It was a very dark and very foggy night when we set out on the road to parenthood thirty-three years ago today. And I literally do mean we set out on the road to parenthood. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, let me go back to the beginning.
When we were expecting our first child, we were told that our insurance would cover all of the prenatal care and the delivery but that if we went to the emergency room for false labor, we would have to pay that bill out of pocket.
Our pockets were very shallow and very empty at the time. Hubs was determined that we would NOT have any false labor trips. Being not yet a medical care-giver, he had absolutely no idea of what either false or true labor "looked" like.
I remember well the first contraction. I was standing in the kitchen chopping potatoes to throw in the crock pot with our pot roast which I was preparing for the next day's Sunday dinner. I never got even ONE BITE of that pot roast, though I did finish preparing it for "the rest of them."There was no pain. There was no screaming. In fact, I didn't tell hubs about the first contraction - - - just glanced at the clock and began timing.
When the second one hit in about 15 minutes, I calmly informed him I thought we were "off and running" so to speak. He told me it was false labor and to just forget about it. He based this "expert" opinion on the fact that I was not screaming and wailing in pain.
I went about my business - - - but I can assure you quite definitely that I did NOT forget about it.
When my contractions were about five minutes apart, I told him I really thought we should start the 45 minute trip to the hospital. He was still sure I was in false labor because this could not be the "real" thing if I was rational. He told me to wait a little longer.
When the contractions were three minutes apart, I told him that I was going to the hospital, and he could either come with me or I'd drive myself. He didn't want me trying to drive myself through the split pea fog, so he got out of bed and went down to start the car while I waddled in that direction.
When I got to the top of the stairs, I had to sit down and wait out a contraction. He appeared at the bottom of the stairs and said, "Are you coming?" I said, "Yes, but I have to wait for this contraction to finish." He said, "Oh." And went back out to the car.
Contraction over - - - I waddled to the bottom of the stairs and got to the middle of the kitchen floor before I had to sit down, right in the middle of the floor, to wait out another contraction. Hubs appeared in the kitchen doorway and said, "Are you coming or not?" I replied that I was coming, but just had to wait out another contraction. He didn't think they could possibly be coming that fast.
Finally, I made it to the BACK seat of our little 1975 Mustang so I could "lie down." Perhaps you remember those? They had bucket seats in the back - - - sort of a bench seat with little buckets indented into each side. That middle "hump" between the seats is what I had to try to lie across.
I will never forget that ride. What should have been a 45 minute ride stretched out to about an hour and fifteen minutes as hubs struggled to see the road through the soup. I was blowing fiercely the entire way. Fiercely!
We arrived at the hospital and the nurses whisked me away to an examining room while hubs parked the car and settled into the waiting room.
A student nurse checked me.
Her eyes got the size of saucers and she turned to the "real" nurse and said, "I think YOU better check this one."
Real nurse checked and HER eyes got the size of saucers. They hustled me onto a gurney quick as greased lightning. I heard them shouting something about "no time for a prep on this one" and away we flew through the waiting room to the elevator and from thence up to the delivery room.
As we sailed through the waiting room - - - I heard hubs' voice off in the distance say, "Are we going home?" To which the nurse shouted: "WE'RE GOING TO THE DELIVERY ROOM!!!!!"
Still no screaming or wailing from me, I am proud to say.
In the delivery room I had to do a lot more fierce blowing while I waited for hubs and the doctor to suit up and mask up. MEN - - - what do they know about the URGENCY of pushing????
Finally they said, "push" and I did, and with that one push, she burst upon the scene, exactly six hours after I felt the first contraction.
Our first little bundle of joy. Keri Rachelle Broyles. She had a perfect little round face, ten perfect little fingers - - - each with a perfect little nail - - - and ten chubby little toes.
I know all you moms out there have experienced this for yourself, but it's ALWAYS OK to remember the mystery and joy and awe of that moment when they place that first miracle in your arms.
Hubs was so excited he took my suitcase home with him.
And Keri? Well, in spite of all we DID NOT KNOW as first time parents, she grew and thrived. She thrilled us with her smiles and her antics. She has been our family planner and orchestrator ever since. What I lack in "plan ahead" skills, she has in abundance. When "news" needs to be shared with the family - - - she does the texting, a skill I may never acquire.
She taught us how to parent. And when her siblings began to arrive - - - four years later - - - she "helped" parent every one of them, especially the last two.
She was the first grandchild on BOTH sides of the family - - - and I'm here to tell you, she was the apple of ALL our eyes.
Now she is married to Jason ("The Little Cheese" 'cause hubs is the big one) and is a mama, an extraordinary one, herself.
Happy Birthday Keri Rachelle Baker!
You are STILL bringing us joy!!!
PS - - - your card will be here on Thanksgiving Day as is our usual custom since I still am quite unable to plan ahead.