutshell? Perfect.

    I know. I had a suitcase prepacked FOREVER, and he grabs a toothbrush and sticks it in his back pocket.

    Good to go.

    I'm so glad we're the ones in charge of the diaper bag.

  5. Hey, at least your hubs brought a toothbrush. *gasp*

    And that book - that evil book. I totally agree. "What to Expect When You're Screwed."

    Happy Star Wars party, BTW!



  6. I'm sorry but I'm still giggling.

  7. Mine didn't bring anything. I let him snack on my stash.

  8. Oh lord, how I hated that book. I threw it in the garbage after I finished "thumbing" through it. Terrible literature for ladies. No, thanks.

    I'm so glad everything turned out alright, and your little Bob is FOUR YEARS OLD!! Fun times ahead, lady. Enjoy him. And the party sounds like it will be fab... you're the best mum ever!!

  9. Happy Birthday, Bob (in a minute).

    Baby #1 - bag packed six weeks ahead
    Baby #2 - bag packed two weeks ahead
    Baby #3 - bag packed the day before
    Baby #4 - Who needs a bag?

    When's #2?

  10. A Musing Mother said what I was going to say!

    Except I think I gave up on packing a bag with Baby #2. I was never into the packing-a-bag. I think I packed some stuff after my water broke with Baby #1. Turns out all I needed was the camera.

    (Of course I did need some going-home clothes and my toothbrush and hairbrush... I just sent my husband home for those sometime during the first day after delivery.)


  12. I'm impressed he brought gum! I gave my hubby so much hell because he had HORRIBLE coffee breath when I was in labor with baby #1. He remembered the mints with the next two babies and now its his favorite story to share with soon-to-be Dads.

  13. My hubby didn't have anything so there ya' go. Totally unprepared and I had to keep telling HIM to eat. It was like I was coaching him. I also had to tell him to breathe..yeah, it was interesting, but truthfully he was so helpful!

  14. Too funny! Three pairs of socks: what to take when you know you have to take SOMETHING!

  15. I'm just glad you didn't name the baby Emeril.

  16. I love this post! My husband brought some cold pizza in a box and some eye squirt to the hospital on "baby night." Also some moist towelettes. (I don't know why...maybe in case there was no boiling water?) They're still in his backpack, 7 years later. No kidding.