20 Questions with a Woman in Labor (and Her Turd of a Husband)
When your best friend tells you that he and his wife are pregnant, you are happy for them and commit to being supportive. But when your best friend Eric is the perpetual butt of all your jokes (lovingly), you begin scheming how you can get into the delivery room to get a picture of him mid-passing out during his wife’s labor. In this case, I actually convinced his wife, Laura, to grant me a live round of 20 questions with her and Eric while she was in labor.
Unfortunately, things happened quickly one morning, and I was unable to make it to the hospital in person, but I did get the expectant couple on the computer for a quick Skype session before she delivered her son, Maxwell. So, while I did not get to see afterbirths-a-flyin (which would make a great addition if it’s ever increased to the “13 Days of Christmas”), and I didn’t get a picture of Eric passed out in a heap like the overstimulated gorilla he is, I did get some fun answers from a woman in the midsts of contractions.
Here are the happy, soon-to-be parents, mid Skype:
1. How it this whole labor thing going for you?
Laura: Well, now it is going well. My water broke at 5:11am. I heard a pop, then felt a gush while I was lying in bed.
Me: Gross. The bed has to just be a disaster?
Laura: No, we had a waterproof pad on our bed, thank God, cause there was just so much fluid. (If you know Eric, aka Mr. “Yes, I’ll have another beer,” waterproof bed sheets will come as no surprise.) Eric didn’t realize he should be helping, so he was just going to the bathroom and casually walking around.
Eric: (dopily) I didn’t know!
Laura: Eventually we got to the doctor, and he decided to induce me. When my contractions were one minute apart, I had 5 or 6 that were reeeeaally bad . . . much more painful than I thought they would be, so I got an epidural.
Laura’s mom (also in the delivery room): Years ago you just went out beside a tree to have your baby.
Me: Right! Like a cow.
(Her mother falls silent. I fear I have accidentally just compared her to livestock.)
2. What part of pregnancy will you miss the most?
Laura: Not being on a diet and just eating whatever I wanted.
Me: I’m guessing that is that the part Eric will miss the most too?
3. Is your baby going to have hair? If so, what color?
Laura: I think he’s going to have some. A little bit. And I think it will be blonde or brown or black.
Me: I think you covered almost all the possible options. Quite the bold prediction.
4. What are your feelings on Brexit?
Laura: Huh? (She pauses, confused, for a long time while making this face🙂
Me: (dumbfounded) Do you not know what Brexit is?
Eric: I don’t think she’s ever heard of it. We haven’t had time for an intellectual conversation on Brexit.
Laura: Can I pass?
5. If your baby pees on the doctor, will you be embarrassed or proud?
Laura: I’ll laugh. It will be more humorous than anything.
Eric. I don’t know. I like the doctor so far, but if that changes, then I hope he pees away.
6. Will Eric pass out at any point during your labor?
Laura: His blood pressure will go WAY up. He’ll get anxious and really sweaty.
(Another not-at-all bold prediction, as this is a daily occurrence.)
Laura: Blood doesn’t bother him, but poop does.
(I decline to tell him that Laura may poo herself.)
7. Write your unborn son’s biography in 6 words.
(Ernest Hemingway was famously challenged to write his own biography in 6 words. He chose, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I decide to issue Laura and Eric the same challenge.)
Laura: That’s a stupid question.
Eric: How about, “Will do well, regardless of situation.”
Laura: (disgusted noise) No, that’s dumb.
(Later I receive their final decision: “Happy life, no regrets, checklist complete.” Ernest Hemingway they are not.)
8. How many calories will Eric consume during your labor?
Laura: Hmmm, well. He has already had breakfast at home, then a turkey sandwich, chips, some sort of pasta salad and a protein bar here at the hospital. He will likely go for dinner.
Eric: I WILL NOT!
Me: This is sounding like maybe 3,000 calories?
Laura: That’s what I was going to say.
(Side note: Laura’s dad was also with her throughout the day, but he wasn’t there during my interview, as he was . . . drumroll . . . in the cafeteria eating.)
