It was an unusually warm Sunday in February. The 29th, in fact…. Leap Day… my due date with my first baby. I wasn’t worried, however, that I’d go into labor that day. I did my homework. All of the books practically hit you in the head with statistics that say most first pregnancies will go a little late. I was confident I had another week or so to prepare.
Up until this point, baby Maxfield had cooperated beautifully with staying in the womb so that I could finish working before going on maternity leave. Due to my length of time at the company, and some other strange rule, I needed to work until EXACTLY my due date (the two dates just happened to coincide) in order to get my full requested leave time, plus a pay bonus that was due to me. Since my due date was on a Sunday, the powers that be accepted Friday as my last working day. If I had gone even one day early, I would lose my bonus, plus 3 weeks of my paid leave. Not the end of the world, but to new parents-to-be, it seemed like a really big deal at the time. Talk about pressure!!
Needless to say, in the days leading up to my leave, there was many a joke about emergency trips to the hospital, water breaking at my desk, etc. I kinda felt like a walking circus show. Finally, my last day came, I had made it, Maxfield was already such a good little boy. I was looking forward to enjoying some time at home tidying up and relaxing before the big day. I was so convinced, in fact, that I had at least another week before “B” day, that on my actual due date, I decided to go shopping. Alone. After all, statistically speaking, less than 5% of babies are born on their actual due date… shmue date.
Strolling through the Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I bumped into old neighbors, who looked at me with shock & surprise.
“How are you feeling?” asked the misses.
“Oh, just fine,” I replied.
“Aren’t you due TODAY?” she asked.
“Yeah, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got some time”.
They looked at me like I had two heads and said, “Well, take it easy, and, uh,…. good luck!”
I thanked them & went on my merry way. As I said before, it was an unusually warm day in February. Right at that time of year when, in the Northeast at least, you’re so desperate for winter to be over and to feel the warm breezes of spring. Since we lived in a very picturesque neighborhood at the time, when I got home, I suggested to Bill that we go for a walk. He agreed. We started up the hill, waving to neighbors who were out doing yard work, also enjoying the warmth and sunshine. The whole neighborhood seemed like it was buzzing with activity. We were feeling really good, relaxed, walking hand in hand, no need for jackets that day, me in my white pants, chatting about when the little one would make his grand entrance. We barely made it halfway up the hill when I felt it… that unmistakable warm gush. I stopped dead.
“Oh. My. God.” I said, as an uncontrollable case of the giggles overtook me.
Bill immediately knew what happened. “Did your water just break?” he asked, in anticipation.
I couldn’t even answer, I was giggling so much… I just nodded my head.
Now, anyone who is up on pregnancy statistics should know that the dramatic, out of a movie water breaking scenario only happens in less than 8% of pregnancies. It would seem I was 3 for 3 at that point. As I waddled back to the house in my wet white pants, I tried to look as casual as possible, so as not to call attention to myself. I really was not keen on the idea of the whole neighborhood watching the circus freak as she made her way back home.
As we approached our house, our next door neighbors, friends of ours, were just pulling in their driveway. “Oh, HI!! Wait a second, S…. (their daughter) wants to say hi!”
“I’m going inside…”, I said to Bill, mortified, “…tell them whatever you want!”
I went in to call the doctor. They confirmed I should come to the hospital. I changed, we gathered our things, and made our way out the door to a small crowd of neighbors that had gathered outside.
“CONGRATULATIONS!” They seemed to all say in unison, clapping, and smiling ear to ear. Maybe this sounds mean and ungrateful, and I don’t mean it to, but I wanted to crawl under a rock at that point. We pulled away as everyone waved and cheered…. circus freak status completely established and intact.
Looking back, I guess it makes for a funny story, but I did, quite frankly, want to die. I am not the type of person that likes to be the center of attention, especially when there is amniotic fluid intermittently gushing from my loins in broad daylight. Several hours later, we were blessed with a healthy baby boy, not technically on my due date, but two hours into the next day. So I guess that’s one statistic that did prove true in our case. I think it would’ve been cool for his birthday to be on Leap Day, but now, he’s in the 1st of the month club, which is pretty cool, too. It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on 5 years now…
Stay tuned for part deux…