Thursday, June 25, 2009

Compliments of a Faulty Elevator

So, here's how the story goes: I was about 14 months pregnant with Tyler.

Okay, not really. But I felt big enough to be long overdue, surely bigger than God intended. I was 'great' with child, and we attended a marriage weekend at a hotel in town. The weekend was flawless and powerful in many ways... except for the elevator in the hotel. It was flawed and sadly powerless in many ways.

It kept getting stuck - multiple times a day. "So, take the stairs," you might suggest. But when one is that round with gestation, a third floor hotel room is better accessed by an elevator. Even a faulty one. I was willing to take my chances and hope for a successful elevation.

Normally, I don't have an issue with small spaces, and I could be patient with the rescue. Except for one time. The second 'stuck situation' of the weekend, when everything within an eight-foot radius came to a screeching vertical halt. We were stuck. Again.

The elevator was crammed full - about eight others who were willing to take their hopeful chances. We were standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting. Nothing was moving. For a very long time.

A fellow captive called the front desk from his cell phone, but they nonchalantly said they knew we were stuck, they would help us as soon as possible, and could we please hold. That seemed to be all we could do: hold.

More time passed. The woman in the corner, near the buttons to choose the floor destination (a deceptive display, since we had very few choices), started to have a panic attack. She crouched down to the floor, and her husband sat beside her, fanning her and saying encouraging things.

Our friend with a cell phone called the front desk once more. It turns out, Mr. and Mrs. Front Desk had other things to deal with, and they did not wish to hear from us whiners. Or at least their tone communicated this message.

And that's when it happened: I had a contraction. We were stuck in an elevator, and Tyler thought he would test the boundaries a bit. And then I had another one.

I whispered to Robb, who was standing very close to me, "I'm having contractions."

In case you haven't tried, you can't keep a secret in a jammed elevator full of people. I might as well have broken my own water right there in front of them all. Many people love a story of an unexpected delivery, but very few people want to witness one. I knew I wasn't in labor, but still, I couldn't ignore this tight squeezing. At regular intervals.

The man whipped out his cell phone again, but he didn't bother with the front desk. He went straight to the big wigs: 9-1-1. He explained where we were in the city, where we were in the hotel (somewhere between the fourth and fifth floor), and the demographics in the elevator: eight adults, one woman hyperventilating with a panic attack, and a second woman timing regular contractions.

They were on their way. Immediately.

When we were finally set free, there was indeed a community of rescue workers ready to help us all. The paramedics tended to the woman who could not catch her breath, and they settled me into a corner, all but asking to check my dilation. I really, honestly and truly, knew I was okay. Tyler had stopped his initial descent, and everything within me had settled.

The paramedics weren't so sure. I had to sign my name a dozen times to prove that I had declined their services, I didn't need to be rushed to the hospital, and I would deliver my own child without suing them if in fact I was wrong. Sign, sign, sign.

When it was all said and done, we went back to the hotel's ballroom for another session on communication in our marriage. But here's the interesting thing: from start to finish, contractions notwithstanding, not a single person from the hotel said a word to us.

Nothing. "Ma'am, are you all right? Ma'am, can we get you a glass of water? Ma'am, do you need an epidural?" Nothing.

So, when we got home, Robb called the corporate office. He filed a formal complaint, saying that his "very pregnant wife got stuck in the elevator. Twice."

Could I clarify? The elevator got stuck. I did not get stuck in it. It sounded very much like I got wedged in there, with my broad circumference. "My wife got stuck in the elevator. Twice."

I forgave him for this small misspeak. Because here's the happy ending: he scored us two nights in a hotel, as compensation for our troubles.

All of that to say, two years later, we're redeeming our certificates. We're going away this weekend. Just us. No kids. Two nights away: Compliments of a faulty elevator and some carefully timed contractions.

See you Monday.

1 comment:

Polly said...

So glad you're getting away for a break. So glad to be grandmothering your two sons so you can do just that.

But I don't see why you can't take along your laptop and keep us posted!

I'm just sayin'.