17 years ago today

My mother and my sister J were in town. We went out to lunch at Towne Crier and then they left for Arizona.

I made cookies for R so he wouldn’t feel abandoned while I was gone.

I called the doctor to find out exactly how far apart the contractions needed to be. She said 4 minutes, even. Not 6 and then 2, but 4-4-4.

I went for a walk with R but got stuck in the middle of the street when every single step I took brought on a contraction. He ran home to get the car and my overnight bag.

Then, geniuses that we were, we decided we had to get the baby a pacifier before we went to the hospital. While waiting in the car at the second store (I wasn’t quite crazy enough to get out of the car.), I started having contractions every two minutes. This was before the days of cell phones. And I was too embarrassed to lay on the horn or scream for help.

Thankfully we did make it to the hospital on time.

The ER rushed us up to Labor and Delivery because ER did not want to be delivering any babies.

The nurse put a belt on me and said, “Oh they aren’t so bad.”

I told her if they got any worse I might die. I am sure she thought I was exaggerating. I was not.

I told her my water broke.

She said, “Good. That will make it go faster.” Then she went to check. And came up from checking with the blankest face I’ve ever seen on a hospital nurse. She got on the call button and asked them to find Dr. Hamilton. They were chit-chatty. “Oh, I know she was around about ten minutes ago. I don’t know where she is now…” The nurse interrupted with, “Find her. She needs to come. Now.”

I tried to make the nurse feel better by telling her that my mother hemorrhaged with me but that we were both find.

Dr. Hamilton came in all cheerful and, “What’s going on?” And the nurse said, “The bucket is overflowing.” And the doctor said, “Oh you’re getting your pants messed up” to my husband because there was so much blood it had covered the bottom of his pants. He said he didn’t care.

He held my hand and asked me for his parents’ phone number while the doctor went to find help for the surgery and get me moved. He called them and our church and asked for prayers.

It was a Wednesday night and folks were getting ready to go to church.

E was born that night. Healthy, despite problems with getting the bed out the door, my sensitivity to anesthesia, and my having hemorrhaged out half of my body’s blood.

Today he is 17 years old.

I love him very much.

Happy birthday, E!