This post is brought to you by "Momma Lucy"
You can catch up on her previous posts here.
Now here is where I was going to run the show for a short while. My parents lived 5 miles from the hospital and we decided to hang out there until it was time to go. I figured we could get to the hospital in 8 minutes by car, 1 hour by tractor and deliver roadside if we had to pull out the old red Radio-Flyer wagon! My intention was to wait until I was almost ready to deliver before going to the hospital. Why, you may ask??? Because back in those "olden days" they did things to you when you were admitted that they don't do now. Things that are almost too horrible to speak of!!! They put teeny tiny short gowns on you. They made you stay in the bed. They did things with razors and enemas; Oh just thinking about it strikes fear in my heart. (Here's where I'd like to see a man be extremely pregnant, having contractions and enduring that ritual!) And....they weren't doing epidurals yet. That's right....depending how far along in labor you were, they may give you a "little shot of something", but NO EPIDURALS! You just labored along. (Sounds like a cowboy song....Laboring Along...On the Old Prarieee. Singin' My Song....Just Let Me Beee!)
By 5:30 pm it was definitely time to go to the hospital. As each contraction got worse, I felt like I had squeezed almost all the stuffing out of my mother's armchair as I gripped the sides. Also, after every contraction I was asked, "Don't you think you all should get to the hospital?" Finally I could say "YES...I do think it's time to GO!" Every 5 minutes or so, I was losing control of my body for 60 to 90 seconds. It was like a vise grip that turned my huge belly into weird shapes. When that contraction grabbed full force, "parts" poked and protruded out in various places. Yep...now I was sure I was giving birth to Mr. Clean. He was flexing his muscles. Get me to the hospital! A strange side note here; about 8 or 10 years ago my Mom came across the paper we had used to record the timing of the contractions. Such sweet pieces of history.
Just to let you know, my perfect plan failed! I did not wait long enough before going to the hospital to avoid all the "labor rituals!" Enough said!! Our little community hospital did not have "birthing suites". The labor room was a room with 2 beds in it divided by a curtain. Luckily I was the only one in labor that evening. On the wall in this labor room was a 2D picture showing the stages of labor. It was to help you "chart" your progress. In other words, it showed that you had to dialate from the size of a pencil to the size of the New York Subway entrance. Once you get there, you can have the baby!
As I told you before, I was not a screamer. I was a teeth clincher! When each contraction came, I could have pulled the rails off the side of the bed, bent the water faucets and peeled the tile off the wall. Dr. Forbes came in again around 9 or 9:30pm to check my progress. And I had to ask that question..."When do you think the baby will be born?" I was not prepared for his answer..."I would guess around 3:00am." I twisted my pillow into a knot, dug my face into the middle of it and bit down as hard as I could while the next contraction took my breath away. I was tired! I was hurting! I can not do this until 3am! I was about to have my first real one-on-one conversation with this precious gift that was poking its way out of me, rather slowly I might add.
"Hey Mr.(or Miss) Clean, we need to talk. You want out and I NEED you out before 3:00am. We can both be sleeping by then. This will be our first attempt at cooperation. We will have to do this many times after you are born. So lets get this done!" And then things kicked into high gear as if this sweet precious gift heard every word I said. Now things are happening too fast and my body starts doing strange things on its own. Dr. Forbes is there telling the nurses, "We need to move her to the delivery room now." I feel like I have to throw up! I hate throwing up! It is not on my "Bucket List" of things I want to do! Since the time I threw up and a noodle came out my nose, which is totally un-natural, I have crossed throwing up off my list of "Things to Do and See." The nurse looked at me and said "Honey, you need to scoot your bottom onto this stretcher now." Whoa!!! First, I've seen Olympic balance beams wider than that stretcher and secondly...THIS BOTTOM WON'T SCOOT! It may plop, it may roll, but it stopped scooting months ago! It may never scoot again.
I could give you all the gory details and strange sounds of what happened in that next hour, but none of that really matters. I DID NOT give birth to Mr. Clean. What I did give birth to was a Miracle, a Blessing, a true Gift from God. The months of preparation faded away; the past hours of pain melted into a pool of grateful tears. Thank you God for this creation. How do I ever begin to offer You my unending praise? This flood of joy fills my soul. How will I honor You through this precious life I am holding in my arms?
We had decided on the name...Elizabeth Katherine Gum, we would call her Beth. Happy Birthday my precious child!
(Note from Beth: these pictures are so precious to me now.
The first time my Granddaddy and Grandma held me)