An Apology to the Upbeat, Super-Talkative Cabdriver Who Drove Me to the Hospital When I Was in Labor

Dear Cabdriver,

First off, I apologize for not remembering your name.  I know you enthusiastically told it to us, but by the time you arrived at our apartment I felt as though someone were disemboweling me with an IKEA can opener and I had trouble exchanging pleasantries.  Please know that under normal circumstances when people attempt to make conversation I do not respond by groaning like the Frankenstein Monster or screaming like a person who is having their eyeballs cauterized.

Secondly, I loved that when my husband told you the name of the hospital and said, “And drive fast—she’s in labor!” you excitedly said the phrase, “JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES!!”  You even said, “Do you want me to roll down the windows so that you get some air?  I’m going to try not to hit too many potholes!  That’s what the guys in the movies say!!!” Your bizarre devotion to cinematic representations of cab rides to the hospital was weirdly charming.  And I may not have shown it at the time because I felt like I was dying from a bayonet wound, but I thought it was really funny and sweet.

You then spent quite a good portion of the ride mulling over some of your own life choices.  If I remember correctly, you had a girlfriend at the time, and you sort of wanted to have a child with her but you weren’t sure if you were ready.  But she was getting older and you were getting older (mid 40’s?) and if you did have kids you wanted to do it before you were too old to play with them and also something about your mother being young enough to help with childcare.  And again—normally I would have been totally down for talking you through this rough patch, except that I was in active labor and felt like a wolverine had chewed its way through my uterus so I was mainly uttering primeval screams, alternating with the sort of huffing noises a buffalo might make before it dies.  But are you still with your girlfriend??  Make sure you sit her down and tell her how you feel.  Good communication is such an important part of a relationship.  I wish that in my relationship as your customer I had been able to communicate to you more effectively than shrieking the words, “KILL ME KILL ME WHY IS THIS HAPPENING” while rocking back and forth and (I think?) bleeding out of my eyes.

And had you known more about pregnancy and childbirth you might’ve said, “Wait, why did you wait until you were in active labor before taking a cab to the hospital?”  And that’s when, if I hadn’t been gasping like someone who has had their torso crushed by a flatbed truck full of anvils, I would have sheepishly admitted that I had let labor advance this far because I hadn’t taken a birthing class.  And had you asked why I didn’t take a birthing class I would have said “Because we didn’t have a ton of money lying around and when asked to choose between registering for a birthing class or buying two tickets to see Eddie Izzard in the West Village, I chose to see Eddie Izzard, despite the fact that his jokes contain literally NO information on the stages of labor and/or how to use breathing techniques to manage the pain of contractions.

I remember some vague tangent you went on about how much you value family and how wonderful it was that we—these people you had just met—were starting a family of our own.  And I didn’t say much at the time because I was letting my eyes roll back in my head as I accepted the fact that during late-stage contractions you feel like you are being gored by a bull.  But I wanted to say thank you.  For opening the windows.  For avoiding the potholes.  For your wild enthusiasm about getting to drive a pregnant woman to the hospital in general.  I hope you have that talk with your girlfriend and you both figure out what you want to do.  Apologies again that, due to the contractions and the extremely distracting feeling of having a human baby repeatedly hurling itself into my cervix like a battering ram breaking into a medieval city, I was unable to fully engage with you during our trip.


Best wishes for your future.



That Lady Who Would Not Stop Screaming The Whole Time


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Thanks for reading!  If you’re looking for a gift for an upcoming baby shower/mother’s day brunch, I wrote and illustrated a book called Welcome to the Club.  If you’re ordering through the Chronicle Website, enter the code GIVEBACK and in addition to the discount, Chronicle donates a percentage of all sales to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  You can buy it at the Chronicle Website by clicking HERE.  Or you can find it in the normal places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, The Library at AlexandriaSome old guy selling a copy on the side of the road, and this person’s bathroom.  

Also, you can’t actually buy it in the last three places I listed so I’ll include another link to buy it disguised as link to a totally different book:  CLICK HERE TO BUY UMBERTO ECO’S THE NAME OF THE ROSE FOR ONLY $12.89

Photo Credit for that hospital photo goes to Joe Shblotnick, who also wins the award for “most fun name to say out loud.”

And happy mother’s day.

6 CommentsComment

  1. Don’t worry, I paid good money and TOOK the child-birthing class at the hospital but unfortunately they didn’t cover my particular scenario of “What to expect should your water break at 32 weeks, 6 days and then you go into preterm labor but miraculously, thanks to Western medicine, they can give you this weird drug called Magnesium that can actually STOP your labor but make your feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest and then they’ll put you on hospital bed rest for 8 days, which is NO JOKE because you literally have to stay flat on your back and a nurse has to stand outside the door every time you have to go pee in case you accidentally go into labor again, and then once you hit 34 weeks they will induce you and you’ll progress so quickly because you were basically halfway done with labor when they restarted it that you will RUN OUT OF TIME for any drugs and you’ll make sounds that no human should ever, ever make and your husband will be convinced that the pain is absolutely going to kill you and he will end up a single dad and you’ll announce to your midwife that your body is SPLITTING IN HALF and she will reassure you that what you’re feeling is completely normal and you’ll tell her that NO, NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL, this must be death and then the baby will finally make its way out and you’ll find out that you have a SON and he’s really small, he kinda looks like a plucked chicken, but he’s TOTALLY HEALTHY and you’ll feel sort of silly for all the drama you caused and you’ll profusely apologize to everyone in the room who had to bear witness to your drug-free childbirth antics and everyone will tell you how brave you were but really what choice did you have?”

    So yea, Eddie Izzard was a good choice. 🙂

  2. I think the Eddie Izzard tickets over birthing classes was money well spent. Because breathing techniques to get through the pain of contractions is bullshit. I should know, I’ve done this three times.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. Eddie IZZARD? You made the right choice. Cake or death?

  4. Instead of going to birthing and breastfeeding classes, my husband and I attended the (new at the time) Harry Potter film. I certainly enjoyed myself more at the film.

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    catherine dwyer

    I read all of your posts. This was one of my favorites. Thanks!

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