Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A Birth Story

After I blogged out my shock and disgust, I packed up a tote bag with snacks and a book and left for the hospital.

It was 6:45 am when I got to Heather's room. Much to my surprise, Awful Husband was sitting in the armchair in the corner of the room. Okay, then. Maybe I was off the hook?

Wishful thinking.

He sat in that armchair from 6:45 am until 3:50 pm, when Heather was taken for a c-section. He played on his phone. He made weird conversation with the nurses ("I'm on enough Ativan to kill a horse!"). He got up three times: once to go to the bathroom, once when we were asked to leave as Heather got her epidural, once to get food.

He didn't get up to hold her hand. He didn't give her any words of encouragement. They weren't fighting, not really, they didn't bicker and the room wasn't tense. He just gave no indication that he cared.

The only time I really thought he even got what was happening was when he was dressing himself to go in for the c-section. His hands were shaking a little bit. He asked me to text Heather's mom and update her on what was happening. Other than that: nothing.

Apparently they had a rough drive to the hospital. The roads were bad because we were in the early hours of a snowstorm and Awful Husband can't handle anything out of the ordinary. Such as a snowstorm. Or the birth of his child. Or the birth of his child during a snowstorm. At one point, he tried to talk her into going to another hospital. At another point, he told Heather that he would just drop her off. Which is why I got the invitation to join her at the hospital.

I asked Heather, a few times, if she wanted me to leave. If she was panicking in the car and jumped the gun in asking me to come, it would be understandable. She was in labor, after all. But she insisted that I was being a big help. Maybe I was. Someone had to get the ice chips from the nourishment room and the cold washcloth from the sink. Somebody had to call the nurses station and keep the list of potential middle names. Apparently that someone was me. It sure as hell wasn't her husband.

She told me, somewhere in the middle of labor, about how she came to the conclusion of who to call. That it absolutely couldn't be her mom or her sister. Or another friend who lived nearby. It was me. I'm choosing to take that as a compliment.

But, still, I didn't see this coming. Nowhere in my mind did I ever entertain even the slightest possibility that I would be at the hospital when that baby was born. I don't see myself as a close enough friend to coach Heather through labor (we were best friends in high school but it's hard maintaining a close friendship when she's in a shitty marriage to a guy I don't trust or want to be around) but, after 22 years of friendship, maybe Heather knows me a little better than I give her credit for. Maybe she knows what I'm capable of even if I don't.

She was devastated that she ended up needing a c-section and, in the furious few minutes they took to prep her for surgery, I pulled out every motivational trick that I had in my arsenal. And then they wheeled her off.

I packed up Heather's room, wheeled her things to her new room and unpacked. It took me just long enough that I could hear the lullaby over the hospital loudspeaker that indicated that a baby had just been born. Her baby. I left her a note.

Then I put on my coat, dug my car out of the foot of snow that had fallen since 6:45 that morning and went home.

It was one of the strangest days of my life.


Unknown said...

You're a good friend! I would be weirded out by such a request. Not to mention shooting eye daggers at the husband.

ALYS said...

I still can't believe her husband! The note was so lovely and kind of you, I'm sure it made her smile when she read it.

Harper said...

That husband IS a narcissist and plain ole jackass. It was probably good he was on Ativan or he would have driven your friend crazy. My guess is that he actually spoke to the nurses more than he did his own wife.

His behavior was not normal. He is a jerk. You are a great friend. You being there helped her more than you will probably ever know.

If we reversed the situation, and he was in the Hospital for kidney stones..........can you even imagine how different things would have been. He's a jerk. She knows it but s too overwhelmed with newborn and children.

I wish I could call him out on his his ridiculous behavior. Don't hesitate to if you ever get the chance.

I married a Narc like that for 20 years and my best friends are the ones who said something. I avoided them for awhile.....but then ran and thanked them profusely.

You are a truly nice person!!

Stace said...

Good for you, for being there, for giving the pep talk, for doing the work that douche didn't. Props!

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