If It Smells Like a False Alarm, It's Probably a False Alarm

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Normal Mormon Wife is due on May 27th to have our third child. Everything has been pretty smooth with this pregnancy, even picking out the baby's name. (Unless, of course, I have a Zacharias-like moment during the blessing and say, "Her name is....LaFawnduh! And they marvelled all.") On Friday, May 16th, we had an official false labor alarm, but the trip to the midwife was enjoyable enough to warrant a running diary.

(For those who are wondering, the Normal Mormon Wife had complete editing control over this post since some of it refers to her bodily fluids.)

12:46 a.m. - The NMW informs me that our bedsheets are suddenly, inexplicably wet. I don't think that I left an Otter Pop that could have melted between the sheets, so it did not come from me. It is a fairly decently sized puddle, so we dial the midwife on call. She says that there may be a tear in the amniotic sac and that my wife's water may have broken. The midwife says that we can come in first thing in the morning and they will check her out. Wow. We might have a baby tomorrow!

8:46 a.m. - The NMW tells me that she could not sleep last night so she did some research online about what may have exited her body. One of the websites said, "Smell the discharge. If it smells like ammonia, it is urine, not amniotic fluid." Hold on. If it smells like ammonia, it is probably urine? Why not just get right to the point and say, "If it smells like urine, it is probably urine?" Our daughter who just turned four is still learning to sleep through the night without Pull-Ups and we have had to change her sheets about three times a week for the past month. If anybody knows the smell of urine in the bed, it's us. Armed with this knowledge, we are sure that the fluid that joined us in bed last night was definitely not urine.

9:28 a.m. - Arrive at the hospital, and it now hits me like a ton of bricks - OHMYGOSHWEAREHAVINGABABYTODAY! I smile.

9:31 a.m. - Sitting in the lobby with a slew of very, very pregnant women. The lobby television is tuned to ESPN and Sports Center is on right now. Every man in the waiting room has one eye on his wife and another eye on the NBA Playoffs highlights. Does the hospital have the station set on ESPN just to start fights between pregnant, emotional women and their husbands who just want to watch LeBron's highlight dunk from last night?

9:36 a.m. - A commercial for Game 6 of the Lakers-Jazz series just informed me that the game can be seen tonight at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN. Sweetheart - please, please go into labor tonight! It is the only way that we can watch our beloved Lakers eliminate the Jazz, in Utah no less! Why can we only watch the game at the hospital, you may ask? Well, we are one of the six remaining families in the United States that does not have cable television. We had it for the first four years of our marriage, but when I went to grad school we cut out every expense that we could. This included non-essentials like cable television, movie tickets, furniture and food. Even with bunny-ear reception we were able to get as much TV as we needed, so we never got cable again. This may have to change when every station has to broadcast in HD in 2009, but we are going to fight it to the bitter end. (Although, in all honesty, I cannot wait to get Discovery Channel, TLC, A&E, History Channel, etc. When I travel for work and the hotel has Discovery Channel, I end up watching "Deadliest Catch" until three in the morning.) I would give the NMW several shots of pitocin right now if I could, just so we could watch Kobe close the series out tonight in Salt Lake.

10:05 a.m. - We have been seated in our little room and are waiting for the midwife. There is a sign on the wall that says, "The Women's Hospital of Greensboro...is Listening!" Then in very small print the poster explains that you can take a customer satisfaction survey and have your voice heard about your experience. While the sign is supposed to reflect their focus on customer service, it actually gives me a little bit of the big-brother-is-watching creeps. The sign makes me feel like I'm in a police interrogation room with microphones and hidden cameras placed all around us.

10:10 a.m. - Still no midwife, so we invented a fun little game called, "Guess how much pain I am in." There is a poster on the wall with a 1-10 scale to help patients rate their pain for their doctors. It is translated into several languages, including one called "Paula Abdul-ish", which allows people to disregard all rules of the English language and just mesh random words together and still call it a sentence. For those who cannot read, there are pictures of faces beginning with a happy smiley face for a "1" and a picture of Jerry Sloan's face when he screams at Andre Kirilenko as a "10". Our game consists of one of us mimicking a face on the poster while the other person guesses the number that correlates with the pain. I laugh out loud when the NMW does the "10". I really hope I do not have a flashback to this moment when she is in labor with real pain that measures a "14" and I start laughing. This is so much more fun than being at work.

