I stared at the fluorescent lights on the ceiling in the courtyard of the small strip mall across the street from where we lived. I lay flat on my back, trying to piece together what had just happened and what the slimy stuff all around me could possibly be. I looked around to see if anyone was coming. The slimy stuff, which I later learned was floor glue, seemed to be painted all over the floor in, what looked like, a field of beige rainbows. Men in work clothes scurried, no, not to help me, but rather, to put up the cones and wet floor signs which would surely have kept Me on my feet. I groaned, thinking, “Damit! I’m being induced tomorrow!” A swift indignant kick from the babe inside me, already ten days overdue, assured me that the little prince or princess was fine and no happier about our current predicament than I was. Every muscle from my armpits to my knees was on fire! Now what? Thankfully there were people eating in the restaurant that opened into the courtyard where I lay, completely helpless. My attempts to move were ludicrous. This stuff was “slicker than snot on a doorknob,” as my husband, Lyle, would have phrased it. The guy had more colorful one-liners than a Clint Eastwood movie. So the nice people abandoned their meals, and came to my aid. “Goodness, your feet flew right out from underneath you!” the first one to reach me said. Her husband right behind her blurted out, “Yeah, you were ass over teakettle, alright!” She shot him a, “you’re not helping,” look. It seemed they were mighty disgusted with the men working there, for their lack of caution and general lack of “give a shit,” regarding this obviously pregnant, possibly injured woman laying in the middle of their guilty floor. The helpful diners also assured me that an ambulance was on its way. My husband would worry, I told them. Yes, someone would call him, as they wrote down the digits I recited, I think.
I thought about the hamburger stew, butter, jelly, and home-baked bread across the street in my kitchen. I just needed a carton of milk. I was merely yards away from the grocery store… yards away from that carton of milk. The milk that was to complete our meal, the capper of this perfect day, this brilliantly sunshiny crisp fall day.
My sister called that morning, “Lets get you out. You’re bored and depressed. Lets take the girls and get outside, and lets enjoy the day. You’ll feel better.” How did she know that my plan had been to not shower, lay around in pregnancy sweats, eat, watch Maggie, our eighteen month old dance around in my high-heeled shoes, and feel sorry for myself. All of my nesting was done, and I was SO sick of waiting. Tomorrow was the big day. I had tried a giant dose of cod liver oil last week, because someone told me it would induce labor. What it had induced was a case of ninety-mile an hour diarrhea! So, fine, we would do it Dr. Addy’s way… tomorrow.
My sister came with her little dolly, Cate, born about six weeks after our Maggie. We loaded up girls and strollers, and off we went. We got lunch from the Big Boy drive through and ate it in the park. I, somehow got myself into a glider swing. I leaned back, relaxed, and enjoyed the graceful motion. It was so perfect, the smell of the leaves, the crispness of the air, being surrounded by October sunshine, the laughter of little girls, and the warmth of a sisters nurturing reassurance.
And now, I’m listening to paramedics explaining how, exactly, I’m not going to flip right off of this extremely narrow gurney. “You’re probably going to have this baby tonight…. And he’s probably going to be riding home in a Corvette, from the sounds of it. You need to call your lawyer ASAP.” Oh, jeez. You can’t take a baby home in a Corvette, you idiot. Yeah I get the picture, but really, your ridiculous chatter is just annoying me. Don’t they teach you about hormonal women in ambulance school? Best to speak when spoken to, when dealing with wounded mama bear… seriously.
I somehow wound up settled into a birthing room. Hooked up to monitors, everything seemed great. They would keep me there for observation over night. No, there were no signs of labor. Our attention piqued when a nurse came in and started an ultrasound. “Well?” we anxiously hoped she would share what she was seeing on that screen. “Sorry, I’m not allowed to give out the sex of the baby,” as she tilted her head and gave us that feigned look of exaggerated disappointment and regret that her hands were tied. My husband tried to work his charm, “Oh, cm’on. Just a hint,” he winked. Not impressed, she didn’t even bother with the fake apology this time, as she turned on her heel and walked out.
Our baby was NOT born that night. I went home in the, now, glue stained clothes that I had arrived in the night before. We left in our old Chevy Blazer, rather than the predicted corvette. I knew that paramedic was an idiot, and not the fairy god mother he pretended to be. I was waiting for a “Bibbity bobbity boo,” to follow the rest of the ridiculousness that had come out of his mouth as they loaded me into the back of that pumpkin last night.
We got settled in at home, and enjoyed a lunch of reheated hamburger stew, day old home-baked bread with butter and jelly, and milk, that frickin’ milk that I just couldn’t do without last night! No, there would be no labor inducing today, as I had pulled every muscle from armpits to knees in the fall. We would have to give those muscles time to repair, before induction would be attempted. So, on THIS day, I would lay on the couch in my pregnancy sweats, eat, watch Maggie dance around in my high healed shoes, and feel sorry for myself…… and wait.