August 30, 1999, was a typical Monday morning. Meka got up with me. Her mucus plug had come out the night before. In the classes, they said that meant that labor would begin within a week. We were expecting Daniel around September 4 (on Labor Day, go figure), so it was all according to plan. I got ready to go to work and Meka complained about her stomach, but we still planned to have lunch together later on.
Since the time was coming soon, I worked on a list of stuff I needed to take with me to the hospital when the time came: camera, list of phone numbers, etc. Meka called me around 10:00. She was in some pain, but she didn’t think it was labor. I asked if she wanted me to come home. No, but she didn’t think she was up to meeting me for lunch.
I went into a meeting around 1:00 to discuss a database. Suddenly, I got a page from Michelle, the receptionist: “Your wife is on the phone.”
I went back to my desk. She was really hurting now. Meka had called the doctor, but he had said it didn’t sound like labor yet. Did she want me to come home? Yes. Fine. The meeting room was silent when I came back in. Everyone was staring at me. Was this It? I honestly didn’t know.
I could usually get home in twenty minutes; fifteen, if I need to. Unfortunately, I had a slow truck in front of me, torturing me most of the way home. Then when I got out, there was a wasp flying around the doorknob to the front door. What the heck? Was this Fate screwing with me?
Meka was trying to time her pains, but she couldn’t concentrate. She thought they were pretty irregular. That made sense. In the classes, they mentioned that early labor was often irregular. We had some time to pack everything and prepare for when the pains were five minutes apart and less than a minute long. I started collecting things around the house to take to the hospital. In the meantime, I was jotting down the times for Meka’s labor. It didn’t take long to realize that not only were Meka’s pains not irregular, they were three minutes apart!
So, I started collecting things around the house a lot more quickly. I got Meka in the car (sitting on a bunch of towels… just in case) and we got going on what – to me – felt like a six-hour drive through molasses. I think we caught every red light. And – like clockwork – Meka would hiss in discomfort every three minutes.
We got to Central DuPage Hospital, got Meka signed in and rolled into a room. The doctor came in with what I swear was an orange peeler (the kind you get from Tupperware) and poked Meka. She said, “Ow… ow… ow, ow, ow.” He pulled it out and said that her water was broken.
We would be parents by the end of the day.
That’s when it really hit me. I was going to be a dad. I mean, really going to be a dad.