It started like any other.. A nice day to go with your dad to the ballpark to watch the hometown team.. I knew I wasn't going to have many more chances to do that so I wanted to get it in while I could. My dad and I enjoyed a great day at Fenway on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2007. My wife, completing her 28th week was just as happy to relax on the bed with the dog and sleep.
We both went to sleep fairly early that night knowing we both had the day off the next day for Labor Day. Plus, it was a long day for me traveling to Boston, the game and getting back. Even though it's only an hour away, an hour back and the game was 3 hours it turned into an all day thing.. Always does. I can honestly say it was one of the most sound sleeps I had been in in a long time. And then, around 1am, poke poke..
"Um, honey, I think I'm having contractions".
"Huh?" Oh, ok I'll get the watch and the paper. Having finished the birthing class about 2 weeks earlier, I knew what my role was. We time contractions for about 30 minutes and they are all over the place. My wife just doesn't feel right and wants to call the doctor which was fine. She calls the local hospital which is affiliated with our hospital in Boston and who does she get? The one doctor out of the 6 she had seen that she didn't like. That doctor wanted us to come to the closer hospital. When my wife asked what would happen if she needed to deliver (remember she just finished her 28th week) the doctor said well they would deliver there and then send the babies to Boston. So when she tried to confirm that we would just follow the ambulance after, the answer was no, you'll stay here.. Well, then that was a big fat no thanks.. we'll just go to Boston. It's 2am and I'm sure there won't be any traffic.. we'll take our chances..
So I quickly packed a bag (thankfully) and we started off to Boston. Unfortunately, the only way we knew that time to go was Route 9, which is ALWAYS under construction.. So someone who was having contractions and had to drive in a car going over unevenly paved road with exposed sewer caps, she was less than thrilled.
They say it never happens like it does in the movies.. I'm calling shenanigans.. that's EXACTLY the way it happens.. We pull up into the emergency zone, and I get her out of the car screaming, "I need a wheelchair and a doctor!" We wheel her into the hospital and fill out endless forms before we can enter.. We finally get brought into an area to get checked out by a doctor. While my wife is being tended to, I'm being asked a whole host of questions.. I think I answered all of them, I really don't know.. I do know the nurse was very impressed I knew her social security number (my wife's, not the nurses. That would be have awkward). Then, I heard a doctor say "I can feel a head. we need to get you the delivery room stat!" Ok, I don't know if she said stat, but I'm keeping with the whole movie theme.. They literally threw scrubs at me and pointed me to a bathroom to go change and meet them outside.
Do you remember the scene in Pulp Fiction after Vincent Vega's date with Mia Wallace where he's in the bathroom contemplating whether he should sleep with her or not all while she's OD'ing on the super crank he had in his jacket? That was kinda the scene here where I'm getting ready with these scrubs asking myself in the mirror if this is really happening or is it a dream.. How could they be here already we still have 3 months before they're supposed to be born, we're not ready, we don't have anything, etc.. While it seemed like an hour it was probably only a minute or so. I came out of the bathroom to an empty hallway. No one. I thought that can't be good.
Finally I find someone that said my wife needed to be taken to the ER immediately and they couldn't wait. I got directed where to go and by the time I got there, they had already closed the doors and unfortunately, I was not allowed to enter. So once again, like in the movies, I am sitting there in the hallway pacing around by myself wondering what was going on. Then, like an angel I hear a familiar voice, "Ben?" Now, my wife always complains that I know someone wherever we go. I ran into a fraternity brother on the plane to Hawaii for our honeymoon for example. There isn't a sporting event, concert or random place we go to that I don't see someone I know. However, this time I think she would be happy.
"Kristin?" It was an old friend of mine from growing up who happened to be working that night and was heading into the ER where my wife was giving birth. It was her job to make sure that once born the babies airways were clear and they were breathing well. Let me tell you, not being allowed to be in that room was the worst feeling ever. After hearing about everyone else's experiences being in the delivery room, being together, taking pictures and video, to know I wasn't going to get to do that was deflating. I knew these were the only children we would have which means I will never get to experience it. A hole that will always be vacated.