IMR: 1998: January: 06 -- Tuesday, 11:13 a.m.
Straub Family Practice, Honolulu Clinic, Hawai`i
I'm sitting next to a 74-year-old woman named Joan who's busily clipping her nails and brushing them to the floor.

I only know her name and age because of a loud impromptu counseling session 'twixt her and a guy who I surmise is one of the hospital's valet parking staff. Something had apparently gone down before she came upstairs, and he was trying to make her feel better.

He was assuring her that she's still okay to drive. "You don't look 74," he said.

I'm sorry, but she did.

Meanwhile, the staff is desperately trying to convince an elderly gentleman that he doesn't have an appointment today.

Waiting rooms are neat places for people watching. Especially at a family practice, versus a more specialized hospital ward. A twenty-something woman with a bandaged toe and her boyfriend reading surfing magazines. An older local woman puzzling over the February 1997 edition of "Yahoo! Internet Life."

Joan's been called. The old man was given a later appointment and sent home.

Jen is with Dr. Boyens for her weekly prenatal checkup. She wasn't given a full examination last week, so if he doesn't hand her a hospital gown today, she's going to insist on it.

She had a bad headache yesterday morning, so she stayed home from work. We had a sumptuous, belly-busting pork chop dinner and watched "Twin Town," a film by the makers of (but definitely not as good as) "Trainspotting."

After a game of "You Don't Know Jack Movies," we crashed at the insane hour of 9:30 p.m.

We were awake again soon after midnight. Quietly, Jen said she'd had three contraction-like sensations in the last hour or so.

I grabbed a pen and paper and turned the clock toward the bed.

No pattern. They didn't hurt at all, either. Probably more Braxton-Hicks (early prelabor) contractions, like those that have come and gone for the last two months.

Still, lying there, it was exciting wondering if it had begun; or at least to practice for when it really did. We realized we hadn't packed a hospital bag, which we'll likely do tonight.

If anything, she might have started dilating. It can start weeks before term, but by this point it wouldn't be fought with drugs.

Oop. She just came out.

"Still closed, tight as a drum," she said.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 6 January 1997 · Last Modified: 8 January 1997