It’s all well and good documenting the ins and outs of a pregnancy each week but at some point every player needs to put his head over the ball and go when it’s his turn to go (to use hard core sporting metaphors). As loyal Reality Bytes readers will know, Chuck not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. So as delivery day drew nearer Chuck was fairly confident that he could run this child birthing process with precision and efficiency. All Chuck and Mrs Long needed was for the time to come. Well that time came on Wednesday night/ Thursday morning. And despite the cool facade, Chuck’s mettle was about to be tested.
Mrs Long had set the ball rolling on Wednesday morning with a text message to Chuck stating that the Long family would be in possession of a spawn by Thursday. Chuck scoffed at Mrs Long’s proclamation and attributed it to her recent transformation in state of mind that culminated in her saying last week “I want this thing out now!” However upon arrival home from his day job as a highly successful businessman Chuck encountered Mrs Long who was somewhat out of sorts with strange period like cramps and instantly knew that all was not well in the state of Denmark.
Being potentially Australia’s greatest husband, Chuck read the situation and did not ask Mrs Long what was for dinner. Instead, Chuck slung on the apron and whipped up a feast. Red lights began to flash again during the meal as Mrs Long was unable to get through Chuck’s gourmet offering. Chuck took no offence and set about cleaning up.
Chuck settled in for an evening of intellectual discussion, reading and documentary viewing. After 20 minutes of that Chuck decided to play a video game. It was in the midst of the video game that Chuck noticed Mrs Long jotting down times. Chuck’s advanced powers of deduction kicked in and determined that perhaps the contractions had commenced. Once again demonstrating husband of the year attributes Chuck grabbed the iPhone and began lap timing contractions.
Mrs Long put a call into the maternity ward who informed her that she should remain at home until her contractions were regularly occurring at 5 minute intervals. Over the course of the past 9 months Chuck has heard every labour horror story; 9 hours, 12 hours even 15 hours. With that knowledge in mind, Chuck settled into complete the video game and manage the timing process. The first contraction kicked in at a decent rate of pain for Mrs Long and Chuck began the arduous task of timing at 10.30pm. The contraction finished and 5 minutes later another commenced. The next break was 6 minutes, then 5.30, then 5, then 5, then 5. This had Chuck a little concerned as the video game was far from finished and at this pace Chuck may never get back to it.
Mrs Long called the hospital again but they seemed nonplussed and suggested a warm bath. Once again Chuck pinned the ‘Man of the Year’ badge on and ran a pleasant tub for his bride. Mrs Long climbed in and seemed instantly invigorated...until the first contraction kicked in and the intensity ratcheted up about 15 notches. Chuck employed the highly advanced back stroking technique that he mastered over the years while Mrs Long writhed in agony. Showing multi tasking ability Chuck continued to man the lap timer. Now in the bath tub contractions were happening every three minutes. After 30 minutes contractions were taking place every 1.5 minutes. It was at this point that Chuck decided to damn the advice of modern medicine, the Long’s were heading to the hospital.
Mrs Long gingerly climbed out of the bath tub and just as Chuck was drying her off, she launched in to another contraction sending her to the ground on all 4’s. At this point there was a gushing sound and Chuck was confronted with the sight of fluid rushing from her happy place. Her waters had broken. Chuck took matters into his own hands and decided to contact the maternity ward. The mere mention of ‘waters’ and ‘breaking’ was enough for them to suggest Mrs Long come in immediately.
Unfortunately, this was easier said than done as Mrs Long’s contractions had jumped to a new level. Chuck grabbed the pre packed bag, assisted Mrs Long into her grannie knickers and adult incontinence pad and made for the door. Mrs Long was struck down by another contraction just as Chuck open the apartment door and the subsequent groan echoed throughout the complex making it sound like Mrs Long was being beaten. Mrs Long was back on her knees crawling towards the door when she mentioned that she felt like pushing. Chuck had thoughts of delivering his spawn in the hallway and after reflecting on how much clean up would be required he powerlifted Mrs Long to her feet and gingerly walked her to the car.
The car proved to be another logistical nightmare as Mrs Long decided that the back seat was the best option but could only get herself halfway in because of the baby capsule. Chuck determined that trying to force the door shut on her legs was not ideal and had to assist in her crawl forward. Mrs Long lay sprawled over the centre consul and Chuck secretly hoped to be pulled over by a police officer so that he could play the pregnancy card and get an escort (despite the 7 minute travel time).
The Longs arrived at the hospital at 2.10am and were ushered to a birthing room. A tall midwife came into the room, instructed Mrs Long to remove her clothes and climb onto the bed. She then pulled on a rubber glove, lubed it up and launched into Mrs Long’s clacker for an internal examination. Obviously many women head for hospital at the first contraction and rather than having people sit around for hours, the assessment determines who can be sent home to wait. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the midwife announced that Mrs Long was 9cm dilated and the baby was well on its way.
Chuck’s first thought was that the highly paid obstetrician wasn’t even going to make it but at 2.30am he strolled in. The midwife was a total superstar, barking instructions, offering encouragement and helping wherever possible. Chuck will admit that it was definitely calming to also have the old doctor there for his expertise.
Mrs Long was given tutorials on pushing techniques and for the next 45 minutes brought the thunder. She tried squeezing it out on the table but getting the head to crown was proving difficult. The midwife suggested the birthing chair which basically looks like an adult potty. Mrs Long held on for dear life and managed to get the head to crown. Once this happened they switched her straight back to the bed*
*Since the birthing chair worked so well so quickly, after the entire process was over Chuck asked the midwife why the whole birth was not completed on it? To this she stated that the chair is good to get the head through the birthing canal, but when gravity is involved the baby can often come too fast resulting in tears from the vagina to the anus. YOUCH!
With Mrs Long back on the bed it was time to push like she had never pushed before. The catch cry was “push into the pain like you’re taking a poo”. If Chuck tried to do that now he’d end up with the worst case of haemorrhoids in medical history! Chuck was standing next to Mrs Long as she battled through this ordeal. At one stage the old doctor called out “Hey Chuck”. Chuck instinctively turned and was greeted with a full view of Mrs Longs nether regions featuring a small head trying to burst out of her vagina. Many men had warned Chuck to avoid looking there during the birth but once you’ve crossed the line you may as well keep going – it was fascinating.
Mrs Long was on the home stretch and during one sequence of contractions had 3 rock solid pushes. Normally she was fatigued after the 3rd but in this instance gave it one more crack and managed to push the head all the way out. This caught the good doctor by surprise who hadn’t managed to get his gloves on in time. Being a seasoned veteran he recovered and then deftly coached Mrs Long through some gentle pushes to get the shoulders out.
Admittedly what slid out resembled a space alien but once the blood started pumping and the colour came in, it was obvious that the Long spawn had received both Chuck and Mrs Long’s good looks. All told the Longs walked into the hospital at 2.10am and had a baby in their arms by 3.36am. Mrs Long wastes no time!
Chuck is often quick to use Mrs Long as the butt of these tales but she submitted a legendary performance that enhanced Chuck’s level of admiration to untold heights. On top of the above performance, she also toughed it out completely drug free – not one ounce of pain killer. Eye of the tiger stuff right there!
So Chuck’s a dad.......