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September 7, 2011 / sharoncopy

Fourth time in labor….

Well, Dennis had been working for 16 hours and he called around midnight to see if anything was going on because the baby was one week overdue, which is usually about when they come. I said, “nah, nothing happening .”

“I think I’ll stop at Pathmark then and get the groceries so then I can just come home and sleep.”

“Ok.” Dennis hates to shop, so this was a good plan. He arrived there and spent about an hour going around the store finding everything on the list I had given to him earlier that day.

In the meantime, not long after we hung up, contractions started. By 2 a.m. I had talked with the midwife twice and we determined that things were getting serious.  There had been an awesome thunderstorm outside and I went out onto the porch once or twice to see it and chat with all the late night neighbors who regularly stayed outside till about 3 or 4 a.m. in Germantown, Philadelphia. I called the ladies next door to come over temporarily until my friend who lived 45 minutes away could come. I called Pathmark and asked them to page Dennis and tell him I was in labor and that he should come quickly. I called the ambulance to take me just in case Dennis didn’t get the message soon enough. Remember, this was 1986, before cell phones! I didn’t know if he would get there in time or not, as the store was about 15 minutes away. I got my suitcase ready (all of this in-between contractions) and was ready to go.

 The older ladies next door walked down their steps and were about to walk up our steps when they encountered a drunken man passed out on the steps. Never happened before or after – only that night. I was a bit preoccupied and didn’t really pay attention to what they were saying about climbing over his body on the way in!

When Dennis was paged, he had just found the last item on the list and he hurried to customer service and then abandoned the groceries to rush home. Dennis rushed in then, saying that he had had to move the guy over in front of someone else’s house. Just then the ambulance pulled up. Dennis asked if I wanted to ride with him or the ambulance, and I said, “the ambulance” because of how fast everything had gone the time before and how fast it was going now. Two ambulance guys walked up to the door with a stretcher and were surprised to see me walking out onto the porch. I said, “Let’s go” and I walked down the steps. They said that I had to be on the stretcher and couldn’t just climb into the back of the ambulance. So – in full view of over a dozen late night neighbors, they set up the stretcher on the sidewalk (or pavement as they say there) and made me lie down on it. It was a little embarrassing, really, and my neighbor the nurse across the street later told me that it really made her laugh. They covered me with a blanket and then lifted me into the back of the ambulance. I told them that I had written down directions to Booth Maternity Hospital and they said that they were all set, don’t worry about it.

What they actually did was say that they would follow Dennis, who, as you remember, had just worked 16 hours and shopped. He had only been to the hospital with me once or twice that time around and was in no position to remember that there was a road closed and we had to take a different way to get there. So, here I was lying in the back of the ambulance, wishing that David and Julie could have seen me get in (I like to share my excitement) but figuring it was better that they sleep and also better that they not possibly get scared. It was actually more comfortable to be lying down in there than sitting up in the midwife’s husband old work Chevy, or our Chevette or the brown Ford Fairlane station wagon we were currently driving. Suddenly I realized that we were on the Schuylkill Expressway, and that was NOT the way to City Line Ave from Germantown. I said, “you’re going the wrong way! You’re supposed to be going to City Line Ave.”  The guy next to me yelled up front, “Hey, Jimmy, we got to turn this ambulance around!” Neither of them was certain how to get there so I gave them some directions from the first exit and we ended up over near the Zoo and then Jimmy knew how to proceed to City Line Ave.

We arrived at the hospital and for some odd reason, the security guard waved us around the back of the building, which I knew was not correct. The ambulance pulled up at a door and as the doors opened I noticed that the sign above the door read, “Deliveries Only.” That did it. I laughed and laughed and laughed (between contractions.) We got inside and the guard disappeared, and I said, “I don’t believe this. Nobody listens to the woman who has come here EVERY week practically for years give the directions.” I told them to take me down the hall to the left to the elevator and then go to the third floor.

Dee wasn’t supposed to be on duty that night but she swapped with someone else so she could attend the birth of a fourth child of ours. She was quite pleased to check me over and see that we actually might have a little time on our hands instead of the instant situation in the third labor (see previous post.) Dennis rushed in at some point and a nurse was there, and Kevin was born 45 minutes later. It was the only time that we were able to have a mirror so that I could view the birth (thanx to Dennis’ remembering and having time to ask!)

I said to Dennis, “I’m sorry you had to leave the groceries behind after you did all that shopping.”

He replied, “Well, at least now I know where to find everything on the list.”  🙂

Perhaps it was Kevin’s love of thunderstorms that brought him “running” when I was watching that one. And perhaps it was that quick trip past the Zoo that engendered his lifelong love of critters. Not really, but it’s a fun thought.

One more story to go….

One Comment

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  1. Saelyn / Sep 8 2011 4:43 am

    The best story’s next. d:

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