During the week leading up to Gideon’s birth, Clara was particularly concerned about the logistics of labor. She knew it would be unexpected, and she knew it was serious and had lots of people and moving parts involved. So, she had a keen motherly fear about all of the pieces coming together without any unforeseen difficulty derailing the entire game of mousetrap. She made a practice out of thinking up possible concepts and situations that we may not have prepared for and would quiz us on them regularly. This was disconcerting since we already had a natural apprehension about birth and didn’t need to be steadily reminded of how unprepared we might be. Especially in light of our previous births where things did not necessarily go exactly as planned. Her little game became particularly absurd as the due date passed and the wait for the baby’s arrival dragged on, her hypothetical scenarios became increasingly elaborate and concerning.
While we were driving through town one evening she began the following line of questioning about our birth plan.
“What are we going to do if we are in a car when the baby says he wants to come out?” She asked this suddenly from the back seat, interrupting whatever conversation her mother and I were having in the front seat.
“Oh. Good question Clara. Well, we would call the midwife and ask her to meet us at the house, and then Momma would have plenty of time to lay down and rest before the baby arrived.”
“But what if the car is on fire?” This follow up question was immediate. The first question had apparently just been a lead in for this more involved follow on question.
We tried to respond to this counter argument quickly, so as to not show weakness. “Oh, well, we considered that. We would have to all get out of the car and then ask someone else to drive us to our house, or to the hospital if we didn’t have time. We would leave the car behind, it would burn up, but we could get a new one later.”
She smiled and agreed with this plan. It was a good plan. But then she grinned and got a sly look in her eye, “But! But have you thought about what you would do if everything in the entire world was on fire /except/ for our car? What would you do then?” She rolled her eyes and waved her hands in the air. As if she were casting a spell over the world cursing it to flames.
Then she grinned. She thought she had us. “Well, we would just have the baby in the car. And that would be fine. And then the five of us would have to all live in the car from then on. It would be like camping, and I think we would enjoy it.”
“But what would we eat?” She was obviously flustered that we had a birth plan already in place for what she believed to be an expert level difficulty situation.
“We would have to eat at drive thrus for the rest of our lives. That would be neat wouldn’t it?”
She clearly liked the idea of eating at drive thrus forever, but she was also conflicted with the fact that this survival plan contradicted her scenario which included drive thrus in the “everything in the world” that was on fire except for our car.
“Clara.” we reassured her, “We have everything taken care of, and you don’t have to worry. We have had two babies before, and we know how it is done, and we have thought about all of the possible things that could go wrong and we have plans to deal with all of them. So, you don’t have to worry.” She was appeased.
But it is good that she didn’t know the truth. Because the truth was that her mother and I knew for a fact that we had not thought of everything. Birth is scary, uncertain, and uncomfortable (ladies, you have permission to slap me for such an understatement). We knew we could all imagine up logical scenarios all day long that would require quick decisions and frantic action. All we could do was prepare as best we could and pray for the most boring birth ever.
We are thankful to have avoided the broken down cars, and world of flames. We didn’t even have to leave the house and try to manage the snow globe world in what was probably the worse driving conditions of the entire winter. We could stay at home and have everyone else come to us. I’m very happy to not be writing a long detailed birth story full of comical foibles and exciting twists. We just have a strong healthy little boy, with a strong healthy amazing Momma. And that is a story I’m extremely proud to tell.