Back, by unpopular demand, I am pleased to present another post on babies! I will now pause here for a few minutes to allow those that wish to leave to make for the exits. Please file out in an orderly manner.
~Five minutes later~
Ok, for the rest of you, I will now share the story of Charlie’s birth. And please, don’t call me a hero. In light of the circumstances, I just did what any man would do. Here is the true story…
Thursday, April 6th, 4:01 AM:
My wife, seven and a half months pregnant, wakes me up in the middle of the night:
Mrs. Centaur: “I need you to take me to the hospital.”
Me (groggily, but without hesitation): “No.”
Mrs. Centaur: “I’m serious… we need to get to the hospital now. I think I’m going into labor.”
Me (glancing at alarm clock): “I’m really busy right now. Let’s revisit this discussion in about three hours…”
I instructed her to bring me some rags and to sterilize my Rambo knife. She didn’t crack a smile. I desperately wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but I reluctantly got out of bed. I’m not sure exactly what it was, perhaps my wife being hobbled over in excruciating pain, but I felt a heightened degree of urgency that morning.
Of course, that didn’t mean I couldn’t be judicious in picking my attire for the day. I put on a pair of jeans, only to discover that the pair I selected were a little too baggy, and didn’t showcase my beefcake satisfactorily. I went back to the closet and selected a more flattering pair. I began to rummage through the closet for an acceptable shirt, as I had a feeling this would prove equally difficult.
I’m not sure which was more painful for my wife, the contractions or my wardrobe indecisiveness. She couldn’t bear either, and went into the living room, ostensibly to start boiling water for a home delivery.
When I emerged a few minutes later, she was initially happy, as she thought we were on our way to the hospital. Not so. I was still shirtless at this point, and I merely wanted to check the shirt selection in the dryer before making a final decision.
Now dressed, I began to focus on my personal hygiene. Since my wife wouldn’t allow me to take a shower, I opted for a relayering of deodorant instead. I then did my best to contain my bedhead into a hat. Finally, I fired up the ‘ol Sonicare to brush my teeth. It was at this point that I noticed my wife in the doorway.
Two minutes is a long time, when you are watching someone else brush his teeth. I’m told that it’s even longer when you’re also going into labor.
We left in a hurry after that, meaning I was unable to pack some necessities and luxuries that I originally planned to bring along. Sadly, the following items were all left behind:
1. The digital camera and camcorder.
2. The Xbox 360
3. My laptop
4. A bottle of whiskey (or at least a full flask.) Think about it. Hospitals have vending machines and ice on hand, I could have crafted an unbelievably sweet mini-bar in the hospital room.
5. A change of clothes.
6. Newspaper (this one would haunt me later… read on.)
Ever since my wife became pregnant, I had a secret desire to attempt to induce labor through humor. Allow me to explain. If a joke is funny enough, it can elicit involuntary, physical reactions in people from laughing too hard. Early in life, a burgeoning comedian will earn his wings by getting a classmate to laugh so hard that milk comes out his nose. Later in life, you know that a date is progressing nicely when the girl warns you that she’s about to pee her pants from the hysterics you’ve provided.
And as far as these things go, I would think the ultimate badge of honor would be earned by causing a pregnant woman to give birth solely from laughing too hard. But could this actually be done? That was what I aimed to find out on our drive to the hospital.
As an added degree of difficulty, I would have to incorporate humor into my role as her birthing coach. Luckily, I didn’t spend the entire time in birthing class text messaging scores from the NCAA tournament. As she began her breathing, I held up my index finger about ten inches in front of her face as an object for her to focus on.
Me: “Ok, Jeannette… pretend my finger is a candle. Now, blow it out!”
As she focused her rapid breathing on the object in front of her, I began to rapidly twitch my finger.
Me: “Look! It’s flickering! The candle is almost out! Keep breathing…”
Once her breathing intensified, I folded my finger into my fist.
Me (re-extending my finger): “You got it, it’s out! …Uh oh, look, it’s one of those trick birthday cake candles! It’s re-lit itself! What a hilarious prank I pulled! Keep trying to blow it out!”
This game went on for a few minutes, culminating with me bringing out the candelabra (my right hand, with all five fingers extended) for her to blow out. And yes, as you might have guessed, all five “candles” were trick candles.
Her contractions were getting more intense, and I droving increasingly recklessly to compensate for it. Since transporting a woman in labor gives you traffic law impunity, I took full advantage of the situation. In the twenty-minute drive to the hospital, I drove excessively fast, ran a stoplight, and went the wrong direction down a one-way street. I’m pretty sure I also managed to execute the 80’s movie trick of driving a car on two wheels down a narrow alley. Of course, this isn’t really all that noteworthy, considering I commit these infractions on an almost daily basis anyway.
We arrived at the hospital, and the doctors decided rather quickly that my wife was going into labor, seven weeks early. The doctors tried to ascertain a reason for her premature delivery, ultimately deciding it was simply a medical mystery. Of course, I knew the real reason we were here. And to this day, it is my crowning achievement in the realm of humor.
Finally, here are a few more Charlie-related sidenotes:
On several occasions on this site, I jokingly said I wanted to name our son after the Star Wars character Lando Calrissian. However, as the months went on, I honestly began to consider “Lando” as a middle name. Of course, my wife hates things that are cool and original, so the name never had a chance. And wouldn’t you know it, look at who was born on April 6th.
Perhaps if I had a copy of the morning paper, complete with celebrity birthdays, I might have had some more leverage as we filled out his birth certificate.
Want another unbelievable coincidence? Check out who else shares Charlie’s birthday. It’s simply uncanny. Sometimes I torture myself into thinking about what could have been… Charles Lando Clavin Ring.
Everyone loves to play this game with a new baby. It’s somewhat imprecise, but here are my observations: Clearly, my son gets his brown hair and blue eyes from me. The same goes for his innocence and preciousness. As for his flatulence and occasional crankiness, I’m pretty sure that was inherited from his mother.
The Latest Milestone:
Charlie has learned to smile. Needless to say, this has been a tremendous morale booster for his caregivers. For me, it is a lot more tolerable to clean feces off another’s bare bottom when they are happily smiling at me while I do it.
If you’d like to have up-to-the-minute information about Charlie’s weight, the messiness of his bowel movements and shots of him dressed as 80’s movies icons, go here. My wife started this site to placate the grandparents’ demand for such coverage… I think the general public will enjoy it too.