First off, I apologize for not remembering your name. I know you enthusiastically told it to us, but by the time you arrived at our apartment I felt as though someone were disemboweling me with an IKEA can opener and I had trouble exchanging pleasantries. Please know that under normal circumstances when people attempt to make conversation I do not respond by groaning like the Frankenstein Monster or screaming like a person who is having their eyeballs cauterized.
Secondly, I loved that when my husband told you the name of the hospital and said, “And drive fast—she’s in labor!” you excitedly said the phrase, “JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES!!” You even said, “Do you want me to roll down the windows so that you get some air? I’m going to try not to hit too many potholes! That’s what the guys in the movies say!!!” Your bizarre devotion to cinematic representations of cab rides to the hospital was weirdly charming. And I may not have shown it at the time because I felt like I was dying from a bayonet wound, but I thought it was really funny and sweet.
You then spent quite a good portion of the ride mulling over some of your own life choices. If I remember correctly, you had a girlfriend at the time, and you sort of wanted to have a child with her but you weren’t sure if you were ready. But she was getting older and you were getting older (mid 40’s?) and if you did have kids you wanted to do it before you were too old to play with them and also something about your mother being young enough to help with childcare. And again—normally I would have been totally down for talking you through this rough patch, except that I was in active labor and felt like a wolverine had chewed its way through my uterus so I was mainly uttering primeval screams, alternating with the sort of huffing noises a buffalo might make before it dies. But are you still with your girlfriend?? Make sure you sit her down and tell her how you feel. Good communication is such an important part of a relationship. I wish that in my relationship as your customer I had been able to communicate to you more effectively than shrieking the words, “KILL ME KILL ME WHY IS THIS HAPPENING” while rocking back and forth and (I think?) bleeding out of my eyes.
And had you known more about pregnancy and childbirth you might’ve said, “Wait, why did you wait until you were in active labor before taking a cab to the hospital?” And that’s when, if I hadn’t been gasping like someone who has had their torso crushed by a flatbed truck full of anvils, I would have sheepishly admitted that I had let labor advance this far because I hadn’t taken a birthing class. And had you asked why I didn’t take a birthing class I would have said “Because we didn’t have a ton of money lying around and when asked to choose between registering for a birthing class or buying two tickets to see Eddie Izzard in the West Village, I chose to see Eddie Izzard, despite the fact that his jokes contain literally NO information on the stages of labor and/or how to use breathing techniques to manage the pain of contractions.
I remember some vague tangent you went on about how much you value family and how wonderful it was that we—these people you had just met—were starting a family of our own. And I didn’t say much at the time because I was letting my eyes roll back in my head as I accepted the fact that during late-stage contractions you feel like you are being gored by a bull. But I wanted to say thank you. For opening the windows. For avoiding the potholes. For your wild enthusiasm about getting to drive a pregnant woman to the hospital in general. I hope you have that talk with your girlfriend and you both figure out what you want to do. Apologies again that, due to the contractions and the extremely distracting feeling of having a human baby repeatedly hurling itself into my cervix like a battering ram breaking into a medieval city, I was unable to fully engage with you during our trip.
Best wishes for your future.
That Lady Who Would Not Stop Screaming The Whole Time
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Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for a gift for an upcoming baby shower/mother’s day brunch, I wrote and illustrated a book called Welcome to the Club. If you’re ordering through the Chronicle Website, enter the code GIVEBACK and in addition to the discount, Chronicle donates a percentage of all sales to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. You can buy it at the Chronicle Website by clicking HERE. Or you can find it in the normal places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, The Library at Alexandria, Some old guy selling a copy on the side of the road, and this person’s bathroom.
Also, you can’t actually buy it in the last three places I listed so I’ll include another link to buy it disguised as link to a totally different book: CLICK HERE TO BUY UMBERTO ECO’S THE NAME OF THE ROSE FOR ONLY $12.89
Photo Credit for that hospital photo goes to Joe Shblotnick, who also wins the award for “most fun name to say out loud.”
And happy mother’s day.