2. Hours of Delivery = Travel Delays
One of the parts of childbirth I was least looking forward to was simply the duration of it. I had heard stories of 36 to 48-hour labors. I wondered how a woman could endure so much with no clue of when the ordeal would end. This is not unlike any travel delay (maybe with a bit less pain, but not always.) We were once stuck at the Athens airport en route to Istanbul, our home at the time. Olympic Airways was the worst. Not only did they not even bother to update the monitors that the flight was delayed (which we figured out pretty easily as we were still sitting in the airport at the time of what was supposed to be our departure), we even learned that the flight had been canceled from other passengers. Another time, we were picked up from the airport in Seoul and driven to what was to be our new home in Suwon. We had no idea how long the ride would be – 15, 20 minutes? After 15 hours on a plane, I wanted to be there instantaneously. Our driver spoke no English, so we couldn’t ask him how long it would be. Two hours later, the Kafkaesque journey had ended and we arrived at our new place, only to be taken out again to the E-Mart by our school officials to buy linens and other household supplies. So when I went into labor at 5:30 am and my OB promised to have the baby before the day ended, I thought, “Huh, that’s not so bad.”
3. Inability to Eat During Labor = Being in Spain on a Sunday/Holiday
In addition to my fear of an extended labor, I was also quite concerned about the prohibition on food once labor began. I admit I ate a quick breakfast after my water broke and before we left for the hospital. I was sure I would need as much energy as possible to get through the day. But surprisingly, I wasn’t starving as the hours slowly plodded along. Once again, I thought back to my travels and remembered when he and I lived in Spain. Whenever there was a holiday – and there were many – we sometimes found ourselves simply unable to find food. All the markets and many of the restaurants were closed. One time, a procession of worshippers during Semana Santa blocked the direct path between us and the one restaurant we knew was open. We gave up, walked back to the apartment and bought junk food from the alimentacíon that was owned by a sweet Chinese couple. At least at the end of my labor, I knew there was no doubt I would have my dinner. Even though the hospital cafeteria was closed, my husband found a Shake Shack that was open until midnight and brought me one of the best meals I’ve ever had – burger, fries and a chocolate milkshake.