Spark Plugs and Childbirth

I know, that was an odd title for a post. All will be explained but I warn you, this is a long post.

(Some of you may recall this post where I talk about the bonding experience of automotive repair as a couples activity. I still highly support that, for us anyway.)

As a woman and a mother, I never understood what it was like for men in the delivery room. I think I have a glimpse of that now. Let me recap the past several days from my perspective:

(Please note, quotes will not be exact – it has been a long several days)

Thursday: (late afternoon – still daylight)

Dave (for those of you who don’t know – Dave is my wonderful husband) decides to continue to work on the Explorer by changing the spark plugs. He had mentioned that some of them looked difficult to get to but he was ready to go.

This is what I compare to planning the pregnancy. We both are excited for our own separate reasons about the possibilities of a new life (aka – spark plug) and what it will mean to us. (Me, personally a better running vehicle – for Dave likely a life without worrying about a wife being stranded on the side of the road.)

So, off he goes to do his task (We have now conceived) and I offer assistance in any way and as always am willing to hang outside with him for support (Just like any man once his wife has conceived). At this point he turns me down. (much like many pregnant women)

Thursday: (Evening, dusk)

Dave comes in asking me to hold his light for him. He has one side done and is having some trouble with a couple on the other side of the engine.(This means we are in labor) and so I join him beside the truck (aka hospital bed) and offer words of encouragement (never try to give advice to a woman in labor – that would be VERY bad) and I hold his light, as instructed shining it downward into the engine. (this would be like offering ice chips to the woman in labor, not exactly what she wants at that moment, however providing what you can)

After several excruciating minutes of light holding (yeah, much like the antsy feeling of being useless in the delivery room) I figure there has got to be a better way to light this thing. So, while at a moment that I am not needed I drop down to the front wheel well and peel back that plastic backing behind the tire and shine the light in that way. Dave is delighted by this and is grateful for my efforts. (This would be like offering to rub all the pain points in a laboring mothers back, while propping her up with exactly the right pillows, while still feeding her the ice chips and cooling her neck with a wet washcloth)

As I see him struggling through the vantage point of the wheel well, I ask him if I can try and he declines saying that he does not want me to injure myself, and me being – ME, I stuck my hand in through the well and grab his hand. His reaction was something like “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” because he had been busting his knuckles from up above for quite some time. (this would be like telling a pregnant mother about this great thing called an epidural – relieves the pain, but does not really speed up the process)

Dave then shifts positions and is able to change out three of the four spark plugs with minimal effort. (labor pains are close together and the water has broken!) He is laughing and shaking his head and when I inquire as to why he explains how, prior to my joining him he had been cussing and shaking his fist at God and saying “Why can’t it ever be easy?” and remembers saying “Lord, a little help please!” and he was laughing because once again the help he received came in the form of his wife. If only he had taken me up on my offer of assistance early on, the process probably would have gone more smoothly (Every couple who has decided on an epidural can relate to the little moments of joy they have during this time of waiting for the actual delivery of their child, not to mention if at first the birthing mother was resistant to the epidural at first she is rather thankful at this point)

So, finally, he gets to that one spark plug in the front that had broken off a little during his first attempt. He is worried. He starts to turn the plug and SNAP. All that is left is the threads and collar. No nut, very little ceramic, the silver thingy in the center snapped off too except for a small bit left in the remaining bit of ceramic deep inside the collar. This is not good. (okay, compare this to, the doctor coming in and just when he tells you you are 9 centimeters dilated he also tells you – the baby is BREACH)

So, we call it a night and I Google how to remove a broken spark plug.


Dave takes me to work and goes to work himself for a few hours and then shops and borrows parts and tools for the necessary “procedure” to remove the broken spark plug. (okay, I don’t quite have a labor analogy for this part except – anxiously waiting and hoping)

He picks me up from work and reports that there has been no progress. The EZOUT is the wrong size, his hands and arms are killing him but he is still fighting and not willing to throw in the towel. (He is going to make a great mother for our little spark plug) I can only be there to support him with an extra pair of hands, holding the light once more and helping him to remain calm and patient. Praying the entire time for those things.

Sadly I realize that we had committed to help Danny V. and his family move the next morning and waited until as late as possible before canceling. I had to make the call. We hated not being able to honor our commitment. (Hey, we were in labor, I could not just leave him there stranded without his Lamaze coach!)

9pm the sun had gone down on another day, and still no apparent progress. (Along the lines of waiting for the doctor to decide to try to turn the baby or go cesarean)


We awake knowing that anything is possible. It is out of our hands. We can only do, all that we can do. I act as assistant and get him anything he needs (Like any good husband waits on his wife during a traumatic delivery). I find myself quite often leaning my forehead against the glass of the truck saying prayers for his patience and strength as well as for miracles such as the freaking broken spark plug to start spinning dag nab it! (Do, I need to make this comparison for you? Okay, worried father quietly praying for mom and baby to be okay)

The day progresses and Dave is still at it, dusk has come and night has arrived and I am again holding a light. Finally I hear the words I have longed to hear. A whisper that sounded like he said “Its moving” I cry “No way!” and drop to my knees next to him, I witness for myself the remnant spinning lose and as he frees it completely I yell with happiness and turn to him, with tears in my eyes and hug and kiss him and scream some more for joy! (This actually happened, I was so flipping happy about this, that moment made me think of this whole -father during delivery analogy! So, this would be akin to watching the crowning of the baby and then seeing the child covered in – well, you know – but being overjoyed anyway.) I looked at the clock and it was 8:18pm the next hour was spent putting in the new plug, attaching the wires, checking the fluids and putting away the tools. (Baby was cleaned up, and all necessary immediate tests are done before presenting it to the parents)

We go for a drive to check her out and go pick up some much deserved Taco Bell. (Taking the baby home.)

We have been enjoying the smooth ride (new child) ever since.

Me holding the “baby” shortly after “delivery”

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