Everyone said we were crazy to do it, and we knew that they were right.
You do not travel two weeks away from your due date.
You especially do not travel close to your due date IN THE UNITED STATES.
The cost of American health care is infamous. BC radio is filled with Pacific Blue Cross commercials featuring John Cleese, in which he plays a greedy American (?) doctor called Nigel Bilkington who does x-rays on you just to make sure you have your wallet on you before you even receive care.
(Want to hear? I found one here.)
On the way to the border there are big signs reminding you that even a day trip can result in a broken bone and thousands of dollars of debt.
It’s important to remind Canadians of this because we take free health care for granted.
PH and I have cross-border insurance.
But no insurance will cover you if you wander into the states while totally full-term and end up having a baby there. I can’t even imagine what an emergency C-section or something would cost.
So why would we go?
We go to Emerald City Comicon in Seattle every year. It has become a family tradition. Every year we get a new family portrait with some geeky-famous person. The first year was George Takei.
The next year was Patrick Stewart.
I didn’t get around to posting about it last year, but we went again and got our photos taken with Alan Tudyk, otherwise known as Wash from Firefly as well as about a million other characters.
He put his arm around me. It was awesome.
This year, Levar Burton was scheduled to be there, and I couldn’t miss my chance at getting a photo with Geordie LaForge/The Reading Rainbow guy.
So we bought tickets. I bought a maternity shirt that read “The Next Generation” right over my belly.
We also packed a hospital bag.
We figured that if we drove like hell, we could probably get back to the border within a couple of hours, and there was a hospital just across the border. All I had to do was hold the baby in ’til we got there.
Everyone told us it was a bad idea.
They were right.
But we did it anyway.
When the last-minute news came that Levar Burton had backed out, we had some qualms. But then we realised that Gina Torres and Jewel Staite (aka Zoe and Kaylee from Firefly) were going to be doing a combo-photo opportunity. Two stars for the price of…well, two, and besides, we were overdue for female stars.
So off we went. My parents were worried about us going but they didn’t feel like travelling so they stayed behind to look after the pets.
At the hotel, in bed that night, I dreamed I was in labour. When I woke up, the pains were gone.
We made it into Comicon without incident – they have vastly streamlined things and there was no interminable wait in the admission line as there had been in previous years.
Also, I want to give Comicon props for featuring this sign in a zillion places, including on the entrance badges:
We had previously identified all of our to-be-hit locations. We found Andy Runton who writes the Owly books, which are adorable and much liked by Owl. Owl spotted a book we don’t own.
“Oh!” he told Andy Runton. “I don’t have THIS one yet!”
We picked up the book, which the author signed, and an Owly shirt. Andy Runton then gave Owl a free pin and a little stuffed Wormy to ride on his shoulder. He was charming.
Once Owly and other signings were out of the way, I attended a panel with Gina Torres and Jewel Staite, which was very amusing.
Even though it was held in a gigantic hall, there was no seating available. I wandered up and down the aisles looking for seats but all the empty ones were being saved for someone or other.
I finally retired to the back by the big screen, and awkwardly shifted my weight from one foot to another. I can walk, or sit, but standing still makes me feel faint.
Then a thin smiling lady tapped me on the shoulder. “There’s an empty seat over there, four rows down,” she said, pointing.
“Yes, just one. Hurry!”
I cast her a grateful look. “THANK you!”
“Hey, I’ve been there!” she said. I hurried off, and as I went I guess someone said something to her because I heard her reply,
“Well, she’s VERY pregnant!”
I was able to enjoy the panel much more now that I was off my feet. Did you know that Nathan Fillion took care of Jewel Staite’s dog and kept changing the name on her name tag? Did you know that Gina Torres used to walk up to Nathan Fillion on set and place her hands on his butt and then sing about his beautiful booty? Did you know that Gina Torres felt like maybe the whole cast should have died together in Serenity, gone out together in a blaze of glory?
“Except Kaylee,” said Jewel Staite. “To hell with your blaze of glory, I want her to live! She could go captain her own ship.”
I got a lot of compliments on my shirt.
“That is the best word placement on a shirt that I have ever seen,” said one Comicon volunteer.
And we got a shiny family photo to add to the collection.
As soon as that photo was done, though, we rushed out of Comicon, booted it to the car, and headed for home.
Not because I was in labour.
It was because my Dad had broken his hip and landed himself in the hospital.
Didn’t see that coming, did’ya?
Neither did we.
Luckily, that hospital is in Canada. Where health care is covered.