It is very common for mothers to recall the day of the birth of their children. Though it’s been almost 31 years, I still vividly remember the day that Lauren was born. Tim and I were living in Mustang, Oklahoma, and it was blazing hot. It was August of 1981, and I had spent most of the summer inside sitting under the ceiling fan. On that particular day, August 6, Tim was out of town about an hour and a half away. I was two days after my due date, and nothing was happening except for a slight stomachache. I called my doctor at about 10:30 that morning and he advised me to go by the hospital to let them check to see if I might be in the beginning stage of labor. I didn’t possibly think that I could be in labor since my water had not broken and I was not in any pain, nevertheless, I let Tim know and he wrapped up what he was working on and began the journey home. I decided to scrub the tub while I was waiting. After all, I knew my parents were going to be coming to visit soon, and it seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
Tim arrived around lunchtime, and since we were not certain what might happen the rest of the day, he decided that a nap would be a good idea. I sat under the ceiling fan, trying to decide if the slight stomachache might be contractions. Nobody tells you exactly what they feel like and even though I had been reading books about what to expect, I still had no clue. And so, there I sat until Tim got up around 3:00 and we made our way out to the car. It was a 1968 Dodge, mint green, with leather interior. It was also a car that wouldn’t start. Not to worry though, Tim, Mr. Mechanic, popped the hood and soon had it running. We made it to the hospital at about 4:00, taking time to stop by the nursery to gaze at all the newborn babies. We reached the nurses area and explained why I was there. They promptly put me on a bed to check me.
“You’re dilated 5 centimeters!”
“You’re halfway through! You’re about to have a baby.”
How could this be? I’ve been scrubbing a tub. I’ve been walking around like a normal person. How could I be about to have a baby?
Things happened quickly from that point on. The nurses were in high gear and by 6:55, Lauren was born. Looking back, it’s a good thing we got there when we did. Having a baby in a 1968 mint green Dodge would have been memorable, but not exactly the place you want your first child to be born. The hospital is a much safer place and able to handle any complications that might arise. But, there were no complications, no indications that anything was out of the ordinary. As I think back on it now, I wonder how in the world they did not notice that Lauren was a textbook case of what is called a “blue baby.” What about her incredibly fast heartbeat that beat so hard that you could see her little gown move up and down? Were they in a hurry to get to the rest of the patients? As it turned out, there were nine other women who had babies that day and the maternity ward was full. Those poor ladies ended up with their beds stuck next to a wall out in the hallway with a privacy screen around them. I was lucky. I got the last bed in a room. I was lucky that my baby was here. I was lucky that my labor and delivery was easy.I was lucky that I didn’t know what the future would hold.