(At this point we are interrupted by a nurse who has come to see how dilated Laura is. Eric moves the phone off of her and aims it at himself from his lap. My new view is that of a man who is 100% going to destroy the dinner buffet🙂
(The nurse informs us – I’m counting myself as part of the group at this point – that she is dilated to 8 centimeters.)
Me: 8?!? Wow. I better get these questions in quick!
9. Will you cry when you see your baby?
Laura: Yes, because of the hormones.
10. Will Eric cry when he sees the baby?
Laura: I think if I start crying, Eric will too.
Eric: Do you think I’ll cry?
Me: I think there will be too many things going on to feel that emotional in the moment. Plus, you’re only partially human. Speaking of, that leads me to my next question . . .
11. You find out your son has an X-Men style mutation. What would you prefer it be?
Laura: Does becoming invisible count?
Eric: (confidently) I want him to be like Beast: intelligent, but can get angry and take care of business.
12. How long after you get home until Eric goes golfing?
(Laura’s mom begins dying laughing. Obviously this has been a point of contention.)
Laura: Well, this morning, he said, “You know, if Max is born today, that means I can go golfing on Saturday.” Soooooo, I’m guessing Saturday.
Eric: I just want to show off pictures!
(Even Eric doesn’t believe this lie. As a follow-up; There was golf on the TV the entire day during her labor. Since the baby arrived a month and a half ago, Eric has gone golfing every Saturday. Gotta give the guy credit; he is just THAT devoted to showing off pictures of his newborn!)
13. How much would someone have to pay you to name your baby Trump?
Laura: UGH. No way. Hell no. Nothing. I wouldn’t do it.
Me: Would you do it for $10 million?
Laura: Eric is shaking his head yes.
Eric: I was thinking somewhere between $10 and $25 million.
Me: What if the first name is Trump, but you can call him by his middle name?
Laura: Okay, then like a million.
Eric: I’m still saying at least 5.
14. If you could sit in a bathtub full of anything right now, what would it be?
Laura: Umm, definitely cold water.
Laura’s mom: (incredulously) Not Jello?!?
Eric: (incredulously) Not ice cream?!?
Me: (incredulously) Not pudding?!?
(Laura insists that she prefers water, thereby killing any last remaining whimsy that remained from her childhood.)
15. If The Goonies is on your hospital TV, do you wait for it to end before you start pushing?
Laura: (long pause) . . . well . . . it does have a good ending . . .
16. How much sleep will you get in the next 24 hours? / How much sleep will Eric get?
Laura: I’ll probably only get 5 hours.
Eric: I’m a good sleeper, and I take good naps. I’d say 6 or 7.
Me: I think that you’re both being super optimistic. But good luck with that.
17. If you had to choose one, would you prefer your son be exceptionally good at math or exceptionally good at baseball?
Eric: How good is exceptionally good?
Me: Like, top 2% in the world.
(There is a length debate over whether being in the baseball minor leagues with a chance of making the majors is better than having the potential at being a scientist, etc.)
Eric: Can we say that he’d be guaranteed of making the majors?
Me: I don’t know. I guess this is your fantasy.
Eric: If I pick baseball, how bad would he be at math?
Me: Horrible. Can’t do simple math.
Laura: I’m horrible at math.
Me: Are you good at baseball?
Laura: No. (awkward silence)
18. If you could have any celebrity, living or dead, in the delivery room with you, who’d it be?
Laura: Umm, someone supportive that would make me laugh to get through it. I’ll say . . . Ellen.
19. Who is the LAST person (celebrity) you’d want in the delivery room?
Laura: I wouldn’t want Joe Manganiello in here, cause I love him and wouldn’t want him to see me like this.
(See angry picture above.)
20. On a scale from 1 – 10, how cute will your baby be?
Laura: All babies look the same, with the swelling and everything. I’ll say 8.
Me: Sorry, the correct answer is 7.
Laura pushed for about an hour, but Max’s heartbeat began to drop, so the doctor opted to do a Cesarean Section. Maxwell Peter was born at 6:57pm, which means Eric, sadly, did not have time for his planned, elaborate dinner. Baby and mommy are healthy and back home where Max has already began silently judging his father, who is almost certainly playing golf.
And, of course, Laura did poop on the delivery table.
Baby Max & Fam: