“Lawzy ... I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies”

As Jessica’s due date approaches, there is an increased amount of anxiety in The Evening Sun newsroom. None of this angst is from Jessica, of course. She is as relaxed and calm about the whole thing as one could possibly be considering that she’s supposed to be having a baby in just a few more weeks.

No, it’s the rest of us. OK, maybe it’s just me. I’ve never been this close to a pregnancy before. Sure, I’ve got plenty of friends and family with children, but I’ve always been hundreds of miles away as they went through it all. But since I spend most of my days sitting a paperclip’s throw from my gestating co-worker, separated only by a cubical wall, this time I’ve had a front row seat.

And before you ask, no, I’ve never touched her belly uninvited, asked her to verify how many children she is carrying in her womb or passed comments about her weight. Do I look stupid?

Jessica was not lying in her column yesterday. She is as far from the typical stereotype of a pregnant woman as you can get. Her hormonal craziness has been at a minimum. She’s not the one crying at her desk in the morning or craving ice cream every afternoon. (That would be me.)

It’s been a lot of fun actually, watching her progress since I accidentally guessed she was pregnant back in December. I can’t wait to meet little Baby Boy Lewis. (Which is probably what will appear on his birth certificate since, since she hasn’t decided on a name yet.)

What has me more than a little freaked out is the how incredibly non-chalant she is about this whole giving birth thing. I mean, I know she’s done it once before and all, but really, I think she needs to be sensitive to the fact that the rest of us haven’t.

Not long ago, Jessica announced her intention to basically work right up until she had the baby. Not long after, Jeff made a passing remark about how he wants Jessica to be an Evening Sun first, namely to go into labor and/or deliver her baby right here in the office. I haven’t slept since.

If you have ever been in our offices, you know exactly what would happen if Jess did indeed go into labor here, particularly if it was on deadline. Jeff would close his door (which is what he does to block us out when we are talking too loudly or on the phone), Tyler would pretend to hear a scanner call and jet, Melissa would likely already be at a county board meeting, and I would be left freaking out.

During his time as a police officer, my father delivered something like 14 babies, several whom were subsequently named in his honor. While I love my father dearly, this is one time I do not want to follow in his footsteps. He had proper training to do it in an emergency, though. I haven’t. I’d rather just have a list of phone number of who to call if and when Jess does go into labor.

Not wanting to wait until the last minute to start planning, since I figured it would be better to be prepared in the event that the baby came a little early, I asked her about those numbers yesterday.

“Don’t worry, I’m a pro at this,” she told me as she brushed off my concern, and my request, with a comment about how they were in her phone.

Well how did she plan to get to the hospital, I asked next. Would she want one of us need to drive her or had she already selected one of her immediate family members for transportation duty? She hadn’t decided yet, she told me. But she wasn’t going to drive herself. Right? Right??? Her noncommittal response almost put my shattered nerves over the edge.

All I could think of was the presentation I heard earlier this week about distracted driving. If having a conversation or changing the radio station could be considered distracting enough to cause an accident, I think it would be pretty clear that LABOR could also fall into that category. Suffice it to say that there is no way I’m letting that girl drive herself to the hospital.

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