Home Sweet Home
The obligatory bio
Charites & Organizations
My Calgary Sun Column & More
Law Stuff
Gary Lautens
E-mail me!

Labour of Love

by Stephen Lautens


February 22, 2002

They say a watched pot never boils. I think the same must be true about pregnancies. My wife was due a week ago and so far not a single contraction out of the little nipper.

It appears this baby of ours is going to be very late, just like his father. My mother informs me I was born more than two weeks past my due date, and I have been late ever since.

The waiting itself isn't so bad. So far I've indexed my videos, done my taxes, and found out what's been making that weird smell behind the furnace (best not to ask).

What has been driving me nuts is constantly getting up to answer the phone. Anxious friends, family and near strangers have been calling around the clock looking for news. When you're pregnant (or your wife is), her womb is an open book and requires more bulletins than CNN. Everyone wants an hourly update, and wonders why you sound so snarky when they've only called three times so far that day.

We have been trying to enjoy our last opportunity to sleep in until the baby is in college, but still people feel they have to call us early in the morning to "see if there is any news". I've noticed this is a common failing of people who already have children. They're up a six am, so they figure the rest of the world should be too.

Of course, these are the same people who keep telling us: "Get your rest now, because you won't be able to get any once the baby arrives."

And don't think I haven't been keeping a list of who these early-calling people are. Even now I'm programming them all into my speed-dial, so the first time I'm awake for a five am feeding I'm going to start working my way through my list.

At the moment we're as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, so the constant ringing of the phone is starting to drive us crazy. We're lucky to have so many people interested in what's going on (unless of course they're just checking up on us to make sure we haven't just faked the whole pregnancy to get a few days off). But we've also been trying to keep the phone lines open so our army of specialists can get through. We have the obstetrician, our birth coach, the hospital, the after-care nurse, the pediatrician, and a group of specialists that number in the low hundreds. There's probably an astrologer in there too for good measure.

I don't know how babies managed to get born in the days before call-waiting and the Palm Pilot. I doubt the logistics were as daunting for the Normandy landings on D-Day or the moon landing. There isn't a square inch of the fridge or bulletin board that isn't covered with sticky notes or lists. We have checklists just to manage the checklists.

We've taken some friends' advice to heart, and been out every night this week - each after a full day of waiting around for nothing to happen. They tell us we'll never go out again, so there's been a dizzying whirlwind of dinner and movies. I'm not sure we can keep this pace up.

And when we come home, there's always a dozen new messages on the answering machine, all wanting to know if "anything's happening."

Trust me - you'll be the first to know.

© Stephen Lautens 2002

Back to column archive index