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Monday, August 09, 2004

Dial "W" for Waiting
--------UPDATED BELOW--------

The end of this post contains the updated list of entries for the Baby Otis Watch. Frankie wants to rebuy for August 15th. I haven't decided how I feel about the fairness of that yet. And, frankly (no pun intended), if we hit August 15th without a birthdate, I think Mrs. Otis may just lose her damned mind.

The lights have painted my made-up face with the perfect soft glow of a television studio. I've been nervously re-adjusting my tie, eying myself in the monitor, and playing James Bond with the silhouettte that the technical guys have made out of my image. There's been a delay in the taping and all I can do is wait.

The phone in the weather center rings and the morning meteorologist answers.

"Brad," he says, "Beth says your cell phone is ringing and the phone reads "HOME."

I look at him blankly. The answer should be obvious. He stares back, apparently wanting me to say something. Inexplicably, I don't. I just keep staring, occasionally stealing a glance at what the tech guys are doing with the camera.

"She says your desk phone rang, too."

Giving up on the hope that the obvious will prevail, I simply say, "Answer it."

He hangs up.

It's at this time that I have the first real opportunity to practice Cool Otis. That's what I dubbed the personality I hope to undertake when Baby Otis makes his/her move toward the light.

It's the perfect time to have a virtual reflection of myself in a TV monitor. I don't look nearly as cool as I would've liked. And my tie is crooked.

Fortunately, within a couple of minutes, Beth arrives with my cell phone in hand.

"I couldn't answer before she hung up," she said.

There have been some rules established among the Otis clan. First call goes to my desk. Second goes to my cell phone. Third goes to the main office number, at which point I'm supposed to be paged on the in-house intercom. I haven't heard said page, so I'm not losing my damned mind yet.

I'm amazed at the dexterity of my fingers as they key in the number to the house. Mrs. Otis answers on the first ring.

I am amazed at how confident I sound when I say, "Um...hi?"

Mrs. Otis has the slightest amount of giddiness in her voice as she explains once of the most disgusting things I've heard yet about the pregnancy process. Without being too graphic, it's an unfortunately named symptom of impending labor. The British developed a euphemism for it, but, frankly, the euphemism may be worse than the actual phrase. Damned British.

She goes on to explain that she did what I always do when something new happens: She hit the Internet. Ever the savior, the Internet offered the most concise explanation of what role said ugly symptom played in labor. Simply, labor could begin presently or in a couple of weeks.

Science, I've come to realize, is stupid.

After century upon century of childbirth and scientific study, the greatest thinkers in the world can only offer a collective "I dunno" when asked to figure out when a baby will make its way out into the real world. Men on the moon, robots on mars, and low carb beer, and the best we can say is, "The baby will come when it wants to come."

Pardon me, but screw science and screw the doctors who practice it.

Okay, that's a little harsh.

Instead, allow me to offer a hardy "up yours" to all the OBs. And you GYN's better watch yourself, because I'm coming for you, too.

So, now I'm back at my desk, staring at my phone and waiting for it to ring. It's not making any noise. It is as if everyone I know professionally has decided that I don't need to be bothered. And Mrs. Otis doesn't want to call every time the dog barks. Silence in a television newsroom is one of the spookiest things. It's like when you go to a ballgame and they ask for a moment of silence and fifty thousand people shut up for ten seconds.


For five days we've gotten alternately excited and let down every time the wind blows in a new direction. To show for it, we have bags packed and by the door. We have video cameras and still cameras with charged batteries. We have tanks full of gas and safety seats in both of the Otis family cars.

We are, in short, ready.

And yet, hours pass like frat boys at midnight (quarterbacks in December?). Nothing happens. Mexican food, walks around the block, Japanese steakhouses. Nothing upon nothing.

It has relegated Mrs. Otis to short periods of extreme elation, followed by extends bouts of sheer disappointment. It's turned me into a walking, talking, bundle of unpronouncable mumbles.

And, so, we wait. And wonder. And wait some more.

Squeaky Wheel: July 28th

Tatwood: July 30th, (BOY) 7:45pm

Brian: July 31st (GIRL) 7:45 AM

BrotherHampton: August 1st, 3:45pm (BOY)

Frankie: August 1st (GIRL) 7lbs3oz

SPG: August 2nd (GIRL)

Aaron: August 2nd (BOY) 9:35 P.M.

CJ: August 3rd (BOY) 1:00am

Brad D: August 4th (BOY)

Cappy: August 4th (BOY)

Wife of RJ: August 4th (GIRL), 2:32 am, 7 lbs; 12 oz.

Two-Hands: August 4th (GIRL)

NOTE: For those following Baby Watch, Mt. Willis had a big time false alarm between 10:15pm and 1:30am. Alas, no kid.

Marty: August 5th, (BOY) 5:37am

Dr. Beaker: August 6th. (Girl)

Todd: August 6th, 3:55pm (BOY)

RJ: August 7th (GIRL) 10:59pm.

Ruth: August 8th (BOY)

Pauly: August 9th (GIRL)4:20 am, 7 lbs and 7 oz.

Chippy: August 9th (GIRL) 6:03pm, 8lbs and 8oz.

Sandra: August 10th (GIRL)

Drowned Rat: August 10th (BOY) 2:47am

For several hours last night, I was pretty sure it was going to happen. The evening began with a mariachi band, spicy food, and caffeine for Mrs. Otis. At mid-evening, I resorted to making foghorn noises into my wife's belly, signalling the baby toward shore. The contractions started at 11pm and didn't end for more than three hours. I thought it all had worked. Woulda been a great story. Suffice it to say, I'm tired and Mrs. Otis is now officially miserable.

NOTE: Otis picks August 13th, but doesn't get to participate

G-Rob: August 14th (BOY)


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