The arrival of 3.0

I've been leaving work at 4:30 lately, because that's the end of my 8 hours (being a contractor, time is very key in my day, and overtime is generally not encouraged unless it's needed, which I understand) and with my wife needing extra help at home, leaving at that time I can usually beat the worst of rush hour and make the drive home in about 20-25 minutes.

Today, I had lunch with a couple buddies, and since that took billable time away from my day, I decided I should try to stay later today. Called the wife at about 4:30, everything was fine at home, told her I'd be a little later.

At 5:05, she calls me to tell me her water broke. I leave work immediately, cursing the time and the traffic I know I'm about to hit. She goes to call the doctor and a friend who would watch kids 1.0 and 2.0 while we booted up 3.0.

At 5:35-ish, she calls to check on my progress. Which is minimal. She is in labor and contractions are several minutes apart. She tells me she is going to lay down and see if the contractions ease off, while calling her friend and seeing if she can come and get the kids. I drive the rest of the way home gripping my steering wheel in a rage, mentally beating the other drivers on the road into a bloody pulp (especially those who feel like they have to come to a near stop because of a cop, who has someone pulled over, not on the street on which we're driving, but on a SIDE street).

The friend comes over with her kids, sends all four of the kids to the basement to play, and refuses to leave until I get home.

Nigh unto 6:00 (for those keeping score, that's nearly an hour for a 25-minute drive), I get home, swearing up a storm (which, for me, is not usual behavior). I find that the friend is on the phone to 911, with my wife in heavy labor. The baby is coming; driving to the hospital is no longer an option. I throw my backpack across the room and begin running all over the house, grabbing a few dozen towels from the linen closet, helping the wife get undressed, trying to find things that the 911 operator is telling the friend to find. (At one point, I was asked for a thick shoelace. Not sure why, but I was incredibly frustrated to find that none of our shoes even have shoelaces! Except my own tennis shoes, which I couldn't seem to find at the time, of course.)

While friend is helping wife get through the next couple minutes, hoping the paramedics arrive quickly, I grab my wife's cell phone to call her OB. Of course, she hasn't kept it charged, and it was near empty. Enough to call, though. I get the recorded greeting, which I can't quite hear with the depleted battery and trying to run around on the emergency medical scavenger hunt, so I'm not sure what buttons to push ("If you need <something something>, press *70", etc.) until I hear what sounds like "To talk to someone immediately, press 0". I press 0. Couldn't have been less than five minutes later (which of course seemed like an eternity), someone FINALLY comes on the line. I can barely hear her, so I'm trying to tell her that we're already having the baby, fire department has been dispatched, we'll be at the hospital when we can. I think she tried asking a couple questions; to be honest, I don't know if I answered them or not; I could barely hear her anyway.

Finally, as I'm off to find a nose sucker (which we actually have and I actually knew the location of), the baby is delivered. Within a minute, the paramedics arrive and check everyone out. I find another room and break down in tears, cursing myself for staying late, cursing myself for not getting home fast enough, cursing myself for not being with my wife instead of running around the house trying to find what is needed (and generally being ineffective at that).

Anyway, wife gives friend keys to the house (bags for the kids are already packed), friend offers to lock up when she takes the kids to her place for the night, wife leaves for the hospital in the ambulance, and I follow a few minutes later.

I get to the hospital, make my way to Labor & Delivery, ask for my wife, and she's not there. But they got the message and led me to the room where they were expecting to put her. I sit there wondering how in the world I beat the ambulance to the hospital, until she arrives in the next ten minutes or so. (Turns out the ambulance driver had never been to this particular hospital, missed the exit off the highway, came back, got to the hospital, unloaded my wife, realized they were at the wrong entrance, loaded her back in the ambulance, drove around to the emergency entrance, unloaded her again... Kind of amusing, especially since there was no rush at that point.)

But I'm very thankful to be able to report that everyone is doing just fine.