39 Weeks and Counting (to 40)

Bad News:
Herr R’s father is very, very sick in a hospital south of Frankfurt, 578 kilometers away from our home in Hamburg.

Good news:
United Airlines rocks my world. I called the special phone number that you have access to when you fly a gazillion miles a year, and explained the situation: we want Herr R to see his dad, but we also want him to be here to help his baby get born, and oh by the way it’s almost peak holiday travel time. Can you help him be in both places almost at once? On a partner airline? In another country? The United representative’s first question was how far we were from the airport: she could get him on a flight in 45 minutes, or one an hour after that, or an hour after that. And the open-ended round trip would cost some paltry number of frequent flyer miles and $91.30 in taxes, was that OK?
So we sent Herr R off to the airport, knowing that chances are that a first baby will be born after next week’s due date rather than before and secure in the knowledge that he can come back on any of the literally 15 daily direct flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg. He has my overnight bag with him in the car parked at the ariport in case we need to meet at the hospital, and I am very grateful that he’ll get at least a little visit with his dad, mom and brother during a very difficult time for the family.

The Other Good News:
My German must be getting better if I’m cool with going to the non-English-speaking hospital to give birth by myself! And by ‘cool’ I mean I know the words for C-Section, tachycardia, and hemorrhage, and I’m planning to save my freakout until I hear them.

Foods to Avoid in the Next 48 hours:
pineapple, especially the core
papaya
hot wings
castor oil

Websites to Avoid in the Next 48 Hours:
Any that allow comments like, “I drank canned pineapple juice every day for three weeks and then I had contractions and my baby came!! Try it!! It works!!!!!” Oh fucking really, lady? The rain dance works every time, too, as long as you don’t stop dancing before the rain comes.

Epilogue: The German, Sr. passed away late last night. I am grateful to have known him, and glad that his wife and sons were with him yesterday. Herr R is on his way home to Hamburg now, and I’ll be happy to have him back.

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