I have to tell you these stories so I can tell you another.
Story Number One
In 1978, my fiancée was pregnant. But the baby wasn’t mine. She lived with my parents for her last trimester. I was 353 miles away serving in the Air Force. Although not married, my chain of command understood my situation and had granted me “Daddy Leave”. As soon as labor started I was to be placed on Leave status and well…..leave.
When labor did start, my Mom took her time. It was about four in the morning and Dad had to wake up and have breakfast. So she baked muffins. By the time they got to the hospital the baby was crowning and the doctor was M.I.A. The baby girl was born with a nurse attending amid much screaming and tearing.
I got the word at 0900 hours and fled the flight line. As I ran through the hangar, friends knew what was happening and cheered me on. I went to my dorm room grabbed half my clothes from the closet and threw them in my trunk. Hangars and all. I got to the hospital in two hour and twenty minutes.
You do the math.
Story Number Two
At 7am I got the call that if I wanted to be in on it I’d better get my ass to the hospital. I was there in a flash and we were back to timing contractions. Then the doctors, two of them began to be concerned. The baby seemed to be too small for a full term delivery. Around 10am, it was decided to move her to Loma Linda University. I couldn’t ride with her in the ambulance.
As she zoomed off, I had to pull cash out of the bank (no ATM’s back then) and gas up the car. It was 48.2 miles to Loma Linda and they had a 20 minute head start by the time I got on the freeway.
When I got there, I ran into the ER. Two crusty R.N’s were behind the counter.
“WHERE IS MY WIFE???” I yelled.
“What is wrong with her?” asked Nurse Number One.
“SHE”S HAVING A BABY!! I blurted out, panting as I tried to catch my breath.
“Is she in your car?” asked Nurse Number Two.
“Was she in the house when you left?”–Nurse Number Two.
“When was the last time you saw her?””—Nurse Number One.
“In the ambulance. She’s in an Air Force Ambulance”.
At this point the ambulance pulled up.
After that it was smooth sailing. He was born happy and healthy.
The Big Story
The little baby in Story Number Two and his wife, Abby have been trying to have a baby for ten years. For almost all of that time they had no health insurance. She endured test after expensive, heart wrenching test. Years went by. All her friends joined the Mommy Sorority and Abby sat on the sidelines, a maternal wall flower.
They needed health insurance and my baby boy decided to stop handing out ketchup for a living and crushed a R.N. degree in two years. Behold! Health insurance! While discussing her latest tests, I asked if my baby boy had been tested. You know it takes two. She said she didn’t want to put that pressure on him. I told she had 15 minutes to tell him to get tested or I’d pull the Dad Card and tell him myself.
She told him and got tested. The results were devastating. You see, the Air Force had us living in Germany when Chernobyl melted down and the radioactive cloud drifted over Germany. The Germans called it “The Festival of the Glowing Cow”. This event had apparently killed his swimmers.
Overwhelming depression cast itself over them. After a year of soul searching they made the decision to adopt. Thus began an endless series of fund raising and garage sales to raise the funds to adopt. Their incredible friends rallied and sold everything from cupcakes to car parts. As the process continued for what seemed to be forever they kept things under wraps lest the hopes of family and friends be dashed.
Then I got a text.
“The Baby is coming.”
When I got the text, I called immediately. Abby answered the phone. I asked her what was happening and she said the hospital was far, far away and they were on the freeway.
Apparently, chasing babies down the freeway at 100 miles an hour is a family tradition.
I’ll let Mommy tell the rest of the story.
If you are thinking about adopting, read this:
Love Should be Multiplied Not Divided