10:16 a.m. - I tell my wife about a show called "Mystery Diagnosis" that I watched on my video iPod on my last flight. One of the NMW's nicknames is "Science Girl", and I think she would like a show about medical mysteries that stymie doctors. She says it sounds interesting but that she had better not watch it in the hospital because it would make her paranoid. She says, "Yeah, if I watched it today I would probably make our doctor test for every little abnormality - like Farfegnugen Syndrome." I respond with, "Yes, doctor, our child appears to be German and it smells like he's running on diesel. Is that normal?" I am almost positive that my wife will be the first woman to ever laugh her way through contractions. Imagine how funny she is going to be when the drugs kick in. I'm brining the digital camcorder.

10:46 a.m. - The nurse has been in and out a few times and has the NMW dressed in a hospital gown. My gown-wearing wife tells us that she needs to use the restroom, which is across the hall. Our nurse looks at me and says, "Your job is to make sure that her buttocks is covered before she leaves the room." I can do that. This is the first job that I have ever had where the word "buttocks" appears in the description.

10:49 a.m. - Phew! It looks like I did my job just fine.

10:54 a.m. - The nurse asks the NMW a number of personal questions, including "Do you use any street drugs?" The Science Girl answers with a Bill Clinton-esque, "It depends upon what the definition of 'any' is." Just kidding. She's clean.

11:10 a.m. - I see a bruise on my wife's leg and say, "Great. Now the hospital staff is going to ask if you are in an abusive relationship." "Well," the NMW responds, "they already asked me if I was being abused when we first checked in." What? Why would they think my wife is being abused? Do I look mean? Violent? Like I'm related to Kimbo Slice? The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Now I'm fuming! Internally I feel like Bruce Banner morphing into Hulk. I stand up so that I can rip the TV monitor from the wall and fling it across the room, but then realize that this might not be the best course of action as I try to prove that I'm not a violent person. (On a side note: It is standard operating procedure for most hospitals to ask pregnant women if they are being abused, regardless of how clean-shaven and tattoo-less the husband is. There was nothing about me specifically that made the staff hit the panic button and ask the NMW those questions.)

11:14 - I chuckle as I realize that my sweet, wonderful, smart, active LDS wife is literally barefoot and pregnant while being asked if she is a crackhead or involved in a relationship that will end up on an episode of COPS. It's like I'm living in a Sundance Film Festival movie.

11:16 a.m. - The midwife comes in and does a pH swab test to see if the NMW's water has broken or not. We have a hot tub at home and the pH strip the midwife is using looks eerily similar to the one I use to check its pH, bromine, calcium, and alkalinity. I wonder if the midwife is using the same product that I use at home?

11:17 a.m. - The midwife tells us that, "Your pH level looks good," but then she slips up by saying, "but your bromine and alkaline levels are low." Busted! Fortunately for the NMW I have the chemicals that she needs in our garage.

11:20 a.m. - The midwife explains that, unfortunately, the NMW's water has not broken. No baby today. She tells us that we can go home but that she would not be surprised to see us back here within the next week. I ask my wife to try her best to time the real labor to happen on a night when the Lakers are playing on ESPN. Preferably in the Finals. Oh well. If our next trip to the hospital is as fun as today's was, we should be able to get along just fine. Game or no game.


Jami - You asked, "So...if it's not amnio or urine did they tell you what it was? I'll tell you if they didn't, but if they did I don't wanna gross anyone out unnecessarily." To answer your question - yes, they did tell us what it was. As I mentioned in the preface, the NMW had complete editorial control over this post. In the original draft the words "mucusy" and "discharge" appeared liberally. After the NMW review, I had to scale back some of the more grossy-gross details. Despite what the midwife said, I'm still convinced that the fluid in question was actually Aunt Jamima syrup. The NMW's story is going to appear in the July 15th, 2008 episode of "Mystery Diagnosis".

