Some events in our lives are more embedded in our memories than others. Most of us can recall the birth of our first child and the excitement that surrounded that event. I can sure remember mine. We were in the last semester of my law school days. It was the fall and I was due to graduate in December. We had moved out of our apartment and were home shopping. We stored our belongings in my dad’s warehouse and moved in with the in-laws for a couple of months then with my folks for a couple of months to finish that semester and get organized. We did find the house we wanted and could afford. It was in the suburbs and a typical 3-2 with an attached garage. It was modest but nice enough and all we could afford.
I recall that being a very hectic and trying time. I needed a permenant job for sure with the baby due in November and us living like gypsies. We had picked the house only a couple of weeks before the baby was due. I was both relieved and scared to death. I only had a clerk position at that time and was not sure it would be permenant. Hard to believe now but we had the money for a down payment from a small investment I had made in Delta Airlines in the early ’60’s from our savings. Our house payment was going to be more than the car payments for our VW bug–the monthly payment for the house was $118.00 it cost ab0ut $17,000.00. It was a God awful Japanese or Chinese style with swooping eaves. Quite grotesque. Hey, but it was home sweet home.
In the dark ages we didn’t know the sex of the baby. No one did in those days. You got what you got and all those baby showers brought in clothes in lots of neutral colors. We had a great Ob-gyn. We were at my folks those last few weeks and it was an area where I was raised so I was very familar with the neighborhood and the entire city. We had both grown up there. I recall vividly that night when we had gone to bed in my old bedroom and my wife told me that she was having really strong contractions and this was the real deal. We had naturally packed beforehand and were prepared. So I quickly dressed and we were ready to depart. Of course my mom heard the commotion and was all over us like a chicken on a June bug. Questions, questions, questions and advice, advice, advice. But we knew the drill and were on our way and told the folks they could come along when they liked. I insisted that we take our own car over their repeated offers to drive us. Perhaps I should have taken them up on the offer.
I knew that part of town like the back of my hand. For reasons only explained by excitement and euphoria I decided at the last minute to take a short cut to the hospital. It was only a 10 minute or so drive especially late at night like that if we had taken the conventional route. But hero here was going to get her there really fast and smoothly so I take the back streets. Darn, if we weren’t soon on streets with construction and potholes as big as icebergs. Every time we hit one of those the jolt made me gringe and my child bride was beginning to moan and express her displeasure with my choice of routes. I’ll be damned if I didn’t get turned around in my own backyard as it were. We weren’t lost of course but I was so bamfoosled that I kept taking the wrong turns and driving us over the bumpiest roads in that neck of the woods. I thought for sure I was going to make my baby birth right there in the car with my inadequate navigating and driving skills. Finally we got on the main thoroughfare that went straight to the hospital. I felt like Columbus seeing Hispanola for the first time.
Of course as it turned out all that rush was futile. The labor was a long one. My poor trooper of a wife was in labor over 24 hours before that baby finally decided to join the fun outside the womb. In those days it was different and dads weren’t allowed in the delivery room but we were allowed in the labor room. I was with her until the very end. I got to see my baby crown before they took her away. After delivery she was in the recovery room and the anesthesia was really having an effect on her. She was babbling and making no sense at all. Me and her mom and the nurse were in stitches listening to her. She kept talking about the elephant in the street and how she had to guide it somewhere. What that elephant had to do with my daughter’s birth only she and the anesthesiologist would know.
Fellows, figure out how you are going to get your little lady to the hospital when the time comes and then stick with it. Don’t change things at the last minute. Believe me it will not be an improvement.
We did move into our house only a couple of weeks after our daughter was born. Then I was promptly fired because I had asked for a raise from 75 cents an hour to $1.00 and hour as a clerk. There went the permenant job. So I had a new baby, new house and no job. What a great start. But a little work and the good Lord taking care of fools helped out and we did manage. I have never been so frightened and elated in my life as I was that winter. I guess that is when I learned that Woody Allen was right about 90% of success is just showing up. I kept showing up and now it is 6 children and 12 grandchildren and a lifetime later. I got better than I deserved. Blessings often come in adversity and we don’t see them at the time.
If you think health care is expensive now just wait until you get it free from the government.