5:40 pm: back on seventh, Lidia had since been moved to Labour Room #5 and a team had been assigned (think of it as an alternate Ferrari Pit Crew). The new digs were more spacious, with a very nice bathroom, and for me, a good-sized comfy chair into which I could collapse and perhaps even capture a bit of shut-eye (fat chance with medical staff coming in on a revolving-door basis every other minute). Lidia was hooked up to a concoction of magnesium sulfide, to keep her blood pressure stable as the contractions were to eventually kick into gear.
(She'd already had her first of many hospital meals, so I slipped out into the evening's subzero temps for a quickie soup combo at the 24 hour Tim Hortons on University Avenue).
The rest of the evening played out like one of those baffling experimental films we were force fed in first year film studies, the type in which various bits of found footage were haphazardly spliced together. It was all a bit of a fog--or is that fugue?--alternating between limited television choices (only basic cable and no HD--how barbaric!!!) glimpsed between the steady traffic of doctors, nurses (among them, Jesse, Amy, Mary), students, and otherwise unidentified medical staff (all very friendly and informative, and all most all of them wearing crocs!) doting over mom-to-be while I tried to stay out of the way and doodled in my journal to keep sane (I'll post some of the entries here eventually), all set to a cacophony of pings, bleeps, and hushed jargon. Dr. Thomas stopped by once to tell Lidia: "I'm not done with you yet. See you in the morning, when you're a mom."
My chief duty was topping up Lidia's supply of ice chips, while I stayed overcaffeinated and thus spent less time in the comfy chair than I probably should have. I never did get to meet the fabulously named "Dr. Kingdom" whom we were told would stop by--"Kingdom", of course, being the name of the haunted hospital in the Lars Von Trier horror series and Stephen King remake.
Not even the foul-mouthed outbursts of Gordon Ramsey, the topical wit of David Letterman, Lou Dobbs' meltdown over some dumbass football player who shot himself in the leg, or hours of paid programming featuring the bizarre theories of some wingnut named Arthur P. Johnson could make the contractions come any faster (after all that, just a 1-2 cm contraction). According to Amy--who's been to my hometown of Pembroke-it'd been a "crazy night on the ward", not that I noticed during my frequent trips to the snack machines, where everything seemed fairly quiet. At 4:50 am, Lidia's oxytocin ("the hormone of love"!) doseage was increased to 52--the max--in one last attempt to kickstart the contractions. With all this drama unfolding, it was a surprise to learn that our babies were sleeping soundly throughout it, as if conserving their energies for tomorrow's debut.
Come morning, we'd not yet become parents, so at 5:20 am, we were told that in two hours, a decision would be made as to another tactic...