Linnae - Of course I remember both you and Sean! It's great to hear from you. Tell Sean "hello" from me. Even though I was a year younger than Sean (or "Noodle", as we called him back then), we had some good time together at Hunter with Brandon, Jared, Travis, Erik, Jed, etc. I look back on that 1992 high school basketball team and consider myself very, very fortunate to have been able to run around with such a good crowd.

-Melissa - I chuckled when you referred to Deadliest Catch as "the crab fishing show". That's like referring to American Idol as "that karaoke program on Fox". Between me, your husband, and Carrie it looks like the crab fishing show has quite a few fans. I think a lot of men like the Deadliest Catch because it helps us realize that our jobs really aren't that bad, all things considered. It does for perception of our jobs what Super Nanny does for parenting. Every time I feel like I'm a failure as a parent I just watch twenty minutes of Super Nanny and leave feeling like I should win Father of the Year.

Linnae - You asked if you know me or if your husband might know me through basketball. That is a hard question to answer since I don't know your last name or anything about you except that your screen name is "Linnae" and you have your blogger profile blocked. Tell me if this sounds familiar - My name is Andrew and I went to Hunter High School in WVC, UT where I played varsity basketball all three years (1991-1993). Served a mission in Chile Antofagasta (1994-1996). Undergrad at BYU and grad school at U. of Arizona. I won a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics in Jujitsu, garnered a Tony Award for my screenplay of "David's Blue Bell", and currently work as Tony Danza's agent. (Okay, I made the last few things up, but it sounded good. Ring any bells?)

Pappy Yokum - You're right. After re-reading the post, the Diamondbacks reference did not make sense. I've replaced it with an NBA reference and it now sounds a lot better. You've done your good deed for the day.


Melissa said...

We also do not have cable, and I, for one, am glad. "Deadliest Catch" almost ruined our marriage. (Just kidding). But I would come out late at night and find my husband in front of the t.v. watching that "crab fishing" show again. I don't get it. But I do hope everything goes well with your wife's eventual delivery. As always, your writing is hilarious and insightful.

9:13 PM
Aunt Julie said...

Anderoooon! You guys are gonna have a baby! I can't believe how enormously pregnant Andi is. Are you sure there aren't 2 Carolines in there?

I loved reading Andi's blog when Whitney was on your lap and said "I'm sitting in the chair of wonder." That is so cosmic.

And you are going to the celestial kingdom for cancelling all extra meetings on mother's day and for all the other wonderful things you did for your wife on mother's day.

We don't have cable either. Too ka ka and too expensive.

I still can't believe you're a Bishop. I'm so proud of you. You have a beautiful family. This is high drama.

I'll never forget when your mom called me when I was at BYU and you were about 5 or 6 months old and said "Hey Julie, guess what?" I jokingly said "You're pregnant!" and she said yes and I screamed a huge whallop of a scream. I was dumbfounded. As was your mom. But it was Tony Baloney who wanted to come right on your heels into mortalitiy so you two could play basketball together.

Love you huge, Andrew & Andi
Aunt Julie

11:08 PM
Ang said...

Drew, I love the play-by-play. We had the same thing happen with Wyatt--thought my water had broken when it had not--but I was also having contractions and the nurse checking me was all I needed to goose things into full blown labor. The first and only time I've had a pitocin-less birth. Quite a moment! I'm thinking of you guys. Any day now!!

7:31 AM
Natalie said...

Great play by play. I love the Paula Abdul comment. So funny. And covering the buttocks. Good work!

8:02 AM

If you didn't like the Lakers so much, you could replace Hot Rod doing the play by play! I hope that it works out for you, too, to have the baby during a game, even though I loathe the Lakers. It would make for a great story, and and exciting night! I was born during the Olympics and my mom always tells me she was watching them while in labor on the tv. Good luck! Hope all goes well!
It is still hard for me to picture you as an adult, though! Just always see the goof ball from High School!


10:26 AM
Pappy Yokum said...

Ok, they should have been asking you the questions about drugs. The Diamondbacks?! Where did that come from? You're just talking about the playoff highlights and then comment about the husbands wanting to know if the Diamondbacks won last night? I'm lost.

Regardless, excellent article. I almost spit on my monitor with the "Paula Abdul-ish" language comment. Oh, and the NMW's joke about Farfegnugen Syndrome.

11:13 AM
Linnae said...

Do I know you? I've been reading your blog for a while now and I think I do. At least I think my hubby knows you better than I do. Maybe played some bball with you. :) If not, I'm really embarrassed and just think of me as a blog stalker.

11:28 AM
carrie said...

i enjoyed this post. you two are great, and often hilarious. thanks Ü

oh, and nice to know other people are addicted to Deadliest Catch, too. i also don't have cable, and when i travel for work will look forward to, and keep my fingers crossed, the show is on while i'm there. one time on a flight from SLC to Boston, i watched a Deadliest Catch marathon. it was one of the best flights ever. Ü

5:08 PM
Mom said...

Andrew - you were born while dad and Dr. Brown were watching Monday Night Football. I just about had to kick them in the shins to get their attention or I would have delivered you myself :)

10:17 PM
Sandy said...

I figured it was a false alarm when I read about your adventures on Andi's blog...and the ONLY reason being that she was SMILING in the picture. Any woman smiling in the delivery room BEFORE drugs have been administered is either not in labor yet or her face is stuck in a smile-like contortion from pain.

Anyway- hope things get moving for you soon- yay for a new baby!

7:42 AM
Linnae said...

Hi Andrew. I was starting to think I didn't know you because of your Olympic and Tony Award winning experiences. Pretty funny. But my husband and I also attended Hunter High those same years and my hubby, Sean Newell, DID play basketball with you as he too was on the Varsity team. Small world.

9:35 AM
Jami said...


(So...if it's not amnio or urine did they tell you what it was? I'll tell you if they didn't, but if they did I don't wanna gross anyone out unnecessarily.)

You have picked out the most fabulous baby name ever. We saved it for last. It's that good.

I must say that I wish that you and the NMW were in our ward. (Except then there'd be two CG's in nursery in 2010.)

Happy New Baby.

9:42 AM
Megan said...

Glad you could hold up your end of the "buttocks" job. :)

Deadliest Catch is so rad (yep, I used that word!) that I've changed my Tuesday workouts to the evening so I can watch it. Alas, we are sans cable as well.

NMW is way too jolly having spoken to her on the phone recently. I thought she was just gonna laugh that baby out right there and then. She did, however, stroke my ego by laughing at my humor.

Nothin' could be finer than a baby in the mornin'. We're keeping our fingers crossed for you!

I'll be calling again soon once I get caught up on my LOST watching. Good gravy I have one more thing to do today! LOL! :)

10:18 AM
J Rogers said...

With child number two's labor we watched Monica lewinsky testify to congress and then we watched a basketball game that for some odd reason didn't get turned off while I was pushing.

We must be one of the other 6 families without cable or dish in the us. Unfortunately, where we live means that we don't get any reception. We used to have dish. Boy did I miss colleg football this last fall.

5:22 PM
mama cow said...

Ahhhh memories! I think every mother can relate to at least one part of your adventure. I was one of the crazies that was giggling all through labor with out drugs. They were sure they were gonna send me home but turns out I was almost fully dilated. I thought well how bad can the rest of it be?.......Turns out Really really bad! Having babies hurts!

8:16 PM
Linnae said...

I was wondering how many Linnae's you knew. And don't remind me of the "Noodle" days, it brings back memories of Amy Campbell. Funny you mentioned the boys...I'm looking at a picture right now of all 7 of you posing with Santa Clause in front of a Christmas tree. What STUDS!

8:08 PM
Jami said...

I'm glad they clarified for you. I was mystified for two more pregnancies because I was told that it must have been urine and my nose just wasn't working right because of my hormones. Bah! The right answer made much more sense considering the non-scent of the event.

10:32 PM
bioman75 said...

For a post about the Lakers there was a lot of talk about water break ;)

I am in a similar boat; but there is little chance that our baby will be coming during a playoff game or a finals game :(

I also don't have cable (stupid new years resolution) so I loathe ABC for not showing a game with the Lakers but showing two with the Pistons and that green team.

Anyway GO LAKERS and congrats on the new baby when she comes.

8:12 PM